Monthly Archives: February 2015

Friday’s Faces From the Past: Searching for a lost child


Cabinet death card of a young childI came across this beautiful cabinet card in a local antique shop and was drawn to it. The picture is of a beautiful child who apparently died at a young age and his parents had a mourning card made. I could make out a very faint name written on the back – Robert – and I wondered if this was young Robert with the adorable curl on top of his head. I felt compelled to take him home. He didn’t belong in a cold antique shop among hundreds of  nameless lost ancestors. I wanted to find out more about him.

Upon closer examination, I discovered a very, very faint last name… Horne. The front of the picture has the name Forney and Bedford, Iowa which told me that the photographer of the picture was Forney and the picture was taken in Bedford, Iowa so I started searching for…

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Tombstone Tuesday: Weep not for her

Several years ago, six to be honest, I found myself in the community of Jaffrey, New Hampshire, attending the funeral of my mother-in-law. After the service, my family and I headed back to my brother-in-law’s home so my husband could visit with his brother for a while. On the way to his home I noticed a very old looking cemetery, and as one who never passes up the chance to explore God’s acre, I went for a walk to locate the ancient burying ground, while the men were talking,

Most people, having just attended a funeral, would have had enough of being in the land of the dead, but I find cemeteries calm me. I am more relaxed walking up and down the rows of lost loved ones. There are no sounds, save those of nature. I enjoy reading the names, the epitaphs and trying to figure the age of those who have passed. I wonder what their lives held for them and why death found them when it did. Did they have dreams and ambitions? Did they achieve their goals? Did they have a good life, or was it one of pain and suffering?

It pains me to see graves of obvious neglect, ones long forgotten. Why weren’t they remembered by their families? Was there no one left to mourn or did the knowledge of their life pass on as their body did with the passing of generations. I, especially, dislike seeing the tiny headstones of children, believing them to be beautiful souls whose light must have been too bright to endure the darkness of our world.

Miss Lucy Lathrop was born about Nov. 1815 and died March 24, 1836 in Jaffrey, NH

Miss Lucy Lathrop was born about Nov. 1815 and died March 24, 1836 in Jaffrey, NH

The cemetery I found that day is called the Village Cemetery, and according to its entry on Find-A-Grave, is sometimes referred to as the Baptist Cemetery and was established about 1829 on the land once owned by Oliver Bacon in east Jaffery. On this day, as I walked up and down the rows of tombstones that had been standing for more than a century, I stumbled onto the final resting place of Miss Lucy Lathrop. Remembered with a beautifully ornate stone, Miss Lucy was just 20 years and five months old when she died on March 24, 1836.

The stone’s engraving is evident of how much an impact her sudden departure had on others. Inscribed on the stone for all to see was, “This monument of respect was purchase by the female friends of the deceased, and erected, sacred to her memory.” The poem at the bottom reads, “Weep not for her! – She was far too fair. Too pure to dwell on this guilt-tainted earth; the sinless glory, and the golden air of Zion, seamed [sic] to claim her from her birth. A spirit wander’d from its native zone, which, soon discovering, took her for its own. Weep not for her!”

The marker left to sum up her short 20 years was not purchased by her family, but by her friends. 

This leads to so many unanswered questions. Where was her family? Why didn’t they erect a monument in her memory? Did she have family in New Hampshire? Was she an immigrant looking for a better life, leaving her family in the old country? What about her personality, her friendship, her goodness, resonated so deeply within her friends, that they joined together, pooling their resources to remember their friend in this manner?


New Hampshire, Death and Disinterment Records, 1754-1947 for Lucy Lathrop.

A quick search on the Internet pulls up very little for Miss Lucy Lathrop, except for a New Hampshire Death and Disinterment Record established 70 years after her death. Besides the surprising date of when the death record was written, it also records her father as John Farwell, which causes one to ask, was Lathrop then, a married name?

But then why, would her friends purchase a stone and inscribe it with the words Miss Lucy Lathrop? And what did they know in 1906 when her death and disinterment record was established, that wasn’t known in 1836 when she was buried?

We may never discover the truth about who Miss Lucy Lathrop was, but the marker erected by her friends in her honor will ensure her memory lives on.

Weep not for her!


Finding the missing link

My week at the Family History Library is coming to an end and I feel like I’ve just experienced the grande finale… Today, I broke through two brick walls that have been haunting me for the past ten years.

The first, was discovering the names of my great grandmother’s parents. My great grandmother, Mary Brown Mello, was born about 1877 in the Azores and died in Bermuda on May 1, 1962. It has bugged me for years that her name was listed as Mary Brown. I knew that was not her birth name, but no one was left alive who knew the truth. My auntie Carol, her grand daughter, told me she vaguely remembered her mother telling her it was something like Baum or Braun, but I had never been able to pinpoint what it was actually.

