September 11, 2011

9/11/2011 - Tenth Anniversary

September 8, 2011

Family Tree Maker 2012 - My Evaluation

I don't usually write about the technology or software that I use but decided it is time I write what I think about Family Tree Maker Software.

Since the early versions were available I've been a user of FTM software.  I appreciated its user-friendliness and all that it could do in generating family trees, genealogy reports, export of gedcoms etc.  Having said that, as far as I am concerned version 16 was the best!  Yes..I said *16*.  I began with version 3 and over the years we were offered an upgrade every year. I also remember an upgrade after six months!  Imagine that while some software was offering free downloads to upgrades those of us who were faithful FTM users kept shelling out the $$ to remain current with the software.

After version 16, the software was stripped to bare bones and the re-building began.  I've purchased each new version and now Ancestry is about to launch Family Tree Maker 2012 that has been in public beta but will undoubtedly be available for purchase before long.  I wonder when we can stop purchasing a yearly update and have been wondering what will is new in this updated version.

Here is what I found:

The main new feature is the ability to synchronize your tree between Family Tree Maker and and we're especially focused on making sure that works well.

Here is a list of new features:

1. TreeSync - Ability to synchronize your tree between FTM and Ancestry.
2. Blended family view - Easily show all of the children for two spouses whether they are children of one or both of them.
3. Index of Individuals Report
4. Chart improvements

Show generation labels
Add text anywhere on a chart
Option to limit descendant chart to the direct line between two people

5. Report improvements

Custom fact sentences (used in genealogy reports & Smart Stories
Automatic Smart Story generation includes primary individual, spouse, and children
Research notes report changed to "Notes Report" with options to include other types of notes

While I am interested in some of the new features, I'm not crazy about "TreeSync" and I'll tell you why. Over the years I have found many errors in the trees.  I even found my own immediate family that someone absconded with from my web site and connected me to the incorrect grandmother. How bad is that?

Another person had one of my aunts as having had a number of children, one of which her husband supposedly descended.  The truth is that this aunt had three children who all died as babies. I have all of the death records.

On top of that, as an Acadian researcher, I know without a doubt that a great number of trees on Ancestry contain errors. People have simply copied from others what they found on Ancestry or elsewhere and added it to their own data long before we had access to more accurate information now available to us.  Because of the Acadian deportation from Nova Scotia in 1755, Acadian genealogy has been difficult at best.  So I know what I'm talking about with what I've seen in those trees.  I predict that some will have a multitude of errors they will have to spend a great deal of time deleting from their database - or - start over.
So for now that's my take especially on the "TreeSync" feature - I will not use it.

As for the rest, we shall see.  Long ago, I asked that Family Tree Maker contain colors we can use to code male/female lines. I think that would be a really nice feature.  We could use a color for our direct ancestors too.  For now what I do is I capitalize the names of all of my grandparents - that makes it easy to see/find my lines without have to spend a whole lot of time trying to find who was who but that's me.
Lastly, I want to say that I am truly weary of having to update FTM every year. Oh I know people will say it is my choice but here is the hook:  if you update each version as it is made available, you get a good discount - if you wait until yet another version,  you pay full price.

I would love to hear from other FTM users who would like to share an evaluation of what they think.
Meanwhile, I did look at other software when I was at NERGC in April.  The only thing that keeps me from making the leap is the ability to access records from the FTM software - I must admit that is a plus.

All Rights Reserved
Lucie's Legacy
Lucie LeBlanc Consentino
8 September 2011

September 4, 2011

A Brief History of Towns Settled in the Merrimack Valley and Southern New Hampshire

Massachusetts Settlements in the Merrimack Valley


In 1634, the Great and General Court of Massachusetts set aside a portion of land in what is now Essex County for an inland plantation, including parts of what now is Andover.  The first permanent settlement in the Andover area was established in 1641 by John Woodbridge and a group of settlers from Newbury and Ipswich.

Settled around 1636, Andover was known as Cochichewick. It was renamed Andover and incorporated in 1646. In 1709, it was separated into two parishes, Andover and North Andover. In 1855, these became two separate towns.


The Eames family founded the town of Boxford, naming it after a town in the United Kingdom.  Although it was originally settled in 1646, it wasn't incorporated until 1685.

Boxford was first settled in 1646 as part of Rowley Village by Abraham Redington.  When it was officially incorporated in 1685, about forty families resided in Boxford. 

Farming was the primary occupation of the early settlers although craftsmen were also found among the townspeople.  The largest industry in Boxford was the match factory (located on Lawrence Road) which operated from 1866 to 1905.

The original building of the First Church was built in 1701 in East Boxford Village.  As the population of West Boxford expanded, the legislature designated this section as precinct 2 in 1735.  Town meetings alternated between East and West parishes.  The first West Boxford church building was erected in 1774.


Georgetown was incorporated in 1838 but its birth was 200 years before when a small group of Yorkshire families led by Rev. Ezekial Rogers set sail in 1638 from Rowley, England for Salem, Massachusetts on the ship "John". Mr. Rogers and his party of about 100 men, women and children, having arrived late in the year, remained in Salem for the winter living in common houses.

