Mother’s Binder: Finally Getting Organized


Mother’s Binder: Finally Getting Organized 1 Feb -7 Feb 2016

Daily work on getting organized is a challenge and a pleasant adventure. One of DearMyrtle’s challenges this week is to work on the first four generation binders, starting with your mother’s maiden name binder. I have folders not binders for my ancestors. I created “coffee table” books with photographs and stories for some of my more recent family members, as Christmas gifts. I will continue doing so.

DearMyrtle’s idea of 3-ring binders with archival safe materials is a more cost effective way of providing a “coffee table” book for little fingers to explore. It also forces me to go through those file folders. While reviewing the folders I can discard duplicates, saving originals, scan to my digital surname/maiden folders on my computer and enjoy the memories that come flooding back. I will also verify that my FTM2014 Family tree program is current with the same information. [I’m happy that announced that a company has purchased the software and will continue with updates and syncing with Ancestry after the end of 2016. FTM2014 is my program of choice, although RootsMagic is coming in a close second with Legacy. I can’t wait for RootsMagic to be able to sync with at the end of the year. End of my digression.]

Here is a brief overview of what’s in my Mother’s Binder:

  1. Narratives of traditions, life story and family memories,
  2. Family Group Sheet
  3. Four generation pedigree chart
  4. Original documents,
  5. Copies of on-line documents that I think the family will enjoy,
  6. Photographs of interest [I have photograph albums and scrapbooks also,]
  7. Some trinkets or photographs of my mother’s memorabilia.

Here are a few photographs and a quick story that is in my mother’s binder.

My mother has two 1940 US Census records listing here residence. I know this is the year Shirley’s mother, Irene Elizabeth Place Pease, became ill [listed on New Hampshire Hospital 1940 US Census.]

Shirley’s father, Charles [Lawrence] Pease [informant,] is listed on the 22 Apr 1940 US Census in Monmouth, Kennebec, Maine, living with his mother, Mary [Downs] Pease; son and Shirley’s brother, Arthur Pease; Shirley [Beatrice] Pease and a housekeeper Ethel Hoyt [cousin.]

1940 US Census Monmouth, Maine
1940 US Census Monmouth, Maine

Shirley [Beatrice] Pease  is listed on the 26 Apr 1940 US Census Sutton, Merrimack, New Hampshire in the household of William E Doyle [informant and step grandfather to Shirley,] Tina May [Hutchins-Spooner-Towle] Doyle [Shirley’s maternal grandmother,] her half brother, Fredrick [Francis] Allen.

Here is a photograph of Shirley from 1940.

Shirley playing the Ukulele
Shirley playing the Ukulele

Shirley over the years:

Shirley circa 1948 Sutton, New Hampshire
Shirley circa 1948 Sutton, New Hampshire
Shirley 1978 Pembroke , New Hampshire
Shirley 1978 Pembroke , New Hampshire
Shirley 1984 baptism, Kezar Falls, Maine
Shirley 1984 baptism, Kezar Falls, Maine
Shirley drawing the P.E.T Project Raffle winner 2000
Shirley drawing the P.E.T Project Raffle winner 2000

Shirley was known for making and donating her handmade quilts to various charity fundraisers throughout her lifetime. This was one of the last quilts she donated to the Pets and Elders Together Project (P.E.T. Project) for Rockingham County Visiting Nurses Association & Hospice [Exeter, Rockingham, New Hampshire] in 2000. The following year the P,E.T. Project quilt raffle was dedicated in her memory.

I have added a copy of this post to her binder and digital Surname/Maiden name folder.

Thank you DearMyrtle for the challenge and memories you have given me. Each day of organizing forces me to review work from years ago. I almost always find something I forgot was in the file folder. The memories are precious and are meant to be remembered and shared.

Source Citation:

Finally Getting Organized 1 Feb -7 Feb 2016

Richley-Erickson, Pat “Finally Get Organized,” Dear Myrtle, DearMyrtle’s Genealogy Your Friend In Genealogy since 1995 Blog, 31 Jan 2016. Access 2 Feb 2016, checklists.



Teenagers and Haunted Places


Teenagers and Haunted Places


Phelps Mansion
Phelps Mansion

Phelps Mansion, Stratford, Connecticut demolished in 1972

Pre-teens and Teenagers always seem to migrate to scary places. Sometimes it is intentional to scare their friends. Sometimes some “strange” things happens to them.

My inbox greeted me with the article from my husband, Michael D. Butka, who lived in the area of Stratford, Connecticut. I will allow him to tell his story when he is ready.

It reminded me of my youth in Saugus, Massachusetts. Our family was temporally staying with my Aunt Eleanor [Stearns Duncan] and cousins, Lillian May Duncan and Jean Reid Duncan, after our house burned. Cousin being cousin we always shared ghost stories with each to see who could gave the best story. Sometime ones imagination can seem like reality. I was upstairs in the back bedroom I shared with my sisters, Vickie, Marjorie, Eleanor and baby Susan Stearns., look for my shoes under the bed.

