All things history and genealogy.

All things history and genealogy.

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The ancestor quest: humor, poems and prose for Genealogists.

I have gathered and transcribed several items of humor, poems and prose for Genealogists that have touched me in some way. The ones I have selected and printed below are my favorites of the hundreds that can be found – and the ones that hit home the most.


Dear Ancestor


Your tombstone stands among the rest;
Neglected and alone
The name and date are chiseled out
On polished, marbled stone.
It reaches out to all who care
It is too late to mourn.
You did not know that I exist
You died and I was born.
Yet each of us are cells of you
In flesh, in blood, in bone.
Our blood contracts and beats a pulse
Entirely not our own.
Dear Ancestor, the place you filled
So many years ago
Spreads out among the ones you left
Who would have loved you so.
I wonder if you lived and loved,
I wonder if you knew
That someday I would find this spot,
And come to visit you.



 Genealogy – where you confuse the dead and irritate the living.



Murphy’s Law for Genealogists


The public ceremony in which your distinguished ancestor participated and at which the platform collapsed under him turned out to be a hanging.

When at last after much hard work you have solved the mystery you have been working on for two years, your aunt says, “I could have told you that.”

You grandmother’s maiden name that you have searched for four years was on a letter in a box in the attic all the time.

You never asked your father about his family when he was alive because you weren’t interested in genealogy then.

The will you need is in the safe on board the Titanic.

Copies of old newspapers have holes occurring only on the surnames.

John, son of Thomas, the immigrant whom your relatives claim as the family progenitor, died on board ship at
age 10.

Your gr. grandfather’s newspaper obituary states that he died leaving no issue of record.

The keeper of the vital records you need has just been insulted by an another genealogist.

The relative who had all the family photographs gave them all to her daughter who has no interest in genealogy and no inclination to share.

The only record you find for your gr. grandfather is that his property was sold at a sheriff’s sale for insolvency.

The one document that would supply the missing link in your dead-end line has been lost due to fire, flood or war.

The town clerk to whom you wrote for the information sends you a long handwritten letter which is totally illegible.

The spelling for your European ancestor’s name bears no relationship to its current spelling or pronunciation.

None of the pictures in your recently deceased grandmother’s photo album have names written on them.

No one in your family tree ever did anything noteworthy, owned property, was sued or was named in wills.

You learn that your great aunt’s executor just sold her life’s collection of family genealogical materials to a flea market dealer “somewhere in New York City.”

Ink fades and paper deteriorates at a rate inversely proportional to the value of the data recorded.

The 37 volume, sixteen thousand page history of your county of origin isn’t indexed.

You finally find your gr. grandparent’s wedding records and discover that the brides’ father was named John Smith.



Whoever said “Seek and ye shall find” was not a genealogist.


Strangers in the Box


Come, look with me inside this drawer,
In this box I’ve often seen,
At the pictures, black and white,
Faces proud, still, and serene.

I wish I knew the people,
These strangers in the box,
Their names and all their memories,
Are lost among my socks.

I wonder what their lives were like,
How did they spend their days?
What about their special times?
I’ll never know their ways.

If only someone had taken time,
To tell, who, what, where, and when,
These faces of my heritage,
Would come to life again.

Could this become the fate,
Of the pictures we take today?
The faces and the memories,
Someday to be passed away?

Take time to save your stories,
Seize the opportunity when it knocks,
Or someday you and yours,
Could be strangers in the box.

Originally posted 2016-04-26 10:17:36. Republished by Blog Post Promoter

Mark Blythe to Barack Obama Relationship Chart


The relationship chart illustrating the multi-generational, multi-cultural, multi-racial connections between Barack Obama and my husband Mark Blythe.


A while ago, we saw a genealogy chart in a Chicago newspaper online showing Barack Obama’s family tree, which includes one Ulrich Stehle (Steely), born about 1720 and died before 1773, living the entire time in Pennsylvania.

The connection is through Barack’s maternal line from his mother Stanley Ann Dunham and Mark’s paternal line.

We later discovered that Barack Obama and Mark are both related to John Bunch, the first documented slave in America, as described in a previous post.

Mark Blythe to Barack Obama Relationship Chart
Mark Blythe to Barack Obama Relationship Chart

Originally posted 2016-10-26 05:37:38. Republished by Blog Post Promoter

Transcription – Civil War letters of Pte. David Coon now completed.

I’m very happy to say I have finally completed the transcription of the 100+ pages of letters from Pte. David Coon to his family during his time of service and his capture and imprisonment by Confederate forces in Libby Prison and then Salsbury Prison, where he died late in 1864.

I do apologize for taking so long, but it was a great deal of work and had to be done when I could find time amid my responsibilities updating and maintaining my four blogs and my daily responsibilities as a wife and mother of two young adults.

I have divided the transcription into individual website pages containing 10 pages of letters each. The pages can be easily scrolled through using the page navigation links at the bottom of each web page.

This is a treasured artifact of our family. We do not hold the original letters, but we do have an original typed transcription of the letters completed in 1913 (interestingly enough, 100 years old as of this year) by David’s son Dr. John W. Coon.

My Signature

Genealogy Mystery: Who were Christian W. Keefer’s parents?

Christian W. Keefer (Chester) is an important figure in one of the main branches of my husband’s and children’s ascendancy. He married Mary Ann Jacques and they eventually settled and raised a family in Dodge County, Wisconsin.

After numerous years of research, however, I’m still left scratching my head at the mystery of the identity of Christian W. Keefer’s parents.

As can be seen in the list of sources I’ve found and logged for Christian (below), you would think that at least one of them would provide some concrete information about his parentage and place of birth, but that turns out to not be the case.

Here’s what I know for sure:

Christian W. Keefer was born October 1, 1811 in Pennsylvania and his family originated from France.

Christian W. Keefer's parents.
Sources for Christian W. Keefer.

That’s it.

I originally took a mention of Philadelphia as Christian’s birthplace in a biography of his son Charles with a grain of salt. I do believe that people did and do tend to describe where they’ve come from by using the nearest, largest center that would be recognized outside the area. For example, although we live in Chilliwack, BC, Canada, we frequently say we’re located near Vancouver to those who are not from the area. Considering this possibility, I would not rule out any birth location in Pennsylvania.

I have considered the possibility that our Christian may be one of the Christians mentioned of the Keefer / Kiefer family in the “Biographical Annals of Franklin County”. I was able to systematically eliminate every Christian mentioned because they could not have been born on or near the birth date of our Christian (Chester), or they married into different families, etc.

Another  possibility I’ve been checking is that his father (and possibly mother as well), may have immigrated to the United States from Germany (or Switzerland), but I’ve been unable to find immigration or naturalization records that show such a connection.

However, the same biography previously mentioned states that he was of French origin.

Through all of my research over the years, every Keefer family is of Germanic origin – except one.

The only family that shows of French origin in the time period is (lo and behold!) actually living in Philadelphia and is that of Anthony and Sarah (Shillingford) Keefer.

At the time, his family was very young with only mention of one brother born in 1810 – Thomas. The earlier births of the children of Anthony and his wife Sarah are about one year apart, leaving a gap just where Christian’s would be.

Keefer, Anthony; family pedigree chart
Family pedigree chart of Anthony Keefer, showing Christian, as I’ve entered it in my database (see

I would love to find proof beyond that of coincidence and speculation of Christian W. Keefer’s parentage. I’d like nothing better than to continue further back in time and expand on this huge Keefer family

If you or anyone you know has any documentation, images, etc. of this Christian Keefer showing his parents and brothers and sisters (or parts thereof), I would dearly love to see them, or better yet, get copies.


  1. Biographical Sketches of Old Settlers and Prominent People of Wisconsin: Vol. I (Waterloo, Wis., Huffman & Hyer, 1899); pdf file.
  2. State of Ohio, “Ohio, County Marriages, 1790-1950,” marriage, Family Search ( accessed
  3. Death certificate; Charles Keefer;  Digital Folder No.: 4008297; Image No.: 1576; Film Number: 1674527; Certificate No.: cn 23384. (7 June 1933), Illinois Deaths and Stillbirths, 1916-1947, State of Illinois;
  4., “Wisconsin Deaths and Burials, 1835-1968,” database,, ( accessed ).
  5. Rootsweb, “Wisconsin Death Records,” database, Rootsweb, Rootsweb ( accessed ).
  6. Keefer, Christian W., Beaver Dam Argus, Beaver Dam, Dodge County, Wisconsin, , Obituary.
  7. Obituary of Mary Ann (Jaques) Keefer.
  8. 1880 US Federal Census, Elba, Dodge, Wisconsin, Beaver Dam, Dodge, Wisconsin, enumeration district (ED) Enumeration District: 004, Page: 47A, Year: 1880; Census Place: Beaver Dam, Dodge, Wisconsin; Roll: 1422; Family History Film: 1255422, Keefer Christian W.; digital image, ( : Internet 13 July 2013).
  9. 1870 US Federal Census, Elba, Dodge, Wisconsin, year: 1870; census place: elba, dodge, wisconsin; roll: m593_1710; page: 165a; image: 338; family history library film: 553209, Elba, Dodge, Wisconsin, enumeration district (ED) Roll: M593_1710; Image: 337; Family History Library Film: 553209, Page: 164B, Roll: M593_1710; Image: 337; Family History Library Film: 553209, Keefer Christian W; digital image, (  : Internet 7 September 2013).
  10. 1860 US Federal Census, Elba, Dodge, Wisconsin, roll: m653_1405; page: 303; image: 308, Elba, Dodge, Wisconsin, Page: 303, Roll: M653_1405; Image: 308; Family History Library Film: 805405, Keefer Christian W.; dgs no.: 4298900; image no.: 0038; nara no.: m653, (  : Internet 7 September 2013).
  11. 1850 US Federal Census, Elba, Dodge, Wisconsin, roll: m432_996;  image: 209, , Page: 104A, Roll: M432_996; Page: 104A; Image: 209, Keefer Christian W.; digital image, Family Search ((  : Internet 7 September 2013).
  12. 1840 US Federal Census, Painesville, Lake, Ohio; digital image,, (  : accessed ).
  13. 1830 US Federal Census, Antrim, Franklin County, Pennsylvania, age: 395; nara series: m19; roll number: 151; family history film: 0020625; digitalk image, (  : accessed ).

Journey through centuries: An ancestral doppelganger is discovered!

My biggest fascination with my genealogy research is finding old photos of the people – especially any rare ancestral doppelganger to current family members.
An ancestral doppelganger is discovered!
Marshall Matthews Blythe (Mark’s father) c. 2004.
An ancestral doppelganger is discovered!
Isaac Shelby, Governor of Kentucky, c. 1812 – An ancestral doppelganger!

These images bring some life to the profile created by the fact finding of my research and brings these characters closer and makes them more relatable and understandable.

A while ago, while I was researching the Shelby family which included the original Welsh Quaker immigrant Evan Isaac Shelby (8th great grandfather to my father-in-law), his son Brigadier General Evan Shelby (7th great granduncle) and Isaac Shelby, Governor of Kentucky (1st cousin, 8 times removed, and born in 1750),

I was immediately struck by the resemblance between my father-in-law and Governor Isaac Shelby.

Considering this relationship spans seven generations, it is quite amazing!

In another instance, I was doing some research for a friend who was curious about what happened to one mysterious great great aunt who had a past around which there had been rumours. Upon researching, I discovered that she was actually the birth mother of a girl who was raised by another family member, believing this person was her own aunt.

At the time of the child’s birth, this woman worked as a domestic in the home of a wealthy entrepreneur in the late 1800’s and became pregnant, having the child out of wedlock.

Knowing how often the domestics were taken advantage of by the men of the house, I looked into it further, believing he might be the baby’s father. I was sort of surprised (but not too much) to find a picture of this gentleman’s grandson and great-grandson – and there was a definite resemblance! In this case it was not quite as striking, but was there nonetheless around the mouth and eyes.

Dame Emma Albani (Emma Marie Louise Cécile Lajeunesse) of Chambly, Québec

Emma Marie Louise Cécile Lajeunesse (known professionally as Dame Emma Albani), was a world-renowned soprano for most of the 19th century and into the early 20th century.


Featured image: Dame Emma Albini (4th cousin 3 times removed) on her tours of Europe and North America, where she sang for Queen Victoria, Kaiser Wilhelm I and Csar Nicholas.


Emma Marie Louise Cécile Lajeunesse (Dame Emma Albini) at five
Emma Marie Louise Cécile Lajeunesse (Dame Emma Albini) at five years of age in about 1852.

She was also a harpist, pianist and teacher. Her birth date is commonly believed to be November 1, 1847 , although some believe she was born in 1848 or 1850. Emma was my fifth cousin, twice removed, as she was the fourth great granddaughter of my 7th great grandfather, Jean Jacques Labelle (1682-1748) of Île Jésus (Laval), Québec, Canada.

Chambly, Quebec
Emma’s birthplace, Chambly, Quebec.

In her own memoirs, Emma states her birth was in 1852 in Chambly, Québec, Canada to Joseph Lajeunesse (1818-1904) and Mélina Rachel Mélanie Mignault ( -1856).

Emma was the first Canadian singer to become internationally known and sought after. She performed operas composed by Bellini, Mozart, Rossini, Donizetti and later, Wagner. Her audiences included such luminaries as Queen Victoria, Csar Alexander II, and Kaiser Wilhelm I.

Emma Lajeunesse’s parents, both musicians, recognized their daughter’s wonderful talent very early. Although she studied first with her mother, her father took over her tr

Royal autographs.
Autograph of Queen Victoria and other royals from Dame Emma Albani’s autograph book.

aining when she turned five. He was a great musician in his own right and was skilled with the harp, violin, organ and piano. Her practice schedule was very busy and strict, in which she dedicated up to four hours a day. In 1856, shortly after his wife died, Joseph Lajeunesse was hired to teach music at the Religious of the Sacred Heart Convent in Sault-au-Récollet (Montréal), where Emma and her sister Cornélia (nickname Nellie) were boarders.

