ancestryink fisherman

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Maritime Reading - Best Nautical Bookstore on Cape Cod

Again, Maritime Monday slips into Maritime Tuesday.  It might be well worth the 24 hour wait to discover a somewhat hidden treasure for all you readers of nautical-related books - the Columbia Trading Co. of West Barnstable, Mass.

Columbia Trading Co.  (image: website homepage)

There is no finer destination on a rainy day - or any day - than the Columbia Trading Co. bookstore.  One visit will convince you the small bookstore, in general, is a precious asset we should all go to great lengths to keep alive and thriving.

The bookstore is located in a rather unassuming Cape style house at 1022 Main Street,  near the intersection of Route 6A (Old King's Highway, and across from the really historic West Barnstable Cemetery! ) and Route 149.  Depending on the direction you are coming from, I suggest you take at least part of your journey along Route 6A.  It is beautiful, scenic drive, winding through marshes and rural seaside land and homes.  From the village of Sandwich to the bookstore is particularly wonderful.  Take in "Momo's" for a gourmet-sandwich or their great cafe-style coffees, and sit on their deck overlooking the marsh.

Back to the Columbia Trading Co.  Several spacious rooms include used books, new books of local flavor, maps, artifacts (real, not chotchkies), clocks, and lovely ship models. The layout of the store is so light and comfortable for browsing and reading, you will suddenly find an hour has passed while exploring the shelves.

They are very likely to have that book of maritime interest that you have been unable to find elsewhere.  My particular lucky find was "Live Oaking - Southern Timber for Tall Ships"

which was published in 1981 by Virgina Steele Wood.  I had found this book in the Falmouth Public Library and had slim hopes of locating it elsewhere.  Sounds like a snore?  Not at all!

Wood's (appropriate name) thorough research of using live oak timbers in the construction of ships spans from the early 1600's through as recently as 1960. Her story is enlivened by letters from the shipmasters and tradesmen who set up camps in the South to harvest the majestic live oak.  She shows us the human side: the tribulations of weather, illness, shipwrecks, at times drunknness. And also successes for the magnificent sea-faring families who, as brilliant businessmen, greatly influenced the maritime history of the U.S. The books if full of old news clippings, illustrations, even photos, and Wood's writing style is simple and conversational.  A young adult reader could easily get caught up in the stories.  It is a true story of adventure.

The Swifts of Falmouth are a huge source of  information, and Wood includes letters (1825) between Oliver C. Swift and his father Elijah Swift, and also between the Hiller family (1858) of Mattapoisett.

The Columbia Trading Co. is a  marvelous find, with an unparalleled collection that is obviously widely researched and thoughtful. You might want to call ahead to make absolutely sure they are open.

They have a Facebook presence, and if you 'like' their page, you can keep up with hours, events, and inventory. They also have an online bookstore presence on at least one website that I found -

It is really more fun to go for a visit - rain or shine. Set aside a couple of will have a hard time getting yourself out the door and I doubt you will leave empty-handed.

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Relatives and the Theory of Relativity a Graveyard

While searching for the relatives of a Falmouth sea captain at the Church of the Messiah Cemetery in Woods Hole, I happened to make a relatively surprising discovery.  (Please forgive the punniness - it was hard to resist.)

Hans Albert Einstein was the first son of Albert Einstein.  He was born in Switzerland, lived and taught at the U. of California, Berkeley,  and just happened to pass away of a sudden cardiovascular event, while lecturing at a symposium in Woods Hole in 1973. 

I did also find the sea captain and his family.  Captain Calvin Childs and his wife Mercy are buried a little higher up the hill from Hans Albert Einstein in what is known as the Old Village Cemetery - the oldest portion of this Woods Hole cemetery that sits next to the stone church, and across the road from Vineyard Sound.  Captain Childs also died far from home.  He succumbed to cholera, in 1855, in Piermont, New York.

Monday, August 12, 2013

Maritime Monday - The Lovely Liberté

There are times, along the New England shoreline, when it almost seems as if nothing much has changed since the mid-1800's.  The other night was just such a night...watching a schooner sail into the sunset across Vineyard Sound.

The Liberté was actually built in early 2000 to the exact specifications of her owners. She is a charter vessel that hails from Maryland, and is tied up at the Patriot Ferry dock in Falmouth during the summer months.  Every evening, her fair lines and full sails grace the waters between Falmouth and the Vineyard. When the daily din of automobiles and busy summer life has gone quiet, you can easily imagine a life on the sea, in another, earlier century.

