The Maine Genealogist (MG) is the quarterly journal of the Maine Genealogical Society. The editor is Joseph C. Anderson II, FASG, and a genealogical super hero. Most of my genealogical journals are behind schedule, either slightly or hugely, but not MG. It is always on-time and wonderful to read. Joe Anderson is also the co-editor of The American Genealogist which is more than six months behind (July 2009 issue not yet out). However, that is largely due to the health woes of one of the other editors. Joe is responsible either solely or partly for the vital records of Kittery, Berwick, York County Maine Probate Abstracts 1800-1850, and nine volumes of Maine Families in 1790. And now he just edited the Cape Elizabeth, Maine Vital Records. Where does he find the time?
However, in one of the articles on Samuel Gould, I noticed that a child was missing that was in my Pinkham article: Miriam Gould married Edmund Pinkham. I immediately saw it because Miriam's father was Mussey or Muzzey Gould. You don't forget such names. There's really no way to see everything when doing genealogy, but it does somewhat reinforce my wondering about publishing articles in the first place. I'm not interested in casting aspersions, I am simply wondering how we can best share information as a genealogical community.
I've recently received a comment to this post on my brick wall Deborah (---) Wallis. Some of this information was augmented in this post on the genealogical proof of Deborah's proposed granddaughter, Mary Chamberlain Wallis.
I've written two serialized and large articles on New Hampshire families. I would like to say that the effort was worth it, but I would be lying. I spent over 10 years on or off researching the Yeaton family and producing these two articles:
I was not paid, but did it because no one had done a decent Yeaton genealogy and one person had published a dreadful, incorrect, and incompetent Yeaton genealogy. I don't even want to think about how much I spent to do the two articles (not counting my time). Likewise, I spent closer to twenty years on or off to produce this article on the Pinkhams:
Within the last week someone posted on Genforum (Pinkham Family forum) about Abijah's parents which prompted me to do my posting. These two events have left me wondering why bother publishing? What is the point? No one reads your work. The commenter is a genealogist in New Hampshire who runs this rather impressive town-level genealogical site on Epsom. Are you telling me he doesn't subscribe to the New Hampshire Genealogical Record? Well, I guess not since his Yeatons in Epsom have not been affected by my article.
Last year I ran several google search results on journal penetration on the web and it was clear that only a very small minority of genealogists read scholarly journals. All of which brings me back to the Wallis family of New Hampshire. It was to be my third such project. Very much like the first two families with the exception that there was absolutely no genealogy done for them at all. None. Zero. Nada. I have a mountain of information I've been collecting for the last ten years on them. I've even started to write them up, but I've stopped, because: why bother?
This family is going to be as difficult as the Yeatons, if not more so. I've already had to re-assemble one other family that descends from them: the Scaggels/Scadgels in order to place certain people in the proper place in the Wallis family. In any case, the kind commenter has sent me things I've had in my files for 10-15 years at least. You see when I say Brick Wall, I mean it. Other people, sorry to say, not so much.
So, there used to be a point to publishing your work. However, having done it so many times, I can't find the energy anymore for such a sisyphean task. I'm at the end of writing up the first two (three at some points) generations of the Barrows family. And I'm ready to punt on this one too--after ten pages so far and 82 footnotes. Again, way too hard. No pay, long hours, no one reads or cares, and it's hardly feeding the world now is it?
If I could have one genealogical wish, it would be to find the marriage book for the Rev. Jonathan Cushing, minister of Dover, NH from 1717-1766. For some odd historical reason, his book of baptisms survives, but his log of marriages must have been misplaced or destroyed. It is not published in the Vital Records of Dover, New Hampshire. How does a church save its baptismal book and not its marriage book?
My ancestors Jonathan and Elizabeth Pinkham have all their children baptized by the Rev. Cushing in Dover, so there's little doubt he married them. However, they leave no probate records and no deeds that shed light on her maiden name. There may be court records, but most of the Strafford County court records of those times are still unprocessed and unindexed in Concord, NH (Live Free or Die--But Too Slow on Organizing Records).
I'm fairly sure I know who she is: the daughter of Richard and Elizabeth (Beard) Plummer. However, no smoking gun has emerged. She's the right age; her daughter uses the Beard name for a son; I can prove the Plummer Genealogy is wrong with who they think Elizabeth's husband was [it was not William Twombly]; there are huge amount of land transactions between Jonathan Pinkham and the Plummers in Rochester, N.H. where they all move.
There's a new meme for genealogical bloggers: Madness Monday. Rather than go the route of elusive ancestors, I'm starting off with a literally mad (insane) ancestor, my great-great-grandfather. It is rather impossible to diagnose 19th century mania into today's psychological norms. It should be noted that George served in the 8th N.H. Infantry Volunteers in the Civil War from December 20, 1861 to October 28, 1865. He was honorably discharged. So, he served in the harshest of wars for over four years from 18 to 22. He was also a Free-Will Baptist and a shoemaker. He married on February 6, 1869 at Dover, N.H. and had six children. I'm fairly sure that he accidentally killed at least one of them (if not two). Such things were not reported then, but one of his children died of a fractured skull. Perhaps that, and his threats against his other children and wife were enough for him to be institutionalized. His 19th century medical reports are below the fold. They are interesting. Three days of observations and then two months of nothing until his death.