Thursday, October 31, 2019

Frank Balch

At our portal (, we have a scroll of text related to the themes of TGS, Inc. The original source for these items was The Gardner Annals with some coming from later issues of Gardner's Beacon. At some point, we'll identify the source for each item which is kept short. Of late, we have used another source: Chronicles of Old Salem. We wrote about this little gem (1948) this past summer. The book ought to be updated.

Entries from this book are marked with 'CoOS' with a year and sometimes a date. We picked out a few pertinent quotes a few months ago with the intent to revisit the book. Today, a few more quote were extracted, including this one (page  100):

  • 1917, June 11 - The X-Ray invention of Frank Balch of Salem is adopted for Army and Navy Hospitals. 
Well, several things catch the eye with this. Technology, of course, in terms of X-Ray. Too, the national focus at the time which was WWI. There is also a reference in CoOS about Frank and Elizabeth Balch selling their house, in 1921, to The American Legion Post #23.

Images of America

And, Balch? We know that daughter, Sarah, married Benjamin Balch who was son of John. Many Balchs are Thomas Gardner descendants, so, we'll look into this later.

Right now, who was Frank Balch? We have gathered a few items. The Balch Family Genealogy page on Facebook has Frank as living from 1880 to 1937. The Encyclopedia of SciFi notes that he wrote a novel that was inspired by Jules Verne: A Submarine Tour (1905).

CoOS notes that the decision by the Army and Navy was in 1917. We see that Frank patented a screen in 1922 which patent was granted in 1925 (US1532795A): Fluorescent screen and method of making same. We see references to his company which was out on the west coast, too, by 1921: The American Journal of Roentgenology.

What do we know of his family? The McIntire Tour shows #329 Essex as having been owned by Frank Balch. There are lots of pictures of the house on the web. It's registered several way.

Note: There are two references to Frank inventing the x-ray in 1898 on the web. Both seem to originate from Salem. Ought to be corrected. Another had him owning the house in 1881. Of course, trying to note all of the misinformation on the www is futile. There ought to be some coherent view of this guy somewhere.

Also, there seems to be a dearth of information about Frank and Elizabeth, though. So, that'll be another day's work.

Remarks: Modified: 10/31/2019

10/31/2019 --

Real daughters

Earlier, we pointed to the work that D.A.R. (Daughters of the American Republic) was doing to preserve history. The example was a history of a small western town: Locales and their history Essex and Plymouth Counties of Massachusetts (the two originating locations) had plenty of exposure from the very beginning. Even now, though, there are new publications, to wit the group on Facebook titled New England Family Genealogy and History (which we follow and contribute to). There is an associated site that publishes old pictures which generates research and commentary.

Jane Sellers Nighswonger
D.A.R. has had a history focus from the beginning as well as being involved in contemporary affairs such as charity work and support for veterans affairs. Part of that focus pertains to the organization, itself.
This post is about examples of some members who have the label of 'Real daughter' as they are direct offspring of a patriot. In D.A.R. parlance, 'patriot' are military as well as civilian.

The Eunice Sterling Chapter in Wichita, KS has a couple real daughters whose images are shown. They were sisters. Jane was born in Tennessee; Cyntha was born in Illinois.

Cyntha Ann Sellers Buffington
Their father, Howell Sellers, was born in 1762 in North Carolina. He served with the South Carolina troops.

It is interesting that when Jane joined D.A.R. (she was first) in 1896, she was #14475. This was six years after its start. D.A.R. recently passed one million members since its start.

This post is a brief view but goes along with our interest in the western expansion (example: 3 Trails) which included many who have ties with Cape Ann families which we will study along with our looks at descendants of Thomas and Margaret Gardner.

Remarks: Modified: 10/31/2019

10/31/2019 --

Monday, October 28, 2019

Support for TGS, Inc.

There are several updates pending to our websites that will appear in the next few weeks. We have made some changes to our 'portal to truth' that pertain to future activities. For one, the historical roll has been extended. There is a lot more to add. Right now, it refreshes each time the page is loaded. Sources are marked. This scroll with become interactive and link to supporting resources. Along with this scroll, we have an index by images that point to our work and thoughts, by time.

