Thursday, June 27, 2013

Who Do You Think You Are Returns

Thank you, TLC, for picking up Who Do You Think You Are. The new series begins July 23rd at 8:00 p.m. (central time) and I can’t wait. This years celebrities will include: Christina Applegate, Kelly Clarkson, Cindy Crawford, Zooey Deschanel, Chelsea Handler, Chris O’Donnell, Jim Parsons and Trisha Yearwood.

This information was found on Dick Eastman’s Online Genealogy Newsletter. Please visit his blog at for the latest in genealogy happenings.


Sunday, June 23, 2013

Putting the Pieces Together

1841 England Census

The 1841 census is the first national census of England and provides the following information about my third great grandparents, John and Ann Dollen & family.

Part of the Parish of Curry Mallet
They inhabited a building on Silver Street.
NAMES of each Person who abode the preceding night

Born in Somerset County

John Dollen
50, Male

Ann Dollen
45, Female


John Dollen
10, Male


Silas Dollen
8, Male


Emma Dollen
5, Female


2, Male



1851 England Census

The 1851 England Census has provided the following information:

The Parish of Curry Mallet
The street of their abode may be Lower. Difficult to read.
The Name and Surname of each Person who abode in the house,
on the Night of 20th March, 1851

Relation to Head of House
Age, Sex, Marital Status
Where Born

John Dollen
Somerset, West Buckland
Ann Dollen

Somerset, Curry Mallet
Silas Dollen
Somerset, Curry Mallet
Emma Dollen
Somerset, Curry Mallet
Adolphus Dollen
Somerset, Curry Mallet

These two census records shed light on my British ancestors. There are several pieces of information that I am most interested in.

The first puzzle piece: The Place of Birth.

Based on these two censuses, I know that all by British ancestors were born in Curry Mallet, Somerset, England with the single exception of my third great grandfather, John Dollen. 

John Dollen, Head of Household, is reported to have been born in West Buckland of Somerset County. This piece of information enticed me to transcribe the Silas Dollen, Yeoman of West Buckland Will. Could Silas Dollen have been John Dollen’s father? As I transcribed the will, I was encouraged for Silas Dollen, Yeoman of West Buckland, did indeed have a son named John. He also had two other children: Silas and Betty. The dream of finding my fourth great grandfather was dashed when I read the will was executed on the date of 6 November 1722. Silas may yet find his way into my tree, but not as the Father of my third great grandfather, John Dollen.


Sunday, June 16, 2013

Fathers Day

1625 Lincoln Avenue

This is the last photograph taken in front of my childhood home, 1625 Lincoln Avenue. It was a small home, but a good one. We did a lot living in the fifty years at 1625 Lincoln Avenue.

This photo holds bittersweet memories. It was St. Patrick’s Day and my parents were moving. Dad was looking forward to the move into a condominium. My Mother was on the verge of tears at the thought of leaving her home. I think mixed feelings are a common occurrence when making life changes.

Little did we know that Dad was seriously ill. He was diagnosed with ALS shortly after the move. Mom and Dad were able to enjoy the condo for a few months before he began experiencing the effects of his illness.


