back Your Turn back
It is both a frustration and a blessing that every question my research answers raises three more, equally enticing. I visit a place where some ancestor’s memory lingers and find there kindred memories and the makings of stories I hadn’t expected. I gather images and documents and take them back to Chankly with every intention of integrating them into this account of my burgeoning debt to Hepzibah, only to store them away while I attend to other amazing corners of the fabric.

So, the best I can do is to point you to as many as possible of the loose ends I’m not going to get around to, in the hope that some of them will attract your attention and that you can have as much fun with them as I would have had. Maybe you’ll have a Hepzibah of your own. Indeed, maybe it will be given to me to have been your Hepzibah, so that you can blame me hereafter for disrupting your lives by turning your hearts to your fathers and distracting you from much else that might have occupied these precious corners of your time. That’s an opprobrium I could brag about.

I’ll now assign a new color in these pages to draw your attention to diverse interesting research opportunities that I’ve encountered, followed up to a temporary pausing-point, and shall now leave to my survivors, so that you can share in my sense of satisfaction at having brought new shared glories to our family’s attention. Until I change my mind, how about this nice green, denoting a “green light” for continuing progress?

Throughout my “I Blame Hepzibah” collection, a “Do You Know” link appears in the lower right-hand corner of each page. When clicked, it takes you to a growing list of surprising connections between our family members and world history, over the past thousand years or so. Makes a good trivia quiz for young kinfolk. Or us oldsters, for that matter.

At the bottom of the “Do You Know” list, a prominent green Your Turn link transports you to this page and offers this evolving list of variably-exciting bits of our family story which I won’t live to pursue any further and that may suggest lines of investigation that will reward your efforts. I invite you to consider looking into them, when the time is right for you and the Spirit moves.

Easier yet, I just decided to put a “Your Turn” link at the bottom of the very first screen you’ll see, when your browser goes looking for “commensa.net”: Welcome! I Blame Hepzibah! Your Turn!
“Treasure Cities”— places where our family has left memories. You may be able to visit them, but if not, clever Internet research, guided by the corresponding Sections of this collection, can help you expand our family’s awareness of them and how they fit into our story:
The New Towne
Carlisle
Hartford
Groton
Lancaster
Nauvoo
Sandisfield
Colebrook
Cattaraugus County
Salem
Watertown
Salt Lake City

“Buried Treasures”— major resting-places of our kin:
Brigham City Cemetery
Salt Lake City Cemetery
Little Neck
Plymouth/Mayflower
Middlesex Burial Grounds
Hillsborough Center
Hunterdon County

“Pedigrees and Descendancies”— For Temple work, or just to connect us up to our impressive pioneer ancestries and cousinages:
Munroe descendancy
Fisher descendancy
McLean descendancy
Russell descendancy
Our Seely heritage
The Book of Uncles/Aunties
European roots
Alden
Ashby
Ball
Barron
Benjamin
Bigelow
Butler
Child
de Clare
Decker
Elkins
Felt
Hill
Hooker
Hopkins
Jarvis
Hurd
Olmsted
Prescott
de Quincy
Rogers
Ruscoe
Seymour
Snow
Stanley
Stillman
Twining
Warren
Wheeler
Young
Each of the following fragments (discussed at the destinations of the links listed above) represents a point at which I’ve torn myself away from one story in order to pursue another. Some of them link you to collections of images and other data that I hope will reward your analysis, organization, and interpretation. The folders in my computer setup that contain these collections are at your disposal; just ask via e-mail to me at olbear@mac.com. You’ll find their folder names here and there, linked to my discussions of the contexts in which they arose.

When I’m no longer around, I’m promised that those data will be part of my permanent collection in the L Tom Perry Special Collections in the Harold B Lee Library of the Brigham Young University. At the request of John Murphy, their Curator, I executed about a decade ago a deed of gift, contributing “my papers” to that institution. They’ve already taken to Provo several boxes of documents and correspondence, including Mammy’s missionary journal, which they were particularly eager to have. When I “go,” more boxes will make the trip to Utah County; it’s still under discussion exactly what BYU will take, what family survivors will want to preserve and curate on their own premises, and what will fatten the dumpster. If you’re interested in adding any to your own libraries, please get in touch. John promises that everything they curate will always be available to the family.

