Jul 172015

We have always known Ruth’s grandmother as Susan Hervey Wales Rollason.

Dorthy Wales Birth Record (Click to enlarge)

Dorthy Wales Birth Record
(Click to enlarge)

In researching her birth documentation, we found a record of a Dorothy Wales on Family Search, born to George R Wales and Mabel Hervey in Brookline, MA on 2 November 1889.   Correct parents, date and place.  But Dorothy?     The birth record from the Massachusetts State Archives clearly states Dorothy.   What’s the story?   Twins?  Or a name change?

Exploring further on Family Search we also found a second birth record from Brookline for “Susan Hervey Wales” – same date and same parents.    Since this source did not have online images I ordered the microfilm and when it arrived I discovered the following:

Susan Hervey Wales - Correction of Birth Record -1   Click to Enlarge)

Susan Hervey Wales – Correction of Birth Record -1
Click to Enlarge)

Susan’s mother, Mabel Wales had gone back to the town clerk in Brookline in 1924 (Susan was now 35 and married) and corrected the record, saying that her daughter was given the name “Susan Hervey Wales” at her baptism.

With some further research we discovered that the Wales family at the time of Susan’s birth were active members of the Church of Our Saviour in Brookline.   We contacted the church and the Rector was kind enough to send us this image of the Baptismal records:

Indeed George and Mabel Wales christened

Susan Hervey Wales Baptism, 18 May 1890 (Click to enlarge)

Susan Hervey Wales Baptism, 18 May 1890
(Click to enlarge)

their daughter “Susan Hervey Wales” when she was baptized on May 18, 1890.  You can read more about the Wales family at Church of Our Savior here, and see a picture of the Louis Comfort Tiffany window given to the church by Susan’s grandfather, John Wales.

Two questions remain.   Why did Mabel wait until 1924 to change the record at the town clerk’s office?  It is very likely that the family discovered the discrepancy when the Wales family – along with Susan and her husband, Rev. Herbert D Rollason, made application for passports to travel to Europe earlier that year.

The second question:  why did Mabel and George change the name of their daughter?  We have found no clear answer.  But we can surmise that when Mabel announced the baby’s name to her mother-in-law, she may have heard: “But there are no Dorothy’s in the Wales family!”   It’s interesting that the new name, given the child at her baptism was that of Mabel’s mother-in-law, Susan Howard Rogers Wales.

1) Additional images from the Brookline Town Clerk’s Birth Records regarding name correction: page 1, page 2, explanatory note

Sep 132011

David Brooks wrote an interesting column in today’s New York Times about the rise of moral individualism, where the family, religion and culture are being replaced by the “free-floating individual as the essential moral unit.”   I read this the same day as my wife and I spent a very special time with her mother, going back to her summer island home in Maine. (See Memories from Kineo).

I believe that genealogy is a great tool to help us place our lives in focus.  It steers us away from thinking it’s all about us.  I always feel profound respect for the courageous sacrifices that our ancestors made that set the table so bountifully for our journeys today.  No, they were not perfect.  But then, neither are we.   Now that I am a grandparent,  I also think about the choices I make and those we collectively embrace that will impact generations to follow.

Here’s to Genealogy  – helping us to keep our focus and our balance!

Sep 102011

I’ve only been on this blogging journey for a week.  During this past week I have tried to incorporate my basic family information (my wife’s and my grandparents).  I’ve also been looking at so many great family history blogs to get ideas for both content and the technology behind them.   At the same time I am looking forward to a visit to a state archives in the next few days to pursue one of my brick walls.   Hopefully I’ll have some great news to share.

Within the next two weeks I plan to decide how I will incorporate my family history files into this site.  To go this direction will include selecting a hosting site as well as an interface.  I’m leaning more and more towards TNG.  One (of many) examples is Tonia’s Roots,  a site that incorporates TNG into a WordPress site.

Sep 042011

I started on this journey that has brought me to this new website a few days ago as I thought about an upcoming trip with my wife’s mother back to the place where she grew up, Greenville, Maine on beautiful Moosehead Lake.    As I looked at my Ancestry.com family trees, I did not see any ways to create a website with dynamic links.   However, while looking at the publishing (book) options with MyCanvas, I was quite intrigued by the results.   If only I could create web pages that looked like this with dynamic links between family members.  Here is a sample of one page that I created rather easily using MyCanvas with Ancestry.  Unfortunately, this is for publishing books, not web pages.

I also watched Thomas MacEntee’s “Explorinar” on using a site called Weebly to create a genealogy website.  Very interesting and informative.  I have used Weebly and like it alot.   But I didn’t want to build a site from scratch.  So I kept looking.

When I found a couple of sites using WordPress with imbeded genealogy reports, I decided to give it a try.   We’ll see how it goes.  There’s a lot to do, many decisions to be made before I reach that goal.

Sep 042011

After 8 years of researching the stories of our families, I have decided to launch this website as a way to share with and learn from others.   While I have several family trees on Ancestry.Com, I am looking for ways to make some of the stories as well as stories of the search come more alive and to be more accessible.   I plan to blog about the families, but also the search for the right applications and other tools that will make this site possible.