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Historical Documents: Community Covenant, Andover, Maine

Historical documents are particularly useful when researching family history. They take us to a point in time and to an era and can give insight into how groups of people handled complex and every day decisions. They also shine a light on the path our ancestors took in forming beliefs and customs—what is referred to contemporarily with an all encompassing vagueness as “our core beliefs”. One such principle of the United States is religious freedom.

In my family history is a group of my ancestors, led by Ezekiel Merrill, who were the first European settlers of an area of Maine where they founded the town of Andover. They first broke ground on a property, now known as Merrill house, in 1792.

In 1822 Ezekiel, his son Ezekiel Jr. and the adult men of Andover gathered and signed a covenant establishing their religious community. A print of the document hangs in my house:

Historical Documents Andover Maine Community Covenant

A partial transcription:

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Translating Old Family Tree Data Files

The challenge of translating old family tree data files with current software happens in all digital areas of interest and for do-it-yourselfers this problem can be particularly vexing— or exhilarating depending on how you feel about being your own IT person. Before getting into a few tips on file format translation for family tree applications I will note that my best practice method for having files stay accessible is to always invest in the latest and most flexible application that you can find and afford to do the original job. Subsequently, I try to convert files as technology changes rather than many years later as there may be nothing available to open your original files.

Pursuit of genealogy, family history and archives is time consuming. The tasks of scanning, labeling & organizing files and entering information into a family tree database can be endless. I do lots of photo scanning, repair and file organization for clients

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Story Tree

Story Tree Digital file created by Chandler Designs, Ltd. All Rights Reserved. Contact Chandler Designs for permission to use this file
Illustrate a slice of your family story with a Story Tree. ©2016 All Rights Reserved.

Chandler Designs is introducing a custom design service for Family Tree charts—the Story Tree—as well as expanding our archival printing services.

With added text and images a family tree chart can become a Story Tree. We can now print them up to seventeen inches by ten feet long.

As I write this it is 4th of July weekend 2016, a great holiday to visit with family, friends and neighbors and reflect on the American story. This is also a great time to look at your family’s history along with America’s and retell the story of what brought your family to this great country.


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Crewel Stitching Project – Part 2 Choosing colors and stitches

Continuing from Part 1:

In the last week I have drawn the design onto linen,

chosen several colors and stitches and started the stitching.

This past week was Thanksgiving and with the time spent visiting there was a lot of opportunity to chat and stitch.


The final image has been simplified to emphasize the rich colors and textures of the wool. A double branch of a blueberry bush with a bit if the “lake” showing in the distance behind the “trunk”. Under the bush are Daisy and a chipmunk, very faintly drawn in permanent ink (I used a Faber-Castell super fine sepia pen). It is really difficult to see in this image but in Part 3 next week the color should be stitched in.


The stitches are all traditional crewel stitches, again keeping the choices simple — long and short, satin, chain, coral, stem/rope, and maybe brick by the time it is complete.
I am keeping detailed notes for those interested in a stitch guide for this design.

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Restoring historical documents – 1840 Land Grant signed by President Martin Van Buren

Why do we humans love story so much? Reaching into our past for a story is part of all our lives. The collective story of a country or culture gives insight on current events and helps us navigate our own times. Your family history—oral or documented—adds dimension to cultural traditions which otherwise might languish as dull repetitive motions.

land-grantDocuments which place our ancestors firmly at a point in time create an almost impossible sense of being in the story. Documents such as United States Land Grants from the 19th century are a treasure trove of information on what your ancestors might have experienced in their daily life.

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Frederick County Beekeeping Association Logo

I have just completed the new logo for the Frederick County Beekeeping Association, of Maryland. It has been approved by the FCBA members. This diligent group shares a passion for beekeeping, which is not only a rewarding hobby for some and business for others, it’s benefits effect the well being of each of us.

You have probably heard about honeybee colony collapse syndrome. This condition of bees mysteriously disappearing is a topic of concern for farmers and home gardeners alike. While the definite cause has not been determined it is certain that all beekeepers and their hives are part of the solution. The honeybees which provide pollination here in North America are originally from Europe. There were even hives on the Mayflower.

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Hand Bound Album for a family keepsake

Albert Menzo Dunlap and Eva Wyman Dunlap leaving for China in 1912
Albert Menzo Dunlap and Eva Wyman Dunlap leaving for China in 1912

In 1912 Dr. and Mrs. Albert M. Dunlap set sail for China. Albert to begin his medical practice as an otolaryngologist and Eva to begin the next phase of her painting life. They built a life together and raised six children. This article though features the five panel image Eva created on their voyage forty plus years later when they returned permanently to the United States.

Family keepsake album with digitally reproduced watercolor of Hong Kong Harbor 1953. Original water color by Eva Wyman Dunlap.
Family keepsake album with digitally reproduced watercolor of Hong Kong Harbor 1953. Original water color by Eva Wyman Dunlap.
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Fun Frame Job – Jigsaw Puzzle

Souvenir Jigsaw Puzzle from Lake Winnipesaukee, New Hampshire.

Just how many ways can you spell Winnipesaukee? Apparently a few hundred.