Thursday, February 13, 2020

I have been learning how to create an eBook in preparation for my On Demand Publishing class. As a result i have created my first eBook based on my hardcopy edition- Let Go To Listen- Cape Cod Ruminations. This book comprises my memories and ruminations from childhood visits to Cape Cod and study of family history. You can get your copy of the eBook from Smashwords!


Friday, January 3, 2020

I have been studying our Revolutionary War ancestors. Even though a fellow's whole contribution was to march on Alarm from Yarmouth to Dartmouth for 3 days we must consider that he probably spent a lot of time drilling with the local militia! Here is my second cousin- Noah Sears- Noah Sears was born on 11 Apr 1751 in Yarmouth, Barnstable, Massachusetts[i],[ii],[iii] as the seventh child of Elisha Sears and Sarah Vincent. He had six siblings, namely: Samuel, Bethiah, Elisha, John, Enoch, and Constant. He died on 23 Sep 1835. When he was 42, he entered marriage intentions 8 Feb 1794[iv][v] with Desire Merrill and married Desire Merrill on 17 Feb 1794[vi],[vii] in Yarmouth, Barnstable, Massachusetts, USA by Rev. Nathan Stone. Desire was admitted to the Dennis Church, 14 Sep 1794[viii]; He was in Lieut. Micajah Sears' company, and served 3 days, alarm at Dartmouth, 6 Sep 1778[ix],[x],[xi] Noah is second cousin of Micajah- with grt-grandfather Paul Sears and Deborah Willard as their common ancestor.

Noah appears as grantor or grantee in seven deeds recorded at the Barnstable county courthouse. In his time the border between the towns of Dennis (inc. 1794 from part of Yarmouth) and Brewster (inc. 1803 the north part of Harwich) was walked every year by the selectmen of both towns to formally establish the boundaries but vital records and deeds of citizens of the area could be recorded in records of either town. They seemed to claim residence in whichever town provided the best advantage. In one case Noah sells property which is partly in both towns. The villages where Noah lived and worked are referred to as East Dennis and West Brewster. The Barnstable County Courthouse burned 22 Oct 1827 destroying 93 folios of deeds recorded since the county formed in 1685. The selectmen of the towns were charged with going door to door to re-file property deeds. It is possible Noah was part of many transactions which were never re-filed.

The Dennis Historical Society has original records of monetary notes held by Noah in which he loaned neighbors money and received interest. In 1812 he was owed by Widow Nickerson's estate $50 plus $13.12 interest. In another deed on 22 Jan 1830 when he is 79 years old he buys saltworks from Isaiah Crowell on Quivet Neck, Dennis. The saltworks were in development on Cape Cod during and after the revolutionary war operated into the 1860s. In 1831 there were 764,280 feet of saltworks. That number tripled in the next ten years. Quivet Neck was uniquely situated to take advantage of the tides and wind to manufacture salt by evaporation. So it appears Noah was quite an industrious realtor, banker and salt manufacturer.

Noah Sears was buried in Ancient Sears Cemetery, West Brewster, Brewster, Barnstable, Massachusetts, USA (#45). “In Memory of Mr NOAH SEARS who died Sep 23, 1835 in the 85th year of his age next to his wife Desire who died Sept 1, 1828 In the 62 Year of her age.


[i]Dennis Vital Records- Vol I, p. 5 [Book of Records for the Town of Dennis. Begun in the year 1794 page 6 original record] Elisha and Sarah Sears of Yarmouth – Noah Sears born 11 of April 1751

[ii]Dennis Vital Records- Vol I, p. 117 [Borths and Deaths Early 1700s to Date: Part I page 1 original record Elisha Sears and his wife Sarah. A record of their children – Noah Sears born April 11 1751

[iii] May, Samuel. The Descendants of Richard Sares (Sears) of Yarmouth, Mass., 1638-1888, [] (Joel Munsell's Sons, 1890) p. 152, No. 232

