Friday, April 22, 2011: Treasures in Hartford and on to Simsbury

It is Good Friday and some things are CLOSED and also on Saturday! Boy how did I miss this as a holiday.  That is two holidays that I was not prepared for actually three days worth, major glitch!  Easter weekend and Patriot’s Day.  Wikipedia has listings for each country including the USA so it is a start: 

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_holidays_by_country#United_States_of_America

I do check Town Hall websites, County Government websites but State Websites might be a good idea too.  Some holidays are regional or by state so this is important.  If I had done a better search I would have moved my travel up a few days in the beginning and left New England earlier than the 24th of April…??? I was able to work around it and that was good.  This was a big trip to prepare for!

Time to leave the Chester Bulkley B&B in Wethersfield.  It is very quiet here.  As I work on my computer I watch the sun set over the spires of the building across from the house.  I like my little sitting room They have white wicker furniture in it and it is light and sweet with nicknacks here and there and litle foot stools.  The house was beautifully decorated.  My bedroom was roomy and the bed was inlayed wood with a rounded head on both the foot and headboard.  It was very lovely.  Very comfortable. 

I like the lavendor doors.  His garden was just about ready to burst.

I watched night fall through this window, lovely spires to look at!

My host was a young man who purchased the house and runs it on his own.  He said he had decorated some of the house.  This host was quieter but he was a good cook.  I ate the omelette he made the day before and it was good. I usually don’t eat omelettes but I ate the whole thing! My breakfast was waffles with these peaches on it and it was good too.  He did answer my questions and I did get a couple of laughs out of him but he was definitely quieter than the other hosts.  He seems to think that gas will be $4 to $6 dollars in the summer and with the bad snowy cold winter tourism is down.  I wish him and the other B&B owners luck and good fortune and I have excellent experiences in each place I have stayed this trip. 

Today I am going to see the Ancient Burying Ground in Hartford.  The librarian at CSL told me that I would probably have to park on the street or in a lot and walk to it.  There is a church next to it. 

The individual that I am visiting is a 10th great grandfathr Andrew Warner.  No one really knows where he is buried but he founded Hartford along with many others.  He is a forbear of the Scott family? I have been so focused on the Goss family marrying into the Cooley’s, Wolcotts, Bliss and others that I have not investigated these other lines of my family which are old and founding immigrants to America.  I am getting mixed information on this man’s descendants and a lot of confusion.  There is a book about the descendants of Andrew Warner compiled by Lucien C. Warner and Mrs. Josephine G. Nichols, 1919 at Ancestry.  Lots of good information in this book. I need to do more digging. 

I made my way back to Hartford and down Main St. stopping for gas and there were 5 police cars on the other side of the street.  Awh city life!  I past Capitol Ave and and spotted the church and the cemetery on the left.  The cemetery and church are on Jewell or Atheneum St.  I don’t remember if the streets were named differntly on each side?  I turned left on Asylum two blocks north and parked in the lot on the corner.  It was cold but partly sunny.  There was wind. A Burger King was on the corner across from the Old State House.  I wanted to also view the library and city hall but it was so cold even though it was sunny.  Brrr…!!!

I made my way down a couple of blocks to the church and started taking my photos. There is a gate on the right side of the church were the cemetery is located. Several layers of iron fence surrounds it.

The Church notice the tall building behind



First Church of Christ



Hartford name after Hertford in 1637

Entrance gates to the Ancient Burying Ground in Hartford

This statue greets you!

Dedication plaque
There is a very large monument and large rectangular stone in honor of the African Americans buried in this cemetery with no stones.  They have tried to identify who is here. 

African American memorial

Daffodils are blooming along the edge.

You enter the cemetery through the gate.  Considering its age it is in very good shape.  My ultimate goal was the big giant obelisk in the center. 

The names are alphabetized on each side. You just have to find the side of it that has the name you are looking for.

