On 24 September 1704, the Plymouth Colony Court of General Sessions granted liquor licenses to several colonists. Each deposited a bond (“surtie”) with the court to ensure orderly behavior of their patrons, except, for some reason, the last man listed. That would be my seventh great-grandfather Eleazer Dunham (1659-1719). He’s listed as an “inholder,” that… Read More


The family of Asa Dunham is recorded in the 1790 United States Census as having five members, including Asa and his wife Lydia. At the time they were living in Number 4 Plantation in Cumberland County; in 1790 the community had a population of 344. This area had first been settled in 1779, and would be incorporated as Paris only three years after the census.… Read More


The weakest link in my Dunham family tree is that of my 3x-great-grandfather James Dunham Jr. of Orland, Hancock, Maine. He was the father of my great-great-grandfather Seth Dunham, who came to California during the Gold Rush. While his parents are generally assumed to be James Dunham (12 Sep 1758-18 Aug 1829) and Elizabeth Robbins… Read More


San Quentin State Prison, circa 1910

My great grandparents Sumner Dunham (1871-1947) and Cora Belle Ivans (1873-1963) were married on 8 July 1894 in Cummings, Mendocino County, California, with Cora Belle’s parents William and Mary (Wilson) Ivans serving as official witnesses. It’s unlikely Cora Belle’s brother John E. Ivans, my great granduncle, would have been in attendance at the wedding. Then… Read More


I feel like Ruth Mendell could tell me a lot. Here’s the background. On 17 Nov 1864 my great-great-grandfather Seth Dunham married Lavina Jessie Springston in Napa, California. He was 38; she was 15. This particular genealogical mystery is about Lavinia’s ancestry. Lavina’s parents were William Springston, born about 1818 in Ohio, and Nancy, who… Read More


In the spirit of Halloween, when traditionally styled gravestones are popping up on lawns everywhere, I offer the real thing. Through the magic of findagrave.com, which contains some 65 million cemetery records, I found today photographs of headstones of several early Maine relatives, including the gravestone of my 4th great-grandparents James Dunham (1758-1829) and Elizabeth… Read More


Isaac Dunham was the first keeper of the lighthouse at Pemaquid Point, Maine, near Bristol in Lincoln County. After many catastrophic shipwrecks at that place, an act of May 18, 1826 provided $4,000 for the construction of the lighthouse. The lighthouse went into service on November 29, 1827 with Isaac, my first cousin five times… Read More


Appomattox Court House Union soldiers

As has been noted elsewhere on this blog, my great-great-grandfather Seth Dunham came to California from Maine during the Gold Rush. His parents, James Dunham (b. abt 1788 in Orland, Hancock, Maine) and Elizabeth “Betsy” Gilpatrick (b. 27 May 1795 In Orland) had 10 other children besides Seth. So while I’ve paid much attention to… Read More


He was not a pirate under Captain Jack Sparrow, but he did sail the seas and served under a another Captain Sparrow, for a very different cause. My fourth great-grandfather James Dunham was born 12 Sep 1758 in Plympton, Plymouth, Massachusetts, the son of Cornelius Dunham (1716-1766) and Patience Barrows (1724-1807). James was a sailor,… Read More