master genealogist

A Master Genealogist Shows How To Get It Right!


Richard H. Benson’s book, THE NICHOLAS WADE FAMILY, highlights New England Wade ancestry

master genealogist

Tackling the age-old problem in genealogy of accurate identification and documentation requires significant knowledge and understanding of genealogical research and relevant resources, plus skill. Richard H. Benson is to be commended for his well-sourced compilation and fascinating narrative of New England Wade ancestry in THE NICHOLAS WADE FAMILY. Published in Register Style by the venerable Newberry Street Press, the reader is treated to a wealth of genealogical and historical data on this early Colonial American family. Benson utilizes the highest standards of sourcing and citation with primary sources, chronicling five generations of the well-known Massachusetts Wades in the first five chapters of his work. The remaining third of the book is devoted to discussions on the as-of-yet- unlinked John Wade Family of Lyme, Connecticut and other unidentified Wades, complete with bibliography and index. The author brings all these families to life in both in word and picture with inviting biographical detail, maps, and illustrations.

Starting with the earliest known ancestor Nicholas Wade of Scituate, Massachusetts, first found documented in the primary records of Plymouth Colony taking the oath of allegiance on 1 February 1638, to the Wades in 1850 as noted in US Census Records for Norfolk, Massachusetts, Benson soundly presents his argument of kinship. Generationally, fathers, mothers and children are listed and described along with collateral relationships in well-rounded detail, extensively footnoted. Wade descendants and researchers alike will benefit from learning from a master genealogist as he displays his research, analysis and evidence in this compiled genealogy of the Nicholas Wade Family.

Book Review by Mary E Petty, B.A. Genealogy, Vice President of Heirlines, of The Nicholas Wade Family, by Richard H. Benson (Boston: Newbury Street Press, 2012. ISBN 978-0-88082-278-7. 6 x 9, 322 pp., hardcover, $44.95). Order online at, by phone 1-888-296-3444, or by writing New England Historic Genealogical Society, Sales Dept., 99-101 Newbury St., Boston, MA 02116.

Submitted by Mary E. Petty, B.A. (History), B.A. (Genealogy)
Heirlines Vice President

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Headstones: More to them than just names and dates.


headstonesLooking closely at the symbols on headstones can reveal much about the people buried there.

A genealogist in a cemetery is like a kid in a candy store! Often we are so excited to copy down all the names and dates on the headstones that we overlook another source of valuable information. We may not realize that the symbols on headstones hold clues to the lives of our ancestors.

Cemeteries are full of symbols that mean much more than just their decorative function. Symbols were placed on headstones for a specific purpose by family members or the deceased ancestor themselves. These symbols tell us something about the person buried there. They can represent what our ancestors valued or what message they wanted to communicate to their posterity. .

For example, an open book on a headstone can represent a bible or a person of faith. A closed book can represent a life completed. A dove can be a sign of a soul at peace, purity or devotion. Drapes can represent sorrow, mourning, death or a life ended early. It could also represent a “veil” between heaven and earth. .

These symbols are a thought provoking window into the soul of the person buried there and can lend great insight into our ancestors’ lives.

For an interesting list of grave stone symbols and their meanings, visit

Looking for help with hard to find records or genealogical questions? Contact Heirlines Family History and Genealogy, breaking through family history walls for almost 40 years. We professionally identify and document ancestry and kinship relationships and verify and certify the family tree with Certified Family Trees™ and Certified Forensic Genealogy Solutions™. We’re ready when you’re ready!

Give us a call and speak with one of our professional genealogists today.

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