Posts Tagged ‘genealogy

28
Aug
18

Helping & Sharing & History (and a ghost story)

I’m writing this at the end of August – cannot believe summer is over already! I have spent some great moments these last few months discovering all kinds of new tidbits, meeting fantastic new people, investigating new places and helping with some fundraisers.

One of the best parts of this business is helping others, often by the usual monetary or time donation, but also in many other ways. We did a really great fundraiser earlier in the season that raised a good amount of funds for a children’s project – they assist with meals, back to school supplies, Christmas, etc.
We help by reassuring folks who might have some unnerving experiences with the paranormal. Sometimes they are so relieved just to learn that other people might have had a similar experience and that they are not alone. Just being able to tell your experience in a “safe” environment is often enough.
We also help to encourage people’s interest in history. Many people think that history is boring and we open their eyes to a whole new world of fun, exciting, history – kind of like thinking out side the box and looking at it in a different way. I saw an exhibit at a new found museum that used art sketches and stereotypes from the 1800’s to tell a portion of the area’s fishing industry. It was certainly more interesting than reading a book about it!
That museum was one of my newfound treasures! Maine has surprises at every turn if we just keep our eyes open – a historical marker hidden by a tree branch can be just the thing to open your eyes to a piece of that area’s history. A local corner store might have some old photos on the back walls that showcase something you’ve never seen. Even a lecture at a small historical society can really spark a new interest in something you didn’t even think about.
Our new Maritime History Tours have opened my eyes to a lot of things that I’d seen over the years, but didn’t really realize the meanings behind them. I am having such a great time sharing on these new tours in Bar Harbor and Boothbay Harbor. I hope to finalize one for Rockland over the winter. All of the early history of Maine was associated with the water – rivers or sea, as it was the main mode of transportation as well as the livelihood of most, one way or another. Farmers, brickmakers, coopers and more all sent their goods off on boats for trade, unless of course they were small operations and dealt locally.
One of the reasons I like offering custom or specialty tours and speaking engagements is that it does give me the chance to look into different pieces of history. A tour on a singular topic or a particular person offers all kinds of challenges, but what fun when you find the hidden tidbits that make it come alive! Better yet, you get to share it!
I have 3 places on my fall bucket list of travel. We don’t have that much time to travel between May and November, but these are right here in Maine and should be easy. One is to Greenville and the Lumberman’s Museum in Patten – these are really 2 places, but they both relate to the lumber industry in Maine, of which my ancestors were a part of.
The next is to Castine – just a place I’ve always wanted to go. A huge maritime history as well as Revolutionary War ties are there and I hear it’s beautiful! Maybe there’s a ghost or 2 as well…
Lastly, an inn in Bethel that I just heard a haunted story about. Now, I hear ghost stories all the time, but this one was intriguing and offers an opportunity to go somewhere new and different to see what we can find! I’ll share it with you –
A couple was staying at this inn and both commented in the morning how they had heard noises in the night and both had heard similar things. It sounded as if someone was scratching inside a bureau drawer, opening it and rattling the handles. The handles were the hinged pull handles which do make a pretty distinctive noise when jiggled. Neither one of them got up to investigate, but did comment to each other in the morning. When they returned to their room after breakfast, they could not get in. No matter what they did to jiggle the key in the lock and turn it every which way, it would not open! In frustration, they went to get the innkeeper who opened the door with ease. They couldn’t help but think they were being kept out of the room just at that moment for some reason, though nothing seemed amiss!
Thanks for reading – share some history today!
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21
May
17

Part Two – Ancestor Appreciation Day

Two posts ago, I wrote about one of my ancestors who completed a great feat, at the time. He was the first to take a wheeled vehicle from the Kennebec River to the Penobscot River (Skowhegan to Bangor).

I do not know if this was a 2 wheeled or 4 wheeled vehicle, but it did cause a stir among settlers as he passed by small settlements in the 1800’s, according to reports. It certainly must have been horse or oxen drawn.

I wish there was more documentation – was he alone? what was he transporting? how long did it take (about 50 miles)? what time of year did this take place?

