Tuesday, May 21, 2019

Holbrook line: Nahum Holbrook 1781-1844

Maybe I haven't written about Nahum Holbrook before because he's recent.  Well, he lived 200 years ago, not 400 years, so that makes him somewhat recent.  And he feels closer, because his son died in Cook County, Illinois, just maybe 150 miles from here.  Or maybe, just maybe, I had a premonition that he would be a hard man to track.  I've come up with just a few tidbits that will tell us a little bit about his life, and I'm sharing them now in case they will help someone who is also searching for information. 

When Nahum was born to Amariah and Molly Wright Holbrook on April 2, 1781, the American Revolutionary War was still in progress.  Amariah served several short terms of service during the war but it appears he was home for good by the time Nahum was born.  Nahum was one of 9 children, the third oldest.  However, he was still just 16 when his father died in 1797 nut he was apparently not required to have a guardian.  Six of his siblings were so required, and Henry Holbrook was appointed to that job.  Henry, doubtless an uncle or cousin of some sort, may also have informally kept an eye on Nahum.  Nahum's inheritance from his father's small estate amount to twenty one dollars and twenty cents. 

I've not located Nahum in the 1800 census unless he was one of the three males aged 16-25 living with Molly.  On February 3, 1802, when he was 21 years old, he married Susanna Rockwood, who was the 24 year old daughter of Levi and Deborah Lazell Rockwood.  Levi died in 1806 and Deborah the following year, so perhaps there was enough money left from Levi's estate to allow the young Holbrook family to move to the area of Hartford, Washington County, New York.  Several of Amariah and Molly's sons had gone there and stayed for various lengths of time.  Nahum and Susannah stayed.  They were there in the 1810 census, and the 1830 census.  I haven't found them in the 1820 census or the 1840 census, but there is no reason to think they had left.  Perhaps in 1840 they were already living with one or another of their children.  Nahum and Susanna had seven children, some born in Bellingham and some in New York. 

Nahum was a soldier during the War of 1814.  He was a lieutenant in the 121st Regiment of the New York Militia, indicates he probably enlisted late in the war.  He was paid from September 10 to September 25, 1814, which is precisely when the battle of Plattsburgh was fought.  The actual date of the battle was September 11, so we don't know for sure that Nahum was involved, but I'm guessing that this one pay card is not the only one that was submitted; it's apparently the only one that survived.  The following year, he was appointed captain of his unit, and apparently continued in some military capacity because in 1819 he was paid $46 for his work at courts martial in Washington County.  The only other mention I've found of Nahum was in 1821, when he signed a letter asking the US Postmaster to remove the current postmaster, because he was a person of "vicious tendencies" who also didn't do his job, and replace him with another candidate. 

Nahum died January 24, 1844 and Susanna died July 2, 1840.  They are buried at the Old Adamsville Cemetery, Adamsville, Washington County, New York. 

I haven't yet found Nahum's will or estate papers, which would be ever so helpful in figuring out whether he was able to pass on any wealth to his family.  I don't know his occupation.  I don't know his religion, although his parents were strong Baptists. 

This is what I know of Nahum, other than that his son, Joseph, sat out from New York within a few years of his father's death, to go to Cook County, Illinois, where he became a well to do man.  Was Nahum also well to do?  Inquiring minds would like to know!

The line of descent is:

Nahum Holbrook-Susanna Rockwood
Joseph Rockwood Holbrook-Mary Elizabeth Whittemore
Fremont Holbrook-Phoebe Brown
Loren Holbrook-Etta Stanard
Gladys Holbrook-Richard Allen

 


Friday, May 17, 2019

Allen line: Samuel Hitchcock 1717-1777

I was getting frustrated.  Why could I find so little information about Samuel?  He lived in the same town, Springfield, Massachusetts, his whole life.  He is a direct ancestor of Grover Cleveland, President of the United States.  Why was the amount of information about him so limited?  And then-jackpot! I found his estate papers on the American Ancestors website, and it was happy dance time. 

But let's start at the beginning.  Samuel Hitchcock was born June 9, 1717 in Springfield, Massachusetts, the son of Ensign John and Mary Ball Hitchcock.  He was the youngest of their eleven children and may have been just the tiniest bit spoiled, although of course good New Englanders would not have "spoiled" their children.  Since his name is in the records of the First Church (Congregational) of Springfield, we know that he had only two pastors for his entire life.  Daniel Brewer was the pastor when he was born, and Robert Breck not only married Samuel and his wife, Ruth Stebbins, but also buried him.  That's a pretty long record for pastoral longevity and it may be that the church was truly unified during all that time. 

