Book Writing or Procrastination?

Wedding Day 3 July 1953
Wedding Day 3 July 1953

Nelson William Stearns and Shirley Beatrice Pease on their wedding day.

I’m in a quandary.  My days are spent researching and writing about my immigrant ancestor Isaac Stearns. I thought I was done and ready to send it to my beta readers. I did send it to one reader that provided some great feedback.

While waiting for that feedback I decided to review my records and correct my citations in Elizabeth Shown Mills format. I found some web links from my early research that is no longer working. I needed to find new documentation for that information.

Now it seems I have more and more things to add to the book. I thought that was a good thing. The past week I started thinking, “Am I looking for things, so that I delay the book?”

I just might be doing that. I’m nervous to put the book and my writing out there. I set a goal to get it to my beta readers that is soon approaching. I not sure I will make that goal. Will Columbus Day come and go without my completion of the book?

I hope not. That is why I am writing this blog, to push myself to meet that deadline.

Still the question remains; Does the book need to have all the items I found in Isaac’s life or just the overview to give my readers a sense of the time he lived it? The decisions he made and the possible why he made those decisions is important. His story will be told. I will tell it to the best of my ability.

Maybe not overdo the facts that the youth of today do not really care about. Yes, the youth of today is who I decided to be my focus group for this book. I want my children’s children, nieces and nephews to know where they came from. Not just my family, any of Isaac Stearns descendants, will know where they came from.

That decision made makes it easier for me to complete the book.

STOP Procrastinating, June. FINISH the book.





Happy Father’s Day, Nelson William Stearns: My Paternal lineage


Nelson William Stearns
Nelson William Stearns

Nelson William Stearns: My father

Birth 08 Apr 1930 in New London, Merrimack, New Hampshire, USA

Death 12 Aug 1988 in Bridgton, Cumberland, Maine, USA

Nathan Augustus Stearns
Nathan Augustus Stearns

Nathan Augustus Stearns: My grandfather

Birth 01 Aug 1887 in Sutton, Merrimack, New Hampshire, USA

Death 20 Sep 1951 in Sutton, Merrimack, New Hampshire, USA

Mason Stearns: My great grandfather

Birth 1 Mar 1854 in Goffstown, Hillsborough, New Hampshire, USA

Death 9 July 1935 in Newbury, Merrimack, New Hampshire, USA

Augustus Stearns: My 2nd great grandfather

Birth 26 Jul 1832 in Colebrook, Coos, New Hampshire, USA

Death 14 Feb 1881

Nathan (2) Stearns: My 3rd great grandfather

Birth 02 May 1801 in New Hampshire, USA

Death 15 Apr 1877 in Goffstown, Hillsborough, New Hampshire, USA

Nathan Stearns: My 4th great grandfather

Birth 22 July 1761 in Merrimack, Hillsborough, New Hampshire, USA

Death Abt. 11 May 1813 in service of War 1812 in barracks of “fever,” Captain Mills Co.

John Stearns: My 5th great grandfather

Birth 17 Feb 1728 in Concord, Middlesex, Massachusetts, USA

Death 02 Oct 1810 in Amherst, Hillsborough, New Hampshire, USA

Zachariah Stearns: My 6th great grandfather

Birth 06 Feb 1702 in Bedford, Middlesex, Massachusetts, USA

Death 1795 in Merrimack, Hillsborough, New Hampshire, USA

John Stearns: My 7th great grandfather

Birth 1675 in Massachusetts

Death 14 Jun 1734 in Lexington, Massachusetts, USA

Isaac (2) Stearns: My 8th great grandfather

Birth 06 Jun 1631 in Watertown, Middlesex, Massachusetts, USA

Death 29 Aug 1676 in Lexington, Middlesex, Massachusetts, USA

Isaac Stearns: My 9th great grandfather

Birth 31 Oct 1595 in Nayland, Suffolk, England

Death 19 June 1671 in Watertown, Middlesex, Massachusetts, USA


Sutton Genealogy Collection: A Legacy – Paying it Forward

A Legacy- Paying it Forward

We will carry Larry Bennett’s legacy forward by transcribing his Sutton Genealogy Collection. He freely gave his passion for research, allowing those who seek their Sutton Roots, a strong starting point.

My transcriptions starts with his Stearns and Nelson families genealogies. They are my Sutton roots through the marriage of my grandparents, Nathan Augustus Stearns and Lillian May Nelson 31 Dec 1920.

