Author: Nora
•Thursday, December 04, 2014
I wish I could give you more details about my 6th great grandfather, David Bishop.  David’s short life meant that he left fewer records and clues.  By my reckoning, he lived to be about 39 years old, not even half as long as his father’s son Ebenezer's 90-year life span.

Here’s how I arrived at his approximate birth date:

  1. Birth order:   according to his parents’ probate records, David was fourth or fifth son of Edward and Sarah Bishop.  His older brother Samuel was born about 1675, if his gravestone dates are correct (see for his burial record in Bristol County, Massachusetts Bay Colony).
  2. Salem Village Petition:  A 1695 petition of Salem Villagers (Essex County, Massachusetts) who were against the continued ministry of Samuel Parris contains a column headed “young men 16 years old”.  Under this heading are Samuel Bishop, Jonathan Bishop, David Bishop and William Bishop (names all spelled “Byshop”).
  3. Salem Village Tax or Rate Lists:  David Bishop’s name first appears on the list of 1699.  By 1702, his name is no longer included.

(Click to Enlarge)   Salem Village Anti-Parris Petition of 1695.  Used by permission from the First Church of Danvers.

Using those sources, I came up with approximately 1678 for the year of his birth.  To be among those young men who were at least “16 years old” in 1695, he had to have been born by 1679.

David probably departed from Salem in about 1700/01, relocating in the town of Woodstock in Windham County, Connecticut Colony.  In Woodstock, David married Rebeccah Hubbard on February 4, 1701/02 (recorded in the Woodstock Congregational Church records).

David’s life once he left Salem is documented partly through histories of towns in Connecticut Colony, partly from vital records of Pomfret and Woodstock and partially from court records, such as land records and town meeting records (Ashford, Connecticut).  He would live for only about 16 years more after leaving Salem, residing (according to deeds) in the young settlements of Pomfret (Mashamoquett), Killingly and Ashford, all in present-day Windham County.

The births of his children are as follows – all born in Pomfret except for one:
  1. Sarah Bishop         15 December 1702
  2. Rachel Bishop        5 March 1705
  3. John Bishop - 1 February 1707
  4. Ebenezer Bishop   25 March 1708
  5. David Bishop         27 March 1710
  6. Rebecca Bishop     27 April 1712
  7. Mary Bishop - 28 December 1715 (born in Ashford)

I haven’t yet found the first deed for David Bishop; the earliest I’ve found so far is from the 22nd day in January 1702/03 and begins as follows:
To all Christian People unto whom these presents shall or may come David Bishop of Mashamoquet in ye county of New London in ye Colony of connecticut in New England and Rebecca his wife, for and in consideration of ye full and compleat sum of nine pounds current silver money of New England unto them in hand by John Hubbard of Woodstock in ye county of Suffolk in her Majesty’s province of ye Massachusets bay in New England, husbandman……deliver unto the sd John Hubbard and his heirs…..a certain tract or parcell of land in Mashamamoquett containing thirty seven acres of upland and an acre and half of meadow….. (Pomfret, Connecticut deeds, Volume 1, pages 132-33).
The latest deed found for David and Rebecca Bishop was on the 18th day of May 1714 (Pomfret deeds, volume 1, pages 23-24).  In this deed Caleb Jackson of Ashford, husbandman, in consideration of the sum of “twenty four pounds current money” paid by “David Bishop of Killingley in the county of New London in the Colony of Connecticut….weaver....", sold to David land lying in Ashford containing about ninety acres.

It’s confusing that the deed refers to David as being “of Killingley” in 1714.  It may be that he lived there for a short period of time before moving from Pomfret to Ashford.  The history of Pomfret says that David Bishop was among those who petitioned the colonial assembly for a charter to establish the town of Pomfret in 1713.  And yet a history of Windham (History of Windham County, Connecticut, Edited by Richard M. Bayles, published 1889, by Preston, New York. See pages 524-25 and 992-93), stated that in 1712 David Bishop (among others) bought land of James Corbin and “joined the eastern settlement” of Ashford.  I’m still looking for that land record in which David bought the land from Corbin.

