Saturday, March 15, 2014

Well you can see that i am not much of a blogger.  It's been awhile.  But i got a new scanner and i have many pages of source documents that i would like to make available.  I have become familiar with Mr Samuel Pearce May through my work with the Sears Genealogy and his The Descendants of Richard Sears of Yarmouth, Plymouth colony.

While we have not found many of Mr May's source documents there is one that is quite interesting.  In May's pursuit of the descendants of Richard Sears he transcribed the records of the Yarmouth 2nd Church. Yarmouth had a Congregational church organization.  Until the 1833 dissolution or disestablishment in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts there was no separation of church and state. Massachusetts was the last state to disestablish its church.  Before that, Town and Church were one with merged records and business of town and church being carried out at the same meetings.  Villages were described by their parish or precinct and organized around a church. The First Congregational Church Gathered in 1639 in Yarmouth Port now known as "God's Light on the Hill." - 329 Main Street (Route 6A)| Yarmouth Port, MA 02675

That first church was a little far away from people who lived in the eastern part of Yarmouth so an East Precinct was formed.  Simeon Deyo on page 514 of his History of Barnstable County says- "The records of the old town of Yarmouth were burned in 1677, and this fact assures a meagre account, not only of Yarmouth, but of Dennis, for the first forty years—years of the most importance in their early history. That its settlement was contemporaneous with that of Sandwich and Barnstable there is no doubt. The old town was in part that Mattacheese to which the Puritans came in 1638-9, and only a few years elapsed before the entire territory—part of which is now included in Dennis—was settled, although perhaps but sparsely. Like Sandwich the division commenced in the church—by establishing another parish. In 1721, as will be seen by the church history, the East parish of Yarmouth was organized, and this was the initiative to the organization of the new town of Dennis on the 19th of June, 1793, being the eleventh town in the country, in date."

From the website of the Dennis Union Church Highlights of Dennis Union Church’s history:
  • The church was formed in 1722 or 1723, based on a recommendation by members of The East Precinct Church of Yarmouth to build a second location closer to where most members lived.
  • Rev. Josiah Dennis, a young graduate of Harvard College in 1725, was called to serve the new parish, assuming his position in 1727. He served 36 years, until his death in 1763.
  • Rev. Nathan Stone was called to succeed Rev. Dennis and served 40 years, from 1764 until his death in 1804.
  • Rev. Caleb Holmes, 1805 to 1813…maybe highlight how many pastors since then, rather than a list
  • The current DUC structure was built in 1838, following a split…
  • Anna Howard Shaw history?

Samuel P. May transcribed records from this second church- and here they are in his handwriting.

Partial Transcript
Page 1-25
Page 26-51
Page 51-75
Page 76-88

Saturday, May 5, 2012

We just wrapped the Spring edition of The Journal of the Cape Cod Genealogical Society.  What a great new publication if I do say so myself.  See the CCGS blog link at the top right of this blog.  Also I just discovered cousin Chris Chirokas's blog and made a link to that  "Massachusetts and More."

I have really wanted to get into this blogging thing but wonder if I have enough to blog about.  My sister Pamela Sears Cooper and I are working on a project to prove that everyone living in the town of Dennis, Cape Cod in 1880 (based on the census of that year) is related to everyone else.

Check out the current status of the piece at    There is a spreadsheet there that shows everyone living in 1880 and who their ancestors were.  As we flesh out the ancestors we find how many are cousins.  But Olive A Shiverick  (of the famed Shiverick Shipyard family) has relationships with 156 other people in town.   1,186 cousin relationships and growing as we figure out everyone's ancestors.

There is a neat paper on the subject from Florida Atlantic University professor Fred Richman on consanguinity - the cousin factor.  I have written about the subject here before.    Check out his article and help me understand it- i need to calculate   beta!

Friday, November 26, 2010

I photographed all the tombstones (abt 270) in the Quaker (Friends) Cemetery in South Yarmouth. They are being transcribed at:

To see hi-res images of these photos just check out

Let me know if you make any connections.