Emma attended from 1858 to 1865, and her talent was evident to the convent’s nuns, who were forced to bar her from the convent’s musical competitions so other children had a chance of winning.

At eight years old, Emma performed her first concert on September 15, 1856 at the Mechanics’ Institute in Montreal. The critics were amazed, and recognized her as a prodigy. She also sang in Chambly, Saint-Jean (Saint-Jean-sur-Richelieu), L’Assomption, Sorel, Industrie (Joliette), and Terrebonne, all in Québec.

Dame Emma Albani
Dame Dame Emma Albani in costume for her role as Amina.

Unable to finance a musical education in Quebec, where singing and acting were considered unsavory careers for a woman, Joseph Lajeunesse attempted to raise sufficient money to send her to study in Paris.

In 1865, Emma’s family moved to Albany, New York, stopping at several towns, including Saratoga Springs and Johnstown, where Emma and her sister performed. She became a popular singer in New York, and managed to save enough money for her studies.

Emma Albani in costume for Violetta
Dame Emma Albani in costume for Violetta.

In Albany, Emma was hired as soloist for the parish church of St Joseph, where she worked three years singing, playing the organ, and directing the choir. She also worked at composing scores, as well as musical pieces for harp, solo piano and two pianos.

With her father’s savings and financial assistance from well-wishers and parishioners, Emma was able to go to Paris to study at the ‘Paris Conservatoire’ with Gilbert-Louis Duprez, the famous French tenor. Not long after her lessons with him began, Duprez was heard to say about Emma, “She has a beautiful voice and ardor. She is of the kind of wood from which fine flutes are made.”

At the suggestion of her elocution instructor, Signor Delorenzi, she changed her name to the simpler Emma Albani, which sounded more European and happened to be a very old Italian family name. The closeness in sound of her new surname and ‘Albany’ in New York pleased her, as she had been treated so well there.

Emma continued to study in Milan, Italy for a year and with the assistance of eminent voice teacher Francesco Lamperti, she learned solid technique and, along with her rigid discipline, was able to maintain good vocal health. These techniques enabled her to perform a range of roles from light to dramatic.

Emma Albani in 1899.
Dame Emma Albani in 1899.

Emma’s funds diminished, and although she was not yet finished her training, she began to look for work during the 1869-70 season to help support her schooling. She found a position in Messina, and her operatic debut was on March 30, 1870, playing Amina in Vincenzo Bellini’s La Sonnambula. Her debut performance was very well received and she later stated, “I was literally loaded with flowers, presents, and poetry, the detached sheets of which were sent fluttering down in every direction on the heads of the audience; and among the numberless bouquets of every shape was a basket in which was concealed a live dove. They had painted it red, and the dear little bird rose and flew all over the theater.”

From the time of her debut in Messina, she realized that to portray historical characters, it was not enough to sing well and made a point of visiting museums and reading extensively.

She returned to Milan after her contract in Messina had expired and resumed her instruction with Lamperti. Meanwhile, more work offers began to pour in, including a role she accepted in Rigoletto, which was being performed in Cento. Other roles followed in Florence and Malta, with parts in Lucia di Lammermoor, Robert il Diavolo, La Sonnambula, Il Barbiere di Siviglia and L’Africaine.

After performing in Malta in the winter of 1870 to 1871, she auditioned for Frederick Gye, manager of Covent Garden in London. He was so impressed with her abilities, he signed her to a five-year contract. Before her London contract was to start, she returned to Italy to complete her studies with Lamperti.

Albani arrived in London in the spring of 1872 and her first performance under her contract was on April 2, 1872 at the Royal Italian Opera (the name taken in 1847 by Covent Garden in London) and was a great success. She was the first Canadian woman to perform in this opera house and would perform there until 1896.

Emma continued to perform in various roles and venues throughout Europe, Russia and the United States over the next five seasons. Her performances included that of Ophelia in Hamlet and the Countess in ‘The Marriage of Figaro’.

Queen Victoria later requested a private performance from Albani, who traveled to Windsor Palace in July, 1874 to perform “Caro Nome” from Rigoletto, “Ave Maria”, “Robin Adair”, and “Home, Sweet Home”. This was the first of many occasions on which Albani would perform for monarchs and other dignitaries, but it was also the beginning of a friendship and the two women would visit each other regularly until Queen Victoria died in 1901. Albani would also sing at the funeral of Queen Victoria.

Letter from Queen Victoria to Dame Emma Albani.
Letter from Queen Victoria to Dame Emma Albani.

Emma Albani toured the United States in the fall of 1874, visiting Philadelphia, New York, Boston, Baltimore, Washington, Chicago and Albany.
In November 1874, Emma went on tour in the United States, where she performed her first role in a Wagner opera as Elsa in “Lohengrin” at New York’s Academy of Music. Her repertoire grew over the years.

After 1876, Emma’s sister Cornélia was always by her side. Cornélia was also a talented pianist and had studied in Germany, later teaching music to the children of the royal family of Spain. Cornélia worked her entire life as Emma’s accompanist and companion, dying soon after Emma.

Mr. Frederick Gye
Mr. Frederick Gye, father of Emma’s husband Ernest Gye.

Emma married Ernest Gye on August 6, 1878. He was the son of the director of the Royal Italian Opera and after his father died in an accident, he took over the position from 1878 to 1885. Their son, Ernest Frederick was born June 4, 1879, became a prominent diplomat and would die in London in 1955.

In 1880, as a result of playing Lucia in “Lucia di Lammermoor” and Gilda in “Rigoletto” at La Scala in Milan, Italy, Emma suffered a setback. The audience was already hostile to non-Italian singers in this theater, but she was not in very good voice, resulting in being unable to impress her listeners. Despite this, her career continued to grow since she performed in cities she had not previously visited.

Caricature from Punch, 17 September 1881: "MADAME ALBANI. A Thing of Beauty is a Gye for ever!"
Caricature from Punch, 17 September 1881: “MADAME ALBANI. A Thing of Beauty is a Gye for ever!”

In 1883, Emma and another singer, Adelina Patti, undertook a long tour in the United States, visiting Chicago, Baltimore, New York and Washington. She also gave three recitals in Montréal, for which appearance more than ten thousand people showed up to greet her, and poet Louis-Honoré Fréchette composed a poem in her honor which he read at a reception.

She remained attached to Canada and toured nine times to perform recitals from 1883 to 1906, traveling from one coast to the other. In1890 Emma performed in two complete operas at the Academy of Music in Montréal, Verdi’s “La Traviata” and “Lucia di Lammermoor”. Albani was always generous to charitable organizations and she supported and performed in a benefit concert in Montréal for Notre-Dame Hospital.

Albani became the first French Canadian woman to perform at the Metropolitan Opera House in New York on November 23, 1891 in “Les Huguenots”. That winter, she was in several other productions at the Metropolitan Opera House.

Albani retired from the Covent Gardens opera, and her final stage performance taking place in July 1896 at the Royal Opera House. To accommodate the changing tastes of the theater’s directors and the public, Emma had to show great flexibility and perform diverse roles. Emma received the royal Philharmonic Society’s gold medal or the “Beethoven Medal” in 1897.

Letter from Dame Emma Albani
Letter from Dame Emma Albani from her memoir titled “Forty Years of Song”.

Although retired, she still sang in recitals and in 1901 she traveled across Canada, traveling from Halifax, Nova Scotia to Vancouver, British Columbia. She then continued to go on tour in Australia (1898, 1907), South Africa (1898, 1899, 1904), Ceylon (Sri Lanka) (1907), New Zealand (1907) and India (1907). In 1906 she made her farewell Canadian tour. During this period she is said to have recorded nine titles (audio of one follows article) and some have since been remastered and are available today. Her ‘post-retirement’ career came to an end on October 14, 1911 when she gave her last public performance at the Royal Albert Hall in London. That same year she released a book a book of her memoirs, “Forty Years of Song”.

She and her husband retired to Kensington where Emma’s last years were troubled by financial difficulties necessitating that she teach and occasionally perform in music halls. Her circumstances resulted from the war and poor investments, and in concern the British government voted her an annual pension of £100. Word of her difficulties reached Montréal, where “La Presse” sponsored a recital on May 28, 1925 in the Théâtre Saint-Denis. More than $4,000 was collected. Assistance was also sought from the Canadian and Quebec governments, who declined, stating that Albani had become more of a British subject than a Canadian citizen since she had resided in London since 1872).

Postage stamp commemorating the 50th anniversary of Dame Emma's death.
Postage stamp issued by Canada Post in 1980 to commemorate the 50th anniversary of Dame Emma Albani’s death.

Dame Emma Albani died on April 3, 1930 at her home on Tregunter Road, Kensington, in London and was buried at Brompton, London, England.

During her lifetime, she received many awards, including the gold Beethoven Medal (given by the Royal Philharmonic Society of London) and the Medal of Honour commemorating Queen Victoria’s jubilee in 1897. In 1925 she was made a Dame Commander of the Order of the British Empire.

Of two streets that were named after Emma Albani in Montréal, the first was dedicated in the 1930s, but was later removed when the road was merged with another street, and the second was named Rue Albani in 1969.

Other honors included a postage stamp issued by Canada Post and designed by artist Huntley Brown. It was released July 4, 1980 and eleven million, seven hundred thousand copies of the stamp were printed. She is also immortalized in a stained glass mural at Montréal’s Place des Arts station.

Photo credits:

Wikipedia – Dame Emma Albani, online [].


  1. “Forty Years of Song,” by Emma Albani; Project Gutenberg Canada website; []
  2. Dictionary of Canadian Biography Online []
  3. Les Labelles, Daniel Labelle online []
  4. Wikipedia – Dame Emma Albani, online [].

Melansons and the Acadian Expulsion

The British conquered Acadia from the French in 1710 and subsequently, the Acadians refused to sign an unconditional oath of allegiance to Britain. At this time, the Acadians and Mi’kmaq formed militia against the British and as a result of what the British viewed as the rebellious actions of some of the Acadians, British Governor Charles Lawrence and the Nova Scotia Council ordered the expulsion of all the Acadians. This action led to the deaths of thousands of Acadians.
The Acadian people were expelled from what are now the provinces of Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, and Prince Edward Island between 1755 and 1763 and were deported to Britain, France and other British colonies.

Fort Edward in 1753

Fort Edward, in what was then Pisiguit (Windsor, Nova Scotia) played an important role in the Bay of Fundy Campaign (1755) of the Acadian Expulsion. Fort Edward was one of four forts in which Acadians were imprisoned over the nine years of the expulsion (the others were Fort Frederick, Saint John, New Brunswick; Fort Cumberland; and Fort Charlotte, Georges Island, Halifax).
In the early 1760’s it was illegal for Acadians to reside in Nova Scotia. Families and individuals who had avoided capture in 1755 were imprisoned. The prison lists for Fort Edward between 1761-1762 still exist (For a list of the prisoners see List of Acadian Prisoners – Fort Edward). There was Acadian and Mi’kmaq resistance to the Expulsion. In April of 1757, a band of Acadians and Mi’kmaq raided a warehouse near Fort Edward, killing thirteen British soldiers and, after taking what provisions they could carry, setting fire to the building. A few days later, the same group also raided Fort Cumberland.

Fort Beausejour in 1755

Fort Beauséjour, (later known as Fort Cumberland) is located at the Isthmus of Chignecto in present day Aulac, New Brunswick, Canada. This fort was famous for the Battle of Fort Beauséjour, which was both the final act in the long fight between Britain and France for control of Acadia and the beginning of the final struggle between the two great empires for North America itself. Fort Beauséjour was one of several French forts erected to strengthen the French position in North America against the British.
In 1755, there was a major battle at Fort Beauséjour. It was also the site of the start of the Expulsion of the Acadians and the area was afterward subjected to the resistance of the Mi’kmaq and Acadians. On June 4, 1755, British forces and militia attacked Fort Beauséjour from their base at Fort Lawrence. After taking control of Fort Beauséjour by June 16, 1755, they changed its name to Fort Cumberland. After the capture of the fort, British forces attempted to convince Acadians of the Beaubassin region to sign the oath of allegiance demanded by the British Crown; however the Acadians refused, stating that they would rather remain neutral. Some of the captured Acadians who remained reported that they were forced to help defend Fort Beauséjour. Armed with this information, the British planned and executed the expulsion of Acadians in August 1755.
This event was the start of what would come to be known as the Great Upheaval (le Grand Dérangement) of Acadian society. It commenced with the Acadians in the Beaubassin region. British forces burnt Acadian homes at Beaubassin and the vicinity of the fort to prevent their return. Fort Cumberland became one of four sites in which Acadians were imprisoned during the nine years of the expulsion, including Fort Edward.
Pierre “Parrotte” Melanson was born in 1720 in Port Royal (later Annapolis Royal). Pierre “Parrotte” Melanson and Marie Josephe Granger (my 5th great grandparents) were married on 1 Feb 1746 in Port Royal. Marie Josèphe Granger, daughter of Laurens Granger and Marie Bourg, was born on 12 Jan 1723 in Port Royal. He and Marie Josèphe had six children: Marie-Josèphe, Jean “Janne”, Osite, Pierre, David and Dominique-Pierre. Escaping deportation during the Acadian Expulsion, Pierre, Marie Josephe and their three living children, Marie-Josephe, Janne and David (see below for more information about the children), sought refuge in the Petitcodiac region (today in New Brunswick) from 1755 to 1760. They were captured and subsequently held prisoner at Fort Edward between 1761 and 1763. They then lived as captives in Fort Cumberland, between 1763 and 1768. Their youngest son Dominique-Pierre was born in captivity at Fort Cumberland. Pierre “Parrotte” and his family lived after their release from Fort Cumberland in Minudie, Cumberland County, Nova Scotia, where he died about 1791 at the age of 71. His wife Marie Josèphe remained in Minudie until her death about 1790 at the age of 67.
Marie-Josèphe Melanson was born on 4 Mar 1747 in Port Royal. Marie-Josèphe Melanson and Jean-Augustin Gaudet, son of Augustin Gaudet and Agnés Chiasson, were married about 1767 while in captivity at Fort Edward. They lived as captives in Fort Edward between 1761 and 1763, and then also in captivity in Fort Cumberland between 1763 and 1768. They had nine children: Marie-Madeleine, Isabelle, Marie-Anne “Nannette”, Marguerite, Jean, Marguerite, Pierre, Pélagie and Sauveur and they all settled in Westmoreland County, New Brunswick, Canada.
Jean “Janne” Melanson was born on 12 Aug 1749 in Port Royal. Janne lived as a captive along with his family in Fort Edward between 1761 and 1763. He lived as a captive along with his family in Fort Cumberland, Nova Scotia, Canada between 1763 and 1768. Janne later died in Minudie.  Jean “Janne” Melanson and Modeste “Ursule” Forest (4th great grandparents), daughter of Charles Forest and Marie Chiasson, were married on 20 Nov 1773 in Franklin Manor, Minudie. Janne and Modeste had seven children, Louise “Lizette”, Henriette, Romain “Roma”, Apollonie, Pélagie, Rose Anne and Pierre Melanson (3rd great grandfather).
David Melanson was born in 1755 in Port Royal. He lived as an escapee with his family in Petitcodiac between 1755 and 1761. He lived with his family in Fort Edward between 1761 and 1763 and in Fort Cumberland between 1763 and 1768. David Melanson married firstly Marguerite Leblanc, daughter of Joseph Leblanc and Marie Doiron, about 1776 in Minudie, Cumberland County. They had eleven children: Pierre, Cécile, Rosalie, Dominique, Fabien, Firmin, Brigitte, Joseph “dit Magoune”, Gertrude, Romain “Roma” and François. David became a land owner from land grants in Dorchester Crossing and Scoudouc, New Brunswick. David and Marguerite both died in Memramcook, Westmorland County, she in 1810 and he in 1834. Marguerite is among those originally buried at the old Memramcook parish cemetery that were exhumed and re-interred at the new church’s cemetery (St. Thomas) when it opened in 1840.
David married secondly Anne Nanette Richard, daughter of René “petit René de Beaupré” and Perpétue Bourgeois, on 4 Feb 1811 in Memramcook, Westmorland County. They were granted dispensations for third to fourth degree of consanguinity and a third degree of affinity. She died shortly after their marriage at the age of 44 in Memramcook.
Dominique-Pierre Melanson was born in captivity in Fort Cumberland in 1765 and was captive there along with his family between 1765 and 1768. Dominique-Pierre Melanson and Anne-Rosalie Babin, daughter of Pierre Babin and Madeleine Bourque, were married on 8 Nov 1783 in Franklin Manor, Minudie. They had five children: Apolline, Isabelle, Laurent “P’Tit Laurent”, Franéçois and Anne. Dominique-Pierre died on 11 Aug 1813 at the age of 48 in Memramcook.

