Hendrick Corssen b 30 November 1653

Hendrick Corssen, the youngest son of Cors Pietersen and Tryntje Hendricks, was only a little over one year old when his father died in 1655.  When he was three years old his mother married Fredrick Lubbertsen.  Hendricks eldest brother, Cornelis, was ten years old and Pieter was four when the father died.  When the mother, Tryntje Hendricks, widow of Cors Pietersen, assisted by Fredrick Lubbertsen, her present fiancé and chosen guardian, appeared before the Orphanmasters of New Amsterdam, with the guardians appointed by the court, to arrange for the paternal inheritance of her three fatherless babies, the first born to the Corson family in America, she obligated herself as follows:  First said Tryntje Hendricks shall be held and promises honestly to bring up her said three children, named Cornelis Corssen, twelve years old, Pieter six years and Hendrick Corssen three years, as well as she can, to have them taught reading, writing, and a good trade or occupation, so that in time to come they may make their own living, further to instruct them in the fear of the Lord and in religious exercises and to do all a good mother is bound to do, until said children shall come of age or marry.

That this mother and her chosen guardian kept, sacredly, this beautiful pledge is proved conclusively by the lives of her sons.  In all of the many records history holds concerning these men and their families, the writer found not one that gave the least suspicion of an unlawful or dishonest act.  From these records, we know they were good business men; they were patriotic men; and they were devoutly religious and God-fearing citizens.  The Dutch word Vroom could mean brave, pious, gentle, or kind and was occasionally used as an additional designative to the patronymic names of Cornelis and Hendrick Corssen by their friends and neighbors.  The children of Hendrick Corssen dropped the patronymic Corssen and use the additional designative Vroom as their family name and are so known today.  (Corson book, p 53).

Hendrick Corssen and his family moved to the Raritan River district of New Jersey between 1683-1685.  Many  Vroom descendants stayed in New Jersey.  Some were Loyalists and moved to Nova Scotia during and after the Revolutionary War.


Pierre Blaise b 29 Nov 1639

Pierre Blais probably left France from the port of La Rochelle in the Province of Aunis in 1664; destination Canada. The Dutch ship NOIR, under the command of Captain Pierre Filly of Dieppe, had at least fifty men aboard. The 24 year old Pierre is mentioned on the crew manifest as coming from Chef-Boutonne, capital of the Canton of Deux-Sevres. Pierre was the son of Mathurin Blais and Francoise Peniguat. Mathurin had a wife previous to Pierre’s mother. She was Marie Auchier whom he married on 9 November 1630, at Melleran, which used to be in the Province of Angouleme, but today is found in the Department of Deux-Sevres. In his second marriage on 30 April 1634, Mathurin conquered the heart of Franoise Penigaut. The witnesses to the marriage were Jean Carrier, Denis Richard, Nicolas Blanchard and the “procurer-fiscal” Pierre Alix. Moreover, and this is a rarity, we find the grandfather of Pierre at the ceremony: Jacques, married also to a Penigaud, one Louise, buried at Melleran on 2 December 1629. Our Ancestor Pierre Blaise was raised in the Parish of Hanc nearby Melleran, also in Angouleme. The records of this town do not go back beyond 1684; therefore it is not possible to find his baptismal certificate.

In the census of 1667 in New France, Pierre Blais is mentioned for the first time as living on the Ile d’Orleans and having been born about 1640, occupation laborer. Among his bachelor friends living on the Island we might note Jacques Tardif, Martin Poisson, and Francois Marcear.

On 22 June 1667, before the Notary Paul Vachon, Pierre Blais received a concession of land within the limits of the future parish of Saint-Jean. His neighbors were Antoine Poisson and Hyppolyte Thiviege. In 1681, the census taker notes that Pierre owned 4 head of cattle and 15 arpents of cleared land. It was on this farm that he would live for the remainder of his life – 33 more years.

