The Wainwright Family of Essex County Massachusetts


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The Purpose of This Work


If you Want to Reference this Material

How to Read the Family History Reports

Last Updated 25 August, 2007


The year 2007 marks my twenty-seventh researching my family's history. Over the years I have gathered great insight into the circumstances under which my ancestors came to America and formed the family groups I know today. I have gained a greater understanding of world history and the socio-political forces that caused the migration of my ancestors to the New World. To date, I have accumulated data on over thirteen thousand individuals who are related to my three children either directly or by marriage. The earliest ancestor to whom I have been able to connect is Frankish ruler Charles Martel, grandfather of the Holy Roman Emperor Charlemagne, born around 690 AD. My research has taken me through archives in New England, Canada, Ireland, England, Norway, France, Germany, and Russia.

Contrary to some of the more romantic notions of our nation's history, most Americans lived quiet uneventful lives and left poor records of their existence. Municipal and Religious record keeping,  meticulous during the Colonial period, became an annoying distraction to many town clerks once we became a nation. Thus I have had to get by without many vital records that would connect individuals to my family line with legal certainty. Nevertheless, the more I research my family, the more I learn, and the more sources I find that need to be investigated. It seems to be a never-ending cycle, and I realize that I will never be done.


The Purpose of This Work

I compiled this material for two reasons: First, I promised my family a progress report on my research in the Wainwright and related family lines. Second, I thought it would be a good way to communicate the information I have with other researchers. For both purposes it is important to understand that this is a work in progress. I expect to keep the web-based material current, and I intend to release other printed editions of the family history from time to time.  What this means to the reader is that the information should be read, not as a scholarly publication (which it most certainly is not) but as a growing repository of the record of my family's history. 

I welcome the suggestions, corrections and insights of readers who may have better information than I, and I promise I will revise this material if more accurate information becomes available.

"Where did he get all this stuff?" Acknowledgements

Genealogy is one of the world’s most popular pastimes. This is partly due to the increased interest shown by an aging population, but also to developments enabled by the computer and the Internet. The question for genealogists today is not "Can I find it?" but "which resource is the best to find what I want?" Nevertheless, there is no substitute for good old-fashioned legwork.  I have been lucky in that most of my ancestors lived in the Northeastern US or Canada within reasonable driving distance of my house.

Throughout the enclosed family history reports, numbered references point to the source of the information at the end of the report.  Wherever possible, I relied only on primary sources; birth-marriage-death records, census records, wills and deeds.  In some cases, when there is no surviving primary source  I had to rely on secondary sources, such as published genealogies, local histories or web sites for my information.  If I could find no reliable source of reference other than family tradition, I  tried to be clear how that information came to me.  Below are some significant sources of my information.

General Research

The cities and towns of Massachusetts have published most of their vital records from earliest colonial times to the end of the year 1849. The collection, available at most large libraries around the country, consists of well over a hundred volumes arranged by city or town. It is not a complete set, the most notable exclusion being the City of Boston.  This was an incredible project for its time, and no other state has such a comprehensive collection available to researchers. The collection is available on CD-ROM from Search & Research Publishing Corporation, Wheat Ridge, CO 80033.  

For Massachusetts vital records after 1849 but before 1910, the Commonwealth has compiled a set of microfilms. They are available at the Massachusetts Archives  at Colombia Point in Boston Massachusetts, and at the New England Historical Genealogical Society, 99-101 Newbury Street, Boston Massachusetts. The Commonwealth makes these films available to libraries, so they may be found at other locations as well.  

Massachusetts vital records from 1910 to about 1950 are considered active records but are still available to researchers at the Registry of Vital Records, part of the Department of Public Health, located at 150 Mount Vernon Street, Dorchester, MA 02125. The facility is open for only a few hours a week and an appointment is necessary. Records after 1950 are only available to persons who can show a family or legal interest, although indices of these records up to 1971 are available at the Mass Archives. 

My research in New Hampshire vital records has been a continuing problem for me. The State has little budget for archiving its early vital records, and there are occasional news reports of flooded basements in local town halls resulting in the loss of their early documents. What records exist are now stored at the New Hampshire State Library in Concord New Hampshire. All the local vital records that could be located were placed on microfilm by the Mormon Church in the 1930s.

Much of my research was done at Town and City halls. One of my more memorable experiences was working at the City Hall in Gloucester Massachusetts. The Clerk allowed me to sit in the vault where the city's original records from 1633 to1850 were stored. I had free access to the old ledger books covering births, marriages, and deaths, Selectmen's records, early Poll Tax records, and more. Today, these records can be researched for you by the Gloucester Archives Committee. The Boston City Hall was a less memorable experience. To this day, Boston is one of the few cities in Massachusetts that has failed to provide the Commonwealth with a comprehensive set of pre-1850 vital records.

