Friday, January 18, 2019

Holbrook line: John Beal, Immigrant

I'd previously written about John Beal's father in law, Edmund Hobart.  There was just one thing wrong with that post.  Edmund Hobart was John's father in law, but he was not John's first father in law.  John was married prior to his marriage to Nazareth Hobart, and we come through a daughter from the first marriage.  Oops!  Actually, that is one reason I write these blog posts, to review my information and to see if new facts have emerged.  I'm usually hoping for new facts, not corrected ones that will force me to delete I don't know how many names from the tree, but facts, for the purposes of genealogy, are much to be preferred to mistakes/fiction. 

John's early origins are, as usual, hard to trace.  His father is believed to be Edmund Beal, (although none of his sons are named Edmund, so the father may not be correct) and John is thought to have been born about 1588 in Wymondham, Norfolk, England, although his christening record is thought to be the John Beal who was christened May 5, 1593 in the nearby town of Wramplingham.  Most of John's first 50 years were associated with Hingham, Norfolk, England so it may just be easier to remember that. 

John likely learned his trade, that of shoemaker, in or around Hingham.  He married Frances Ripley, daughter of William and Cicely Revell Ripley, on June 11, 1616 in Wymondham.  They had five children together, as well as a chold who did not survive, before Frances died shortly before March 16, 1630 (burial date), also in Wymondham.

John next married Nazareth Hobart, daughter of Edmund and Margaret Dewey Hobart, on July 13, 1630.  That was less than four months after the death of his first wife, but he had five young children who needed a mother.   John and Nazareth had three children in ENgland, and then two more after arriving in the New World.  John was Nazareth's second husband.  Nazareth died in Hingham, Massachusetts on September 23, 1658.

John still had two children who were considered minors at that time, so he married for the third and final time, Mary Gilman, who was the daughter of Edward and Mary Hawes Gilman. They were married on March 10, 1659. She died on Jun 15, 1681.

John, Nazareth, and eight children (five of Frances's and three of Nazareth's), as well as two servants, came to America in 1638, and settled in Hingham, where they stayed.  John is supposed to have died April 1, 1688 because he is called "The Centenarian".  If he was actually born closer to that christening date of 1593, then he didn't make it the full 100 years, but I suppose in those days, who counted?  He certainly did live to a very old age.

The records of John Beal aren't plentiful, but we do know he was granted land there in 1638, was admitted a freeman in 1639, and in 1649 and again ten years later represented the town at the General Court of the Colony. In 1680 and in 1682, his name is found on petitions, one regarding where the new meeting house should be constructed, and one asking for better training for the militia.  So his mind must have still been active, when he was in his 90's.  He must have been physically active up until his last moments, for his body was found in his yard.

Somewhere there is a will for John Beal, because it is reported that he left bequests to each of his children and grandchildren.  I have not yet located that document, nor his appraisal, although I would certainly like to do so!  I have great admiration for John Beal.  He came to the New World when he was 50 years old, with a large family to support.  For another fifty years, he helped to build America and took some part in its government.  He loved his family, as evidenced by his will (and genealogists love him, for apparently naming his descendants!).  He seems to have been a good man.

The line of descent is:

John Beal-Frances Ripley
Sarah Beal-Thomas Marsh
Thomas Marsh-Sarah Lincoln
Thomas Marsh-Mary Burr
Deborah Marsh-Isaac Lazell
Deborah Lazell-Levi Rockwood
Susasnnah Rockwood-Nahum Holbrook
Joseph Holbrook-Maary Elizabeth Whittemore
Fremont Holbrook-Phoebe Brown
Loren Holbrook-Etta Stanard
Gladys Holbrook-Richard Allen
Their descendants



 







Tuesday, January 15, 2019

Holbrook line: Richard Snow, Immigrant

Richard Snow born about December 21, 1606, in or around Barnstaple, Devon, England.  Many think that his father was Patrick Snow, with his father being Richard, and then his father being Patrick, born about 1517.  It is certainly possible that he is connected to this family, but Richard didn't name any of his sons Patrick, and I've not been able to document any connection.  If he did grow up in Barnstaple, he may have been involved in the wool trade, in cloth making, or in sheep raising.  These were the main industries of the town. 