So, it’s up to you. The Lord intended that Granny Hepzibah should turn my life upside down, and I thank Him and blame her, tongue firmly in cheek, forever. The pursuit of our family story continues to bless and motivate me, and I cherish a hopeful faith that at least some of you will respond to the task in a similar manner, when the wheel of your own personal history turns to that point, and that you will be moved to share in my growing sense of gratitude for what we as a family continue to receive from our loving Father in Heaven and from His merciful Son, Jesus Christ. I feel it. I testify to it. And I pray that it will bless you as it has me. In due time, as my Pappy liked to say.


The New Towne, Middlesex County
Y O U R   T U R N :   Between 1958 and 2002, we resided mostly within the boundaries of the old New Towne, and I take it as an honor and a distinction to have been referred to as a “Cambridge Character.” We were privileged to live most of our lives where a very large portion of our family’s New England pioneer history took place, and I’ve captured only a few fragments of its richness in my “I Blame Hepzibah” accounts, particularly in the Section named NewTowne. Anyone who wishes to contribute further will also find valuable material in
Paige, History of Cambridge, Massachusetts, 1630-1877
Thompson, Cambridge Cameos
Cambridge Historical Society, Essays on Cambridge History
in my library.

In particular, a diligent descendant may be moved, some day, to check into our kinship to Abijah and Sarah Child(s), whose family tragedy I’ve documented. Not pioneers in the immigrant sense: they lived and suffered at the time of the Revolution and rest in the Old Lexington Burial Ground. I suspect they’re cousins of ours, fellow descendants of Watertown founder Ephraim Child, in which case Ephraim belongs in the chart of our descent from the founders with 9GGF John Child.

Carlisle, Middlesex County
Y O U R   T U R N :   A great deal of our colorful medieval heritage comes up in the context of the town of Carlisle, even though its territory bore other names when it was originally settled by several of our New England pioneers, and so I’ve presented it in my Carlisle Section. That’s probably what I’ll work on first, if I’m vouchsafed time and strength to undertake any of these residual projects on this side of the Veil.

As it turns out, we had direct ancestors on both sides of the table at Runnymede, when our reluctant and regrettable ancestor King John affixed his seal to the historic Magna Carta. One of the troublesome barons (widely considered heroes of world political history) who brought him to that pass was Saher de Quincy, Earl of Winchester, and I’ve seen reasonably believable assertions that Saher was also an ancestor of Olive Welby Farwell, the Middlesex County pioneer who brought our Plantagenet heritage to these shores in the 1630s. His biography has to be a page-turner, and the stories of his descendants through whom we come, down to Grandma Olive, surely would make as good reading as those of our Plantagenet connections whom I’ve included toward the end of my Carlisle section.

My library at Chankly includes
Adams and Weis, The Magna Charta Sureties, 1215
Faris, Plantagenet Ancestry of Seventeenth-Century Colonists
as well as folders entitled
020607 Carlisle History and 020617 Acton Records
Actually, the twenty five Magna Charta Surety Barons also include a couple of de Clares (earls of Hertford), and our Plantagenet line includes certified 21GGM Margaret de Clare, who may also connect us up there; I haven’t investigated. Please feel encouraged.

Granted time and strength to enjoy it properly, I’d probably also apply for membership in the National Society Magna Charta Dames and Barons and perhaps other lineage societies, to go along with my affiliations with the Society of Mayflower Descendants and the Sons of the American Revolution, although I’ve thus far resisted numerous similar temptations. The Mayflower group is the only one I’ve been active in, and it’s been a rewarding association. In case you hadn’t noticed, we do have a remarkable collection of ancestors.

Incidentally, the founding officers of the Second District of Carlisle included our 6GGF Nathan Munroe, (Hepzibah’s dad) then aged 64, in two roles: as a member of the Committee of Safety and also as a Tythingman. Whatever that entailed. It’s on my research agenda, unless you beat me to it.