Pierre Blais married Anne Perrot on 12 October 1669, at the Church of Saint-Famille on the Island. Anne Perrot, originally from Saint Sulpice in Paris, was the daughter of Jean and Jeanne Valta. She was a King’s daughter and brought a dowry into the family estimated at 300 livres. From this union, ten children were born: 8 boys and 2 girls, of whom 4 died at an early age. These four boys founded the family line: Pierre, Antoine, Jacques, and Jean. Anne, the mother, died in childbirth on 29 June 1688 and was buried the next day in the cemetery at Saint Jean, at about 45 years of age. Pierre remained a widower with two young infants, especially the poignant little Marguerite, born 29 June on her mother’s deathbed. It was she who would marry Etienne Lamy in 1714.

Pierre sought to reorganize his life, so on 18 April 1689 before Notary Paul Vachon, he nominated a guardian for his children, and had an inventory made of his possessions. On the following 5th of June, he married Elizabeth Royer at Saint-Jean; she was the daughter of Jean and Marie Targer. From this union five children were shown the light of day: a daughter Anne and 4 boys: Francois, Alexis, Louis-Charles, and Gabriel. The last, Gabriel, was born in March 1699 and adopted by Pierre Cloquet and his wife Marie Chaperon. Gabriel married at Boucherville on 31 May 1718.

Pierre Blais died suddenly on 16 February 1700 at about 60 years of age. His widow, Elizabeth Royer, married eight months later, it would be the 16th of November, to Robert Pepin at Saint Jean. She followed her husband to Montreal where she lived out the rest of her days. This couple put seven children into the world, then Elizabeth died and was buried on 22 June 1715 at Montreal.

Source: http://www.kencrouse.com/stories/pierre-blais.htm

Robert Burnap baptized 28 November 1627

Robert is an ancestor of Edgar Rice Burroughs, author of Tarzan, and of both my husband and I. 

Robert Burnap, son of Robert Burnap was born in Hoddesdon,  England about 1626-8.  Hoddeson was a coaching stop on the route from Cambridge to London.  The chapel was a “chapel of ease” – a place for travelers to stop when they couldn’t reach a more established church.  The chapel of Robert Burnap’s time was replaced in the mid 1700’s.  He married (first) about 1651, Ann , who died 1661. He married (second), May 28. 1662, Sarah Browne. He was a very prominent man in Reading.  Robert’s home was on the property of his father.  When the elder Robert died, he bequeathed that land to Robert, as well as “ye cupboard in ye parlour” to Sarah.  Robert and his half-brother Thomas were executors of Robert senior’s will.  

 From Burnap-Burnet Genealogy, by Henry Belknap:

Robert Burnap, who was baptized at Hodsden Chapel, 28 November, 1627, came to New England with his father at the age of 11 years, and before 1658, had married a wife Ann, by whom he had at least five children.  She died 25 June 1661, in Reading, and he married, as Robert Burnhap, junior, 28 May 1662, Sarah, sister of John “of the Hill” Brown or Broune.  In 1655 he was chosen to keep the Pound, and is to have 2d. for every head he turns the key upon.  The same year “the meddow land from Jeremiah Swayne’s meddow downe below the falls was divided by lott amoung the setters,’ and his name is among those added to earlier divisions.  In 1665 he was sealer of weights and measures, and in 1670-2, 1674-5, 1677-8, 1681, 1693 and 1694 he was selectman.  In 1692, in the minister’s rates he stands at £1 : 5 : 3, which used to show the relative pecuniary reputation of the inhabitants.  It was probably he who became a freeman on 18 April 1695, and 16 November, 1697 he was a witness to the will of John Upton of Reading, and land formerly his is mentioned in the will.

In Middlesex Land Records, vol. xiv, p 70 is a deed of Robert Burnap of Reading, husbandman, consideration 40/, to Thomas Taylor, husbandman, of land on north side of Ipswich River, 5 Dec., 1695. Witness Joseph Burnhap, John Dix, Joseph Hodgeman.  Acknowledged 2 June 1703, by Sarah Burnap executrix.  He died 18 October 1695

Louis LaCroix b 27 November 1672

Louis LaCroix was the son of François LaCroix and Anne Gagne.  He was born at Beaupré, Québec, which means “beautiful meadow.”  Louis married Marguerite Caron, a widow with several children.  They had more children together.  Louis died 17 December 1759 at nearby Saint-Joachim.   I was not able to find out much about this ancestor, but the area where he lived is a religiously important location.

