Wednesday, April 6, 2011 – Archives and the Granville Public Library

I awoke to the sounds of Springfield, Massachusetts.  I ordered room service for breakfast and it was tasty and the coffee was warm.
Today I will try to figure out the secrets of the Springfield Archives and Library  They have a terrible website with no finding aids or anything that is of help.  I am hoping to at least get an idea of what they may have for our family by visiting them today.

I did receive an email from the Head of Library and Archives, Ms. Maggie Humberston and she told me about what they had in their library that might be of help to me.  She kindly contacted the Granville Public Library for me and realized I had made an appointment with them already.

Sometimes things just work out if you are patient.  I was to learn that Ms. Humberston is a very helpful and very pleasant to work with.  Calling might be a better choice to see if they can help you on your research.  They also extended their hours for the New England Regional Genealogical Conference.

I decided to walk to the museum area so I could check out the park. There are several museums in the complex they call it the Quadrangle.  I went right from the Sheraton lobby along Boland Ave. to Harrison Ave. and turned right at Chestnut and left onto to Edwards.  There is a large sign that spans Edwards announcing the Springfield Museums.  You can’t miss it.

Sign over Edwards Street – Springfield Museums

You continue east on Edwards till you spot the visitor center which is to the right and south.  You go there first.

Visitor Center Springfield Museums

After you pay your fee of $9.00 you turn around and head north and cross Edwards to the Museum of Springfield History.  The Library and Archives are in the basement.

History Museum & Genealogy Library
Entrance to the Springfield History Museum

There is a statue in this park area of Deacon Samuel Chapin a 10th great grandfather of mine.  It is not known where he is buried but he probably was one of the burials in the old cemetery at Elm Street and he is now in the Springfield Cemetery?  The statue is on Chestnut and State Street on the west side of the Springfield Public Library a big white building on the south side of the quadrangle.  The attendant in the Visitor Center explained to me where the statue was located so I cannot claim that tip.  The statue is not in the quadrangle but on the corner of the two streets I mentioned.

Deacon Samuel Chapin Statue corner of State and Chestnut Street

Wikipedia has an article on him that needs work but it is a start:
or try this:  Deacon Samuel Chapin was a founder of Springfield.  He is my 10th great grandfather.

Deacon Samuel Chapin married Cicely Penny they had a daughter named Catherine and she married Nathaniel Bliss on 20 Nov. 1646 in Springfield (Longmeadow).  Nathaniel and Catherine Bliss had a son named Samuel (1647-1749) who married Sarah Stebbins on 2 January 1672 in Longmeadow.  There daughter Margaret Bliss married Benjamin Cooley a son of Daniel Cooley and Elizabeth Wolcott and grandson of Benjamin Cooley.  Benjamin and Margaret had a daughter Keziah Cooley who married Philip Goss III of Brookfield on 25 November 1723.

I am learning about this family line the Chapins, Blisses and Stebbins so please realize that my knowledge of them is growing slowly.

I was hoping the Connecticut Valley Historic Museum would be opened but it is still closed for renovation and I am sad that it is still not ready.  I was really interested in what it might have to offer.

I paid my $9.00 fee at the Visitor center and received my label to apply to my jacket and headed back across Edwards to the Springfield Historical Museum.  The archives were in the basement.  The receptionist took me to the staircase and I descended to the lower floor and found the door entrance to the Springfield Library and Archives.  I settled in finding room at the big table.  There were other researchers there but not as many as might be expected.  I took a quick surface glance and made a summary of what is there just by looking at the filing cabinets, index card cabinets and stacks.

Here is my summary but be advised it is not all.
1.  Town, State histories
2.  Massachusetts Vital Records
3.  Newspapers – Springfield various years
4.  Census for Springfield
5.  Local History Index
6.  Photo Index
7. Whose Who in Springfield
8. Town Directories for Springfield
9.  Scrapbooks
10.  Migration Trails
11.  Genealogies and Family histories

Ms. Maggie Humberston introduced herself and when I told her my name she remembered my email and helped me to get some books that might be of interest to me.  She was very pleasant, friendly and truly interested.  I liked her right away.  The other assistant was also helpful.  He was fielding many questions from another lady that was really digging into the research.

I spent most of my time studying the book East Granville, Mass. Congregational Church Part I Pages 1-174.  It covered baptisms, contents, deacons, deaths, marriages, ordinationsI made some copies about 12 copies.  I need to compare this with other documentations I found on my last trip.  This is part of the Cooke Collection at the Berkshire Athenaeum in Pittsfield.  Part II is the index of names. They also have histories of the Seward Family but I did not have time to really dig in.

About 1:30 pm I headed back to the Sheraton. The sun was shining but the wind was bittingly cold.

