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Winter 2005- 2006


Newsletter of the Greater Lowell Genealogy Club

Upcoming Events:

February Meeting: Saturday, February 25, 2006 from 1 PM - 3 PM at the Chelmsford Public Library.

March Meeting: Saturday, March 18, 2006. We will be attending a meeting of the Essex Society of Genealogists, Inc. (See below)

April Meeting: Saturday, April 29, 2006 from 1 PM - 3 PM at the Pollard Library in Lowell, MA.

May/June Meeting: We are planning a potluck picnic but need a place to hold the meeting. Any suggestion will be greatly appreciated.

February Meeting: Elections and General Meeting. Our club secretary, Barbara Poole recently told the board she is stepping down! She will be greatly missed as a board member, but will continue to help with the newsletter. We need a volunteer to be our club's secretary. The duties are not very difficult or time consuming. They include: two or three board meetings a year, keeping track of attendees at meetings, and some general notes at meetings.

Come to the meeting and volunteer, even if you can't be the secretary.

After elections, we will have a choice of videos to enjoy. Barbara will be bringing two videos, Cryptic Clues in the Bone Yard and Preserving Your Family History with Multimedia. For more information on these videos, see Barbara's column.

If you have the winter BLAHS, come to the meeting. We'll try to chase them away!

March Meeting: We have made arrangements for our club to attend another meeting held by the Essex Society of Genealogists, Inc. (E.S.O.G.)in Lynnfield.

The meeting will begin at 1:00 PM with lunch beginning at 12:00. The topic will be "Immigration and Naturalization.

Our club members can visit the Lynnfield Library (9-1) first at 18 Summer Street, then go next door to the meeting at the church. When you go down the stairs, tell the greeting committee you are a guest. You may bring lunch. They offer coffee and desserts (a small donation accepted).

The Lynnfield Library has a genealogy room with a very nice assortment of resources. Not only are there books covering all of New England, but also New York and Canada. The stacks are open, so you can take anything and make copies (.15 each)

Directions: Take Route 3 south to 95/128 north. Get off at Lynnfield/Wakefield exit. Take a right and follow Main Street through town for approximately 2-3 miles. At the center of town (a tiny shopping complex on left), take a right onto Summer Street at the old cemetery. The library and church are on the left next to the town green. You can park in the church lot or on the street.

April Meeting: Meeting time and place is all set. Agenda, we're working on it! We would like to have a speaker, but, come on guys and gals, we need some HINTS! Do you know of any ethnic genealogical societies you would like to hear from? We would be happy to contact one to see if they have a speaker available.

May/June Meeting: As mentioned above, we would like finish off the year with a potluck picnic. This was an idea from one of our members, Yvonne Miller. It sounded like a great idea, so we are actively looking for a place to hold it. We are open, as usual, for any suggestions. It could be a nice beach, state park, reasonably priced hall, or a nice volunteer's yard.

Past Happenings:


President - Maureen Famolare -

978-663-6491 -

Vice President - Diane Laferriere -

978-649-3855 -

Secretary - Barbara Poole -


Treasurer - Karen Jeffers - 978-663-3664


September meeting: Our September meeting was not exactly what we planned. It was decided by the six members in attendance that they would postpone the annual elections. The members in attendance were: Diane Laferriere, Margaret Leedberg, Karen Jeffers, Barbara Poole, Diane Shields and Dick Lynch, this a quorum did not make! We will try again......

October Meeting: Our annual potluck dinner was a huge success! It never ceases to amaze us how much wonderful food arrives at the church hall! Every year we feast on the most delicious cuisine you can imagine! We get better and better each year, maybe a little heavier, too! How can we resist all the goodies! You have to be there to appreciate it!

Clinton Updyke, Barbara Updyke's husband, attended the potluck and presented the club with a great idea. He is volunteering his expertise in computers to help the club set up a database. The database will be used to index Lowell city directories. It will be a great undertaking and will require a good deal of help from our members. Initial volunteers for typing are: Edna King, Madeline Pattershall, Laura Bedard, Diane Laferriere, Barbara Updyke, Reba Beatty, Karen Jeffers, Theresa Dionne and Maureen Famolare. Any additional members help would be greatly appreciated. All you will need is a computer and a desire to help, we will supply the rest. Thank you to all who wish to help. We will also need volunteers in the future for the proofreading.