But what I can state here with more certainty is the approximate year of David’s death:  late 1716 to some time in 1717, probably in Ashford.  Before my recent research into Ashford town records, I had only found what other researchers had found: that he died before the winter of 1725.  Bristol County, Massachusetts probate records in that year for David’s mother Sarah Bishop referred to the heirs of her son David, so we just knew that he had died some time between the death of his father Edward in 1711 and Sarah’s death in 1725.

But we can come closer to reckoning his date of death through the town records of Ashford, Connecticut.  First, on page 4 of the records I found recorded the marriage of Benjamin Allen to Rebecca Bishop on 31 December 1717.  Next, among the records of the town meetings, David Bishop was listed as one of those who cast a dissenting vote in the meeting on October 3rd 1716 (page 23).

The last clues come from two other citations in the town meeting records.  One was on March 5, 1718 in which Ashford proprietors agreed “to draw for their farms on lotts and likewise drad (sic) as follows”.   Listed at number 9 on this list is “David Bishop heirs”.

Then at the meeting of December 29th in 1718 (page 48) is found the following vote:
Voted at sd meeting that the Town doe grant to the heirs of David Bishop an equal share of all Divisions of Land.  Here’s a copy of that record (click to enlarge).
Proprietors Records, Ashford, Windham County, Connecticut, 1705-1770, page 48.  (Click to enlarge)

I’m hoping to discover more about David’s brief life and also to verify that it was his widow Rebecca who married Benjamin Allen in 1717.  If any researchers have more details about this couple, please share them with us.  My email address is

Author: Nora
•Friday, October 31, 2014
It has taken me more time than on other posts to write this one on my 5th great grandfather, Ebenezer Bishop.  He was the fourth generation of this Bishop line in America; and because he left such a wealth of documentation behind, I wanted to do justice to his ‘thoughtfulness’ to his descendants.  So please bear with me – this will be somewhat full of details and not as fleshed out or anecdotal as I would wish.  I’ll post this timeline in two parts

Part One ~ Birth to 1740 ~ About age 32

Ebenezer Bishop was born in Pomfret, Connecticut Colony to David Bishop and Rebeckah Hubbard on 25 March 1708.  At that time, Pomfret was also known as Mashamoquet.

21 December 1725 Appointment of Samuel Bishop, Ebenezer’s uncle, as guardian for Ebenezer’s interest in the share of an inheritance in the estates of grandparents Edward and Sarah Bishop, of Rehoboth, Bristol County, Province of Massachusetts Bay.  He was said to be above the age of 14 and one of the “children of David Bishop late of Ashford” (Connecticut).

Probate Records - Bristol County, Massachusetts (click to enlarge)

24 January 1735/6 Purchased 7 acres from his brother David Bishop, land in Woodstock* (Connecticut – see note below) – Worcester County, Mass. deed book 13, page 25

29 October 1737 Declared his intention of marriage to Lydia Parker of Needham, Massachusetts.  Recorded in Woodstock* records

27 December 1737 Married in Needham, Massachusetts to Lydia Parker of Needham

28 March 1738 Purchased 80 acres in Sturbridge, Massachusetts from Josiah Ellice – Worcester County, Mass. deed book 11, page 184

30 August 1738 Sold 80 acres in Sturbridge, Massachusetts to his brother David.  Deed states that Ebenezer was “of Woodstock” and his occupation was “cooper” – Worcester County, Mass. deed book 11, page 183

6 November 1738 Birth of a son, William, to Ebenezer by his wife Lydia

30 September 1739 Admitted to First Congregational Church of Woodstock*, Connecticut, along with his wife

30 September 1739 Baptism of William, son of Ebenezer, in Woodstock*

20 March 1740 Baptism of Katherine, daughter of Ebenezer, in Woodstock*

28 March 1740 Death of Ebenezer’s daughter Katherine, aged about three weeks, in Woodstock*

3 March 1739/40 Sold 7 acres in Woodstock to Ebenezer Chapman.  Deed mentions brother David Bishop “of whom I purchased ye premises” – Worcester County, Mass. deed book 13, page 47

26 May 1740 Purchased 159 acres, 28 rods in Brimfield, Massachusetts, from Peter Haynes – Hampden County, Massachusetts (formerly Hampshire County), deed book M, pages 216-217

*Note:  It wasn’t until the year 1749 that Woodstock became part of Connecticut.  Until then it was under the jurisdiction of the county of Worcester, Province of Massachusetts Bay.  Because of this fortunate historical fact, I was easily able to search the Woodstock land records – since has Massachusetts deeds on line!