1. Michael B. Melanson, Melanson – Melancon: Genealogy of an Acadian and Cajun Family (Dracut, Massachusetts: Lanesville Publishing, 2004).
2. “Baptism Records of St-Jean-Baptiste, Port Royal, Acadia,” database, Nova Scotia Archives (
3. “Marriage Records of St-Jean-Baptiste, Port Royal, Acadia,” database, Nova Scotia Archives ( .
4. “Baptism Records of St-Jean-Baptiste, Port Royal, Acadia,” database, Nova Scotia Archives ( .

Our Melanson Family: A haunting history?

Since we’re coming up onto Halloween, I decided to repost this story about our own Melanson family’s haunting history.


I posted in the past about the ancestry of my mother’s Fougère and Melanson families. The Fougères and Melansons were original Acadian settlers in Nova Scotia and New Brunswick, having traveled from France in the late 17th century.

My mother was the only daughter of three children born to Jude Edmond Melanson and Stella Irene Fougère. The first born son was about twelve years older than her next oldest brother, Paul, who in turn was only about two years older than her.

In an email he wrote to my mother after the rest of their family had long since passed on, Uncle Paul stated categorically that he did not believe in ghosts. This being said, however, he has never found an explanation for the strange occurrences he described that happened while he lived at and remodeled my Grandmére’s house after he moved into it upon her death in 1961. As he put it in a recent email to me, “We never (saw) things like ghosts, shadows etc, but whenever I made changes to her house strange things would happen to let me know (she) wasn’t very happy with what I was doing to her house”.

Once he started experienHalloween housecing these unexplained events, Paul’s curiosity got the better of him and he did a great deal of research into ghosts or spirits remaining in the house or other buildings after they died. He learned that it is believed that a person who was strong willed or had a very strong personality could remain within a building or home they lived in and/or loved during their lifetime. A traumatic death was also known to contribute to a spirit remaining after death.

Uncle Paul deduced that the unexplained events had something to do with the renovations since they didn’t happen during the long periods of inactivity between projects. The severity of the events seemed to depend on the extent of the renovations being done.

Uncle Paul and his wife had two children, a girl born in 1961, and a boy in 1963. They also adopted a 1 1/2 year old girl named Samantha in 1969.

After Paul’s marriage in May 1960, it became apparent that my grandmother was troubled. Although the reasons were never clear, Grandmére committed suicide and was found by Grandpére about noon on Saturday, July 9, 1960 – just under one year after she had flown to Germany to visit with me as a newborn and my Mom and Dad, as they had been posted there by the Canadian Forces before my birth.

Grandmére’s autopsy revealed she had taken a great deal of valium. She had also made prior arrangements for her hair to be done and the clothing she wished to be buried in was laid out on a chair. No suicide note was found.

Uncle Paul went against her wishes and moved in with Grandpére. Soon after, Grandpére’s wholesale business went under and he lost everything, leaving Uncle Paul in a position where he would have had no choice but to look after Grandpére anyway.

Although the house was based on the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC) house plan 215, Grandmére modified it extensively. First she flipped it, reversing the complete house layout with the living room on the right and the bedrooms on the left. She had the house length and width increased by 2 feet, final dimensions being 42′ X 26′ or 1092 square feet, as well as several other changes. She was the prime contractor and the carpenter, electrician and other trades people answered to her. Upon Paul’s suggestion, Grandmére made one final change and had the roof style changed to a hip roof.

Paul didn’t make any major renovations after he had full ownership of the house in 1967. He began making extensive changes soon after, most of which Grandmére would not have approved of.

The following list of renovations is not in any particular order, but it will paint a picture of the work done over time.

1.     A wall between the living room and hall was removed.

2.     The kitchen renovations included:

⦁ changing the heavy porcelain kitchen sinks to aluminum;
⦁ transferring the floor tiles from the family’s older home for use in the newer one;
⦁ replacing these same tiles again later with carpet; and
⦁ refinished the cabinets and replaced the counter tops.
⦁ installed new appliances

3.     Paul’s changes in the bathroom involved:

⦁ replacing Grandmére’s beloved pink wall tiles with beige ones;
⦁ installing ceramic tile flooring;
⦁ installing shower doors;
⦁ adding a new sink and fixtures; and
⦁ painting the tub brown to match the new decor.

5.     The house interior and exterior were completely repainted several times, including the woodwork trim that Grandmére had painted a rather ‘ghastly’ (Paul’s word) color she mixed and called “Coral Rose”.

6.     Insulated the house with urea formaldehyde foam insulation (UFFI).

7.     Changed the exterior shingles to vinyl siding.

8.     Replaced the living room picture window.

9.     Put in a 20′ x 40′ swimming pool in the back yard.

With the exception of the vinyl siding, insulation and the new living room window, Uncle Paul always did the work himself. While undergoing the renovations, and usually in the evenings, strange things would happen. Most of the time these took place while everyone was in a different room.

It became so commonplace that Paul’s kids would say, “There’s Mamére again.” Nothing ever happened in the basement and there were never any apparitions, ghosts or anything else visible at any time.

Some of the more common events were:

  • Dishes falling out of the kitchen cupboards.
  • Cupboard doors opening and closing by themselves.
  • Pictures falling off the wall in the hall and living room. The nail remained in the wall and the hanging wire on the picture did not break. The pictures just seemed to ‘jump’ off their hook and land on the floor.

Being a natural skeptic, Paul tried to rationalize these occurrences as having been caused naturally, such as by earthquakes, volcanoes, tornadoes, etc. In most instances, he could come up with a plausible explanation until he started major projects.

While doing the kitchen and bathroom renovations in particular the events escalated dramatically. In addition to the common occurrences described above, platters that were standing behind a stack of plates would come out of closed cupboards and land on the kitchen floor, unbroken. Strange noises were frequently heard.

One of the more frightening and dramatic events occurred when Paul removed the pink tiles from the bathroom wall. Before Paul cleaned the grouting from the wall, his son was cleaning up in the bathroom and Paul stood at the open door talking to him, when the old grout remaining on the walls began shooting around the bathroom. It didn’t fall to the floor with gravity as would normally be expected, but was ‘bouncing’ from one wall to the opposite wall, making a sharp snapping sound as it flew off the wall. This activity continued for about five minutes, while Paul and his son stood rooted to the spot and could only watch in disbelief. The general consensus amongst the family was that Grandmére was ‘pissed off’ at Paul for removing the pink tiles.

Upon deciding to replace the bathtub, it was discovered that it could not be removed and therefore Paul decided to paint it a chocolate brown. The paint was a two-part epoxy paint and took several steps and days to apply. The first step was to sand the tub, then the first coat was applied and left to dry for three days. Paul admits that upon finishing the first coat, he was dismayed at how bad it looked, with white streaks, uneven coloring etc. It was a mess.

Paul came home from work around 6:30 the day after and was standing in the bathroom door looking at the tub, completely disgusted with the results, when, “CRASH!!!!!” A loud noise was heard from within Grandpere’s bedroom directly across the hall from the bathroom. It was dark and the lights were off. Everyone else having been in the living room at the time, they all came running.

Paul turned the lights on in Grandpére’s room to see a set of TV tables scattered all over the room – on the bed, on the floor, etc., looking as though someone had kicked them. They were not broken but they were in complete disarray, with the legs disconnected from the table tops.

After all of this, Paul was beginning to take this possibility of a ghost a bit more seriously.

Paul was working at an airport at the time as Manager, making and operating target airplanes for the military. I told some of his colleagues about the situation at home with the TV tables. One of the girls got together with a friend over the following weekend and over a bottle of wine decided to play with a Ouija board.

After the next weekend, she phoned Paul to report what had happened. She said that as a lark they asked the Ouija board who had scattered the TV tables. In response, she got got ‘Sim’. She could make nothing of this at the time and thought the board was referring to the name ‘Sam’ in reference to Paul’s youngest adopted daughter. As soon as he heard the story, Paul told her that ‘SIM’ was most likely Grandmére’s initials – Stella Irene Melanson. Paul had never mentioned his mother’s name at work, always referring to her as ‘Mom’.

He had, however, mentioned Sam’s name at work. With this in mind, Paul’s friend decided that she would try again the following weekend – just in case she had heard Grandmére’s name at some time. She asked Paul for a question that only his mother would know the answer to. Grandmére had left Paul her car, which was a gray and  white Ford, and he had sold it soon after her death in 1960. He did not work at the airport until 1978, so there was no way they could have know the answer to the question he gave, “What color and make of car did his Mom have?”

When she called him again the following Monday, she asked if his Mom had owned a green and white Ford. Paul told her the answer was wrong and that the “stupid board was nothing but a toy”. This colleague then explained that the board spelled out GR + WH and when asked what type of car the board spelled FD. She just assumed it was referring to a green and white ford. This was most likely misinterpreted, the GR actually standing for gray, WH for white and FD for Ford, which she did own.

Grandpére died in July of 1982 and about three months later, Paul decided to remove the UFFI foam from the house, replace the living room window and to have the outside of the house redone with vinyl siding. To do this he had to remove the mirror from over the fireplace so it would not get broken if the walls bulged with the new insulation. This had been Grandmére’s flawless mirror that she had paid the princely sum of $135 for – in 1960!!

Paul was sure that this would be the ultimate provocation of her wrath, for this mirror had been her pride and joy.

Surprisingly, nothing further happened – ever.


Would you like to read more about the Melansons and Fougères?

Oh, the difference one letter can make when using copied or transcribed documents!

This joke is the best illustration I’ve ever seen of the negative effects of working from copied documents instead of originals. This should be on display in every library, archive and genealogy center as a reminder of the perils awaiting.

This is something I think about every time I do a transcription, and this type of consequence is why I use wildcard symbols in place of characters I can’t quite make out or understand in the original or copy I’m working from. It ensures the reader knows there is doubt and if it’s important to them and their research, they’ll look for and consult the original.

The Old Monk

A new monk arrives at the monastery. He is assigned to help the other monks in copying the old texts by hand.

He notices, however, that they are copying copies, not the original books. So, the new monk goes to the head monk to ask him about this. He points out that if there were an error in the first copy, that error would be continued in all of the other copies.

The head monk says “We have been copying from the copies for centuries, but you make a good point, my son.” So, he goes down into the cellar with one of the copies to check it against the original.

Hours later, nobody has seen him. So, one of the monks goes downstairs to look for him. He hears a sobbing coming from the back of the cellar, and finds the old monk leaning over one of the original books crying. He asks what’s wrong.

The old monk sobs, “The word is celebrate.”

Historic Graveyard Tour at Fort Anne.

One of the best things we did on a trip we took to Nova Scotia a few years ago was to see the Graveyard Tour at Fort Anne.


Historic Graveyard Tour at Fort Anne.
Historic Graveyard Tour at Fort Anne (Click on the image to see it in full size.) The top image at right is of our son and daughter listening to the fascinating tales associated with the burials. The lower image (although difficult to make out in the dusk) is of our family gathered with the tour guide at Fort Anne prior to the tour.

This was during our long awaited driving tour of Acadian heritage sites in New Brunswick and Nova Scotia, Canada.

The first stop we made in Nova Scotia was at a campground near Annapolis Royal and I spotted a ‘newspaper’ on the counter at check-in. It caught my eye because the top of the page showed a picture of a man with his name written underneath – ‘Alan Melanson’. This peaked my interest as Melanson is my mother’s maiden name and the Melansons are one of the pioneer families to settle in Acadia.

