Matrilineal Monday: My Father’s Matrilineal Line Featured On Who Do You Think You Are?


I was a researcher for several seasons of the American version of Who Do You Think You Are? It was an absolute blast performing the research, and then very interesting to see how the findings were later used for the filming itself.

The focus of WDYTYA? and other genealogy programs tends to focus on celebrities discovering their past (although some shows now have started to feature segments on “everyday” folks who have interesting ancestors too), although I always thought it would be fun to see some of my ancestors featured in a similar way. So imagine my surprise when I recently was watching through a backlog of British WDYTYA? seasons and saw that my father’s matrilineal ancestors were featured in a 2008 episode with British model Jodie Kidd. She was surprised to discover that she had early New England ancestors, whose descendants eventually returned back to England in her direct line.

At the Rowley, Massachusetts Town Clerk’s office, she discovered that her seventh-great-grandfather Richard Hazen (brother to my ancestor Elizabeth Hazen – my father’s ninth-great-grandmother directly on his matrilineal line, and my tenth-great-grandmother) was the son of Edward Hazen and Hannah Grant in the book Early Settlers of Rowley, Massachusetts. Jodie was told that Edward Hazen’s wife Hannah Grant was an original settler of the town of Rowley with her parents Thomas and Jane (Haburne) Grant, who came to America in 1638 aboard the ship John of London with Rev. Ezekiel Rogers as part of the Great Migration.

Jodie then traveled to St. Peter’s Church in Rowley, East Riding, Yorkshire where Rev. Ezekiel Rogers was rector before he was suspended for his Puritan practices. In response, Rev. Rogers gathered almost thirty Puritan families from the area, including the Grant family, and migrated to New England.

St. Peter’s Church, Rowley, East Riding, Yorkshire, England. Courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.

Archivist Lizzy Baker from East Riding Archives then pulled out several original parish record books from the nearby town of Cottingham where the Grant family lived, and revealed the baptism record of Hannah Grant, daughter of Thomas Grant, on 16 October 1631, and the marriage of Hannah’s parents Thomas Grant and Jane Haburne at Cottingham on 21 September 1624.

Jodie was then shown a stained glass window which commemorated the migration of Rev. Roger’s families to Rowley, Massachusetts. She was then shown a silver chalice inscribed “1634”, which Rev. Rogers would have used during services, and Kidd speculated “maybe my ancestors could have drunk from it”, although it is not clear to me that the Grant family would actually have worshiped at Roger’s church in Rowley, since Thomas and Jane Grant had children baptized at Cottingham from 1625/6-1637, then left for America in 1638. More likely, as Puritans they have occasionally heard the controversial Rev. Rogers preach, then answered his call to nearby parishes to migrate to New England. However, they worshipped at St. Mary the Virgin Church in Cottingham, East Riding, Yorkshire.

St. Mary the Virgin Church, Cottingham, East Riding, Yorkshire. Courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.

And while not discussed in the show, Jane Haburne was the daughter of Ralph Haburne and Maud Jecles, who married at Cottingham on 2 December 1593. Therefore, Maud (Jecles/Jeckles/Jekyll) Haburne is my father’s earliest identified matrilineal ancestor. And after taking DNA tests at FamilyTreeDNA and 23andMe, my father discovered that Maud passed her mitochondrial DNA from haplogroup H (called Helena in Bryan Sykes’ Seven Daughters of Eve) on to all of her children, and her daughters and their daughters continued to pass down the same mtDNA throughout the generations.

My father directly inherited his mtDNA haplogroup H from his mother, who inherited it from her mother Sarah Anne “Sally” ANNIS (1908-1980) who m. Edgar Cameron McCLELLAN. She inherited it from her mother (my father’s great-grandmother) Edna Hamson STILES (1877-1957) who m. William Freeland ANNIS.

