Archaeology on The Hill 2013

Below are photos of this year’s archaeological dig on The Hill in Easton, part of an effort to prove The Hill is the oldest community in the nation established by free blacks. This year’s dig is taking place on the property of the Women’s Club of Talbot County (18 Talbot Lane). Residents of The Hill are believed to have lived and worked on the property and the archaeology students from the University of Maryland and Morgan State University are looking for evidence of their presence during the dig. The dig will continue through Friday, July 26, and the public is welcome during the hours of 10 a.m. and 3 p.m. each weekday.

The scene at the dig. Today was a special weekend open house for the public.

The scene at the dig. Today was a special weekend open house for the public.

One of the students was sifting through the dirt that had been dug out of the test pits.

One of the students was sifting through the dirt that had been dug out of the test pits.

He found several pieces of pottery. He would lick them to see if they were porcelain. Porcelain pieces won't stick to your tongue.

He found several pieces of pottery. He would lick them to see if they were porcelain. Porcelain pieces won’t stick to your tongue.

He also found a porcelain button.

He also found a porcelain button.

Other students were working in the test pits. Morgan State student Brittany explains what they've found so far in this photo.

Other students were working in the test pits. Morgan State student Brittany explains what they’ve found so far in this photo.

This test pit was a tricky one to work in due to the tree roots.

This test pit is a tricky one to work in due to the tree roots.

The students are finding a lot of oyster shells in the test pits. They say that oyster shells were given to chickens in the yard. The chickens would eat the shells to aid in their digestion. They have found other evidence of a chicken coop during the dig.

The students are finding a lot of oyster shells in the test pits. They say that oyster shells were given to chickens in the yard. The chickens would eat the shells to aid in their digestion. They have found other evidence of a chicken coop during the dig.

One of the most exciting finds so far this year is this 1794 metal coin.

One of the most exciting finds so far this year is this 1794 metal coin.

The back of the coin.

The back of the coin.

The students had some of their finds on display, including a metal toy gun, marbles, a door hinge and other objects.

The students had some of their finds on display, including a metal toy gun, marbles, a door hinge and other objects.

Tools of the trade.

Tools of the trade.

The students also had a washing station where they were rinsing finds from another dig in Talbot County. Following are photos of those artifacts:

Rinsing station.

The rinsing station.

The students found this glass bottle with the word 'Baltimore' stamped on it.

The students found this glass bottle with the word ‘Baltimore’ stamped on it.

A piece of porcelain.

A piece of porcelain.

Metal objects.

Metal objects.

Funds for the dig were raised by Historic Easton. You can learn more about The Hill on the Historic Easton web site. If you would like to help support future digs, please click the ‘Donate’ button on the Historic Easton homepage.

Student Archaeologists Dig up Easton’s Past – WBOC-TV 16, Delmarvas News Leader, FOX 21 -

Student Archaeologists Dig up Easton’s Past – WBOC-TV 16, Delmarvas News Leader, FOX 21 -.

More coverage of the archaeological dig happening in Easton at the link above!

UMD Uncovering Oldest U.S. Community of Free Blacks?

UMD Uncovering Oldest U.S. Community of Free Blacks? | UMD Right Now :: University of Maryland.

I hope everyone in the area can come and be a part of the archaeological dig on The Hill here in Easton. See the link above for more information.

New Golden Rule: Read Shades from Cover to Cover

Friend No. 43

Friend No. 43

Be sure to check out the latest issue of Shades of the Departed magazine. Not only is the issue chock full of school days memories and vintage photos, but I was given the opportunity to tell the Friends Album story (see page 36). Enjoy!

News about The Hill in Easton

The Asbury AME church dominates the view down South Street in The Hill neighborhood in Easton.

The Asbury AME church dominates the view down South Lane in The Hill neighborhood in Easton.

There’s beginning to be a lot of buzz about The Hill, perhaps the oldest established African-American neighborhood in the country. Read three recent articles in the Star Democrat at the links below:

More details from ‘The Hill’ come to light

History on ‘The Hill’

More digs planned for ‘The Hill’

What’s more, the neighborhood’s two historic African-American churches, both of which hosted speeches by Frederick Douglass

when he visited Easton, are slated to receive preservation funds in Governor Martin O’Malley’s budget this year.

If you are interested in learning more about The Hill, donating towards the preservation and archaeological work, or getting involved as a volunteer, please visit the Historic Easton web site or send us an email!

Picnic for Twelve — A Family Memoir

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I am happy to report that one of my clients has published Picnic for Twelve, a book about his parents and their growing family as they navigated The Great Depression and other events over the last century. If you are interested in the life of Irish-Americans during the 1900s, have Boston-area ancestors, or are just looking to read a cleverly written yarn, I highly recommend that you download the book for your Kindle or purchase a print copy.

I provided genealogical research support on the Driscoll and Sheehan families. This was a fun and challenging project to work on, as various members of the family moved around a lot, originating in or living in locations including New York City, Southern California, here in Maryland, and of course, Massachusetts and Ireland. Along the way, vital records unlocked most of the clues needed to solve a few family mysteries. As part of the project, I read an early version of the manuscript. The author is a former editor of the Boston Globe and a great storyteller — I highly recommend this book!