It seemed that Alan Melanson was the tour guide for the Graveyard Tour at Fort Anne, prompting Mark, the kids and I to check it out the next day. Once Alan arrived we got into a conversation about my Melanson family and how we are related to him.

In the image above, the tour guide holding the lantern at the gravestone is Alan Melanson, a distant cousin as we both descend from Charles ‘dit La Ramée’ Mellanson, one of the two sons of the founding couple of the Melanson family in Acadia.

The photos on this website were taken by a photographer snapping shots the evening we toured the old graveyard. He had asked permission to take pictures with the kids in them and we agreed in return for copies.

Later on, we found that Erin and Stu’s photos were on the Fort Anne Graveyard Tour’s website!

I took this image directly from the Fort Anne Graveyard Tour website, except that I captured the picture of the crowd in front of the fort building as it includes myself, my husband Mark and our two teenagers, Erin and Stuart. One of the images in the clip features Erin and Stuart under lamplight at the gravestone.

I would highly recommend this tour to anyone. Alan Melanson is an engaging and entertaining host, injecting humor and insight into his tour.

It’s not hard to imagine some of the colorful characters buried in this centuries old graveyard.

I’d like to see an open and free exchange of genealogical data.

Ideally, I’d like to see an open and free exchange of genealogical data.

I’ve long been a proponent of the open and free exchange of genealogy data to ensure ready access to information for everyone researching their family history.

This morning, however, I read “Cooperation Makes Records Available for Free” at and it made me think.

As much as I’d like all genealogical data to be free, I can understand someone wishing to recover their costs of researching the data.

Database profile for Isaac Shelby, Governor of Kentucky, including references to numerous images, documents and sources. (Click on the image to see in full size.)

Although the costs of genealogy research have reduced considerably over the past two decades due to computers and the increasing availability of records, images and data online, we’re seeing a correlating increase in sites online offering valuable data for a fee of some kind, making free data harder to find. is one of the few sites still offering data for free.

In my case, ALL of my data (including images, sources and documents) is available online for free download. I do not charge for anything. I do, however, make revenue from ad clicks and sponsored posts on my sites. The end result is that, at least at present, I can offer all of my data for free as the ads pay for the upkeep and maintenance of my sites – for the most part.

There is a delicate balance here, though. As long as I can afford to offer this information free of charge it will remain so. If there comes a point where I have to recover my costs, I will have to either charge for downloads or remove the site from the internet altogether. Rest assured that this is not anywhere in the foreseeable future.

I’ve also seen a marked increase in the amount of personal genealogy data online that is ‘locked’ or marked ‘private’. I have contacted the owners of such data and in most cases they have been very forthcoming and willing to exchange information. In a few cases, however, the owner can be very protective of their data and will not make it available. Luckily, these appear to be few and far between at present.

I welcome the exchange of data offered by anyone doing genealogy research. It is important that this information remain available. One caveat, however, is to ALWAYS categorize the data as it appears when received. If there are no sources attached, it is questionable at best and it is important to use this information as ‘clues’ to further finds. Do not take this information at face value.

I have a very large database and about half of the data is sourced, while about half is not. I am constantly actively seeking and adding sources to prove the data.

I have received some criticism for this. One researcher contacted me about a particular line of information because it was claimed I had a place name incorrect. Little did this person know I had lived in the area for 21 years and knew it very well. To say this person was hostile is putting it mildly. I couldn’t believe it when it was demanded that I remove the lines pertaining to HER RESEARCH as she was the researcher of this family and I had no business researching it since our connection was only by remarriage, adoption and the birth of half-siblings. She also demanded that I remove anything that was not sourced or proven. To do as she demanded would break up lines and create gaps, leaving me without clues to search for sources to prove the information I do have and fill the gaps.

As I stated above, a good portion of my data is accumulated through free exchange of information, including the import of gedcoms of other peoples’ research. The sources (or lack thereof) remain as they have cited them, but I do search for actual copies of listed sources to attach where possible. I leave unsourced data as I receive it until I can research it further and I categorize any sources I have confirmed or added.

It is important to realize that cooperation and goodwill among researchers is essential to keeping the lines of communication and free flow of information open. Once we start becoming territorial and protective of our data, we contribute to the scarcity of information and increased costs for all.

Again, although such data can be invaluable as clues to further research, it is important to note that all sources are only as good as the attachments and assessed quality.

Sir William ap Thomas and Gwladus ferch Dafydd Gam

Sir William ap Thomas Herbert, (21st great grandfather to my children) was born about 1390 to Sir Thomas ap Gwilyn (1360-1438) and Maud de Morley (1375-    ).

Featured image: Tomb with Effigies of Roger Vaughan and Gwladus ferch Dafydd Gam.

Sir William ap Thomas first married Elizabeth (or Isabel) Bluet (1380-1420), daughter of Sir John Bluet of Raglan Manor and Katherine Wogan, and widow of Sir James Berkeley. Elizabeth inherited Raglan Castle while married to to James Berkeley, who later died in about 1405. There were no children born to William and Elizabeth.

Sir William ap Thomas - Battle of Agincourt in 1415.
Sir William ap Thomas – Battle of Agincourt in 1415.

William fought in support of Henry V of England alongside Sir Roger Vaughan, first husband of his later wife Gwladus ferch Dafydd Gam and her father Dafydd Gam ap Llewelyn in the battle of Agincourt. Both Sir Roger and Dafydd Gam died in battle and Dafydd Gam was knighted as he lay dying. Sir William was made a knight-banneret.

In 1426, William was knighted by King Henry VI, and was known as “Y marchog glas o Went” (the blue knight of Gwent), because of the colour of his armour.

When Sir John Bloet died, Raglan Manor was inherited by Elizabeth and her husband James Berkeley. Upon Elizabeth’s death in 1420, William lived at Raglan as a tenant of his step-son James, Lord Berkeley. In 1425, James Berkely granted William the right to live at Raglan Manor for the remainder of his life.

In the earliest of his many occupations, William was made Steward of the Lordship of Abergavenny by 1421. At about this time, he married secondly the daughter of Dafydd Gam and the widow of Sir Roger Vaughan, Gwladys ferch Dafydd Gam, who was known as ‘Seren y fenni’ (Star of Abergavenny). The exact date of Gwladus’ birth is unknown, but she was born in Breconshire, Wales. She was renowned for her beauty, discretion and influence.

Her father supported Henry IV of England and as a result, she, her father, grandfather and two brothers were driven from their last home in Wales, finding refuge at King Henry IV’s court, where Gwladus served as a Maid of Honor to both of Henry IV’s wives, Mary de Bohun (about 1368-1394) and Joan (about 1370-1437).

After her marriage to Sir Roger Vaughan, she returned to Wales with her family as Roger was a great friend of her father’s and would later fight and die with him at Agincourt. Roger and Gwlady’s children were:

  • Watkin (Walter) Vaughan, who died 1456, married Elinor, daughter of Sir Henry Wogan, on Easter 1456. Watkin was murdered at home at Bredwardine Castle. His half-brother William Herbert and Walter Devereux worked to ensure the execution of the culprits at Hereford.
  • Thomas Vaughan, born about 1400, married Ellen Gethin, daughter of Cadwgan ap Dafydd. In 1461, Thomas died at the battle of Edgecote and was entombed at Kington church, near Hergest.
  • Sir Roger Vaughan of Tretower Court married first to Cicely, daughter of Thomas ap Philip Vychan, of Talgarth and second to Lady Margaret, daughter of Lord James Audley, another of the heroes of Agincourt. He died in 1471.
  • Elizabeth Vaughan married gentleman Griffith ap Eineon.
  • Blanch Vaughan married John Milwater, a wealthy Englishman commissioned by Edward IV to accompany Blanch’s half-brother, William Herbert, to the siege of Harlech Castle.

William ap Thomas and Gwladus had the following children:

  • Thomas Herbert, born in 1422.
  • Sir William Herbert, 1st Earl of Pembroke (1423–1469), who took the surname Herbert. William’s support for and loyalty to Richard, Duke of York, and Richard Neville, 16th Earl of Warwick, resulted in his being recognized as Edward IV’s Welsh “master-lock”. He was the first full-blooded Welshman to enter the English peerage and he was knighted in 1452. William married Anne Devereux in 1449. She was the daughter of Sir Walter Devereux.
  • Sir Richard Herbert, born about 1424, of Coldbrook House, near Abergavenny who died in the battle of Danesmoor.
  • Elizabeth, born about 1427, married Sir Henry Stradling (1423–1476), son of Sir Edward Stradling  and Gwenllian Berkerolles. In contrast to previous generation, Henry and his brothers-in-law were hostile to the Henry VI reign. In 1476, Henry went on a pilgrimage to the Holy Land dying on August 31, 1476 on his journey back to England. He was buried at Famagusta, Cyprus.
  • Margaret, born about 1429, married Sir Henry Wogan, Steward and Treasurer of the Earldom of Pembroke. He was made responsible for securing war material for the defence of Pembroke Castle. Their son, Sir John Wogan, was killed in battle at Banbury in 1465, fighting along side his uncle, William Herbert.

Other children that have been attributed to Gwladus and William include: Maud, Olivia, Elizabeth (who married Welsh country gentlemen, John ab Gwilym).

Gwladus and William raised their own children as well as those from her marriage to Sir Roger Vaughan.

Abergavenny Priory, Abergavenny, Wales
Abergavenny Priory

By 1432 William was able to purchase Raglan Manor for about £667 and afterward, he expanded the manor to become Raglan Castle.

Sir William was appointed to the position of High Sheriff of Cardiganshire and Carmarthenshire in 1435, and in 1440, also to the position of High Sheriff of Glamorgan. About 1442 or 1443, William became Chief Steward of the estates of Richard Plantagenet, 3rd Duke of York. He also served as a member of the Duke of York’s military council.

William ap Thomas died in London in 1445 and his body was brought back to Wales. William’s wife, Gwladys, died in 1454. Gwladys and her husband William ap Thomas were patrons of Abergavenny Priory where they were both buried and their alabaster tomb and effigies can still be seen in the Priory.


  1. The Herbert Family Pedigree, Ancient Wales Studies online; [].
  2. Herbert and Einion Sais links to Blayneys, online; [].
  3. Thomas Allen Glenn, Merion in the Welsh Tract: With Sketches of the Townships of Haverford and Radnor (Norristown, PA: 1896), ; pdf, Digital Library; [].
  4. Gwladus ferch Dafydd Gam; Find A Grave; [].
  5. Early Leighs of Wales; [].
  6. The Complete Peerage of England, Scotland, Ireland, Great Britain and the United Kingdon, Extant, Extinct or Dormant (G.E. Cokayne; with Vicary Gibbs, H.A. Doubleday, Geoffrey H. White, Duncan Warrand and Lord Howard de Walden, editors, new ed., 13 volumes in 14 (1910-1959; reprint in 6 volumes, Gloucester, U.K.: Alan Sutton Publishing, 2000), volume I.).
  7. John Burke, History of the Commoners of Great Britain and Ireland (1834-1838).
  8. Dr. Thomas Nicholas, Annals and Antiquities of the Counties and County Families of Wales (1875); [].
  9. John Edward Lloyd and R. T. Jenkins, Ed.; Dictionary of Welsh Biography down to 1940 (1957).
  10. Wikipedia; [].

WWI War Stories: Turmaine and Emery.

In honor of today’s ceremonies in honor of the 100th anniversary of the battle at Vimy Ridge, I am reposting several articles about my own ancestors who died in WWI. 


In my father’s French Canadian, ‘Turmaine’ branch of the family, we have two known soldiers who died in the first world war. The first was my grand uncle, Pte. Joseph Philias Albert Emery, and the second was another grand uncle, Pte. Joseph Turmaine – and here are their WWI war stories.


Pte. Joseph Philias Albert Emery
Pte Joseph Philias Albert Emery – just one of many WWI war stories.

PTE. JOSEPH PHILIAS ALBERT EMERY, the son of Albert Emery and Émilie Labelle was born in Saint-André Avellin, Ripon Township, Papineau County, Québec, Canada. At 5’6″, he had a fair complexion, brown hair and grey eyes and he was a papermaker at the time of his enlistment in the 77th Canadian Battalion, Governor General’s Foot Guards.

Having later been reassigned to the 73rd Battalion Canadian Infantry, Black Watch of the Canadian Expeditionary Force, he was engaged in the preparations for the advance on Vimy Ridge. He was reported missing on March 1, 1917, about a month prior to the capture of the ridge. His remains were never found and he was memorialized at Cabaret-Rouge British Cemetery, Souchez in Pas de Calais, France.

Gas Attacks in March 1917 at Vimy Ridge - war stories
Of many WWI war stories, this one included deadly gas attacks in March 1917 at Vimy Ridge. Image of a gas cloud being released fromm canisters on the Western Front circ 1916.

During gas and artillery attacks planned for that day, the troops came under fire from the Germans.

An excerpt from the war diary of the 73rd Battalion dated March 1, 1917 reads, “Officers and men without exception fought magnificently. Casualties during the attack were as follows: 26 OR killed, 99 OR wounded, 27 OR missing.”



Preserved WWI tunnel at Vimy Ridge
Preserved WWI fighting tunnel at Vimy Ridge.

Pte. Emery was among those missing and was never recovered.

A very detailed and well-researched account entitled, “A Proper Slaughter: The March 1917 Gas Raid on Vimy Ridge”, written by Tim Cook contains some great photos and makes great reading.

Another account of the incident taken from the ‘ Canadian Battlefields ‘ website is as follows:

   “Thirty-nine days before the Canadians infamous and victorious attack on Vimy Ridge from April 9-12, 1917 there was a disastrous reconnaissance raid.   On March 1, 1917 at 3:00 am the gas sergeants took their positions to release the phosgene gas from the hundreds of gas canisters, referred to as “rats”, they had placed prior to the scheduled raid date. Every night they had lugged the heavy, poisonous gas canisters four miles to the front lines. They dug holes in the ground, nicknamed “rat traps” where the canisters were carefully placed and held in position with dirt and sandbags. A rubber hose connected to the canister would be maneuvered away from the trench, into No Man’s Land towards the enemy. The Canadians knew all too well what poisonous gas did to the human body from their experience at the Ypres Salient in 1915 when they were hit with gas for the first time.