I needed the correct maiden name, because without it, I had no idea of who her parents were.  Out of 16 great great grandparents, I had located all of them except for her parents.

Today, I discovered the last of my great great grandparents.

Antonio de Mello & Maria de Brum on their wedding day.

Antonio de Mello & Maria de Brum on their wedding day.

A few years ago, I came across a wedding photo of my great grandparents taken by a photographer in New Bedford, Mass. I remember that surprising me, because I had only known of them living in the Azores or Bermuda. It even had a date, Sept. 9, 1885, but that still wasn’t enough information to locate the marriage record – looking for Antonio Mello is like looking for Joe Smith and it seemed everyone named their daughter Maria.

But today… today was different. Today, I found my answers. Today, I discovered the elusive marriage record of Maria de Brum and Antonio de Mello, married on Sept. 9, 1885 in New Bedford, Massachusetts.

The marriage record of Antonio de Mello and Maria de Brum

The marriage record of Antonio de Mello and Maria de Brum

And the best part?

It listed the parents for both, the bride and groom, and validating, I had the right couple.

Francisco  & Rosa Emilia de Mello  Francisco & Izabel de la Brum

Francisco & Rosa Emilia de Mello
Francisco & Izabel de la Brum

Today, I discovered the names of my last remaining great great grandparents – Franisco and Izabel de Brum and my family is more complete.

Wednesday’s Child – Papa’s Baby



Today, I visited the remnants of an old plantation home located in the Town of Stanton in Haywood County, Tennessee. The site used to be the old home place of Joseph and Lucy Stanton, founders of the town. It is not the original home, as that was burnt down and a smaller home built in its place. Time has been rather kind to the home in the regard that it is still standing but it is evident that the home had not been lived in for many years.

Natural has begun to encroach upon the foundation of the home. Critters, various plants and trees have broken through the barrier long ago designated between nature and man. It is evident that the home was once a modest, yet grandeur home of the times, complete with a front porch that must have seen its share of visitors and family members, relaxing and…

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Amanuensis Monday: 1865 Deaths at Saint Thomas in Bombay

The below table is a page from the 1865 Ecclesiastical Returns of Births, Baptisms, Marriage & Burials of Saint Thomas Cathedral in Bach Bay, Bombay, India.

Saint Thomas Cathedral in Mumbai, India, formerly known as Bombay. Built in 1718, it is the oldest British building in India still in continuous use.

Saint Thomas Cathedral in Mumbai, India, formerly known as Bombay. Built in 1718, it is the oldest British building in India still in continuous use.

Saint Thomas was erected in 1718 as the first Anglican church for India’s growing British settlement. It has been used for services continuously since its erection and was the church of my family who lived, were born, and now laid beneath its grounds in India.

William Brown, listed below, was my fourth great grandfather who was born on Def. 7, 1805 in Dover, Kent, England. The son of John and Elizabeth Brown, he moved to India and worked as an cathedral clerk.

He married my fourth great grandmother Celindah Court who was born in Calcutta about 1805. They had nine children, including my third great grandmother Celindah Elizabeth Jane Brown, born April 25, 1828. William lost his beloved wife on March 8, 1843 at the age of 38, just months after the birth of their last daughter, Henriette Caroline Brown, who later died two months after her mother passed. She is buried at Saint Thomas.

William married again to Elizabeth Horrocks in July of that same year, I imagine because he had eight minor children, although she, herself was just 14 years old to his 38 and younger than two of her step-children. William had six more children with Elizabeth, but it is evident he missed his first wife very much, and named a daughter he had with Elizabeth after her, Ellen Celindah Court Brown.

William died at age 60 on Sept. 1, 1685 in Bombay from gangrene, perhaps from a cut he received while working as an undertaker, and is also buried on the grounds of Saint Thomas.

Back Bay from Saint Thomas Cathedral in the year 1865

When Died

Cause of Death Christian Name Surname Age Quality, Trade or Profession When Buried Signature by whom Buried


August 13

Fever Lerence Adams 38 years Widow of the late William Adams. L # Rifles 1865August 14

Charles Gilder

Clerk in Holy Orders


August 27

Dropsy William Rigdon Hayman 63 years Shipping Master 1865August 28th

W. Maule

Chaplain of Colaba

1865August 31


Acute Dysentery Isaac Pardo Twenty six years A soldier of H. M. 45th Regiment under sentence of Penal Servitude for seven years 1865September 1st W. K. FletcherSenior Chaplain