  • And so on down the line, through my father’s Great-Great-Grandmother: Sarah Ann SIBLEY (1840-1900) m. Charles Dean STILES
  • Third Great-Grandmother: Tamison HAMSON (1810-1873) m. John Shaw SIBLEY
  • Fourth Great-Grandmother: Tamison WAITE (1788-1856) m. William HAMSON
  • Fifth Great-Grandmother: Abigail TREFRY (1757-1831) m. Jacob WAITE
  • Sixth Great-Grandmother: Elizabeth HALES (1724 – aft. 1760) m. James TREFRY
  • Seventh Great-Grandmother: Elizabeth PRITCHETT (1702 – aft. 1746) m. Edward Hales
  • Eighth Great-Grandmother: Sarah HARRIS (1681-1729) m. Lt. John Pritchett
  • Ninth Great-Grandmother: Elizabeth HAZEN (1651-) m. Nathaniel Harris
  • Tenth Great-Grandmother: Hannah GRANT (1631-1716) m. Edward Hazen
  • Eleventh Great-Grandmother: Jane HABURNE (1602-1697/8) m. Thomas Grant
  • Twelfth Great-Grandmother: Maud JECLES (-1623) m. Ralph Haburne

Perhaps next time we visit my brother-in-law in Yorkshire I will visit the Cottingham church and the East Riding Archives to see if I can identify any additional generations back beyond Maud Jecles to extend the matrilineal line even further. But for now it’s pretty amazing to know that my dad’s mitochondrial DNA was directly inherited from remarkable women Elizabeth (Hazen) Harris, Hannah (Grant) Hazen, Jane (Haburne) Grant and Maud (Jecles) Haburne, all featured directly or indirectly on Who Do You Think You Are?

Watch Jodie Kidd learn about Edward Hazen and Hannah Grant beginning at minute 3:00, learn about Thomas & Jane Grant in New England at minute 6:55 and learn about Thomas & Jane Grant in England at 10:35:

Genealogie en francais!

I was working on French genealogy today, and came across a handy site, (although it does require a paid subscription).

In addition to having some great records indexed, I couldn’t help but laugh at their advertisement on the page, “Who are your ancestors?”:
(note the same smirk on each “ancestor”! The costumes may change, but the grin and wink remain the same)

Exploring Brooklyn in Street View of Google Maps

Googlemaps has come out with a wonderful new feature called “Street View”. It allows you to explore neighborhoods visually through photographs. You can click on a spot, then see what it looks like from 360 degrees, and “travel” along the road.

Watch a demo of it here.

There are only a few cities available in this mode, and unfortunately Boston has not yet been added. But I explored New York City and then took a tour over the Brooklyn Bridge into Brooklyn. I’ve always wanted to get to Brooklyn to explore and photograph the large cemeteries in the area, and see the gravestones of some of my New York ancestors. So of course I looked for “Street Views” of roads that run parallel to Brooklyn cemeteries, in order to get a look at them!

Here’s a view of Mt. Olivet Cemetery from Eliot Ave in Brooklyn.
And here’s Linden Hill Cemetery from Metropolitan Ave in Brooklyn.
Here’s Greenwood Cemetery from 23rd St in Brooklyn.

And, of course, the Brooklyn Bridge!

There’s still some bugs to work out with the program, but its a really fun feature to play around with and explore. Check it out!

FamilyTreeMaker and Reunion Genealogy software

Yesterday my new genealogy software arrived in the mail! I have been thinking about buying new software for awhile now. I have Reunion, a wonderful program for the Mac. But I also have a subscription to, which uses FamilyTreeMaker as its featured software. FamilyTreeMaker seems to be the most popular Windows program, so I decided to order a copy for our Dell laptop and see what the fuss was all about. I’ve had fun exploring its features over the past two days! Here’s some of my initial observations:

– FamilyTreeMaker is directly integrated with the website. That means it gives me hints and links to records on Ancestry that match with my personal tree. I can then merge the record with my ancestor!
– It has wonderful publishing tools. It can generate a variety of reports, printed versions of trees or families, with lots of neat details and images.
– My order came with an extra nifty little program called “GenSmarts”. It looks at your family tree and then generates a huge number of places to further research your ancestors. The program is “smart”, and suggests websites and records that would have further information on your ancestor. I have already viewed many of the records it suggests, but it still has a lot of neat features.