    At 5:00 am the gas sergeants were to release the chlorine gas and 45-minutes later the 1,700 troops assigned to the raid were to go “over the top”. Of course things didn’t work out. For a gas attack, the velocity and direction of the wind is crucial. Secondly, gas is heavier then air. This meant that even if the gas sergeants managed to release the gas from the canisters and through the hose into No Man’s Land, the gas then had to travel up the hill to kill the Germans. (I shake my head at this, as I’m sure you are too). Gas is heavier than air, therefore it is logically impossible for it to flow up hill. Rather, they would find that the gas would settle in the pot-marked landscape and trenches, the very places our soldiers would seek protection from German fire. The idea was that the first gas release would kill most of the Germans. The second release, of chlorine gas, would surely finish off the Germans. 45-minutes after the chlorine gas release, a proposed sufficient amount of time for the gas to dissipate, our soldiers would walk in, finish off the few struggling Germans, collect the information they were sent for and then return. If I, a civilian, can see flaws in this plan, I cannot help but question, almost scream, “How did anyone ever let this plan go further than its first mentioning?!”

   The Germans realized a gas attack has been launched. They sounded the alarms, and released hell on No Man’s Land. A German artillery barrage and a steady pumping of rifle and machine gun fire rained down on the Canadians. The shells smashed into buried gas cylinders, causing our own trench to instantly fill with poison gas. With a tremendous rupture a wave of yellow gas plummeted from our trenches. The chlorine gas cylinders had been hit. “Making matters worse, the wind had changed direction. The release of the second wave of gas to supposedly finish off the German defenders began blowing back in the faces of the Canadian brigades.” (Barris, 2008: 13).
   In about 5 minutes we lost 190 men and two company commanders. It total, there were 687 casualties. Only 5 men actually reached the German trenches. Those that somehow managed to stay alive in No Man’s Land, were captured and spent around 21-months in a German prison camp
   On March 3 an extraordinary event took place. No Man’s Land had been eerily silent after the attack, but out of the mist a German officer carrying a Red Cross flag walked out into No Man’s Land in front of Hill 145. He called for and was met by a Canadian officer to discuss a two-hour truce ‘from 10:00 am until 12:00 noon’ during which time Canadian stretcher bearers and medical staff could carry back casualties and remains. What seemed even more remarkable [was] “the Germans said they would assist by bringing Canadian casualties halfway.”


PTE. JOSEPH TURMAINE, son of Herménégilde Turmaine and Virginia Perrault, was born in 1891 at Lac Mégantic, Québec, Canada. He was 5’7 1/2″ tall, had a dark complexion, blue eyes and very dark hair. He was a Private in the 27th Battalion Infantry, Winnipeg Regiment and took part in action against the Germans in Courcelette. He was reported ‘missing in action’ and was never recovered.

I have summarized the account of his Battalion’s war diary for the date he went missing below:

The 27th Battalion, Winnipeg Regiment left at 2 pm, September 14, 1916 for brigade headquarters, arriving at 5 pm. They then left brigade headquarters at 9 pm and proceeded to the front line to take up position in assembly trenches, which was delayed due to congestion of the trenches and was completed just after 4 am.

At 6:20 am, the artillery barrage opened 50 yards ahead of the German trench and the first wave started crawling over. As the barrage lifted, the Battalion advanced to the first German line and were met with heavy rifle and machine gun fire. As soon as the Canadian troops reached the trench, the Germans threw up their hands and surrendered. The Battalion followed up the barrage closely and met very little resistance at Sunken Road, the Germans surrendering in large numbers. By this time, the first wave was nearly wiped out and the second wave took their place. Owing to casualties, reinforcements were sent to hold the line at Sunken Road. The Germans attempted to advance but were driven back by Canadian fire. A large number also advanced and started sniping the Canadian front only to also be driven back by Canadian fire.

Two Canadian patrols pushed on toward Courcelette, but were forced to return to the line due to barrage fire. The German artillery fire was very intense for 48 hours on the front line.

A few troops dashed forward under cover of Canadian machine guns and captured a German Maxim. Approximately 22 Germans surrendered.

The Germans had thrown away the feed block of the captured gun but after considerable searching it was located and the gun was turned on German snipers, causing considerable damage. After the Battalion returned to the Brigade Reserve it was reported that there were 72 killed, 250 wounded and 72 missing (including Joseph Turmaine).

photo credit:

Sources for WWI War Stories: Turmaine and Emery:

  1. Cook, Tim (1999) ““A Proper Slaughter”: The March 1917 Gas Raid at Vimy Ridge,” Canadian Military History: Vol. 8: Iss. 2, Article 1. Available at: (
  2. Books of Remembrance, Veterans Affairs Canada, (
  3. Pas de Calais, France, “XIV. F. 25.,” database, Commonwealth War Graves Commission ( . Attestation Papers – Archives of Canada, digital images.
  4. Certificate of Memorial; Private Joseph Phillias Albert Emery (SN: 144880), 73rd Battalion, Canadian Infantry; Cabaret-Rouge British Cemetery, Souchez, France.
  5. Casualty Form – Active Service; Private Joseph Philias Albert Emery.
  6. Form of Will; Private Joseph Philias Albert Emery.
  7. Medals, Decorations, Promotions and Transfers Record; Private Joseph Philias Albert Emery.
  8. War Service Gratuity Form; Private Joseph Philias Albert Emery.
  9. Provencher, Gérard and Blue Jeans, George, Pontbriand, B.; ” Marriages of Outaouais (Theft. I-II) 1815-1970 “, *86-87, Québec, 1971, S.G.C.F. * S.G.L. (Directory); French Title: Mariages de l’Outaouais (Vol. I-II) 1815-1970.
  10. Canadian Battlefields; Vimy Ridge: Before the Gas at Hill 145 (website:
  11. Les Labelles, Daniel Labelle online (, accessed.1901 Canadian Census – St. André Avelin, Labelle District, Québec; Émerie Family: Charles, Émelie, Alice, Albert, Clarinda, Émeralda, Rose A. (Amande).
  13. Personal knowledge and interviews with family.

Transcription: War Diary of the 73rd Canadian Infantry Battalion for the Vimy Ridge Disaster of March 1-3, 1917.

In honor of today’s ceremonies remembering the anniversary of the battle at Vimy Ridge, I am reposting several articles about my own ancestors who died in WWI. 


In my father’s French Canadian, ‘Turmaine’ branch of the family, we have two known soldiers who died in the first world war. The first was my grand uncle, Pte. Joseph Philias Albert Emery who died at Vimy Ridge, and the second was another grand uncle, Pte. Joseph Turmaine, who died at Courcelette.


The following is my full transcription of photocopies of the handwritten pages of the war diary of the 73rd Canadian Infantry Battalion for the Vimy Ridge Disaster of March 1-3, 1917, during which my great uncle Joseph Philias Albert Emery went missing in action.




Vol. VIII, Page I

  • March 1st
73rd Battalion War Diary
73rd Battalion War Diary – page 1.

Battalion in the lines on its regular frontage.
At 12.05 AM code message was received from the 12th Canadian Infantry Brigade to the effect that the Gas Attack and consequent Infantry Attack, which had been postponed for several days, would take place that morning. This was immediately communicated to the Companies also in code, and preparation for the assembly commenced. At 2.00 am Battalion Headquarters moved to Advanced Battalion Headquarters off UHLAN C.T. where comunication was established with Advanced Brigade Headquarters, and with both points of assembly. “B” and “D” Companies moved up from ARRAS ALLEY and asembled in dugouts in LIME STREET, dugouts on TUNNELLERS RIDGE, and in COBURG NO I TUNNEL, Major Brown 2nd in Command, being in charge of these two Companies which occupied the left half of the Battalion frontage. “A” and “C” Companies, forming the right half of the attack, moved out of the front line to the right where they assembled in BLUE BULL TUNNEL, Major H [P] Stanley being in charge of these two Companies for assembly. The dispositions for the attack were as follows :-
Right Half 1st Wave “A” Coy under Captain B. Simpson and Lieut D. H. Farnori.
Left Half 1st Wave “B” Coy under Captain H H Patch, and Lieuts G.H.H. Eadie and P.G. Hawkins.


  • March 1st
73rd Battalion War Diary
73rd Battalion War Diary – page 2.


2nd Wave, “C” Coy under Lieut G. S. McLennan, Major Munroe and Lieut J. Norsworthy.

No. 1 Patrol, 1 Platoon of “D” Coy under Lieut. Griffiths.
No. 2 Patrol, 1 Platoon of “D” Coy under Lieut. Lester.
No. 3 Patrol, 1 Platoon of “B” Coy under Lieut Hutchinson.

At 2.55 a.m. messages were received from all Companies that they were in position.
At 3 am the first gas cloud, known as the “White Star Gas” was released. Within a few minutes after the release of the gas very heavy rifles and machine gun fires opened upo from the German front and support lines, and the sky was lit upo by hundreds of flares sent up by the Boche; this fire and the sending up of the flares continued for 36 minutes, showing that the gas was not effective. At about 3.06 am the Germans opened heavy Artillery fire across our whole front, which continued tunil 4.00 am at which time it died down and shortly afterwards the situation became almost normal. Soon after 4 o’clock the direction of the wind commenced to change, and by 5 am, which was the time for liberation of the 2nd Gas Wave, it was coming from almost due [North], so that it was decided


  • March 1st
73rd Battalion War Diary
73rd Battalion War Diary – page 3.


that the gas could not be let off. The Infantry Attack was to commence at 5.40 AM. About 5.20 a message was received from Advanced Brigade Headquarters to the effect that there remained considerable gas in our front line trench for a distance extending 300 yard north of [C]RANBY C.T. This interfered with the assembly of our right attacking parties and instructions were immediately sent to Major Stanley to have “A” and “C” Companies assemble in front and behind the front line trench, and to proceed overland instead of assembling in the trench; this complicated the assembly of these two Companies very much, but the situation was admirably handled by Major Stanley. At 5.32 a.m. while the assembly across our whole front was in progress, heavy artillery fire was opened on our front and support lines and on ZOUAVE VALLEY by the Germans. It transpired that the Brigade on our right had commenced to get out over the parapet and form a line in front of our wire at 5.30 instead of waiting for our barrage which was to commence at 5.40 am; this was noticed by the Germans, who immediately sent up their “S.O.S.” with the foregoing result. This meant that the last 5 minutes of the assembly of our parties had to be completed under fire, and a number of casualties occurred before our men got out of our own trenches. On the righ casualties began to come into BLUE BULL


  • March 1st
73rd Battalion War Diary
73rd Battalion War Diary – page 4.


TUNNEL before much more than half of our attacking parties were out of the Tunnels. A few men were affected by gas on this front. Promptly at 5.40 AM our barrage opened up, and our attacking parties got over the parapet and went forward. On our extreme left our barrage was short, and some casualties were caused to our men by our own fire particularly among the party going out by way of Sap B6. A full account of the action of all attacking paties and the results obtained is attached hereto. Casualties soon began to come back to our lines, about 6.20 Lieut. Eadie reached Advanced Battalion Headquarters and about 6.50 Captain Patch also returned, both wounded slightly. Wounded came in steadily but it was a considerable time before it was possible to even approximately check up casualties. By 8 a.m. the situation had quieted down, except that several of our wounded accompanied by Lieut Hutchison were still out in shellholes beyond Sap B6. The artillery was called upon for a barrage on the German front line to enable these men to be got in, their fire however was short, and word was sent to have it stopped. During this fire Battalion Headquarters moved to the normal position in ZOUAVE VALEY and our own shells lit jut behind the personnel of Battalion Headquarters while moving down UHLAN C.T. It was for a time thought the Germans would counter attack, and this impression was increased by the fact that a German


  • March 1st
73rd Battalion War Diary – page 5.


aeroplane made several flights along our line net over 100 yards in the air, evidently observing the number of men in our line and their movements; all precautions were taken to beat off a counter attack, and it did not develope. During the day there continued a certain amount of enemy artillery activity, which, however, did not do any particular harm. That night it was decided to keep the whole Battalion on the eastern side of ZOUAVE VALLEY in case of attack, and the men of the Support Companies were accomodated in tunnels and dugouts on the Wester slope of the Ridge. The night, however, passed quietly. Many individual cases of outstanding bravery were noted during the action, especially Sgt. Millar and Sgt Holmden. During the attack 22 prisoners were taken by this Battalion, 19 of them being taken by Sgt Hannaford and Pte McLachlan. Officers and men without exception fought magnificently. Casualties during the action were as follow :-

Lieuts H P MacGregor, J W Lester, D A Farnori and [P] G Hawkins, Missing
Lieut J W. Griffiths – Died of Wounds
Capt. B Simpson, Capt. H H Patch and Lieuts G H H Eadie and G S McLennan – Wounded
26 OR Killed, 99 OR Wounded 27 OR Missing Total Casualties 161.

As a result of the operation two Officers were recommended for the D.S.O. four Officers for the M.C.


  • March 1st
73rd Battalion War Diary
73rd Battalion War Diary – page 6.


…four OR’s for the D.C.M. and twelve OR’s for the M.M.
Notice received from Brigade that Lieuts. H [S] MacGregor and J H Christie ahd been awarded the Military Cross for their work in connection with the previous raid.

  • March 2nd

During the night a number of parties were sent out into “NO MAN’S LAND” to bring in dead and wounded, and a number of bodies were recovered, these were all sent out and buried in VILLERS and BOIS Cemetery.
The day was fairly quiet, only the usual artillery and trench mortor activity. Large parties of men were employed carrying out empty gas cylinders, as well as those full ones which had not been let off on the 1st Mar. A great deal of work was also necessary, and was sone on those trenches which had been damaged by the enemy’s fire on the 1st. In the afternoon word was received that Hunt Griffiths had died of his wounds, and arrangements were made for representatives of the Battalion to attend his funeral on the 3rd.

