Blog Archives

John Case of the Fourth Generation in Simsbury #1

Volume 20 Issue 1, Spring 2013

Part 1: In the Mid-1700s, a Young Man Begins an Account Book

When he started making entries in his first ledger in 1739, John Case was a twenty year old bachelor. Beginning his own account book signaled that he was striking out on his own and that his earnings would no longer be recorded as part of the accounts of his father, John Case Sr. Whether or not he was also establishing a separate domicile is a matter for conjecture. The law at that time frowned upon single men living alone and specified a fine of twenty shillings a week for living outside his parental home unless, of course, he was someone’s apprentice or servant. The law did allow a single man to set up his own household if he was a public official and/or had a servant, and if he had the permission of the admitted inhabitants of his town.

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A Research Trip to England #2

Volume 19 Issue 4, Winter 2012-13

Part 2: The Trip and Back at Home

The trip itself began on an auspicious note. The volcano in Iceland erupted about the time we were boarding our plane in Newark, but our flight was released to many cheers after waiting on the tarmac for twohours. When we landed in Bristol, the airport closed behind us.

On the first four days, Jon and Elaine Ayres and several of their friends introduced us to the sights and pubs of Somerset, Devon, and Dorset. It was lambing season, and the patchwork fields were filled with youngsters that actually gamboled. We learned the thrill of meeting lorries on narrow roads between towering hedgerows. We hiked along the southern coast cliffs by the English Channel. We had local beer and learned to play skittles. We went to a car boot sale and wandered around an old manor house. Elaine served a cream tea.

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A Research Trip to England #1

Volume 19 Issue 3, Fall 2012

Part 1: It Pays to Overplan

When I dropped down into Street View at Google Maps to scout out a place to park at a remote country churchyard in Lincolnshire, I realized I just might be overplanning my spring 2010 trip to England with my husband, Harvey.

But I did it anyway. I had been dreaming of this research trip since the mid -1980s, when Aunt Jean gave me a few names, dates, and places for her and my mother’s maternal ancestors. With three counties to cover, I wanted to make the most efficient use of our limited time there.

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Memories of the Ketchins of Tariffville #5

Volume 19 Issue 2, Summer 2012

Part 5: The Ketchins’ Tobacco Business

With their construction business growing, Andrew and William Ketchin had an increasing need for workmen. In his memoirs, William explained, “Here is where I got interested in tobacco as a business.” He wrote this brief account of his cigar tobacco ventures:

The firm of A. J. K. & Son [was] doing a special class of stone building. They called it “Rock Faced Hammer dressed” and no matter how good a stone mason was, it took about a season to break him in to the firm’s method of stone building. As soon as fingers got cold in November, masons left for the city to pick up any inside job where they could keep warm. In the spring they scattered, compelling the firm to school new men. So my father and I conceived the idea of buying enough tobacco from the neighboring farmers to keep some of the best men through the winter season, assorting and packing tobacco. This arrangement was carried out successfully.

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