Wednesday, April 25, 2018

Who Was Rebecca Cornell Really?

The widow Rebecca Cornell. She was my 9th great-grandmother. You may have heard the story how she was "killed strangely" at Portsmouth in her own home. If you haven't, I will give you the highlights.

It was assumed that she had been burned to death from sitting to close to the fire while she was smoking her pipe when her body was found the 8th day of February 1673. After she had been buried a prominent citizen by the name of John Briggs came forward and said that Rebecca had visited him in the night as an apparition.

The following paragraph is a transcription of John Briggs' testimony:

John Brigs of the Towne of Portsmouth Aged sixty foure yeares or thereabouts, being According to Law Sworne and In[g]aged befor the Councell, Testifieth That on the Twelfth Day of this Instant month ffebruary in the night as this Deponentt lay in his Bedd, he being in A Dreame of Mrs Rebeca Cornell Deseased, and being betweene Sleepeing and Wakeing, as he thought he felt something heave up the Bedclothes twice, and thought some body had beene coming to bed to hime, where upon he Awaked, and turned himeselfe about in his Bed, and being Turned, he perceived A Light in the roome, like to the Dawning of ye Day, and plainely saw the shape and Apearance of A Woman standing by his Bed side where at he was much Afrighted, and Cryed out, in the name of God what art thou, the Aperition Answered, I am your sister Cornell, and Twice sayd, see how I was Burnt with ffire, and shee plainely Apeered unto hime to be very much burnt about the shoulders, fface, and Head.
Taken before the Deputy Govr and Councell mett the 20th day of ffebruary 1672/3 As Atest John Sanford Secretary

This post is not about the tragic death of grandma Rebecca, but the misconception that her maiden name was Briggs and that she and John Briggs were siblings and children of Henry Briggs of Clerkenwell, Middlesex, England.

I believe we can give credit to Rev. John Cornell for perpetuating this assumption in his book Genealogy of the Cornell Family which was published in 1902. It's true that John Briggs testified that the apparition in his dream introduced herself as "your sister Cornell", but that is not proof of a biological relationship.
As George McCracken states in his article, Who Was Rebecca Cornell? (TAG 36: 16-18), the usage of the word sister in seventeenth-century terms could have a few different meanings.
  • John Briggs could have been married to Rebecca's sister.
  • John Briggs could have been married to Thomas Cornell's sister.
  • Thomas Cornell could have been married to a sister of John Briggs.
  • Rebecca could have been a step-sister.
And, like Prentiss Glazier asserts in his publication of Thomas Corn(w)ell of Massachusetts, New York and Rhode Island, if she was blood-related she probably would have called herself  "your sister Rebecca". 

McCracken gives a list of baptisms, burials, and weddings from the Clerkenwell parish records of Briggs family members. Among them is a baptism listed for Rebecca, daughter of Henry Briggs 25 Oct. 1600, and one for John and Joyce, children of Henry Briggs 8 Apr. 1618. For some reason, the Rev. Cornell assigned these dates to the said John Briggs and Rebecca. 

I can tell you for sure that the widow Rebecca Cornell and Rhode Island's John Briggs were not the children of Henry Briggs of Clerkenwell because his John and Rebecca died as infants. I have found their burial records.

Source Citation - London Metropolitan Archives; London, England; Reference Number: P76/JS1/004, Source Information - London, England, Church of England Baptisms, Marriages and Burials, 1538-1812 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Operations, Inc., 2010.

  • Rebecka daughter to Henrie Briggs was Expired the 25th daie of October 1600
  • John sone to Henry Briggs was xpired April 8 1618

So it is my hope that those with trees having Henry Briggs assigned as the father to the widow Rebecca Cornell will remove him because it only hinders your search for her real parents. And we all know how misinformation can spread like wildfire!


Tuesday, March 7, 2017

Fearless Females ~ Recipe

Once again Lisa Alzo has brought back Fearless Females, the blogging prompt to celebrate National Women's History Month.

Today's prompt: March 7 — Share a favorite recipe from your mother or grandmother’s kitchen. Why is this dish your favorite? If you don’t have one that’s been passed down, describe a favorite holiday or other meal you shared with your family.

Grandma Smedley made the best cookies! I know I am not the only grandchild to think so. She would make a double batch and freeze some of them so there would always be cookies in the cookie jar when a visitor may appear.

Every time we went to grandma's after getting mauled at the door I made a bee line to the cookie jar. If it was winter my next stop would be sitting on the floor in front of the heater with a cookie in each hand. If it wasn't winter, the rocking chair would suffice.

When I make cookies this is my go to recipe. However, I always skip the nuts. I can't say that I have ever put the cookie dough in the fridge before baking either.