Samuel married just a few days past his 21st birthday, to Ruth Stebbins, daughter of Thomas and Mary Ely Stebbins.  Ruth was either 16 or 17 when she married-records differ as to the year of the wedding, but it was either 1738 or 1739.  The couple quickly settled into married life, and would eventually have twelve children together, all of whom lived to adulthood.  Samuel's father died in 1751, when he received a "French gun" from his father, and Mary died in 1760. 

That's pretty much what we know about Samuel from records I'd found.  I'd begun to think that our Samuel was a "nobody", or rather, one of the ordinary people who live under the radar, without drawing notice either good or bad.  I don't know whether he served in the French and Indian war, although because Springfield is located on the Connecticut river in Western Massachusetts, and because Samuel would have been less than 40 years old when the war started, it would be quite likely that he did serve then.  It's one of my burning questions about Samuel. 

I interrupt this blog post for a history geek moment.  When I started looking at the estate papers, one cool thing is that in May of 1777, appraisers were appointed for the estate, a usual procedure and nothing unusual.  By this time, the colonies were using printed forms, where only the name of the deceased and the names of the appraisers had to be added by hand.  What's neat about this one is that the heading on the paper was printed "Province of Massachusetts".  The justice of the peace had crossed out "Province of" and written "State of" on the form.  This was less than a year after the Declaration of Independence, things were not going well for the colonists, and yet, Massachusetts, considered itself a state.  It gave me a thrill chill to see that written out. 

Samuel died April 22, 1777, after Ruth died in 1775.  He died without a will, so perhaps it was a sudden illness or accident that took hiw life.  The administrators of the estate didn't have an easy time of it.  They had to divide the land that Samuel owned into 13 more or less equal tracts.  Samuel, the oldest son got a double portion, and each of the other children got about 100 acres, although I don't think it was necessarily in nice neat squares.  An added bonus:  My Revolutionary War hero, Richard Falley, and his wife, Margaret Falley, along with several other Hitchcock children signed that they had received their portions.  So I know those two ancestors, at least, were literate.  Each child also received about 77 pounds, with son Samuel receiving a double portion of 154 pounds plus. 

Interesting items in the inventory:  One new beaver hatt, one grey wig, at least two pairs of silver knee buckles, about 15 books, including a Bible and hymnal, at least 20 different tracts of land, more farm animals than the typical "yeoman", although that is how Samuel is referred to in one document, quite a few household furnishings including "2 great chairs and 13 old chairs", 14 pewter plates and other pewterware, one fifth of a cider mill, a weaver's shop, and a lot of tools and farm implements.  Clearly, although a yeoman who apparently didn't make many waves in town, Samuel did make money and was relatively well off in the town.  His estate, before expenses, was valued at about 1300 pounds, and it took four appraisers a total of 17 man days to value everything they found. 

It would be interesting to know what his neighbors thought of Samuel Hitchcock.  Was he well regarded?  Was he a nice man?  Did he do his duty during the French and Indian war?  Did the town perceive him as being rich, or greedy, or generous, or something in between?  Was he a patriot during the earliest years of the Revolution?  (I'll wager he was!)  I've enjoyed getting to know a little bit about Samuel Hitchcock, and would love to know more!

The line of descent is"

Sanuel Hitchcok-Ruth Stebbins
Margaret Hitchcock-Richard Falley
Samuel Falley-Ruth Root
Clarissa Falley-John Havens Starr
Harriet Starr-John Wilson Knott
Edith Knott-Edward Allen
Richard Allen-Gladys Holbrook
Their descendants




Tuesday, May 14, 2019

Holbrook line: James Amos 1721-1805

At first I was excited to realize I could write a blog post (maybe) about James Amos or Amoss.  I had basic information about him, I've written about his father, and I've stood at the grave of his great granddaughter.  I felt a personal connection to this man, who had Quaker ancestors and family, and was part of what was apparently a well respected family in Harford (then it was Baltimore) county, Maryland.  And when I found that he was recognized as a patriot during the Revolutionary War, I thought there must be more to his story. 

