adventures in genealogy

Yesterday I was in central Massachusetts with a few hours to kill, so I went to Conway MA, which is where Mom’s grandfather was from. Mom’s aunt researched that side of the family years ago so she could join the DAR, so I had basic information. I was going to have a look around and take pictures of the family tombstones, maybe walk around downtown and look at the historic buildings.

I found Conway without problem–it’s a pretty little former mill town strung out along the South River. And I knew from my great-aunt’s research that our family (Maynard) was buried in the Conway cemetery.

Or rather, cemeteries. There are at least four. Fortunately Find A Grave had information about which one I wanted–Pine Grove, not Howland. Unfortunately because Conway is so spread out, I couldn’t just go out one street and turn left. It was out this street, turn onto another street, turn on another that heads back towards town, then turn into the hills again. I stumbled across Howland Cemetery by accident, but the only Maynard there is not on of our Maynards.

But Howland isn’t too far from Pine Grove, so I took a couple of pictures and moved on. Did I mention there was very little cell service back in the trees and deep little valleys? I wound up back in the center of town.

So I tried again, and this time I found the cemetery. The road appeared to end at a horse farm where an older gentleman had just finished loading some horses into a trailer. I asked him about the cemetery, he said I was on the right road and wished me luck.

Another mile down a gravel road, I finally found the cemetery.

Find a Grave had told me that treat-great-however-many-greats grandfather Daniel’s grave was “at the back in the third row from the fountain,” so I changed into my walking shoes and headed back. I figured a fountain would be pretty easy to find–except it doesn’t appear to be there any more. Just a small manmade hill with a blank area at the top where the fountain probably used to be. But Daniel Maynard is there in the third row where he was supposed to be.

Photo of headstone of Daniel H. Maynard, who is not my great-great-great-grandfather.


As you can see, the carving is barely legible beneath the lichen, but from what I can make out it’s not for the right Daniel Maynard. The dates don’t match.

And then the joke on me: when I got home and looked at my notes, I had scrambled a couple of names. Our Daniel Maynard is buried in my home town :p I wanted Timothy Maynard, who is in fact buried in…Howland Cemetery.

Lesson learned: this genealogy stuff is harder than it looks.

random blog post

I’m surviving the shutdown so far.

A bit distressed about the direction the country seems to be heading and all the random and not-so-random hate being thrown around, but also encouraged by all the good and helpful and caring people doing wonderful things. Like the neighbor who brought us eggs from her hens the first week, when we were in just-in-case isolation and the store was stripped of nearly everything. (Thanks Theresa!)

I’m even getting some writing done, though not a lot. And no art. I feel like I want to draw or paint, but when I pick up a colored pencil, it’s too much effort to use it. Getting out acrylics would take all the energy in the world right now.

How is everybody else doing?

recent sketch

For various reasons that probably aren’t very good, I haven’t been doing much art recently. But when we went on our cruise (before Corvid-19 blew up) I had time to do this colored pencil sketch:

colored pencil sketch of white lighthouse on a small sandbar between dark blue ocean and turquoise bay

Not a resolution

It would be useful to me if I were to post here more often. It would give me a better record of what I’ve done, what I’ve been thinking, and other things that happen around me.

major accomplishment

I finally read The Haunting of Hill House. Does this mean I get to level up?

Creepy and emotionally distressing. I’m not going to sleep well for at least another week…

2018 reading

So once again, it appears that the vast majority of my reading was short nonfiction–astronomy and archaeology/paleontology articles mostly, with a good portion of health and diet research and a side helping of art history getting ready for our big trip to Spain last fall.

Best nonfiction: Smithsonian magazine

Best poetry: Emily Wilson’s translation of the Odyssey. Seriously, if you haven’t read this yet, do it, even if you didn’t like the Odyssey in high school. Especially if you didn’t like the Odyssey in high school.

Best fiction: Troll Tunnels, the third book in Erin M. Hartshorn’s Technowitch series. (Full disclosure: Erin’s my good friend and crit partner.) This series just keeps getting better with every installment. Can’t wait for Maenad March due out later this year, and a special holiday novella featuring the trolls’ quest for a Yule log 😀  (Sign up for Erin’s newsletter here: http://www.erinmhartshorn.com/newsletter/)

So here we are almost at the end of 2018 and I haven’t posted here, or commented on other people’s blogs, or pretty much anything I wanted to do. It has not been the year I planned, in any sense. Probably good for me in the long run…but we’ll see. 

plans for the year 2018

Goals for the year:

  • improve health and fitness (stick to plan the specialist recommended, one day at a time).  At this point the only goal is whether I followed the plan. Results should follow.
  • finish at least one project in process.
  • be more regular about something besides Candy Crush Soda. This includes keeping up with this blog, checking the Alice M. Cole blog and mail more frequently, and looking into my other neglected accounts such as Goodreads. This does not include going back to Facebook.

Here’s the game plan for the major writing items. I haven’t decided how public I want to be with the family and personal goals; right now I think not.

January was for recovering from December and planning the coming year.

February and March: finish Genie-ous second draft and hopefully an edit pass of the completed draft.

April is Camp NaNoWriMo. I’ll flesh out the Troy and Sal draft from November.

May will be Story a Day at Forward Motion. I haven’t participated for years and I miss it.

June: final pass on Genie-ous and send to market.

July: Camp NaNoWriMo session two. I’ll either edit Troy and Sal 1 or work on second draft of the hurricane story. I might also decide to draft Troy and Sal’s second novel.

August: Edit Troy and Sal, if not done.

September: mostly family. Evaluate progress and adjust plans accordingly.

October: Finish draft of T&S 2

November: probably draft Troy and Sal’s third tale.

December: family

January 2019: recovery month and plan 2019.


I’d also like to work on Crows, and I might slot it in late in the year if everything else is going well.

New year, new art class

We’re taking portrait drawing this term. Lots of fun so far.

From yesterday:

Portrait drawing near end of second class

Portrait drawing near end of second class

My effort on the right. The guy on the left is instructor Jeff Ellse illustrating a point for Neil. Tom, our model, sitting patiently in the chair. (Thanks Tom).

I think it turned out rather well. (NaNoWriMo? I don’t know what you’re talking about.)

pier at Oak Bluff

pier at Oak Bluff