Saturday, January 30, 2016

My 64 ~ Researching My 4th Great Grandparents : A Libby But Not A Direct Ancestor

My "4th great grandfather," David L. Libby, was born in Limington, Maine, on June 2, 1807, the second of ten children born to Daniel Libby and Dorcas McDonald, and their second son. After marrying Charlotte Stevens in Limington in 1827, and together with her, had one daughter named Eunice, he appears to have relocated his family to Penobscot County, farming in the town of Clifton.

Year: 1850; Census Place: Clifton, Penobscot, Maine; Roll: M432_264; Page: 281A; Image: 565.
Ten years later, he, wife Charlotte and two of their children are still in Penobscot County, but in the town of Levant.

Year: 1860; Census Place: Levant, Penobscot, Maine; Roll: M653_446; Page: 985; Image: 480.
Twenty years later, David and Charlotte are empty-nesters in their 60's, still living in Levant.

Year: 1870; Census Place: Levant, Penobscot, Maine; Roll: M593_554; Page: 166A; Image: 336.
David and Charlotte had seven children:

Eunice, b. 1827
William Swasey, b. 1829
David, b. 1832
Charlotte, b. 1834
Hall J., b. 1836
Harriet, b. 1839
Isabelle, b. 1842

It is their son, William Swasey Libby, however, who married the single mother Patience Miller in 1854, who proves that David L. Libby and Charlotte Stevens are NOT my 4th great grandparents by blood. Let me explain.

Patience Miller, my 3rd great grandmother, is listed in the 1850 Bridgton, Maine, census as the 24 year old daughter of Daniel and Patience Miller. Also listed is a 7 year old female named "Heneryetta" Miller. I have been unable to locate a birth record for this child, and believe that she is the daughter (perhaps born out of wedlock) of the 24 year old Patience.

Year: 1850; Census Place: Bridgton, Cumberland, Maine; Roll: M432_251; Page: 277A; Image: 251.

William S. Libby and Patience Miller were married in Denmark, Maine, four years later in 1854.

By the 1860 census in Bridgton, William S. and Patience Libby have a 16 year old daughter named Heneritta.

Year: 1860; Census Place: Bridgton, Cumberland, Maine; Roll: M653_437; Page: 28; Image: 717.

And 20 years later, when Henrietta, by then herself a widow of Alexander Griswold, is listed in the 1880 Bridgton census as the step-daughter of William S. Libby.

Year: 1880; Census Place: Bridgton, Cumberland, Maine; Roll: 477; Family History Film: 1254477; Page: 41A; Enumeration District: 023; Image: 0332.

I believe it is highly unlikely that there was a formal adoption, but it is clear that William S. Libby gave his wife's daughter his last name. He was not the natural father of Henrietta, however, and therefore, not my 3rd great grandfather by blood. Which means his parents, David L. Libby and Charlotte Stevens, are NOT my direct 4th great grandparents.

The lineage reads as follows:

Patience Miller (1825-1887), unmarried mother of Henrietta, married to William S. Libby
  daughter Henrietta Miller/Libby, married to Alexander Griswold
     daughter Nettie Griswold, married to Clarence Seavey
        son Howard Seavey, married to Mattie Leighton
           son Richard Seavey
             daughter Pamela Seavey

I may never know the name of this 3rd great grandfather.....and hence, this set of 4th great grandparents.


1850 US Census; Census Place: Clifton, Penobscot, Maine; Roll: M432_264; Page: 281A; Image: 565

1860 US Census; Census Place: Levant, Penobscot, Maine; Roll: M653_446; Page: 985; Image: 480

1870 US Census; Census Place: Levant, Penobscot, Maine; Roll: M593_554; Page: 166A; Image: 336.

1850 US Census; Census Place: Bridgton, Cumberland, Maine; Roll: M432_251; Page: 277A; Image: 251.

1860 US Census; Census Place: Bridgton, Cumberland, Maine; Roll: M653_437; Page: 28; Image: 717.

1880 US Census; Census Place: Bridgton, Cumberland, Maine; Roll: 477; Family History Film: 1254477; Page: 41A; Enumeration District: 023; Image: 0332. Maine, Marriage Records, 1713-1937 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Operations, Inc., 2010.

Saturday, January 9, 2016

My 64 ~ Researching My 4th Great Grandparents : Taking Sides During the American Revolution

     When you grow up in New England, the American Revolution is all around you. Historic sites appear at left and right, field trips from school include museums and exhibits glorifying the struggles and battles of the war, and school assignments invariably include literature and histories depicting famous soldiers and generals.

