Saturday, March 6, 2021

Prior and next

So, a duality of several that we will always see. There are lots of these, such as those things that cause controversy. Such as? The US and UK conflict that seems one-sided, with an American citizen dissing HTMQ. Turns out that the one has a link back to Ed III (we wrote of him earlier). This heritage review was developed by Gary Boyd Roberts and Christopher C. Child of the NEHGS. The page has a link to a graphic which is interesting. On a further note, since the graphic is only of one of her lines, we thought to provide an ahnentafel courtesy of Famous Kin. So, there is a lot to discuss as we will be working with our kin there as the 400ths come up just as did the Plymouth folk the past few years. 

So, the prior? About seven to six years ago, there was much interest in the Magna Carta for which we had post here (John and his friends). That event came and went. HTMQ made several appearances during the festivities. Then, the thing was done but with another round in 2025 to celebrate the involvement of Henry III. For Americans, there is a special interest since it is noted that the related thinking was an influence upon the U.S. Constitution 800 years after the fact. And, there will be many more occurrences as we go through time of looking back at this document. 

So, that is the next, with 2025 being on the horizon already. What does this mean? Well, in the U.S., people can find out their family's connection by looking at gateways who are those who came over with this pedigree in their knapsack (or the equivalent). Of those, some already knew 400 years ago. Some were recently discovered to have a connection. Two examples are Mary (Gye) Maverick and Richard More. She was the wife of a Rev. on Winthrop's fleet whose name is now associated with actions, say like the one alluded to above. Richard More, as a kid, was on the Mayflower with his sisters. He married in Salem and is an in-law. There are many more examples. 

WikiTree has what it calls the Magna Carta Project. Using the gateways, they have Magna Carta Trails which go from the gateway to someone involved in the 1215 activity, as a Surety (see list on this page). One thing the team does is work the Magna Carta Base Camp. They have completed trails for many gateways of which there are several hundreds. They have a bunch that are in the process and some being prepared to be scrutinized. 

Why the interest? These are documented lines when they are done. Where else can one go to find this on-line? For Mary, this is her trail. Notice that her nodes for Bigod are 100% verified. However, therre are other trails. For Richard, his trails are in progress. Lines from both of these are in this graphic. 

So, another reason to show this. It's an example of very good work which is what we expect from Gardner Research when doing comparable types of things. One goal might be to do this for the first three to five generations starting from Thomas and Margaret. 

Remarks: Modified: 03/07/2021

03/07/2021 --  Updated Richard's line to show Bigod. 

Saturday, February 27, 2021

New Spain

TL;DR -- New Spain covered more area than New France. And, it had land that the U.S. wanted later than did any other country. Finally, a look at the situation. 


We finally are getting to New Spain after spending some time looking at New France.  Doing these other areas does a couple of things, at least. For one, New England dealt with others who were European and who were over here but outside of New England. It will be good to get a closer view of the events and activities where we can 'flesh' out the situation; this type of work makes the study of history to be more human oriented. 

The other thing is that the areas involved outside of New England were much broader in scope which we saw with the Louisiana Purchase. We backed into this study through looking at families that had gone west from both the northern and the southern parts (Virginia and surrounds) of New England. As we were getting familiar with details, it became obvious that we needed to stop and acquaint ourselves with the other colonialist's views. Jefferson did the Louisiana deal with New France, but the area had been under New Spain, too. 

Let's use Wikipedia. There are several maps on the New Spain page, but we like this one for several reasons. It shows the total scope of New Spain. The darker blue region is the original coverage. There is a medium blue region that New Spain got from New France. 

New Spain, colored in blue

Stopping for a minute, we can look at St. Louis, MO. It was founded by French trappers, as we would expect. However, the area had been visited by people from both New Spain (1500s) and New France (1670s). In 1764, New Spain got the area from New France who got it back later, prior to the sale to Jefferson. In the map, the light blue areas were obtained from New France. 

Except, there had been exploration along the left coast as shown by this map which is of the Pacific Northwest. 

In the southwest, New Spain ventured in from the coast. To wit, Santa Fe, NM was an early post. Coronado covered a lot of area which we will be looking at further. Reminder, we are talking 1540 which was the time of Thomas Gardner's great-grandfather. It was about the same time that de Soto ventured up the Mississippi to just south of where St. Louis is now. It was 100 years later when New France ventured into the same area arriving by a totally different direction from the Great Lakes. 

