I’m getting ready for a trip to southwestern Ohio with my sister, who is a reliable cemetery

Ready to go!

sidekick. We’ve been traveling together occasionally for a lo-ong time. It is appropriate that I post this today, the day after Father’s Day in the US, since it is my father’s side of the family that we will be researching (and meeting). There are several cousins who I have met briefly but whom my sister has not. I am already connected and making plans with two of these. And I’m hoping for the 3d, although I think he has had significant health problems and may not be up for company.

My sister and I met for lunch on Friday to talk and catch up and make some plans. Long-distance (she lives in northern New Hampshire and I live in Massachusetts) we have put together the basics to get ourselves there and have a car and a place to lay our heads. But we needed to touch base in person and pin down details. I also needed to start refreshing her knowledge of these family lines, since we have only traveled to places for my mother’s lines in the last few years.

Here’s the plan, in a nutshell. There are several cemeteries I want to check out personally and try to get pictures of family headstones in. There are also 3 houses that my father lived in at different times in his

House at Saltair, from Carrie B. Salt’s scrapbook

life, that I want to see – if they are still there. The house he was born in, in Saltair Ohio, I know is still there. The owner just recently sold it. This is what it looked like when he was born there.

And there are the cousins to see, on both the Salt and Boothby sides. Not closer than a second cousin, but family! Interesting to me that my father never spoke of any Boothby relatives except maybe his grandmother who he lived with off and on. I don’t really know if he knew any of his Boothby cousins or uncles, although at least one uncle and his family must have lived close-by. I start to wonder if that was his mother’s doing, or his relatives on the Salt side.

Besides seeing the houses my father probably lived in, I really want to do some cemetery-walking and see the headstones for the family. I know there are at least two very old cemeteries and at least one more recent that contain a number of the Salt family members. I don’t have a proper “cemetery exploring kit” to take on the plane with me but am putting together my list of names and locations as well as the list of equipment to have along.

The equipment grows every year, in my experience. Let’s see, I need my cell phone and bluetooth earpiece and the charger for that. I need my trusty pocket-size digital camera and the extra battery, and probably should take the charger for those batteries. I have had bad experiences in the past with this camera and batteries when I wasn’t prepared to change batteries! And although my sister will also undoubtedly have her camera, I hate to

Partial pile of equipment to take

have to rely on hers. And then the question of binoculars – do I need to take them or not? (At least they don’t require a charger.) And my handy-dandy digital recorder. I might think about talking into it at the cemeteries as an additional way to have information captured. And the cousins might agree to tell me stories. The recorder at least will operate on a single non-rechargeable battery. I think that is all the equipment I will need. Oh wait, not for the cemetery, but for traveling I will want my eReader. And its charger should probably come along too. And of course I need to take my netbook computer along. I don’t yet have an iPad, although both Judy and my husband are working hard to convince me that I need one. The picture doesn’t show either my netbook or my cell phone (which I used to take the picture), or the binoculars that I am debating with myself about. I think I might need a separate suitcase for all of this equipment.

This doesn’t include the other things I need to take, like clothes and a toothbrush and a book or two (I like to read real books as well as ebooks). And sunscreen. And…

Becket MA churchThis quintessential New England church is the First Congregational Church in Becket Massachusetts.  I think that it was built around 1850 as a replacement for the older church that had originally served this village.  There is a small plaque on the side, from the Becket Historical Commission that is dated 1850.  The cemetery behind the church, the Becket Center Cemetery,  is one of the oldest cemeteries in the village and has a number of Snows (my family), which is why I wanted to visit it.  So on a recent Sunday afternoon I set out toward western Massachusetts, with the goal of my friend’s house as an over-night stopping point.  Judy came up from southern Connecticut, so the three of us could go exploring the next day.  Luckily for me, both of them are interested in rambling through old cemeteries, whether they have family buried there or not – Judy because of her genealogical interest and Ann just because.  We all like reading the old stones.  Ann is also a photographer, and it was a good thing she was there.  Once again I had trouble with my camera’s battery running out in the middle of my picture-taking, even though it started out indicating a full charge.

I did find a number of Snow (and Wadsworth) headstones, some of which I know are relations and others which will require me to do more research.  Very satisfactory outcome!