The New England Historical Genealogical Society  (NEHGS), based in Boston,  was founded in 1845 and is the country's oldest and largest genealogical society.  For any user, their website offers discussion forums, helpful "how-to" articles, an online store, research service information, and resources for planning a visit to the NEHGS library in Boston. NEHGS members also have full access to databases with over 110 million names, articles covering research methods, and much more. Its library, located at 99-101 Newbury Street, contains extensive collections of published family histories, state and local histories, government census records, and genealogical manuscripts submitted by members. A Canadian Research section includes a complete set of Canadian Census records from 1838 through 1901. It is by far the most useful resource a New England genealogical researcher can access.

The National Archive and Records Administration  (NARA) has an extensive network of Research Centers located around the country. All centers have a complete set of records of the US Census from 1790 to 1930. By law, the US Census remains confidential for seventy years. Also available are Passenger lists of vessels entering the US, requests for military pensions, Naturalization applications, and many other genealogical tidbits. The main research center is located at the National Archives Building on 10th Avenue NW in Washington (home of the US Constitution), and a satellite center is located on Trapelo Road in Waltham Massachusetts.  I have done extensive research at both facilities.

Internet resources have assumed a significant role as a genealogy research tool. Broderbund's Family Tree Maker,  my Genealogy program of choice, includes an online community consisting of bulletin boards to aid in researching surnames, countries and regions. Similar resources exist at and  Roots web, The US Genweb Project,  dedicated to making genealogy an online community based experience, sponsors local web sites all over the world. Genweb sites exist for Essex County  and for all the towns within Essex County. Finally, many authors have published family histories on the Web, including ones for my Rowe  lines. These sites are somewhat problematic for researchers, because the information they provide is only available as long as someone continues to sponsor the web site. In genealogy, "Books is Better" applies.

There is no substitute for the Public Library when it comes to getting information specific to a local area. Among the libraries that have proven most useful to me are the Boston Public Library , the Sawyer Free Library  in Gloucester Massachusetts, the Peabody Institute Libraryof  Danvers Massachusetts, the Portsmouth, New Hampshire Public Library, the Beverly, Massachusetts Public Library and the Topsfield Town Library in Topsfield Massachusetts. Though I did not spend a large amount of time there, the Library of Congressin Washington provided me with source material not available anywhere else.

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints (LDS) sponsors an extensive program to capture genealogical resources and family histories for most of this century. Their reasons are strictly religious: They believe that if an LDS member can locate his or her ancestors, they can convert them to the Mormon faith posthumously. Members are encouraged to research their family history and contribute it to the Church in Salt Lake City. The Church has developed online systems to collect and connect these histories into a single family tree. As a result, the Church has been a leader in genealogical research, technology, and archival sciences. The Church has collected in a mountain vault outside Salt Lake City vital records form most countries of the world, and most localities in the US. Lately they have made this material available to researchers outside the Church. They recently activated the Family Search Web Service where you can search for an ancestor online. My experience with the LDS source has been mixed. On the one hand, I have greatly benefited from the projects sponsored by the LDS to film local Vital Records in Germany and in the state of New Hampshire. On the other hand, I have come to be suspicious of the Family Histories submitted by LDS members. Their intent is not academic, so their sources are often questionable or non-existent.

The photographs sprinkled throughout the work come from a variety of sources.  The photo of the Stawell headstone was taken by George Newbury. The photo of the Lunenburg Settlers Monument taken by Lana Veinot,  Many of the early photos come from the collection of my late parents and from the collection of my late grandmother, Hedvig Osmo Dame. Images of early Stawell family  were provided by Stawell Heard.  Ingrid Greek provided several photos of her Schwartz family members.  Many of the photos were taken either by me or by someone in my family who provided it to me.

Finally, I would like to acknowledge my wife, Candyce and my family who put up with my obsession for all these many years.  Charlie, my son, has even taken to adding his own insights into the biographical notes I have been collecting for him. 


Wainwright and Allied Family Research

My work on the Wainwright and Lurvey families has been greatly assisted by an article in the New England Genealogical and Historical Register (NEHGR) "The Peter Lurvey Family of Essex County Massachusetts, Maine, and Vermont" published by John Bradley Arthoud and Ernest Hyde Helliwell III  (NEHGR V154-155).  Mr. Arthoud is well known in Essex County as a brilliant genealogist and I am in awe of the depth of his research. 

Some of my research into the Wainwright, Lurvey, Rowe, Knutsford, Hale and related families was undertaken at the Sandy Bay Historical Society, PO Box 63 Rockport Massachusetts 01966 (978-546-9533).  This organization has possession of a collection of manuscripts known as "The Pool Papers". Ebenezer Pool, a merchant of Rockport in the nineteenth century,  maintained a journal containing the lineage of many residents of Rockport. Without benefit of public records, he managed to document family lines that are today available nowhere else.  His notes and journals were saved from antique dealers years after his death and contributed to the society.  Curator Cynthia Peckham has been most helpful to my efforts.