  • March 3rd

The early hours of the morning passed fairly quietly, but at 3 am the enemy opened up a heavy artillery and trench mortar fire on our front and support lines, doiing considerable damage. Our artillery retaliation was both slow and ineffective. The German fire caused no casualties, one OR Killed and one OR Wounded by our own Artillery.


More posts about WWI.

WWI War Stories
What We Don’t Hear About Vimy Ridge
UK National Archives treasures: WWI war diaries now online


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What we don’t hear about the battle of Vimy Ridge.

In honor of today’s ceremonies for the 100th anniversary of the battle at Vimy Ridge, I am reposting several articles about my own ancestors who died in WWI. 

In my father’s French Canadian, ‘Turmaine’ branch of the family, we have two known soldiers who died in the first world war. The first was my grand uncle, Pte. Joseph Philias Albert Emery, who died at Vimy Ridge, and the second was another grand uncle, Pte. Joseph Turmaine, who died at Courcelette.

The Battle of Vimy Ridge was fought largely by Canadian troops consisting of all four divisions of the Canadian Expeditionary Force (CEF) from April 9 to 12, 1917, with the objective of gaining control of the German held high ground, ensuring that the southern flank of the forces could advance without the threat of German fire.

What we don’t hear about the battle of Vimy Ridge is how so many of our own troops lost their lives due to poor leadership in the days prior to the battle.

The Battle of Vimy Ridge was the catalyst for a newly born nationalistic pride for Canadians and their achievements as part of the British forces.

Gas Attacks in March 1917 at Vimy Ridge
Gas Attacks in March 1917 at the battle of Vimy Ridge.

What we don’t hear much about, however, is the disastrous actions taken previously in preparation for the battle.

As described in my previous post ‘War Stories‘, my own great granduncle (brother to my grandmother) was Pte. Joseph Phillias Albert Emery, a soldier with the 73rd Battalion Canadian Infantry, Black Watch. He took part in operations in preparation for the advance on Vimy Ridge and was reported missing on March 1, 1917.

The majority of the losses during this operation were the result of mismanagement by the senior officers. As a result of poor planning, the gas canisters were deployed despite the winds blowing back onto the Canadians, causing mass casualties from the gas.

Below are the six pages of the war diary for the 73rd Battalion on the day my ancestor went missing. In another previous post, I’ve published full transcriptions of all the pages.

Battle of Vimy Ridge War Diary for the 73rd Battalion.

Battle of Vimy Ridge War Diary for the 73rd Battalion.

Battle of Vimy Ridge War Diary for the 73rd Battalion.

Battle of Vimy Ridge War Diary for the 73rd Battalion.

Battle of Vimy Ridge War Diary for the 73rd Battalion.

Battle of Vimy Ridge War Diary for the 73rd Battalion.


Related articles on this site about Vimy Ridge:

Transcription: War Diary of the 73rd Canadian Infantry Battalion for the Vimy Ridge Disaster of March 1-3, 1917.

Transcription: Form of Will for Joseph Philias Albert Emery

Dad is the link to our French Canadian and military heritage.

We must fight for our veterans as they fought for us.

In Remembrance.

How can you tell we’re from French Canadian roots? We make tourtière at Christmas!

The tourtière I grew up with was different from the traditional tourtière at Christmas made in French Canadian households.

I’m not sure whether it originated from my father’s Québecois side or my mother’s Acadian side, but I’ve never tasted another tourtière I liked better. (I know, everyone says that.)

I suspect it’s from my mother’s Acadian roots as she always made it and it is so simple, it is brilliant. No fancy spices, just the basics as I would expect from an agricultural culture with only a small variety of ingredients and spices available.

Our tourtière is made with:

  • 1 part each: ground lean veal, pork, and beef (the most delicious flavor mix).

  • Onion to taste.

  • Salt

  • Pepper.

  • No-fail pastry using lard (recipe available on most lard or shortening containers).

  • Note: It’s important to scoop both meat mixture and juices together when filling the pie shells for a moist pie.

I can remember loving it with ketchup on top as a kid, just like my dad did. As an adult though, I prefer it plain with mashed potatoes and brussel sprouts served on the side.

Every year my mother made and froze a couple dozen tourtière for our own holiday meals and to give away as gifts to friends and family.

I also made them in quantities once in a while and I must say that although mine never measured up to my mother’s, I like to think (and my family says) they came close.

photo credit: KennethMoyle via photopin cc

Brig. Gen. Evan Shelby Jr. of Tregaron, Wales

Brig. Gen. Evan Shelby Jr. of Tregaron, Wales.

Brig. Gen. Evan Shelby Jr., born in 1725 in Tregaron, Ceredigion, Wales to Evan (Dhu) Shelby (Selby) and his wife Catherine Morgan and was baptised in St. Caron’s church. This Evan Shelby’s birth is frequently confused with that of his earlier brother Evan, who was born in 1720 and died as an infant in 1721.

Tregaron, CeredigionEvan and his family immigrated to America from Tregaron, Wales in approximately 1735, when he was about ten years of age, and settled in what was later called Antrim Township, Franklin County, Pennsylvania.

In 1739, they moved into Prince George’s (later Frederick) County, Maryland where his father died in July 1751.

Evan Jr. continued to reside in Maryland, near the North Mountain, Frederick County (now a part of Washington County) where he obtained by either deed or patent nearly 24,000 acres of land. He became interested in the Indian fur trade and was concerned in trading posts at Michilimackinac and Green Bay.

On February 26, 1745, Evan Jr. purchased property from his father, called “Maiden’s Choice” in Prince George County, Maryland.

Evan married Letitia (Leddy) Cox (Coxe) on December 4, 1745 at Kings Meadow. They had seven children: Rachel, born 1745; Susannah, born 1746; John, born 1748; Governor Isaac Shelby, born 1750; James, born 1752; Catherine, born 1755; Major Evan Shelby III, born 1757; and Moses, born 1761.

In his publication “The Birthplace and Childhood Home of Isaac Shelby in Washington County, Maryland”, 1972, Gerald J Sword describes how  Evan and Letitia Shelby lost the fight for their land (part of “Maidens Choice”) to Dr Charles Carroll. It’s not clear who aptly renamed the land to “Shelby’s Misfortune”.

Mr. Sword states:

“…The reason for Letitia to appear in court was to answer charges that she instructed their ‘Dutch servant man’ to cut down and burn the tree marking the beginning point of this land.

In June 1754, Shelby gave a recognizance of 6,000 lbs of tobacco for the appearance of his wife to answer the charges against her in the Frederick Co. Court. The case was continued from time to time until the June court of 1758:

“A suit on behalf of the Lord Proprietary vs Letitia Shelby for destroying a bound tree for a tract of land belonging to Dr Carroll, when it was ‘maked struck off after 15 continuances…”

Evan’s great skill as a hunter and woodsman led to his appointment as Captain of a company of Rangers in the French and Indian War, during which year he made several successful expeditions into the Allegheny Mountains.

He fought many battles in what is called Braddock’s War and was noted for his performance in the battle fought at Loyal Hanning, now Bedford, Pennsylvania.

During the French and Indian War, Evan participated in General Edward Braddock’s campaign in 1755 and laid out part of the road from Fort Frederick to Fort Cumberland. He led the advance of the army under General Forbes, which took possession of Fort Du Quesne in 1758.

Having served as First Lieutenant in Captain Alexander Beall’s company 1757 to 1768, he was commissioned by Governor Sharpe of Maryland as Captain of a company of rangers, and also held a commission as Captain under the government of Pennsylvania. He was in the advance party of the force under General John Forbes, which took possession of Fort Duquesne in 1758, and crossed the Ohio River with more than half his company of scouts, making a daring reconnaissance of the fort.

On November 12, 1758, near Loyalhanna, he is said to have slain with his own hand one of the principal Indian chiefs.

In the same war, he served later as Major of a detachment of the Virginia regiment.

For several years after the conflict, Evan was a Justice of the Peace.

In May 1762, he was chosen one of the Managers for Maryland of the Potomac Company. He sustained heavy losses in the Indian trade from the ravages growing out of Pontiac’s Conspiracy of 1763, and most of his property in Maryland was subjected to sale for the satisfaction of his debts.

Hoping to better his fortune he moved, probably in 1773, to Fincastle County in southwest Virginia, where he engaged in farming, merchandising, and cattle ranching. He again became a prosperous landowner and influential frontier leader.

In 1774, he commanded the Fincastle Company in Dunmore’s War, and in the battle of Point Pleasant, October 10, 1774, he succeeded near the close of the action to the chief command as a result of the death or disability of his superior officers and he utterly routed the enemy.

His son, Isaac, served under his command as his Lieutenant in the Battle of Point Pleasant, which he was instrumental in winning. Isaac commanded the fort there until July, 1775, when his troops were disbanded by Lord Dunmore.

After returning to Kentucky due to failing health, he became involved in the Battle of Long Island Flats. At the first onset of the Indians, the American lines were broken, and then Shelby, present only as a volunteer Private, seized the command, reformed the troops, and defeated the Indians, with the loss of only two badly wounded men.

This battle, and John Sevier’s defence of Watauga, frustrated the rear attack by which the British hoped to envelop and crush the southern colonies.

In 1776, he was appointed by Governor Patrick Henry of Virginia a Major in the troops commanded by Colonel William Christian against the Cherokees, and on December 21, he became Colonel of the militia of the County of Washington, of which he was also a magistrate.

In 1777, he was entrusted with the command of sundry garrisons posted on the frontier of Virginia, and in association with Preston and Christian, negotiated a treaty with the Cherokees.

When Sevier, in 1779, projected the expedition that captured the British stores at Chickamauga, Shelby equipped and supplied the troops by the pledge of his individual credit. In this year he was commissioned a Major by Governor Thomas Jefferson, but, when the state line was run, his residence was found to be in North Carolina. He then resigned his commission, but was at once appointed Colonel of Sullivan County by Caswell.

He was in Kentucky, perfecting his title to lands he had selected on his previous visit, when he heard of the fall of Charleston and the desperate situation of affairs in the southern colonies. He at once returned to engage in active service and, crossing the mountains into South Carolina in July, 1780, he won victories over the British at Thicketty Fort, Cedar Springs, and Musgrove’s Mill. But, as the disastrous defeat at Camden occurred just before the last engagement, he was obliged to retreat across the Alleghanies. There he undertook with John Sevier the remarkable expedition which resulted in the Battle of King’s Mountain and turned the tide of the revolution. For this important service he and Sevier received the thanks of the North Carolina legislature, and the vote of a sword and a pair of pistols.

As a result of the new boundary line between Virginia and North Carolina, it was discovered that his residence was in North Carolina, and in 1781, he was elected a member of its Senate. Five years later, the Carolina Assembly made him Brigadier General of the militia of the Washington District of North Carolina, the first officer of that grade on the “Western Waters”.

In March 1787, as commissioner for North Carolina, he negotiated a temporary truce with Col. John Sevier, Governor of the insurgent and short-lived “State of Franklin”.

In August 1787, he was elected Governor of the “State of Franklin” to succeed Sevier but declined. Having resigned his post as Brigadier General on October 29,1787, he withdrew from public life.

Legend lives on: George, the Duke of Clarence, drowned in wine.

George, Duke of Clarence was born on October 21, 1449 at Dublin Castle in Dublin, Ireland to Richard Plantagenet, Duke of York (21 Sep 1411-30 Dec 1460) and Cecily Neville (3 May 1415-31 May 1495). George has lived in infamy because of his horrible end: George, the Duke of Clarence, drowned in wine.


George, the Duke of Clarence, drowned in wine
George, the Duke of Clarence, drowned in wine.

This was a time when Richard, Duke of York, was beginning to challenge King Henry VI for the crown.

George was the third of the four sons of Richard and Cecily who survived to adulthood. Following his father’s death and the accession of his elder brother, Edward, to the throne, George was created Duke of Clarence on June 28, 1461 and became a Knight of the Garter. From February 1462 to March 1470, he was Chief Governor of Ireland, and on May 20, 1471 he became Great Chamberlain of England.

On July 11, 1469, George married Isabel Neville (5 Sep 1451-22 Dec 1476) at Calais, which was controlled by England at that time. Isabel was the daughter and co-heiress of Richard Neville, Earl of Warwick and Salisbury, and his wife Anne Beauchamp.

George had actively supported his elder brother Edward’s claim to the throne, but when his father-in-law the Earl of Warwick deserted Edward to ally with Margaret of Anjou, King Henry’s consort, George, along with his pregnant wife, followed him to France.

Their firstborn, Anne, was born on April 16, 1470 on a ship off Calais, only to die shortly afterward while still on board the ship.

Henry VI rewarded George for his loyalty by making him next in line to the throne after Edward of Westminster, justifying the exclusion of Edward IV either by attainder for his treason against Henry or on the grounds of his alleged illegitimacy.

After a short time, George realized that his loyalty to his father-in-law was misplaced. Warwick had his younger daughter, Anne, marry Edward of Westminster, King Henry VI’s heir. Since it now seemed unlikely that George would be replacing Edward, George again allied with his brother King Edward and regained his favor.

The George, Duke of Clarence and his wife, Isabel.
The George, Duke of Clarence and his wife.

Although George was made Earl of Warwick on March 25, 1472, he did not inherit the entire Warwick estate as his brother, Richard, Duke of Gloucester, would marry the widowed younger sister of his wife, Anne Neville.

Anne had become increasingly concerned with her sister Isabel and how she must be coping with these hostilities. Isabel was expecting another child. She had already borne two children, their daughter Margaret (14 Aug 1473-28 May 1541) and their son, Edward (25 Feb 1475-28 Nov 1499), who was later also Earl of Warwick. Edward passed the greater part of his life in prison and was beheaded in 1499.

Being close to the king, the Woodvilles were under scrutiny, and Richard had witnessed their self-serving and underhanded ways and knew it was best to avoid them. It was well known that George had always loathed the Woodvilles. To him, they were usurpers who achieved their ends through manipulation and control.