From Our Members . . .

Did you know that on July 29, 1903 there was an explosion in Tewksbury/ South Lowell? Two brick magazines containing powder and other high explosives blew up, causing a loss of twenty-two lives and injury to sixty or seventy others; also seriously affecting property in the immediate vicinity valued at half a million of dollars. Robert Dooley has sent the club a copy of the report of an explosion that occurred at Riverside Park in Tewksbury (now part of South Lowell). The report lists the damage to property in the vicinity and a list the injured and deceased. Streets listed in the damaged property include Acton Street, Bolton Street, River Street, Clifton Street, Denton Street, Easton Street, Billerica Street, Warnock Street, and Whitehead Street. If you would like to see the report, contact Karen Jeffers at or 978-663-3664.

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Frederic W. Barnes is researching the following names: Barnes, Foote, Tuttle, Bronson, Scoville, Woodruff, Curtiss, and Spafford. He also sent information about “The Genealogy of Thomas Barnes of Hartford, CT”. This two volume set includes data on 8,591 descendants plus spouses of Thomas Barnes covering 14 generations. It is available at the Concord Free Public Library in Concord, MA or you can buy the set from Frederic Barnes. His e-mail is

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Janet Gilbert sent information on her brick walls. She is looking for information on:

Abner & Proscilla BAKER, married ~ 1825 in Lowell, MA

Daniel A BOOKER, born 1825 in Lowell, MA

Roxanna J McINTIRE, 1823 - 1917 in Wilton, NH and Lowell, MA

John & Martha SMITH, b. 1764, living in Nashua, NH, Haverhill, MA, and Hudson, NH

If you have any information, contact Janet at


Tidbits from Barbara Poole:

The Greater Lowell Genealogy Club has purchased two new videos, and they are available to members in the area to take home and watch. The club can decide which one to watch at the February meeting. I have viewed both of them: Cryptic Clues in the Bone Yard, is a 45 minute video by Sharon D. Carmack, a Certified Genealogist. She offers many tips for successful cemetery research. All topics were interesting, and they include: 8 categories of cemeteries; analyzing the composition of the stone to date it; searching and surveying a cemetery; art and symbols on gravestones; note taking in a cemetery; putting together a cemetery kit; and a trip to a cemetery. During this trip, Sharon gives a lot of hints to what the stones can tell you, how to clean stones, hints on photographing a stone and how to do rubbings. Most of us have rambled through cemeteries and I bet with this new information, you will be more informed as to what the clues are telling you. The second video Preserving Your Family History with Multimedia is rather technical, but there is something for everybody. Even if you don't have a computer, you might want to learn what can be done, regardless; it still is interesting to watch. If you are more knowledgeable about computer technology, you might want to watch a section more than once. The categories of topics are: Scan Photos and Film; Enhance and Repair Photos; Transfer Home Movies to Video; Document Family History with Video; and Create Audio Files and Import Them into Your Genealogy Software. These were the main topics covered.

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I came across a great book while at the Nashua Library, and made many copies of certain pages. It is called, The Librarian's Guide to Genealogical Services and Research by James Swan published in 2004. The cost is $75, so I checked to see if any of the local libraries had it. Tyngsborough Library did, so I got it. Meanwhile, I requested that the Chelmsford and Lynnfield libraries order it. At this point, I am not sure if they will have it as a reference book or a check out book. The book's publisher writes, Sections for technology link users to the genealogical resources on the Web. A companion CD provides hyperlinks for all the recommended Web sites and 25 printable charts, lists, and forms (including a Checklist for Genealogical Research 1850-1900, a Research Log, and a Federal Census Chronology).” The Checklist from 1850-1900 is done by 50 year spans, and shows what type of records or where to look for information for say, 1850-1900. It is a very unique form. And the Census Chronology lists the questions asked for each time the Federal Census was taken. I wrote the publisher for approval to copy and distribute the forms, and am awaiting their approval, but since they included a CD, perhaps that is approval enough.