Hartford
Y O U R   T U R N :   The obelisk there that remembers the names of the founders who accompanied Grandpa Reverend Hooker to Hartford bears, among others, these surnames—each a researchable line of ours—that I can already trace back to direct ancestors in Hartford’s early years:
  • Butler
  • Hooker
  • Olmsted
  • Ruscoe
  • Seymour
  • Stanley
My research into these lines hasn’t extended much beyond their initial segments in the New Towne. In particular, what I’ve seen of the Stillman and Hurd histories in southern Connecticut and the Hartford area titillate my loving curiosity; maybe you’ll be moved to look into them further.

I still have the photos we took in July of 2001 at the Ancient Center Church Burying Ground: they await your pleasure in a folder named
010724 Hartford ABG
as well as the informative little book we bought from the young people who showed us around:
Hosley and Holcombe, By Their Markers Ye Shall Know Them
Connecting them all up properly remains on my perennial to-do list. It’s been there for twelve years already. If some relative wished to earn my (even posthumous) gratitude, I could use some help with the task. A lot of help, truth be told.

Jay Mack Holbrook, an old Worcester yokefellow and a fellow sealer in the early days of the Boston Temple, also authored (entre autres) a volume of Connecticut history and genealogy:
Holbrook, Connecticut Colonists: Windsor 1635-1703
You’re welcome to borrow it from my library.

Groton and Lancaster
Y O U R   T U R N :   In the course of our 2004 east-coast homecoming hegira, on June 16 (the tender anniversary of our Mammy’s accident) we paid our only visit to Groton, Middlesex County, the birthplace of our Plantagenet ancestor Abigail Woods Wheeler, and to neighboring Lancaster, a truly deep-rooted Treasure City for our family; they surely deserve at least one Section in this record. All we carried away, alas, was a collection of 77 photos, almost all of gravestones; certainly a starting-point for a proper record, but only that. They reside in a folder labeled
040616 Groton, Lancaster
Working from those images and the collection of links at Groton’s and Lancaster’s entries in my “places” index (accessible via a link at the bottom of every page), a descendant could surely gain an understanding of our treasures in those neighborhoods and from that assemble one or two suitable new Sections.

I’d resolved to pay a visit to these centers of our Middlesex County colonial family history, back in the summer of 2002, when my camera and I spent another fascinating afternoon in the “HistGen” library in Boston, capturing many pages of Lancaster history, including vital records, epitaphs, and, fascinatingly, the autographs of a number of our ancestors and of their fellow 17th-century pioneers. I really ache to add a Lancaster section to “I Blame Hepzibah”: its absence, as C S Lewis wrote in the last year of his life to Walter Hooper, makes a cavity like a drawn tooth! The folder at
020828 Lancaster
with the other one cited above, contains enough undigested material to make a splendid start on such a section.

Nauvoo
Y O U R   T U R N :   The Nauvoo2001 Section reports on our visits in October and November of 2001, on our way to and from the West coast. It was among my earliest ventures into hypertext and has required several revisions and reorganizations since, with the most recent happening only this past January, 2020. The current version is on the Web.

As long as we are blessed with family members in Keokuk and therefore in the Nauvoo Stake, and as others pass through as tourists or missionaries, we’ll be in a position to accumulate updates and expansions: our Nauvoo experience, do let’s rejoice, is not over yet.

My library also includes a couple of volumes I picked up in the bookstore that the Community of Christ (formerly the Reorganized Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints) operates in Nauvoo:
Launius and McKiernan, Joseph Smith, Jr.’s Red Brick Store
Joseph Smith, III, The Memoirs of President Joseph Smith III (1832-1914)

Sandisfield
Y O U R   T U R N :   When I visited Sandisfield for the third and last time in 2009, Norton Fletcher and Willard Platt, my esteemed hosts, were my guests for lunch in the Gentlemen’s Parlor, where they permitted me to snap these portraits, after a day of photographing priceless records of their community, with emphasis on my family, particularly in the early years. I’ve made a start at organizing the information in these images as the “Sandisfield-Colebrook” Section of this record. I pray fervently that some diligent descendant will be moved to dig into them and expand the Section into a coherent record of our family’s life in the Berkshires. They reside among my computer files, in a folder named
091211 Sandisfield-Colebrook Records 2009
The Town was also celebrating the 250th anniversary of its incorporation, and it published a commemorative volume:
Bernard, Sandisfield, Then and Now
I purchased from Ron Bernard, its principal author, Number 257 of the 700 numbered copies they issued.

