52 Ancestors – Week 9 – Disaster

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When I originally say this post I thought I was going to write about September 11, 2001 and the impact it had on my life. G was an active duty police officer for the NYPD at the time and he recently retired after 25 years. September 11, 2001 truly did change how we lived our lives.

Today it is March 17, 2020, St. Patricks Day, usually a fun day in New York City but we are in the middle of a global pandemic and life as we know it has yet again changed. To give you the scope of the havoc COVID-19 is causing, NYC schools are closed until April 20th and possibly through the end of the year, we will be doing online/homeschooling. G is currently on his way home from Rochester with C as she will be also finishing up her freshman year of college distance learning. We are being told to social distance and no groups of more than 10 people. Countries are closing their borders. The lights of Broadway are no longer shining and all restaurants are takeout only.

I live in a walking neighborhood as we can walk to stores. You do not see people out and about, occasionally you will see someone walking their dog.

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The COVID-19 is a highly contagious disease and can be dangerous for those who are older or have underlying medical issues such as diabetes or heart disease. So these are indeed scary times and no one wants to unwittingly pass the virus on to others and cause harm. Most people are social distancing with grace but of course there are those who don’t heed the warnings. I pray we don’t wind up like Italy under total lockdown but it could happen here if people don’t listen. To give you a sense of it all Disney World is closed actually all of Disney is closed or closing (all parks and hotels).

I am praying we all stay well and safe during this uncertainly. At least I will hopefully be able to work on some family history projects and keep up with the blog in the coming days.

Hey I think I can social distance in a cemetery on a nice day.




52 Ancestors – Week 8 – Prosperity

According to the Merriam-Webster Dictionary


pros·​per·​i·​ty | \ prä-ˈsper-ə-tē  \

Definition of prosperity

the condition of being successful or thriving especially economic well-being
As I thought of this topic, the person who kept coming to mind was my grandfather Antonio DellaVecchia.
Antonio DellaVecchia was born 24 January 1903 in Vasto, Chieti, Italy. He left home at the age of 17 to travel to America. He arrived in New York City in 1920 on a ship that sailed from LeHarve, France with his cousin Paulo Florio.
My grandfather did not spend much time in NYC as he settled in Clifton Heights Pennsylvania, where he became a naturalized citizen in 1926. He then went back and married my grandmother in 1929 in Lentella, Italy.
He came back to the United States and was a very successful contractor and investor in real estate.
This is a list of the properties that my grandmother had after my grandfather died in 1976.
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My own Dad and brother have continued with the construction company.
My grandfather lived the American Dream.

52 Ancestors – Week 7 – Favorite Discovery

One of my favorite discoveries to date is always in reference to my 2X-Great Grandmother, Sarah Larkin Beardsley. On her tombstone it is inscribed with Sarah A. Beardsley, MD. We always thought it was a mistake.

Until I found reference to her in a publication of the University of  Michigan. (thank you Google).Screen Shot 2020-02-27 at 7.20.16 AM

and the discovery of her in the 1880 Census in Michigan, listed as a student, along with her husband, Leslie Beardsley. One of my next projects is to find my Great Grandmother, Minerva during this period.

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and then sadly I found her in another publication this time of the Michigan Medical Society. Sadly Sarah died at the age of 39 in 1886. Not much is known about her but I think she must of been a super strong woman as she pursued her dream at a time it wasn’t common.Screen Shot 2020-02-27 at 7.16.27 AM

This is the only picture we have of Sarah Beardsley and it also hangs in the University of Michigan Medical School as part of a group photo of her class.

Dr. Sarah larkin Beardsley

52 Ancestors – Week 6 – Same Name

In my family there is no clear cut naming patterns except on my paternal side. They are Italian and the oldest son tends to be named after the paternal grandfather, hence why my dad has a slew of cousins named Dominic.

I myself am named after both my grandmothers and I named my oldest daughter after myself and my dad and my son is name after both his grandfathers. Going through my tree for this prompt I didn’t see a clearcut naming pattern for any other branch but I did see a few interesting names.

  •  Dorcas Winchell Coolidge Weatherwax – where is Winchell from?
  • Leslie Winchester Beardsley and in turn Leslie Winchester Witherwax – Winchester is the last name of Leslie Winchester Beardsley’s mother Minerva Winchester if her tombstone is to be believed.
  • My 2nd Great Grandmother  Sarah Larkin Beardsley and her sister Lucy Larkin Thompson both have infants named Myra who died early. Where did the name Myra come from?

I guess I am lucky that not many branches used the same names over and over but there are a few that in one generation there a 3 Jacobs and they are all born about 1792 or the several men named Jehiel Beardsley and I also have the tale of 2 Beverly Beardsleys that can muddy the waters a bit.


52 Ancestors – Week 5 – So Far Away

The prompt for Week 5 of 52 Ancestors is So Far Away. This was a difficult prompt for me because I thought of the journey’s traveled by my family to come to America, whether it was my recent immigrant ancestors on my Dad’s side who came from Italy or the members of my maternal side who came over to America before it was a country.

One thing that sticks in my mind is they all came for the same reason a better life than the one they left in Europe.

I want to talk about my great-aunt Olive Witherwax Rogers though. Aunt Olive is the daughter of my Great Grandparents, Benjamin and Minerva Beardsley Witherwax. She was born in Peru, New York on 19 February 1895.