In April 2007 I had visited the Granville Public Library History Room and found some interesting manuscripts and information on Enos Seward and his family.  This time I will be talking to the librarian, Rose Miller.  She is the curator of the history room at the library to see if I can dig deeper. I have new and updated information that might help me find some interesting connections?  The last time I was there they let me into the history room but this time they did not.  Apparently there are very rare and precious books in the room and someone has to be there.  So call or email the library to make an appointment.  Go to their website and check their hours.  Be aware that in the winter they may be closed due to snow.

The route to Granville from Springfield is on Hwy 149 and then Hwy 57 through Agawam and Southwick.  I crossed the Bridge at Boland and left Springfield. The area is much like what I would describe as the foothills of the Cascades here in Washington State.  They call them mountains in Massachusetts but when you live out west they are just foothills to us.

The Granville Country Store is a fun experience I had stopped there the last time I visited.  Apparently it is under new management and didn’t seem to have the same feel as back then.  I didn’t see the gift baskets?  I purchased a piece of cheesecake to quiet my tummy; however, when I took a bite I discovered it was frozen.  I have never eaten cheesecake that way before.  It was good.  While I sat there people would come in buy something and head back out.  I was there 20 minutes and at least 10 people stopped by.  It is one of those country stores that carries a little of everything.  I believe they are famous for a certain kind of cheese.  Check out the website given above.

Granville Country Store
It was 3 pm and time to head over to the Granville Public Library.  I went up to the corner next to the library and a car flew by me.  I said to myself.  I bet that is Rose Miller.  She pulled into the back of the library where there is a gravel parking lot and backed her car in.  I took her lead.  She made the comment “I guess I didn’t have to park on the sidewalk.”  I said “No big deal.”  I asked her name and she said “Rose Miller.”  The library faces west onto the village green.  It is on the east corner of the town center area.
Granville Public Library from the parking lot of the Country Store

Rose proceeded into the library while I gathered my things.  I was close behind.

We were soon into the history of Granville.  My first questions was “Is there an East Granville?”  Rose replied “Not anymore.  Once Tolland broke off there was no need so what is Granville was East Granville.”  So if you are looking on a map for East Granville it will have to be an older map before about 1800.

My other question as about the original proprietors.  Rose showed me a map from the Granville History book.  She emphasized that the names of the men on that map were speculators and not settlers.  She had another map that was of the settlers and there was our ancestor Philip Goss (IV) with his brother Tom Goss and also a Samuel Church all on one piece of property.  Map:  Settlers Map copied by Mr. Heino, Granville Town Surveyor in the last 50 years, origin unknown.  Rose said they had to have a sponsor, farm the land, clear it, and have cattle within a specific amount of time and then they could have the land.  Unfortunately the orientation of the map is not yet figured out.  I will need to do more investigating to figure out the north and south and just were the land was of the 3 men listed above.  Rose is going to do more digging for me and we will be seeing each other again on April 18th when I come back down from Pittsfield, MA.

I asked Rose about Gibbons, Rose, Haskell and more.  Of the Rose family books I picked out one with the title Rose – Suffield Branch by a Gad Rose.  I turned right to page 6 where I found Jonathan Rose, father of John Rose the man who married Keziah Goss Haskell on 23 June 1761 in Granville, Massachusetts. I took photos of the pages.  I have yet to study them.

Rose pulled the cemetery books and I studied them trying to see if I could find the burial place of John Rose who died about 1788 in Granville.  Lemuel Gibbons who died 1797.  I found some information on the Peter Gibbons Family of which Lemuel is the son.  Lemuel married Mary Goss sister to Solomon Goss and daughter of Philip Goss and Mary Kendall Goss.  I will discuss this family more later.  I was unable to locate a stone.

The time went by quickly an it was 5:30 pm.  I asked Rose where there was a good place to eat and she suggested Tuckers in Southwick.

Before I headed out I went further west on the highway and located the Granville Town Hall.  Rose said that it was worth it for me to go their for vital records.  I will do that on April 18th when I get to Pittsfield.

Granville Town Hall

The road dips and weaves as you go further west from the town park and library.  I came upon the Main Street Cemetery but there was no parking so I will have to figure out what to do when I return in several weeks.  I want to go into this cemetery and study the stones.  There are Gibbons buried there.  Turning around I headed east back to Springfield.  I missed Tucker’s?  Next thing I knew I was back in Springfield crossing a bridge south of the city.  I was soon back at the Sheraton but heading for the overflow parking.

I am realizing that trying to analyze the research while traveling is not easy and I am going to have to take the time sometime on this trip to made some sense of it because it will influence my choices at various repositories.

Dinner was the sport’s bar in the Marriott which was a bit nicer than the Sheraton.  Time for bed. The New England Regional Genealogical Conference opens tomorrow.