We don't know much about Richard before he arrived in Woburn, Massachusetts, but it is thought that he might be the 28 year old Richard Snow who left England in 1635, aboard the Expedition and bound for Barbados.  There were other men who ended up in Woburn who were on that ship.  We don't know if the ship was making a "triangle run" or if the men stayed in Barbados for a time.  If they stayed there, had they planned to stay longer than they did?  Did they go, realize they didn't care for the climate, and then later head to Massachusetts?  We don't know.

Another missing fact in Richard's life is when he married.  His wife's name is believed to be Avis or Annis Barrett, and she is thought to be the daughter of William Barrett.  They may have married in or near Barnstaple, or in Barbados, or in Woburn.  I have found no records any of those places so I guess we can take our pick.  I root for Barbados, for at least it would have been warm and sunny there.  It's possible that Richard went to Barbados as an indentured servant and then left for New England as soon as his term was up.  If so, he must have been a thrifty man, as it would have been hard to save money for the passage. 

He was in Woburn by 1645 and perhaps a year or two earlier.  Why he chose to go to Woburn has not yet been determined.  There weren't other Snow families there, nor were there Barretts, but there were some of the men who had been on the Expedition with him. 

Richard and Avis or Annis stayed pretty much under the radar during their whole lives in Woburn.  He doesn't seem to have held any town offices, but he doesn't seem to have been called into court, either.  Neither did he attract the interest of any of the religious authorities.  He did, however, receive land in 1648, and in 1653 he was one of twenty nine men (possibly most of the men in town) who signed a petition requesting that churches be allowed to find their own pastors, rather than having a group of pastors from outside the town make the decision.  The request was turned down, but was written in such a humble (possibly groveling) style that the men weren't chastised for their request.  Richard and Avis had arrived in Woburn with two children, and had at least three more in Woburn. 

We know that he was part of the train band (militia) until he was excused in 1659. Usually at that time, men were only excused because of some infirmity that prevented their serving, or that made them an impediment to the rest of the group, but we have no indication of what that may have been.   

Richard died before May 5, 1677 at Woburn.  His will provided that his four surviving sons provide for their mother in her old age,  and left most of the land to the oldest son, John, where he already lived.  His estate was valued at about 188 pounds, most of it in parcels of land, including the house and orchard.  John lived in this home and it stayed in the family for several generations, seemingly abandoned sometime in the mid nineteenth century.  The inventory included two Bibles and other books of sermons, so it seems that Richard could read.  I don't have a date of death for his widow.

This is the story of a man who worked hard, improved his lot in life, supported his church, and was content to stay in one place once he arrived in Massachusetts.  He's another of the ordinary people who helped build an extraordinary country.

The line of descent is:

Richard Snow-Avis Barrett
John Snow-Mary Greene
Zerubabbel Snow-Jemima Cutler
William Snow-Elizabeth Stevens
Lucy Snow-Josiah Whittemore
Josiah Whittemore-Betsy Foster
Mary Elizabeth Whittemore-Joseph Holbrook
Fremont Holbrook-Phoebe Brown
Loren Holbrook-Etta Stanard
Gladys Holbrook-Richard Allen
Their descendants


 



  

Friday, January 11, 2019

Holbrook line: Thomas Whittemore, Immigrant

I'm pleased to be writing about Thomas Whittemore (Whitmore), not just because he is our immigrant ancestor and not just because there's quite a bit of material readily available about him.  It's also the completion of a promise I made myself early in this genealogy journey.  Mary Elizabeth Whittemore, my great great grandmother, was a brick wall for me in the early days of my genealogy search, and I remember promising her that I would find her family and tell their story.  It's satisfying to me to be able to do that now, with the help of a lot of other family historians along the way. 

Thomas Whittemore was born or christened on June 6, 1593 in Hitchin, Herefordshire, England.  His parents were Thomas and Mary Meade Whitmore. and our Thomas was one of at least ten children born to his parents.  Hitchin is or was a market town and a wool center, so it is quite possible that the Whitmores were involved in that somehow, whether raising sheep or working in mills.  It seems to have had a larger population than the towns that many of our ancestors were from, which may or may not explain why there are fairly good records there. 