– I was hoping the program would have better web publishing capabilities. The automatic website you can generate only allows 2,000 members in a tree (but my basic family file has double that amount! So I can’t easily use it).
-There’s still no easy way to edit your family file once you have posted it to through a GEDCOM. I am always adding new information to my family tree on my software. But unless you delete and upload your updated information as a separate GEDCOM or physically edit your posted tree on the website (after you have already edited the info on your software), there doesn’t seem to be a straightforward solution.
– Maybe I haven’t played with it enough, or have just used Reunion for so long – but stylistically, I prefer how Reunion looks and feels through its user interface.

So there you have it. I think I will still use Reunion as my primary genealogical software, but use FamilyTreeMaker whenever I want to print family files, trees, reports, etc, and use its research recommendations.

To my readers: what genealogy software do you use?


The kids today went on a grand adventure, courtesy of

The basic concept is that people take a waterproof container and place in it a logbook and a “treasure”, then post its coordinates on the website. Those with GPS technology can then search for the “caches”, sign the logbook, and take the treasure – so long as they leave behind a new treasure for the next explorers!

The site has opportunities for great creativity – some of my favorites so far have been sites near cemeteries. They leave clues to find specific gravestones throughout the cemetery, then have equations based off of dates on the stones to solve the cache coordinates. For instance, here is one from Union Cemetery, Carver, MA.

Find one near you – and happy hunting!!

Wintery New England Days…

It’s been a long and cold winter, and good ol’ Punxsutawney Phil, “King of the Groundhogs, Father of all Marmota, Seer of Seers, Prognosticator of Prognosticators” (I kid you not, check out the website !) has foreseen an even longer winter. Got almost three feet of snow in the “Blizzard of 2005” awhile ago, and with continual cold winds and temperatures, cemetery exploring is just not at it’s peak. Photos are hard to take with the glare of the sun against the snow, and frankly it’s much nicer to stay inside and gather cemetery and genealogical info with paperwork and the internet – beside a nice fire with some hot cocoa!

With the start of the New Year, it’s time to begin planning what the year has in store. When it gets warmer, I will trek out to the almost-forgotten Munroe Cemetery and the definitely-forgotten Stetson Cemetery, both in Hanson. Munroe Cemetery is still marked on maps, but the Stetson Cemetery no longer exists on any modern maps, and I hear has sadly fallen into great disrepair. Both are hosts to some of the oldest stones in the town (1750s-70s), along with 1800s stones from relatives and neighbors.

A quest for photographs will bring me to Colebrook Cemetery and Mt. Zion Cemetery in Whitman, where many former citizens of South Abington are buried, boasting a rich array of colonial names.. Gurneys, Reeds, Ramsdells.. the list goes on and on.

Much of the Providence cemeteries are left to be explored, and some, especially St. John’s, require photo re-shoots – my harddrive crashed right around Christmas and I lost many good photos. While going digital was a huge blessing in many ways, I should have had the forethought to burn them all to CDs or print them for good measure! Hard lessons indeed.

Since I’m buried in snow, much of my work recently has been on the wonderful USGenWeb where I serve as the Town Coordinator for Hanson, MA – check out the website. I have been collecting many books, papers, and maps and trying to compile genealogical, historical, and cemetery information about the town as I can, and it is a pleasure to contribute and work on.

Here’s to spring!

Bridgewater Cemeteries

Decided to spend a day out of my Thanksgiving weekend taking a tour of some of the Bridgewater cemeteries. The great folks who submit to the USGenWeb Bridgewater site such as Dale Cook and Arthur Richardson have a superb cemetery section, and they were in need of a few photographs for some of the graveyards, so I brought along my camera and drove about the town.

Here’s a summary of the cemeteries visited along the way.