Leslie Ann

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Workday Wednesday ~ Dr. Patrick Saunders, Physic, Alchemist, and More

Alchemy: a workshop with furnaces and apparatus, 
the alchemist in the foreground tying up a leather 
bag. Watercolour, 1934, by V. Kalibaafter K. 
Stapfer after a 17th century MS.

I made some new discoveries about my 11th great-grandfather Dr. Patrick Saunders while I was making a little project page for mom's birthday. As far as I know he is the only doctor out of all of my ancestors. But, you never know. That could change.

I am intrigued now more than ever with our doctor. Before he earned his medical degree from the University of Franeker in August of 1619 he was a pupil studying under the wing of John Dee who was a "mathematician, astronomer, astrologer, occult philosopher, imperialist and adviser to Queen Elizabeth I. He devoted much of his life to the study of alchemy, divination and Hermetic philosophy."

Patrick started his tutelage under Dee about 1603. At the time of Dee's death in 1608 Patrick was one of his assistants and ended up with several of his manuscripts.

Patrick has been given different titles:

  • disciple of the famous Doctor Dee
  • alchemical assistant
  • a scryer with a reputation for seeing visions in crystals
  • physician-alchemist
  • physic
  • astrologer
  • medical physician

He certainly ran in famous circles. Besides John Dee his friends and colleagues included the likes of Henry Percy, the “Wizard Earl” of NorthumberlandElias Ashmole, John Pontois, Joachim MorsiusJohn Woodall, Arthur Dee, and Richard Napier.

Saunders was incorporated at Oxford the 2nd of December,in1619. He, was admitted a Candidate of the College of Physicians the 30th of September, 1620. He had been under the watchful eye of the college censors beginning in 1613.

The following are excerpts taken from Physicians and Irregular Medical Practitioners in London 1550-1640 Database:

Censorial hearings
  • 10 Sep 1613 - Entry: S[aunders] had studied medicine for 10 years, though he'd only been in university for 2 months. He 'practised among friends only'. Action taken: Warned. Verdict: guilty Sentence: Warned to abstain
  • 1 Dec 1615 - Entry: S[aunders] was charged by Moundeford with giving a clyster and letting blood in Crooked Lane. Initiator of the complaint: college member Action taken: To reappear. Verdict: case not completed Number of crimes: 1
  • 25 Nov 1617 - Entry: S[aunders] failed to appear. Attitude of the accused: absent Action taken: Failed to appear.
  • 5 Dec 1617 - Entry: S[aunders] presented himself for examination. He had no degree, though he had 'passed a while' at Christ Church, Oxford. He had practised in London for 4 years, following Polish and German ('quacks') methods. He had read some Galen & gave several replies to anatomical questions (details in Annals). But though 'not without learning' he refused to give his sources. He was advised to study medicine more carefully. Action taken: Not approved, though not unlearned. Prohibited from practice. Verdict: guilty Sentence: Prohibited from practice. Not licensed
  • 2 June 1620 - Entry: S[aunders], now MD Franeker (28 Aug 1619), had been incorporated at Oxford on 2 Dec 1619. He was examined and approved for the first time. Action taken: Approved on first examination.
  • 7 July 1620 - Entry: S[aunders] was examined and approved for the second time. Action taken: Approved on second examination.
  • 1 Sep 1620 - Entry: S[aunders] was examined and approved for the third time. Action taken: Approved on third examination.
  • Michaelmas 1620 - Entry: S[aunders] was examined and approved for the fourth time. Action taken: Approved on fourth examination and elected CRCP.
  • m Palm Sun 1623 - Entry - Patrick SAUNDERS 648, a Candidate, accused John Glassington, of Knightsbridge, of having given courses of physic, for instance to Mrs. Jone Jacob of Horsey Downe, unction and diet for cancer of the uterus.
  • m Palm Sun 1623 - Entry - SAUNDERS (qv, 648) reported that Mrs Nokes of Wapping, a midwife, had obtained julep and cordials from Robert Holland in Fan Church Street, and had given them to Mrs Southen of Wapping.
  • 2 March 1627 - Entry - Richard Edwards was accused, but Dr Saunders (?his accuser) was not present, so the matter was deferred.
  • 2 Nov 1627 - Entry - Robert Holland, called Henry Holland erroneously (according to a note in the margin of the next entry), was charged by Dr Clarke and Dr Saunders with practice in the case of the late Mr Buffield, of Mr Haslewood's son, of Mr Gardiner, of John Hide and of one Throckmorton. H was ordered to appear.
  • 22 Nov 1627 - Entry - Robert Holland appeared and was accused by Dr Goulston, Dr Spicer, Dr Saunders and (especially) Dr Clarke of malpractice and of passing himself off as a physician. His defence was inept and all the 21 Fellows present undertook to boycott him.
  • 7 Dec 1627 - Entry - Robert Holland was gravely charged by Dr Saunders and others.
  • 28 Jan 1631 - Entry - Dr Saunders said that Richard Edwards had given Mrs Ward of St Helens a violent course of medicine, and that she later died. Dr Rand confirmed this. Dr Saunders also reported [that E had given] medicines to a scorbutic penitentiary and to a boy with hectic fever.
  • 28 Jan 1631 - Entry: S[aunders] accused George BUTLER (135, qv) of giving mercury pills to the wife of Captain Paparelli of Redriff, causing severe salivation. (Goulston knew about the case.) Action taken: ?
  • 23 Sep 1631 - Entry S[aunders] accused George BUTLER (135, qv) of giving 8-10 mineral pills to Mr Askue of Bridwell dock. Action: taken ?
I find it very curious that he was accusing folks left and right for the same practices that he used. Was he deflecting from himself, or slimming the competition?