TGS, Inc. Biz
As well, we changed the menu so that we can separate out biz and tech. Right now biz provides buttons for donations either by PayPal or via mail. Plus there is a form for ordering publications by mail. Next up will be ordering of publications via PayPal. Following that, there are other changes planned. Tech points to our technology blog (theme of content versus configuration).

The main site will be where we old the majority of our documents and will be re-organized. It more or less has the same look as back in 2010 when we started. Both sites will become more interactive as we proceed.
  • Donate -- Contributions of funds to the Thomas Gardner Society, Inc. can be handled via menu or by mail. Helping us with articles or with technical work would be appreciated, too (see Note, below). 
  • Meeting -- We are planning a 2020 meeting in the Boston area for next year. Right now, it looks to be in the summer or fall. More details will be forthcoming later. 
As an aside, one direction is toward a TGS app, however, all technical steps will be accompanied by discussion of alternatives and reasons for our approach. In the meantime, we will be more mobile friendly with the intent of establishing a good interface for presentation.

Note: Technically, we picked Linux for its suitableness for our requirements while allowing freedom as we saw with the Unix environment. That is, too, we are cognizant of the GUI/text issues and lean toward a more 'Open mode.' Several times, we have noted that we are looking for hands-on help with our technical efforts. Even novices can help and learn. One resource for coordination will be GitHub. There are links to extensive discussions related to various themes, such as content versus configuration. These two are conflated, seriously, in many cases. too much. GitHub'ing is my personal view to the matter, using TGS, Inc. work as the model for discussion; we will start a specific area for Society work when required to start an archival method for this work.

Remarks: Modified: 10/28/2019

10/28/2019 --

Thursday, October 24, 2019

About generations

Stages in the American Dream
400 years or so
Last year, when we did the Fifteen Generations post, the notion was to estimate how many generations are there now back to Thomas for people who are currently alive. Of course, we may have three  generations of a family to consider. So, one range would go from twelve to fifteen, with the exceptional occurrences of four generations going eleven to fifteen.

One of our goals is to identify and document the first two to five generations from Thomas and Margaret where generation two would be the grandchildren. In his first book, Dr. Frank mostly covered some of these persons and Samuel's line down to the generation of Dr. Frank's father.

The Mayflower Society has books out to five generations. The data is not complete as I have verified. However, they are now focusing on two generations at WikiTree: Project:Mayflower. That was nice to see actually, as this society has been working for a century. Early on,  I noted that Dr. Frank was not complete with his view of two generations, a 100 years ago: The kids.

Related article on Quora: How many years are there in a generation? The NEHGS has used some of the data from the 5th generation database to look at the length of a generation. As well, we can see the average length per generation and a few other things.

From Vita Brevis: How long is a generation?
So, we are not late. And, we can use WikiTree to build this database to be the basis for further research and some interesting studies. The intent is to publish the first three generations within the next year or so.

This falls within the category of the numbers games that have become quite addictive.

Note: Article from the International Society of Genetic Genealogy: Generation length.

Remarks: Modified: 10/25/2019

10/24/2019 -- Notes in Vita Brevis article briefly touch on some technical (statistical) issues, such as incomplete data (actually, the reality of this type of work). I would add another. It's a conflation of information about more than one generation and is more of a cultural view than that of nature. It would be interesting to separate out the three groups: elderly, mature, and child. For the last, I would use Richard More (uncle). The first, Brewster comes to mind. The computer (and its ability to hoard (yes) will allow all sorts of studies - to wit, data science). Then, the idea would be to use the birth dates, when known, of the individuals. Some of these would be, it is noted, before 1620.

Saturday, October 19, 2019

Thomas and WikiTree

We have mentioned WikiTree several times. For one, the Profile of Dr. Frank is being worked there. It was instrumental in a discussion about the two or three wives.

We have been asked to lead the redoing of Thomas' Profile. To facilitate that, there is an EditNotes Section, now, that will be the main source of status and information about pending changes.

Our FAQ is one guiding light.

