Archive for the ‘Thompson’ Category

Headstones and Graves

Thursday, January 5th, 2012

Recently I joined, a web site dedicated to cemeteries and the people who inhabit them.

It started with a google search for David Thompson, an ancestor and soldier of teh revolution; my current brick wall. The search brought up a historical cemetery in Belknap, NH. FindAGrave lets you request photos of grave sites, and volunteers take photos and post them.

I put in a request, and within 3 days I had this!

Volunteers being the generous people they are, I also got a photo of his wife’s grave!

There are many things one can learn from a burial, including dates, names, and who is buried near by.

I have since volunteered, and have myself contributed half a dozen photos for people. Sometimes its for genealogical purposes, but its just as often for people who just want to see the gravestones of remote loved ones. On Saturday mornings I stroll through a grassy cemetery looking for names, clearing leaves, untangling chimes, and righting pots. Not a bad way to spend a morning actually.

I have since gotten a couple more requests fulfilled, including one for my mother in law’s father and one for an ancestor, Daniel H Thompson of Marshfield, MA.


Needless to say, I am a fan of FindAGrave

Has Anyone Seen My GG-GF? SUCCESS!!

Tuesday, October 4th, 2011

A couple weeks ago I received a gift. It came in an email from someone I had corresponded with in the past, and whom I now know to be my second cousin, once removed.

From James Hamlin:

Have a couple of leads for you in attached docs. Several years ago I joined the NE historical & genealogical society. They have lots of great info on line. Pretty much all of the info I found either came from on line records or was found based on info I discovered in those records.

James then provided me with detailed information on my GG-GF, Charles H Thompson, son of Daniel Hart Thompson, son of Daniel Page Thompson, son of David Thompson, a revolutionary war veteran! Eureka!

He also had information on Sarah Jane Raymond, Charle’s second wife and another common ancestor, as well as citations (EVIDENCE!) that I was able to confirm on The New England Historical Genealogical Society website, a site I had planned on joining this fall (and hence joined immediately).

Death records, marriage records, and yes, pictures!

My family could not believe my excitement, not having themselves been bit by the tree bug, but I was dancing on the ceiling.

James and I have since been exchanging data and citations to continue our search, and I look forward to taking our common tree well past David Thompson of Guilford, NH.

Charles was a traveling salesman, and a merchant. Sarah Jane was his bookkeeper and then his second wife, but they didn’t marry until age 39. They had two children (one the ancestor of James, the other the ancestor of myself). We both found different newspaper clippings about the Boston fire in 1886 that impacted his business, but conflicting evidence on how seriously. I will post more on that in the future, once I pull together the evidence.

There are many stories to be found in just these 4 ancestors, including the history of the business Charles started, the death of his father, and his own death only 5 years later.

Its not all flattering, but it IS all interesting.

Christmas came early for me this year. Let the research continue!

Has Anyone Seen My GG-GF? Part 3

Thursday, March 3rd, 2011

I was very excited when I got home a few minutes ago to find an envelope from the Secretary of the Commonwealth, Massachusetts Archives. It was the documents I requested:

I am looking for my GGGF, and would like to request 2 death records:

Last Name First Name Town Years
Thompson Charles Boston 1893
Thompson Charles Boston 1897

I settled in with a drink relaxed for a few, then opened the envelope.

The note from the archivist immediately pointed out that the record for Charles Thompson, Boston – year of death 1893, was missing from volume. S/he DID send a copy of the microfilm index held by the Mormon church; I’ll come back to that.

Charles Thompson, Boston – year of death 1897, was a 35 year old laborer who died of pneumonia. Already It looks like the wrong man; add to that he was born in Norway of Norwegian parents, and we have a miss. The Microfilm index reports the same age and year of death.

The microfilm index also indicates that the first Charles Thompson was 55 when he died in Boston in 1893. That still leaves him potential match. The key word here is potential.

That would give him a birth year of circa 1838, not inconsistent with anything else I have found. His wife Sara would have been about 43, a reasonable age difference of 12 years. He would have been 54 when his daughter was born in 1892, again, still reasonable.

But is he my GG-GF? There is no evidence to support or refute that claim. That’s the point I want to make – its all about the evidence. It would be wrong of me to claim he is the man I am looking for. And if this man led me to an entire tree of ancestors, they would be no more or less my ancestors than they were and hour ago. The web is FULL of unsubstantiated claims these days, and I won’t contribute to the noise.

But I do have a clue – so I will find out what I can about Charles Thompson of Boston, who died in 1893 at age 55, in hopes that with the evidence I have I CAN support or refute the assertion that he is my grandfather. And I can hope that when I find him, I will find evidence that will lead me to HIS father and mother, and theirs before him.

The search goes on.

And thank you, archivist from the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, for going the extra mile to give me this clue.

Has Anyone Seen My GG-GF? Part 2

Saturday, February 26th, 2011

It’s been a while, I know.

Well, the search for great great grandpa Thompson goes on.

As previously discussed, I believe Charles H Thompson died before 1900. This based on a Census record listing his wife and children, but not him. I WISH I had data from the 1890 census, but such is life.

Looking at the records site for the state of Massachusetts, I identified two possible death records from the Boston area for a Charles Thompson in the approximate time frame I am looking for. So I wrote to the records office, and requested copies of the records.

I am looking for my GGGF, and would like to request 2 death records:

Last Name First Name Town Years Volume Page Type
Thompson Charles Boston 1893 438 8 Death
Thompson Charles Boston 1897 474 504 Death

And received an initial response:

Thank you, Mr. Thompson. You should receive the photocopies and invoice within the next 4-6 weeks. If there is anything else I can help you with, please let me know.


Jennifer Fauxsmith.
Reference Supervisor/Archivist
Massachusetts Archives
220 Morrissey Blvd.
Boston, MA 02125
617-727-2816 ext.222

I wait patiently and hopefully for the promised records. I am not sure what will be in the records, but I need something to tie him back to Sarah.

Most state records departments are caught in the budget crisis, which is why the long wait, and the need for patience. Hoping for something before March 10th.

I hope I don’t lose the trail…

Has Anyone Seen My GG-GF? Part 1

Friday, June 4th, 2010

When I first started looking into our family tree several years ago, I expected to make great strides in defining the Thompson line. My grandfather was still alive at that time, as were several others of his generation, and the Thompson’s of New England, where I was born, are well documented. Thompson would be the easy branch of the tree.

I was Wrong.