Category Archives: Genealogy

For posts about genealogical pursuits.

Fourth-Grade Photo Stirs Childhood Memories

A 60-year-old photo posted recently on Facebook by a former classmate really got my wheels spinning. Shot on the final day of school in June 1963, the black-and-white image appeared on Deerfield Now. It showed my fourth-grade class standing on the front granite stairs leading into the two-story, brick South Deerfield Elementary School that then […]

Kids’ Stuff: South Deerfield Memories

Looking for a hook to hang my hat on, so to speak, spun me into reminiscence leading up to my May 7 “Deerfield 350th Founders’ Day” talk. The topic was the earliest settlement of Bloody Brook, or Muddy Brook – names that were interchangeable between the 1750s and 1840s for a village now called South […]

Hawks Tavern at North Mill River

I have in recent years often wondered: Why is so little known about the old Hawks Tavern in South Deerfield’s North Mill River District? Now, after finding two previously unidentified shots of the building among a collection of digitized Howes Brothers photos in friend Peter Thomas’ Deerfield’s 350th archive, the question looms even larger. The […]

Hinsdale Houses Tell a Story

Seeking brief respite from a tangled maze of early South Deerfield deeds, I scheduled a short trip to the Granite State last week. There, on a summerlike spring morning, we found warm, welcoming guide Sharron Holmes Smith awaiting our visit at the historic Col. Ebenezer Hinsdale House in Hinsdale, New Hampshire. Friend and neighbor Richard […]

The Monument Church Question Lingers

I finally bought and read a biography of John Brown (1800-1859) which has been on my radar for a few years. Why the delay? Not due to a shortage of biographies about the radical Connecticut-born abolitionist who attacked the Harpers Ferry, Virginia armory and was hanged for insurrection leading up to the Civil War. In […]

A Friend’s Passing

The day before Valentine’s Day was funeral day for old friend Michael Pasiecnik. The evening service was held in my native town, hosted by a mortician I have known for years. Michael grew up a couple of miles down the road in East Whately, where his family farmed rich river meadows first tilled by Indigenous […]

Cheapside Uplands and the Hoit Place

I took a recent walk around the Cheapside uplands with old buddy Billy Wardwell, a Bingville native I trusted would know all the little nooks and crannies. You’d have to know affable “Wardy.” He grew up there. Highland Park was his playground. We’ve known each other since high school, both from the Class of 1971: […]

The Brooks Brook Conundrum

A new player recently entered my orbit, temporarily reorienting my focus about 10 miles north. Her name is Andrea Liebenow Varney, daughter of my late neighbor and friend, Sylvia Smead Gallagher. Three years younger than me, Varney grew up and graduated from high school in Greenfield, and has lived for decades in Proctor, Vermont. She […]

Colonial Roots Are Shallow Indeed

What does it mean to be connected to a place, to have a sense of a place… and how does it change over time? I pondered that question during a recent daybreak walk along the shoulder of a lonely, gray, Upper Meadows road in Greenfield. Since then the thought has reappeared, darting through my consciousness […]

Gass Family Built a Local Legacy

Unexpected diversions and distractions can sometimes strike historical gold… like the one I stumbled across last week. Most often these unexpected discoveries come to light as what I refer to as “peripherals” – that is, random findings unveiled entirely by dumb luck while reading, researching, or engaged in informal conversation. Nowhere do such bits of […]

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