“Voices of Ancestors” 2nd Anniversary

was December 8, 2018. The blog has had over 25,000 views from over 13,000 visitors from 62 countries!

All Time Top 10 Blog Posts

1. This Old House: Secrets in the Attic.

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2. Businesses in Lubec, Maine. 1861.

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3. Bringing Your Ancestors to Life: The History of Irish Immigration into Maine.

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4. My Ancestry DNA Results Arrived Yesterday!     

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5. Visiting the Gravesites of My Great and Great Great Grandfathers.    

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6. 1913. The Means Family.   

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7. My Dad James Eugene Rier.   

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8. Mom Hanging Out with Friends.   

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9. A Strange Burial.   

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10. Me and Muriel Watts.   

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Canada/507

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Ireland/152 

Hong Kong SAR/151

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Dad and Mom sailing on Indian Lake. 1970s.

Dad (James “Gene” Rier) and Mom (Louise Johnson Rier) loved to sail on the Sailfish. When I was small, Dad built a sailboat they both enjoyed on Indian Lake.

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Dad sailing with my brother David in the Bucks Harbor Race, 1981. This is one of my favorite photos of Dad. Now that’s a happy face!

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As kids, my brothers and I spent many hours on the Sailfish, and we continued to sail as adults.

Me sailing on Indian Lake about 2006.

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My son, Jason, sailing on the Sunfish, summer 2018.

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This year, as in other years, the Passamaquoddy Yacht Club taught children ages 10 to 17 the basics of sailing. Wonderful to see!

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Me completing the boat captain course in Rockland, Maine. 2012. Now that’s a happy face!

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Related post:

Growing Up in the 50s and 60s, We Knew How To Have Fun!

 

Noni MacBride’s Blueberry Cake

Whenever our family visited Dr. Bob and Noni at their home in Lubec, there often was fresh blueberry cake in the kitchen this time of year. Mom made it too over the years. Now when I make this cake and the delicious smell wafts through the air, I am filled with memories. Noni’s blueberry cake recipe was published in my favorite old cookbook of Lubec recipes (1988). It’s one of my most valued cookbooks.

I made this cake for family visiting this week. There will be another before August is over.

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Of course, I alter recipes a bit for the times. I use real butter, not oleomargarine, and substitute organic sugar for white. I cook it in an 8″ x 8″ pan so it’s nice and thick, wicked moist, adjusting the cooking time.

In my family, great recipes must be handed down. I taught my grandchildren how to make this blueberry cake. This is my eldest granddaughter, Hayley, learning how to make Noni’s cake in August, 2012. She was eight. Hayley won a blue ribbon and first place in the cake section at the Machias Blueberry festival.

Hayley baking 2012.

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My grandson Odin, age six, won a blue ribbon for a two-crusted blueberry pie in 2010 and for several years afterwards. See that awesome story here.

 

 

Ancestor Break Sunday. A Passing Otter.

I was outside on a porch break, so lovely in the Spring. I forgot to take my camera. The otter came in close and dove under the wharf. I waited nearly motionless for him or her to come up. Minutes went by. Suddenly the otter slithered up on the wharf to bask in the sun and feast on a fish head as big as my fist. Moments like this, one cannot capture except in memory. The otter stayed a good 20 to 30 minutes on the wharf. I got this shot later in the afternoon. He was swimming fast so the shot isn’t great. But, it was another beautiful day lakeside enjoying the wonders of nature!

The History of Catholic Churches in Lubec and Trescott, Maine

From the book 200 Hundred Years of Lubec History, 1776 – 1976 by Ryerson and Johnsonpublished by the Lubec Historical Society. It can be found at the Lubec Memorial Library. It includes the history of all the churches in Lubec.

This summer, the Lubec Historical Society will be selling this book. It’s a great resource!

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Saint Mary’s Catholic Church was built at the corner of Rte 189 and Chapel Hill Road in 1852 when there were about 50 Catholic families in Trescott. My great great grandfather, James Keegan Sr., and his family attended church there. The church was razed in 1882. A new church, Saint Patrick’s, was built at the corner of Rte 189 and Crow Neck road, two miles away from the Keegan home. The people had begun to move into West Lubec and Lubec and it was necessary to centralize a church. In 1887, Reverend Cornelius O’Sullivan became pastor of Machias and traveled to Lubec for 35 years.

Saint Mary’s Church At Chapel Hill Cemetery in Trescott. Painted by Bertha Calkins Walton from memory.

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Related posts:

Visiting the Gravesites of My Great and Great Great Grandfathers. James Keegan Sr. and Jr. families.

Bringing Your Ancestors to Life: The History of Irish Immigration into Maine. 

 

Miss Means. Piano Instruction.

If you look carefully, you will see the sign below the shuttered windows upstairs on the right. Miss Means was my grandmother Harriet Means Johnson. Photo courtesy of Michael Hoyt.

A close up of the sign.

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There is a woman in the upstairs windows on the left. She is not my grandmother. I expect the upstairs was divided  – or perhaps she is a parent waiting for a child to finish their piano lesson.

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This is the first photograph I have seen of Harriet’s studio in Machias, Maine. Before today, I did not know the location of her studio above the Machias Lumber Company on Main Street. The building is still there.

Harriet studied piano under the renowned Frederick Mariner who had a summer home on the Penobscot River. Mariner’s studio was in NYC but he accepted gifted students at the Bangor Piano School.

Harriet Putnam Means 1906: Graduation from Bangor Piano School
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Later Harriet moved to Bangor, opened a piano studio there, then eloped with Ezekiel “Zeke” Johnson in February of 1908 – without telling her parents.

Read the Harriet stories, gleaned from her 1908 letters, here.

 

 

An Ancestor Break. Watching A Handsome Pair of Hooded Mergansers

cavorting and courting in my front “yard” on a lake in Downeast Maine. They dove and danced around each other, fluffed their wings, wagged their tail feathers and chased each other. They were so excited, intent on impressing their mate, it was a joy to watch. Spring love!

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