Clarence had suspicions about the validity of the marriage of Elizabeth Woodville and did not hesitate to say so. Having been informed that a certain lady of high breeding had caught Edward’s eye, George took further notice. She was was of good morals and would not lose her virtue, even to the King, so the King had a private wedding ceremony before he had married Elizabeth Woodville. George made sure to tell the people through whom the story would travel to Burgundy and the ears of Louis XI, and James III of Scotland.

The Woodvilles became aware of the allegations and planned Clarence’s downfall to protect their positions from being threatened.

Isabel was late in her pregnancy and was staying at Warwick Castle when a lady named Ankarette Twynyho professed to be a midwife and offered her services. Things looked good at first as Isabel gave birth to a boy who they named Richard (6 Oct 1476-1 Jan 1477). Richard was a sickly child and both of his parents worried for his welfare.

Isabel seemingly recovered well from the birth. The midwife, having told them she was good with herbs for healing, also told them she could nurse the baby back to health. Both George and Isabel having believed her claims, allowed her to remain until Isabel suddenly fell ill after drinking ale. In panic, the midwife fled and Isabel died in agony two months after giving birth to Richard who lived only about three months, and they were buried together at Tewkesbury Abbey in Gloucestershire.

Clarence truly believed his wife had been murdered. He wanted whoever was responsible for his wife’s murder brought to justice, and he refused to eat and drink as if he suspected attempts to poison him as well.

Today, most historians believe Isabel’s death resulted from either childhood fever or consumption. Clarence was convinced she had been poisoned by Ankarette Twynyho, and in revenge he had her murdered in April of 1477, by having her arrested, and strong-arming a jury at Warwick into convicting her. She was one of two hanged immediately after the trial with John Thursby, a fellow defendant.

A petition regarding the events states:

“That whereas the said Ankarette on Saturday, 12th of April 17 Edward IV (1477), was in her manor at Cayford (ie Keyford, Somerset) and Richard Hyde late of Warwick, gentleman and Roger Strugg late of Bekehampton, co Somerset, towker, with drivers riotous persons to number of fourscore by the command of George, duke of Clarence, came to Cayford about two of the clock after noon and entered her house and carried her off the same day to bath and from thence on the Sunday following to Circeter (Cirencester) co. Gloucester, and from thence to Warwick, whither they brought her on the Monday following about eight of the clock in the after noon, which town of Warwick is distant from Cayforde seventy miles, and then and there took from her all her jewels, money and goods and also in the said dukes behalf, as though he had used King’s power, Commanded Thomas Delalynde, esquire, and Edith his wife, daughter of the said Ankarette, and their servants to avoid from the town of Warwick and lodged them at Stattforde upon Aven that night, six miles from thence and the said duke kept Ankarette imprison unto the hour of nine before noon on the morrow, to wit the Tuesday after the closing of Pasche (ie Easter) and caused her to be brought to the Guildhall at Warwick before divers of Justices of the peace in the County then sitting in sessions and caused her to be indicted by the name of Ankarette Twynyho, late of Warwick, widow, late servant of the duke and Isabel his wife, of having at on 10 October, 16 Edward IV, given to the said Isabel a venomous drink of ale mixed with poison, of which the latter sickened until the Sunday before Christmas, on which day she died, and the justices arraigned the said Ankarette and a jury appeared and found her guilty and it was considered that she should be led from the bar there to the gaol of Warwick and thence should be drawn through the town to the gallows of Myton and hanged till she was dead, and the Sheriff was commanded to do execution and so he did, which indictment, trail and judgement were done and given within three hours of said Tuesday, and juror for fear gave the Sheriff was verdict contrary to their conscience, in proof where of divers of them came to said Ankarette in remorse and asked her forgiveness, in consideration of the imaginations of and her good disposition, the King should ordain that the record, process, verdict and judgement should be void and of no effect, but that as the premises were done by the command of the said duke, the said justices and Sheriff and the under-Sheriff and their ministers should not be vexed, The answer of the king. So it fait come il est desire (“ Let it be done as the petitioner”)

George had known that it was the work of Elizabeth Woodville that was behind Isabel’s death and he was determined to prove to all that Elizabeth Woodville was behind it all. Elizabeth reinforced with Edward that George must be silenced for the sake of children, including the heir.

At first Edward was reluctant to turn against his brother, not caring much for his wife or her family. But George had turned his attentions to Edward, and managed to anger Edward sufficiently that he decided to act. Clarence was arrested for treason and and attempted necromancy against the King.

Wishing to look into the acts of Clarence George further, Edward summoned him to appear before him at the place of Westminster. He accused Clarence of pursuing vigilante justice and then had his guards escort Clarence to the tower. Meanwhile, a messenger brought Richard the news that Clarence was locked up in the tower and having read the charges, Richard realised that George had walked into a trap set by the Woodvilles trap and was therefore at the mercy of the King.

Richard sent a letter to Edward requesting that his own servants look after George in the tower and he had also asked Edward if he could look after George’s children. Having obtained permission, Richard journeyed to Warwick. He dispatched sent George’s most trusted servants to the tower.

By October, 1477, Richard was actively pleading for Clarence since he’d become aware that the Woodvilles were seeking Edward’s signature on  a death warrant. Richard hoped that George would beg for forgiveness and promise to remain loyal to Edward.

Upon seeing George, Richard realized he was prepared to die rather than even hint at submission to the Woodville family. Richard pleaded with Edward to allow him to try to persuade George, and Edward promised not to sign the death warrant.

Having been arrested, one of Clarence’s retainers, confessed under torture that he had ‘imagined and compassed’ the King’s death using the black arts. He implicated two others and they were all tried for treason, convicted, and sentenced to be drawn and hanged at Tyburn. One was saved at the eleventh hour by a plea for his life by the Bishop of Norwich, but the other two were executed.
Clarence chose to ignore this ominous warning.

Edward had Clarence brought to Windsor, accused him of treason, and ordered his arrest and imprisonment. Clarence was held in the Tower of London and put on trial for treason against his brother Edward IV. Edward prosecuted his own brother, demanding that a Bill of Attainder be passed by Parliament. Clarence was executed at the Tower of London on February 18, 1478.
He was laid to rest at Tewkesbury along  with his wife and son.

The legend grew that Clarence had drowned in a butt of Malmsey wine, possibly having evolved from a joke about his being a heavy drinker. What was believed to be the body of Clarence was later exhumed and it surprisingly showed no indications of beheading, which was the traditional method of execution for those of nobility. It could also be possible that George’s remains were transported to the abbey in a barrel of Malmsey.

In Shakespeare’s play, “Richard III”, George is portrayed to have been drowned in a butt of Malmsey wine.


  1. Kings and Queens of England – The Plantagenets, The Royal Family online [].
  2. Foundation for Medieval Genealogy online [].
  3. Kings and Queens of England – The Plantagenets, online [].
  4. “George Plantagenet, 1st Duke of Clarence”;; [,_1st_Duke_of_Clarence]
  5. “The Demise of George, Duke of Clarence”;;

Cardinal Henry Beaufort


Cardinal Henry Beaufort (de Beaufort) was born in 1375 in Castle Beaufort, Anjou, France to Sir John of Gaunt, Duke of Lancaster (1340- ) and Katharine (de Roët ) Swynford (c. 1350 – 1403), widow of Sir Hugh Swynford of Lincolnshire.


Cardinal Henry Beaufort

Once the governess to John’s daughters from his first marriage, she became his mistress, subsequently bearing him more children.

Her children were made legitimate September 1, 1396 by Pope Boniface IX and February 9, 1397 by charter of King Richard II, but were excluded from the succession.

Cardinal Henry’s progression began with his becoming Dean of Wells Cathedral, Somerset, England and Chancellor of Oxford University in 1397, at the age of 22.

In 1399, upon the accession of his half -brother, Henry IV, in 1399, he was assured a prominent place and high influence in politics.

He continued to rise rapidly, becoming Chancellor of England and a Royal Councillor in 1403, and Bishop of Winchester in 1404.

In 1413, he resigned his chancellorship and led the opposition of the council to the King’s Chief Minister, Thomas Arundel, Archbishop of Canterbury. However, he regained his chancellorship when his nephew and ally became king as Henry V in the same year.

Highly ambitious and striving to climb still higher, he sought and obtained a position with the papacy when Pope Martin V made him a cardinal in 1417. The king feared that Beaufort would be too effective as spokesman for the papacy and subsequently forced him to resign.

Castle Beaufort
Beaufort Castle


After the accession of the infant King, Henry VI in 1422, however, Beaufort flourished yet again.

A very wealthy man by this time, he expanded his fortune by lending money at inflated interest rates to the financially troubled crown, which further entrenched him in his position of power, making him virtually invulnerable to his enemies.

In 1426, he was made papallegate and Cardinal of St. Eusebius, for which his uncle, Humphrey, Duke of Gloucester, continually criticized him for conflict of interest by holding positions of power in both the church and state.

Beaufort’s power and influence enabled him to remain unharmed by the attacks by Duke Humphrey.

In 1435 and 1439 he failed in his attempts to negotiate the end of the Hundred Years’ War between England and France.

Henry gained even more power on July 14, 1438 when he became Bishop of Lincoln. While in this position, he had an affair with a woman whose identity is speculation at best, due to a lack of documentation. Some believe this woman was Alice FitzAlan (1378-1415), daughter to Richard FitzAlan and Elizabeth de Bohun.

An illegitimate daughter, Jane Beaufort, was born to this relationship in 1402. This relationship is made credible by the mention of Jane and her husband Sir Edward Stradling in Cardinal Beaufort’s will.

Henry retired from politics in 1443, died April 11, 1447 at Wolsey Palace in Winchester, and was buried at Winchester Cathedral.


Cardinal Henry Beaufort was 22nd great grandfather to my children.




Foundation for Medieval Genealogy;,%20Kings%201066-1603.htm

Encyclopædia Britannica CD ’97, HENRY BEAUFORT;

The sinking of the White Ship.

Several of my children’s ancestors were among the hundreds who perished in the sinking of the White Ship off Barfleur, France in 1120 – often seen as a 12th century comparison to the sinking of the Titanic.

The sinking of the White Ship
Depiction of the sinking of the White Ship.


During my years of researching the medieval ancestry of Mark and our children, I’ve noticed a recurring theme.

Several of the ancestors were casualties of the disastrous shipwreck of the “White Ship”. Although there were actually closer to 300 passengers aboard, I was only able to locate a list of twenty of the casualties.

It is well known though that the ship was loaded with nobles and contemporaries of King Henry I, of England.

Henry I, King of England
Henry I, King of England

The “White Ship” was a new, state of the art vessel under command of Thomas FitzStephen.

His father had been Stephen FitzAirard, captain of the ship “Mora” under William the Conqueror during his invasion of England in 1066.

Captain FitzStephen offered transport to England on his ship to Henry I for his return to England, but since the King had already made other arrangements, he declined. King Henry did, however, arrange for his son, William “Aetheling” Adelin and two of his illegitimate children to sail on the ship.

The familiar account of the events leading up to the sinking as delivered by the known sole survivor state that all aboard had been drinking and partying liberally and by the time they set sail, most on board were very drunk.

It is interesting to note that there are conflicting accounts of survivors. Based upon the “Orderic Vitalis”, some believe there were two survivors, the butcher and Geoffrey de l’Aigle.

Amidst the drunken revelry described by the survivor, a challenge was issued to the Captain to overtake the King’s own ship, which had set sail earlier. Upon setting off, the White Ship struck a hidden rock in the shallow waters of the channel, quickly capsizing and sinking.

Etienne de Blois
Stephen of Blois, King of England

Those on shore saw what was occurring and sent a boat out to get William “Aetheling” Adelin, the King’s son, who was on his way back to shore when he heard his half-sister Matilda du Perche cry out for help and had the boat return to assist.

Unfortunately, there were several scrambling to get on board the small boat, causing it to be swamped and to sink. William drowned right along with his half-sister and all the other unfortunate passengers.

The common belief through the centuries has been that the Captain, Thomas FitzStephen, upon hearing of William Adelin’s drowning, just surrendered to the waters and drowned rather than take such terrible news back to the King.

As a result of Prince William’s death, King Henry named his only remaining legitimate child, his daughter Matilda, to be heiress to the throne.

He forced the noblemen to swear to support Matilda, who was unpopular because she was married to Geoffrey V, Comte d’Anjou who had been an enemy of the Norman nobility. When the noblemen refused to support Matilda after the death of King Henry I, they turned to the King’s nephew, Etienne de Blois and named him King.

Etienne de Blois had originally planned to travel on the “White Ship” as well and had even boarded her, but had to leave before the ship’s departure because he became ill with diarrhea.

Mathilde and her husband initiated war against Etienne and his followers to gain the English throne, as her father had wished. This period of civil war known as “The Anarchy” spanned almost two decades from 1135 to 1153 and became a pivotal time in the history of England, resulting in the end of Norman rule.

The closest ancestor to my children who played a part in the story of the “White Ship” disaster was:

  • Etienne de Blois, King of England. He was the 31st great grandfather to my children.

The known casualties from among the approximately 300 on board, listed in order of the closeness of relationship to our children (if any) include:

  • William the Atheling, son of King Henry I and heir to the English throne – 26th great granduncle to my children.
  • Mathilde du Perche, Countess of Perche, illegitimate daughter of King Henry I – 26th great grandaunt.
  • Richard of Lincoln, illegitimate son of King Henry I – 26th great granduncle.
  • Godfrey de l’Aigle, knight. – 28th great granduncle (brother to Engenulf)
  • Engenulf de l’Aigle, brother to Godfrey – 28th great granduncle
  • Mathilde de Blois, sister to Stephen de Blois, King of England and wife of Richard d’Avranches – 31st great grandaunt
  • Robert Mauduit, nobleman. – 31st great granduncle
  • Richard d’Avranches, 2nd Earl of Chester, nobleman. – 1st cousin 31 times removed
  • Outher d’Avranches, brother of Richard, Earl of Chester. – 1st cousin, 31 times removed
  • Geoffrey Riddell, Lord of the Judiciary, nobleman.  – 2nd cousin 30 times removed
  • Ottuel, Illegitimate half brother of the 2nd Earl of Chester.
  • Hugh of Moulins, nobleman.
  • Walter of Everci, nobleman.
  • Lucia Mahout, wife of the 2nd Earl of Chester.
  • Othver, Prince William’s tutor.
  • William Pirou, the king’s steward.
  • Geoffrey, Archdeacon of Hereford.
  • Richard Anskill, son and heir of a Berkshire landowner.
  • Captain Thomas FitzStephen, ship’s captain.
  • William Grandmesnil, nobleman.


photo credit:


Transcription: Deposition of Abigail Williams regarding Mr. Jacobs, his son George, granddaughter Margaret and Mr. and Mrs. English.