Part Two ~ 1740 to 1798 ~ age 32 to age 90

I doubt if Ebenezer ever acquired great wealth during his lifetime, but I do think he lived comfortably, buying and selling land in Brimfield (later called South Brimfield) from 1740 until about 1785.  He and his wife Lydia also became members of the First Congregational Church of Brimfield, and they had several children baptised there.  Five were found in the Brimfield Church records, but I’ve found evidence of three more children who weren’t in the Brimfield church records.  In all, I can find evidence of 10 children, the first two born in Woodstock, Connecticut and the other 8 probably in Brimfield, which was then in Hampshire County, Massachusetts.

  1. William born 6 November 1738
  2. Katherine born about the first week of September 1740; died 28 September 1740
  3. Ebenezer, Jr born about 1742
  4. Lydia born 10 August 1743
  5. Peter born about 1747; died 2 February 1805, Northeast Twp., Dutchess County, New York
  6. Elisha bapt. 9 April 1749; died August ?,1754
  7. Lucretia bapt. 6 January 1751
  8. Asa bapt. 23 August 1752; died 8 September 1813, Olive, Ulster County, New York
  9. Rebecca bapt. May 1756
  10. Maria bapt. 4 September 1757

An intriguing deed in 1743 has “Ebenezer Bishop of Needham in the county of Suffolk in the Province of Massachusetts Bay in New England, Cooper” acting as “administrator of the estate of my father-in-law John Parker, late of Needham, husbandman, deceased”.  The land in Needham was sold to Nathaniel Dewing (Suffolk County, Mass. deed book 102, pages 64-65).

Could it be that Ebenezer took up residence in Needham for awhile so that he could better take care of his deceased father-in-law’s affairs?

In 1755, Ebenezer Bishop was among those from Brimfield who took part in the French and Indian War (1754-1763), serving in Captain Daniel Burt’s Company.  His son William was on the Brimfield list in 1760 under Captain Trustrum Davis.

And then there came the years 1762-1765, when newly-formed South Brimfield divided into two opposing camps, disputing the location for their new church building and whether it was fair for those who lived furthest from the location to have to pay taxes for it to be built and to hire its minister.  The divisions came to be called the west parish and the east parish.  I won’t keep you in suspense:  the east parishioners won, and the church was built in a place most convenient to those living there. Ebenezer Bishop and his family lived in the west parish, the part of South Brimfield which was finally given the name of Wales in 1828.

But during the years 1762 to 1765, there were four petitions – two from each side in the dispute – which were signed and presented to the General Court in Massachusetts Bay for consideration by the legislators there.  Signing the west siders’ petitions were Ebenezer Bishop, Ebenezer Bishop, Jr and William Bishop.  Among the east siders signing their peitions were John Bishop and John Bishop, Jr. The east side/east parish was soon after given the name of Holland.

Also in 1762, Ebenezer seemed to decide it was time to sell his oldest son William some of his farmland.  William was probably either newly married or about to be married then.

Ebenezer’s name appears in court records up to the year 1773, but I believe he resided in South Brimfield until about 1783, when he moved to Dutchess County, New York, where his sons Peter and Asa were living.

Although Ebenezer apparently didn’t leave a will, he and Lydia were both mentioned in Peter Bishop’s will dated 14 February 1792 in which Peter directed that his “honoured Father and Mother Ebenezer Bishop and Lydia his wife be decently supported out of my estate during their natural lives and at their decease to have a decent Christian burial”… (Dutchess County Wills, Book B, pages 506-507, proved 22 February 1805).

For Ebenezer Bishop, death came on January 22, 1798, at the age of 90.  The death of his wife Lydia Bishop followed his seven years later on March 17, 1805, at the age of 92  Both were buried in Winchell Mountain Burying Ground in Millerton, Dutchess County, New York.  (See Burying Grounds of Sharon, Connecticut, Amenia and North East, New York; Walsh, Griffen & Hoysradt, Printers, 1983; also see

As I said, a long, full life.