[iv] May, Samuel. The Descendants of Richard Sares (Sears) of Yarmouth, Mass., 1638-1888, [] (Joel Munsell's Sons, 1890) p. 152, No. 232

[v]Yarmouth Vital Records-Book 4, p. 118 ent int Feb 8th 1794

[vi]Dennis Vital Records- Vol I, p. 61 [page 120 of original record] Returns of marriage made to me by the Revd Nathan Stone for the years 1794- Feb. 27. 1794 Noah Sears and Desire Merrill

[vii] May, Samuel. The Descendants of Richard Sares (Sears) of Yarmouth, Mass., 1638-1888, [] (Joel Munsell's Sons, 1890) p. 152, No. 232

[viii] May, Samuel. The Descendants of Richard Sares (Sears) of Yarmouth, Mass., 1638-1888, [] (Joel Munsell's Sons, 1890) p. 152, No. 232

[ix] May, Samuel. p. 153He was in Lieut. Micajah Sears' company, and served 3 days, alarm at Dartmouth, 6 Sep 1778

[x] Massachusetts, Revolutionary War, Index Cards to Muster Rolls, 1775-1783- Sea Cost Defence Muster Rolls, Vol. 35, page 237 []

[xi] United States Rosters of Revolutionary War Soldiers and Sailors, 1775-1783, p. 954 [] 3 days, Capt Micah Chapman’s Co Col Freeman’s Regt See more genealogy blogs at: []

Friday, March 29, 2019

Crowell Family Photo

This is a "Crowell" family portrait from Cape Cod- Dennis Historical Society- but you can see there are many Sears who are part of this family!

 Top row L to R: Edwin Dillingham Crowell, Louisa Maria (Sears) Crowell;
 :2nd row, L to R: Prince Sears Crowell, Polly Dillingham (Foster) Crowell, Minerva (Handren) Sears;
 :3rd row, L to R: Persis Sears Crowell, Polly Dillingham Foster, Joshua Sears;
 :4th row, L to R: David Sears, Nathan Foster, Polly Seabury (Sears) Foster.

So I made a sketch (below the photo) of who i think each person in the photo is with birth and deaths adn the relationships among these folks. I think Polly Dillingham Foster appears twice in the center of the portraits- once younger, once older?

