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Monthly Archives: November 2008

Bolton’s American Armory: a frank assessment

Tipped into the copy of Charles Knowles Bolton’s Bolton’s American Armory in the reading room of the Rhode Island Historical Society Library is a photocopy of an excerpt from a letter by Horold Bowditch, longtime chair of the Committee on Heraldry of the New England Historic Genealogical Society; it amounts to a review of the […]

sleuthing & Mormonism

Sooner or later a genealogy blog is going to reference Mormonism, however tangentially. My daughter’s third grade class has paired with a class in the Southwest; each pupil has a penpal in the other class. They have been trading letters filled with short, declarative sentences alternated with personal queries. My daughter’s penpal: “ … Do […]

armigerous New Englanders: two lists (or rather one list)

I’ve been reading some of the works of the Appleton era, when the Committee on Heraldry of the New England Historic Genealogical Society kept a conservative eye on New Englanders with proved rights to English arms, and cast a jaundiced and disapproving eye on everyone else who affected arms. Before the Committee began in earnest […]

Arms in early Florida: Pedro Menéndez de Avilés

[UPDATED: better, credited photo of the modern painting of Don Pedro.] We New Englanders, and Anglos generally, have neglected the other colonies in our search for armigerous early settlers in the colonies that would become the United States. (This is the mandate behind the Roll of Arms compiled by the Committee on Heraldry of the […]

a bonitinha — faces in the streets

Some years ago Chico Doria, a Brazilian mathematician and genealogist, wrote “One of my distant 15th-century ancestors was a canon who used to fool around with Angela Mendes, ‘a bonitinha,’ The Pretty One. I’m fascinated by her; I sometimes try to find out her face in the faces that I see in the streets.” Chico’s […]

Jeremiah VanderBullfrog…

Too many Jeremiahs! Since writing about Natalie’s people, my New York great-aunt’s ancestry, I have been drawn into her Vanderbilt connection. Her great-grandfather, Thomas Atwater Jerome, was an uncle of the famous Jennie Jerome, Churchill’s mother. Jerome’s wife was Emma Vanderbilt, and I had thought that with such a famous person in it—the Commodore—this family […]

a pilgrimage of grace: Mount Auburn Cemetery

Today, almost eight years later, I finally visited Carolyn. My wife’s grandmother Carolyn Harmon Scott, née Carolyn Ayer Harmon, died in the year our oldest daughter was born, so she lived to see her first great-grandchild. Their first visit was when Cassandra was four days old— — but within a year, as Carolyn was at […]

Promptuarium armorum: the Boston manuscript

Yesterday, in the R. Stanton Avery Manuscript Collection of the New England Historic Genealogical Society (NEHGS) in Boston, I had the chance to look at (and, with the acquiescence of Timothy Salls, the manuscript curator, take a couple of photographs of) the Promptuarium armorum, a heraldic miscellany by William Smith, Rouge Dragon Poursuivant in the […]