Here she is, timeless, in the last light of the day:


Thursday, August 8, 2013

Limerick Burial Records Go Online

This information came through a Facebook forum.  Pretty exciting news for those of you who are searching for Irish ancestors.

Limerick, Ireland
70,000 burial records from the Mount St. Lawrence Cemetery in Limerick will go online this month - August 20th .  The information will not just be a list of names of those interred there, but also position of grave, names and addresses, age at death, and in some cases, cause of death.

Click here to read the news article.

I Googled the Mount St. Lawrence Cemetery.  Here is a link to the cemetery webpage.  The dates of the burial records span from 1855 - 2008. The records are broken into four sections and require a DjVu viewer to download, first.  It appears the records are already online, earlier than the 20th of August, though I did not take the next step and view any individual records.

Happy researching! 

Monday, August 5, 2013

Maritime Monday - Double Rainbow Arcs Over Vineyard Sound

If there were a ship's log entry penned of the evening of August 4, 2013, it might go something like this:

"Aug. 4 - Seas calm. Storm clouds gathered moving west to east. Passed ships: ferry Island Queen, Falmouth to Oak Bluffs; Schr. Liberte Falmouth to Vine. Sound; Schr. Alabama under full sail heading before the storm into port Holmes Hole.  Thunder and lightening, long approach, rain finally begins in heavy downpour, moving across Vineyard Sound, east. Seas quiet. Sun breaks through after storm, followed by full double rainbow arcing over the Sound. All hands on deck to view display."

August 4th Vineyard Sound 7pm
A serendipitous event, last night's ritual evening swim off the sandy beach along Surf Drive in Falmouth included this beautiful show of light and color.  Though I was unable to capture its full arc, it reached from East Falmouth to Martha's Vineyard (in this photo) in full double glory, lasting 15-20 minutes. 

Friday, August 2, 2013

NEHGS Name Origins: Sena - My 3x Great-Grandmother

Last Spring, The Weekly Genealogist, published online by NEHGS, did a nice feature on this AncestryInk blog.  There was a little fun in the article regarding my Master Mariner great-grandfather (1860-1934) who was known for, among other things, his seemingly overlapping marriages.  Polygamist!  In truth, they were all on the up and up, but records of an earlier divorce were not found, casting a little "shadow" on his moral proclivities.

Purely by coincidence, this past Wednesday's The Weekly Genealogist mentioned another ancestor of mine: Sena Luddington.  In the "Name Origins" section of this edition, the meaning and origins of "Sena" were discussed, using Sena Luddington as one of the examples. 

A Little Back Story

Sena Luddington was the grandmother of my nefarious Master Mariner great-grandfather, Allan Henderson!   In our genealogical records, she is known as Lucina, or Lusina.  There is one record that refers to her as Sena.

"Lusina Henderson: Manchester Guysborough Township Records

She married Alexander Henderson, a Scottish Loyalist, who at the end of the Revolutionary War was granted, along with Lucina's father Titus Luddington (Ludington) of CT, acreage in Manchester, Guysborough, Nova Scotia.  There they had eleven children, the youngest being Allan Henderson.

Skeletons in the Closet

Allan, a mariner,  soon made his way to North Haven and Deer Isle, Maine where he acquired land,  married, and in 1860 had a son, Capt. Allan Henderson, the maybe-somtimes-but-not-really Polygamist Master Mariner. The very same ancestor whose name was never uttered in my family, but for one brief moment. Delivered with a shrug and a peeved, impatient laugh, his daughter Eva, (my grandmother) threw out into one family gathering: "Oh yes, he had a woman in every port."  I was about eight years old, and that was the first and last time I ever heard mention of Capt. Allan Henderson.

Coincidence Happens

Two closely related Henderson ancestors brought to life in The Weekly Genealogist within a few months - what are the chances?  It is always a great read, but you can be sure I won't be skipping any future editions.

The only other astonishing and rather exciting airing of an ancestor's name came via Ken Burns's "The Civil War" film.  The mention of the two Henderson brothers from Deer Isle, Maine who were killed in the Civil War?   Cousins of the Captain.  

With all the attention genealogy is receiving lately, I wonder how many of you out there who have been vigorously "shaking your family tree,"  have suddenly found yourself reading or hearing about one of your very own ancestors in the media?