I remember seeing a dungaree overall with a red plaid shirt rolled up into a ball. Thinking it was one of my sisters play clothes I reach to grab it. It moved, I felt a cold hand push me away. I pushed back thinking it was one of my sister’s or cousin playing with me. A cold chilly voice said leave him alone, we will leave you alone. I stood up walked downstairs; I confronted my sisters and cousins. I wanted to know who is playing games upstairs with me. I suddenly realized they were all downstairs. So who was upstairs?

I retold the story to my aunt and mother, Shirley Stearns Pease, who suddenly both became very pale. Strange reaction, I thought. My aunt then told me the tale of the house.

It was originally belonged to a mariner and his wife. She was a fouled mouth mean old women, it is told, and that finally had enough of her husband’s antics. She took the kitchen butcher knife and sliced off his ear. He died shortly after. Rumor be told that the house was haunted by the mariner and his wife.

I was not convinced of the truth of this story. I did return to our upstairs back bedroom that night. I was awakened in the middle of the night feeling cold hands around my neck. It was my sister sleep walking. She was trying to strangle me for blaming her for something I did that day. At least that is what my mother told me.

That was the last time I slept in the upstairs bedroom. I slept on the couch in the living room until we moved to our own home. This was in 1969. My aunt and cousin continued to live there. My cousin Lillian still does. The back bedroom is used only as a storage room.

Teenagers, imagination and ghost stories can create for an interesting story. Don’t you agree?

Maybe I should do a Historical house genealogy on that home in Saugus, Massachusetts.

From A Distance: The Challenger Remembered 30 Years Later

From A Distance They Soared High: The Challenger Remembered 28 Jan 1986 – 28 Jan 2016. It has been thirty  years since the Challenger Tragedy. The History Channel Challenger Disaster Video 

They saw the earth from above. They were the voice of Hope.  The view of Education. They lives touch us all in that one moment in history.

My heart still aches for all who lost a loved one on the day. This was not the first time that a historical event touched our hearts and soul. Yet, I feel it touched more of our core to a greater extant than just watching famous people. These were our friends our, neighbors, our teacher, someone we knew in our day to day lives. In my case, Christa McAuliffe, once was a favorite teacher to my sister, Susan Ruth Stearns. I remember Sue’s voice, a voice of tears, sadness, almost a whisper from unbelievable shock.

Christa McAuliffe continues her teaching through the McAuliffe-Shepard Discovery Center.

Wikipedia provides a better history than I can give. My emotions are still blocking my expressing my feelings.

The Challenger Disaster
The Challenger Disaster Movie Poster

Shooting in the Woods: He made it out alone!


Shooting in the Woods: He made it out alone! Part 1

My father always told us the story of how he returned from serving his county without being shot once and his first time out hunting he is shot in the hand. He returns home, decides to go hunting for food. He lived in the rural area of New Hampshire called Sutton Mills, a suburb of Concord, Merrimack, New Hampshire. In the 1950’s they didn’t think twice about going hunting alone on their own property or the woods surrounding them. Dad, Nelson William Stearns, did just that, went hunting along. [Big mistake on his part.]

Dad told us that while he was scoping out a deer, he was shot by a young lad first time out hunting. The lad ran off leaving my dad bleeding from his [right] hand. Dad found his way out of the woods. If he told us how, I don’t remember. He made it to the hospital. He had surgery on his hand. [More about that surgery in another blog] He was told he would never use that hand again. They didn’t know my father. He learned how to use it. He became a mechanic and what he called himself a “Jack of All Trades.” He continued hunting, teaching others how to hunt safely [bright colors a must in the woods,] doing what ever needed to be done.

I found one of the articles I was searching for in regards to shooting listed on Genelaogy Bank. I used the search “Nelson Stearns” exact in their data base. It show 715 archives results. I narrowed the search by adding the years 1930-1988 showing 22 newspaper articles and 7 probate result. The 15th article was about a young boy of 19 years being faced with charges of abandoning a man he shot in a hunting accident.

I now know the name of the man my father always said he felt sorry for, Louis M. Putney from Willow St., Waltham, Massachusetts. Dad mentioned that the young man must be badly traumatized for accidentally shooting a person while hunting. He hoped the young man learn the importance of hunting safely; would return to hunting. It would be a sad thing if he didn’t. My father was a forgiving man. He never held any ill feeling towards that young man.

My father returned home from the army unharmed in the spring of 1955 to his young wife, Shirley Beatrice Pease Stearns and 18 month old daughter, June Lee Stearns. When dad was shot, my mother was 6 months pregnant with twins. You will have to wait for the rest of the story in Part II. [It might be a little while before it is posted. I need to find the other news article about the surgery.]