Sutton Genealogy Collection Vol II Gage - Nye
Sutton Genealogy Collection               Vol II Gage – Nye



Sutton Genealogy, A Collection by Larry Bennett, Volume I Abbott –  Frew, Volume II Gage – Nye,  III O’Connell – Yongman, Sutton Historical Society, April 2001


+ note attached

gs gravestone

# Sutton record

ID# and RN# are both used as Sutton Genealogy Collection Identification/Record numbers of the person


Suton Genealogy Collection Introduction
Sutton Genealogy Collection


Larry Bennett was a remarkable historian and exceptional researcher. He strived for accuracy and left not stone unturned in his quest for historical facts. As chairman of the Sutton Historical Society’s Archives Committee, Larry diligently worked at cataloging the society’s collections stored in the “Blue House.” Through his efforts many new items were added to the collection. Larry’s guidance and expertise will be missed by the Sutton Historical Society.

Larry’s passion was genealogy. He spent countless hours updating the genealogies in the History of Sutton, N.H. by Augusta H. Worthen. He followed family lines from 1890, the year the history was published, to the present. In addition, he researched many new families who moved to Sutton after 1890. Larry freely shared his research with anyone who wanted to discover their ancestors.  His genealogical research is his legacy. The Sutton Historical Society is proud to honor Larry, for it will help those who seek to find their Sutton roots and that is what Larry would want. his work to do.

The collection has been published as Larry had organized it; family sheets arranged in alphabetically in three volumes, Abbott – Frew, Gage – Nye and O’Connell – Youngman, and volumes for the Chadwick family and the Palmer family. There are 1577 family sheets in the collection.

Sutton Historical Society

April 2001

For Larry Bennett
For Larry Bennett

For several years it was our great privilege and pleasure to work with Larry on Monday mornings at Muster Field Farm on the Harvey family papers. Larry was a reliable authority on questions of Sutton genealogies, who lived where, connections between families, and a host of other details he had spent countless hours tracking down from any source that presented itself. We were quite pleased to learn that the Sutton Historical Society had decided to publish Larry’s genealogical work and dedicate it to his memory.

Larry took up Sutton’s genealogical records right where Erastus Wadleigh had left off at the time of his death in 1881. When Augusta Worthen in her 1890 History of Sutton acknowledged Wadleigh’s considerable role in gathering and recording Sutton history, especially the genealogies of the townspeople, she wrote words of praise for him that are strikingly appropriate to Larry:

“The History of Sutton was commenced, but the work had not proceeded far before the discovery was made that it is one thing to put on record facts already within reach, and quite another to find the right answers to all questions of genealogy and descent to which these facts give rise.”

“And here, perhaps, is a good a place as any other to state, for the benefit of all those who are ambitious of entering the field of antiquarian and genealogical research, that no one ever yet entered that field with and adequate conception of the amount of labor involved in the attempt to operate there…. For genealogical research, apparently so dry, once entered upon, becomes the most fascinating of all the literary work, becomes magnetic even in its attractiveness to its pursuer. Very unwillingly, and only under pressure of strong necessity, will the genealogist suspend, even temporarily, his work while searching for   “missing links” in some family chain. The clue he may chance to hold in his hand is so slight, so elusive, has been so difficult to obtain, and yet is of such value if it leads to the result he is working for, with the conviction that,  if he lets it slip, it is lost forever, and no future genealogist will be able to reach it., and yet will blunder for lack of it, – all this makes him cling to it with a miser-like tenacity till he finds the desired link and has got it fairly riveted in its proper place. Not only does the genealogist feel compelled to do his work, but he must do it right.  An assertion based, for lack of proof, upon supposition, or even upon probability, may prove to be a misstatement, which will fatally bewilder and mislead the future historian. For history is forever going on, and the record is by no means completed when the writer of our days lays aside his pen forever.

“Mr. Wadleigh, of course, realized that in succeeding years some other would take up the work where he dropped it, and would make this his life work, the foundation on which to build his own. It was this sense of double responsibility to the past which, to his ear, clamored for remembrance, for recognition, and which was to sit in judgment upon his work, united with a natural honesty and conscientiousness, which, if a man possess it, enters as closely into his literary work as into his business dealings, – it was all this which urged him to use the strictest accuracy of statement rather than fullness of detail. Throughout his entire work there is no possibility of misconception through diffuseness and carelessness.”

Larry was indeed the “some other” who took up the work where Erastus Wadleigh left off. Now Larry, too, has set aside his pen forever, but in his passing he left behind an enduring legacy for the town of Sutton. From many sources he collected fragments of information about townspeople from years gone by and made connections between the fragments. Many a scattered historic detail is now “fairly riveted in its proper place” because of Larry and the work he loved to do.