Monday, June 10, 2013

Amanuensis Monday - Will of Silas Dollen, Yeoman of West Buckland, Somerset

In the Name of God Amen                           Silas Dollen                    

I Silas Dollen of West Buckland in the county of
Somerset yeoman being of sound mind memory and
understanding thanks be to God do make and publish
this my last will and Testament in manner following,
(that is to say) first I give and bequeath unto Robert
Honniball of West Buckland aforesaid yeoman Thomas
Arscott of the same Buckland and William Jacobs
of Ninehead Florey in the said county yeoman all those
my two Messuage or Tenements called Higher Poole,
and Prowe’s Parks situate lying and being within  this,
Parish of West Buckland aforesaid to hold this same
with their appointments unto the said Robert Honniball
Thomas Arscott and William Jacobs their executors
Administrators and Assigns for and during all the Rest
Residue and Remainder of my farm and Estate therein
respectively upon the Trusts and for the ends intents
and purposes hereinafter mentioned and declared of
and concerning the said (that is to say) upon Trust that
they my said Trustees their Executors and Admiozs do and
shall farm and cultivate the same premises until my,
Term and Interest in the Estate called Higher Poole shall
end and determine and the profits and produce arising
there from do and shall from time to time apply and
dispose of for and towards paying off and discharging,
the Rents respectively accruing and becoming one for,
the same and the Residue thereof shall and do pay over
unto my dear wife Margaret for the better support of
herself and children hereinafter mentioned and as to my
said Tenament called Prowe’s Parks I will and direct that
my said Trustees do and shall Surrender and yield up the
same and the Terms and Estate that shall be subsisting
thereon at the expiration of my Estate and Interest in my
said Estate called Higher Poole unto this lessor thereof also
I give devise and bequeath all that my Messuage or
Dwelling house with the Orchard and Garden thereunto
belonging situate in Ninehead Florey aforesaid and now
in the possession of Edward Bond unto my said wife
Margaret Dollen and her Assigns to hold unto my said
Wife Margaret and her Assigns for and during so longas
she shall continue and remain a widow if my Estate and
Interest therein shall so long continue and from and after
her second marriage or death I give and bequeath the
the same premises with their appurtenances unto my Son
Silas Dollen his Executors Administrators and Assigns,
at his Age of twenty one years. Also I give and bequeath
unto my said wife Margaret the Sum of twenty pounds
of lawful money of Great Britain to be paid her by
my Executors In Trust hereinafter names when and as
the same shall arise by Sale of my personal Estate
and Effects hereinafter to them given and bequeathed
all the Rest Residue and Remainder of my Goods
Chattels Rights Credits Personal Estate and Effects
whatsoever and wheresoever and of what nature or kind
soever I give and bequeath unto the said Robert Honniball
Thomas Arscott and William Jacobs heir Executors Adminos
and Assigns to for and upon the several ends intents and
purposes hereinafter mentioned (that is to say) upon Trust
that they my said Trustees their Executors and Administrators
do and shall as soon as conveniently can or may be after
my decease cause an Inventory and Appraisement to be
made thereof and the same do and shall permit and
and suffer to remain and keep and continue in and upon my
said Tenement called Higher Poole until the term and
Estate which I now have therein shall expire and determine
so as to enable they my said Trustees to farm and make
the most advantage of my said Messuage and Tenement
in the mean time and from and after the determination
thereof then upon Trust that they my said Trustees their
Executors and Administrators do and shall absolutely sell
and dispose of all and singular my said Residuary personal
Estate for the most money and best price they can get
for the same and by and out of the monies arising there
from do and shall pay off and discharge all such Sum and
Sums of money as may be found deficient in or shall
Not arise by the produce or cultivation of my said Estates
Called Higher Poole and Prowe’s Parks and from and
After payment thereof the Residue and Overplus of such
Money’s subject to the Legaries herein before and after given
do and shall put and place out at Interest upon some
good and sufficient Security or Securities either Real or
personal and the growing Interest thereof shall and do
pay over unto my said wife Margaret for the maintenance
Support and Education of my three children Silas John and
Betty during their respective minortys and when and as
my said children shall respectively attain their several ages
of twenty one years then upon Trust that they my said
Trustees their executors and Administrators do and shall pay
and equally divide the said Trust monies Estate and premises
unto and amongst my said three children in manner and
in the proportions hereinafter mentioned (that is to say)
unto my son Silas Dollen the sum of One Hundred
Pounds unto my said Son John the Sum of Seventy Pounds
And to my said daughter Betty the Sum of fifty pounds
Of lawful money of Great Britain provided nevertheless
That in case my said Residuary personal Estate and Effects
Shall exceed the Legaries herein before given to my said
wife and children then I will and direct that whatever
surpus may arise after payment of their respective
Legaries shall go and be equally divided between them
my said children in proportion to their Legaries herein
before given or in case of a Deficiency therein then I direct
that my said children shall abate in proportion
provided also that in case that either of my children
shall happen to die before they shall have attained
their several ages of twenty one years then I will and
direct that the Legary or Legaries share or shares given to
them and made payable out of my Residuary Trust
Estate shall go and be paid unto the Survivors or Survivor
of them at his hers or their Age or Ages of twenty one
years provided further and I do hereby will and direct
that before my said Trustees shall proceed to the Sale of
any part of my Household Goods or furniture they shall
give and deliver over unto my said wife such parts thereof
as shall be necessary and convenient to furnish the Dwelling
house herein before given and bequeathed to her and to
enable her to provide and take care of my said three
children during their respective Minority’s provided further
and I do hereby direct that my said Trustees shall and may
pay and reimburse themselves and himself out of the
aforesaid Residue of my Estate and Effects all reasonable
and necessary Costs Charges and Expenses whatsoever that
they or either of them shall or may bear payable be put
unto or sustain in or about the Execution of this my Will
 or the Trust hereby in therein reposed And lastly I do hereby
abrogate and make void all former wills by me heresofore
made and do declare this to be my last Will and Testament
and do Constitute and appoint the said Robert Honniball
Thomas Arscott and William Jacobs Executors in Trust
hereof I Witness whereof I have to this my Will contained
In two sheets of paper subscribed my name to the first
sheet thereof and to the second and last my hand and seal
this ninth day of one thousand seven hundred and
ninety one. Silas Dollen   SS    Signed Sealed Published
and declared by the Testator Silas Dollen as and for to be
his last will and Testament in the presence of us who at
his request in his presence and in the presence of such
others of us have Subscribed our names as witnesses hereunto
the words (and after) wife and) my said children) in the
second sheet getting first interlined. Jno Symes, Wm. Thomas