Coronado and his scouts

Lewis & Clark came through the St. Louis area in their 1804/5 trek. The fur business started to explode. And, then we had the early explorers. Missouri, as a State, had entrants on a regular basis prior to 1820s. As well, all of the characters that we have taken some interest in  (such as Jedediah Strong Smith) were in St. Louis at some time or the other. 

Even after the Jefferson deal, New Spain covered a lot of area. Those familiar with the modern maps can see Florida, parts of other southern States, Texas, New Mexico, Arizona and California across the bottom (others, such as Colorado, were above these) as parts of New Spain. At the same time, there were wanderers from out of New England, in the area. Some of these were early pioneers who planned to put down roots. 

New Spain, 1819

One thing that we can do is pick a few families for a focus. Francis Alcott Flagg had a long series about pioneers to the western front. You know, his research was related to Ohio, Michigan and Wisconsin. The area was considered the northwest (hence Northwestern University). Far west? 

We will (continue to) look at the total breadth of the emigration across the U.S. And, bringing in geography allows us to see the reality of the situations

Caveat: Using Wikipedia's  maps. If anything seems out of order, let us know. Meaning, Wikipedia is a volunteer effort and needs editors to keep information accurate and up to date. 

Remarks: Modified: 02/27/2021

02/27/2021 --  


TL;DR -- We will pay attention to technology in the small and in the large, especially that related to advanced software. 


We love Family Search and have used it since we started this work which was over a decade ago. At that time, some of the interfaces for genealogical packages were still fairly kludgy, so we did our own thing with respect to collecting and storing data. Now that we have more curating work to do, some decisions need to be made. A basic issue? 

There is one choice that people make. They can either go whole hog into someone's care by using a heavily GUI'd system. Or, they can take a more independent approach, as we did. There is a third way which balances the two. Many packages, in their latest manifestation, seem to offer better support. But, we like what WikiTree represents a solution to form and interface. The data is easily accessible, however one also has access to the mark-up level. Granted, this is not code, but it gives one the feel. On the other hand, access to support app extensions will be important, too. 

This year, for the first time, we paid attention to Rootstech which offers the framework with which to look at some of these issues in terms of genealogy work. We will browse this information later; too, we will pay more attention, especially to discussions about the future. 

Another note about the future? How AI will play in all of this? What is called the 'deep fake' approach now can generate photos of people who never existed. Too, it can create videos of characters who are not real doing things that seem natural. Some of the current results are easily analyzed with respect to its truthfulness. A photo might be obviously fake; the character in a video might stand out as a creation. However, this stuff will get more complicated as we go along. 

We have mentioned this before, but one of our research themes deals with these types of issues. Part of the work will be technical; some of it will be more general relating to the American experiment and its possible contribution to age-old dilemmas that are becoming more troublesome. We have mentioned, several times, that we are building a portal. Many times, we add 'to truth' with this type of work in mind. 

For now, we will start pointers to material that is of importance plus some on-going commentary.  

  • TensorFlow - From 2019. We saw this contribution by Google to what is called deep learning earlier. And, we have read the discussions about this as being the new AI. The approach has gotten attention due to its demonstrated effectiveness to the extent of watching. These things used by this approach are mostly black boxes for which lots of effort is being placed with regard to understanding what is going on. However, right now, the particular interest for us is the approach's use of graphics. This is not GUI in focus. No, we are talking the very core of our modes for modeling reality and for basing decisions upon such models.  
  • GitHub - This is a link to the material related to the TensorFlow article. That is, one of the modern benefits is having project and code management available for team work via the cloud. Nowadays, you see lots of papers offering their data via this method encapsulated with the algorithms used for the data. We are using this facility for our portal work, somewhat. 
  • Medium - This is the media that provides access to the TensorFlow article. We place it here as an example of sites that provide support in various ways which are going to be important in the future. 
We have to touched upon some of this, in our work, so far: Content can be configuration. And, we will be doing more. We have the technology blog for specifics which will become more active. 