Colebrook
Y O U R   T U R N :   As in Sandisfield the day before, I spent my final visit to Colebrook chasing around with the excellent Bob Grigg and snapping photos of various records. These images, together with a folder full of Colebrook property maps that I don’t expect to live to study adequately, are also at your disposal in the folder labeled
091211 Sandisfield-Colebrook Records 2009
Thanks to Bob, my library also preserves a rolled-up, large-format rendering of the aforementioned property maps. In either format, but perhaps more conveniently in the latter, a diligent researcher will surely be able to gain insights into the participation of our Stillman forebears in the land transactions that were incident to the later founding of Colebrook by Sandisfield’s earliest settlers. Sorry, but I haven’t gotten around to it, just yet.

Cattaraugus County, New York
Y O U R   T U R N :   Valerie and I visited Freedom several times in the course of our family visits and research travels. Most of what we gathered went into the OliverAndHannah Section, but much remains to be uncovered and incorporated into our record. Much of the earliest Latter-day Saint missionary work in the 1830s, both to Indians and “Gentiles,” took place in Cattaraugus County, and our Wheeler and Decker lines first met the Restoration there, at the hands of Joseph Smith and other early missionaries. The Freedom Branch (with whose resurrected congregation we worshipped on one trip) is the only unit of the Restored Church whose presiding officer was designated by name in the Doctrine and Covenants. If other family members were moved to visit, they would surely find additional treasures.

Grandpa Oliver Wheeler III, the father of Grandma Harriet Page Wheeler Decker Young, is buried here, and we were guests in the home he built around 1827 in the village of Elton. It’s an affecting story. An extensive history of the region is in my files at
Cattaraugus.pdf
I’ve studied it in some depth, but it would reward further attention from the family. It’s a big file, but such are easy to transmit, these days.

Furthermore, after correcting many errors and resolving some distressing puzzles in our family’s Wheeler and Decker stories, we were left around 2010 with a pair of dense pages I’ve entitled “Next Questions” in my “Oliver and Hannah” Section. It’s now Your Turn, and I do hope some descendant will find them as intriguing as I have:
  • How did the Wheeler homestead in Elton pass from Grandma Hannah to the Deyoe family, and thence to the Richardsons and, eventually, to our gracious hosts the Holmeses? Are we kin to any of these nice people?
  • We know that Grandma Harriet’s little sister Caroline is revered as a pioneer of Livingston County, Michigan, and that various branches of the Deyoes also settled around there. These are “only” collateral lines, but they fascinate me.
  • I’ve unearthed suggestions that our uncle Caleb Sawyer may have been a son of Freedom pioneer Earl Sawyer, whose daughter Eunice was an early light and a late tragedy (as a Hyde) in Freedom’s Latter-day Saint history. And that Earl may have been connected to early Vermont and, perhaps, to Lancaster, our Treasure City in Middlesex County. All this needs clarification.
  • In a remarkable combination of Providence and serendipity, we were blessed to resolve the long-standing question of Grandma Hannah’s sepulture. Since she apparently ended her life in or near the household of our Uncle Benjamin Franklin Wheeler in Akron, we can comfort ourselves that she eventually developed better family communications than she’d had, back when Oliver died. I haven’t yet chased down our line of Akron cousins; maybe they need Temple work?