Author: Nora
•Friday, October 10, 2014
Yes, I do love deeds...and every other kind of land record, such as tax lists, ownership maps, and surveys, for they've been key sources in my research, helping me to link one generation to another.  of course before digging into land records, you need to know where to look for them, that is, the county or town where your ancestors lived at a particular time.  In the case of my Bishop ancestors, I learned this important fact only last year (2013), after 25 years of trying to find the parents and birthplace of my 3rd great grandfather John Fitch Bishop.

So as soon as I found John's birth record in South Brimfield, or Wales, Massachusetts (see my first post "One Less Brick Wall"), I was eagerly 'off to the races'.  The strategy was to find and analyze every available record for the town of South Brimfield and its parent town Brimfield, which mentioned the surname of Bishop, especially William and Catherine Bishop, my 4th great grandparents.

Along with the birth record kept by the town clerk, a record found on, another source popped up on Ancestry which mentioned the family of William and Catherine: a compilation of family histories in the town of Wales, Massachusetts, by Absalom Gardner[1].  On page 33, Gardner lists three family groups of Bishop's: the family of John and Elizabeth Hooper Bishop, the family of their son John and his wife Rebecca Davis, and the family of William Bishop -- also said by Gardner to be the son of John and Elizabeth -- and his wife Catherine Fitch.

According to Gardner, John and William Bishop, supposedly father and son, had resided on a parcel of land known as "the Nichols Place".

Seeing this, I revised my research strategy -- now I was looking for land or ANY records for this town which involved John and/or William Bishop, and also for a good description of a piece of land known as "the Nichols Place".

To my surprise, I found no record in Brimfield or South Brimfield which linked John and William Bishop.  However, I did find evidence that a William Bishop was the son of Ebenezer and Lydia Bishop. My next post will be a timeline for Ebenezer, showing the birth of a son named William on November 6, 1738, in Woodstock, Connecticut[2], Ebenezer's residence before moving to Brimfield.[3]

The first deed for this William Bishop was dated August 14, 1762, and it begins:
To all People to whom these presents shall come Greeting. Know ye that I Ebenezer Bishop of Brimfield in the County of Hampshire in the Province of the Massachusetts Bay in new England, cooper, for and consideration of the sum of three hundred pounds lawfull money of sd Province to me in hand paid by my son William Bishop of sd Brimfield in ye County & Province aforesd, Husbandman.[4]
This record was in Volume 4, page 380.  In the same volume and on page 381 was a mortgage deed which begins:
To all People to whom this Deed of Mortgage shall come Greeting. Know ye that I William Bishop of Brimfield in the County of Hampshire in the Province of Massachusetts Bay in new England, Husbandman, for & in consideration of the sum of Fifty three pounds six shillings & eight pence lawful money to me in hand paid by my Honoured Father Eben'r Bishop of sd Brimfield, cooper.....etc.[5]
Both of these transactions are for the same 134-acre piece of land, which is evident from the description of the land, including the names of bordering land owners/neighbors.  A bonus in this mortgage, and another example of why I love deeds, is the mention of William's four sisters: Lydia, Lucretia, Rebeckah and Mary Bishop.  As part of the mortgage agreement with his father, William was to pay each of his sisters "the sum of thirteen pounds six shillings & eight pence" on or before a scheduled date, which seemed to have been designed so as to give each sister her allotted sum when she reached 16 or 17 years of age.

Now for the second part of my research strategy involving land records, finding proof that the land William and Ebenezer (not John and Ebenezer William) had lived on was at some time referred to as "the Nichols Place".  By tracking that piece of land through all of the South Brimfield deeds, I found that proof.

The first helpful clue was thanks to a deed in 1794, several years after Ebenezer and William had left South Brimfield.  This description read "land and buildings which formerly belonged to Ebenezer Bishop & by him conveyed to his son William Bishop", a tract containing 135 acres which was bounded by (among others) William Weatherbee, Asa Houghton and Malachi Nichols.[6]

In 1802, Malachi Nichols purchased the same 135 acres from Josiah Hayward.[7]  And because of Malachi's ownership, the farm was called "the Nichols Place'.

There was one final 'clincher' for me, found on a microfilm I rented from the Family History Library in Salt Lake City, FHL 954498, Massachusetts Tax valuations for 1784.  On the first page of landowners in South Brimfield were the following names, in this order:  Malachi Nichols, Benjamin Tiffany, Jacob Tiffany, Asa Houghton, William Bishop, Benjamin Tiffany jr and William Weatherbee.