The area of Sainte-Anne de Beaupré is about 30 miles east of Québec city, on the north side of the St. Lawrence River. St Anne was the mother of Mary and grandmother of Jesus.  Saint-Joachim is Mary’s father.  The first houses of Sainte-Anne de Beaupré date back to 1650. Settlers began to farm the fertile soil of the Beaupré hillside. The first church was built by sailors who were shipwrecked off  Île aux Œufs on their way to Québec City.  The sailors and settlers dedicated the chapel to Sainte-Anne, patron saint of sailors, and later named patron saint of Québec.  The very day the Saint showed how favorably she viewed the undertaking by healing Louis Guimont, an inhabitant of Beaupré, who suffered terribly from rheumatism of the loins. Full of confidence in St. Anne, he came forward and placed three stones in the foundations of the new building, whereupon he found himself suddenly and completely cured of his ailment. The chapel has been replaced many times over, and is now the site of the Basilica of Sainte-Anne, a place of miracles. On either side of the doorway are pyramids of crutches and bandages left behind by pilgrims who prayed to Sainte-Anne at her shrine and have gone home healed.

The area of Saint-Joachim was one of the first places in Québec to be colonized.  It was an agricultural center and farms were established to feed Séminaire de Québec, a society established to prepare young men for the priesthood for service in North America.  Joachim is the patron saint of fathers, grandfathers, grandparents, married couples, and cabinet makers and linen traders.

Edward Bates b 26 Nov 1606

From batesplace.org:

Edward Bates arrived in Boston from England September 18, 1633 onboard the Griffin. On that ship were 100 passengers, including Anne Hutchinson who would play a part in his life. Most on the Griffin were likely followers of Reverend John Cotton who had already made his way to Boston. On the passenger list was the Reverend Jonathan Lothrop who had conducted separatist services in Edgerton, Kent and London, and the Rev. Zachariah Symmes of Canterbury, Kent.

 From The Planters of the Commonwealth by Charles Edward Banks: We do not know how much Edward Bates may have been involved in the religious discussion that most likely occurred on the Griffin but we do know that he found something he liked in what Anne Hutchinson had to say, if not then, in the near future. 

Edward came as a servant to Thomas Leverett, [a lawyer Alderman from Boston, England who had come previously with John Cotton and would also be an Elder in the First Church of Boston], but he soon earned his freedom, and became a freeman in 1637. He married Lydia Fairbanks about 1640 in Boston,  and embarked on a brief but colorful life in the new Boston.

Edward was excommunicated and disarmed for heresy as a follower of Anne Hutchinson. She was a strong and good woman who tended the sick, offered aid at birthing and dying, and believed in a personal relationship with God. She led discussions and prayer meetings, infuriating the men clergy who banished her from Massachusetts Bay Colony. Her followers were allowed to remain but were branded “heretics” and allowed no rights or property, including weapons. It must have been a fearful punishment in that society.

Edward eventually recanted and was allowed back into the fold. He is mentioned several times in the Boston Town Records. He was given 14 acres of land on Pullen Poynt (now the town of Winthrop, where a Bates Road still exists). He almost lost the land because he sailed off to Sable Island to hunt instead of tending to the required house building but the town fathers relented and gave him an extension of time.

His only child, John, was born in 1641 and baptized in the First Church of Boston. The date and circumstances of Edward’s death aren’t known, but in 1645 his widow married William Fletcher in Concord.

Ebenezer Richardson b 25 November 1751

Ebenezer Richardson was born 25 November 1751 in Townsend, MA, son of Hezekiah and Elizabeth Richardson. As an adult, he was described as 6’3″, dark complexion, and black hair.  By 1771, Ebenezer was living in Maine, one of the first settlers of Canaan.  With his brothers, they settled on what was called “the million acre lot”, which was on both sides of the Kennebec River.

Ebenezer married Catherine (Tufts) Wyman on 12 Dec 1776. 