And years hence – you citizens of Sutton a century from now – there will be “some other” to take up the work where Larry left off. Honor his memory, and be true to his standards for historical integrity.


We were proud to call him our friend.

Carlton Bradford and Jack Noon

April 2001


Larry, Jack and Carlton at Muster Field Farm
Larry, Jack and Carlton
at Muster Field Farm

Sutton Genealogy Collection – Nathan Augustus Stearns

Nathan Augustus Stearns Genealogy page
Nathan Augustus Stearns Genealogy page



Sutton Genealogy, A Collection by Larry Bennett, Volume III O’Connell – Yongman, Sutton Historical Society


+ note attached

gs gravestone

# Sutton record

ID# and RN# are both used as Sutton Genealogy Collection Identification/Record numbers of the person

The following is a transcription from the Sutton Genealogy Collection about my grandfather Nathan Augustus Stearns. I am transcribing it as written. Note that my family records have Mason Stearns as being born in Goffstown, New Hampshire not Derry. I will not be adding any of my own information to the transcribed pages. I will transcribe them as Larry Bennett provided the information.


Sheet 1

HUSBAND: Nathan Augustus STEARNS (RN#2693)

Born: ca 1887+  Place: Sutton, NH+

Marr:  31 Dec 1920  Place: Bradford, NH#

Died: 20 Sept 1951#  Place: Sutton, NH#

Bur.   Place Lot 115D Millwoods Cem. Sutton, NH#


FATHER:  STEARNS, Mason W. Farmer, b. Derry, NH (No RN)

MOTHER: FLETCHER, Emma R. b. New London, NH (No RN)




WIFE: Lillian May NELSON (RN no. 2691)

Born: 10 Sept 1896#  Place Sutton, NH#

Died 11 June 1934#  Place Sutton, NH#

Bur.  Place Lot 115D Millwoods Cem. Sutton, NH#






1. F. Elinor May STEARNS (RN#2694) 14 Nov 1923#  Sutton, NH#

2. M. Nelson W. STEARNS (RN#6394)  8 Apr 1930#  Sutton, NH# Concord, NH # 3 July 1953 Shirley B. Pease (RN# 6395)




H-1 Occ. Farmer+

Below is a photo taken by June Stearns Butka of Nathan and Lillian’s gravestone. The other side is Lillian’s lists Lillian’s mother, father and brother. The Nelson Family plot lies next to the wrought iron fence to the left, as you first enter the Millwoods Cemetery. You can’t miss the Rose of Sharon bush next to the marker.

Nathan A Stearns Gravestone

Genealogy Organizational Challenge

Genealogy Organization is a Challenge

Old School Files
Old School Files 

My partially organized files.


I spent Saturday with two very organized people, Lisa Alzo and Thomas MacEntee. Their “Getting your Genealogy Groove Back” Boot Camp. It was a very information and helpful presentation.

I spent Sunday attempting to familiarize myself with some of the organizational tools they discussed. It was a mixture of “old School” and new Technology, at least new to me.

This morning I spent it organizing the old school way. My thoughts were, How can I use the new technology if I don’t have myself organized with what needs to be entered into the computer program.

In the photograph above the top bind holds my webinar folders that still need a little tweaking. They were mixed in with the folders in the lower draw. The lower draw is now organized with my family folders only. I have decided to continue my Surname way of organizing.

The major Surnames for each of my family lines include the sub-surnames by married. I organized this way as a reminder of who married into the family line and where. (To date I have 99 surnames in total, with 349 shaky leafs on Ancestry to research.)
My husband Major Surnames are:
Parental side:

Maternal side:

Misc.: Two Unknown Surnames (one for each line) I still need to verify before adding to my list

My Major Surnames are;
Paternal side:

My Maternal side:

Computer Files to date

My computer files to date

Now I’m off to organize the familiar computer technology I currently use. I will take the save items and place them into the correct family line folders in the same manner I did with the old school files. Once this is completed I can then take one old school folder and one computer folder; compare the information and enter it into the research log that I learned about during “Boot Camp.” Once I have entered all my research, I will find the gaps I have in my family tree. Those gaps will become my “To Do” List.

Yes, it is time consuming to organize these records. In the long run I will be saving time. I have already found duplicate name records with different information in them. I will be able to grab the correct file, find the information I’m looking for without hunting and pecking throughout my paperwork or computer. I will set up my Research Log by major surnames: Consistency, Organization and staying with what is familiar will be my organization tools from now on.