There is indeed more.  Some of it is speculation, there is much I don't yet know, and some of it is cold, hard, hurtful facts.  But it's family history and we need to know about it. 

James Amos was born or baptized February 10, 1721 in Baltimore County, Maryland.  He was the son of William and Ann Mauldin Amoss (not sure exactly when the second "s" got dropped.  I am finding it both ways in records).  He married Hannah Clarke, daughter of Robert and Selina Smith Clarke, on January 22, 1739 at St George's Parish in Baltimore County, Maryland.  This would put him slightly under 18 years old, which makes me think the 1721 birth date might actually be a baptismal or christening date, and he may have been a bit older than that.  Hannah was also just slightly younger than 18 years old at the time of the marriage.  Their first child was born about two years later, and they had seven known children together. 

The family actually lived in what is now Harford County, Maryland, not far from the town of Joppa.  Joppa was established as a "port of entry" city on the western side of the Chesapeake Bay.  When it was founded in 1671, there was a good business there.  Ships came to load tobacco and traded needed goods with the farmers there.  It was actually the capital of Baltimore County until 1768, when the port at Joppa silted over and the advantages of Baltimore's port became more obvious.  Fifty years later, there was almost nothing left of Joppa. 

I think the Amos family lived outside of town, on one of the "plantations" that the area supported.  The area was far enough east that it doesn't appear to have suffered during the French and Indian war, although it's possible that our ancestor, or his brothers, may have served in the militia and would have gone to the frontier to protect against violent incursions from the native Americans. This is my speculation only-I haven't found his name on any list as of yet.  Other than that possibility, the Amos family probably just stayed put and raised their crops. 

Of course, raising crops meant raising tobacco, and raising tobacco meant having either indentured servants or slaves, as labor for the crops.  Sure enough, in the 1790 census Janes has 23 slaves and in the 1800 census he has (possibly) 14.  I'm not sure what that column represents in the census but it seems that 14 represents the number of enslaved people.  It may be that his land had become worn out and he was winding down farm operations by the year 1800.  One wonders what happened to the others: were they sold, or did they die natural deaths, or what happened to them? 

I've seen it noted that James Amos took the Oath of Fidelity required by the Colony of Maryland in 1778, which is the basis for his being listed as a patriot by the Daughters of the American Revolution.  I've not seen the actual documentation for this, so I'm just putting it out there as a possibility. 

The next word we have of him, other than that 1790 census, is also from 1790.  Apparently the Amos family had fallen on hard times, because they were behind on their tax payments. James and two of his sons had sheriff's auctions threatened, which is sort of a good thing because we know a little about James's holdings in 1790.  The Maryland Gazette of September 23, 1790 lists the properties in question as : one tract of land called James's Care, containing 135 acres; one other tract of land called Branston Ridge, containing 95 acres; part of one other tract of land called For Hills; one other trace of land called Shaw's Dependence, containing 12; and one other tract of land called Shaw's Privilege, containing 71 acres.  So James had been acquiring land by bits and pieces, apparently, and now he was in a bit of trouble.  Until I can find land records to review, I have no way of knowing whether he saved the land but my guess is that he did. 

For a death date, I've seen everything from April 1, 1797 to sometime in 1805.  I'm still searching for an accurate source to pin down the death date.  If we take the 1797 date as correct, he was 76 years old when he died, which was old age at that time.  Hannah is believed to have died about 1776, and it is possible that he married again, to a Martha Bradford. 

Obviously there is much to learn about James Amos.  There are stories to be told and and questions to be answered/  I would especially like to find his will or otherwise determine what happened to the slaves.  For now, this is what I know about our ancestor, James Amos.

The line of descent is
James Amos-Hannah Clarke
Robert Amos Martha McComas
Robert Amos-Elizabeth Amos (yes, first cousins)
Martha Amos-Peter Black
Elizabeth Black-Isaac Hetrick
Mary Alice Hetrick-Louis Stanard
Etta Stanard-Loren Holbrook
Gladys Holbrook-Richard Allen
Their descendants

Friday, May 10, 2019

Holbrook line: Abraham Foster, Immigrant Son

I wrote earlier about Reginald Foster, Abraham's father, but Abraham deserves a post of his own because he was 16, and almost a man, when he arrived with his father and mother, four brothers and two sisters.  Abraham was born in April of 1622 in Exeter, Devonshire, England, the third child and first son.  It must have been a happy day when he arrived!  Unlike the stories of many of our English ancestors, Abraham didn't grow up in a small village or even a small town.  Exeter was large enough to have its own cathedral, and old enough to trace its roots back at least to the Romans. 

