New/Old Information

First Published on September 7, 2015.

I still don’t have my computer but I was able to scan some more photographs and do a little more research. This was especially good because my parents brought me the rest of the contents of the box of old pictures. I found another tintype photograph. I’m not sure who is in the picture yet but here is a sneak peek:

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In the box, there was also a large old photo album. I have no idea who the photo album belonged to originally, what side of the family. This means that I’ll get to do a lot more digging there are some real gems in the photo album. Here’s another sneak peek of those pictures:

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Stay tuned for more exciting origin stories!

Origin Story: Michael D-?

First published on September 2, 2015.

Most of this information in this post comes from The True Genealogy of the Dunnel and Dwinnell Family of New England…, by Henry Gale Dunnel (I have no idea why this is an ellipsis on at the end of the title). While you can look at this book online, you can also order it from Amazon, which I did so that I could show people the book that was written about my ancestors.

So who was Michael D-? This was Michael Dunnel, Doniel, Donell, Dunwell, Dwenell, Duenell, Doenell or Dwinill. It was noted that Michael did not usually spell his name, instead affixing his seal to legal documents. Believe or not there are some legal documents that mention Michael, but lets start from the beginning.

Based on an American Genealogical-Biographical Index (AGBI) with is a large database of names that have been printed in genealogies, searchable on ancestry.com, Michael was born in 1640, in Massachusetts, which I feel like is slightly wrong information. Michael was probably born in 1640 but not in Massachusetts where he lived earlier. Henry Gale Dunnel writes that there’s some family historical discussion about the origins of the family, whether it is France or Ireland. Growing up I heard the same thing, the gist of the story was that my ancestor was French nobility who fled France and moved to Scotland or Ireland, changed the name a little, then moved to America and changed the name a little. I’m not sure how much of this true, I haven’t branched my research out into Europe yet.

Michael was married by 1668 to Mary Read in Massachusetts, so he was in America by that time. They had their first child Mary that same year. They had their second child, Michael in 1670, he would go on to be the first doctor in Topsfield, Massachusetts. In 1672, Michael and Mary had another child Thomas, and Michael bought ten acres of land from the Pabody’s. Mary and Michael had a lot of children, besides Mary, Michael and Thomas they had, John in 1674, Elizabeth in 1677, Maudlin in 1679, Joseph in 1682, Susannah in 1685 and Johanna in 1688. Joseph born in 1682 is my direct descendent.

Michael also had a will, in which he gave his sons parts of his land. He ordered (his words) John and Joseph to keep “Two cows, a horse and ten sheep” for Mary Read. It also says that Joseph will have no power to sell the land he was given without the agreement of his mother or counsel. It seems that John and Joseph were to split Michael’s homestead with their mother.

Michael’s will was “proved” on March 3, 1717, meaning he died around that time, either in 1717 or 1716. Mary, his wife and his sons, Michael, Thomas, John and Joseph, all signed that they were present when the will was presented. Even though they signed one after the other, the spellings of their last names differ between Dunnel, Dunnil and Dunnill.

Michael was a farmer, and the land he had served such a purpose. When The True Genealogy of the Dunnel and Dwinnell Family of New England… was written in 1862, the author remarked that this land was still being tended by Michael’s descendants, I wonder if that is still true today. This is about all the information I know about Michael for now. Maybe as I do more digging, I’ll find more stories about him.

From the Dwinells Side of Things

First published on August 31, 2015.

I’ve been focusing lately on my Husted lineage, partially because that’s the most recent research that I’ve been doing and partially because I have a treasure trove of pictures from that side of the family. However, I started my research, maybe two years ago, by following my last name, Dwinells as far back as a could.

You would think that this would be easy because my last name is unique, but because my last name is different, it was spelled so many different ways: Dwinell, Dwinnell, Dwinels, Dwinnells. You get the picture. Some of these variations in spellings are caused by error on the part of the census taker, transcriber or even the part of my ancestors. If they weren’t literate, it might be hard to spell your last name. However some of the variations are due to different parts of the family estranging themselves. I remember by grandmother saying that some parts of the family moved away and changed the spelling of our last name to even further distance themselves from relatives that they didn’t like.

Although this created a lot of confusion for me, I was able to uncover a wealth of information about the Dwinells family that goes as far back in America as the Husteds. While doing my research, I found that there was a book out there about my family genalogy, The True Genealogy of the Dunnel and Dwinnell Family of New England… by Henry Gale Dunnel, written in 1862. (I also want to mention that Internet Archive is amazing). In his introduction, Henry Gale Dunnel writes that he started his research because of the discrepancies between his father’s last, Dunnel, name and the last names of his uncles, Dwinnell.

Henry finds that his ancestor, who also happens to be my ancestor came to Topsfield, Massachusetts in the 17th century. His name was Michael and his last name varied. You can see on the genealogy that I posted, how many different spellings of his last name there are. There is some more information about Michael that I will talk about in a later post. Michael is my eight-times great-grandfather and when I discovered him, as with most of my discoveries, I was amazed. I knew the name of my eight-times great-grandfather. I knew where he lived and some of what he did. For me, that’s a big deal.