In the spring of 1639, the group, now numbering over 200 individuals, purchased a tract of land between the villages of Newbury and Ipswich and named their plantation Rowley. This territory included the present day towns of Rowley, Georgetown, Groveland, Byfield and Boxford. Working together they erected shelters and prepared for the coming winter. They lived in common houses for about three years until they were able to help each family erect their own humble dwellings.

The community thrived and after a few years these settlers began to explore the rest of their plantation that extended to the Merrimac River. From the vantage point of Prospect Hill, named in anticipation of what lay to the west, they saw another hill, bare at its summit and surrounded with trees below. The image suggested a bald pate and today is still known as Baldpate Hill. It is the highest point in the county, and on clear days one could see the ocean from this Georgetown hilltop.


Groveland was originally a part of the towns of Rowley and Bradford. It wasn't until September 9, 1850, that it became a separate town.  In the 20th century Groveland changed from a shoe industry and textile manufacturing community to one that is almost wholly residential.


The Indian name for this locality was Pentucket.  It was named Haverhill by the  Reverend John Ward, first minister, who had come from Haverhill, England. Haverhill was founded in 1640 by twelve English Puritans from Ipswich, Massachusetts and Newbury, Massachusetts as a frontier settlement. Mr. Ward and the Newberry men petitioned the General Court on May 13, 1640 for permission to begin a new plantation on the Merrimack River. Permission was granted provided they build before the next Courte. Though the town was settled and houses erected in 1640 it was not until November 15, 1642 that a title to the land was purchased from the Indian owners consisting of Pentucket, Passaquo and Saggahew Tribes with the consent of Passaconway who signed for the tribe. The settlers purchased the land for 3 pounds and 10 shillings.

Settled as farmland Haverhill evolved into a major industrial center through the establishment of saw and grist mills in the 17th century.

Europeans first settled the area in 1640. The site of the city – formerly parts of  Andover and Methuen - was purchased in 1845 by a group of Boston industrialists headed by the wealthy merchant and congressman Abbott Lawrence, the community's namesake. The city was incorporated in 1853.

The industrialists, most prominently Lawrence, established textile mills near sources of abundant waterpower. Lawrence's location on the Merrimack River, just downriver of Lowell and a short train ride from Boston was an ideal location to set up an industrial center. The Merrimack River was dammed right above the city, and a canal was dug on both the north and the south banks to provide power to the factories that would soon be built on its banks.


Merrimac was first settled in 1638 and was a part of the town of Amesbury starting in 1666.  When it was incorporated in 1876, he riverside portion of the area was called Merrimacport.  It is believed that both the town and the river that runs along its southren border are named for the American Indian tribe that occupied the regions.  "Merrimac" means "swift water place" in the language of this tribe.

At the time of the earliest white settlers in this area, what is now Methuen was a part of Haverhill. This area extended north of the Merrimack River, westward to Dracut. Friendly Penacook Indians used the banks of the Merrimack and Spicket Rivers to hunt and fish from 1666 to 1683 and about this time residents of Haverhill and Andover settled in the eastern and southern parts of this territory that would one day be Methuen.

Years later in 1723, Methuen settlers such as Joshua Swan, petitioned Haverhill for land but were refused. The settlers then sought to incorporate as a town and petitioned the General Court for their own separate charter.  In December 1725, the charter was granted and Governor Dummer named the town Methuen, the only town so named in the world. The town was named after Lord Methuen, an English official of Pre-Revolutionary days and a friend of Governor Dummer. 
 North Andover
n 1634, the Great and General Court of Massachusetts reserved the land around Lake Cochichewick for an inland plantation. This included what is now Andover, North Andover and South Lawrence. Early colonists were offered three years' immunity from taxes, levies and services, except military service, as inducements to settle in the Andover area. A group of Newbury and Ipswich residents, led by a man named John Woodbridge, established the first permanent settlement in the Andover and North Andover area in 1641.
Shortly after they arrived, the local Pennacook tribal chief Cutshamache sold a parcel of land that included what is now Andover to Woodbridge and his followers. The price was "six pounds of currency and a coat" and permission for Roger, a local Pennacook man, to plant his corn and take alewives from the brook. A small brook, named in his honor, still meanders its way through the eastern part of town.

This notable bargain is commemorated in Andover's official seal, which can be seen on all official town stationery and is displayed in a tile mosaic on the lobby floor of the Old Town Hall on Main Street. The settlement was incorporated as a town in May of 1646 and was named Andover, most likely after Andover, England, which was near the original home of some of the first residents. The first recorded town meeting was held in settler John Osgood's home in 1656.

 Southern New Hampshire


Atkinson has a rich history, dating back before the American Revolution. The town was part of a tract of land purchased from the Indians by settlers of Haverhill, Massachusetts on November 15, 1642. The first settlements were made in 1728 by Benjamin Richards of Rochester and Johathan and Edmund Page and John Dow of Haverhill.