Thomas married three times.  The name of his first wife is unknown.  His second wife was Sarah Deardes, whom he married in 1623.  No children are known from that marriage.  He next married Hannah Chawkley on October 26, 1632, and she is the mother of all of his known children, all thirteen of them!  Roger Thompson, in his book "From Deference to Defiance: Charlestown, Massachusetts 1629-1692" says that Thomas came to Charlestown in about 1639, aged about 43, in a party of eight.  That would be himself, his wife Hannah, and six children (Son John had died probably shortly after birth in 1635, but there were these six who came with them).  I'm not sure that Sarah, Mary, and Thomas were his, or else they did belong to one of his earlier wives, for those children are given birth dates well before his marriage to Hannah.  It's possible that they were other relatives that he agreed to bring to America, but it looks like more research needs to be done about those children.  Daniel, Nathaniel, and another John were the children of Thomas and Hannah, who accompanied them on the trip.

The family settled in Charlestown soon after their arrival.  In 1638 or 1639, this would have been quite a small town because in 1658 there were still fewer than 200 heads of household.  We don't know a lot about Thomas's life in Charlestown.  He had a farm that was situated on the Mystic River so he would have had easy access to fish and, likely, seafood, to supplement whatever he grew on his farm.  We don't know if he had another occupation.  I found no record of him in the applications for freeman, so apparently he never acquired the right to vote, and I found no record that he served in any sort of political or government post. 

Thomas died on May 25, 1661 at Malden, which was carved out of Charlestown.  Descendants lived on his property until the mid 1800's, which is pretty remarkable.  At his death, his estate was valued at 286 pounds.  He wanted Hannah to have the right to live in the house for as long as she lived (no language about "and remains unmarried") and gave the bulk of the estate to his son Daniel, with smaller bequests to Nathaniel and John.  Son Thomas had been given property of some type in England and had returned there to live, but "to save trouble" he was bequeathed five shillings if he came back to claim it.  The other children were to receive small bequests as they turned 18, or 21, or married.

Hannah married as her second husband Benjamin Butterfield in 1663 and lived until 1677.  

So that's what is known of Thomas Whittemore.  His children served as minor officials such as constable and hog reeve, but we don't know how active they were in church life, or more particularly, spiritual life.  I've not found anything that indicates whether or not Thomas could read, nor have I found an inventory of his assets.  I'll keep looking for those.   Thomas Whittemore, no matter how respected or not respected he was during his lifetime, deserves our gratitude for bringing his family here and for raising good citizens.  He helped make America.

The line of descent is:

Thomas Whittemore-Hannah Chawkley
John Whittemore-Mary Upham
John Whittemore-Elizabeth Annable
John Whittemore-Elizabeth Lloyd
John Whittemore-Lydia Clough
Josiah Whittemore-Lucy Snow
Josiah Whittemore-Betsy Foster
Mary Elizabeth Whittemore-Joseph Holbrook
Fremont Holbrook-Phoebe Brown
Loren Holbrook-Etta Stanard
Gladys Holbrook-Richard Allen
Their descendants








Tuesday, January 8, 2019

George Smith 1639-1704 Immigrant

Some of our ancestors are relatively easy to find; some like to play hide and seek.  And some seem to have clones, just to confuse us.  So, I think I'm tracking George Smith of Maryland, but perhaps I'm wrong.  So, here goes...

Many sites show that George's parents are Richard Smith and Elizabeth Halford, and give a birth date and location for George as February of 1639, in Shepshed, Leicestershire, England.  I found a birth record for that date for George Smith, but it shows his parents as Richard Smith and Margery.  Since Richard Smith and Elizabeth Halford seem to have ended up in Connecticut, I'm not convinced that Richard and Elizabeth are correct.  Let's go with Richard and Margery for now. 

The first thing we know of George is that he is shows up in Maryland in 1663.  If our 1639 date is correct, he would be about 24 years old, and he may or may not be the George Smith who married Anne Webster in 1656 in Leicestershire, England.  If this is our couple, he would have been 17 and she just fourteen, so I have my doubts.  He is reported to have had two sons with Anne, Richard and George, before she died in 1675, possibly in Cecil County, Maryland.    George waited about 20 years before marrying Hannah, possibly Hannah Freeborne, in 1694 in Baltimore, Maryland.  He and Hannah had at least two children, William and Selina, with time between the two children for another who may not have lived long (my speculation, no documentation for that).