Salem, Essex, Massachusetts
Y O U R   T U R N :   On 19 February 2002, four days after my revelatory birthday visit to Salem, at the great library on Newbury Street, I took thirteen pictures of documents relating to the distressing story of young Grandma Harriet Page Wheeler’s family’s sojourn in Salem from 1805-1815. They occupy the folder named
020219 Wheeler deeds
and are the primary source for my writeup of those events in the Oliver-and-Hannah Section. You may find further details of interest

I’ve never since made it back to this Treasure City and now don’t expect to, but it will surely reward any descendant’s further investigations. Via Grandma Hannah Ashby Wheeler, our nearest ancestor in this cluster, we have heritage through distinguished Salem pioneer lines bearing surnames including
  • Ashby
  • Jarvis
  • Felt
  • Hill
I’ve given you a head start with a Reunion family file and associated GEDCOM named
Ashby.familyfile13
Ashby.ged
The Ashby and Felt lines, in particular, figure significantly in Latter-day Saint history. Most Latter-day Saints are unaware that Joseph Smith lived in Salem while recovering from his leg operation. Nor that our Uncle Brigham Young sent his sixteen-year-old daughter, our Aunt Vilate Young Decker, back to the Felts in Salem for her “coming out.” Nor that Salem was the headquarters of the New England Church during World War I.

Much earlier, of course, it was at Salem in September, 1628, that the Massachusetts Bay Colony was founded.

Watertown
Y O U R   T U R N :   Of all the unfinished tasks I’m leaving to my survivors, this may be the most embarrassing. Decades before Hepzibah obtruded, Mammy called my attention to the Founders’ Monument in the next town over from our various Middlesex County residences. Captain Robert Seely, the Pioneer, turned out to be kin, but not an ancestor. But seven others honored on the Monument are indeed our direct progenitors and candidates for descendancy research on the model of my efforts for the Munroes, Fishers, McLeans, and Russells, none of which qualifies as complete.

So, dear descendants, please understand that our hearts do still remain to be turned effectively to the Barrons, the Balls, the Benjamins, the Warrens, the Bigelows, the Stearnses, and the Prescotts. Just for starters.

The first book ever published by the first significant genealogical society in America was Henry Bond’s Genealogies of the families and descendants of the early settlers of Watertown, Mass., (New England Historic Genealogical Society, 1850). It’s a rather massive book. Every library with serious genealogical pretensions owns a copy. I used to have (but can’t now seem to locate) a searchable compact disc of its contents, but data availability won’t be a problem, if you decide to dig into its content: there’s a whole lot there. Happy digging!

Salt Lake City
Y O U R   T U R N :   The This Is The Place Section documents our family’s central participation in Brigham Young’s arrival via Emigration Canyon into the Salt Lake Valley in 1847. My library holds at your disposal some primary accounts of that event in
the Centennial Issue of the Utah Historical Quarterly, Vol XIV (1946),
which includes James Amasa Little’s Biography of Lorenzo Dow Young, as well as Step-Grandpa Dow’s Diary, primarily in the hand and language of Grandma Harriet Page Wheeler Decker Young.

These records enclose some wonderful family stories, such as Dow’s own account of his miraculous healing in Kirtland and the lesson he learned by declining with excessive modesty a calling from the Prophet. Maybe I’ll get to incorporate those into our record; if not, I’ll count on you.


Brigham City Cemetery
Y O U R   T U R N :   A clever descendant may some day see fit to expand the little slideshow named “Brigham City Cemetery” that leads off this collection (alphabetically, at least) into what the FindAGrave people call a “virtual cemetery,” chasing down the sepultures of the other descendants of Artie and Alfie Seely and incorporating snapshots of our cousins and of their gravestones.

Salt Lake City Cemetery
Y O U R   T U R N :   Ten stops may suffice for a single visit to this large cemetery, especially on foot. But this section, as it stands, comes nowhere near covering our connections hereabouts. Contributors may also choose to venture to other nearby burying-places, in particular the Young Family Cemetery at the other end of Salt Lake’s Avenues, within sight of the Temple. After all, that’s where we must go when we wish to pay our respects to Grandma Lucy Ann Decker Seely Young, as well as to our distinguished Uncle/Step-Grandpa/President/Prophet Brigham Young.

