Long Overdue Updates

January 27th, 2009

Well, it has been a wild ride, and it isnt over yet.   So much has happened it seems a blur.

I went to visit Auntie; took 99 pictures of pages in various photo albums; learned a lot more about Joseph T. Lamont; met several people who have helped in my research; met 2 relatives I didnt know I had; reconnected with a bunch of relatives I havent seen in years; and, in the meantime lost my mom to Alzheimer’s Disease over Christmas.

I’ll write separate posts on these topics over the next few days and include many more details there.

 I feel badly that I have not kept up with the blog.  I need to get into the habit of posting more frequent, shorter posts.

Face to Face

September 10th, 2008

After Auntie Mary’s last letter, I realized that it would be far easier for me to ask my questions if we were sitting face to face.  I had hesitated to do this because I know she has many, many cats – and in addition to hating cats I am also quite allergic to them.

However, Auntie has several photos and who knows what kind of documentation that I would love to get copied.  Even if that means bringing a camera down and taking pictures of them.

I just sent the letter yesterday, so I will update the blog when she replies.

An Unknown Great Uncle

September 6th, 2008

Another letter received from Auntie Mary, and another intriguing lead.

It seems her father, Paul Alfred Lamont, used to refer to an “Uncle Al.”  The only name she knew for uncle Al were his initials: A. F. Lamont.  The only thing Aunty knew about uncle Al was that he had a son who was killed during WW2 near Iwo Jima.  Aunty said, “His mother was listed, not his father.  Perhaps his father was dead.”

OK, so I did some research on casualties of WW2 from Rhode Island and found one Joseph T. Lamont.  He was a second lieutenant in the 549th Night Fighter Squadron.  He is listed as having received an Air Medal and a Purple Heart but as being Killed in Action July 17, 1945.  This date is about 4 months after the battle of Iwo Jima, but the 549th Squadron was active in the region before and after the actual battle.  I need to find a source to get a copy of the incident report of his death.

I can find no birth record of a Joseph T Lamont in Rhode Island.  However, on Alphonse’s draft registration card for WW2, he lists a Jane Lamont as his wife.  It is entirely possible that after Annie’s death, Alphonse got married to this Jane and had a son.  Even if this took place after 1923, the son would have been old enough to fight in WW2.

This bears much closer investigation and is yet another line I need to follow.

I think I am going to try to make an arrangement to go visit Auntie Mary and bring a recorder and digital camera.  It seems every time we communicate, I find new leads worth following!

Moses Orcutt, veteran of the Revolutionary War

August 16th, 2008

The info Auntie Mary gave me has enabled me to make leaps and bounds of progress on the Orcutt branch of the Tree.  The reason for this is that the Orcutts have lived in Abington and Weymouth, MA for over 200 years!  Tracing them back through the US Censuses was a fairly simple matter.

Of course, the farther back one goes, two things become clear.  First, that the Census was, at first, just a mechanism to enumerate just (male) heads of households – everyone else was just counted (not named).  Second, the further back one traces their roots, the more likely one is to find some other Tree which overlaps.  This is what happened to me.  I found 8 or 9 Trees which overlapped the Orcutt branch.

Now, this has some perils of its own.  For example, if someone else made a mistake, just adding their info to my Tree means I have done nothing more than duplicating that mistake.  So, while finding overlapping Trees is good, it does not mean just “click and go” on to the next.  It means click and check, confirm then go.

Either way, it is pretty neat to think that in one fell swoop, my collective ancestors went from “late 19th century immigrants” to “late 19th century immigrants except for one branch who fought in the American Revolution!”  If I was a female, I would be a Daughter of the American Revolution!  Nice!

New Questions for Auntie Mary

August 16th, 2008

Auntie Mary provided either clues or actual information enough for me to answer several of the original questions my early research had raised.  For example, the question about who Ralph Mousdell was, the question of Frank H Orcutt’s biological father, the question of who (and where) exactly Dinah Currier was, and what the realstory was behind Frank and Elsie Orcutt and their seeming two lives.  Well, all of those have been resolved now – thanks to Auntie.  However, there are a few of the old ones still remaining, and now there are a couple of new ones.

