A quilt show was to take place in Plattsburgh, N.Y. so plans were made to attend. To be honest, I do not need much of a reason to visit my old hometown. This trip would be a perfect way to combine my wife’s love of quilting and my genealogy research. My maternal side of the family has many roots that came from or lived several generations in the state of Vermont. My wife also has family from Vermont, but they will be researched in a future visit. Since Vermont is just across Lake Champlain from Plattsburgh, this would all work out very nicely. We were to spend the first day in Vermont looking up ancestors in Jericho, Vermont.
Here is a long line of relatives. Pictured here are some of my great grandparents, great uncles and Aunts and of course cousins.
Some of the cemetery searchings’ were made rather easy like this large monument below to my 5th Great Grandfather Thomas Chittenden the first governor of Vermont. In fact, the photograph above is of my Chittenden ancestors.
Below is a picture of Thomas and Elizabeth Chittenden’s gravestones. Elizabeth’s maiden name was Meigs. The Meigs family itself has a fascinating history for which I will have to do more research
It was while searching for the gravestones of my Barney family line I made an interesting discovery. The tombstone pictured below is for my third great grandparents Thomas and Hannah Bentley Barney. It was the Bentley name that would open the door to new revelations in my family history.
The Bentley family line goes back to the 1600s in this country. They are well documented and a fascinating study. However, it is my 2nd cousin four times removed Wilson Alwyn Bentley that I would like to highlight. Pictured below is the “Old Red Mill” in Jericho, Vermont. The Old Red Mill was declared a National Historic Site in 1972. It is here that they have a display of the lifetime work of Wilson Bentley.
Wilson Bentley was the first person to photograph a single snow crystal in 1885. Wilson would go on to photograph over 5000 single snow crystals. I will let the pictures and newspaper accounts below tell a little more of his story.
Our time in Vermont flew by, and soon it was time to take a short ferry ride across Lake Champlain to Plattsburgh.
Once on the New York side, it was time for family and to enjoy the area. It was easy to find beautiful scenery to enjoy. We also had to visit the farm where much family history is rooted
The last day of our trip was spent at the Plattsburgh Quilt Show, and it did not disappoint. The many quilts were beautiful and gave evidence to the talent that it takes to create these works of art. But perhaps the best part for me was meeting Kerry, a fellow blogger whose blog “Love those Hands at Home” is about her quilting and weaving as she talks about life, events, and whatever happens to be on her mind. I am not sure if she found my blog or if I found her blog first, but I do enjoy reading it and am glad I discovered it. Here is a link to her blog. https://lovethosehandsathome.wordpress.com/
So that is the story of my little weekend trip. The point of telling this little story is that as family researchers it is important to get out from in front of the computer and step outside. This was reinforced for me by the Bentley family line discovery, meeting Kerry, and best of all visiting and being with family. This was a simple trip of only a few hundred miles in which new understanding of my family’s history was achieved, and future family memories were made. So my advice is get up and take a little trip.
What a lovely place!
For me nothing beats the area. I feel ten years younger every time I am there.
Sounds like a place you should go to often!
As often as I can. 🙂
Yes. Genealogy is about so much more than dead ancestors!
You are so right. I try to show that in my blog.
You packed a lot into your weekend, Charlie! I love the photos of the cemeteries and the story about the snowflake photographer! It was great to meet you and your family at the quilt show–a real highlight for me, too!
Yes it was a very busy weekend and I hated to see it come to an end. Perhaps next time I am in the area we can meet and have a Michigan or two.
So, I hear we have the perfect excuse for getting together when you’re here next–Sandy won the raffle basket! I’ll keep it safe for her and you can let me know when you’ll be in the area. Maybe we can meet at Gus’s!
I think my daughter may be in the area in a week or so. If you could send me contact info via my email: email@example.com we could work out the details. By the way Sandy is still floating in the air over this. It is a early Christmas for her. 🙂
Quilting and genealogy definitely goes hand and hand in my home….really enjoyed your post. What a fantastic Town Hall Jericho has and I loved the cemetery photo’s. Great post!
Thank you so much. My wife handles the Quilting and I do the genealogy. I have not the talent needed for quilting.