Sunday, January 13, 2019

Barnabas Sears, Jr - 1818-1894

The History of Barnstable County is online at the "Web Archive" aka The Wayback Machine - and there is a neat sketch of the home of Barnabas Sears, Jr, (1818-1894) son of Barnabas and Hannah (Crocker) Sears.
I had the chance to visit the Bass River Baptist Church's cemetery (9 Feb 2007) and photograph a number of the Sears tombstones there. Barnabas is buried there even though he was once member of Middleboro Cong, Church? His 3rd wife- Susan H Crosby's- tombstone is the same design so maybe she was Baptist?
-Hist of Barnst Co, p. 500- Town of Yarmouth - In 1854 John K. and Barnabas Sears built a steam planing mill on the north side of the street, where they resided. They added machinery for grinding, all of which was a convenience to a large community. This was continued until 1865, when the importation of dressed lumber, instead of the rough stock, rendered the business unprofitable, and four years later the building was removed to Hyannis.p 501 Barnabas Sears."This citizen of South Yarmouth was born September 13, 1818. He is the second son of Barnabas Sears, deceased, with whose genealogy the reader of the preceding pages is familiar. Unlike most lads of the Cape, Barnabas turned his mind to mechanics instead of the sea. After such educational advantages as his own village afforded he went to Nantucket at the age of seventeen as an apprentice to the carpenter trade, and there for a short time he attended an evening school. At the age of twenty-one he returned to South Yarmouth, but was induced to spend the subsequent season on the island before he made a permanent residence in his native place. With his brother, John K., he engaged in the building and planing mill business as has been mentioned in the village histories of South Yarmouth and Hyannis. In the fall of 1873 he, with his older brother, as J. K. & B. Sears, established a lumber yard at Middleboro, where Barnabas removed, remaining there until 1887, when he returned, leaving the business with his youngest son, Henry W. Sears, who continues it. Mr. Sears has been three times married; first to Ruth H. Crowell, daughter of Rev. Simeon Crowell, whose portrait appears at page 492. They had four children, three of whom died in infancy, Simeon C, then the only survivor of his mother's branch of an illustrious family, met an untimely death on board the ship Fleetwing, off Cape Horn. He was only sixteen when, against the wishes of his parents, he made his first voyage with Captain David Kelley, and during a snow storm fell from the main yard. Twelve days after his fall his body was consigned to the waters of the Pacific. By his death, that branch of the Crowell family has become extinct. The wife and mother died October 13, 1850. Mr. Sears' second marriage was in October, 1852, to Deborah M., daughter of Captain William and Lydia Clark, of Brewster. She died April 22, 1885, leaving three children: Isaiah C, who was born in 1853 and married Sarah P., daughter of Timothy Crocker; Henry W., who was born in 1869, and married Martha, daughter of James and Lucy Pickens, of Middleboro; and Etta Frances Sears, born 1866. The present Mrs. Barnabas Sears, to whom he was married May 2, 1886, was Sarah H., daughter of Hatsel and Jerusha Crosby, and widow of Edwin F. Doane. She has one son, Walter H. Doane. Mr. Sears has persistently declined to hold office, prefering the social relations of life to the strife of party. He is a republican politically, with a strong tendency to promote the cause of temperance wherever an opportunity is presented. He has been earnest and forward in that cause as well as in every other good work. He is a member of the Middleboro Congregational church, but earnestly supports the religious societies of his village. In 1849 he erected his present fine residence, the subject of the accompanying illustration, where he is passing the twilight of his well-spent days in the quiet enjoyment of the association of brothers and sisters and in the full confidence of the entire community.

Saturday, November 24, 2018

Well you can see i don't blog regularly but i do have a lot of irons in the fire. I recently plotted all the tombstones in the Quivet Neck Cemetery that are listed in Dennis Inscriptions. I know there have been many burials since then that i need to catch up on.

More interesting i was listening to a book- Kismet- based in England and they talked about Yar people. That got me to thinking.  Yarmouth is the town at the mouth of the Yar river in East Anglia.  Yar people must be people that live by/off the Yar river?

So we are descended from our own Yar people!  There are also other Yar people- Tai Yar people; The Madjars or Madi-yar people are a Turkic ethnic group in Kazakhstanand  those killed in Babyn Yar — people of various nationalities, prisoners of war, Ukrainian patriots.

Sunday, February 18, 2018

#52Ancestors Favorite Name (Week #6) - Hephsabah

Hephsabah is one of my favorite names.  Hephzibah is a figure in the Book of Kings in the Bible. She was the wife of Hezekiah, King of Judah, and the mother of Manasseh. If you want to send someone on a wild goose chase- Have them look up Hezekiah 5:3 in the Bible.  (there is no such book- Hezekiah was a king rather than a prophet).  My Grt4-Grandmother Hephsabah Bassett was known as Happy Bassett.  Maybe the name is just too difficult to pronounce or too formal but when I hear Grandma Happy Sears, it makes me smile. One of my other ancestors Hepsibah "Hepsy" (Hill) Sears, is wife of my third cousin Rowland Sears and I believe you will find the name is fairly common in the late 1700s and early 1800s.  Happy is not currently on the list of popular names for babies but maybe it will make a comeback someday.  Her birth record shows that her parents named her "Happy" which must have been understood as a nickname for Hephsabah.

We don't know a lot about Grandma Happy b. 1743 but her marriage record is spelled with the more formal Hephsabah.

We had once recorded that she died 1769 but then she could not have had all the children attributed to her and Smalley so I removed that death date.  I'm not sure where that date came from. As you know it is difficult to figure out later the source of your information so keep good notes on your sources. Notes in the Sons of the American Revolution application that used Smalle Phillips as a Patriot say that the county records burned in 1812 and the Harwich records were not well kept.  The 1790, 1800 and 1810 census indicate a Smalle Phillips was alive at that time. It seems that Happy is still alive in 1810 by the count of people in the household.

