Family history needn’t be expensive or lengthy

Posted Aug. 25, 2008, at 1:06 a.m.

For years you’ve been saying you wanted to put together a book on your genealogy, something you could make copies of for your family and a few libraries.

With all the research you’ve done, maybe you could even sell a few copies to help pay for the printing. But somehow, time got away from you and you didn’t get around to it. So maybe you’re too old to bother with it?

Not for a minute.

I’m recalling a few months ago, when Louise Towle of Bangor showed me her just-finished book, “The Smiths of Madison County, Virginia, and Their Ancestors,” with additional material on her husband’s Towle family of Bangor.

Louise was 87 when she published her book — a slim volume, but well-researched with information from wills and inventories, for example.

Louise turned 88 in June and died at home on Aug. 13.

She adored her children — Joseph, Patsy, Maggie and Fred — and they adored her right back, as did her grandchildren and great-grandchildren and countless friends.

She got the book done. She put it in the hands of her family members, and someday Katie and Gregory and Billy Campbell can show the book to their children.

Louise’s book was nicely printed with photos and a hard cover, but yours doesn’t have to be. It’s not necessary that it have a certain number of pages, or that you publish hundreds of copies.

One of my cherished treasures is a 2½-page typed copy of family information written down by my great-great-great-grandmother Mary (Payne) Bray Jenks for one of her daughters. Mary was born in Greene County, N.Y., and died in Pawtucket, R.I., long before I was born.

Another treasure is the small book she self-published, “Behind the Bars,” the story of her years as a women’s police matron in Pawtucket. It contains not a bit of family information, but a whole lot of her values and beliefs about the importance of looking after the less fortunate, especially those whose lives and families had been affected by alcohol abuse.

So I have these two things to pass on to my sons and my grandchildren. I also need to make copies for historical societies in New York and Rhode Island.

I’ve started writing up some information on my Moore and Bennett lines in Maine on my dad’s side, but I also need to write up a few generations of my mother’s lines — especially since Mary Jenks is my mitochondrial DNA line, my mother’s mother’s mother’s mother’s mother, and so on.

I can at least do something on five generations back in most of my lines.

If I then get motivated to write up more than that, great! But at least I will have put together something more than just pedigree charts and copies of vital records.

Given the years we’ve worked on our family history, shouldn’t we also leave our descendants some sense of what this information means?

That’s my lesson from Louise.

—ä—

The King and Huckins families of Lamoine will be the subject of an illustrated talk by Lamoine Historical Society member Susa Wuorinen.

“Captains, Carpenters and Kings” will be a photographic study of their history, their houses and a mystery or two, presented at 7:30 p.m. Wednesday, Aug. 27, at Lamoine Baptist Church, Lamoine Corner.

The meeting is open to all, and refreshments will be served afterward. For more information, call 667-6564.

3435. WALKER-WALTON. Can you help me? Philbrick A. (Allen) Walker married Jane E. Walton of Orneville on Nov. 26, 1855, in Old Town. Where was Philbrick born? Was it Bangor, about 1835? Who were his father and mother? Philbrick died June 24, 1857, having been injured a few days earlier in a railroad wreck at Upper Stillwater. Would like information on the train wreck and place of death, maybe Orono, and where he is buried. He had one daughter, Mary “Esther” Walker. Was she born Dec. 9, 1856, in Bangor? Thank you, Colleen G. Reed, 20 Liza Harmon Drive No. 28, Westbrook 04092; colleenprp@juno.com.

Send genealogy queries to Family Ties, Bangor Daily News, P.O. Box 1329, Bangor 04402-1329; or e-mail queries to familyti@bangordailynews.net.

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