Because the Rowe family was so prominent in the Cape Ann and Maine areas, there is no shortage of information on the family. The book that has been most useful to me is "Research in Rowe Search", by Kenneth Allyn Rowe, published posthumously in 1980. Mr. Rowe was a journalist for the Salem Evening News who spent his spare time researching his Rowe line. His book, available at most Essex County libraries chronicles the Rowe family's English roots, and discusses a few later day scandals as well. There is also an excellent Rowe Family Website maintained by Walter Olsen that documents the Rowe line back to Sir Everhard de Rowe in A.D.1200. Finally, I would like to acknowledge Richard Norwood for his assistance in pinning down elements of the Rowe family.

My attempts to find information on my Wainwright line led me to research the Marshall and Blatchford families who are not part of my direct family line.  Both families, it turns out, have fascinating stories.  I would like to thank Kate Blatchford, who provided me with material on John Blatchford whose odyssey as a British Prisoner during the Revolutionary War will no doubt some day be made into a major Motion Picture.  Thanks also to Debra Carter Vanderslice, a descendant of Benjamin Soper Marshall and cousin of the late Marshall Swan, former Curator of the Rockport Historical Society.   Debra generously provided me with his "A Marshall Memorial", a privately printed book chronicling the Marshalls of  Eastern Massachusetts.


Schwartz, Stawell and Allied Family Research

Most of my research on the Schwartz and Stawell lines was performed at the Nova Scotia Archives & Records Management, 6016 University Avenue, Halifax, NS., B3H 1W4.. This library, part of the National Archives of Canada, contains early records of the province collected from counties and towns, and from the local Churches of the province. Because the Schwartz family was so intimately involved in the founding of Lunenburg County Nova Scotia, I had the opportunity to review some rare documents located there, including a Baptismal Certificate hand written in German for Elizabeth Schwartz Bailly.

Much of the information I found on Lt. William Stawell came from the British Public Record Office, Kew, Richmond, Surrey TW9 4DU. Although I have never been there, I had occasion to correspond with some very helpful Archivists, Kim MacDonald and Michael Barton, who did some legwork and made relevant British Army archival material available to me. I recently had the opportunity to discuss the Stawell family with Stawell Heard, a direct descendant of the Stawell family of Coolmain and fellow genealogist from England.  Mr. Heard has access to many of the Parish registers of the old Cork County churches, and supplied me with photographs of Coolmain and Rathclaren Church.  I have also been fortunate to communicate with June Stawell Cramer,  a descendant of Lt. Stawell's grandson Henry Stawell, who was gracious enough to share some family papers with me. Recent communications with Kathleen Oliver Bird have provided additional details on members of the Stawell family, as well as photos of some of the old Family estates.

The photograph of Lt. William Stawell's headstone was borrowed with permission from George Newbury, a genealogist who did some of the photography for an excellent Website, Pat Watson's Home Page . Her site includes a survey of thirteen Halifax County Cemeteries, among them the Mineville Cemetery in Lawrencetown Nova Scotia where many of my Stawell, Green, and Bremner ancestors are buried.

As with so much of my family history, there is much yet to be written on the Green family.  For more information online about the Green family, check out Peter M.Jangaard's Home Page.  Mr. Jangaard is also researching family in Norway that live very near the home of my Aandal and Osmo family lines.

A great web site that covers genealogical topics in both Halifax and Lunenburg Counties is Keddy's Corner, run by Bryan Keddy. Brian has been transcribing early Canadian Census records for Nova Scotia, and you can find most of them here. 

Don & Mary Shankle have a great Website called Downeast: a Maritime Heritage that includes transcribed records for several counties in Nova Scotia as well as French Arcadia and Newfoundland. Don recently passed away, and Chris Young is currently maintaining the site.

Lunenburg, Nova Scotia  is a county intensely aware of its historical heritage. The South Shore Genealogical Society68 Bluenose Drive, PO Box 901 Lunenburg, Nova Scotia B0J 2C0 Canada, contains local town and church records, and has a small, dedicated staff of researchers.  I have become an active member  and participated in the two hundred fiftieth celebration of the founding of Lunenburg in July 2003.

A web site that has provided incredible help for me is the Lunenburg, Nova Scotia GenWeb Project, managed by Gail Facini Edwards.  Chris Young maintains another excellent web page that is well worth a look called The Wizard's Cove . He has an impressive array of historical information on both the County, and the European roots of the first settlers.