To lay the ground work for the Dwinells side of my family, I made a quick tree:

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Letters II

First published August 29, 2015.

Here’s another letter that I found among the pictures left by my great-grandmother. At first I had trouble figuring out who this letter is from and who it was written for. The letter starts off with “Dear Ones” and is signed from L.H. I had originally thought this letter was to Lucy Lamb Husted, my great-great-grandmother but after further review I think that this letter is from Lucy to her children, thus the “Dear Ones”.

There are some other people mentioned in this letter, the first is Nate, who I haven’t been able to identify. I’m assuming that Lucy when to visit her mother, Adella Lamb, who she mentions later in the letter, up in Litchfield, Connecticut. I will look more into who this Nate is because I also have many unidentified pictures taken in Litchfield and Nate might be in them.

Lucy also mentions a letter from Aunt Kate. This can be Lucy’s sister, Kate Lamb Osborn or Lucy’s Aunt, Kate Lamb Fuller. Seeing as this is a letter to her children “Aunt Kate” is probably Lucy’s sister.

Here is a scan of the letter, but I will also transcribe it below

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6-11-23

Dear ones

Just a line I expected a line from you today but it was Aunt Kate’s in stead. I some times wish you were here there is lots of things toshow you & shure you will never know or rather never relise if I do tell you. I have my mind made up & that is pure & simple.

Nate is working today & I am alone here inthe house. If it has not rained by this time water the grass onthe lawn & the hedge yong ones

I suppose you have sprayed the patatoes by this time one – heaping table spoon full to every quart of water

How many chickens have you & do you change them 2 times a day dontput them on the new lawn

The sour cheries here are almost ripe. grapes are in blosomhere

I went over to the little church last night the one you have apicture of. It is now 4pm & Nate will be home for super at 5:30 will stop for to do the chores. Don’t you wish you were to ride fancy water & fed hur

Nate has only got 3 hens is or wants to set &another is blind with one eye

I made a cake yestuday & it urned out fine

Mama spoke of waren & North Ave I think she is mistaken Waren St does not go to North Ave. What did Mr Gill say about old lumber

Well I have bento see Mother once more I stayed with her about theee forts of an hour she did not talk much tonight she sed she felt like sleaping she told Me not to be mad but asked Me if I would gohome & let her sleap. She seam real good one day & them worse the next Well no for that report card of final report What shall it bewho has the best who is pasing this time

I canot dooall of the work Nate told Will look again tomorow & see what I can find. I will not say that I am geting fat but I am feeling fairely good but I am not satis fied Now May you hug Louise forme & be a good girl that is the kind that dady likes

Robert do you have much time after you get the hoeing done wellwe will all take a day of when I get home & have a ridee in the car to If itseams hot for that [?] let mr Brenon have it ask what they think of it

Ihave sed all for this time

Love to all hug Louise forrme

L.H.

This letter was hard for me to transcribe. It was much lighter than the other letter, making it hard to read. There are some words that I could not figure out some of the words, even by increasing the contrast on the letter. The grammar and spelling mistakes make this a hard letter to read and understand.

I like the part of this letter that is clearly a mother making sure her children take care of their home. She gives instructions on how to spray the potatoes and to make sure that the chickens don’t go on the new lawn. She tells them that if it hasn’t rained, to water the grass.

I also find it interesting that Lucy asks to “hug Louise for me”. In 1923, Louise would have been just a year old. I feel like it would have been hard for a mother to leave her infant for a length of time. That’s what makes me think that Lucy went to see her mother because her mother was ill. Adella does make a comeback from whatever illness that she has because she lived at least until 1957 and the age of 94.

My great-grandmother Mae or in this letter “May” would have been nine years old and her brother Robert, thirteen. Lucy never mentions their father until the very end of this letter “be a good girl that is the kind dady likes”. I imagine a thirteen-year-old and a nine-year-old and a baby running a small farm but that is not likely. Lyman M., Mort as he is called in other letters, Lucy’s husband, probably was home tending to their farm.

I would like to know how long Lucy was away from her home, some of the things she talks about makes it seem like she was away for awhile, like how she baked a cake. I also don’t know how long letters took but I’m assuming they weren’t too fast.

Overall I think that this letter is an amazing thing to find. I love the fact that my great-great-grandmother sat down at a typewriter and I can hold in my hand the letter that she wrote. I think that feeling connected to my ancestors is one of the main reasons that I love doing this research. Even though Lucy never knew me, I can still feel like her granddaughter, even if it is her great-great-granddaughter.

Photographic Evidence: Husted/Stanton Family

First published August 25, 2015.

While researching the last photo that I wrote about, I started thinking about a family portrait that I had.

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This picture was taken in Davenport, Iowa, so I assumed that it pictured my great-great-great-grandmother on the left, Sarah J. Husted, and her husband, Lyman B. Husted in the middle of the picture. The man in the back of the picture, who looks a lot like my father, I thought was my great-great-grandfather Lyman M. Husted. I figured the children were those of the woman on the right, who was a sister of Lyman M.

