Saturday, December 24, 2011

Christmas Comes to Dorchester in the 1840's

I have no record of how the Ball Hughes' family celebrated Christmas in Dorchester, but I can imagine that Ball Hughes, being the innovator that he was, may have been one of the first to have a Christmas tree in his neighborhood.

From the Dorchester Reporter, December 6, 2001:

It Happened Here
Just Another Day
For Dorchester's First Two
Centuries, Christmas Was
No Holiday

In the 1840s, as the Victorian Era hit New England full-bore, Christmas in Dorchester began to change. A social historian notes: "But with the beginning of the nineteenth century, the need for a festival to have some commemorative time made the Americans embrace Christmas as a perfect family holiday. Christmas was declared as a national holiday for celebration on June 26, 1870. And that was not all; Americans even re-invented the Christmas celebration and transformed it from a mere carnival into a family-oriented day of feast, fun and frolic." Read more

Monday, September 26, 2011

Interested in Genealogy?

Are you interested in learning more about genealogy research? According to a poll by Maritz Marketing Research in 2000, sixty percent of Americans were interested in tracing their family history, up from 45 percent in 1995.The number is probably even higher today with Baby Boomers retiring and having the time and interest in their ancestry.

I started my quest with some sketchy family stories about my ancestor. I went online and was immediately surprised to find numerous books and articles that mentioned him. I was lucky in that he was fairly famous in art circles in the early to mid 1800’s. The work got more difficult as I had to research each piece of information and search for more information but is was worth it. New information leads to more new information.

There is a wealth of free information on the Internet to help you. I recommend that you start with Genealogy. This comprehensive site is led by professional genealogist, Kimberly Powell. The site has information on how to get started, searching online, and how to share and preserve your family history. Genealogy also has a blog, a user forum, and numerous links to free tutorials, online classes, and magazines. You can sign up for the free weekly Genealogy Newsletter, the Intro to Genealogy (E-Course), and the About Genealogy Tip of the Day (E-Course) from Kimberly Powell of Genealogy.

Of course, most genealogy websites rely on advertising and you can evaluate the services offered to see if they are of interest to you. Genealogy research does not have to cost you any money if you’re on a tight budget like me. I use Google, free Internet resources, and Inter-Library Loan. I’m increasingly getting help from art collectors, museums, researchers, and art enthusiasts for which I am extremely grateful.

Friday, May 20, 2011

The Early Years: 1804-1829

In January 2009, Fred Brown sent me a copy of the Sketch of the Life of Robert Ball Hughes by Mrs. E. Ball Hughes. At the time, he said that it should keep me busy for a year. Well, it’s been over two years and I still have not published the entire manuscript on the website.

It's proved to be a treasure-trove of information that was previously unknown. I have added many facts and quotes from Eliza’s journal throughout the website where it added to our understanding of the events.

My goal for 2011 is to publish the entire journal in monthly installments. Please see The Early Years: 1804-1829 on for the first monthly installment. It has some exciting information that has never been published before about the reason Robert Ball Hughes came to America and why he considered returning to England a few months after his arrival.