September 1

Gangrene William Brown Sixty one years undertaker 1865September 1

W. K. Fletcher

Senior Chaplain


September 8

Acute Hydrocep halus following Diarrhea Walter Wynne Lake One year, three months & twenty four days Son of N. C. LakeMarshal County Jail 1865September 8
1865September 10 Aneurism of the Aorta Lewis Gilbert Twenty seven years Overseer of Reclamation works 1865September 10 Charles Kirk
S. O. G.Missionary Minister in the Diocese of Bombay

SOURCE: Ecclesiastical Returns of Births, Baptism, Marriage & Burials; Bombay, India; 1865; Ref# N/3/39 Vol. 39; FHL SLC, Utah; microfilm #523,924


Death Haunts Her

Mary Audin Clough Clifton Lewis Panchaud


I’m back at the Family History Library in Salt Lake City researching and collecting data that I would never be able to gather without coming here. As I stay up late (as usual) trying to get organized so I can be more productive on Monday, I’ve just had an epiphany.

An aha moment if you will.

And I don’t know why because I’ve had the majority of information for years but apparently, I never really read what I was collecting.

What’s my epiphany, you ask?

On the world’s most celebrated day of love and devotion, I’ve just realized my great-great grandmother was unlucky in love.

Three times.

My great great grandmother was born Mary Audin Clough on March 23, 1846 in Bombay, India. She was the oldest of 10 children, born to Francis Clough and Celindah Elizabeth Jane Brown.


Marriage certificate of Robert Clifton aka Roberts and Mary Audin Clough 1867

She was 21 when she first married on July 27, 1867 to Robert Clifton aka Roberts, in Bombay. The July 27, 1867 edition of the Times of Indiareported, “St John’s Church Colaba, by the Rev Ward Maule, Robert Roberts to Mary Audin, eldest daughter of the late Francis Clough Esq.”


Birth record of Mary Clifton, 1868

The new union produced a daughter, Mary Clifton, born on Aug. 9, 1868 in Colaba, Bombay, India. But what should have been a happy time, quickly turn to heartache.


Death certificate of Robert Clifton aka Roberts

Robert, her new husband, died short seven months later of a hepatitis abscess at the age of 36 on Mar. 1, 1869 in Parell, India.

 The heartache didn’t end there.

Five months after losing her husband, my grandmother lost her daughter. On Aug. 5, 1869, little Mary died of convulsions at the age of 11 months, 27 days old.


Death certificate of Mary Clifton (Roberts), 1869

She was a widow and had lost a child at the age of 23.

The following year offered hope, and on Dec. 22, 1870, she gave love a try again and walked down the aisle of St. Thomas Cathedral into the arms of Henry Lewis, a 31-year old merchant. Again the Times of India reported of her marriage, “Dec 22nd at St Thomas Cathedral by the Rev CT Wilson, BA Henry Lewis, Esq., Bombay of Messrs Pelly & Co to Mary Audin, relict of the late R Roberts, Esq. of Messrs Nicol & Co and eldest daughter of the late Francis Clough, Esq., of Bombay.”


Marriage certificate of Mary Audin Clough Clifton (Roberts) and Henry Lewis, 1870

She was 24.

To this union, two daughters were born. Alice Coultana Lewis, on Dec. 17, 1871 and Edith Nora Farguharson Lewis on Jun. 23, 1873.

But Mary’s happiness once again was short lived.

She once again lost a daughter at 11 months. Her youngest daughter, Edith died on Jun. 17, 1874 at Ranchi, Bengal. Her father, Mary’s second husband, died six months later, passing on Dec. 13, 1874 at Lucknow, Bengal, India at the age of 35.

I think the memories of her native land proved too much for young Mary to handle, and she fled the country of her birth for England. I have yet to discover what happened to their oldest daughter, Alice, but I believe she must have died as well. Mary went alone to England and when she married my great great grandfather, she brought no children to the union.

Mary Audin Clough Clifton Lewis married Louis Panchaud, a widower with two children living in the home, on Jan. 19, 1877 at Glamorgan, West Glamorgan, Wales. Six months later, she gave birth to my great grand uncle Albert Louis Panchaud on Jun. 3, 1877 in Islington, London, England. Happiness seemed to have finally found her.

But once again, death came knocking.

Married just 53 weeks, my great great grandfather, for reasons unknown, committed suicide on Jan. 27, 1878. My great great grandmother was one month pregnant.

At the age of 31, she had buried three husbands and three children.

Eight months after the death of her third husband, Mary gave birth to my great grandfather, Louis Benoni Panchaud on Aug. 30, 1878 at Paddington, Middlesex, England. Once again a widow, but this time she had four children to take care of.