     It never entered my consciousness, before I began my genealogical research, that my ancestors included individuals and families who sided with England and its King. My 4th great grandfathers, however, include both Patriots and Loyalists, It was, in fact, a deep and complex dilemma for many, often resulting in the uprooting of families, and their resettlement in distant lands. My 4th great grandfather Thomas Bustin migrated from North Carolina, fought with Burgoyne in New York, and was among those evacuated onto one of many ships bound for Saint John, in Canada. My 4th great grandfather Hugh Cowperthwaite, a Quaker, grew up in New Jersey, and also found himself compelled to move to Canada, in support of the Crown.

     Three of my 4th great grandfathers fought for independence in the Revolutionary War, Allison Libby II (15th Massachusetts Regiment), Benjamin Griswold (Massachusetts Continental Line), and William Prior (Connecticut Continental Line). Two more of my 4th great grandfathers supported the Patriot cause, however, without engaging in actual combat.

     Deacon Thomas Cross, living in Gorham, Maine, was a member of Gorham's Committee to Hire Soldiers.

     Moses Seavey, of Rye, New Hampshire, was a signatory of that colony's Association Test. His father-in-law, my 4th great grandmother Huldah Locke's father, Elijah Locke, signed as well. The Association Test, also known as the Patriot Test, was written by the New Hampshire Committee of Safety. In Rye, it began:

WE, the Subscribers, do hereby solemnly engage, and promise, that we will to the utmost of our Power, at Risque of our Lives and Fortunes, with ARMS, oppose the Hostile Proceedings of the British Fleets, and Armies, against the United American COLONIES.

     The Test referred to a resolution passed by the Continental Congress on March 14, 1776, which called for two actions: the signatures of every adult male who was willing to take arms against the British, and the names of all who refused to sign. Their signature indicated their obligation to oppose the "hostile proceedings" of the British fleets and armies. The returns of such documents (there were others, like Maryland's List of Associators and New York's Signers of the Association) gave the signers of the Declaration of Independence assurance that their acts would be sanctioned and sustained by the citizens of the country. Town officers in New Hampshire were requested to obtain these signatures, who in turn sometimes selected a local "Committee of Safety," to carry out this order. Only white males above 21 years of age ("lunatics, idiots, and negroes excepted") were asked to sign this document. Not everyone qualified to sign agreed to do so, and not all of those who refused to sign were considered "Tories."

     There are numerous signers of Rye's Association Test with the surnames Seavey, Locke, Foss, and Philbrick, which I am sure figure in my family tree somewhere, so this document may lead me forward in my continuing genealogical research.

     Four of my 4th great grandfathers appear in the Daughters of the American Revolution's Genealogical Research System:

4th Great Grandfather     Ancestor Number

Moses Seavey                  A101196
Allison Libby II                  A070199
Thomas Cross                  A028166
Benjamin Griswold           A048653

A fifth 4th great grandfather, William Prior, is not in the DAR's GRS, but his complete Revolutionary War service record and pension file are available at


Allen, Francis Olcott, History of Enfield Connecticut, Vol. 2 of 3. (Lancaster, Penn.: Lankersham Printing Co., 1900)

Daughters of the American Revolution. "GRC National Index." Database. DAR Library. (

Genealogy & History of New Hampshire (

New Hampshire Revolutionary War Association Test, Town of Rye. (

Parsons, Langdon B. History of the Town of Rye, New Hampshire, from its discovery and settlement to December 31, 1903. (Concord, New Hampshire: Rumford Printing Co., 1905)

Revolutionary Soldiers. A List of the Names of the Men Who Fought for Independence, and Who Are Buried in Vermont. St Albans Daily Messenger (Saint Albans, Vermont), Saturday, August 19, 1905, p.2, (via    


Friday, January 1, 2016

New Year ~ New Blog Theme : Introducing "My 64 ~ Researching My 4th Great Grandparents"

     Welcome to Digging Down East! In 2015, I concentrated my research on 10 of my Canadian family tree lines. I discovered that having that focus brought me closer to my Nova Scotia and New Brunswick roots. What wonderful Canadian contacts (many related!) I made throughout the year! So many times, social media, particularly Facebook Groups, proved invaluable to me, with so many folks willing to visit cemeteries for me, do look-ups in out-of-print books, and even do library research. The distance from Ohio to the Maritimes never seemed long!

