Friday, May 4, 2018

White-Throated Sparrow

The clear song of the White-Throated Sparrow pulls me back in time, reminding me of my mother. She could whistle a good imitation of that bird's song, and enjoyed doing so.

For photos and sound samples, visit the Cornell Lab of Ornithology's All About Birds site:
The songs are described as thin whistles that last about 4 seconds, and usually go up or down in pitch on the second or third note.

In recent weeks in my back yard in western Massachusetts, I've heard the distinctive whistle with the pitch going up, just the way my mother used to whistle it.  The pattern is like this:  __ – – – –     __ – – – –

I smile as I think fondly of my mother.  May 5th is the anniversary of her birthday, so I am especially happy to hear the White-Throated Sparrow right now.

Wednesday, April 25, 2018

Danvers Women's Association

In 1902, when the Danvers Women's Association held its 20th anniversary, Miss Mary Ward Nichols was its President. She lived in Danvers at 98 Preston Street with her brother Andrew Nichols, his wife Lizzie (Elizabeth Perkins Stanley Nichols) and their children. This newspaper article mentions that "Fine piano selections were given by Mrs. Nichols and Miss Lena Putnam."  I wonder if "Mrs. Nichols" was Lizzie, my great-grandmother, or her son William's wife, Nellie E. Nichols (my Nana, who supervised my piano practicing in the 1950's).

Among family papers I've found a few documents about the Danvers Women's Association, including this little booklet (4.5" x 6.5") from 1950/51:

In its address list of Active Members (pages 19-26), I find many relatives: Mrs. Annie Nichols Brewster, Miss Margaret A. Nichols, Miss Marion B. Nichols, and Nellie E. Nichols (Mrs. William S.).  Complimentary Members (page 27) include Bernice H. Nichols (Mrs. Andrew, 3rd) of 10 Berry St, and Miss Mary E. Nichols of 98 Preston St.

I'll add photos of the title page and list of Presidents (1882-1950)

Click to enlarge

Tuesday, April 24, 2018

Old clippings

My great Aunt May (Mary Eliot Nichols) loved to write about family history and to collect and save relevant newspaper clippings. She also tended to make scrapbooks. She pasted (or glued) various clippings onto the pages of blank books, or sometimes onto pages of real (but no longer needed) books. 

Here is an example of a few isolated pages that probably had been been in a 3-ring binder. Small clippings are attached on both sides of each page. Aunt May wrote on the first one: "Found in pocket of an old diary these clippings"

Click on image to enlarge

Unfortunately she didn't date when she did this, nor reveal whose diary contained the collection of clippings. Nor did she arrange the clippings in order by date. Many of them lack dates, but even those that are dated seem in random order. The common theme is death notices of family members or family friends. Fascinating tidbits of information about people are included, but in a rather frustrating format, lacking context of when published or in which newspaper. All of these people had connections to my Danvers ancestors, and their death dates could be confirmed in genealogical records. ( is the resource I have used this year as I've sorted family papers.)

Note: You may click on any of these images to view enlarged versions.  I will write my next blog entry about some of the items in this last page of clippings.