Remarks: Modified: 02/27/2021

02/27/2021 --  

Friday, February 26, 2021

Research notes: Rivers

TL;DR -- The rivers of Yellowstone are featured. Too, there is a map of the water basins of the U.S. showing the large size of the Mississippi River and all of its inflowers. 


After focusing on the east coast as we got ourselves familiar with the Cape Ann venture, we started to follow western movements which had an early start that accelerated after the U.S. was formed. That change of scope led to us looking across the whole country to the west coast where people could have arrived by one of two ways, by water or by land. 

There are many maritime associations in New England to consider. Example posts are Gardner-Pingree house, The Gardiner that wasWhaling Gardners, and others. With Dr. Frank's TMM, we got acquainted with the long reach west of New England after the Revolution. However, going back in time, one sees the need to look at New France and New Spain. In particular, there was activity related to the fur trade that is within our scope; with that, we get into land movement and rivers. The major waterways were those of the Mississippi which cover the continent from Pennsylvania to Idaho. The former has ports; the latter is next to states with ports. In the below map, the Mississippi basin is colored pink. 

See Grasshopper Geography 

The following pertains to the upper left part of the pink area which is Wyoming and Montana. For reference, Gardner River starts in that region, flows into the Yellowstone River which joins the Missouri River in its long journey to the Mississippi. This area was a major playground for the trappers. 

Fur trading started early in the east (New England and New France) as traders bought furs from the American Indians. But, there was more demand than the American Indians could, or wanted, to provide. Hence, in the early part of the 1800s, we see the fur companies having their own trappers which changed the dynamic quite a bit. As well, we have events which gave stories (such as The Revenant or Grizzly Adams). 

There are many rivers in the Yellowstone basin with a lot more to look at; in the meantime, let's just consider some detail. There are two major rivers from the same location but going to the Missouri in two different directions. 

In this area of interesting rivers, we have a couple more. 

  • Lewis River, flows into the Snake River that goes to the Columbia River and the Pacific. This area is colored orange in the upper left of the map. 
  • Green River, flows into the Colorado River, then to the Gulf of California. This river basin is colored yellow in the lower center of the map. 

With respect to nearness, one motivation for relooking at the western rivers was learning of the portage of two-plus miles between the Fox River and the Mississippi that Joliet and Marquette took in their trek for New France. Essentially, they went from the Great Lakes almost to the end of the Mississippi River.

With regard to the Yellowstone area, the sources for these rivers are close in crow-flying terms (assuming they could get that high). Too, the comparison looks at the sources of the feeders/tributaries. So, taking the Lewis which goes to the Snake, at one point the waterways are with two miles of each other when looking at the boundaries of the Shoshone Lake (Lewis River) and the Yellowstone Lake. That is due to the width of the lakes. A comparison of the inlet positions shows the delta to be less than ten miles. 

However, travel between these two would be arduous, at best, and nearly death-defying in others. That is, before helicopters allowed types of leapfrogging not known to the trappers. The America Indians were in that area a lot, making use of what the valleys offered.  


Actually, we are remiss in not looking at the eastern part of the Mississippi system. Let's start with West Virginia which was part of Virginia until the Civil War. This list of rivers shows that most of the State's waterways drain into the Ohio which took lots of traffic west. Joliet and Marquette blew right by the Ohio's inlet to the Mississippi, but they were coming from New France. The other destination for the waters of West Virginia? The Chesapeake Bay, with  most of it going through DC's Potomac River which President George Washington was very familiar with. 

Remarks: Modified: 02/27/2021

02/27/2021 -- Changed to using American Indians. Added the TL;DR line. 

Tuesday, February 23, 2021

Dorchester Company, further

TL;DR -- Need to look further at the Dorchester Company and what it meant to Thomas Gardner. Part of that will be getting familiar with Rev. John and his investors. 


It is time to spend more energy and time looking at specifics related to the commercial venture that was sponsored by The Dorchester Company. This will take several directions. While Rev. John White will be one focus, we will also take a closer look at the investors. For now, here are a few posts that we have done, to date, on the subject. 

  • The Dorchester Company (2013) - and Rev. John White (2013) One task will be to update this chart with a little more information on the Company and the investors, plus a more full look at the American experiment.