     In 2016, I plan to focus on "my 64," as I like to call my 4th great grandparents. For some of these, I can follow them, genealogically speaking, "from cradle to grave." For others, I don't even know their names! But 64 seems a reasonable number of direct ancestors to work on, and already I see some interesting patterns:

  • I have 2 sets of 4th great grandparents named Seavey, Libby, and Hamilton, and 3 sets of 4th great grandparents named Steeves!

  • I have 2 sets of 4th great grandparents who are my 4th great grandparents twice:

William Brackley, Jr. and Anna Clayton


Simon Packard and Nancy Jordan

  • I have 4 sets of 4th great grandparents whose names are unknown to me:

The parents of James Ross

The parents of Effie Constantine

The parents of Margaret Ferguson


The parents of William Harnett

  • I am missing the first name of Miss Stevens who married Jonathan Seavey and the last name of Jane who married Richard Henry Norris

     So happy 2016 and off I go, biting off a big chunk of the trunk of my family tree, and excited to discover more fascinating stories "digging down east!"

My 4th Great Grandparents

Jonathan Seavey
_____ Stevens

Moses Seavey
Huldah Locke

Allison Libby II
Sarah Dam

Thomas Cross
Lucy Hovey

Benjamin Griswold
Elizabeth Eastman

William Prior
Elizabeth Ellis

David L. Libby
Charlotte Stevens

Daniel Miller
Patience Stevens

Andrew Leighton
Mary Weymouth

Enoch Morse
Eunice Russell

William Brackley, Jr. (Twice)
Anna Clayton

Simon Packard (Twice)
Nancy Jordan

Andrew Lovell
Sarah Joy

Richard Henry Norris
Jane _____

Thomas Bustin
Mary Utt

George Wilson
Jane Smith

_____ _____
                                        _____ _____ (Parents of James Ross)

_____ _____
                                                _____ _____ (Parents of Effie Constantine)

John Hamilton
Elizabeth Archibald

Hans Hamilton
Jane Cottam

William MacKay
Catherine Bethune

John Brown
Isabel Fulton

Robert Smith
Hannah Veckle Beck

George Steeves
Martha Smith

Jacob Steeves
Eleanor Bleakney

Christian Steeves
Christianna Jones

John McCain
Jane Allison

_______ _______
                                               _____ _____(Parents of Margaret Ferguson)

_____ _____
                                              _____ _____ (Parents of William Harnett)

Hugh Cowperthwaite
Mary Newcomb

Thursday, December 17, 2015

My Canadian Branches ~ I'm a Steeves, Are You?

Throughout the past year, I have dedicated this blog to selected Canadian branches of my family tree. I have always found that my research leads me down the most interesting paths when I focus on one family group, one line, one person, or one theme. This has proven true especially in 2015. As I stated in my first post, I chose to work on the following 10 families:

Nova Scotia


New Brunswick


My last Canadian branch is the Steeves branch. By way of intermarriage between members of the Steeves family and the Smith family in New Brunswick, I happen to descend from 2 of the 7 sons of my sixth great grandparents Heinrich Stieff and Regina Stahlecker, Matthias and Jacob.

Line 1:

Matthias Steeves (c.1761-1848)
--Jacob Steeves (1788-c.1846)
----William Bleakney Steeves (c.1823-1899)
------Robina Elizabeth Steeves (1854-1929)
--------Wylie Herbert Smith (1874-1952)
----------Harriet Cheney Smith (1906-1985)
------------Marilyn Louise Bustin (1931-    )
--------------Me (1955-    )

Line 2:
Jacob Steeves (1750-1803)
--George Steeves (1785-1870
----Caroline Steeves (1816-1903)
------James Henry Smith (1850-1915)
--------Wylie Herbert Smith (1874-1952)
----------Harriet Cheney Smith (1906-1985)
------------Marilyn Louise Bustin (1931-    )
--------------Me (1955-)

Probably the most prominent member of my Steeves family tree is my 2nd cousin 4x removed, William Henry Steeves, known in the annals of Canadian history as The Father of Confederation.

More on William Henry Steeves can be found at:

Spray, W. A. -- "Steeves, William Henry". -- Dictionary of Canadian biography online.

Next year, 2016, will be the 250th Anniversary of the arrival of Heinrich and Rachel Stieff to New Brunswick (from Germany, by way of Pennsylvania). In preparation of this momentous event, a week-long celebration and family reunion is being held in Hillsborough, New Brunswick. Steeves descendants are coming from around the world, and Yours Truly will be among them!

For more on the Steeves story, and on next year's BIG CELEBRATION, including our attempt to set a Guinness World Record for the largest gathering of individuals with the same last name in the same place at the same time, in the Moncton Coliseum, visit: