Monday, November 16, 2009

Genealogy Research Live in Palm of Your Hand

I know that a number of you have iPhones.  You probably aren't aware that you can purchase an application to let you access new FamilySearch on your phone!  Check out the mobileTree application. 

mobileTree iPhone app I keep much of my genealogy and research on my website (some public, some password protected).  Combine online data with mobileTree and the available GPS application and you have a Killer tool for doing genealogy research!

Imagine.....  The billions of records of nFS, your own data, photos, and ability to interface with all of them using a device that fits in the palm of your hand.   Visit a cemetery, get the GPS coordinates of ancestors graves, take a photo of their headstones and post it all to your site and blog(s) on the spot.  No wasted motion or memory loss!  Wow!

If you have an iPhone, I'll bet Santa would be happy to give you this application if you ask for it.

Continuing on this theme .....

You may not know that you can post your cemetery, research and other photos directly to your blogs via email.   Both Posterous and allow postings this way.  All of the posts to my posterous blog are made that way.  

Suppose you are working with family and friends on genealogy and you are on a research trip.  You can share your finds with them in real-time using this method.  I usually have to find a WiFi hot spot or do a little juggling on a public computer at a library or at the FHL to make on-the-spot posts.  

When you have a active research team but haven't worked together in real-time, you can't imagine how the synergy in the groups builds momentum and success in your research.   They help guide your on-the-site search with information they have in their far-flung locations.

I've frequently experienced this synergy in real-time and guarantee it happens.   Add Skype to the mix for live video, voice and peer-to-peer file transfers and you too can make it 'Happen' -- Real Time!

Wow #2!  I may have lived long enough to see some of my dreams become reality!  

The tools are here.  Make it happen.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Abiel Chandler - Revolutionary War Veteran

Abiel Chandler was born on 20 October 1765 in Andover, New Hampshire to Timothy and Ellizabeth Copp Chandler. Too young to fight in the Revolutionary War at its start, he worked on the family farm in support of his family.

Chandler Abiel headstone large At the age of fifteen, in late 1780, he joined in the battle for freedom as a volunteer from New Hampshire joining Benjamin Whitcomb's Independent Rangers in the place of J. Rosebrooks.  The Rangers primarily functioned as scouts and spies.

By the end of 1783, his military service was completed and he was discharged.  During the war, Abiel was at the battles of White Plains, West Point and Saratoga.

He married Abigail Thomas on 25 Dec 1788 in New Hampshire and they had eleven children. One of the sons was named George Washington Chandler in honor of the great leader of the Revolution.  For the remainder of his life, continued to serve in the New Hampshire militia, eventually rising to the rank of Captain.

Both the Chandler and Thomas families had lived in New Hampshire since the late 1600’s.  Their ancestors were known for their strong character and homesteading spirit. They often chaffed under the reign of Mother England over the American Colony.  The spirit of freedom was exhibited in his father-in-law, Sergeant Jonathan Thomas, who also a Revolutionary War veteran.

The Chandler men were known for their physical strength.  Abiel’s great grandfather, John Chandler(2) actually threw several English soldiers into the deep foundation of a home when they tried to impress him into British military service.

Their desire for personal freedom prompted them to serve in local military groups in protection of their villages and towns. Three of his Chandler ancestors were also Captains in the local militia in New Hampshire. 

John was the second son and child of Captain Thomas and Hannah (Brewer) Chandler. He was born 14 March 1655 and died in Andover, on 19 September 1721 age sixty seven. He was a blacksmith and landholder. His homestead was on the west side of the Shawshin River in Andover. He was elected selectman on 6 March 1710, to which office he was several times re-elected. He was first selectman in 1715, and subsequently highway surveyor. He married Hannah Abbott, third child of George and Hannah (Chandler) Abbot, of Andover. She was born 9 June 1650 and died 2 March 1741 aged ninety. John was also made a Captain in the militia.
John was the second son and child of Captain John and Hannah (Abbott) Chandler. He was born 14 March 1680 and died on 3 May 1741 in Andover. He was a farmer in West Parish, on "the Chandler Homestead." He was surveyor 1716-1720; selectman 1720, chosen as selectman to oversee the poor 1725-26-28. He was chosen a trustee of the town, to take out of the Province Treasury "their aforesaid part of 60,000 pounds."  At one time in his life, as he went to Newburyport, he was impressed by three of the kings officials, saying to him, as they laid their hands on his shoulder, "the King needs your services; you will go with us."  Apparently yielding, he walked quietly along until they reached a spot where a house had been burned and where there was a deep cellar with ashes and half consumed timbers still burning, then turning round quickly, he seized them, one by one, and threw them all into the cellar, where he left them and went his way. 

He married Hannah Frye on  4 June 1701. She was born 12 April 1683 and died 1 August 1727 aged forty-four years. She was the daughter of Samuel Fry and his wife Mary, daughter of Robert Frye and his wife Ann. Ann Frye died in Andover on 23 October 1680 and was the great granddaughter of John Frye, of Basing Hants, England.