  • Two Thomas Gardners (2019) - Definitely, we need to look at Thomas Gardner who was married to Margaret Fryer and who stayed here. The other Thomas Gardner is mentioned by Frances Rose-Troup (2020) as having been married to Elizabeth, sister of the Reverend. 
  • John Tylly (2011) - As we mentioned long ago, we need to know more about John. Did he relate to any of the investors (The Original 119 Members)? 
  • Sir Christopher Gardiner (mentioned in several posts) - He is the cousin of one of the investors. We want to look at him further with respect to the different tails that one might run across. 
  • ... 

This is to fill in the whole picture as we look at New Spain and New France as well as New England. Of course, that brings in the whole scope of the continental U.S. early on, though we will still have a special interest in the western expansion after the Revolution. Again, USDAR will be a basis looking back 250 years, that is, both their database and their existence for the past century and a quarter plus. There is a lot to research with respect to the earlier 150 years, especially since Cape Ann has more of a significance than has been assumed, to date.  

Remarks: Modified: 02/27/2021

02/27/2021 --  Looked at the rivers of Yellowstone and New Spain. Added the TL;DR line. 

Tuesday, February 16, 2021

Gathering of the trappers

TL;DR -- Paintings by Remington and Jackson give a good flavor of the times. 


There were several ways to start this post, however using Remington is very much apropos. Picked this photo up from the page about Jedediah Strong Smith on the Legends of America site. We got to Jedediah through articles by Judge Thompson in Dr. Frank's The Massachusetts Magazine where the Judge wrote of his journey out west (over land, to the left coast, and back) in the early days. However, he was in a later time that that of the mountain men who were associated with the fur trade.  

We had not paid attention, but a movie (The Revenant, only saw the ads and read a few brief reviews) was showing in the 2015 timeframe. A little later, while we were trying to identify places that have Gardner in the name, we came across Gardner River that flows out of the Yellowstone Park area in Wyoming merges into the Yellowstone River in Montana. The namesake of the river, a little eddy along the river, and a town turned out to be Johnson Gardner. He was of the cohort of Jedediah. The movie is about an event in the life of Hugh Glass. He had a comrade named John S. Gardner who was killed in the same incident as Hugh was injured in. 

These guys were working for Gen. Ashley of the Rocky Mountain Fur Company. Ashley, himself, was out of Virginia and went west before the Lewis & Clark journey. Lewis & Clark were of the official world. We hear of mountain men and expect them to be roughed individuals. But, an added aura is the realm in which they were roaming. The American west. The painting above depicts these individuals coming to a rendezvous which, it turns out, was something that the General got started. 

This next two paintings are from W. H. Jackson: a rendezvous and view of a wagon train. These are meant to show some of the cultural context as well as the scope/scale of what we need to do. Paintings can be seen in the Eye for History publication of the National Park Service. 

As we look at these, we can not help but think of the "flyover country" discussions that were never resolved. 

So, let's end this post and look at what is coming up in the next few posts. We will look further at this fur company, in the context of the long reach of New England. Notice that where W. H. Jackson was born is way upper New York and close to Vermont. To us, that implies the possible links to Massachusetts, perhaps even Essex. Ann's great-grands went out to that area for a while. But, we have another puzzle where the lineage is along that border, and the family names are right out of Essex County (and Nantucket). No end to the work to be done. 

Too, though, we will look at again at rivers and their sources. The Yellowstone area is interesting in this sense as it spawns a number of waterways. There are many ways that rivers come into the picture. But, too, as we work details related to events and people and their families, we will be aware of earlier takes on the matter, both the historical and the informal looks. 

Remarks: Modified: 02/27/2021

02/27/2021 --  Looked at the rivers of Yellowstone and New Spain. Added the TL;DR line. 


Monday, February 15, 2021

Rivers and more

TL;DR -- Further look at the Mississippi and the portage area in Wisconsin that links the Fox River with the Wisconsin River. 


As mentioned before, rivers facilitate travel, however they are also barriers to movement. People moving west out of the east coast traversed large chunks of land as well as crossed over major rivers: All that Louisiana brought. That post looked at the Mississippi watershed which covers almost the whole of the continent, as the river came to the U.S. from the area of New France. Getting familiar with specifics reminded us that we need to look at the other colonies. There were New France, New Spain, New Netherland, and New Sweden. The last two were short-lived, albeit the effects of that effort remain visible until today. It was England, France, and Spain who continued in their conflicts for another century plus. 