Aside, we are looking for articles for the next issue of The Gardner Annals.

Remarks: Modified: 10/23/2019

10/23/2019 -- The first order of business was to look at the two Profiles. Then, get some insight into what WikiTree wants. Well, they have this format:
  • Biography
  • Research Notes
  • Sources
  • Acknowledgements
We are using, as we mentioned, EditNotes to handle the work. The thought was to have 'End Notes' as a place where planned future work plus controversies that are current can be presented and managed. There are several categories. But, we'll put that stuff into Research Notes. So, given the structure, the Profiles were changed today by moving sections around.

Now, we'll do the edits, including tying those sections into our blog. 

Monday, October 7, 2019

Gallows Hill

It would be nice if we could resurrect a 'google' map of Salem of old. Of course, that's sheer laziness.

What we can do is appreciate Sidney's work (walkabouts). Too, we can look for paintings that were of the period before the modern. When, I might add, progress caused lots of changes.

One that I am tracking down? The missing graves of Gardner's Hill. The search has involved Sidney's work: How close is close? II As well, there were several paintings of an area upstream that allow some notion of how things were, somewhat, at the time of the elders: Gardner's Bridge.

Of late, we have seen discussion about where the hangings were. Well, Ann's family had a house on Gallows Hill so they know the area. Myself, only 20th and 21st century experience, way after the fact. But, Sidney knew: Gallows and more.

The gist? Somewhere I read that Thomas Gardner liked the place where he was buried since he could sit there and see the water. Mind you, this area was between Gallows Hill and Harmony Grove Cemetery. We'll be mapping this out. I could not get some notion of the elevation. No doubt, there are records at the State level about the work involved with the road adjustment in the 1840s. Too, there was a lawsuit.

But, why pursue this 'dead' horse? Samuel Pickering Gardner who had left Salem for Boston visited the area in the 1830s and was upset by the situation: How close is close? And, it's a family matter as the seller of the property was of the Samuel (son of Thomas) line as is Dr. Frank, Ann, and others. In fact, Samuel owned this land after Thomas died. So, there are lots of reasons. However, a motivational event happened, today (below).

Okay, was reading Streets of Salem: A County in Crisis, 1692. Great post, per usual. On the page was a link to a post about the Salem Heritage Trail. And, that post contained an image of a painting from 1818 by Alvin Fisher. What? First, the image.

From Gallows hill, a view of Salem. Will have to map this out, but it does give some indication of elevation. Gardner's Hill would have been to the left following a 'U' (dimensions to be defined).

Landmarks? Anyone know of some analysis that has been done of this painting? Of course, we'll keep looking for other paintings of this type.

But, in terms of research, yes, there are more questions than answers. So, today there was a 'shot in the arm' type of thing. I feel that I have gotten a run around by those who ought to know, since I first started poking around this issue.

'Where is Thomas?' seems like a reasonable question. Notice that I first asked that question in October of 2010. Never heard an answer that stood up to query. It has taken a while for me to piece things together. And, Sidney was very instructive once I got to know his work.

BTW, Harmony Grove? Yes, I have been there. Dr. Frank's grandmother is buried there.

Aside, Dr. Frank remains are in Greenlawn Cemetery, Salem, MA.

This might be a good place for the good Gardners (and their friends) who are descendants of Thomas to think about having some little memorial to Thomas and Margaret. We can measure how far this is from where Thomas' grave was in the Gardner Burial Plot.

Note: Went looking for maps of Salem. Of course, Sidney's came up. Plus, I found a site that had collected many views: The Mystery of Gallows Hill (references this work - Gallows Hill: Where Were the Witches hung?). The pages have the photo of Sidney at the Crevice and more. Also, in the painting, one can see North River (below) and Ledge Hill (to the left) which is south(east) of where Harmony Grove Cemetery is now. ... All we have to do is figure the dimensions from this in order to place Garner's Hill appropriately.

Reminder: The Trask view. One of their plots is still on Boston Street. It was near the Gardner Burial Plot. Too, History of Mass blog.