John Dee was also referred to as a "wizard". According to Jason Louv he was the 16th century's real-life Gandalf. Do I dare say that that would make my 11th great-grandfather like a sorcerer's apprentice.

Could this be the reason why I am so drawn to wizards and crystals? The things that make me go hmmm...


Leslie Ann

Thursday, August 27, 2015

Treasure Chest Thursday ~ Grandma Mary's Quilt Block

Mary C. Taylor
Today's installment of treasures fits quite nicely with last week's Treasure Chest Thursday ~ Relief Society Magazines

A couple of days ago I received a copy of the book The Salt Lake City 14th Ward Album Quilt, 1857. I have wanted this for a long time. 

There's an interesting story leading up to the publishing of this book. Carol Holindrake Nielson the author tells how her husband inherited half of a quilt.  I know right. Half of a quilt.

At the age of twelve Richard Stephen Horne won the beautiful quilt that was hand stitched by the Relief Society women of Salt Lake City's 14th ward. The year was 1857. He held on to that quilt until his first wife died in 1896. That's when he cut the quilt right down the middle. One half for his oldest daughter, and the other half for his second oldest daughter. And to quote Carol's words and my own sentiments "Only a man could do that!"

130 years later the quilt halves were reunited thanks to a little research from Carol. Not only a reunion of an heirloom, but a meeting of distant cousins. How cool is that!

I am so grateful that the author felt that this treasure should be shared with the posterity of these crafty pioneer women. She researched and learned about the women of the 14th ward Relief Society and voila...a book. 

I have three connections to this quilt. The block above was embroidered by my 3rd great-grandmother Mary Edwards White Cannon Taylor.

The block below was done by her daughter and my 2nd great-grandmother Elizabeth Edwards Cannon Piggott. She was 12 years old at the time.

Elizabeth C. Taylor
Unfortunately a piece of hers is missing. However, thankfully her signature is intact. She used her step-father's last name of Taylor.

The other connection is a block done by Leonora Cannon Taylor. She was the aunt of Elizabeth Cannon and the sister of my 3rd great-grandfather.

I may not be able to pass down a quilt, but I can pass down this book with a snippet of the beautiful needlework of my ancestors. Thank you Carol Holindrake Nielson!

Leslie Ann

Thursday, August 20, 2015

Treasure Chest Thursday ~ Relief Society Magazines

When I was back home last September helping mom go through stuff and pack to move out I discovered these old goodies that she didn't want.

Of course I wasn't going to let her put them in the yard sale! I volunteered to take them off her hands for the following reasons (not in any particular order):

  1. My obsession with ephemera
  2. There's history in them there books
  3. They were grandma Hazels
Actually only two of them have her name on them. The other one has the name "Mrs Ethelyn Bee" stamped on it. I had never heard that name before, but I discovered that she is grandma Hazel's first cousin once removed. I found some photos and newspaper articles on her FamilySearch profile. Poor woman died in an automobile accident.

The Relief Society Magazine is an excellent genealogy and family history resource. Many issues are filled with photographs, true pioneer stories, and other events your ancestor may have been involved with.

For example, there is a section called "Notes From the Field" and this particular photo is in the June 1942 issue:

If you have ancestors that were in the Relief Society, or are just interested, you can read digital copies of some of the Relief Society Magazine issues on the BYU library website.

I have been busy scanning old issues and with my addiction to Geni, you know I had to create a project.
Join the world's largest family tree

There were also two other LDS journals. One of them belonging to grandpa Bill. This one is called the Improvement Era. You can also read some of these online.