An ancient cemetery in the heart of Hartford



I am pointing to Andrew Warner’s name. So the “A’s” start on the side to the right. You walk counter clockwise around it. I am afraid I don’t know a lot about this man and frankly I could be wrong!  So I need to do some research on him.  The point is that the names on this obelisk are founding father’s and it is important for all of us to at least take a look at the information. It was pretty awesome to visit this cemetery in the middle of this huge city surrounded by all these tall modern buildings. 
There is a website and about this cemetery.  http://www.theancientburyingground.org/  This website has all kinds of information.  It has a burial list and map.  I also purchased a book about this cemetery.  I shipped it home so I don’t have the information at this time.  There is also a pamphlet with a map and some of the inscriptions:  “A Walking Tour of the Ancient Burying Ground of Hartford, Connecticut.”
I was getting so cold I couldn’t stay any longer even though I had lingered and walked some of the cemetery reading names out loud. So I walked back to the Burger King as fast as I could.  I bought a hamburger and some hot coffee and enjoyed it thoroughly.  I also watched Hartford come and go. I had been to Hartford but only to the state library, the historical society and the fancy convention center.  So just sitting and spending time in the center of the city was a fun experience. Now it was the Good Friday so it was probably a quieter Hartford in the downtown area.  Several men were napping in the corner of the restaurant.  A man sat across from me.  He had a huge amount of keys on his belt.  He seemed tired and he was in uniform for he had a label on his shirt.  
Once I was warmed up I returned to the parking lot.  There was a vendor with their wares set out on the sidewalk.  I paid my fee and turned right onto Asylum.  I pointed the car west and off I went to the Connecticut Historical Society which is open 12 to 5 pm.  Once you get on Asylum just make sure you stay right because the lanes do disappear and head west on this street till you get to Elizabeth Ave. then turn left and the entrance is right there on the left.  You can’t miss the building for it is big.
I had such a wonderful time there the last visit that I returned a second time.  This was going to be my third visit.
Connecticut Historical Society

Entrance to the Connecticut Historical Society
This society is located at 1 Elizabeth Ave. in Hartford.  The photo above shows the entrance off of Elizabeth Ave.  There is  parking on the west side.   

I had looked at the website and studied the catalog and other finding aids but was not real sure what I was going to do.  Since it was open even on a holiday, I decided to go there and see what trouble I could get into. 

I was greeted by the nice young lady that I had sat next to at the Friday night banquet a the New England Regional conference.  She was very nice and helpful.  Another lady was at the reference desk and she too had been at the conference.  I am afraid that their names have escaped me.  She was busy with moving microfilm and books and rearranging things so they could bring in more materials. Just know that all the librarians are very helpful and pleasant. 

You can access many items in the research room but a lot of items have to be retrieved so you make your orders on the one order card and if you have any trouble filling it out you just ask the librarian and they help you.

I revisited the Goss file in the manuscript card catalog and I didn’t find anything in it that I had not already studied and obtained copies of.  Sure wish Donald Lines Jacobus would have signed his letters it would make it more special. 

They have WiFi so you can access that and it works wonderful.  Ask at the desk for the code.

I ordered some old maps and studied Simsbury trying to see if I could find Simon Wolcott’s land in Simsbury. Do you think his treasure is still buried there?  I wandered the stacks and pulled some books.  This library is amazing so little time! 
It closed a 5 pm.  So about 4:45 pm I packed up and said good bye and thanked the librarians and headed out.

Stacks at CSH

Research center

Entrance to the research center CHS

It is time to head north Simsbury.  Philip Goss of Brookfield and Mary Kendall Goss were in Simsbury before they headed up to Granby, Granville and then Becket.  Actually Philip’s land was in North Granby.  He had the births of some of his children recorded in Simsbury. 

I had a reservation at Abigail’s south of Simsbury.  It used to be Pettibone’s.  They took me right into the dining room even though I was really early.  I made good time and exited Hartford without too much trouble.

My dinner was tasty and Abigail’s was very fancy.  The area I was in seemed new so I was a little surprised and had expected something older!  A family (mother, son, father, her mother) sat down across from me and was very intent on planning their meals.  Apparently they had been there before.  The husband was very handsome but very serious.  It was clear the mother was the focal point of this family. 



I was sitting on the right for my dinner

I headed for the Simsbury House 1820 in the heart of Simsbury.  I missed the sign and got honked at by acar on my bumper. Grrrr….!  I found the Simsbury House by turning on Library St. and coming in from the side area. 

The Simsbury house turned out to be more of a hotel than a Bed and Breakfast.  There is a big porch and the entry way into the foyer.  The stairs are to the right and up to the second floor.  My room was down the hall to the right and looked out over the parking lot. 

My plan was to empty the car and gather all my belongings to repack for the flight home on Sunday.  That was two days away so I had some time to get things reorganized.  It took 4 trips maybe 5.  Once that was done I settled into the room.  The room was a good size and had a wonderful desk with a view through the window.  A bathroom was off the side wall.  The walls were papered with toile in a light powdery blue and the curtains were a little darker hue but still in toile.  I am providing a link for those who do not know their toile!

I climbed into the big soft bed. A little TV, a little wine! Good night!

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Thursday, April 7, 2011: The Opening of the NERGC!

Today it was time to attend the opening ceremonies of the New England Regional Genealogical Conference.  http://www.nergc.org/

My breakfast was late, cold, the wrong receipt and no coffee.  I was not too happy.  The Sheraton and I are not getting along – again.

The opening address was to start at 10 am.  The opening speech can be good or bad at a conference you never know. 