“Uncovering Our Past” — An Update on The Hill

For those interested in learning the latest on the explorations and research into The Hill neighborhood in Easton, please plan to join us on Saturday, November 3, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.

We believe “The Hill” is the oldest African American neighborhood in the country, predating what is thought of as the oldest documented African American neighborhood: “Treme” located in New Orleans, LA.

“Uncovering Our Past” will take place at the Talbot County Senior Center (400 Brookletts Place) and will provide a debriefing on the on-going documentation efforts regarding “The Hill” and a discussion on the role of archeology and historic preservation. Professor Dale Glenwood Green of Morgan State University School of Architecture and Planning and Dr. Mark Leone of the University of Maryland College Park Department of Anthropology will highlight a panel discussion followed by a open session for sharing and collecting stories of the neighborhood history. Light refreshments will be available.

For more information on this project, please see:

The Hill: Amazing Tales and Discoveries

Archaeological Dig on The Hill in Easton

Update from The Hill

Help Preserve an Historic African American Neighborhood: The Hill in Easton, Md.

My Week in Search Terms

As a blogger, I’m obsessed with site metrics and as a researcher/librarian, I’m obsessed with search terms. WordPress satisfies both obsessions with its blog statistics, which let me know how people find my blog by searching the Internet.

I found several interesting search terms over the past week (for still more search-term hilarity, I suggest you visit my friend Amy’s We Tree blog for her “Fun with Search Terms” posts).

1943 guide to hiring women — perhaps this week’s “Binders Full of Women” meme made you think of this brochure that informed 1940s government managers about the ins and outs of hiring and employing women.

andrew jackson photos — unfortunately, Andrew Jackson died in 1845, pre-dating most photographic technology. My second great grand uncle Andrew Jackson Corley, on the other hand, lived in the late 1800s, and I was lucky to come across a photo of him.

how to flip my couch into a flatbed — I think the method you use will be determined by the type of couch you have (Hopefully you have a sleeper sofa. Otherwise, I’m not sure how successful you’ll be). You found my blog because of my post about my Flip-pal scanner — one of my best purchases of 2012. I highly recommend you get one too. You can use it while on your couch or while on your bed.

roots tech 2012, going to — RootsTech 2012 was back in February, but you’re in luck! The event will take place again in March 2013. Hope to see you there.

why are maganetic albums badMagnetic albums are bad. Really, really bad. I highly recommend using an acid-free album like these from Creative Memories (I am a CM consultant) to better protect your photos.

“alfred t. gourley” civil war — nice use of quotation marks to create a phrase out of the name. Unfortunately, even though you most likely also are a descendant of my third great-grandfather, you didn’t reach out (and I even have a special request at the top of this post asking for you to make contact). Next time, stop by and say hello! I don’t bite.

abbey mausoleum arlington wiki — It would be great if there were a wiki for this now-defunct mausoleum, which was looted over many years of neglect. I posted about my search for ancestors who used to be buried there. Hopefully you also found this FindaGrave page about Arlington Abbey, including old pictures of the facility.

Meet Anson G. Bennett, My 2nd Great-Grandfather

Anson G. Bennett

Dear Reader: Do you think you are related to the individuals listed in this post? Please drop me a note! I love hearing from cousins and others researching my family!

This weekend, one of my aunts and I went through a ton of photos and documents that used to belong to my grandmother. Among the treasures was a funeral announcement for my second great-grandfather, Anson G. Bennett. I wrote about him briefly before.

One of the most exciting things about the article was the photo shown here — I’d never seen his photo before. Unfortunately, the newspaper clipping isn’t dated or identified by publication name. It most likely came from one of the San Antonio papers.

The article reveals several new-to-me facts. One of Anson’s sons was San Antonio city clerk. Anson was buried at St. Mary’s parish cemetery. Anson’s address at the time of his death was 619 Cedar Street.

619 Cedar Street, San Antonio

The following excerpt is especially rich in detail:

“A native of Missouri, he was brought to San Antonio in a covered wagon by his father, Capt. Sam C. Bennett, Civil War veteran and boat captain on the Mississippi river between St. Louis and New Orleans.” (“A. G. Bennett Funeral Services Set,” date and publication unknown.)

I already knew that Anson died on 12 Mar 1944. I didn’t know about his father’s Civil War service. I believe he served the Confederacy as I have evidence he was a slave owner (an obituary for one of the family’s slaves was even published in the San Antonio Express).

Beyond the above clues, searching anew for information on Anson led me to his listing in the 1940 census. I also found another newspaper article that said Samuel C. Bennett was custodian of the Alamo for three years prior to his death in 1900 (“Capt. Bennett Dead,” Dallas Morning News, 16 Jan 1900, digital image, GenealogyBank, http://genealogybank.com : accessed 2 Sep 2012.). I have a feeling there’s going to be a lot more material to find on him.