Plymouth/Mayflower
Y O U R   T U R N :  The bones of Thomas Rogers, our Pilgrim Sire who did not survive the first winter, probably rest in the sarcophagus on the top of Cole’s Hill in Plymouth that bears his name and those of his fellow non-survivors. I haven’t investigated the sepultures of Stephen Hopkins and his family, although it’s my impression that their first three generations lie mostly in southeastern Massachusetts. Our Mayflower ancestors of the fourth generation emigrated, of course, from Cape Cod to the Berkshires, and I address their story in the Sandisfield-Colebrook Section .

There’s obviously room for a lot of research to expand and improve my Section entitled “MayflowerDescendants.” As it stands, it offers ample facts and references and the opportunity, should you so choose, to sign up with your friendly neighborhood Society of Mayflower Descendants. After a decade as Secretary of the Utah Society, I do warmly recommend their fellowship. And if you’re in my line of descent, you qualify to piggy-back on it.

You may also wish to deepen and widen the Mayflower research I’ve done: the Twining, Snow, Elkins, Stillman, Hurd, and Seymour lines, in particular, intersect with ours in ways I’d like to understand better.

My library at Chankly includes two of the Society’s “Silver Books”:
    • Volume Two, including five generations of the descendants of Thomas Rogers, and
    • Volume Six, covering those of Stephen Hopkins.

Rumors persist, by the way, that we have Alden heritage also, but I haven’t encountered any convincing particulars. And I’m not going to devote waning energy to the project, at this late stage of my researches.


Harvard Square, Lexington, Watertown Burial Grounds
Y O U R   T U R N :   I’ve invested considerable time in the Old Burial Grounds in Harvard Square and Lexington; if they fascinate you as they have me, you can probably refine my writeups. Watertown, on the other hand, I’ve clearly neglected, and you’d do our record a real favor to inventory our family graves there. Our Bigelows in particular are still fairly numerous among current residents.

Many of the Middlesex pioneers who started out in Watertown, moreover, went somewhere else to settle down, die, and be buried. You could trace those emigrations and put together a coherent account of the Watertown diaspora. I’ve seen comments on its extent, but I don’t think the literature includes anything comprehensive.

Hillsborough Center Cemetery
Y O U R   T U R N :   In a sense, my family history odyssey began here, well off the proverbial beaten track, where Granny Hepzibah didn’t really quite reprove my sloth as I deserved. I visited her on Memorial Day, brought her roses, reported to her at length in the drizzle, and then wandered around this classic New England cemetery, snapping pictures of the Munroe stones I saw, along with a few others I was able to recognize. They appear in Granny’s Section. If I’d prepared better, I’d have known whom else to look for. Bottom line: there’s still plenty of room for a descendant to do a better job in New Hampshire.

While you’re at it, it shouldn’t be difficult to locate, photograph, and document the sepulture of our New Hampshire pioneeering cousin Jason Hartwell Theodore Newell. I don’t think he’s buried in his home town, but that’s a researchable question. His life story illustrates the enterprising spirit of nineteenth-century New England, and his physiognomy puts me in mind of Ebenezer Scrooge. An enterprising student of our roots could doubtless gather the necessary facts in an hour or so of chasing them on the Web. Then it would be easy to fill in that gap in my GrannyHepzibah Section.

Ancient Little Neck Burying Ground
On our second visit to the Little Neck cemetery, in the late summer of 2007, we snapped some fifty photos, available to you in a folder named
070926 Little Neck,
of the gravestones of Brown family members, immediately adjacent to the Willett enclosure, which we had already documented pretty fully in the LittleNeck section of this record. We presume that they mark the graves of cousins of ours, descendants of our distinguished ninth great-grandparents John Browne, Gentleman, and Dorothy, parents of Grandma Mary Brown Willett. We’re not sure where Grandma Dorothy lies, but Grandpa John is prominent in the enclosure.

My intention was and remains to chase down those kinships and either to extend the LittleNeck section or to make a new section for them. But as my 80th birthday approaches, next February, and as so much else clamors for my attention in this record and elsewhere, it’s looking more and more as if I’ll have to leave that task for some faithful descendant who will have found my “It’s All Hepzibah’s Fault” collection worthy of interest and extension.