It's not clear why Reginald and Judith Foster, Abraha's parents, chose to leave England, nor exactly when they left.  One story is that they left on an embargoed ship in 1638.  They were in Ipswich, Essex COunty, Massachusetts by 1638, so perhaps they left even earlier than suspected.  If they traveled on an embargoed ship, then they left England illegally and perhaps made a sop in another port in order to arrive in New England without questions being asked.  It has also been suggested that perhaps he was part of the exiled Rev. John Wheelwright's party, but that group settled in what became Exeter, New Hampshire and there is no indication that the Fosters had any connections there.  The Fosters probably came to America for both religious and economic reasons. 

There is a bit of a controversy concerning Abraham's wife.  Was she Lydia Burbank?  Most genealogies say that was her name, but they are split on the identity of her parents.  I am tentatively leaving her parents as John and Jemima (last name not known) Burbank, while noting that some believe her parents to be Caleb and Martha Burbank.  To be Caleb's daughter, she would have had to marry at an exceptionally young age (11 to 14, depending on which source you choose).  The Lydia Burbank who was born to John and Jemima was born in 1644, unless that is her baptismadate rather than her birth date.  To my mind, the answer to her parentage is not yet clear.  Abraham and Lydia's  first known child, Ephraim, was born October 9, 1657, so probably Lydia was born before 1640 and perhaps earlier. 

Abraham was not admitted to full communion with the church until 1676, when he was 58 years old.  If he left England for religious reasons, why did it take so long for him to join the church, unless in fact he was a Wheelwright adherent?  That is another mystery not yet solved.  We know that Abraham was a yeoman, a farmer who owned land.  His name is on a "rate" list from 1648, showing the ammount each resident needed to pay for the msalary of their "Leader", Major Denison.  Abraham's share is 3 shillings.  He was a witness in a court case in 1651, and in 1678 is on a list of people who had rights to the cow commons.  That's not a lot of information to show who our ancestor was and what he did for the 73 years or so that he lived in Ipswich. 

Abraham died without a will, at about his 90th year, on January 15, 1710-11. He had disposed of all of his lands to his sons, through deeds, and his inventory, if there was one, would have been very basic.  So we don't know whether he was literate, we don't know what crops or animals he raised, other than he had rights to the commons, whether that was for hogs, sheep, or cows, and we don't know if he served in the militia although a good guess would be that he did.  But we do know that he came to Massachusetts, married here, raised a family here, and contributed to the growth of the colony.  For that, we are grateful.

The line of descent is:

Abraham Foster-Lydia probably Burbank
Abraham Foster-Mary Robinson
Nathan Foster-Hannah Standish
Nathan Foster-Elizabeth Lansford
Jude Foster-Lydia M
Betsy Foster-Josiah Whittemore
Mary Elizabeth Whittermore-Joseph Holbrook
Fremont Holbrook-Phoebe Brown
Loren Holbrook-Etta Stanard
Gladys Holbrook-Richard Allen
Their descendants


Tuesday, May 7, 2019

Holbrook line: William Sumner, Immigrant

Sometimes there's not enough information about an ancestor to fill even a modest paragraph, and sometimes there is an overwhelming amount of information.  I'd rather have the latter situation, and that is the case with William Sumner, immigrant during the Great Migration.  We know who his parents were, we know who his wife was, we know his religion, we know his occupation and whether or not he was literate, we know where he settled, and we know his children. 

His parents were Roger and Jane Franklin Sumner.  Roger died in 1608, when William was about three years old, so he likely had a very limited recollection of his father.  His mother married Marcus Brian a few years later, but he died in 1620. Roger was called a husbandman and William a yeoman, meaning they farmed.  "Yeoman" is considered to be a higher economic status than husbandman, because a yeoman owned the land he farmed and a husbandman had just a lease on "his" land. 

On October 22, 1625, William married Mary Swift, in Bicester,  She was the sister of Thomas Swift but her parentage has not been determined.  Four of the couple's seven children were born in England, but in 1634 William packed up his family, lock, stock and barrel, and traveled to Massachusetts Bay Colony, where he was in Dorchester by February of 1635, when he was allotted some marsh land.  He probably arrived in 1634.  He returned to England for a few months in 1649-1650 to handle some business related to his father's estaate, but other than that he stayed in Dorchester his whole life.  I wonder if Mary told him "One and done"? 