Aunt Olive  married Henry Rogers 9 August 1916 in Schenectady, New York. She was 21 years old.

Olive Witherwax Marriage


Aunt Olive lived in Plattsburgh and in 1919 she applied for a passport to travel to France and then on to Germany where her husband Henry was living.

Aunt Olive did take her trip to see Henry but sadly she died while in Germany on 20 October 1920 at the age of 25. She and Henry had no children and had such a short time together. To be sick in a foreign country so far away from home must of been so hard on Aunt Olive. She must of felt so alone.


It is over 3600 miles from Peru, New York to Coblenz, Germany. I am always a bit sad when I think of Henry and Aunt Olive. I always hope they had a great love story.

52 Ancestors – Week 4 – Close to Home

Week 4 already. As I was finishing my final ProGen assignment this week, I decided since Beverly Beardsley (1815-1898) was fresh in my mind he would be the perfect subject for this week’s prompt.

Beverly Beardsley was born 15 February 1815 in Chesterfield, Essex County, New York and died 19 December 1898 in Ausable, Clinton County, New York. He spent the majority of his life on the Essex / Clinton County Borders.


Courtesy of NYS Historic Newspapers

He lived in the towns of Chesterfield and Black Brook during his life and farmed for the majority of his life. He is buried in the Old Clintonville Cemetery in Clintonville, New York with his two wives, Minerva Winchester Beardsley (1823 – 1843) and Bestsey Blake Beardsley (1807 – 1887).

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Beardsley Tombstone in the Old Clintonville Cemetery.

Tombstone Tuesday – January 21, 2020

Beverly Beardsley is the topic of my final ProGen assignment this week, so I thought it was fitting that he was my first Tombstone Tuesday topic.

He is buried in the Old Clintonville Cemetery in the same plot as his son, Leslie Winchester Beardsley and my beloved Sarah Larkin Beardsley, MD.

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Beverley Beardsley lived in the Clintonville area all his life. He was married first to Minerva Winchester (1823-1843) and then to Betsey Blake (1807? – 1887).

According to his obituary, Beverly Beardsley will be missed at the revivals. I love little facts like that. I will expand more on Beverly Beardsley once this assignment is over.

52 Ancestors – Week 3 – Long Line

I really had to think about the direction I wanted to go with this one but I decided to tell you about one of the lines I am working on. I really would like a Mayflower ancestor but can’t find one. I did find what I believe is an accused witch.

You have heard me talk about working on an application for the Associated Daughters of Early American Witches. I am working on finding the documents to prove I am descended from Rebecca Towne Nurse.

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Rebecca Nurse was highlighted in The Crucible (I have actually never read or seen it). Rebecca if I have the connections right is my 9th Great-Grandmother.  My line goes through my Grandfather’s line. Thankfully I have proven through my 4th Great Grandfather Joseph Daby and Olive Bolton.

So here is how I believe my line goes:

          • ME
          • Mom
          • Grandpa
          • Benjamin Witherwax
          • George Witherwax and Dorcas Coolidge
          • Benjamin Knowlton and Olive Daby
          • John Daby and Olive Bolton (have proof through here)
          • Joseph Daby and Abigal Bennet
          • Joseph Daby and Elizabeth Nurse
          • Benjamin Nurse and Elizabeth Roberts
          • Francis Nurse and Sarah Craggen
          • Francis Nurse and Rebecca Towne (1621-1692)

I also have tentative proof of Joseph Daby and Abigail Bennet and Joseph Daby and Elizabeth Nurse as there are a couple of DAR applications with them and they need new service for both of the Joseph’s so that is a project I occasionally work on as the lineage is there.

I work super well with deadlines as I tend to procrastinate and I must have this done by May 1, 2020.

Funny story back in around the 6th grade I did a whole report on the Salem Witch Trials. I was fascinated by them and my mom had an old book about them in the basement on 74th Street. Little did I know that there was a possible personal connection.

Rebecca Nurse Homestead

Rebecca Nurse Homestead

52 Ancestors – Week 2 – Favorite Photo

This week we were prompted to post about our favorite photo. I have 2 currently one old and one new.


I love this photo of my husband and our 3 kiddos from October 2018. It is a favorite because Jimmy our now 12 year old is actually looking at the camera. He has autism and is non–verbal so this this a big deal for us.

The second photo is of my 2X-Great Grandmother Sarah Larkin Beardsley, MD. It was the photo she used for her graduation from the University of Michigan Medical School in 1884. Sarah is something of an obsession of mine.

Dr. Sarah larkin Beardsley


52 Ancestors in 2020 – Week 1 – Fresh Start

It is a brand new year and a new decade. As the new year dawns it is full of amazing possibilities and opportunities, a new beginning and a fresh start, which brings us to our topic for week one of the edition of 52 Ancestors.

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My Fresh Start is not chucking everything and starting over, my idea for a Fresh Start is to move beyond the low lying fruit of databases and heading into the catalogs and being more delibrerate with my research, including contacting historical societies, libraries and research trips, even if it is only a day trip by doing this I am hoping to breakdown some brick walls and open up the tree a bit.

My other goal is to branch the tree out and work more on the outliers and not necessarily my direct ancestors as by shrubbing the tree I think I will get more use out of my DNA matches and further breakdown some brick walls.

I hope you will follow along again on this journey with me.