This was evidence that this William Bishop was 'my' William, since he was a neighbor of both Malachi Nichols and Benjamin Tiffany, Jr, 'my' William's son-in-law.[8]


  1. Gardner, Absalom, A Compendium of the History, Genealogy and Biography of the Town of Wales, 1873, page 33. Accessed on
  2. Woodstock (Connecticut) Vital Records, page 65
  3. Massachusetts, Hampden County Deeds, Vol. M, pp 216-217; 1740
  4. Ibid, Vol. 4, page 380, 1762
  5. Ibid, Vol. 4, page 381, 1762
  6. Ibid, Vol. 35, page 606, 1794
  7. Ibid, Vol. 69, page 596, 1802
  8., Massachusetts, Town and Vital Records, 1620-1988 (database on-line), Provo, UT, USA: Operations, Inc., 2011; record of marriage of Benjamin Tiffany & Parthena Bishop, November 27, 1783, in South Brimfield, Massachusetts

Author: Nora
•Tuesday, September 30, 2014
The digitizing of all kinds of microfilmed records and books by the Mormon Church has put a treasure trove of genealogical and historical documents at our fingertips on the excellent web site And of course millions of these records are now available to us simply by typing names, dates, etc., in the "Search Historical Records" query form and clicking the search button.  But literally millions of other documents are accessible only by using the browsing feature on this web site.  This is because only a portion of the records have been indexed.

Try this:  from the home page of, click the ‘Search’ tab and choose Records from the drop-down menu, then click on one of the countries or continents on the map under “Research by Location”.  The “Choose a Location” box will appear, where you can choose a country or a state.  I’m searching in the United States, Massachusetts.  So after clicking those two options, I’ll click “Start Searching in Massachusetts” in the drop-down box.

The next screen shows the Massachusetts Indexed Historical Records and the query form at the top, and below that are the Massachusetts Image Only Historical Records.  I’m going to search Massachusetts, Land Records, 1620-1986 for my example.

When you see a screen like this next one, don’t be discouraged by the words “Browse through 5,766,135 images”.  Click on this phrase and you’ll see that the collection is divided into counties.  Within each county, there are further divisions, such as by types of record, date range and often by initial letter of the surnames.  You’ll essentially be searching through images on one microfilm.  But with the navigational tools, you’ll be able to ‘jump’ forward and backward though the images without having to view them screen by screen, or page by page.

Tip 1:  When indexes are available, always search them first.  Make note of the specific volumes and page numbers for the records you wish to view; then return to the screen listing all of those volumes, such as deed or will books and find the ones you noted.

I’m going to select Essex County, then when the next screen comes up, I’ll search for the surname of Gould in the earliest deeds, in index of grantors, those selling land in Essex County.  I click on “Deed Index (grantor) 1640-1799 Fos-Nix”.

Finding the Gould surname in the index is a little tricky – it’s ‘guestimating’ and adjusting if you go too far or not far enough into the alphabet.  But it gets easier with practice. To 'jump' ahead or backward through these images, type the desired number in the Image navigation box (top of screen between the right and left arrows), and press "enter".

I want to look at deeds for Zaccheus Gould, and I find him listed at image 127.  My notes record what I need to know in order to find a specific deed for Zaccheus:

1703 Mar 24   Zaccheus  Gould et al to Henry Lake, Volume 16, page 32 – land in Topsfield

This one looks interesting to me, because the term “et al” tells me that there will be other names mentioned as grantors, possibly relatives of Zaccheus.  Returning to the screen listing all of the deed indexes and deed books, I choose “Deeds 1701-1706 vol 16-18”.

Now the fun begins!

Tip 2:   The page numbers don’t often correspond with the image numbers.  When the books were microfilmed, they were usually filmed two pages at a time.  Also, some record books number every single page in the book, while others could have two pages to each number, such as page 3 (left side) and page 3 (right side).   Also you’ll notice that many films contain 2 or 3 deed books.

The deed I’m looking for (page 32 in volume 16) turns out to be found on image number 40, and here’s how the top part of that deed looks:

Turns out this is a VERY helpful deed for my family research on the Gould's.  Not only is Zaccheus mentioned in the deed, but his relationship is stated as being the "son of the said John Goold, of Topsfield & Sarah His wife", so we have the names of three of the family members, including that of Sarah, the wife of John Goold/Gould.