We see only bits and pieces of George Smith in Maryland.  He may be the man who was elected vestryman of St Georges Parish, Baltimore County, in 1692.  This would have been his church and tithing area.  His tax district was the Spesutia Huntred and in 1692 he was taxed on three males, himself and also Joseph Lee and John Howard.  They were possibly indentured servants, but their term of service was up, or sold to others, by 1695 when George Smith was taxed on George Smith Junior and one slave.  (He may well have had more slaves, especially younger than 16, or women.  It seems not unreasonable to wonder whether he had a slave family under his control by this time.) 

That is all I could find about George Smith until his death April 20, 1704.  I haven't yet found a will or inventory that I feel confident belongs to our George, although surely either a will, or an inventory, or both, should have been prepared.  Someone important enough to be a vestryman, and to "own" a slave, would have wanted to make sure his property was passed on to his family.  I'll keep looking for that. 

I don't really think I have a grasp of this man or his life at all.  Did he fight in any battles, serve in the militia, hold any offices other than that of vestryman?  Was he of low economic status, or did he have at least some goods to leave his family?  We know from the term "vestryman" that he was of the Church of England, which leads one to wonder how his birth family fared during the English Civil War.  He would have lived in England through the reign of Oliver Cromwell, and then the Restoration of Charles II.  How did those experiences influence his thinking?  This man generates questions, but the answers are sadly lacking. 

Our line of descent is:

George Smith-Hannah Freeborne
Selina Smith-Robert Clarke
Hannah Clarke-James Amos
Robert Amos-Martha McComas
Robert Amos-Elizabeth Amos (yes, 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, January 4, 2019

Matthys Barent Swaim 1621-1682, Immigrant

I think it's so much fun to write about our Dutch families, few and far between though they may be. This line brings in New Amsterdam, and early New Jersey, and Frederick County, Virginia, as well as North and South Carolina, none of which are our "typical" New England roots.  But then, by now we've learned our family has a varied background, which makes it both fun and more challenging to trace. 

But I digress.  This post is about the immigrant.  I must state that most of this information came from a 542 page book available online as a PDF, authored by Joe Mullane, Lloyd B. Swaim, and Marjorie Decker Johnson.  All the credit for the research, as well as my undying gratitude, goes to these folks who were so generous as to share their years of work with us, and all mistakes and misinterpretations are mine alone.

So how cool is it to have Dutch ancestors on Staten Island, before England took over the settlement?  I think it's very cool indeed.  Matthys was born in 1621 in Leerdam, Holland, to Barent Swaaem and Sybilla unknown.  He married, as his second wife, Scytje Cornelise in probably late 1658 or early 1659.  He and his first wife had several children, with only two surviving.  In 1661, the new family, including two sons and then toddler Anthony, arrived on the ship "St. Jan Baptiste".  They first had lodgings in block D, house 4 in New Amsterdam while looking around for land to occupy.  Matthys, along with many of the other passengers on the ship met with Peter Stuyvesant and two councilors on August 22, 1661 and asked that they have a village and land laid out on Staten Island, as they wished to settle there.  It was so agreed.

This was still very much frontier country.  Native Americans made frequent raids at the time, there were all sorts of wild animals (wolf, deer, probably the occasional bear or panther), and in addition to maintaining personal safety, the families there would have to clear land and make it their own.  Matthys must have been successful as a farmer and well liked, for he was elected a magistrate in 1673 and was involved in some court cases that included some of his neighbors.  Other than that, and the baptism of some of his children at the Dutch Reformed Church in New Amsterdam, we know little of his life.

At his death, probably in November of 1682, he had achieved a good life for his family.  His estate is valued in guilders and I haven't found a chart to convert that to English money of the time, but he had more furnishings in his home, more animals than many of our New England ancestors, and some pewterware. There is no mention of books in his inventory.  Matthys had survived adversity and given his family a good start in their life in the New World.

