52 Ancestors: Love

When I think of love, I think of hearts, so I thought for this week I would highlight my 9x great-grandfather and one of the founders of Hartford, Connecticut, William Wadsworth.

William Wadsworth was born in 1594 in Long Buckby, Northamptonshire, England to William and Elizabeth Wadsworth.

William married Sarah Talcott in England in 1625. Three of their children were born in England: Sarah (b. 1626), William (b. 1628), and John (b. 1630). The family immigrated to the now United States in 1632 on the ship “Lyon,” arriving in Boston Harbor.

Their daughter (and my 8x great-grandmother) Mary was born soon after their arrival. The family lived in Cambridge, Massachusetts until 1636.

William moved his family to Hartford in 1636, where he held several positions in the city. He was Collector for Hartford and 1638; Deputy to the General Court from 1652 to 1675; was on the Committee on Stonington and Indian Bounds in 1666; Indian Commissioner in 1666, and on the Militia Committee also in 1666. He was on the War Committee 1673 and the Committee on Indian Complaints in 1674, during King Philip’s War. (from the founders website, found HERE).

Sarah’s brother John Talcott was also a founder of Hartford.


William Wadsworth on the Founders Monument, from their website.


Sarah died in 1643, and William married Elizabeth Stone the following year. They had six children of their own. The Stones listed on the monument are Elizabeth’s father (John) and brother (Samuel).

William died in 1675 in Hartford.

This is one of those family stories that turned out to be true! My mom believed she had an ancestor who was a founder, and it turns out we have two (the other being Thomas Olcott). I am researching a name on my dad’s side of the tree that might be another Hartford founder as well.




52 Ancestors: Surprise

One of my favorite places to research my family history is newspapers. You never know what kind of surprise you may find!

Recently, I was on newspapers.com, typing in family names and seeing if anything new had popped up. It had been a while since I had a subscription. I searched for my great-grandfather Hermann Borchert, and three different articles popped up.


Hermann Peter Borchert


I had known Hermann was a printer, from family stories and his obituary, but these articles were a surprise for me.

The first, from the Indianapolis News on January 8, 1900, announcing the election of officers for the German Typographical Union No. 14. Hermann was elected Vice-President. The second article, from the Indianapolis Journal the next day contained a similar announcement.


The Indianapolis News, January 8, 1900.


The final article was from the Indianapolis News on April 30, 1904. The German Typographical Union, along with other German unions, were going to hold a First of May Demonstration. Hermann is listed among those speaking.


The Indianapolis News, April 30, 1904.


These articles help give a little context to his work and what he did in his spare time.

Newspapers.com also provides a free trial if you have never signed up. It’s worth taking the time and seeing what kind of surprises you might find! (If you have the all-access Ancestry pass, the basic newspaper subscription is included).


So You Can’t Make It To Rootstech…

Rootstech is coming up at the end of the month! The genealogy community will converge in Salt Lake City, only there is one issue.

You can’t make it.

I am in the same boat. As an ambassador, I was looking forward to attending the conference. But as it happens, I am unable to go.

But never to worry, the organizers have thought of this!


The streaming schedule can be found HERE, which gives you the opportunity to watch a few sessions a day, along with the keynote speakers!

In addition, Rootstech is offering a paid pass! This is a great option for those unable to attend, but also for those attending the conference.

The virtual pass has 18 recorded classes (different from the free streaming ones!), and the ability to watch the sessions for a year.

To register for the virtual pass: CLICK HERE.

(You can also still register to attend in person as well!)

And as always, you can follow along with the hashtags on Twitter, as many attendees will be sharing their experience: #RootsTech or #NotAtRootsTech.

As a reminder, RootsTech runs February 27th through March 2nd!

I will be watching the virtual sessions and sharing some things here and on my Twitter.

Feel free to post your Twitter below if you are going (or not!). We would love to follow along!

52 Ancestors: At The Library

One of my goals this year is to learn more about my ancestors’ everyday lives. I began with my grandfather William Gordon McCallum, who served in the Merchant Marines from 1929 to 1951. My mom said he didn’t talk much about his time, so I wanted to try to figure out what life would have been like.


Photo of Captain William Gordon McCallum, from his Merchant Marine file.


I saw on Twitter the recommendation for a book, “The Mathews Men,” which I checked out from the library. It has helped me to better read his records from his time


The main thing I have discovered is the duties of the officers on board. My grandfather was primarily a second officer, which meant he charted the course using a sextant. Each man would sign up for a single ship, so in one journey my grandpa would be chief mate, and the next third mate. Photos of his sextant below:

Another thing, Merchant mariners are only paid when they are on the ship. If the ship was hit and they were forced to abandon, once the men hit the water they were off the clock. Incredible for men who were risking their lives.

One in 26 merchant mariners were killed during World War II. The bulk of those were killed in the Atlantic Ocean. My grandpa sailed out of Eastern ports many times, even in 1942. This map from the book shows the shipping lanes from 1942:


I am still working through this book, but it has been so enlightening. It is one of those eye-opening things: even though he never physically engaged in combat, my grandpa was in danger all the time.

There is current legislation to recognize the service of Merchant Marines during World War II. If you are so inclined, there is a form to contact your legislators and encourage them to move the bills along, which you can find here: LINK

I wrote a little more about my grandpa’s service for a post last year, which you can find HERE.

Buy the book on Amazon (or read more about it) HERE.

Follow the American Merchant Marines Veterans on Twitter HERE.