During the Revolutionary war, Ebenezer enlisted on Jan 20, 1777, and, served in the Massachusetts Militia and Continental as corporal in Capt. Samuel Foster’s company, Col. John Greaton’s 3rd Massachusetts regiment.  In 1780 he was appointed sergeant. He was in the military service of his country three years.  He was at the surrender of Cornwallis October, 1781. 

Catherine died, and after the war, he returned to Maine, In 1785, he was at Canaan.  Ebenezer married Jerusha Dodge on 13 Apr 1789 in Canaan, ME.  In 1800, the family lived in Portland, ME.   In 1810, the family was in Mount Vernon, ME.  (A hundred years later, his grandson Daniel was in Mount Vernon, NH.)

Ebenezer died 5 Jun 1810. His widow applied for a pension 7 Sep 1838 when living in Somerset Co ME, aged 76. Jerusha declared that Ebenezer had been at the Battle of Bunker Hill and that he was sent to Quebec with General Arnold.   When their provisions failed them, they were sent back.  He enlisted again for three years, and did serve until the close of the war.  She declared that he was honorably discharged at or near West Point.  She had none of his military documentation, but offered to name witnesses who knew that her husband was a Revolutionary soldier and served during the war.  Jerusha did qualify for Ebenezer’s pension, an amount of $120 per year. 

Ebenezer and Jerusha are buried at the New North Portland Cemetery.

Josie Newell Smith b 24 November 1877


Josie Newell Smith was born 24 November, 1877, in Ipswich, MA, the daughter of George W Smith, and Josephine P Felton.  The middle name of Newell comes from her father’s mother, Harriet Newell. 

The town of Ipswich is one of the oldest in the United States.  Originally called Agawam, it was colonized in 1633 (only 13 years after the arrival of the Mayflower) and re-named for the town in England from which most settlers originated. Josie’s ancestors, particularly the Smiths and the Lords, trace their history to the mid 1600’s.  Early settlers were farmers, fishermen, and ship builders.  Because of the availability of water power,the town later became somewhat industrialized, and was home to the largest stocking mill in the country. 

Josie’s father was a clerk. Josie was their first child, but her mother Josephine died two weeks after childbirth.  Josie is with her father and step-mother Emma in the 1880 census in Ipswich.  For some reason, Josie’s uncle Albert and wife Lucinda took Josie to live with them.  Did that coincide with the arrival of Emma’s own children?  Was it because Albert and Lucinda didn’t have any children of their own?  With the loss of the 1890 census, I am unable to show where Josie lived in 1890, but since family lore is that she was raised by an aunt and uncle on her father’s side, it can be guessed that she went with them as a small child. 

Albert Warren Smith and Lucinda Stone were married in 1867 in Lynn, and lived there the remainder of their lives.  Albert was a stone mason.  Josie had lost her mother as a newborn, and moved away from her father as a toddler.  When she was only 10, her adoptive mother Lucinda died.  A year later, Albert married again to Mary Breed. 

In 1890, the family moved from 5 Stone Place to 119 Holyoke Street.  Her soon-to-be husband, Frank D Hodges, lived at 123 Holyoke at the time of the 1900 census. 

Josie and Frank were married on 28 November 1900, at the South Street Methodist Church, on what would have been the 30th anniversary of Frank’s parents Jonathan and Henrietta (Vroom) Hodges.  This church became a community center, and most recently (2007) was remodeled into condos.  Frank and Josie set up their home at #9 Oak Street, and also lived at 44 Reed (1902), 35 Bullfinch (1904), 216 Maple (1905).  One might infer that they were moving to larger quarters, as by then, all four sons had been born.  Frank’s mother Henrietta and sister Etha were also part of the household.  In 1907, the family moved to Lowell.  In 1908 they were in Dracut, and 1909 back in Lowell at 214 Gibson, then on Sladen Street.  By 1910, the family was back in Lynn, living at 13 Smith.  Josie’s sister-in-law Etha, and a Vroom cousin lived with them.  In 1911, the family lived at 6 Pond, then moved from Lynn to 4 Prospect, in Nashua NH.  They lived for a couple years at 8 Water, in Hudson, then moved in 1915 to Merrimack. 