The line of descent, subject to paragraph 1 above, is

Matthys Barent Swaim-Scytie Cornelise
Willem Thyszem Swaim-Mary Larzelere
Elizabeth Swaim-Christopher Nation
Joseph Nation-Jerretta Vickery
Elizabeth Nation-Christopher Myers
Phoebe Myers-John Adam Brown
Phoebe Brown-Fremont Holbrook
Loren Holbrook-Etta Stanard
Gladys Holbrook-Richard Allen
Their descendants




Tuesday, January 1, 2019

John Nation, Immigrant 1697-1772

John Nation would have quite an interesting story to tell us, if he were able.  He is believed to be the John Nation who was born in North Petherton, Somerset, England and christened on March 28, 1697.  If this is he, his parents were John and Frances Parsons Nation.  We don't know how he arrived in the Colonies, or when, but in 1710 he is considered an asset as a "servant boy" in the will of William Beakes in Nottingham, Burlington County, New Jersey.  At the time, he had eight years of service left, which means he was likely 13 at the time.  Indentured servants who were minors earned their freedom at the age of 21.  The years match very closely to the date of John's christening, so I think John and Frances were likely his parents.  John, the subject of this blog post, may have come to America willingly, but there is a family story that he was kidnapped.  This is not beyond the realm of possibility, as ship captains and masters were well paid to deliver young men and women to America who didn't necessarily want to go there. 

At any rate, John was a free man at age 21.  We lose track of him for a few years but he married Bethiah Robins, who was born in 1702 at Crostwekes, Monmouth County, New Jersey, the daughter of Joseph Robins and Hanna or Anna Pack.  Their first child was born in 1717 so Bethiah would have been a very young bride indeed, perhaps only 14 years old.  The couple had seven known children, six born in Monmouth County, New Jersey and the seventh in Orange County, Virginia in 1729.  It appears that they went to Virginia sometime between 1725 and 1729, based on the birth locations of their children. Traveling that far with six children under the age of 11 proves that our ancestors had determination and resilience, among other qualities.  (We think it's hard to put that many children in a van or SUV and drive for a couple of hours!)

Frederick County, Virginia was formed from Orange County, Virginia in 1733 but for a time John was still noted more frequently in Orange County, where he witnessed the will of Hezekiah Vickery in 1736.  It's possible that he settled on land that wasn't legally his because in 1749 he is granted land by Lord Fairfax, but earlier he was made overseer of a road "from the run by his house to Kerseys Ferry", and was ordered to keep it in good condition.  The land Lord Fairfax sold him was on Opekon (Opequon) Creek, but soon after he acquired the land he sold it back to Lord Fairfax.  Perhaps he wasn't happy with the land for some reason, or perhaps he already was restless and wanted to move on. 

By 1754 he and the family were living in Rowan County, North Carolina.  In 1757 he had two grants of land from Lord Granville.  He sold one tract to Robert Fields in 1759, so it appears that he lived on 401 acres on Polecat Creek.  It may be that he sold or gave land to his son Christopher Nation in 1761, to help him get established.  We should remember that this was basically frontier country and that the whole frontier was often threatened by various tribes and coalitions of native Americans.  It took hardy souls to stay on their land and survive.  I strongly believe there are stories here that we don't know. 

John wrote his will in 1772, and probably died shortly after December 15, 1772. The will was filed in Guilford County, North Carolina. His son Joseph received the land John lived on, and son John was to have some personal property after his wife Bethiah died, with Joseph receiving the rest. Bethiah was to live on the land as long as she was a widow.  It appears that Joseph may have been a caregiver for his mother, who died in 1774.  At that time, Joseph sold the land.  John's other children were acknowledged with one shilling each.  Christopher had received land earlier, and the daughters may have received cash or goods as each married. 

I'm sure that John had an interesting life.  However he arrived in New Jersey, whether by choice, by agreement, or by kidnapping, he was there at an early age.  Somehow he acquired the skills he would need to build homes on the frontier and to raise enough food to feed seven children.  Bethiah also deserves our admiration.  She likely not only made clothes for the family, but made the fabric and perhaps the threads that were used to make the fabric, in addition to all the other chores she would have had.  Our pioneer ancestors continue to amaze me.  The more I learn, the more I wonder how they did it. 

We have at least two lines of descent from John and Bethiah, because Joseph Nation and Jeretta Vickery were cousins.  This was not unusual for the time and place. 