William and Mary (Maria) were admitted to the second Dorchester church on August 23, 1636 and WIlliam became a freeman on May 17, 1637.  He was chosen as selectman of the town as early as 1637 and 1638, and then occasionally thereafter.  Starting in 1661, he was a selectman more years than we was not, with the last selection in 1686.  At various times he was also a deputy for Dorchester to the General Court, a livestock appraiser, the Dorchester commissioner to end small causes (sort of a justice of the peace), a lotlayer, fence viewer, bailiff, assessor, sergeant, and clerk of the trained company (militia). This man was heavily invested in public service. 

William had a servant as early as 1636, because William Shepherd, servant to WIlliam Sumner, was to be whipped for stealing victuals from his master and beans from the Indians.  The number of lashes is not indicated.  We wonder if the family was having a hard time providing adequate food or whether Shepherd was trying to sell his ill-gotten goods.  It could have been either scenario. 

William acquired, both by grant and by purchase, several acres of land so that at his death in 1688 the land and house were appraised at 421 pounds.  He also had 2 pounds of Bibles and books, and over 6 pounds worth of arms and ammunition.  He may not have been considered wealthy, or even well to do, but he was certainly not counted among the poor of the town.  At the time of his death, WIlliam had lived in Dorchester over 50 years.  Mary preceded him in death, in 1676.  There is no indication that she was killed in King Philip's War, and Dorchester was close enough to the coast that it seems more likely that she died a natural death. 

I'd still love to know more about William, but my heart is happy knowing I have this much information.  I'd love to be able to make these sketches zing, describing our ancestor's personality.  I don't know if he had a sense of humor or was unrelentingly stern, and there is a lot more I'd like to know.  But this information is a good starting point, and I am so glad to have it!

The line of descent is:

William Sumner-Mary Swift
Samuel Sumner-Rebecca Staples
Rebecca Sumner-Ephraim Wilson
Samuel Wilson-Elizabeth Hawes
Rebecca WIlson-Jonathan Wright
Molly Wright-Amariah Holbrook
Nahum Holbrook-Susanna Rockwood
Joseph Holbrook-Mary Elizabeth Whittemore
Fremont Holbrook-Phoebe Brown
Loren Holbrook-Etta Stanard
Gladys Holbrook-Richard Allen
Their descendants

Friday, May 3, 2019

Holbrook line: Abraham Newell abt 1581-1672 Immigrant

"Great Migration 1634-1635" by Robert Charles Anderson tells us almost everything we'd like to know about Abraham, except who his parents are, where he came from, the name of his wife, and whether or not he was in the military.  On the military issue, I'm guessing probably not, as he was 50 years old when he arrived in Roxbury with his family, but I could be wrong about that.  If he served, it would not have been for long, due to his age, but he probably was at least required to bear arms for a time. 

Speculation (not by Anderson) is that he came from somewhere in Essex, but that is just a guess.  We know that Abraham Newell was a tailor, and we know he arrived in Roxbury on the Frances of Ipswich, which sailed about April 30, 1634.  He was admitted to the Roxbury church, where Rev. John Eliot taught, later that year as member 106, and was admitted as a freeman on March 4, 1634/5.  His wife was admitted to the church in 1636 as member 154.  It would be interesting to better understand the culture of Roxbury, as to why Abraham and his wife didn't join at the same time. 

Abraham's wife is listed either as unknown or as Francis Foote, daughter of Robert and Joane Brooke Foote.  The smoking gun evidence, as in documents, is so far lacking, but the arguments for this relationship are at least reasonable.  Abraham may have been more than "just" a tailor, or else he had a head for business, even though he seems to have been illiterate (he always signed his name with a mark).  He owned at least 10 pieces of property at one time.  In the first inventory of land I found, taken sometime between 1636 and 1640, he already owned 22 acres.  One wonders how Abraham supported his family and acquired so many land holdings, but perhaps we are limiting him by calling him a tailor.  Perhaps he actually ran a shop and had people working under him, as "table monkeys" cutters, and finishers. 