Frank moved the family to Moore, PA, just outside Philadelphia, where he worked as a carpenter in the shipyards.  They were living there in 1918, but returned to Prospect Street in Nashua, where the family lived when Frank died in 1919. 

First son Albert Warren Hodges was no doubt named for the uncle who raised Josie. Albert was the only son to be known by his first name.  Frank Chester was probably named for his father Frank.  Arthur Roland may have been named for the Roland family (Frank’s grandmother’s second husband) that took in Henrietta and her children when her husband died.)  I have not found a family name connection for Frederick Donald.  No son was named for her birth father.

In 1920, Josie, with sons Frank (Chet) and Frederick (Don), lived in Nashua.  Etha lived with them.  Josie worked as a clerk in a store.  Although one daughter-in-law remembers Josie as “being brought up as a “lady.”  liking to dress up for afternoon visiting, and not wanting to work, she did housework for others in Merrimack and Reeds Ferry, after her husband died.  The city directories list Josie with a variety of addresses and occupations.  In 1921 and 1923, she was listed as a sample mounter.  In 1926, she was listed as a nurse.  In 1927, she lived in Reed’s Ferry with two of her sons.  In 1935 – 1940, she lived at 27 Spring, and was a nurse.  From 1942 – 1946, she lived at 2 Courtland, and was a nurse at Nashua Memorial Hospital. 

By 1948, Josie was listed as retired, living at 10 Allds, which is the Mary Hunt Home in Nashua.  She was the youngest person in the home, so she got to help with sorting the mail and answering the phone.  Even when invited to spend holidays with family, she enjoyed staying with her friends at the Home.  Newspapers of the era indicate she was active with her church groups “Universalist Women”, and with a patriotic service group, the Women’s Relief Corps. WRC was formed in the 1880s as an auxiliary of the Grand Army of the Republic.  Josie was apparently interested in her heritage as a descendant of a civil war soldier, as she had sent away for information about Andrew P Felton, her mother’s father.  She was also a member of the Olive Branch Rebekah Lodge. (The Daughters of Rebekah is a service organization and a branch of the Independent Order of Odd Fellows.) Josie was buried at Edgewood Cemetery.

Pierre Genest dit LaBarre m Marie-Louise Manseau 22 Nov 1831

Pierre was born 2 Feb 1805 in Bécancour, Québec.  Marie-Louse was born 12 June 1811 in Baie du Febvre.  They were married 22 Nov 1831 in St-Frederic, Drummondville, Québec.  Their eldest son was Joseph, the Labor ancestor who moved to Vermont.  Pierre was a farmer.  The family grew up in the parish of St-Camille, in Wolfe County.   In the early 1850s, 12 families lived there.  It appears that the 1851 census for the area no longer exists. 

The French tradition of wives keeping their married names helped in tracing these ancestors.  In 1861, the family was in St-Camille with their children.  Their married offspring either lived with them or nearby.

In 1871, Pierre and Louise lived in St-Camille with daughters Louisa and Solomé.  Also in the family were grandsons Louis and Theóphile (Frank T) Labor, sons of Joseph.  Marcel was not there, so perhaps he was with Joseph and second wife Lydia.   

Pierre died in 1876, before the  church was built in 1880.  The town was built on an economy of farming, the milk industry, and the trade of wood.  St-Camille was a post village with a Catholic church, two saw mills, a grist mill, and two stores.  The population was 800. 

In 1881, the widow Marie Labor lived in St-Camille.  Her occupation was listed as “farmer”. In 1891, she was listed as Marie Labarre, head of household, Roman Catholic, and French Canadian. 

Marie-Louise died in 1895 and was buried in the parish cemetery.  It is likely that our ancestors used wooden crosses.  In a trip to Québec, we did not find a single headstone to mark the passing of our ancestors. 