Registration Booths

Opening Comments – NERGC April 2011

Queries and Messages

NERGC – Society Fair

Josh Taylor of the NEHGS did a wonderful job.  I enjoyed his opening lecture very much.  It covered the history of genealogy since 1890 and went through the years and described a little about how it was done back then in different time periods, then he moved into the current methods and then into the future of genealogy describing some of the technology he foresaw.  I wonder if he will write and article on this topic?  I’d read it again! 

The lecture sessions officially began at 12:15 p.m.  My first lecture was On the Path to the Right Courthouse etc….by Edwin Strickland.  He really got detailed about the movement of state boundaries and county boundaries.  The 2nd Lecture was Genealogy and the Law by Helen A. Shaw CG, MA.  The message was read the laws of the time period of your ancestor to be able to understand the rules at that time. 3rd lecture and last of the day Connecticut Town Meeting Records during the American Revolution by Jolene Mullen.  She really had dug into these records.  There were 88 towns at the time of the Revolution in Connecticut of which 77 had town records.  Barkhamsted, Lyme’s town records had been stolen.  Waterbury’s cannot be found at this time and she said she really tried to search them out.  She gave examples, a list of the different jobs of the town, abbreviations and what they meant.  It was a study in the way the town functioned.  Very good.

My friend Barbara was going to come and had been planning for 4 years to do so.  We had shared a room  FGS (Federation of Genealogical Societies) in Philadelphia a few years ago and some of her family live near me. We had fun!  I was a bit disappointed at first but I am looking forward to having the room to myself and spreading out. Apparently critical family business had prevented her from participating. 

I ran into Tim Firkowski, President of the New England Chapter of the APG. We talked about blogs till I had to head out. Here is their link:  http://www.neapg.org/  I picked up one of their business brochures and it is really nice.  Has two parts, the second part having the names of the chapter members.  Here is the link to the National APG http://www.apgen.org/  Click on Chapters and you will find them there as well as the Puget Sound Chapter of APG http://www.psapg.org/.  I was at the NERGC when it was in Hartford a few years back and there was no APG presence there.  I am happy to see a booth here sponsored by the New England Chapter.  They are sponsoring the luncheon on Saturday as well.  Good Job!

The NERGC Blog had a appeal out on it before the conference asking for all descendants of the Deacon Samuel Chapin to meet at the statue in Springfield at 4:30 p.m. for a photo op.  I thought it was a great idea and quickly responded. 

The time had come to walk to the statue and since I knew where it was so that was easy.  The day was beautiful, sunny and pleasant.  I arrived a little before 4:30 pm and waited impatiently.  A little while later two people came up State Street and walked over.  It was Heather Rojo and her husband.  So it was just the two of us who made it but that was still a good thing.

We chatted about the history of the statue and began to walk back to the hotels.  Along the way I discovered that Heather is a blogger as well.  I have put her blog link over on the right with the other blogs – Nutfield Genealogy.  We both descend from Catherine Chapin so that was good thing.  See Heather’s comment on my last post. 
Dinner was at the Sports Bar in the Sheraton, a bad idea.  They were flying around and didn’t have enough help.  I am not unhappy with the employees, they are trying, but management…hmmm…?????
5:15 pm is the Society Fair which features various family, genealogical and historical societies in the area.  I cruised up and down chatting with the different members.  The Exhibit Hall was opened at 6 pm and it was like a sea of people moved from the outer area and all was deserted in the outer area. The Exhibit hall was hummming with activity.

The Connecticut Historical Society had a booth and a woman with the name Elizabeth was standing there and I realized she was the person who had been so helpful when I had visited them back in 2007.  She helped with the Jacobus collection.  They have his genealogical correspondence and I was interested in the Goss file.  I have a good 15+ letters from that file in which Paul H. Goss corresponded with Donald Lines Jacobus about the family line from about 1937 to 1940.  According to Elizabeth, he Jacobus, rarely made mistakes.  He is consider the father of modern genealogy.  There is a Jacobus Award given out at the American Society of Genealogists.  Along the top of their websites are selections and over on the very right side is the Jacobus Award.  I found a few names I recognized. 

The Connecticut Gravestone Association is where I purchased two books:
1.  The Original Proprietors, Society of the Descendants of the Founders of Hartford, Inc. after 1986?
2.  By Their Markers Ye Shall Know Them A Chronicle of the History and Restorations of Hartford’s Ancient Burying Ground, William Hosley and Shepherd M. Holcombe, Sr., 1994.
I am of course, up to something but when I get to it later in the trip I will explain. HA!
There were Special Interest Groups from 7:30 to 9 pm and I was interested in the one on Scottish Research or the one on Connecticut Research but by the time I had negotiated the Exhibit Hall I decided it was time to retire to my room.  Tomorrow Friday was going to be a big day!
Check email, a few chores and then time for bed!