Sunday, December 23, 2012

Sentimental Sunday – Road Trips

Amos Batchelder with his 6th-great-grandaughter in 2009.
First, I’d like to thank the Geneabloggers for the warm welcome.  Originally I was going to post about my Davis line next, but a few people mentioned their own Batchelder lines, which made me think back to the research I’ve done on that side of my family.

For those familiar with the Batchelder, Batcheller Genealogy by Frederick Clifton Pierce[1], my line is the one listed in the second half of the book, those descended from the brothers Joseph, Henry, Joshua and John.  The family came from England in 1636, settling in the area of Salem, Massachusetts.  They lived in the Salem/Wenham area until the time of the American Revolution when the family migrated to Mont Vernon, New Hampshire.  In the 1800s, the family moved again, this time to Peru, Vermont, where Batchelders lived until my great uncle, the last Batchelder in town, passed away in 2006.

The Batchelders were the first family that I began researching with my mother when I was a child.  I have memories of walking the two town cemeteries while she pointed out the gravestones of various family members.  I also recall visiting a cemetery in another state, though I didn’t realize until many years later that it was the cemetery where her father was buried in New York.

Road trips like that to the cemetery were a constant when I was growing up.  I remember many trips to see family, and to visit old homestead sites, or even road trips just for the sake of taking a road trip.

As an adult, I still enjoy road trips, and I still enjoy going to cemeteries, visiting my ancestors.  Like many genealogists, visiting the burial sites of my ancestors gives me a sense of their lives and their communities.  Small towns seem to be in my bloodlines.  Most of the towns that I’ve visited haven’t changed much since my ancestors lived there.

One example of such a place is Wenham, Massachusetts.  Several years ago my wife and I decided to visit the Wenham Museum.  While we were in town, we took a tour of the cemetery, looking for Batchelder headstones.  We found the grave site of my ancestor Amos Batchelder.  About a year later my daughter and I took another road trip, again passing through Wenham.  As we drove past the cemetery, I said, “Hey, let’s go visit Grandpa Amos.”  Though not interested in genealogy, my daughter was a good sport, letting me capture the above photo of ancestor and descendant together.

Every time I see this photo now, I think of all the road trips I’ve been on;  visiting Washington, D.C. with my oldest daughter, or going to Stephentown, New York with my mother, or those solo road trips that I’ve taken to places like Mont Vernon, New Hampshire.

[1] Frederick Clifton Pierce, Batchelder, Batcheller Genealogy (Chicago, IL: W.B. Conkey Company, 1898).


  1. Welcome to the Geneabloggers. I'm from Rev. Stephen's line of Batchelders, but my cousin is from your line of Essex County Batchelders. This is funny because I was born in Beverly! I love the Wenham Museum, I've got ancestors in that same Wenham cemetery. My uncle lives across the street! Small world.

    1. I noticed the first time when we were at the cemetery that there seemed to be two distinct areas of Batchelder stones. I didn't recognized the names in one area, so I assumed they were from the Rev. Stephen line. I'd love to one day see if there's a connection between the two lines back in England.