Auntie gave me the birth and death dates for Napoleon Lamothe.  However, only the birth date of Alphonse.  Why?  Was Napoleon still in contact with his children after Annie passed away?  She died in 1923, but Napoleon did not die until 1947.

Why did Alphonse change his name to Lamont when Annie did?  And, how did they decide on LAMONT anyway?  Why not Lamond, Lamotte, or Jones?  Did she change the names of the three kids legally, or just practically?  If not legally, is the marriage of her son, Paul, to my grandmother legal?  Wow, what a thought.

And then there is the question of who Annie Grenier’s father was.  I know her mother was Mary, born in August of 1836, but that is all.  Who were Annie’s ancestors?

Each question answered raises a new unanswered one.  But, at least the questions are changing and the process is continuing.

A New Family Name

August 11th, 2008

Another bit of information that came from Aunty Mary – Thomas Currier married Laura Gagnon.  Laura was born in Maine in 1865 – this part I knew from my own research.  I could never find a document that showed me her last name.  If Aunty Mary is correct, then this should open up a whole new branch of research for me and a whole new set of potential sources.

Right now I have so much info that has yet to be entered, I think I may have to hold back on new data until my Family Tree is caught up.

Aunty Mary Comes Through!

August 11th, 2008

I received an Express Mail package from my Aunt Mary (my father’s sister) a couple of days ago.  She is 80 and the oldest surviving member of my paternal side.  I had written to her a few weeks ago outlining what I had found so far and asking if she knew the answers to any of the “mysteries” still outstanding.  She had replied right away with a short note saying she’d write back when she had more to give me.  I didnt hold out too much hope.

Shame on me!  The package she sent contained 6 pages of handwritten, hand drawn family tree data including Frank Orcutt’s mother’s maiden name!  This bit of knowledge, along with a heaping dose of matches on Ancestry.com let me trace the Orcutt line back to Revolutionary times!  Apparently, the Orcutts are a very old family in Massachusetts in the towns of Weymouth and Abington.

I havent finished transcribing all the information she gave me but when I do I’ll print it out and send her a Family Tree so she can see the fruits of her hard work.  Thank you Aunty Mary!!

Closest find yet

August 1st, 2008

I figured out how to export the family tree data from MyHeritage into what is known as a GEDCOM file.  Then I uploaded that file into Ancestry.com.  They have a similar function to the MyHeritage “SmartMatch.”  Using it, I found someone who seems to be decnded from Louis Pichette – Amable’s brother.  This Louis would have been a cousin to Godfrey Pichette.  So far, this is the closest relative I’ve found!

More updates to follow as I answer her response and we trade info.

300 years and counting

July 31st, 2008

The smart match contacts I have made have been incredibly helpful.  It is funny – in an odd sort of way – communicating with someone I have never met, never heard of, never would have met or heard of, if it were not for the fact that we share an ancestor.  In other words, we are related.  A woman named Marie Louise Simon, who was born in 1701, married a man named Augustin Belanger in 1727.  It is arguable that if that event had not taken place, I would not be writing this now.  Their children had children had children, etc and one of them was me.  Marie Louis is my great-great-great-great-great-great-great- grandmother.  Oddly enough, she is also the 7th great grandmother of one of the people I met through MyHeritage.com.

To me, that is a mind boggling concept.

Anyway, I have not had a lot of time lately to delve deeper into the various documents sent to me, nor to investigate thoroughly the web site Mr St Gelais sent to me.  However, as I do, I will post here more frequently.

I’ve found my 7x-great grandmother and a 9th generation cousin…amazing.

More matches and a response

July 22nd, 2008

As I go through the files sent to me detailing the Pichette and Corneau ancestry, I post more and more people to the web site at http://www.myheritage.com/site-27501792/lamont-web-site.  The site generated a number of “matches” between my people and those on other family trees.  Well, I wrote to several people and got my first response!

Robert St-Gelais wrote back offering to add some names to my tree!

As soon as I reply to him and have some results, I will post again.

To be honest, I am surprised at how helpful the genealogical world is.  Now that I have done some work and am getting into it a bit more, I feel like I’m part of a group, part of a special set of people.  Not exactly like co-workers, more of a sense of belonging.  Like being a Freemason, or joining the Irish-American Club in a town gives one a sense of auto-acceptance, so does finding someone who is interested in genealogy.  Interesting.  And unexpected.