John Nation-Bethiah Robins
Christopher Nation-Elizabeth Swaim
Joseph Nation-Jeretta Vickery
Elizabeth Nation-Christopher Myers
Phoebe Myers-John Adam Brown
Phoebe Brown-Fremont Holbrook
Loren Holbrook-Etta Stanard
Gladys Holbrook-Richard Allen
Their descendants

also
John Nation-Bethiah Robins
Elizabeth Nation-Marmaduke Vickery
Jeretta Vickery-Joseph Nation



Tuesday, December 25, 2018

Allens and Holbrooks: Christmas, 1918

I wonder what life was life for our ancestors 100 years ago.  More specifically, who was alive and what would they have been doing that year, when the "war to end all wars" had just ended with an armistice the month before.  I've used the information in our family tree, and the 1920 census (which could be a little "off") to try to reconstruct life on that day. 

In the Holbrook line, my grandparents, Loren and Etta Stanard Holbrook, had been married for a little over four years.  They were living in or near Meteor, in Ferry County, Washington.  They were either on or near the Colville Indian Reservation.  At Christmas 2018, Loren was 35 and Etta was 29.  They were the parents of Ray, who was three years old, and Howard, who was eight months old.   In the 1920 census, Loren was the manager of a saw mill.  He had acquired land when he first went to the area in 1907-1908.  Ten years later, he may have still been suffering a little bit of culture shock, for life in a tiny community in Washington state was much different than life in Chicago Heights, Illinois, where he had been raised.  I wonder what gifts the boys received that year?

The boys were fortunate because all of their grandparents were still alive. Yes, one set was in Chicago and I don't know how often, if at all, they got to see those grandparents.  But Fremont and Phoebe Brown Holbrook would have doted on those boys, just as any grandparent would.  Fremont and Phoebe in the 1920 census were listed with no occupation.  They were both 62 years of age, and had three roomers living with them.  Two were machinists (one French speaking) and one a chemist, so dinner conversation may have been lively.  I hope Phoebe fixed a nice meal for them, and perhaps invited their son Ray for dinner, also.  I think Clark, who may or may not have been home from the war yet, may have already transferred his residence to Florida, so I don't know whether or not he was at Christmas dinner that year.  Still, knowing that the war was over and Clark was coming back would have been a cause for great joy at that Holbrook table. 

The other grandparents, Louis and Mary Alice Hetrick Stannard, lived much closer.  They lived across the Columbia River in Stevens County, and because they had to take a ferry to cross the river, it would take over an hour for the trip even though it was just about 25 miles from the Holbrook to the Stanard home.  It is very likely that the Holbrooks made the trip that day, as I know that Christmas was always important to the Stanards.  Louis and Alice were both 62 years old.  Louis is listed as a school teacher but he was also the assistant school superintendent,  The superintendent was their daughter, Elizabeth (Bess), who never married.  Quite probably "Winnie", (Elwin) was there, too, with his wife Bessie Moody and their children (not sure whether all the children were born yet, or not.) Bessie would die in 1920, but in 1918 the family was likely enjoying their Christmas.  They lived in Colville, Stevens County, not far from Hunters and a much easier trek to go "home for Christmas". 

So the Holbrooks and Stanards were in Washington State, and the older Holbrooks were in Chicago Heights, Illinois.  What about the Allen family?

Edward (Ed) and Edith Knott Allen were in Salt Lake City, Utah.  Their first baby, a boy, had died but there were four children in 1918 and Edith was about six months pregnant with the baby who would prove to be their last surviving child.  Ed was 50 and Edith was 40.  He was a self employed attorney, and rented a home for the family  Ed's parents had already passed on, but Edith's father was still alive.  John Wilson Knott lived in Yoncalla, Oregon with his son and daughter in law, George and Martha Knott.  Sometime during this time period, John (although I've heard that he went by the name "Wilson") preached his last sermon and went to a nursing home, where he lived out his days.  He was 82 years old in 1918, and that was about the age he was when he ended a lifetime of preaching. 

I don't think any of these families had much money.  The wealthiest, the Holbrooks of Chicago Heights, probably were middle class with upward aspirations, but the others were struggling to reach middle class status by Christmas of 1918.  Nevertheless, all of the families knew Jesus; two being ordained preachers (John Wilson Knott was Presbyterian, Louis Stanard was Baptist).  Christmas 1918 would have been a joyous one for all, for they knew what Christmas was all about. 

Merry Christmas, family present and family past!  And if future family, someone living 100 years from now, reads this, Merry Christmas to you, too!