The 1881 census finds Mary and all four children living up the road from where their father and husband ended his life. Her step-children, Henry George Louis and Maud Panchaud, soon moved to their father’s native Switzerland to attend boarding school. Mary’s own sons are sent to boarding school as well, in England. All alone now, Mary moved to Australia sometime about 1889.


Entrance of Dimboola Cemetery in Dimboola, Victoria, Australia where Mary Audin was buried in 1909.

Was she running away from heartache again?

Mary lived in Dimboola, Victoria, Australia for approximately 20 years before she died on Nov. 28, 1909 at the age of 63 after battling illness for three years. The official cause was cholaemia, a leg infected with gangrene, and heart failure. I think she was tired of living alone and died from a broken heart. The undertaker had to submit her info, for she had no family with her at the time of her death. She was laid to rest at Dimboola Cemetery with no marker to let anyone know she’s there.


Mary Audin Panchaud’s death certificate, 1909

She didn’t live to see it, but her sons were strong and grew to manhood. Albert, became a man of the cloth and a headmaster of a private school. He was very much loved by the Bedford community he administered to, and when he died after a long illness on Jun. 3, 1941, his 64th birthday, several newspapers reported of his loss.

My great grandfather, Louis Benoni, who also became a headmaster, moved to Bermuda where he married my great grandmother, Dorothy May Tatem, and had four children. He died at 72 in 1950, surround by children and grandchildren.

I’m sitting here thinking about all the heartache, stress, uncertainty she must have gone through. And I wonder how she did it? How do you bury the men you’ve loved? How do you bury your children? I don’t know that I would have been able to endure what she had to and kept my sanity, especially, during that time. But I am happy that she found the strength to carry on and for not giving up on love. I think my grandmother must have been a strong woman to have endure all that she did and I like to believe that my strength comes from her.

Because of her, I am.


We are all connected

Indoeuropean%20language%20family%20tree So, I was pretty excited about 3 o’clock this morning when I discovered several of my 12th great grandparents. And when I say discovered, I followed the trail back and was able to find documented proof (well, at least the index of the proof… when I get to the Family History Library in Salt Lake City tomorrow, I’ll find copies of the actual documents) of marriages and births.


I know… impressive, right? You’d think so… until you realized that at 14 generations you have 16,384 grandparents.

Yes, you read that right. 16,384 great grandparents… they’d be your Great Great Great Great Great Great Great Great Great Great Great Great Great Grandmas & Grandpas. Talk about a family reunion!

I found six.

All born in England from 1550 to 1570… John Garde married Mary Suthcott, Richard Gyst married Margaret Lake, and William Tetherly married Mercy Spinney. Screen Shot 2015-02-10 at 7.50.21 PM

I actually even found three of my 13th great grandfathers – Nycholas Suthcott, Thomas Gyst and William Lake – 15th generations back… but, by just adding another generation, a short span of 25 years, you’d have about 32,768 grandparents.

The below chart demonstrates how the grandparents double… it doesn’t take many generations to become overwhelmed with family.

2 Parents

4 Grandparents

8 Great Grandparents

16 Great Great Grandparents

32 Great Great Great Grandparents

64 Great Great Great Great Grandparents

128 Great Great Great Great Great Grandparents

256 Great Great Great Great Great Great Grandparents

512 Great Great Great Great Great Great Great Grandparents

1024 Great Great Great Great Great Great Great Great Grandparents

When you do the math, by the time you get to 20 generations or 500 years, you’d have 1,048,576 grandparents. Do you think you’d remember their names?

The United States only has 3.2 million people.

The world’s population right now is about 7.2 billion people. Less than 10 billion people have ever lived on the earth but if you go back 40 generations or a thousand years… you’d have more than a trillion ancestors.

I know… mind boggling, isn’t it?

By now, you’re wondering, how in the world can I have a trillion ancestors when only 10 billion have ever lived on the earth?

deliverance-1972--00Remember Deliverance? Yep…. Inbreeding makes it possible. You don’t normally find that in the first 10 generations, but going back further the population drops and so did the choice in partners. You might have had a trillion ancestors 40 generations ago, but not a trillion different ones.

Population genetic scientists have actually done a lot of research on this subject and in an article authored by Steven Olson in the May 2002 issue of The Atlantic Monthly, he describes some amazing results of their studies:

  • In all probability, you and I are descended from English royalty
  • Everyone in the world is descended from Nefertiti and Confucius,
  • Everyone in the Western world is descended from Charlemagne,
  • Eighty percent of Charlemagne’s contemporaries are also ancestors of us all.

So what does this all really mean?

One, that I have a ton of work to do! But, if you go back 22 generations, you’ll find our common ancestors and realize WE ARE ALL RELATED.

Now, let’s play nice together… we’re family afterall.


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