Additional information in the Wainwright and Schwartz line was provided by my father's sister, the late Harriett Wainwright Blades.  Aunt Harriett provided me with invaluable insights and stories of her siblings, parents and Schwartz grandparents.  Some, I know, were risky and painful to disclose, but I dearly appreciated her candor. I shall miss her.  I would also like to thank Mrs. Ingrid Isabel (Mennsen) Greek for the information she has provided me on other members of the Lunenburg Schwartz family.


Osmo, Femmer, Aandal and Allied Family Research

My Norwegian research was done almost entirely online for obvious reasons. The Norwegian National Archives contains numerous public and church records covering that country, including the Norwegian Census of 1663, 1801, 1865, 1875, and 1900.  I hope someday to visit the Norwegian National Archives for myself.

I would like to acknowledge the help of my new found cousin Jorgen Fagge, who has been helpful in getting me in touch with family members at the Osmo Farm in Hemnes.

The information I have on the Aandal, Osmo, Femmer and Ohlsen family lines comes from three printed sources: 

  •  Odd Meringdal and Andrew Russell Aandahl's "The Aandahl Family", privately printed in 1992.  Members of my family contributed information for his book, and upon its publication, many attended a family reunion at Aandalsnas in Norway.  So far, no online version of this book is available.

  • Henrik O Rovig's "Noen Familier og Aetter av Raumadalsfolket" (Some Families and Histories of the People of Raumadal) was published in Norway in1965.  It is the a compilation of records of the various farms of the region, taken from Rural Farm Registers (Bygdebok) and Parish Registers.  This book was presented to my Grandmother Hedvig on her seventy-third birthday by her brother Femmer Osmo, and is now in my possession.  Uncle Femmer has underlined all the individuals who are our antecedents.  The book is available online through a web site maintained by Glenn Murray.

  • Erling Nordli, commissioned by the Hemnes Kommune, compiled a 2 volume work called "Hemnes Gard og Slekt" (Hemnes Farms and Families) in 1992 that covers the farms in the Hemnes region of Nordland Norway.  This book is long out of print and unavailable.  However, it has been made available on an excellent web site built by Carl Anders Olssen


Dame/Damm Family Research

The Damm/Dame line has been both frustrating and confusing.  Much of the legwork was done by my late mother, Anna Margrethe Dame Wainwright, to whom I shall be forever grateful.  Anna spent days at the Registry of Vital Records in Boston, NARA in Waltham, and even spent a week at the German National Archives.  She kept a journal of her research and only recently have I had a chance to study and use its contents.  One letter in particular helped to cement my final Dame report.  I am sad that my mother will never know how useful her research has been to me.  I would also like to thank my cousin Kelly Lavari for her assistance in obtaining information on Dames, Schmidts, and Lofarets.

If you Want to Reference this Material

“The Wainwright Family of Essex County Massachusetts” has been produced in printed form, and in electronic form at my Web site  (I don’t expect the material to survive in electronic form nearly as long as the book.)  I am providing the material for the non-commercial use of family members and researchers as my way of contributing to the general state of information in the field of genealogy. If you wish to use this material in your own work, please acknowledge the source, and drop me a note to let me know you are doing so. I reserve the original copyright on my narrative work and my photographs.

Please respect the copyrights of those sources I have referenced.


How to Read the Family History Reports

The family history reports are organized in a format as prescribed by the New England Historical Genealogical Society, as modified by the National Genealogical Society Quarterly. The reports are organized by generation starting with the immigrant ancestor. In some cases, I chose to start earlier if the information on the ancestor is pertinent to the report. Numbers appearing in superscript point to endnotes, showing the source of the information. Endnotes can be found at the end of each Family History Report.

For each individual in the report, the following information is provided:

n       A reference number. For each family history, the first individual is always listed as 1. An @ to the left of the number indicates that the individual is a direct ancestor of mine.

n       Individual name, including title if he or she was referenced this way in records.

n       A list of direct ancestors enclosed in parentheses. The superscript above each name refers to the generation of that ancestor.

n       Basic birth, marriage, and death information on the individual. The superscripted numbers here refer to documentation sources. Refer to the corresponding number in the endnote reference pages at the end of the report. For living individuals, this data is not provided.

n       Biographical information on the individual. Note that many individuals have no biographical data available. Superscripted numbers refer to the endnote references.  Again, this information is not provided for living individuals.

n       Marriage information for the individual and each spouse.

n       Biographical information for each spouse. If the spouse is contained in his/her own Family History report, there will be link to their information.

n       The reference number and name of each child of the individual is listed. A plus sign (+) indicates that more information on that individual is available under the next generation. . An @ indicates a direct ancestor of mine.  If a spouse is contained in his/her own family history report, the children will appear under the listing of the male spouse only.  In the case of cousin marriage, the children are listed under the cousin first listed in the family history report. A question mark (?)  next to a reference number indicates some uncertainty of that individual's parentage.

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