The other one is called Young•Woman's Journal and it belonged to Vera Madsen who is a cousin of grandma Hazel. There are a few issues of these at Hathi Trust Digital Library.

I'm sure that these magazines were among the ephemera that grandma Hazel kept. And I'm quite sure that's where my obsession for ephemera gene came from.

Leslie Ann

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Wordless Wednesday ~ Piggott Family & Friend

Milton Cozzens, Charles Taylor, Bill Piggott, Hazel Madsen Piggott, Tom Taylor, Wm Madsen Piggott, Tom Taylor Piggott 

Leslie Ann

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Pioneer Elennor Creighton

I meant to get this post done Friday for Pioneer Day, but that didn't happen.

Ellenor Creighton is my 3rd great-grandmother and one of my mysterious brick wall ancestors.

For quite some time I thought that she was buried in Fish Haven, Idaho. Only because that's what the Eastern Idaho Death Records indicates. And, of course I made a memorial for her in the Fish Haven cemetery on Find A Grave. Boy did I feel silly when I discovered someone else made a profile for her years later in Laketown, Utah with a headstone photo and everything! The creator graciously transferred management over to me.

The last time I was in Idaho my aunt took me to the Laketown cemetery so I could see it for myself. It took us forever to find her. It wasn't until we both got frustrated and I said out loud, 'where are you grandma Ellenor?' that I found her. I'm serious. Finally I was able to take my own photo.

Let's back up just a bit. It was actually another record that lead me to the discovery of her correct burial place.

She was listed in the Membership of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints: 1830-1848 database on with her family which can also be found through FamilySearch. We have always spelled her name as Eleanor, but she was recorded here as Ellenor. That's when I started googling her in a different way.

I found her sailing aboard the Camillus listed as Ellen Creighton. That's when I discovered that she was traveling with a sister named Jane. The sisters were among 228 saints dubbed the "SIXTY-SEVENTH COMPANY" that set sail from Liverpool 6 April 1853 arriving in New Orleans 7 June 1853.

From New Orleans they took passage on a steamboat to St. Louis, MO and then on to Keokuk, Iowa where they camped before heading to Utah.

Unfortunately no journals or records have surfaced that tell of her journey to Salt Lake so we don't know for sure which Pioneer company she traveled with, but I believe she left there with the John Brown Company.

Her sister Jane married John Tempest Leffen while in Keokuk. Ellenor married my 3rd great-grandfather Joseph Hyrum Pugmire three years after arriving in Utah.

Still hoping to find more information on this mysterious Pioneer ancestor.

Leslie Ann

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Wordless Wednesday ~ Not a Happy Bunch

Oliver Piggott    David Piggott    Hazel Madsen Piggott   Rebecca Piggott

Leslie Ann

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Tuesday's Tip is Danish

A few weeks ago I made contact with a distant cousin that I discovered through FamilySearch. It's not always easy to connect with others on FamilySearch because not everyone leaves an email address.

The reason I was so excited to reach out to him is because he uploaded a wonderful document that lead me to new discoveries. Danish discoveries.

I have always been afraid of dreaded Danish research because of the naming traditions. To me it was like trying to find the right John Smith, if you know what I mean. Besides that, I don't speak or read a lick of Danish!

This new information I have learned has me infatuated with my Danish Roots and I want to find more. So that means I need to find a little fortitude and push forward.

So I wanted to tip you off to some websites that may help you with your Danish research.

The following are websites:


What's that you say? You can't read Danish either? There's no need to fear, Google Translate is here.

Another handy tool is Google Drive. If you have a .pdf document written in Danish, simply upload it to Drive, right click on the document and open with Google Docs.

Once it is opened click on tools from the menu above and then click on 'translate document' from the drop down menu.

Google's translation is not an exact science, however it will help you see things clearer. The following tools will also help you understand Danish a little more:
I also wanted to share some other exciting news with you. Kristian Pedersen is working on docudrama called The Descendant. He just got back from Copenhagen so there will be an episode about Denmark. I'm not sure when the tv pilot is, but I can't wait.

I hope I have been of some help or maybe I'm the last one on the boat. If I left something out, please share in the comments.

Leslie Ann

Friday, July 17, 2015

Friday's Faces from the Past ~ Unidentified Men no. 2

These photos were a part of grandma Nancy's photo album. I guess they could be family members, but I am thinking that they were missionaries that stopped by her house in Arnold, Nottinghamshire, England. She took lodgers in after her husband passed to help feed the family.

Grandma Nancy left England for the U.S. in 1899 so I know the photos were taken sometime before then.

Hopefully someone out there will recognize these faces.

Leslie Ann


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