John was the eldest son of Captain John and Hannah (Frye) Chandler, born in 1702 in Andover, Massachusetts.  He died in Concord, New Hampshire on 26 July 1775 aged seventy-two.  He has one of the original proprietors of Concord, New Hampshire and a man of much influence.  In 1733, he was tithingman and treasurer of Pennycook, New Hampshire. In 1746, he was captain of the garrison round the house of Rev. Timothy Walker.  Captain Chandler was a man of great muscular power and a great wrestler.  It is related "that being informed that Rev. Mr. Wise, of Ipswich, excelled in the art of wrestling, and had not been thrown, he made a journey on purpose to try his strength and skill.  Mr. Wise on being requested, declined, having relinquished the practice as unsuitable to his profession.  But being earnestly solicited by Mr. Chandler, they went into a door-yard which was fenced by a wall set in the bank, took hold, and began to play; when Mr. Wise suddenly, with a trip and a twitch, threw him over the wall upon his back. Chandler arose and requested another trial, but Mr. Wise refused.  So the Captain returned home sadly disappointed."  He married Tabitha Abbott, daughter of Nathaniel and Dorcas (Hibbert) Abbott.
Thomas was the second child of William and Annis Chandler and was born in 1628. He died "15 day 1703".  He was one of the early pioneers in the settlement of Andover, and was employed with George Abbot Sr. and others to lay out lands granted individuals by the general court.  Lorings "History of Andover" says: "Thomas Chandler was a blacksmith, ultimately a rich man, carrying on a considerable iron works."  Thomas married Hannah Brewer of Andover.  She died in Andover, 25 October 1717, aged eighty-seven.  Thomas was made a Captain in the militia and served as representative to the general court in 1678 and 1679 from Andover.
William and his wife, Annis, emigrated to Roxbury, Massachusetts in 1637.  Annis is supposed to have been a sister of Deacon George Alcock, of Roxbury.  He took the freemans oath in 1640, and was at that time stricken with disease which caused his demise on 26 November 1641.  He was among the proprietors of Andover, with his son Thomas, and tradition says he was the owner of the tannery at the corner of Bartlett street and Shawmut avenue, Roxbury.  He had consumption for a year before he died.  A chronicler of his time says he "lay near a yeare sick, in all which time his faith, patience and Godliness and Contentation so shined that Christ was much glorified in him -- He was a man of weake parts but excellent faith and holiness; he was a very thankful man, and much magnified Gods goodness.  He was poor, but God prepared the hearts of his people to him that he never wanted that which was (at least in his esteem) very plentiful and comfortable to him -- he died in the year 1641 and left a sweet memory and savor behind him."

The young couple settled in Sanbornton, moved to Bridgewater, now Bristol, in about 1796, where he filled his service as Captain of the militia.  They had a farm on the hills in the northeast part of the town.  Eventually, they moved to Stewartstown, New Hampshire, living on North Hill and then on the David Kent place.  While in Stewartstown, he was chorister.

After their family was raised and Abigail had passed away, he moved back to Bristol to live with his son, Timothy.  He died at his son’s home on 5 March 1854, in his 89th year even though his tombstone states that he was 92.

Abiel’s Revolutionary War pension application has provided the majority of our knowledge about his life.  His descendants are fortunate to have a document of such antiquity that details the names and ages of his family members, occupational difficulties and struggles in his hand or as transcribed by his solicitor.  He and Abigail successfully raised a family of eleven children, of which two died as babies. 

Chandler Abial Revolutionary War Pension - genealogy

Unfortunately, arthritis or rheumatism crippled Abiel when he was in his mid-40’s.  The debility severely impacted his ability to provide for his family.  His children helped on the farm and in various jobs in their community to help support the family.

The extremely protracted process of obtaining a military service pension is detailed in his application.  His experience was typical for Revolutionary War veterans.  Many of them died long before their pension was approved.  The meager pension payments were frequently obtained by their widows after yet another extended application process.

Of interest to his descendants, his pension application includes a discharge of service certificate signed by General George Washington.

Chandler Abial Rev War pension application pg 22


Sources for his story are located on my FamHist website. 

Grandpa – You Are So Funny

Talking to your grandchildren is often a shock to your reality.  I tell them stories and they often reply, “Grandpa, you are so funny!” 

Telling Stories I tilt my head to the side and thoughtfully consider what I have said that could elicit such a response.  I quickly realize that my verbal language is full of symbolic phrases that often express full paragraphs and concepts to others of my generation, yet are often meaningless to the Disney Channel generation.

Conversely, some of their phases are equally meaningless to me.

I don’t think I’ll ever abandon the phrases that have been part of my life since my youth.  Most spanned more than my generation.  My parents used them.  As often as not, my grandparents used them.

Today, technology and the rapidly expanding world knowledgebase has lit the afterburners on language mutation.  Most of the current phrases are based on technological concepts that will be obsolete in ever decreasing cycle lengths.

So, for me, I’ll continue to hang on to the phrases that I’ve known and that have exhibited the most longevity in the last two hundred years.  I suppose that means that I’ll continue to be ‘funny’.

