Friday, February 3, 2017

Windsor, Connecticut

Located north of Hartford on the Connecticut River, Windsor was the first permanent settlement in the, soon to be, Connecticut Colony and the home of Thomas Holcombe. In 1633 a group from Plymouth established a trading post at the meeting of the Connecticut and Farmington Rivers. A year later, the first group from Dorchester, Massachusetts established themselves just north of the trading post. Others from Dorchester would follow and a foothold in Connecticut was established.

North-central Connecticut prior to 1625 showing tribal settlements
along the Connecticut River in the area of future Windsor.

The Towns of My Ancestors

The primary focus of Genealogy is often concentrated on individual ancestors and there connection to others in the family. It is concerned about birth, parents, marriage, children, work, service, accomplishments and eventually death. These are the markers of a life and form a thread that connects each generation to the next. The place where they lived is another point of data but not always the focus of a Genealogy. Place was certainly an important part of each individual's life and yet, one constant seems to be that these folks were always on the move. It took a lot of work to put down roots and build a life but often, just as they had make a place for themselves, they would pack up and head out, usually toward the horizon of the setting sun. Still, those places . . . their home . . . was everything to the colonists and pioneers of America. Being able to settle in a place of one's own was the very definition of the freedom these people were looking for.

Town of Blue Mounds, Wisconsin. A survey from about 1833 shows the military
 road (on the ridge at the top of the map) and one settler (upper left corner). Like
the calm before the storm, over the next 30 years the town will fill up; first with
 Yankees from the east, then a mix of Germans, Norwegians, Swiss and others.

Thursday, December 8, 2016

The Chapin Family - Colonial Americans

Catherine Chapin was the wife of Nathaniel Bliss and mother of Mary Bliss. She was born is Pomeroy, Devin, England in 1622. Catherine was the third of 10 or 11 children of Samuel Chapin (b.1598? d.1675) and Cicely Penny (b.1602, d.1682).

John Chapin

The Chapin family is believed to have come to America about 1638, landed at Boston and settled in Roxbury. Samuel Chapin was born in Paignton, Devon, England and was baptized on October 8, 1598 at Saint John the Baptist Church. He was the fourth of five children of John Chapin (b.1566? d.1600) and Phillipa Easton (b.1569? d.1615) both of Paignton. There other children were: Joane, Phillipe, Thomas and Margaret. Phillipa Easton was the daughter of Henry Easton and Joan Cliffe.




Saint John the Baptist Church, Paignton, Devon, England

Friday, November 4, 2016

The Bliss Family - Colonial Americans

Mary Bliss was the wife of Nathaniel Holcombe. She was born is Springfield, Massachusetts in 1651. Mary was the third of four children of Nathaniel Bliss (b.1622, d.1654) and Catharine Chapin (b.1630, d.1711).

Old First Church of Springfield - 1645

Saturday, October 1, 2016

Six Years of Blogging about Genealogy

My Other Blog - Family History and Genealogy" celebrated its 6th anniversary yesterday, September 30, 2016. On that same day in 2010, the very first post, just under 400 words and titled “Yet Another Blog” was published.

Farms at Hafslo, Sogn og Fjorde, Norway.
Home of my ancestors - connection
found, thanks in part to this blog.
Well, six years is technically correct but it is also true that I did not publish a post for almost three years between November 2013 and September 2016. After working diligently for the first three years I began to slow down in 2013 and only delivered five posts that year. Then I stopped. Was I burned out or maybe just needed a break? Not sure but I was running out of big ideas for new posts. This site has strived to write solid history "stories" about my family lines and individual family members, most of whom are not well know in the genealogy world on the web. In addition, I would also write a short, non-specific and non-family, post every once-and-a-while. These posts let me talk about the process or something of interest that happened during the search (or something wonderful that just fell in lap). Toward the end, I was publishing the five part Holcombe story, and with that, was already deviating from writing about ancestors unknown to the word - as that family (especially the colonial generations) are very well know to the internet and genealogists. My needed break turned into a long slumber but I did get an occasional comment to answer and sometimes another family connection was made and new information gathered. So it was not totally dormant!

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Colonial Families - An Overview

Since first discovering that my grandmother, Grace Holcomb could be traced back to Thomas Holcombe, an early settler to New England, I have spent considerable energy researching the Holcomb(e) name with, perhaps, some neglect of the many other colonial families that I am also connected to. It took some time to make the Holcombe connection complete and it was only after the fact that I started to look at the spouses and their ancestry. I also found myself getting more interested in the stories of the more recent "immigrants" from the 19th Century and so, once again as the focus shifted, the allied colonial families remained on the back burner. Still, I do have a some good information on those colonial families, some of which is already on this website. My goal with this post, is to try and regroup and put forward even more information about those other families.

Map of New England by John Sellers from about 1670.

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Holcombe Family (5) - Colonial Generations

Part 5 - Joseph, Micah and the Movement West

Three generations named Nathaniel Holcombe carved out lives for themselves and their families in a rugged wilderness called Salmon Brook. On the colonial frontier, far removed from the more established society along the Connecticut River, these families played and important role in the settlement of America. They were a vanguard, a buffer against the unknown and a fragile line of defense for the British Empire. At the same time, they went about their business of staking a claim for themselves, conducting public and private business and building a town. They cleared land, planted orchards, establishing farms, and raised families in the meadows, forests and rocky foothills of the Berkshire Mountains. By the time Nathaniel III turned 80 years old, the revolution was in full swing and America was entering a new chapter. These would be the times of the next generations in this family line: Joseph and his son Micah.

If you missed Part 4 of the story, go here . . .
If you missed Part 3 of the story, go here . . .
If you missed Part 2 of the story, go here . . .
If you missed Part 1 of the story, go here . . .


North Hartford County in the 1760's. At the time of this map, Salmon Brook
is still a small settlement in the northern part of the Town of Simsbury.
Eventually, it would break away and become the Town of Granby.

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Spike Peterson - Short Biography

Curtis "Spike" Peterson, the "Rassler"

One of the most colorful characters in my family history was “Spike” Peterson. He was a locally famous wrestler, who traveled the wrestling circuit, primarily in southern Wisconsin from the 1930’s until his tragic death in 1951.


Curtis "Spike" Peterson, circa 1940s.