Hunterdon County, New Jersey
Y O U R   T U R N :   In contrast to other family Treasure Cities such as Cambridge and Watertown, in Massachusetts, which served our colonial forebears largely as jumping-off points, our Fishers and allied families tended to stay in Hunterdon County long after the pioneering generations went to their rest. So, Hunterdon’s institutions, places, and cemeteries are replete with our family names.

A lot of our relatives were born, lived, died, and/or were buried in this vicinity, which bears the charming label of “Ringoes.” Named, we’re told, after a tavern operated there a long time ago by one John Ringo. One of the roads is still labeled with his name.

On the 7th of July, 2015, we were visiting our beloved Ralstons in Springfield, New Jersey, about an hour away from Flemington. For a family activity, we drove there and deployed ourselves and our iPhones in the cemetery at Ringoes where we knew many of our kin are buried. The resulting photos are in a folder named
150707 Hunterdon
I haven’t yet done anything with them. Your opportunity.

Munroe descendancy
Y O U R   T U R N :   In preparation for the construction of the Boston Temple at the end of Appleton Street, Granny Hepzibah (bless and “blame” her) awoke me to the purposes that have structured the residue of my mortal life. Assigned to identify 35 deceased kinfolk for the Temple’s cornerstone, I extracted the names and relationships of 3,888 fellow descendants of William and Mary Munroe from Richard S. Munroe’s 1966 book, History and Genealogy of the Lexington, Massachusetts Munroes. Subsequently, I obtained a copy of
The Munroe Book, by Joan P Guilford, Ph.D,
which she presents as an update and expansion of the earlier volume, and which will surely yet provide to some diligent descendant sufficient source material to expand my turn-of-the-millennium contribution. It’s at your disposal in my library.

The central product of my Munroe researches is a Reunion1 family file and equivalent GEDCOM named
Munroe.familyfile12
William Munroe.ged
With them, in my “Your Turn” library, I preserve, in PDF format, two long (although, alas, incomplete) hierarchical lists of William’s descendants:
William and Martha Munroe descendants.pdf
William and Mary Munroe descendants.pdf
These document 11,226 of our Munroe relatives, and I’ll e-mail them to you on request.
1Reunion is the premier genealogical program for Macintosh. If you don’t have it and don’t want to get it, I’ll gladly translate any of my .familyfile records into a GEDCOM, so that you can load it into another program of your choice.

Fisher descendancy
Y O U R   T U R N :   On the general model of my Munroe research, to provide eligible deceased relatives for my own Temple work, I undertook research for a few years into the descendants of my sixth great-grandparents Johann Peter Fischer (1698–1775) and Anna Maria Jung (1701–1775), the immigrant patrilineal ancestors of Grandpa Seely’s mother, Elizabeth Jane Fisher Seely {1839-1885). I drew my sources and documentation from ancestry.com, contributing to familysearch.org those who needed Temple ordinances. The resulting Reunion familyfile record, with its equivalent GEDCOM translation, filed as
181221 Fisher Descendancy.familyfile13,
181221 Fisher Descendancy.ged
documents 27,849 persons, of whom 8,955 are direct blood descendants of Peter and Anna. Another 5,032 are spouses of those descendants, and 6,775 are parents of those spouses. The other 7,087 found their way into the record for other reasons. The file named
181221 Fisher Descendants.pdf
contains the (very long) associated descendancy listing. I’ll send it at your request. When the productivity of this line of investigation tailed off, I switched over to the McLeans. But you may wish to extend the Fisher files, with a goal of assembling a reasonably complete descendancy record. Your call. There’s still plenty of room.

