News From The Past

                         “Thursday 24 Jan 1884 Over a Hundred Lives Lost at Sea”

The City of Columbus, from Boston for Savannah, strikes the Massachusetts Coast, and only 22 of those on board saved.  

The news of the terrible steamship disaster which occurred in Vineyard Sound early Friday morning has caused consternation in Boston, where a number of the victims lived.  The Steamship City of Columbus which left Boston 3 pm on Wednesday for Savannah. proceeded safely on her way until Friday morning, when she struck upon the ledge or reef at the Devil’s Bridge buoy off the southwestern end of Martha’s Vineyard.

Captain Wright of Boston, who for 15 years has been employed by the line, was in command at the time, when she struck this ledge and careened over.  She had on board 80 passengers of the first class, 22 in the steerage and 45 officers and men only 23 have been saved.  The wind was blowing a gale at the time.  The boats were swamped as soon as they struck the water.  Soon after noon the revenue cutter Dexter came alongside and took off 21 from the rigging, and carried them to New Bedford, but three of them died on the way.

                          “Thursday 31 Jan 1884 The Indians at Gay Head”

The Boston newspapers have started a subscription to aid the half-breed Indians of Gay Head who nobly assisted saving the lives of 22 men from the wreck of the City of Columbus.  Those who reached the barren headland alive, were treated with boundless though humble hospitality.  Nothing that the limited resources of their noblehearted rescuers could supply was held back. Food, drink, missing articles of clothing were freely given, and then men and women began the sad search for the dead.  The people though scantily clad went down to the landing in the blustering snowstorm; but they seemed to not know it was cold.  One Indian woman sped back to her house and retrieved 2 sheets, which were treasured as luxuries seldom to be used and fetched them weeping as she said it was all she could give to cover the dead and the bodies were quickly sewed up in these winding sheets.  All this and much more these people done without thanks in return.

A condensed article from the “Sidney Record” Delaware Co. NY a weekly newspaper.

New Canadian Cemetery Link

Here is a wonderful site for looking up ancestors in All Canadian Provinces Cemeteries. In the red bar across the top lists Provinces and Territories where you can pick which one you want to research. You can then search by Name or pick a Letter of the alphabet. You can also choose a cemetery.
Since I have ancestors in Ontario, I chose that Province, typed in just the last name (Pembleton) and the list showed up with photo’s of the tombstones, the name of the Cemetery and where it is.
This is a volunteer site, so if you have an ancestor in one of the provinces and a photo of their tombstone you can add it to this site. ENJOY!!!!!

Wonderful Free Genealogy Research Site

At January’s MSOG Meeting we were given a link to a terrific Free genealogy research site.  It is called Genealogy Trails.  It is a research site for the United States, it has every State and County.  Records are transcribed by volunteers and they have done a terrific job.  There are no banner ads.  You can also host a state or county if you wish or just submit your own records.  This is an easy site to use and get around in.  

Remember the links are on the right side listed Alphabetically I have added Genealogy Trails

And The Winner Is………

Our very own Genealogy Friend John Zager won a World Subscription to from MSOG (Massachusetts Society of Genealogists) Bristol Chapter.  Giving him his prize is our very own President of the Bristol Chapter Kathleen Rubano.

CONGRATULATIONS JOHN  !!!!!!                                                                                                

   John Zager Winner 2

Thought For The Day

History with its flickering lamp stumbles along the trail of the past, trying to reconstruct its scenes, to revive its echoes and kindle with pale gleams the passion of former days.   Winston Churchill

Updated Passenger List Site

Back in 2012 I added  a site for researching passenger lists.  Upon checking links I discovered that the original one no longer works.  So I have updated the Link. 

This is a terrific site that has links for the United States, Canada and Mexico, 1820-1957.  Some of the links within the site refers you to Ancestry which charges a fee.  Other links are free including a NARA link. Dates vary.  Ellis Island, Barge Office and Castle Garden are free.  When you scroll down you will find “US Ports and Their Available Passenger Lists” Again scrolling down you will find US Territories, Canada and Mexico Ports.  Be sure to check out individual States for there own lists, especially  NY & New England States.

If you find a link listed on the right side of our Blog that does not work, please let me know and I will try to fix it or remove it.  Happy Researching.


Here is an interesting site that is working on finding and identifying soldiers cremains and remains so they can be properly buried.  Scroll down to our genealogy sites where it has been added.