On the sixth day of November in the year of Our
Lord One thousand Seven hundred and twenty two Admin~
with the will annexed of all and singular the Goods
chattels and credits of Silas Dollen late of West Buckland
in the County of Somerset deceased was granted to Margaret
Dollen widow the Relict of the said deceased and Residuary
Legatore In Trust Substituted in the said will during the
Minority of Silas Dollen John Dollen and Betty Dollen.
Spinster minors the children of said deceased and
until on of them shall attain the age of twenty one
years. She having been first sworn duly to Administrator
Robert Honniball Thomas Arscott and William Jacobs
the Executors and Residuary Legatees In Trust named in
the said will giving first ? as well the Execution
thereof as the Letters of Administration (with this said~
annexed of the Goods of the said deceased.

Thursday, June 6, 2013

Get Me To The Church On Time

My Uncle Dick Dollen preparing to walk his big sister down the aisle on her wedding day. I think he had just finished boot camp. Mom and Dad’s wedding plans revolved on when Dick could get home.

This is a favorite photo of Mother and Son taken on 10 May 1952.

Photographs of Apprentice Seaman, Richard Dollen

Memories of days gone by, days I never knew. . . 

Uncle Dick Dollen, apprentice seaman - Photo most likely taken somewhere in California.

Those Thursday Places

Facebook is my Thursday Place. My sister has taken an interest in our family history and has been trying to connect with our Uncle Dick Dollen’s fellow seamen aboard the U.S.S. Washburn.

For those who might not know, our uncle was killed in a tragic accident. He was an apprentice seaman aboard the U.S.S. Washburn when it went into dry dock for routine maintenance. His job was to scrape and paint the left side of the rear of the ship. In the afternoon of 3 October 1952 the scaffolding in which he was standing gave way. His safety line failed and he fell to his death. Our mother and grandmother spent the rest of their remaining days mourning our uncle. As a result, very little was ever said about his life. Uncle Dick’s letters written to our grandmother provide our only clues to this uncle we never knew. Our curious minds sent us looking.

Facebook has played a key role in making connections. Timing is everything. As we searched the web, the U.S.S. Washburn was planning a reunion and created a facebook page specifically for the reunion. Nancy messaged the facebook page owner, as well as, the reunion contact person.

It is through these gentlemen, she was able to make contact with our uncle’s best friend aboard ship. His name is Bob Hall and Bob has agreed to tell us what he remembers of our uncle.

I don’t know if our mother would be happy with what we are doing but we do it out of love and with the hope of knowing our uncle just a little bit better.

Isn’t that what this family history thing is all about?