So, today, I had the opportunity to drive this route myself (in my 4 wheeled car! and in the opposite direction). I just wanted to drive the drive and imagine what it must have been like in the early 1800’s.

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Most of the area is now farm country so it is nice open fields, but at the time it would have been all wooded (as above), and as I mentioned in my original post, must have certainly needed some trailblazing!

I passed by a few lakes, bridged several rivers and went up and down countless hills! All I could think of was the poor horse(s) or ox(en) that had to work so hard. The modern road is a nice, wide 2 lane highway in very good shape and was a pleasure to drive.

Caleb Shaw must have had good reason to go to all that trouble, or maybe he was just up to a challenge! Some of my Shaw ancestors certainly have been the type to make their own way.

History is wonderful, haunted or not, but always leaves us wishing for more…

25
Aug
14

Research is Fun, but Sharing is Better

I have selfish reasons for this business – I love history and I love research! As fulfilling as intriguing research can be, I’ve found that it really needs to be shared for the best results.

I think of it as a treasure hunt – whether it is genealogy or a ghost story or historical research, once I find that first clue, I’m sucked in. I often can’t devote the time I’d like to continue the hunt, at least for the moment, but sometimes it’s hard to break away. The challenge is to find the information I need, but not get swept away for the whole day!

I have a diary that I’ve been reading. It dates to the late 1800’s – spanning 40 years! I don’t know how many transcribed typewritten pages it is but I’m only on page 70 something and not a third of the way through. It’s at a nearby library, in the reference section, which is probably a good thing. If I could check it out, no one would see me for days!

In my last post I mentioned a new offering coming to Wiscasset. It is an afternoon tour called History & Haunts of High Street. At either end of beautiful High Street are 2 historic buildings that we will tour through, while telling history, folklore and tales of both as well as all the homes in between. We will offer these only once a month June through October. Our first is this coming Friday, August 29.

One of the buildings is a courthouse; the oldest continuously working courthouse in Maine, dating to 1824. The other is “Castle Tucker,” now a museum owned by Historic New England, but once was a private home. It dates to 1807. The other buildings we will see are sea captains’ homes, a painted lady, an old bank with a “jug vault” in the cellar, a duplex dating to 1852 (who knew they built them that early?!) and more.

As I’ve been researching for this new tour, I’ve found myself getting so excited about sharing the information I’ve found! I can’t wait until Friday, and I hope the guests will appreciate the tidbits that I’ve come up with.

Another exiting “show and tell” that I experienced recently was during Boothbay’s 250th Anniversary Celebration. I was fortunate enough to be able to share “Ye Ol’ Burying Ground” with about 50 people. The amount of history found in old cemeteries and graveyards is incredible! Did you know a cemetery is different from a graveyard? A cemetery is not associated with a church, while a graveyard is. We ran into difficulties at this particular burying ground because it is now called a cemetery, but there did used to be a church right next to it. I didn’t know about the church until a local person shared with me during this celebration, so now there’s yet more research to be done – which came first the church or the burying ground?

I had a winter full of research this past year, and now it’s time to share… my husband has written a book, with my assistance, and it is now available to the public! “Haunted Damariscotta, Ghosts of the Twin Villages and Beyond” by Greg Latimer was published by History Press and can be purchased from them online here:

https://historypress.net/catalogue/bookstore/books/Series/Haunted%20America/Haunted-Damariscotta/9781626193055

Obviously, we’re very excited to have accomplished this, but also to share with all of you. Please let us know if you’d like to purchase signed copies from us – we can take care of that for you.

I hope you enjoy these last days of summer – I know I will, peeking out between the pages of that diary!

19
Aug
11

Salem Witch Trials and Hangings

These didn’t take place in Maine, but Maine was part of Massachusetts at the time, and they did influence certain happenings here. This is a “nice” chronology of events, with some hangings taking place on today’s date 319 years ago. http://law2.umkc.edu/faculty/projects/ftrials/salem/asal_ch.htm

I believe I have witch related relatives in my genealogy – do you? Even testifying counts!