Winter As A Child

This winter has been very harsh no doubt.  It reminded me of when I was a child.  Raised in upstate New York, in the city, until I was seven, when we moved out into the country.  The school I attended was a “one room Country School” called Grove School, it stood on the corner of a dirt road.  In the winter we all wore snowsuits and boots we just removed our jackets, hats and mittens while inside,  we took our sleds to school because at recesses morning and afternoon and lunch time, of course there was always after school too, if they did not sand the road, we could sleigh ride down that road, build snowmen, have snowball fights and make snow angels.   At the bottom of the road there was a bridge that went over a creek, we would leave our sleds and climb up the embankment, slide down the hill on our behinds towards the creek, there was a tree limb overhanging near the creek which you had to grab onto or you would get  wet.  It was a long uphill walk back to the school dragging your sled if you were wet.  When recess and lunch time was over the teacher would ring the bell letting us know it was time to come back. The school was heated with a wood stove a great place to dry those mittens and boots.  My favorite boots were the boys boots with buckles down the front which both boys and girls wore back then, they fit right over your shoes. My favorite hat was a stocking cap as it was long enough to wrap around you neck like a scarf, not good for sleigh riding however if it got loose you could hang yourself.  No matter how much snow we had we always went to school. And yes I walked it was only about a quarter of a mile away. We spent a lot of time outdoors when it snowed we had so much fun.

About a mile from where we lived was a store and gas station which had a pond in back where we used to ice skate. I was about 12 when I begged for ice skates.  I would walk to the pond to go ice skating with my friends then walk home again.  I remember one day I decided to put on my skates before I went there, it would save the time and effort of removing my boots and shoes.  My feet hurt when I got there so skating was not fun that day, by the time I got home I was walking in my socks my feet were so sore, I never did that again.

I have a hill behind my house which in the past we enjoyed in the winter especially with the grandchildren. The whole family would be here and we would all sleigh ride, now with plastic sleds.  Fun was had just the same.  I would have loved to do that this year, but now I am too old and  houses are there now.  So I just worked on my genealogy, stayed warm  and remembered all the fun that snow  used to be and what kids today are missing out on.

The Ships Lists

This is an amazing site I found a yr or 2 ago and did some research yesterday on Immigration from Ireland, Scotland and England to Canada. Some start from the 1700’s. They came into various ports Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, Prince Edward Isle, and Quebec as their first stops before heading further to the USA, Upper Canada etc. Tells of ship wrecks and survivors, orphans, Catholic and Protestants. There are lots of links from this site to help further research. One link came up with an error code, I clicked on a subject and it opened anyway.  Scroll down to the links on our blog and you will find the link to this site called “The Ships Lists”  Also another site I added yesterday for New Brunswick.

Finding Those Ancestors

After 12 years, I found my G Grandmother’s family, the McConnell’s. 

It started by finding another Tree on Ancestry with all kinds of records and sources, when I saw the people on the other tree I started to research these folks. I first went to, as I do not have a world subscription to ancestry, these folks were in Ontario Canada so searching Canada through ancestry was out of the question.  Low and behold there was this Robert McConnell and his wife Rachel….hmmm…Rachel was my grandmothers name….could this be them? Checking the census for Ontario 1881 there was among their children a daughter Mary age 19.  Was this my G Grandmother?  Back to ancestry I went and contacted the other researcher, she answered me right away and gave me some information. Then we started e-mailing each other, she had photo’s too.  We exchanged information and to my delight  Robert and Rachel were indeed my GG Grandparents. Born in Tyrone Ireland they immigrated to Canada in the 1840’s along with some brothers and sisters. Robert’s brother John was her ancestral line, John and his family left Ontario and ventured first to Manitoba, then on to Saskachewan, where their descendants live today.

Both Robert and Rachel, maiden name Hampton,  were born in 1813, Rachel died 12 Mar 1912 4 months shy of her 99th birthday, Robert died 24 Feb 1916 age 103. They are listed on find-a-grave including their obituaries  and burial place. I now have those obituaries in my records. According to the obit, a little exaggerated, they had 13 children, however we have only found 8 of them.  An 1851 Ontario census lists Robert and Rachel, his sister Ann and her husband Hugh Archer, but no children? They were married in 1835 in Ireland… where were their children?  An 1861 census lists 6 children, 2 of their children John and George b in Ireland, the other 4 born in Ontario.  An 1871 census 2 more children are now listed all unmarried the youngest age 6.  I have been able to trace all 8 so far, marriages, births, deaths. 

Although I have 3 free Ontario sites bookmarked I can’t seem to pull up the actual census images.. but not to fear I have a dear friend in Ontario who helps me with research when I get stuck, he is getting me the images.  This certainly is what makes Genealogy so worthwhile.

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