This cemetery also has the distinction of having the best marker, from a genealogical perspective, that I have yet seen.  When we found it, we all stood in awe as we read the lines that detailed the family line of Origen Augustus Perkins back 5 generations, to the Perkins ancestorOrigen Augustus Perkins headstone who came to this country in 1631.  Read it and weep.

So what is my family connection?  Nearby were two stones, one for Augustus M. Perkins and one for Ruth Susan Snow wife of Augustus M. Perkins.  But I did not know offhand what relation Ruth Susan Snow would be.  I knew she would be a collateral line but didn’t know which one or how far back the connection would be.  And there was no indication of Augustus M’s relationship to Origen.

A little research once I returned home and had time to focus on the question shows that in all likelihood Augustus M. was a son of Origen’s.  Ruth Susan (or Susannah) was likely the daughter of Sylvanus Snow who was a brother of my Samuel Snow.

And I finally learned my lesson:  I immediately went and bought 2 new batteries for my camera.

The middle of the fourth week in June, after school let out, my sister and I headed to the northeastern corner of Connecticut on a short vacation and genealogy trip.  I am the genealogist in our family, but my sister is willing to be dragged along, and even listens for awhile to my descriptions of the family line I’m working on and what my questions are.  And because she is a botanist, she is willing to tramp through old cemeteries.

For this trip I was focused on the Snow family line, one of my maternal grandmother’s lines.  Our branch of the Snows is first found, in this country, in Woburn, Massachusetts, by 1639.  As I was researching this family online, reading a copy of a manuscript compiled by my great-uncle, and trying to figure out what sources I have for the information, I got curious about the migration of our family from Woburn to Ashford, Connecticut in about 1724, from there to Becket, Massachusetts, about 1770, and finally to north-central Ohio, about 1809.  Why did they pick up everything and make these moves?  When I looked at a map and saw that Ashford, Connecticut is fairly close to where I live, I decided it would make a perfect “sisters-on-the-road” destination.  And the fact that there is a Snow Cemetery in Ashford sealed the deal.

When we got to Ashford and found the Town Hall, I knew this had been a good idea.  Although I also quickly discovered that I wasn’t as prepared as I had thought.  I had brought paper copies of the necessary family group sheets, but these did not include the sources for my information.  I had also brought a laptop computer and a USB drive with my genealogy program and data; the trouble was that the computer was back in our motel room.  Why I didn’t think I needed the computer at Town Hall is a mystery.  So I may have duplicated some of the sources I already had.

Because we were in Connecticut, the town had been indexed by Barbour, and Town Hall had a copy of this index.  The Barbour Collection of Connecticut Town Vital Records is a wonderful resource for early information (to about 1850, similar to the Massachusetts Vital Records by town).  It is available at the Connecticut State Library in Hartford, and other genealogical collections in libraries often have the books for some of the towns.  It is also now available online in at least one place, Ancestry.com.  The NEHGS site,  NewEnglandAncestors.org,  also has some good databases on Connecticut.  And the original records used for Barbour Collection have been microfilmed and are reportedly available at the Connecticut State Library or from the Family History Library.

What you need to travel to the Town Hall for is the original land records.  I was thrilled to find that a couple of the earliest books (Vol. E 1718-1748 and Vol F 1724-1732) included the records showing my two Snow ancestors purchase of land, the 10th day of March 1723/4, while they still were residents of Woburn.  These books have been well-bound with archival materials to protect the original pages, and are available for study and copying.  They are indexed by grantor and grantee, which I had to learn again, so you can find the one in which you are interested.  From the index you can also see the progression of purchases and sales by date.  Here is one page.  I left this picture bigger so that you can actually see the words and how clear this copy is.  One of these days I will have transcribed the three documents I brought home, I vow!

Because of time constraints ,the hours Town Hall is open and the few days we had to spend there, I didn’t get everything I would have liked to.  There are still deeds to look at and questions to ask.  I may have to return!

I still don’t know why my Snow family bought land and moved to Ashford.  I have a suspicion that the man they purchased the first land from was also from Woburn and therefore probably known to them.  There is a Joshua Kendall shown in Woburn records of about the right time.  I have no idea, yet, why he went to Ashford or why the Snows followed.  This is what keeps me searching, there is always one more fact to discover and one more family question to answer.