Shot in the Woods
Shot in the Woods

Monday, December 5, 1955   Our Town, Boston Traveler (Boston, Massachusetts)   Page: 43, Para 4

Waltham- A Waltham youth faces charges of abandoning a man who was shot in a hunting accident. Lois M. Putney, 19, of Willow St., will be given a hearing Wednesday in New London District Court, New London, N.H. [New Hampshire]

A conservation officer said Putney left the scene of the accident yesterday in woods on Sutton, N.H. [New Hampshire,] without aiding Nelson Stearns, 26, of Sutton Mills.

Stearns is reported to have suffered a hand wound when Putney mistook him for a deer. The wounded man made his way alone out of the woods and to a hospital. Putney is free in $500 bail.

This entire product and/or portions thereof are copyrighted by NewsBank and/or the American Antiquarian Society. 2004. Source:



“Our Town, Monday, December 5, 1955,” Boston Traveler (Boston, Massachusetts), electronic newspaper, archived, ( accessed 27 Jan 2016), p. 43, col. 1, para. 4.

Nelson and Shirley Stearns
Nelson and Shirley Stearns

Nelson and Shirley’s wedding photo in a hand carved, interlocked frame made by Nelson William Stearns, the man who could ever use his hand again. [No nails or glue used in the making of the frame.]


Transcribing Everything is the Key!


Transcribing Everything is the Key!

June and Mike’s Wedding Bands

Wedding Bands
Wedding Bands

Dear Myrtle’s Finally Getting organized Week #3 mentions the importance of transcribing your records. I’m also photographing and transcribing any memorabilia that is important to me.

In the photograph above you see my Wedding rings and diamond. The original wedding band is too small for me to wear. It was a handcrafted wedding band made out of silver in the hammered look by my roommate at the time, (I wish I could remember her name,) Inside is inscribed “78 JS MB.” In 1978 June Stearns married Michael Butka. Would my descendant save a silver ring without knowing the history behind it? Maybe not. Most wedding bands are gold or platinum.

My other wedding band is not inscribed. It was a 10th Anniversary (1988) gift from my husband, Michael Daniel Butka. It is a Platinum band with the hammered look in the center. I did not wear diamonds at that time in my life. My work made it awkward to wear raised jewelry with the rubber gloves. I wanted to maintain the integrity of the gloves for my nursing duties.

The heart shaped diamond was a gift from my husband in November 2015. He felt I deserved a diamond after all these years. I told him I rather have a laptop. I got brought. I love my ring because he wanted to give it to me. I never thought I would really care about a diamond.

Michael Daniel Butka and June Lee Stearns were married 29 April 1978 at a Justice of Peace in Kittery, York, Maine. Our attendants were Michael’s brother, Stephen Butka and my sister, Marjorie Rae Stearns-Stevenson. We had our reception at our apartment on Sagamore Court, Portsmouth, Rockingham, New Hampshire. Our family was in attendance with a pot luck meal, fountain style homemade wedding cake by my sister, Vickie Mae Stearns Levesque, standing on a fountain. The wedding will be blog about in April on our 38th anniversary. I will also transcribe my marriage record at that time.

I choose today to write about my wedding rings for a special reason. My first date with my husband was on 23 Jan 1978. We went to the movie “The Goodbye Girl” and dinner at the Asia Restaurant on Dover Point Road, Dover New Hampshire. It looks like it is no longer at that location. Mike and I will need to take a ride and check it out on his day off.

Goodbye Girl movie poster
Goodbye Girl movie poster

Horsing Around Can lead to…


Horsing Around Can lead to…

Dad and Running Mead Betsy
Dad and Running Mead Betsy or was her name Destiny

For my sister “horsing” around as a child lead to being an author of books about horse breeding.  Her first book was in 2013 called,   “The Thoroughbred Female Families That Have Dominated The Racing World (How To Breed Classic Racehorses) (Volume 1,”). Followed by “The Thoroughbred Sires That Have Dominated The Racing World: “How The Xh-Large Heart Gene Has Been A Dominating Factor” (How To Breed Classic Racehorses”) Volume II, and also “The Thoroughbred Breeding For The Classic Racehorse” in June 2015.

This was my sister’s first encounter with a horse as a child. My sister loved horses from that first horse.

I didn’t feel too positive toward caring for the horse at that time. I was a high school student going to school smelling of horse. Yes, I was the early riser in the family. Dad and I would go and feed her. I enjoyed the days I spent with my father, Nelson William Stearns. However, more often than not on the days that snowed, my Dad would go out plowing leaving me caring for the horse.  The horse was my Dad’s. He would barter the stud fees for meat with the farm across the street from our home in Pembroke, New Hampshire. French’s Farm is no longer standing. In its place is a housing development. I never developed the passion for horse’s my sister did. I admire the beauty of horses, their sleek lines, strong legs and independent personalities.

One sister and her daughter write books about the breeding (genealogy of horses) the other, me, writes about the human genealogy of our family. Both are equally passionate about our research of our families.

So, a little “horsing” around as a child can lead to a lifelong passion of horses.

A filly
A filly