Remarks: Modified: 11/10/2019

11/10/2019 -- Changed Dr. Frank's record to read Greenlawn Cemetery rather than Harmony Grove Cemetery. His remains are in the Gardner/Dennett plot established in 1880.

Saturday, October 5, 2019

Measures of the metrical

The modern world runs on numbers. Madly. This is abated by computing which is numbers to its core. Well, not. Anyone poking into the depth knows that we get to hardware, eventually. And, that involves a lot of stuff. In fact, it's so complicated now that we cannot put our fingers on, get our heads wrapped around, attempt to tame, ... a whole bunch of stuff.

So, we have the need for truth engineering. And, to me, TGS, Inc.'s work will involve that. But, let's not get ahead of ourselves. After all, how might deep issues related to filling in family records and such? Ah, heard of 'deep learning' which has been on the news for a little bit now?

We've not shirked dealing with numbers. This little bit is an example. See Review and news from about this time last year. That post points back to 2015 post. There are others of the same ilk that we'll pull together. Every year, we have done a Summary.

I was just looking at some "who is largest?" work that goes on all day. Ever pick up some of these metrics and look at them? First of all, about all combinations are presents, with purty graphics. I'll not step further down that road, right now. But, one has to wonder how the data is attained. Of course, we know. It's our stuff that is freely available due to early discussions. And, that, folks, leads to open issues, still unresolved. So, this post is apropos.

Anyway, here's a little graphic relating to number of posts per month by year with the first nine months of 2019 included.
This year, I decided to do more posts, even though this is run by Google's method. We are working on other approaches, such as this little technical thing on our own server. But, again, that's ongoing. Also, it's more than technical as we discuss motivation.

So, June of this year had the greatest number of posts since the beginning. What was that? Well, There were several themes going on: the missing grave of Thomas, graves of veterans (of several wars) without any information about the person, and more. On the first, we found several paintings of the area of Gardner bridge. More stuff to do there. For one grave, we searched out the person's lineage plus filled in the family information. With that, we got findagrave updated. Also, we got ourselves involved in looking at two Thomas Gardners in the 1623/24 timeframe. Father and son? Lots to consider.

We finally looked at Chronicles of Old Salem and found it quite interesting to our newbie selves. In fact, from that, items have been added to the timeline text at the portal to truth. We have slowly been working on renovations. I have posted some information on GitHub (and will be adding more). Be aware, that we're considering important issues in a manner that does not assume much. As in, yeap, I  mainly work via a laptop. I'll get a smart phone when we get to where we're supporting TGS, Inc. via some of the 'problematic' social media. Oh yes, don't believe me when I say that we've created a mess, in general? Who else but old Thomas Gardner to use as a moral example?

Oh yes, Sidney. He wrote his thoughts on his decade plus efforts in Salem where he found little assistance. Dr. Frank helped. Too, Dr. Frank's sister, Lucie, published a continuation of Sidney's work in The Massachusetts Magazine. Sidney quit his Essex Antiquarian work and went and wrote the History of Salem. His work is the main source for information about the witch mania the yearly celebration of that is coming up.

Oh yes, my posts are longer than one normally finds. Example: The Gardiner that was. My research has found some conflicting stories. How to untangle this knot? It'll happen; we're just collecting data, at this point. Also, I go back and edit posts to add more information (or to make modifications). As well, I add in comments (timestamped). Take Dr. Frank's post. It started in February of 2011. There is also a category of Dr. Frank that pulls related posts together into one view. He was a busy guy and did a whole lot of work. Lots more stuff to discuss. Right now, I am looking at the family history of his two wives.

There are a slew of posts that point to specific articles in The Massachusetts Magazine. We really need an index. This was tried for a couple of Volumes by Dr. Frank. But, that's a lot of work. Examples: NEHGR 2016, NEHGR 2017. That took a bit of work.

As far as that goes, we need an index for Gardner's Beacon.

Remarks: Modified: 11/26/2019

11/26/2019 -- Put in a "Metrical" page with an updated graphic (count for November 2019 is as of end of day, today). Note that the above graphic has 2018 and 2019 out of order as column headers.