I hope you'll give this browsing feature a try.  Yes, it's more involved than using the search query forms, but my experience with it has been so very worthwhile.  It has truly been a way for me to bridge more generations and answer questions without having to travel great distances to visit court houses or to order a multitude of microfilms.  It's truly put the records of many of my ancestors at my fingertips.
Author: Nora
•Friday, September 26, 2014
Petition of Lucy (Goff) Bishop, widow of John Fitch Bishop
Essex County, New York Surrogate's Court - record dated 16 October 1840
I felt it was important to include Lucy Bishop's petition in order to clear up confusion over the date of John Fitch Bishop's death, which in most on-line family trees has been recorded as 16 October 1840.

This is understandable, since the petition and other probate documents were recorded on that date.

But on lines 8 through 10 is the statement that John's widow Lucy Bishop:
had lived and co-habited with him until the time of his death which was on the 27th day of July 1840."
It's also an extremely valuable document because, although it's not a will, it lists most of John's heirs: Julius Bishop, Charlotte Bishop, Delia Ann Bishop, Mary Bishop, Clinton Bishop, Harrison Bishop, Emeline (Bishop) Chipman and Jerusha (Lawrence) Bishop.
Author: Nora
•Friday, September 26, 2014
Born on the 27th of June in 1770[1] in Wales, Massachusetts, John Fitch Bishop lived for exactly 70 years and one month.  He died on the 27th of July in 1840[2]  in Crown Point, New York.

John was probably about 17 years of age when his parents left the Massachusetts town of South Brimfield (now Wales) in 1787.  This is based on land, court and tax records regarding John’s father William Bishop.  At any rate, they’re not in the 1790 South Brimfield census.

It’s one of my ‘unsolved mysteries’:  what happened to William and Catherine after this?  They were said to have moved to New York[3], but I haven’t been able to positively ID them yet.  However, John Fitch left more clues to help us follow his trail, the first being in 2 September 1800, when a John Bishop took the Freeman’s Oath in Clarendon, Rutland County, Vermont.

There are no Rutland County deeds wherein John was a grantee or grantor; but “John F. Bishop” witnessed three deeds in the town of Clarendon, two in 1802[4,5] and one in 1805[6].  In one of the 1802 deeds[4], Daniel Goff was the grantee; Daniel’s daughter Lucy was to become John Fitch Bishop’s wife, perhaps in that very year of 1802.  Some researchers in the family have cited that date; I’m hoping that someone reading this post may have a source for their marriage date and share that with us.

Deeds in the town of Crown Point, Essex County, New York, help us follow John’s trail to that town as of 1806.  For it’s here that John is found as a grantee, buying 100 acres in Lot 44 – across Lake Champlain from Vermont[7].  He’s age 36 now, and it’s in Crown Point where he and Lucy establish their family, parenting nine children:

Julius Bishop - birth and death dates unknown; Julius was listed among the early members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints who were in Nauvoo, Illinois as of 1845[8]
Emeline Bishop - born about 1808, died (perhaps in 1880 in Chicago, Illinois - needs verified)[9]   
3       Daniel Bishop - born about 1810, died before 1840
4       Jerome Bishop - born 28 May 1811, died 1849
5       Henry Harrison Bishop - born 12 June 1814, died 24 March 1888
6       DeWitt Clinton Bishop - born 2 March 1818, died 8 December 1901
7       Charlotte Bishop - born 19 March 1923, died 14 February 1895
8       Adelia Ann Bishop - born 5 November 1826, died 29 December 1913
9       Marion* Bishop - born 14 November 1829, died 1 May 1911
*Marion was alternately found recorded as Mary Ann, Marian and Mary An.

The 1810 census seems to be the first time John appears as the head of household.   He would have been 40 then, making him the male between the ages of 26 and 44.[10]

In 1811 fifty men in Crown Point combined their resources in order to begin a public lending library there.  John was one of those men.  Each charter member donated either $2.00 or one book.  I couldn’t help feeling more connected to John when I found out he apparently cared so much about reading.  I love libraries – they’re like candy stores for the mind.