Abraham and possibly Francis had at least seven children together, including Jacob who was born on the voyage and Rebecca who was born at Roxbury. The family may have had one or more servants, because at one point his barn burned down and the blaze was said to have been started by "his girle".  The house itself burned sometime prior to 1666, and his son Abraham built another house on the site. 

His will and inventory give no hint of his occupation but by the time he died, shortly before June 21, 1672, he was about 91 years old.  He may have disposed of his business, if such it was, by then.  There were no weapons listed in his inventory, either, so perhaps he had passed whatever he had on to one of his sons by then.  At his death, his estate was valued at just 23 pounds, 4 shillings, which did not include real estate.  That had mostly already been given to his sons and son in law.  "Old Mother Newell" lived until 1683 when she was "neere one hundred years old".

Aside from descriptions of the land he owned, this is pretty much what is known about Abraham Newell.  The fact that he was so soon accepted into church membership and became a freeman so early signifies to me that he was known by other people in Roxbury, whether from his hometown or from shipboard friendships, or from Puritan church relationships.  More than that is, again, speculation.  At any rate, we can be proud of this tailor who came to America, got hit with some hard knocks here, and yet, survived to a good old age.

The line of descent is

Abraham Newell-Francis possibly Foote
Isaac Newell-Elizabeth Curtis
Sarah Newell-Nathaniel Hawes
Elizabeth Hawes-Samuel Wilson
Rebecca Wilson-Jonathan Wright
Molly Wright-Amariah Holbrook
Nahum Holbrook-Susanna Rockwood
Joseph Holbrook-Mary Elizabeth Whittemore
Fremont Holbrook-Phoebe Brown
Loren Holbrook-Etta Stanard
Gladys Holbrook-Richard Allen
Their descendants




Tuesday, April 30, 2019

Post 600: Elder Jonathan Wright and some observations

First, this is the 600th blog post I've written.  I didn't think I'd get this far or be able to write about so many ancestors but it's happened.  I still have a few more I think I can write about, and probably 40 or more who are still just names to me, and may remain that way.  I don't know whether I'll write 10 more blog posts, or 100 more, or somewhere in between but I can truly say I've loved every minute of this process, no matter how frustrated I sometimes get when researching.  Every day I either learn something new or find another question I need to ask...it's a never ending joy! 

I wanted to share just a little bit of what I've learned and thought and been grateful for by talking about Jonathan Wright.  As far as I know (haven't found documentation) he was born in 1686, married Mary, had several children including son Jonathan in 1717, was selected as elder of his church in 1733, and died in 1749.  From the birth of his son Jonathan onward, I do have documentation and he lived in Wrentham, Massachusetts, apparently in the part that later became Franklin.  That is pretty much what I knew about Jonathan from on line searches. 

But I want to know more about Jonathan, so I've spent 15 hours, so far, reading Wrentham town records that are only on line at FHL affiliates, and have found precious little more about him.  Two men named Fisher asked for permission to give him 10-15 acres of their land in 1710.  He would have been 24 years old at the time.  Why were they willing to help him get established?  I don't know the answer to that.  I haven't found a Fisher-Wright blood connection yet.  But I'm looking.  I have found his name on a tax (rate) list in 1721 and with a group of people who wanted to know exactly who was allowed to vote in town elections.  I've found that his home was used as a meeting place for a review of the boundaries between Bellingham and Wrentham.  And that's about it.  For fifteen hours of squinting and trying desperately to read faint or/and difficult handwriting, it may seem to not be a good return on my time investment. 

But this is what hundreds, if not thousands, of people have done to help provide the information that I've been able to use, in compiling brief stories of our ancestors.  This blog is possible mostly due to their hard work and generosity in sharing what they've learned.  Genealogists, historians, librarians and archivists, and various combinations of the above, have all helped make it possible for me to write these posts.  And that doesn't mention all the transcribers, indexers, photographers, and genealogy web site members, almost all of whom are volunteers and by definition, unpaid.  They do it for love, for the joy in knowing they've helped others, and in order to pay it forward, in thanks to those who have pointed the way.  I mustn't forget to mention spouses, who if they have not assisted in the search have at least tolerated it. 

So from Robert Charles Anderson and Douglas Richardson (two men whom I will never meet but who have given me much happiness) to local and internet heroes, to distant cousins, to my own husband, thank you for your contributions to this project.  I hope to make some of you just a little bit proud. 

We'll see what happens with this blog in the future.  If you've enjoyed it, that makes my heart happy!