Lizzie LaClair b 21 Nov 1867

The record of Lizzie’s birth has not yet been found, but the date has given as 21 Nov 1867, and in the marriage record of daughter Lana, she lists her place of birth as Compton.   The 1871 census of Canada shows her as Isabel, born in Quebec, a Methodist of French descent.  She is with Barnabus and Sarah, and her siblings:  Josephine, Anne, and Philip, and they lived in Compton.  In French, the  names Isabel and Elizabeth are sometimes interchanged. Other records show her as Lizzie Belle.  Her headstone, as arranged for by daughter Bessie, lists her birth year as 1859, but that doesn’t match the 1871 census, and since the date of the census is closer in time to her birth, than the ordering of the headstone, the census is more likely to be accurate.  There is a family story that Lizzie had a twin who died at birth, but again, without the birth records, that cannot be confirmed. 

The LaClair family (LeClare, LeClerc) moved to Vermont.  By 1880, her parents were divorced.  Her sisters were married.  Lizzie lived in the household and worked as a servant for the Thomas Wilkey family.  She also attended Barton Academy, and in 1880 was listed in the Intermediate Level. 

Family lore is that Lizzie and Frank were married 9 April 1882 in Westmore VT.  A stop at Westmore did not turn up that record.

In 1900, the family lived in Barton.  Sometime before son Wilmer’s birth in April 1902, the family moved to Lebanon.  I have not been able to find the family in the 1910 census.  In 1920, they were still in Lebanon.  The census indicates that she could read and write.  

Agnes (Mrs. Ralph) Laber remembers that Lizzie would bake a big dish of beans every Saturday night, and would cook all night and make bread. It appears that Labor family reunions were more frequent than they are now.  In a letter from December 1919 to her sister Josephine, Lizzie talked about how busy she was with all her children home for Thanksgiving except Eugene, because Jessie’s health was too poor to allow her to travel in cold weather.  Lizzie wanted Josephine to shut up her house and come live with her for the winter, or at least come for Christmas.

Another item of family lore is that it was Lizzie who shortened Frank’s name from Labarre to Labor, then again to Laber to give it an American look and sound.  This is probably not true, as Frank’s father Joseph was known as Labor well before Lizzie was part of the family. 

Lizzie died suddenly on 17 Oct 1924, age 56, after one day in the hospital.  The death certificate lists chronic nephritis and pulmonary embolus. Frank D thought his mother had died from complications of sugar diabetes. This was before much was known about diabetes.  Although she lived in Lebanon at the time of death, she was buried next to her infant son Joseph, at Willoughby Cemetery in South Barton.

George & Helen and Harry and George & Helen

Many years ago, when discussing family research, George Edward “Buddy” Laber mentioned to me the confusion that sometimes occurred, because his father George Henry Laber married Helen Brooks, and then George Edward Laber married Helen Panuelos.  George Leonard “Lennie” Laber didn’t follow in the footsteps of his father and grandfather because he married someone not named Helen, but Lennie shared this story about a visit by his father to Laber family friend Harry Ryan. 

“I will tell you a very funny and interesting story that my dad told me about the first time he went to visit Harry with my mother. Back in the 70’s my dad and mother drove to New England occasionally in a camper to visit relatives he had not seen in a long time and decided to visit the old farm house long gone. He pulled up to the house that Harry built from the lumber of the old barn and got out of the car. I think I remember him telling me that it was dark or getting dark when they arrived. He knocked on the door and introduced himself to Harry and his wife as George Laber and wife Helen (a former resident of the now non-existent barn). Harry threw his hands to his face and said “No, No, this can’t be, you haven’t aged a bit and I’ve gotten so old and you’re still young”. What my dad had to explain to Harry was that Harry knew my dad’s father, George Henry Laber and his wife Helen Marie Brooks Laber who were the original property owners, but it was their son George Edward Laber who had come back to visit the old homestead with his wife Helen Lucilla Laber. After his blood pressure got back to normal they sat and talked awhile and whenever my dad went up there to visit relatives I believe that he stopped in to check on Harry now and then.”

I love hearing these stories – they make family history so much more alive than just a collection of birth/marriage/death dates.  And through the magic of Internet and e-mail, this story was also shared with Harry’s son Ray.

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