Deposition of Abigail Williams regarding Mr. Jacobs, his son George Jacobs, granddaughter Margaret Jacobs, Mr. and Mrs. English and Sarah Churchwell.


Abigail Williams verifyeth & saith that an old man that goes with two sticks hath appeared to & hurt her many times by pinching & bringing the book for her to get her hands unto, & the man told her his name was Jacobs the Father of Geo: Jacobs & the Grandfather of Margaret Jacobs, and he had made said Margaret get her hand to the book & Sarah Churchwell & his son Geo: Jacobs & his wife & another woman & her husband viz: Mr. English & his wife: also that the said Margaret had hurt her pretty much to day & at other times & brought her the book several times to night but not before.

We whose names are underwritten verifye that we heard the aforesaid Abigail relate the charge aforesd. this 10 th May, 1692

Nathaniel Ingersoll

Jonathan Wabroff

John House



The image above links directly to the original document. You can access sources, data, images and documents for these and other individuals, by clicking on the name link, or searching the Blythe Genealogy database site using the surname search link and the ‘All Media‘ search link in the left sidebar.

It is recommended to search using both methods as the results can differ greatly due to a glitch in the software that doesn’t connect all images from the bio.

All data for this and numerous others on this site is available for free access and download.


Transcription: Biography of William H. Jaques


Jaques, William H. Bio 1Transcription of the biography of William H. Jaques.




Mr. Jaques was born February 8, 1820 in Geauga county, Ohio, then known as new Connecticut or Western reserve. But little is known of his father, Henry Jaques, who was born in the city of New York, in 1789, a French wreckage, and was apprenticed to a shoemaker in Hartford Connecticut in 1803.

He married Elizabeth Porter, in 1814, and settled in Munson, Geauga county, Ohio, in 1819, and built a “log cabin” in the midst of the dense forest.

He died in February, 1829, leaving a widow and family of seven small children, four of whom are still living, the mother having died in 1880, at the advanced age of 83 years.

W. H. Jaques, the subject of this sketch, settled in Joliet, Illinois, in 1845, and worked at his trade, [a practical tinner]. He married Eliza P. Dunham, in 1846. Two children, a son and daughter, were the fruits of this union.

J. H. Jaques, the son, is still living and resides in Tolono, in this county, with whom his father, William H., makes his home, his wife and daughter having died in Joliet, in 1852. When the gold fever was raging, Mr. Jaques became infected and crossed the plains in 1850, and work with varying success in the hill sides and cultures, mountain tops and valleys, river banks and river beds, for two years: he returned to Joliet in July 1852 having accumulated little money but a great deal of experience.

biography of William H JaquesHe came to Urbana in October, 1852 and established the first stone store and can shop; he manufactured the first tin ware ever made in Champaign county. He exhibited tinware of his own make at the first fair ever held in the County. He was married to Sarah A. Whipple in February 1854; she died May 1st, 1857. He then sold out his business to Stone Brothers and in 1859 returned with his mother and children to Ohio. He enlisted in 1862, as a private in the 103rd Ohio volunteer infantry, and served until the close of the war.

He returned to Champaign County, 1866, located in Tolono, and engaged in the sale of hardware, stoves, agricultural implements, and in the manufacture of tinware. Mr. Jaques has never sought or held any office, but was a Whig of the Clay and Webster stamp. He bleeds then as he does now that it was the duty of the government to levy a tariff with a view of protecting home industries.

He early imbibed a hatred of American slavery and when the republican party was organized to check its progress eagerly joined its ranks, and is today as he himself expresses it, a “dyed in the wool” republican because that party advocates his ideas of protection to American labor, and meets his views upon other questions as well.

Mr. Jaques can always be relied upon in business matters as well as politics. You always know where to find him.

Quiet in his demeanor, charitable where there is any just claim, truthful, honorable, and reliable, he is a good type of the successful business men of the west.


The image above links directly to the original document. You can access sources, data, images and documents for these and other individuals, by clicking on the name link, or searching the Blythe Genealogy database site using the surname search link and the ‘All Media‘ search link in the left sidebar.

It is recommended to search using both methods as the results can differ greatly due to a glitch in the software that doesn’t connect all images from the bio.

All data for this and numerous others on this site is available for free access and download.


From Chatterton to Blythe: A Lincolnshire family’s story.

Richard Chatterton was born and baptised before August 17, 1689 in Frodingham, Lincolnshire, England as the fourth child of Richard Chatterton Sr. and Frances Coates. He had three siblings, George, Robert, and Rachel.

On May 26, 1725 and at the age of 35, Richard married Mary Brumby (see relationship chart at left). They had the following children:

  • William Chatterton was born about 12 Dec 1728 in Frodingham, Lincolnshire, England.
  • Mary Chatterton was born about 17 Nov 1731 in Frodingham, Lincolnshire, England.  She married Edward Blyth about 1750.
  • Elizabeth Chatterton was born about 20 Mar 1733 in Frodingham, Lincolnshire, England.
  • John Chatterton was born about 27 Jan 1736 in Frodingham, Lincolnshire, England.

The remainder of his life was spent providing for his family as a farmer and landowner. Some of the Lincolnshire communities in which he and his family lived and/or owned property were Louth, Crosby, Scamblesby, Saltfleetby, Scunthorpe, Gunhouse and Thealby, Skidbrook and North Somercotes.

According to the records I found, his descendants remained in the Louth and Somercotes areas of Lincolnshire until the emigration of his great grandson Thomas Blyth and Thomas’  sons Charles George (3rd great grandfather to Erin and Stuart), John Mumby and Robert to America.

Blythe Ships List Ironsides
Blythe Ships List Ironsides

Richard died and was buried at the St. Lawrence Church in Fordingham before February 15, 1772. He must have been ill prior to his death as his will was drafted and signed within a month of his death on January 21, 1772. His estate was probated on 20 Feb 1772 in Lincolnshire, England, United Kingdom.

The following is the record of Richard’s will located on the UK Archives site.

Copy of a will. 

Sheff/A/40/1  21st. January 1772


Testator: Richard Chatterton gent. of Louth.

Beneficiaries: son William Chatterton – lands, tenements etc. at North Somercotes, 2 closes of pasture at Saltfleetby, cottage and land, and 1/ 3 of a farm at Scamblesby, ½ of a farm at Thealby, cottage at Crosby, ¾ oxgang of moor at Scunthorpe, 6 gads in Gunhouse Ings, close of pasture in North Cotes, after his death property in Crosby to go to testator’s grandson Robert Chatterton with lands etc. in Scunthorpe, Gunhouse Ings and Thealby; property at Saltfleetby to grandson William Chatterton; property at Scamblesby to grandson Richard Chatterton; property at North Somercotes and North Cotes to grandson John Chatterton. Daughter Mary Blyth, dwelling house in Louth. And the Mill Closes in Louth, 2 closes of pasture in Louth called Hagar ths, messuage in Louth, 2 closes of pasture in Skidbrooke; after her decease to her sons John and Thomas Blyth. Grandchildren

Robert Chatterton £100

William Chatterton £100

Richard Chatterton £100

John Chatterton £100

Frances Chatterton £100

John Blyth £200

Thomas Blyth £200

Residue to son William and daughter Mary

Executors: son William and daughter Mary.

Extracted Probate Records regarding Richard Chatterton, died 1772.


Chatterton, Extracted Probate Records
Chatterton, Extracted Probate Records

Probate Records






The image above links directly to the original document. You can access sources, data, images and documents for these and other individuals, by clicking on the name link, or searching the Blythe Genealogy database site using the surname search link and the ‘All Media‘ search link in the left sidebar.

It is recommended to search using both methods as the results can differ greatly due to a glitch in the software that doesn’t connect all images from the bio.

All data for this and numerous others on this site is available for free access and download.


  1. Robert Chatterton et. a.l., to George Chatterton, 1 DIXON 1/E/1/3, 8 February 1584, , UK Archives; privately held by http:, [address for private use].    FreeREG;; UK Parish Registers; Additional records: 1559068, 3226772, 3955559, 2185138, 2185093, 2185216, 3658882, 6320726, 6320654, 6320812, 6320934, 3053499, 4572154, 5367405, 3210536, 326460, 3053777, 5811109, 5811145, 5810977, 5811068.    
  2. Blyth, Norton, 1861 UK Census; Louth, Lincolnshire.
  3. Blythe, Norton, 1851 UK Census – Leddington, Lincolnshire, census,, .
  4. Blythe Norton, 1841 UK Census – Tealby, Lincolnshire, census,,
  5. Blyth, Thomas, 1841 UK Census – Marshchapel, Lincolnshire.
  6. Blyth, Thomas, 1851 UK Census, Pages 1-2, Marshchapel, Lincolnshire.
  7. 1857 Ship’s Roster; Ironsides; Blyth, Thomas.
  8. Charles G. Blythe obituary, The Hoosier Genealogist, Indiana Historical Society, June 2001, Vol. 41, No. 2.
  9. Blyth, John and Robert and Charles; 1860 US Census – Strongs Prairie, Adams County, Wisconsin.
  10. Naturalization Record: Sargent County Naturalization, Vol. 8, Pg. 185; 28 Jun 1892, County of Sargent, State of North Dakota: Chas Afdan and A. N. Carlblom witnesses; J. N. Christian, Clerk..
  11. Blythe, John, Hanna, Thornton; 1900 US Census, Sargent, North Dakota;.
  12. Blyth, John and Anna; 1870 US Census, Monroe, Adams County, Wisconsin.
  13. Blythe, John and Anna and William A.; 1910 US Census; Wilmot, Sargent County, North Dakota.
  14. Blythe, John and Middleton, Hannah: ; Register of Marriages, Lincolnshire, England.
  15. Blythe, Charles G.; 1870 US Census; Fountain Prairie, Columbia County, Wisconsin.
  16. Blythe, Charles G.; 1900 US Census; Lawrence County, Tennessee.
  17. Blythe, Charles G.; 1880 US Census; Fountain Prairie, Columbia County, Wisconsin.
  18. Blythe, Charles G.; 1910 US Census; Troy, Fountain County, Indiana.
  19. Charles G. Blythe File, American Civil War Soldiers Database, ( Ancestry Website).

We must know the genealogy questions before we can find the answers.


It has become increasingly apparent recently that there are two distinct schools of thought regarding quality and depth in genealogy research.

There are the genealogists who believe in working only with well-sourced, proven information – and then there are those of us who started our genealogical quests simply for the pleasure of doing so.

Before either camp can begin searching for answers, they much first know the genealogy questions.


My own research (see my Blythe Database) started with a curiosity about our history because I grew up in a military family that moved a great deal, and therefore I had very little opportunity to meet with near and distant family members to learn family stories and lore.

I do agree with the article “Take time to produce well-sourced, quality work,” on the Genealogy Today site, in which they respond to another article by Sharon Tate Moody in the Tampa Tribune, entitled “Drive-by genealogists should learn a few rules.”

I am one who looks at unsourced information as possible clues to breaking down brick walls and answering questions. Although the information itself may be unsourced and seen as questionable, it can be regarded as a clue.

When I receive gedcoms from others, or access information online, I do not discard what could be valuable information simply because there are no sources cited. I note the information, making it part of my own database, intending to return to it, find and cite concrete sources as I can.

Yes, I’ve found mistakes, but I have also found wonderful information allowing me to enlarge upon my family’s own stories.

I believe in the researchers’ responsibility for assessing the quality of the data they receive from others. I never take sources cited by others at face value, always working to find the sources cited and attach concrete proof in the form of images, etc.

Although a great deal of the Blythe Database attached to this site is not sourced, the majority of it is – the result of tireless work and ever increasing expense over 15 years. I have a clearly stated ‘Data Quality’ disclaimer linked in the upper horizontal menu of every page and post, and it states:

“The Blythe Database is my genealogy research in its entirety and is an ongoing process. I spend a minimum of four hours a day researching sources to verify data.

I have been researching genealogy for over fifteen years and you will note that I classify all sources by quality. If it is a poor quality source it is clearly indicated as such…

…It is common for there to be gaps in data and sources and in these cases I will use the individual anyway and either leave sources blank (indicating no sources found) or will clearly indicate source quality. It is up to the person using the data to use the information as classified.

I continually search out sources and documents to verify data and improve on substantiation. I have made some of my best discoveries using unsourced data as a starting point and I would hate for those clues to not be available.

This site is an effort to provide open, free sharing of genealogical information. However, all information is only as good as the sources cited.

I will gladly make corrections to data providing the information provided can be substantiated by the submitter with a source…”

Let’s face it: it’s quickly getting to the point where information gleaned from others will rarely include sources, images, etc. as more and more researchers become protective of their data. I understand as I struggle with my decision to openly share ALL of my information, but ultimately feel I’ve made the right decision, hopefully promoting more open and cooperative sharing of data by others as well.

Genealogy is a passion for me – and others. I enjoy the hunt as much as finding those elusive facts and sources. Maybe it’s my inner detective struggling to get out. Whatever the reason, my database will always have a substantial amount of unsourced data as I continually stumble upon new and hopefully ‘breakthrough’ information. I do, however, spend as much time as I can finding evidence and sources, but find (and I’m sure others do as well) that each new discovery raises numerous new questions, and finding those answers takes a great deal of time and effort.

There will never be an end to my quest…

photo credit: droetker0912 via photopin cc