McLean descendancy
Y O U R   T U R N :   The McLean Descendancy project investigated the descendants of William McLean (1707–1785) and Elizabeth Rule (1707–1784), of Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, Grandma Elizabeth Jane’s matrilineal immigrant ancestors. When I moved on to the Russell descendency in 2020, I’d connected up 14,920 persons, of whom 4,603 are direct blood descendants of William and Elizabeth. Another 2,054 are spouses of those descendants, and 3,310 are parents of those spouses. The other 4,953 are there for other reasons. The resulting Reunion family file and GEDCOM are entitled
200504 McLean.familyfile13
200504 McLean.ged
and the McLean descendants are listed in
200504 McLean Descendants.rtf
I’ve also included in my YourTurn collection, more as a curiosity than anything else, a photo of the gravestone of Wilmer McLean, labeled as
mcleanwilmer.jpg
Turns out that the owner of the Appomattox farmhouse where Robert E Lee surrendered to Ulysses S Grant comes from another McLean immigrant line. Guess it’s OK that somebody else also have really interesting family stories; Lord knows we’ve been blessed with an astounding plethora of them.

Russell descendancy
Y O U R   T U R N :   When the Temples open up again for proxy work, if I’m still here, I plan to resume daily work on the descendants of William and Martha Russell, our 10th great grandparents and our Munroes’ across-the-street neighbors in Lexington. You’re welcome to join me in this project, though I’d suggest and prefer that you pick another from this homework list. If you really want to investigate the Russells in parallel, please give me a ring (801-447-4774 -- a beautiful number, don’t you concur?), so that we can avoid stumbling over each other’s researching toes.

Our Seely heritage
Y O U R   T U R N :   Even though “I Blame Hepzibah,” it was my nearest and most influential Seely relative, my Mammy, Leola Seely Anderson, who laid the motivational foundations of all the joy I’ve had in this work, even if she didn’t stay in this world long enough to take much pleasure in her success. These pages preserve rather a lot of Seely memories, scattered among their Sections:
  • The Leola Section Brent and I put together for her centenary;
  • The account of my childhood and the intersection of my life with Mammy’s and with that of our Seely kin, occupying Chapters 1 through 3 of Such A Life, by far the largest Section of this document; and
  • Brief sketches of my contemporary Seelys, in Chapter 6, “People.”
For all that, there’s room for much more, if loved ones are inclined to pull it together and expand that part of this record. My archives include for your use, as starting points:
  • Ruth Burton Weenig’s The Seely & Fisher Ancestry, which she compiled in 2004 and shared with me in 2008:
    Burton, The Seely & Fisher Ancestry
    It’s also available as PDF in the electronic portion of my library, for your convenience:
    Seely Book.pdf
  • A collection of stories about the extended Seely family, building out from the F. Leland (Jim) and Grace Seely household in which Jim (their son) grew up. By his courtesy, it’s in
    170414 Jim Seely’s Stories

Our very deep roots in New Netherlands and in sixteenth-century Europe
Y O U R   T U R N :   If anybody in our family has looked in any depth into the ancestry of our great-great-great-grandpa Isaac Decker, I haven’t seen the results. He did not immigrate from Holland, as Frank Esshom would have us believe: in fact, he was a sixth-generation American with roots among the earliest settlers of New Netherlands. Some family member who isn’t scared off by Dutch, German, and other European names could do us all a big service by summarizing and documenting Grandpa Isaac’s heritage. Just among his first six ancestral generations, the Family Search Family Tree attributes birth-places in the United States, Germany, British Colonial America, Netherlands, Prussia, Sweden, New Netherlands, Belgium, and France. Grandpa grew up in the Dutch Reformed Church in upstate New York.

Lord, if it be Thy will to grant me another twenty years, I’ll make sense of all that, for the edification of posterity: as an inveterate onomast, I rejoice in exotic nomenclature. Failing that, Lord, please move some faithful descendant to tackle the job. In due time.

The Book of Uncles/Aunties
Y O U R   T U R N :   A decade ago, I personalized The Book of Uncles for each of my then-living grandchildren, and some of them have since confessed to enjoying it. It makes no claim to complete or even adequate coverage, and I’d rejoice if any descendant were moved to expand it to include one or more favorite uncles. I might even pretend to be surprised that none of the sweet feminists in the family has yet perceived an opportunity to celebrate our “Aunties” in a symmetrical fashion. Hmmm?
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