______________________One Simple Question

By Diane Laferriere

Recap: Looking for Mary, maiden name unknown, she was the wife of Louis Hohmann. She was born in Massachusetts; don't know when or where she was married. Her daughter Aileen was born in Boston in 1905. I had to go to the Massachusetts Archives to search for her son Karl's birth record, since he was born after 1905. She was listed in the 1930 census, widowed and living with her married daughter in New Jersey.

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I found Karl's birth record at the Massachusetts State Archives, in Boston. He was born in 1906 in Boston to Louis C.V. Hohmann and Mary A. Thompson. Now John's grandmother's full name was known. I quickly searched for their marriage record, expecting to find them married in Boston, between 1905 and 1895, but found nothing. Since her parents were from Maine, maybe they were married in Maine, but that search would have to wait. I began searching the 1880 census for all Thompson families in Waltham, Massachusetts that had a Mary born around 1878. I determined that she was born about 1878 from the 1930 census listed her age as 52. I found a Mary L. Thompson, 3 years old, living with her mother Lena (35), a sister Alice (13) and a brother Raymond (10). They all were born in Maine except Mary who was born in Massachusetts. This could be the Mary Thompson that I was looking for, but the middle initial was different, and where was her father? I would hold onto this with a note to verify if this was the correct family or not. I hoped that all of this research going back in time would eventually lead me to finding the current resting place of Mary. I have found that many times women are buried with their families, meaning their parents, and siblings, or with their husbands. So I now knew her husband died before her, sometime before 1930 and she was still alive in 1930 and living in New Jersey.

It was time to update John as to the progress I was making. When I mentioned that his grandmother was Mary Thompson, he remembered that name, but did not know the connection. He also remembered another last name was Sprowle, but again he did not know the connection. John remembered that he had an email from a cousin who was also doing some genealogy research for part of this family. John forwarded the email, the cousin had found that Louis and Mary had not married in Massachusetts like I assumed, and had not married in Maine, my second choice. Instead they were married in London, England. I remembered reading about the website This website has civil registration index of births, marriages and deaths for England and Wales. I had used it before with great success. So I tried it, found his record and ordered a copy. The certificate came within a few weeks. What a gold mine! It

listed the full names of the bride and groom and their fathers' names and professions. On January 6, 1900, Louis Charles Valentine Hohmann (age 36), an engineer, married Mary Arletta Thompson (age 23). Louis's father, Wilhelm Michael Homann (deceased) was also an engineer. Mary's father, Davis Gamage Thompson (deceased), was a master mariner. Back to the email from John's cousin; it also stated that Louis had died on March 22, 1927 in Derby, CT, and was buried in Oak Cliff Cemetery, Derby, CT. Now that I know Mary's place of birth (Waltham, MA), date of birth (about 1877 from her marriage record), and her father's name (Davis Gamage Thompson), I just might be able to find and verify her in census records. I also think she maybe buried with her husband in Connecticut.

I started searching on the internet for Oak Cliff Cemetery in Derby, CT and also for Davis Gamage Thompson in the census records. I still don't know Mary's mother's name, but with more information to go on, maybe now I can find her. Sometimes finding other family members, siblings and parents leads you to the person you are looking for. That's how I found Mary in the first place, living with her daughter in New Jersey. Now I know that it was 3 years after her husband Louis's death. I searched to see if the Oak Cliff Cemetery had been transcribed or if they had a website. No luck with either. I finally called the town clerk for Derby to find out who had the burial records for this cemetery, since I could not find a cemetery department on their website. The clerk that answered was very nice, but did not think there was an Oak Cliff Cemetery in Derby. She suggested that I call the neighboring town, Ansonia, CT. She even gave me the phone number to call. I then called the town clerk in Ansonia, but she was at lunch. I decided to call back later. When I finally spoke to her, she didn't think Oak Cliff was in her town, but suggested I call another number, which she gave me. When I did, it brought me back to the town clerk in Derby, where I had started. This time when I asked about Oak Cliff, she asked if I had called earlier and I said, “I did.” She was glad I called back. She had called a funeral director who had been in the town a long time and asked if he knew the location of Oak Cliff Cemetery. He did and provided the name of the person who had all the burial records. Now I had the information; all because I called back by accident! I was very excited and decided to call right away, but no one was home. I left a detailed message of what I was looking for and my phone number and I hoped to hear back soon.

