We've just finished spending a month in Needham, a suburb of Boston. We paid visits to several friends and relatives, and did a little sightseeing, but most of our visit was spent visiting the pleasant library of the New England Historic Genealogical Society, located on swank Newbury Street, in Boston's Back Bay. A page we copied
We had recently come by a copy of New Englanders in the 1600s, by Martin Hollick, which is essentially an index matching those who immigrated to New England in that century with over a hundred recent books and journals. We found many references for people who are ancestors of our grandchildren, and many of those books are to be found in just a few genealogical libraries scattered across the country. So we have been examining the books and photographing the pages that refer to our family to add to our store of genealogical evidence. This is much like an activity we have pursued in the past, only now the camera allows us to transfer the pages directly to electronic images, whereas back in 2001 we had to photocopy the pages and then laboriously type out the text from the pages -- all because of the advances in camera technology.
One genealogical puzzle we pursued involved our ancestor Brian Village from Brian's day Pendleton, who in 1634 appeared in Watertown, in the Massachusetts Bay Colony, as a prosperous Puritan merchant with available funds to purchase land. We have been unable to trace his English ancestry. He was married in Birmingham, England 15 years earlier, to Eleanor Price. Neither of them seems to have come from a wealthy family, yet we have found no records in England or America for those years. It's an intriguing piece of work, complicated by the loss of many London records in the Great Fire of 1666. Brian Pendleton, once arrived in Watertown, Massachusetts Bay Colony, was clearly a leader and a mover and shaker. There is evidence that somewhere in his young adulthood he had made enough money to be seen as a solid leader of the community, but we have no idea how that might have happened. Nothing in his later years, which are pretty fully documented, explains how he grew from his childhood as (some say) an orphan in London to passage to New England and a position as a Puritan magistrate. Maybe someday the mystery will be explained.
It has been a month rich in experiences. Some of the best have been Plymouth Plantation actor the times we have spent with family and friends. We enjoyed three visits with Bob's cousin Marilyn. The first was a delightful luncheon she provided for us and some of her Andover friends including Laura who is head of reference at the Waltham Public Library -- there's nothing like library stories to provide chuckles for all! With this group the anecdotes and tales flew thick and fast; everybody sparkled.
On another day we visited Marilyn's grandson Kyle and his parents, Tim and Kelly. We have enjoyed watching Kyle grow from a tiny baby into a mature and happy young man, with extraordinary parents. Our third visit with Marilyn took us to the DeCordova Museum in Lincoln. We think the best part of this museum is the incredibly beautiful and well-cared-for gardens and outdoor sculpture installations where we could have stayed all day.
Driving from one visit to another, we noticed that most of the roads we used during our month are beautiful -- tree-shaded over green lawns with DeCordova Sculpture Garden patches of flowers, just twisty enough to provide continual surprises around each bend, with lots of ponds, rivers and reservoirs (filled with kayaks on the weekends) to give plenty of bird sightings.
We had a happy visit with June and Wes, in Sturbridge. June is one of Bob's cousins who lives in Florida. Like many of us, she and her husband are visiting in the North during the Summer. We especially enjoy these sudden reunions.
We also caught up with Oberlin friends. Returning to Brookline to visit Sarah and her daughter Carrie and Carrie's husband Ray reminded us of how our lives had been so closely connected half a century ago when we and our small boys lived in Cambridge. Could we repeat the trip between our Holly Street house and Sarah's without a map? We think we could! We also took the opportunity for several short visits with Austin and learned about the wicked winter of 2014.
We had two wonderful, talk-filled visits with Bob and Nancy who live Lowell canal boatride in Lexington. They told us about their projects and we exchanged books -- always a treat. One visit took the four of us to Lowell and the National Historic Park built around the textile mills of the mid-nineteenth century. They treated us to a canal boat ride which we highly recommend.
And among all of these visits we added lots of data to our never-ending project of studying the genealogy and history of our grandchildren's families. On our first genealogy visit to Boston, we filled our truck with boxes of file folders holding photocopies of book and hournal pages. This year we have no new boxes, but nearly a thousand pages now reside, as photographic images, on our computer drives.
And in our own hearts, we'll carry the memory of a happy, fruitful, time with special friends and family in a part of the United States which we hold very dear.