I agree—there is nothing better than getting out, walking where our ancestors walked, seeing where they lived and where they died, and meeting their descendants. I am glad you had such a great time and that you shared it with all of us. And Vermont is lovely!
I am lucky that I have so much family history to explore in the New England area. However we all should get out and explore and learn the history around us. Too many of us spent too much time in front of the computer and not enough time in the field.
I wish my ancestors had lived closer to home, but so far I’ve made it to Santa Fe, Germany, and Poland. And, of course, NYC. In two weeks I am going to Philadelphia to see where my Cohen relatives lived. So I am trying!
Such great places to visit. The blogs you wrote about your German trip were very interesting and very poignant. I found snowflakes on my trip and you found something so much more profound.
What could be more perfect and profound that a natural wonder like a snowflake?
It must be nice to be able to travel a relatively short distance to a place where your ancestors used to live. I really like your statement: It is sometimes a strange feeling looking at the gravestones of ancestors, knowing if not for them there would be no you. My father was the 16th child from a remarkable family. Without him where would I and our five sons and grandchildren be? As always when you publish something I read with great interest and look forward to your next post.
Something else I learned that weekend but did not put in my post you may find interesting. I learn that my great grandfather Bentley and great grandfather Bonnett were on the same battlefield during the American Revolutionary War. Double my chances of me not being here. I also thank you for your kind words about my blog. Your blog sets a very high standard of which, as well as some others I try to come close to.
Thank you for the compliment!
I love Vermont!
The Adirondacks and Vermont are two of my favorite places to visit. I was very lucky to grow up in Plattsburgh.
I was intrigued by the new granite marker for the Bentley pair. At least it looks new. Is there a story there? I am interested in the name Chittendon and am now,wondering if that is the correct transcription for a name I have thought was Chatterdon. I will have to explore this possibility. Thanks.
Best of luck with your search for Chatterdon/Chittenden names. I have no info on the grave marker, but you are right it does look on the new side.
Thanks for the encouragement.
To be able to trace your family that far back is terrific! I came across some of those snowflake pictures years ago. Thank you. Spyro
I have been so lucky in some of my family lines, yet the Moore family still is in hiding.
You have a very interesting family heritage! Great post.
I think we all have a interesting family history. The trick is to go and discover it. I am glad you liked the post.
Great stuff, Charles! Wilson Bentley’s fascination with snowflakes and his scientific contributions are wonderful. Such a great example of self-education and a thirst for knowledge. What a gift your trip was!
I could not agree more, it was a great trip. I now have to research that branch of the family to learn more.
I love the “Snowflake Crop” article! Also Dale and Chip. 😀
Also, I have a Victorian Era book called “Snowflakes.” I wonder if Bentley had read it?!
It would not surprise me if he had read that book.
I found Mr. Bentley to be a very interesting man. I will do much more research on the family. The gift shop at the Red Mill had some great items regarding snowflakes, that you may like.
Also Chip and Dale (they are brothers) enjoyed the trip.
Thanks so much for such an interesting post. It is certainly well worthwhile venturing beyond the computer screen. You just don’t know what you will discover! I look forward to checking out Kerry’s blog.
Thank you for your comments. I think you will like Kerry’s blog.
I love that quilt. I also have roots in Clinton County, NY and Chittenden County, VT. I need to get to Keeseville for some research, but from Ohio it is not so easy.
It is a small world. I have some ancestors that went to Ohio and settled a part of your state. They were part of a Quaker group that move there after the American Revolutionary War. The surname was Dakin. I try to get to the northern region of N.Y. once or twice a year. I would be very interested to know the surnames of this part of N.Y. and Vermont that you have. Who knows what I may trip over in my searchings’.
What a fascinating story concerning Wilson A Bentley and the snowflakes. I totally agree with you – putting ‘flesh on the bones’ of family history is the exciting part.
I am glad you liked the blog story. I had a lot of fun that weekend.
Pingback: GenTraveling – Friday Finds |
Well I let my wife think the Quilt show was the reason for the trip. The fact is we had a lot of fun that weekend.
Very cool to read about your family connection to Snowflake Bentley! I know him from the wonderful children’s book by the same name, written by Jacqueline Briggs Martin.
Thank you for your comment. When I got home from that trip I purchased that children’s book.