I started searching for Davis Gamage Thompson. That middle name sure sounded like a surname; I wondered if it was his mother's maiden name. Mary's marriage certificate stated that her father Davis was deceased by 1900. So, I started by searching the 1880 census. I used Ancestry's ranked search where you enter as much information as you have and it brings up the most likely hits first. Well, I was not having much luck! There where lots of Davis Thompsons, and what if his first name was misspelled as David in the census. This was going to take too long! I looked back at my notes from when I interviewed John. He had mentioned Maine, maybe I should only look for Davis or David Thompson's born in Maine, but living in Massachusetts, since Mary was born in Massachusetts around 1877. No direct hits and too many possibilities for the small amount of information I had. I then searched 1870, but this was before Mary was born. How would I know if I had the right Davis or not? I found a Davis (age 27) residing in Maine with his wife Marcalena (age 25) and a daughter Alice (age 3). Could this be them? How could I prove it?

I decided to try Rootsweb. When I searched for Davis Thompson, I got over 300 matches; too many to search. I then tried something that I don't normally do; I entered his middle name along with his first and last. I figured the worst case scenario would be no matches, but instead I got one match. (Rootsweb is free, so anyone can look this up at When I clicked on the match in World Connect, I could not believe what I saw! This Davis Gamage Thompson, was born in Maine about 1842; his wife was Marcalena M. (Lena) Sproul; he died about 1882 in either Waltham, MA or Bristol, ME. Could this be Mary's parents? The pieces where starting to fit.! This Davis and Marcalena matched the 1870 census. Davis might have died in Waltham where Mary was born. I had hoped to find children for this couple when I clicked on the link to the family tree, but there were none listed. What I did notice was Marcalena's maiden name Sproul; that sounded like something that John had told me not too long ago. I decided to search this family tree a little deeper. I clicked on Marcalena's name to get more information about her. She was born in Bristol, ME in 1844, and died May 6, 1914 in Dorchester Cottage Hospital, Boston, MA. It also stated that she was buried in Mt. Feake Cemetery, Waltham, MA. I decided to write to the Mt. Feake Cemetery and get the internment records for Marcalena Thompson and anyone else buried in the same plot with her. I also asked if they could search their records for any Hohmann that might be buried in this cemetery. At last, maybe I would find Mary (Thompson) Hohmann's last resting place. While searching for their mailing address, I checked Waltham's city website and found that not only did they have a cemetery department; they also listed their email address. So I wrote up my request and emailed it to the head clerk. I gave my mailing address, daytime phone number, offered to send a SASE (Self Addressed Stamped Envelope), and inquired if there was a fee for their services or copies. Three days later I received an envelope from the cemetery department in Waltham.

Part 3 - to be continued

--- Information - P-L-E-A-S-E

If you have any ideas for speakers, day trips or general meetings, OR if you have any interesting tidbits of information contact:

Maureen -

Karen -

We love stories, hints, queries or interesting web sites. Heck, just about anything you want to send us! Thanks.

Form for Sharing Information to appear in newsletter

Member's Name _____________________________________________

Contact Information (E-Mail, Address or Phone - You choose.)


Lines Being Researched Place Time

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Brick Walls I need help on:




Use another sheet of paper if needed (or the back of this sheet).

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The membership rates are as follows:

___ $10.00 per Individual

___ $20.00 for a Family

___ $5.00 per Senior (age 62 and over)

Enclosed please find $_________ for 2006 dues.

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Send form and check to:

Greater Lowell Genealogy Club

c/o Karen Jeffers

35 Franklin Street

N. Billerica, MA 01862-1441