Before getting to the theme of the post, let's use a better image from Wikipedia that shows the major tributaries of the most major of the water systems in the U.S. This post deals with an area in the north central of this map (that is, to the upper right of the heavy blue line). Later, we will back up and update an earlier post about the Gardner River which is in the upper left (Yellowstone area). To be complete, we have to look at the other major systems in the west that do not drain into the Mississippi (Columbia, Rio Grande, Colorado, and few smaller systems in the west, plus Texas and its rivers - Pecos and all). 

Mississippi River

So, the theme continues to be about rivers. The Wisconsin and the Fox rivers are so close in Wisconsin (see upper center part of the above map, to the right - the Wisconsin is shown) that a portage was established way back in the 1600s (of course, known way before the Europeans arrived at the scene) that allowed travelers (their original location was the St. Lawrence area) to use the Great Lakes to get to the Fox River (via Lake Michigan) and over to the Wisconsin River so as to get to the Mississippi and venture south toward the Gulf of Mexico. That party traveled down past the Missouri River to the Arkansas River which are both carriers of water from the Rockies. 

What was interesting to learn was the height differences from Lake Michigan to the Mississippi Valley plus the short distance of the portage which was less than three miles. The graphic depicts the elevation of the locks that were established to allow transportation to use the route. Prior to that, there would have been manpower in movement of the vehicle as well as other portages in order to bypass rough areas. Albeit, none of that would have been too strenuous in normal conditions, compared to what was coming for travelers as they got past the area of the plains. 

Fox-Wisconsin Waterway

These early travelers (Joliet and Marquette) were French with American Indian guides and turned around at the Arkansas as they saw evidence of Spanish culture. On their return journey, they blew by the Ohio (different culture - we'll get to it as a main waterway from New England) and took the Illinois River back east. They had a bit of a longer portage to get to Chicago and Lake Michigan, however the going was easier. Just for comparison, here is the waterway that was developed later to allow and maintain water traffic from Chicago to the Mississippi River. 

Illinois Waterway

Notice the elevation changes. Chicago is 597' more or less above sea level. Grafton, IL is 435'. At its confluence with the Ohio River, a little further south, the Mississippi River is at 315'. This is a low spot as going west would have had one climbing to the Rockies and beyond, over a long bit of terrain. Lewis & Clark paddled their way up. Later, ingenuous people had flat-bottom boats with power. However, even those could not handle the rough water.  

In the context of these waterways, the later trekkers would have seen these as a barrier which would differ by the time of the year and the weather. Spring runoff in this area can be quite large. It was not too long ago that we saw a huge flood cross the landscape from a large snow melt in the Rockies to the Mississippi along the Missouri River that took months as it went from state to state. When it finally arrived, in an area, everything within the flood plain was under water. There would be no concept of the flash flood unless one was looking at upstream penetration in tributaries as the water rose. Usually, flooding is a downstream affair. But, there can be back up given the right conditions. 

So, in those early times, none of this would have been known. One service that would have been established later was a ferry. The Massachusetts group that went to Lawrence, KS went over the Wakarusa River after they left the Gardner, KS area. Later, there was a ferry put in at that location between Kansas City and the Lawrence area. Imagine a wagon train, though, with each wagon awaiting the back and forth. Gives "all in a day's work" a whole new meaning; rather, it's a forgotten one. 

Remarks: Modified: 02/18/2021

02/16/2021 --  Got to love Wikipedia. This post lists rivers of the U.S. by length. The Missouri tops the Mississippi by a 100+ miles. It's due to those twists and turns in the mountains of the west. Also, for each river, it shows where it drains. Note that six major rivers flow into the Mississippi. Then, each of these has many rivers flowing into it. So, the Mississippi system is huge. 

See also, list of longest rivers by state. For each state, there is a link to the list of all rivers with a map of the river. Again, Wikipedia, and its volunteers, are a marvel of the age. 

The USGS has a nice map that allows attention to details

02/18/2021 -- Our post on trappers shows a W. H. Jackson painting of wagons crossing the South Platte. This was risky. Notice that extra oxen were used. However, in shallow spots, a ferry would be difficult to manage, too.