Sunday, January 17, 2010

Cape Cod Gazetteer

I have been collecting place names and other gazetteer information for Cape Cod and Barnstable county for many years.

Here is a sampling of the letters A-B.

It is interesting how many duplications there are. Were the folks just not very imaginative when it came to naming places or were they honoring the name by using it more than once.
There are four David Baker houses -
1) Upper County Rd, Dennis
2) 3118 Main St, Barnstable
3) Main St, Dennis
4) Bound Brook Island, Wellfleet

Francis Baker has a house in Brewster and one in Falmouth.

Just wait til I take a look at some of the ponds! How many Long Ponds are there on Cape Cod anyway?

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Boston Tea Party

With the recent Tea Parties being held around the country to protest government spending (and resulting taxation) I am reminded of the Cape Cod folks that participated in the Boston Tea Party on Dec 16, 1773. My Great4-Grandfather Capt Edmund Sears (1712-1796) was listed as a member of the colonists who threw boxes of tea into Boston Harbor. He was definitely for independence and all four of his sons served in the war supporting the patriots from Yarmouth. Tea smuggling was big business in the middle 1700s.

Upon Edmund's return to the Cape soon after the Tea Party, (as a sea captain he had been long absent from home), on entering the house he went straight to the "bowfat," and without saying a word to any one, seized the teapot and caddy, and threw them into the garden with a crash.His astonished wife whispered to the children, "your poor father has come home crazy."He then proclaimed that from theat time henceforth none of his family were to drink tea, or wear upon their persons any articles of British manufacture.

Sorry Grandpa but I guess I am violating family tradition by becoming an avid tea drinker. Maybe he would excuse this since we won the war and later Cape Cod family fortunes and the shipping industry of the 19th century depended on Clipper ships racing from Boston and New York to China to bring home the latest tea harvest.

My current cuppa is from a box of twenty different flavors I received for Christmas labeled Boston Tea Party tea from the Boston Tea Company, established 1949. The English Breakfast variety is very delicious and the only thing puzzling me now is that the back of the box says
Boston Tea Company
Hackensack, NJ

"Some like pictures of women and some likes 'orses best,
But I like pictures of ships, by Gum, and you can keep the rest,
And I don't care if it's North or South, the Trades or the China Sea,
Shortened down or everything set, close-hauled or running free;
But paint me a ship as is like a ship and that'll do for me."

Enjoy a cuppa tea soon!

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Consanguinity - The Cousin Factor

I have posted about connections among cousins before. I believe there is a high degree of consanguinity amongst Cape Cod residents up to about 1880. Cousins marrying cousins was a necessity or at least a common occurance in isolated communities like those on the Cape.

My PAF database has most of the descendants of Richard Sears of Cape Cod and many of those of Thomas Howes. By adding to this collection from the Cape Cod Library of Local History and Genealogy series, the Nickerson Family genealogies, Burgess family, et al I believe I can study these relationships more closely.

From PAF I can export the family number of each individual and whether they are a spouse in another family.

Then I can create a database table of each person in the database and all of their descendants.

Finally I can then count the number of common ancestors shared by each pair of individuals in the database and calculate the distance to the ancestor. For example if the distance to the common ancestor is 2 the ancestor is a grandparent(the two people are first cousins). If the distance to the common ancestor is 1 then the ancestor is a parent (the two people are siblings).

I will generate some preliminary results based on Sears and Howes in my current database and let you know what they look like. I know of many second, third and fourth cousins in these two families that intermarried.

Thursday, December 31, 2009

I've been keeping up with the rowing and completed over 600,000 meters since June. At this rate I could row 600 miles in 2010 if I combine "on the machine" and "on the water" rowing totals!

I have been using my Christmas break to work on the sketch of the Sears Family Tree. I have only been able to include descendants of Richard Sears with the surname Sears so women tend to lose out when they get married. In my database though, I carry any and all descendants of Richard.

Happy New Year and Merry Christmas. Blessings for the new year as we start this decade. Where did the "naughties" go?