As for John’s military service, an obituary for his son DeWitt Clinton Bishop stated that John had been present at the Battle of Lundy’s Lane (in Canada) during the War of 1812 and that he’d suffered a wound to his lungs during the battle.  I’ve been unable to find anything to back this up, but he did indeed serve in the New York militia from at least 1807 until 1814 and was promoted that year to First Major.[11]

By August 23, 1839, John and Lucy had sold the farm in Lot 44 and bought another tract, Lot 49 in Crown Point.[12]

This farm was their residence when John died one year later, on the 27th of July, 1840.  This is the date his widow Lucy gave when she petitioned the Surrogate's Court of Essex County, New York for the authority to sell the property.  See my next post for an image of this document.

Please see Reference Notes under the Pages heading on the side bar.
Author: Nora
•Thursday, September 18, 2014
Carrot and a Stick

Although it took twenty-five years plus to trace the generations after John Fitch Bishop, it took less than two years to follow the trail to John and to learn when and where he died.

Grandma B. (Lucy Jane Atteberry Bishop) kept a Family Bible, but she had only recorded births, etc. starting with her and Grandpa Bishop.  My dad told us names of our great grandparents, though; and that gave my quest a big boost.

Here’s the page in the Bible where Grandma began recording the births:

In later posts, I’ll be sharing with you readers how I linked each of the generations back to John, and then from him back to the immigrant ancestors in Salem, Massachusetts.  I had a great deal of help in this process, and I’d especially like to mention here the help of my second cousin, Janine Bishop Rittel.  She’d been diligently searching and acquiring documents years before I started my quest, and she generously shared everything she’d found with me.  I owe so much to her.

We all have that curiosity-bug that impels us to wonder about our family history, don’t we?  For me, the curiosity was partly driven by wanting to know where we came from, but it was also to see if I could prove or disprove a family story we kids had heard throughout our childhood.  We’d been told that Ulysses S Grant was our great-great-great something, perhaps an uncle.  That certainly piqued my interest.

I found that there was a grain of truth to the story.  On my father’s side, one of my ancestors was a distant cousin of Ulysses S Grant, making us fourth cousins three times removed.

The reward gained from following that carrot-and-a-stick was discovering a book called, “A Genealogical History of the Descendants of Matthew Grant of Windsor, Connecticut, 1601-1898”, by Arthur Hastings Grant.  In this book I found listed my great grandfather Julius C. Bishop, my great-great grandparents, DeWitt Clinton Bishop and his wife Elizabeth Grant AND DeWitt’s father’s name:  John Fitch Bishop.  DeWitt was born 2 March, 1818 in Crown Point, Essex County, New York.

In my next post, I’ll share more of what I’ve learned about John Fitch Bishop, my elusive third great-grandfather.
Author: Nora
•Thursday, September 11, 2014
This is a success story that I thought I’d never be able to share with my family and with all of my fellow Bishop family researchers.

I have the recent addition of some Massachusetts Town and Vital Records to the collection to thank for that success story.  The take-away lesson for me is that we should NEVER stop trying, and that we should keep revisiting databases and on-line sources - especially because these sites ( and are being updated and added to constantly.

The birth record of my third great grandfather John Fitch Bishop is available on line at  He was born on 27 June 1770 in what is now the town of Wales, Hampden County, Massachusetts.  At the time of his birth, it was still known as the 'west parish' of South Brimfield and was in the county of Hampshire, Massachusetts.  John’s parents were William and Catherine Bishop.  Catherine’s surname may have been Fitch, but I haven’t as yet found her birth record, nor have I found a marriage record for William and Catherine.  The last name of Fitch comes from genealogical notes about families in Wales by a man named Absalom Gardner.

So it was that after searching for John since the 1980's, I came across this record and almost leapt out of my desk chair., Massachusetts, Town and Vital Records, 1620-1988 [database on-line], Provo, UT, USA, Operations, Inc., 2011; Holbrook Research Institute, (Jay and Darlene Holbrook).

And that was the beauty of it:  this is the first birth record I'd found or seen for a John FITCH Bishop which gave his full name.  No other record we researchers had found for a John Bishop born in the right range of years (1770 to 1775, according to census records up to 1840), had stated that middle name or even included the initial "F".

Finding this one link opened up this Bishop line all the way back to the emigrant ancestor, Edward Bishop, of Salem, Massachusetts.  More about this discovery in future posts.