However, going through the steps to date Lyman B.’s previous photograph got me thinking that my initial assumptions were wrong. This sent me on a crazy chase to figure out who these people were in this picture.

I found some old newspapers from Davenport, Iowa that showed a divorce between Sarah J. and Lyman B. I’m not sure if this divorce went through but she shows up in later newspaper articles remarried as Sarah J. Owens. However by 1900 she was going by Sarah J. Husted again. This might be because of inheritance money that was discovered in Connecticut (I’ll talk more about this in another post). Anyway, Lyman B. was 67 when he died and I do not think that this man in this photograph is 67.

I think that Sarah J. is still the woman pictured to the left, however I think the man sitting in the middle is Jehial (or Jehral as I have previously misspelled his name) Stanton her father. In my collection of photographs, I came across a small newspaper clipping (sorry that it is crooked):

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This indicates that her father was living with her at some point when he was older. He is also blind, and I might be reading too much into the picture, but he is not looking at the camera the way the other adults are. My next question to answer was: What year was Jehial Stanton born?

This question actually took me awhile to figure out, probably because I had some wrong information. I originally thought his name was Jehral Staton, which I believe I acquired from an obituary of Sarah J. Husted. This made it hard to find any information, but once I started digging I found his correct name. Jehial Stanton was born July 4th, 1823 (based on this clipping and census data). That means that this newspaper clipping was from July 3rd, 1906. So by 1906 he was living with his daughter in Davenport.

I had a difficult time dating the fashion in this photo, but based on the women’s dresses, I think that it was taken sometime between 1900 and 1910. My next question to answer was: Who are the other people in the picture?

The younger man standing up in the middle of the picture is not my great-great-grandfather Lyman M. If this picture was taken between 1900 and 1910, he might have already moved back to his extended family in Connecticut. He does show up in the 1900 Federal Census living with his mother and brother (Sarah J.’s name shows up at the bottom of a page):

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However, I no longer think that the young man in this photo is Lyman M. Husted but rather his brother James Elnathan Husted, called Elnathan (also listed in this census). If both sons lived with Sarah J. at the time of this photo, I would think that they would both be in the photo.

Finally, who is the woman and the children? Sarah J. Husted had no female children so my previous theory was wrong. I do not think that this woman is Elnathan’s wife, Lola Husted. On his World War I draft card Elnathan listed that his address was the same as his mother’s and his mother was his next of kin whereas on his World War II draft application, his address was in another state and his next of kin was Lola and this photograph was definitely take before World War I.

Looking back at the 1900 Federal Census, an Effie M. Williams, Sarah J.’s niece, and her children, Charlie O. Williams and Effie B. Williams, are listed as living with Sarah J. The children in this photo, if it was taken between 1900 and 1904, would be about the same age as Charlie O. and Effie B. and the woman on the right of the photo looks to be in her mid twenties, as Effie M. would be. Although I tried, I could not figure out who Effie M.’s parents were.

So my conclusions at this point are that the people in this photo are Sarah J. Husted, James Elnathan Husted, Effie M. Williams, Jehial Stanton, Charlie O. Williams and Effie B. Williams.

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Photographic Evidence: Lyman B. Husted

First published August 22, 2015.

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This is a photograph of Lyman B. Husted, or at least a photograph of someone with the name Lyman B. Husted written on the back. We found this photo in the box of pictures belonging to my great-grandmother, so I’m going to assume that this is indeed Lyman B. Husted, her grandfather and my great-great-great-grandfather. I was very excited to find this picture because it was very old, on a piece of metal and there was a name on the back. Recently I’ve been reading Family Photo Detective: Learn How to Find Genealogy Clues in Old Photos and Solve Family Photo Mysteries by Maureen Taylor. It is a very good resource and I thought I would use some of the techniques in the book to decode this picture.

The bottom of the photograph is full of clues. “TIMPE”, I believe is the photographer and the picture was taken in Davenport, Iowa. Lyman B. was still living in Connecticut in 1860 according to the 1860 Federal Census. I’m not sure why he moved to Iowa, but he at least was there by 1877 when he married his wife, Sarah J. Staton, in Iowa. Lyman B. died in 1897, so I’m thinking that this photo was taken at some point between 1861 and 1897.

This photo is a tintype photograph, which were introduced in 1856. They fell out of fashion by the end of the century because of the advent of paper photographs. This doesn’t help too much with dating the photo.

Based on the information provided in Family Photo Detective about dating fashion I think that this picture was taken between 1860 and 1870. The collar looks like a standard folded down collar that is worn today. In the decade prior, men wore popped collars that almost touched their cheeks. In the decade after, men wore thicker collars. Also during this time period, men had facial hair and their hair was parted to the side and a little bit longer. Deciphering mens fashion is difficult so I could be totally wrong about this. However if this photo was taken in this period he would be between 30 and 40 years old, which I think is accurate based on how old he looks.

I don’t know why Lyman B. took this photo or why he moved to Iowa, more family mysteries to solve.