In May 1996, a third cousin sent his favorite phrases and their meanings as a punctuation mark to make his point in our discussion.  In honor of his memory, they are listed below:


The name of a prison which was on Clink Street in the Southwark area of London.


After the Patten shoe which the young women wore in the buttery. When the cream spilled on their shoes, the fat would tend to make the leather shiny.


Meat was roasted until cooked on an upright spit which had to be turned by hand.


Solicitors kept their clients papers in a file folder tied with red ribbon to prevent the papers from falling out. Of course, when they wanted to get at the papers, they would have to cut through the red tape.


Ps & Qs Ale was served at local taverns out of a "tankard" ... you were charged by the angle of your elbow ... half-way up... you drank a pint, all the way up... you drank a quart. Since the Quart cost so much more than the Pint, you were warned to "Mind your Ps & Qs"


When you drank too much out of the above "tankard" you were said to be "tanked" ... if you got so "tanked" that you passed out, there was a chance that somebody might think you had actually died. Since back then they didn't have experience with taking pulses, they often buried people alive who were actually in a drunken stupor or otherwise comatose.


A leather jug treated with tar pitch to help it hold its shape.


A bombard is a leather jug which holds 8 pints or 4 quarts. A full bombard of ale would make you drunk.


Glasses were hand blown, thus flat bottomed glasses were difficult to produce. Those with curved bottoms would tend to tumble over when placed on the table, and too many tumblers of whiskey would make you a little bit tipsy.


When our ancestors realized that they were burying a great deal of people before their time had actually come, they came up with a solution. They tied a string onto the "dead" person's hand, buried them, and tied the other end of the string to a bell and then tied it to nearby tree branch. If the person revived enough to ring the bell, their survivors would rush out and dig them up. Hence... "saved by the bell"


The raised door entrance held back the straw (called thresh) on the floor.


A host would offer his guests a piece of bacon, which was stored above the fireplace in the parlor, so they could chew the fat during their visit.


Candles were expensive to make, so often reeds were dipped in tallow and burned instead. When visitors came, it was the custom for guests to make their exit by the time the lights went out. Therefore, if your host didn't want you to stay very long, he would give you a "short stick."


If they REALLY didn't want you to stay very long, they would light "both ends" at the same time!


A short rush, which would burn for a short time, would be used when company came over rather late; when it burnt out, you would want to see the hind end of your guests out the door.


When a guests would over stay their welcome as house guests, the hosts would (instead of feeding them good, warm meals) give their too-long staying guests the worst part of the animal, not warmed, but the COLD SHOULDER.


Your dinner plate was a square piece of wood with a "bowl" carved out to hold your serving of the perpetual stew that was always cooking over the fire. The kettle was never actually emptied and cleaned out. New ingredients were simply added to the muck. You always took your "square" with you when you went traveling.


Visitors to the Anne Hathaway's cottage (near Stratford upon Avon) are given this explanation while looking at the bread oven beside the fireplace in the kitchen: "The bread was put, as a raw lump of dough, straight into the bread oven. No bread tin, it just sits on the floor of the oven. The oven is heated by the fire and is very hot at the bottom. When the bed is done baking and taken out to cool, the base of the loaf is overcooked black and also dirty. The top of the loaf is done just right, and still clean. The bottom of the loaf is for the servants to eat, while the upper crust is for the master of the house.


The square plate (above) was never washed either. After your daily dose of stew, you wiped your plate clean with a piece of bread. Then you flipped it over which provided a flat surface for your dessert portion (if there was any, that is)

Loose lips sink ships ROOM & BOARD.

An apprentice would journey to another village to learn more about his craft (journeyman). There he would pay someone for his room, and food for his board.


An old English law declared that a man could not beat his wife with a stick any larger than the diameter of his thumb.


This apparently refers to an old English (Welsh?) belief that keeping a goat in the barn would have a calming effect on the cows, hence producing more milk. When one wanted to antagonize/terrorize one's enemy, you would abscond with their goat rendering their milk cows less- to non-productive.


Slate floors were often cold enough during the winter months that any bare skin coming in contact with them would "stick". The slate floors were covered with a layer of hay to provide some warmth. The kitchen was the only room kept heated during the winter. All of the family spent the day cooped up in this one room (often 10 kids or more)... also the family cats and dogs who served important functions of "mousing," "garbage disposal," and etc.


High chair with holes in the seat (a.k.a. "drainage chair"). During the winter months, young babies were strapped into their chairs and were never allowed to crawl around in the hay on the stone-cold floor. They didn't wear any diapers of any sort. They sat in that chair all day... and you know why there were holes in their chair!


The layer of hay in the kitchen, was finally hauled out of the house when the weather turned warm in the Spring.


The discarded "bones" from winter meals were piled outside and a bonefire would be set to get rid of them.


The bed frames were strung with ropes on which straw mattresses were placed. After some time the ropes would loosen and one of the young men would pull them tight.


Tying the knot of the ropes in the marriage bed.


Most English homes of old had "thatched" roofs. Canopies were placed over the beds to keep bugs, mice, dirt, rain, etc. from disturbing your sleep! Of course, I think I would want to stay awake because I'd be so afraid of having to be "saved by the bell"!