By the birth of her children she is recorded as Hapsay so the name seems to have numerous shortcuts and pronunciations.  Just something that makes her more intriguing.

In any case- Happy, Hepsy, Hephsabah will always be foremost in my mind when it comes to names that stand out in our family history.

Thursday, February 8, 2018

#52 Ancestors 1880 Census Dennis, Cape Cod, Mass. (Week 5)

My sister and I have a hypothesis that there is a high degree of consanguinity amongst Cape Cod residents in the 1800s. Consanguinity refers to two people having a common ancestor. The more recent the ancestor, the higher degree of consanguinity. We want to prove this idea using the census of the Town of Dennis (Cape Cod) Massachusetts in 1880.  So first we typed in all the names from that census into a spreadsheet.  You can see the sheet here

A quick look shows a list of individuals from #1 to #3292.  But that number is a little bit high. More detailed study shows that the same person was enumerated as #194 and #275 -  Johnathon Howes- listed as a widower and the only member of family #59 and with his daughter and grand-daughter in family #77.  A little later under person #959 we see Allen Frank listed. But the enumerator got his name backwards.  He is really Franklin L. Allen and is counted again as #1270 son of James Allen. Emily B Small #984 is the same person as  #1076 where she is daughter of Alvin Small.  #1161 Ferdinand Williams Baker is duplicated as is his brother #1162. James Roderick Baker #1805 (listed as James K Baker) so you can see that census details are not always dependable.  We did a lot of work to try to include people’s full names in our census spreadsheet.  George M Whelden and brother William Magnum Whelden are also counted twice as #1204&2606, #1332 & 1673. George Biron Nickerson is duplicated as is his wife Sarah Swift (Whelden) Nickerson #1333.  You will notice we have included Sarah’s maiden name.  The information about maiden names is not in the census and must be derived at great effort by the genealogist. Their daughter Anna M Nickerson is also duplicated as #1334. Ruthie P (Overton) Kelley #1273 is also enumerated as #1378.  The three members of the Van Buren Chase family are counted twice #2217. Amos and Lydia (Crowell) Crowell are #1650, 1651 and #1900, 1901. 
In addition to duplication, the census taker often took liberty with spelling. The name Howes was often spelled House.  Kelley spelled as Kelly. Harward spelled as Howard.  Bearse as Birs. Patterson as Peterson. Joy as Jorg. Eldredge as Eldrey. Long as Lang. Barstow and Barston. Small as Smalley.  Then there is Edward B Phillips who is enumerated as Phillip Edward, family name and given name were swapped.  Whittemore was recorded as Whitman. Megathlen as Nigathline. William Alister is listed as Alister William.

My sister and I entered all these people into an Ancestry tree ( and then we started tracking down their ancestors.  We had already collected a lot of this ancestral information because of our work on the Sears family which is heavily concentrated in Dennis.  Then we wrote a computer program to compare each person in the 1880 Dennis census with every other person in the census to see if they had a common ancestor- i.e. they were cousins.  Remarkable!  So for example, my great-grandfather Elkanah Howes Sears is a cousin to 1,367 people (over 40% of those in town are his cousins!) The "most related" person at our current analyis is Mercy Baker - a baby when the census taker stopped by- daughter of Wilbur Cornelius Baker (1856-1898) and Mercy Ella Baker(1857-?) [yes Mercy Ella was also a Baker] who is related to 2,355 townfolks - 71% - Has little Mercy got a few cousins or what?

We have a map of the residences of people in town in the 1880s and one point of interest is that the enumerator did not collect the information house by house, street by street. The order of the people in the census is not the same as the order of their houses on the street.  He often skipped houses, maybe to come back later.  Or maybe he just wrote down the information from memory to save a lot of walking around town?

All this goes to show a great deal of information can be gleaned from the census not just from neighbors close by but from the analysis of the whole town. Enjoy your search of the census!