Thank you Lisa Alzo at and Thomas MacEntee of Hack Genealogy for all the little tidbits of information on how to organize.

Bye for now. I’m off to organize and get ready to Post my next #52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks blog about Arthur W. Place, my great grandfather, one of my great grandmother, Tina May Hutchins, four husbands.

Save the Fat Are you Crazy?

As the New Year begins you see advertisements to lose the fat. I grew up hearing my mother, Shirley Beatrice Pease Stearns, and Great Aunt, Carrie Lula Stearns Perkins, telling me “Don’t waste the bacon grease!”

I know it is not the same kind of Fat, but it brought back memories of long, hot, summer nights, feeling like a big girl staying up late with the adult women listening to stories, playing cards (mainly Canasta), and a little family bonding with my mother, great aunt and cousin.

One of those stories was about why they saved the grease in a coffee can. There would always be a coffee can on the back of our stove for the bacon grease or any other grease that was used for cooking. We never wasted anything, so it wasn’t unfamiliar to save any old scraps: for stews, casseroles, fertilizer or to feed the animals. The fat was purified with sliced potatoes (“French Fries” were a common staple at our table) and reused for cooking.

Coffee Can in the fore ground
Coffee Can in the fore ground

Aunt Carrie told me many stories over the years during those summer nights. I asked if any of our family served in the World War II. This prompted many stories that summer. I wish I had thought to write those stories down, but we will just have to go with my faulty distance memory of them: about my grandfather (Nathan Augustus Stearns), her father, signing up for both WWI and WWII, his V-Day flower garden and what the women did for the war effort.

One such story was about how all the greased saved, that she did not use, was taken to the Butcher each week. She would earn money for each can she turned in.  So, the obvious question came up; “Why would the Butcher want the grease?” and pay money for it, no less?  She went on to tell me that is was a way to reuse the fat for the war effort. The butcher would turn it in to a rending plant. I was young I just thought okay, they purify the fat and send it back to the stores for it to be used again. Rationing was the big thing during the war; I had learned that in school.  She said they used the fat to make explosives. YES, EXPLOSIVES. Fat glycerin is part of nitroglycerin, who know?

I recently Googled “Plant a Victory Garden NH”, hoping to find information about my grandfathers’ victory garden. I came across the New Hampshire State Library site about Unifying a Nation.  It listed several war efforts that New Hampshire housewives and those who did not go to war did on the home front, including Save waste fat. Below is the conversion chart they had listed.

Housewives and butchers all over the country were mobilized to collect cooking fats for conversion to explosive ingredients.

One pound of waste fat equaled 1/10 of a pound of glycerine.
1/10 pound of glycerine equaled 1/5 of a pound of nitroglycerine.
1/5 of a pound of nitroglycerine equaled 1/3 pound of gunpowder.
1/5 of a pound of nitroglycerine equaled ½ pound of dynamite.

So SAVE THE FAT, Please; was an important part of our recent ancestor’s life, along with rationing coupons for sugar, butter, gas and many other stories to follow. Maybe my next story will be about how canning was used in the War Effort. Do you have any War Effort stories to tell? Do you have a Rosie the Riveter in the Family, an Army, Navy nurse, and Navy pilot or like me, just the home front family providing support by Saving the Fat? I would love to hear your family stories.

Story remembered by June Lee Stearns Butka on 9 Jan 2014 from a Summer in the 1960’s spent at her Aunt Carrie’s Lula Stearns Perkins home in Sutton, Merrimack, New Hampshire. This is just one of her memories from her youth. She is me the author of this blog. I plan on writing as many of those memories as I can  for future generations to read.

Links to check out for more information of World War II war efforts:

New Hampshire State Library:

Learn NC Multimedia:

Google Search: World War II Home Front Efforts

Photo: taken March 1975 by Shirley Stearns with a Polaroid instant camera at Carrie Perkins Sutton home during one of the family Sunday Drives. You can see the homemade preserves, Coffee can for the fat, and the fresh cream pitcher (yes from a cow, not the store) in the fore front of the photograph.

2013 in review

The stats helper monkeys prepared a 2013 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

A San Francisco cable car holds 60 people. This blog was viewed about 2,000 times in 2013. If it were a cable car, it would take about 33 trips to carry that many people.

Click here to see the complete report.

Thank you for your support in 2013.

I have BIG plans for  2014, including new blogs about the importance of citations of resources; the resolution of one of the “roadblocks” I encountered in 2013 and announcing the new members of the family line.  I will continue to post photographs, family recipes and little Vignettes of Life.


May you all have a Happy Healthy New Year. Keep warm and safe.