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.

Town Historians

This past month I have had a wonderful and successful research experience. While researching using NEHGS’s website, I came upon a probate record for a Chase ancestor, Isaac Chase, which listed all of his living children and 3 grandchildren. Low and behold  a daughter and 2 of the grandchildren were Pembleton’s on my maternal side. The daughter was Lucy, my 4th g grandfathers second wife who my cousin (now deceased) and I had been hunting for years. Who were her parents? Was she born in MA or CT. We had census records, her pension from my g grandfather, who her first husband was, then the research went cold. Who was she? She raised the 2 grandchildren after the death of their parents, why were they named in her fathers will? I proceeded to research feverishly and add Lucy’s family to my tree. They were all in Otsego County New York, and had been since 1805. Isaac was born in Windham Co. CT. His father Benjamin was born, not far from me, in Swansea, MA. but settled in Windham Co. CT. This branch of the Chases were Quakers.

Then of course I hit a brick wall…… I found the e-mail address of the town of Hartwick’s historian and e-mailed her. She wrote back to me that she did not have much on the Pembleton’s but did have lots of stuff on the Chase’s and connected families. This wonderful lady, Carol Goodrich,  sent me 2 huge packets of records and such on this family, I in return sent her a huge packet on my Pembleton’s. Included in her packets were all of the cemeteries in Otsego County along with a huge map of the cemeteries, it covers half of my kitchen table, included was a separate list of all of the Rev War veterans, when and where some of them were born, when they died and which cemetery they were buried in. Hartwick was called Chase back in the day and there still is a section in Hartwick called Chaseville.

Then I turned to Lucy’s mother, Jerusha (Bennett) Chase, her birth date and death date were listed in the records but on researching her, she was not Jerusha Bennett, but Jerusha Flint, born in Reading, MA. Where the Bennett name came from no one knows, but the error was on the county website and in find-a-grave. Jerusha and Isaac are buried in the same cemetery where my Pembleton’s are. Needing more confirmation, I went to rootsweb, found a researcher on the Flint family and e-mailed him, we have been in constant contact since as well as Carol Goodrich. Peter Flint. Peter sent me an e-read book on the Flint family,  which I treasure. Again, using americanancestors, I was able to verify the information. Peter also had information on the Chase family.

I discovered, with the help of these great people, the maiden name of my great grand Uncle’s wife. We knew she was Sarah, but not her maiden name, She was Sarah Chase, daughter of Isaac and sister to Lucy. Sarah was married to Jabez (called Jabish) Pembleton, namesake of my 4th g grandfather. Sarah and Jabish both died in April 1829 leaving behind 2 infants, one only a year old. Isaac’s will dated 31 Jan 1845 and probated 5 May 1846 can be found on What a wealth of information I have found there, including the probate of Lucy’s first husband Abihu Mack. He died intestate, Lucy was named Executrix, Isaac Chase administrator. Jabish died intestate and Administrators of his estate were Jabez Pembleton and Isaac Chase. By the way, Lucy married Jabez 20 December 1829. Jabez died 10 Sep 1841. Lucy died 26 Apr 1878, it took Lucy 20 years to receive his pension.

What has this research cost me? $2.79 postage for the packet I mailed to Carol.

Researching Italian Ancestors

One of our Club members Peter Barbella has done a lot of Italian Research, and recently  had the good fortune of traveling to Italy to do research. You might like to follow his blog about the trip.

I have twisted his arm and sometime in 2015 he will come to our meeting and give a lecture on researching Italian Genealogy.

He also has a website which when you are on our home page if you scroll down you will find a link to his website. It is a terrific website. Peter has written a book which can be purchased on

The House on Davis Street

This story will be a bit embellished and meant to be humorous.

Every Christmas when I was a child our family gathered at the house on Davis Street. It was the home of my Aunt Win and Uncle Jim Cafferty. The Underwoods, Coverts, Nagels, Folmsbees and their offspring. Uncle Jim with his cigar and shouts of “come in, come in” and Aunt Lizzie greeting us kids with hugs and kisses, how we loved and adored her.  My sister and I carrying  our new Christmas dolls, she always had the one dressed in pink, mine was dressed in blue (I always wanted the pink one).  This house was a noisy and happy place with the big Christmas tree with it’s large lights, the kind usually used for outdoors, and beautiful ornaments.

The dining room had an upright piano which us kids gathered ’round and sang Christmas Carols as loudly as we could. A huge buffet covered with all kinds of food and goodies with real china, no paper plates, no dishwasher either. Card tables were soon set up and the adults, the woman included, would start playing pinochle, poker or canasta. The games were not quiet as the men all seemed to slap down their cards loudly. Us children learned all of these games and monopoly on the dining room table.

My cousin Jim Jr. would disappear upstairs somewhere and bring down this dreaded “thing” the “fox fur” a thing woman wore around their shoulders. He would chase us girls around the house with that fox, us screaming and squealing the whole time until either Auntie Win and Aunt Lizzie would make him stop. One of the boys would always get a nose bleed, they would be put in a chair upside down with their head hanging off and a washcloth with ice on their nose and Auntie Win in a high pitched panic until Uncle Jim would say “now Winifred”. But no one ever bled to death.

I remember Aunt Maude with her beautiful white hair, Aunt Helen who was very elegant and had a grand piano in her home and was an excellent pianist, My only living grandparent, my grandpa, with his white hair and a curl on the top of his head from his forehead back. My own children as babies wore that curl, boys and girls. Aunt Laurel and Uncle Harry who had a wired haired terrier name Percy and Uncle Harry’s Mercury convertible.

The night would end at what hour I don’t recall, sometimes we would be carried out to the car in our sleep and as we got older we had to walk ourselves half asleep and surely asleep by the time we got home. Yes, I remember well that house on Davis Street and the happy Christmas’s we spent there with our large family.

Tell me Bout The Good Old Days

We inherit from our ancestors gifts so often taken for granted.  Each of us contains within us this inheritance of soul. We are links between the ages containing past and present expectations, sacred memories and future promises.  by Edward Sellner

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