Family History Friday: Double-Bladed Scarf Joint!

I’ve talked about this before, but I just thought about it again today and wanted to share. Many years ago our family took the trip of a lifetime. We traveled back to Boston where my in-laws were serving an LDS mission. We started in Fall River, Massachusetts and drove all over! We went to Boston, Plymouth, New Bedford, New Port, New York, Philadelphia, Washington D.C., then drove all the way back up to Fall River. We had a ball!!

One highlight of the trip for me was seeing my ancestor Jonathan Fairbanks home in Dedham, Massachusetts. It is the oldest framed home in the United States, built in 1637/38. While on a tour of the Fairbanks home the tour guide would point out characteristics of the home and architecture. She showed us a place in the exposed frame where you could see the double-bladed scarf joint. It was interesting to see the construction of such a strong joint. That home is around 375 years old!! Wow! That is some good craftsmanship. Those people weren’t messing around.


The Fairbanks home is a monument to things that last!

Below is a picture of a double-bladed scarf joint. Notice the wood pegs two on the bottom and there are two on the top going through all three sections of wood. Very strong.

double-bladed scarf joint


So today when I was thinking about my ancestor Jonathan Fairbanks and the double-bladed scarf joint I was thinking about the connection we have. He is inspirational to me. Because of him and many others I am here. I love him and someday want to meet him. I cannot explain that connection it’s just there. At least not in a way the world in general would understand. I personally believe it is the spirit of Elijah. I love all of my ancestors. I long to know all of their stories. Someday, I believe I will.

I also have that connection with my immediate family. I believe that connection is very real. If I do all I can to strengthen my family we will be strong like the double-bladed scarf joint. We will last forever. I wish all families could be like the double-bladed scarf joint. I have noticed through the years how the family is changing. Divorce is rampant, out of wedlock pregnancies are very common. I think some children are confused at who their family really is. In a family where there are many issues that challenge the families connections, I think if they knew their ancestors are cheering for their success. If they knew that people who love them made sacrifices, oh so great to help them to have the privileges they take for granted, they might try a little harder to work for the strong connection and family I’m talking about. A family that works together for the success of everyone. I believe that is one of the blessings of doing family history work. We want our ancestors to be proud of us and the sacrifices that we make to be our best, just like we are proud of them for the sacrifices they made to be their best. Will we meet them someday and have them say, “What did you do with your life?” How wonderful it will be if we can say that we did everything we could to strengthen our family and make a connection that would last forever.

Happy Family History Friday! Love, Joy

Family History Friday: Native American Research!

-Chief Hole in the Day-
You know how you hear stories about your ancestors, while growing up in your family? Have you heard a story about being related to a Native American
I heard those stories, too! 
It wasn’t until I was in my teens, that the story became more concrete. If you have heard this story, some things you will want to know in order to do research are: 

  • Do you have a name?
  • Do you know when and where they lived? (a location will help you identify a tribe)
  • Who was it in your family that said you had a Native American ancestor? Can you go talk to them and find out more?

If you don’t have much information and can’t ask for more information, you will just have to work you way back, starting with you, until you find them. 

Sometimes it is just a story.

  • Another important piece of information would be to know the tribe or nation the ancestor belonged. 

There are 100’s of tribes. My ancestor came from the Great Lakes Region. Most of the records for my ancestor were found at the tribal agency. 

If your ancestor was a member of what they call the 
“Five Civilized Tribes”,
Cherokee, Creek, Choctaw, Chickasaw, and Seminole, they ended up in Oklahoma. All tribes where not relocated and my be close to their original location. Even though my ancestors tribe was placed on a reservation, they remained in Minnesota. If your ancestor was in Oklahoma, there are some very helpful Federal records called the “Dawes Roles”. They are a good source for information. You can read about them here!
Happy Family History Friday! Love, Joy

Family History Friday (FHF): On Bridges!