Incorporated in 1722, Chester once included Candia and was set off in 1763. First called "the chestnut country," it may have been the first of the settlement grants by Massachusetts selected for expansion of growing populations in the seacoast. The name may be derived from Cheshire, Chester being the county seat of Cheshire in England. Earl of Chester is a title held by the Prince of Wales. Daniel Chester French, sculptor of the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, D.C., was a summer resident and took Chester as his middle name because of his love for the town.

The towns of Auburn, Candia, Derryfield (renamed Manchester), Hooksett, and Raymond were later formed from Chester's original 100 square mile grant.


Danville was originally one of several parishes of Kingston which was first settled in 1694. It was chartered in 1760 as Hawke, after Admiral Sir Edward Hawke. Never a popular name, the town was incorporated as Danville in 1836.
The Hawke Meeting House is the oldest origiinal construction meeting  house still standing in New Hampshire.  Construction of the meeting house began in 1754 and was used for religious services until 1887.  It is on the National Register of Historic Places.

Although Derry, New Hampshire was first settled by Scottish-Irish families in 1719, Derry was not incorporated until 1827. It was for a long time part of Londonderry, which included Windham and portions of Manchester, Salem and Hudson.

The town was named for the city of Derry, Northern Ireland, the Irish word "Doire" meaning "oak woods." The first potato planted in the United States was planted here in 1719. 


Once part of Haverhill and Amesbury, Massachusetts settled in 1640, this town was formed as a result of the 1739 change in boundary lines between Massachusetts and the new province of New Hampshire. It was originally known as "Timberlane Parish" because of the heavy growth of native trees. The town would be incorporated in 1749 by Colonial Governor Benning Wentworth, who renamed it after Hampstead, England, the residence of William Pitt, a close friend.

Hampstead's Main Street is lined with antique homes. The town was a popular summer camp location.


The immigrants who settled the Town of Londonderry, New Hampshire, were descendants of a colony migrating from Scotland to Northern Ireland (Ulster) about 1612. A large number of these Scotch-Irish settlers left their homes in Londonderry, Ireland, and arrived in Boston in 1718 to start a new life without religious wars and persecution. Of the five shiploads of people under the guidance of Rev. James MacGregor, one group remained in Boston, one group settled in Dracut and Andover and a third group ventured north to what is now Portland, Maine. A harsh winter and low provisions forced the third group to retreat south to Haverhill, Massachusetts, where they heard of a twelve square mile area “abound with nut trees”. Sixteen families left Haverhill for Nutfield in 1719 and on June 21, 1722, established a charter for the Township of Londonderry. Later, several portions of the Town were subdivided into parishes and other towns.

Nutfield was the first inland settlement in the Merrimack Valley and originally included what are now the city of Manchester and the towns of Hudson, Windham, Salem and Derry (the oak grove). In 1741 a section was lost on the southern boundary to form Windham and Hudson; Derryfield (later named Manchester) was incorporated in 1751 and Derry became a separate town in 1828.
Pelham was split from Old Dunstable in 1741, when the border between Massachusetts and New Hampshire was settled. It was incorporated in 1746. The town is named after Thomas Pelham-Holles, 1st Duke of Newcastle.

Before being incorporated in 1746, Pelham had been part of Nottingham, Massachusetts to the west and Dracut, Massachussets to the east.  Due to the prolonged boundary line dispute between Massachusetts and New Hampshire, the settlement of Pelham occurred very slowly over time.

Plaistow was originally part of the 1642 land purchase that was Haverhill, Massachusetts.  However, when the New Hampshire - Massachusetts boundary was established in 1741, it became part of the Haverhilll district. 
It was officially established as a town in 1749 after a boundary dispute between the Massachusetts Bay Colony and the New Hampshire Grants. It is the only town outside the United Kingdom with the name Plaistow. In 1776 the western part of Plaistow became a separate town, Atkinson.

The area was first settled in 1652. As early as 1736, Salem was the "North Parish" of Methuen, Massachusetts, or "Methuen District." In 1741, when the boundary line between Massachusetts and New Hampshire was re-established, the "North Parish" became part of New Hampshire, and was given the name "Salem," taken from nearby Salem, Massachusetts. It was incorporated in 1750 by Colonial Governor Benning Wentworth.

This territory was part of the original Kingston grant of 1694.  As the western portin of Kingston became more heavily populated, residents felt that they could support a meetinghouse of their own, and petitioned Governor Benning Wentworth for separation.

Sandown was incorporated as a separate town in 1756 by Colonial Governor Benning Wentworth. It was named for picturesque Sandown on the Isle of Wight. The first minister of Sandown, Reverend Joseph Cotton, built the Sandown Meeting House in 1774. It had an 11 foot high pulpit and marble columns supporting the gallery, and is still an excellent example of early New England church architecture. In fact, the meetinghouse is said to be the finest of its type in New Hampshire, with outstanding craftsmanship and architectural details.

Lucie's Legacy
Lucie LeBlanc Consentino
4 September 2011