My Dad wrote this about Bridges. 
I thought you might enjoy it.  
“On Bridges
Bridges have often held a fascination for me and I believe it is because of the part they have played in
my youth. The bridges that crossed small rivers in my hometown were steel structures built above the
road. The load, placed on the bridge by the vehicles crossing it, was on the steel structure above the road as opposed to sunken supports under the bridge holding it up. There were two steel support structures one on either side of the bridge. They were built such that we could run up one end of the bridge’s steel support, walk
across the top and then run down the other side. We were climbing and/or walking on flat steel
beams approximately 10 inches wide that had rivets about two inches apart on each side of the beam. At the top of the structure, we were about 10-12 feet above the road and, of course, the signswould warn people to, ‘Stay off the Bridge’. They were a constant challenge but a usual way
of bridge travel for us, as youth. When I made my first trip to San Francisco, as a serviceman, and saw the beautiful Golden Gate Bridge, I was awe struck. Fortunately, I was stationed at the Presidio as an MP and had a daily view of the bridge for almost two years. It was some time later, as I matured mentally, that I really contemplated the significance of bridges. It may have been after watching the show, “For Whom the Bell Tolls” that I realized how important bridges were to the movement of military troops and supplies. In converse, the importance of the destruction of bridges in order to prevent the movement of those units. In primitive times rivers and huge ravines were natural barriers to protect one tribal community from another. As commerce and a higher order of society were established the rivers and ravines were unwelcome barriers and bridges were built to span them to allow interaction which would be beneficial to their communities. Pioneer stories tell about the difficulty that they had in crossing rivers; sometimes having to travel several miles along the river to find a place shallow enough to cross without losing life or property. They also tell of the need to spend several precious days descending a steep ravine with their wagons and then ascending the other side. Had there been a bridge, they would have lost very little time. Bridges play such a very important roll in our
society. We probably seldom think about the planning and expense that went into the construction of a bridge. In many cases workers lives were a part of the sacrifice to complete a bridge. I love the poem, 
‘The Bridge Builder’
by Garrett Boon –
An old man, going a lone highway,
Came, at the evening, cold and gray,
To a chasm, vast, and deep, and wide,
Through which was flowing a sullen tide.
The old man crossed in the twilight dim;
The sullen stream had no fears for him;
But he turned, when safe on the other side,
And built a bridge to span the tide.
“Old man,” said a fellow pilgrim, near,
“You are wasting strength with building here;
Your journey will end with the ending day;
You never again must pass this way;
You have crossed the chasm, deep and wide-
Why build you a bridge at the eventide?”
The builder lifted his old gray head:
“Good friend, in the path I have come,” he said,
“There followeth after me today,
A youth, whose feet must pass this way.
This chasm, that has been naught to me,
To that fair-haired youth may a pitfall be.
He, too, must cross in the twilight dim;
Good friend, I am building the bridge for him.”
The poem is not only about a physical structure but of building a better way of life for those descending from us. The old man was a pioneer and as he settled he built bridges, roads, railroads, schools and communities for you and me who came ‘his way’ maybe generations later. Have you ever thought about other kinds of
bridges. There are people who are ‘bridges’ that bring other people together. There are ‘people bridges’ in families; those who make peace and nurture greater love by their tender ways. They tend to make smooth the ravines and rivers of differences that sometimes tend to separate brothers and sisters. Then there are bridge builders between generations, those who make it possible to bridge the gap between we and our ancestors. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints is such a bridge builder and thank goodness for the great
work being done to bridge those gaps. The gaps of centuries and world wide distances, oceans, language barriers and sometimes plain indifference to the ‘eternal family’ cause. These are data or information bridges that make it possible for us to bridge the gap between this world and the next; between the living and the deceased. We must thank Heavenly Father every day for all the bridge builders. They who build the bridges that span the rivers, ravines, oceans, data and the human gulfs that exist in this wonderful but complex world we live in. Christ, himself, was the ultimate bridge between us and our return to the place that we came from.”
Happy Family History Friday! Love, Joy

Family History Friday (FHF): Alot to live up to!

My 3rd great grandfather’s name is
 John H. Fairbanks.
He was a fur trader in the Great Lakes area in the 1800’s. He descended from Jonathan Fairbanks who came to America in the 1600’s and settled in Dedham, Massachusetts. He married my 3rd great grandmother
whose name was
(AKA Mary Sayer). Her father was John Sayer the fur trader and her mother was Bwan equay, a full blood Ojibwe. It has been said of
John H. Fairbanks that he was a master of the Ojibwe language.
In the family history book, “The Fairbanks In America”, it says this about
John H. Fairbanks: Born in New York in 1798. Died in White Earth, Minnesota 1880. He was a useful scout for the American Army during the war of 1812. (That would make him 14 years old at the time). He was in the battle of Lake Champlain, and rendered efficient service during the engagment, for which he received the thanks of his commanding officer. In 1818, when he was 20 years old, he was employed by the American Fur Co., under the late John Jacob Astor. He filled all the positions of trust as chief trader, with profit to his employers and great credit to himself, until the dissolution of the Co. in 1835. He then entered the service of the Northwest Fur Co., successors to the American Fur Co., and remained in the their service until their dissolution in 1848. He was known to every Chippewa Indian in Minnesota, and was master of the Indian languages. He was a man of high worth, strictly temperate in his habits, charitable to a fault, and noted for tender affection for his children. He was the soul of honor, and it has often been said that he had not an enemy in the world.
What a good man!!! I love him. What a legacy, what a life. The Bible says, ” charity is the pure love of Christ”. This book about the Fairbanks says of John, that he was “charitable to a fault”. That is amazing to me. It’s makes me want to be the best “me” I can be.
Discover things about your ancestors that make you want to be a better person. I have. Happy Family History Friday!! Love, Joy