Burdick Newsletters

July/August, 2005


If We Are Diligent

by Heber J. Grant

(Heber Grant (1856-1845) served as President of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints from 1918 to 1945. The following is an excerpt form his book, "Teachings of Presidents of the Church," originally written in 1928, recounting the story of how the Burdick Genealogy was almost lost! If anyone can complete the story, namely, who the Burdick cousin identified by President Grant was, or how Nellie Johnson came into possession of the manuscript for publication, I would love to hear from you. I would also love to know if the manuscripts still reside in Salt Lake City -- perhaps one of our Utah Burdick family members know. - HB)

I pray that the Lord will inspire each and all of us to greater diligence in performing to the full extent of our ability the duties and the labors that devolve upon us in doing vicarious work for our dead. When we seek earnestly, year after year, to gain knowledge regarding those of our family who have passed away without a knowledge of the gospel, I am sure the Lord blesses us in obtaining it.

This genealogical work, to me, is simply marvelous. It is wonderful how those of us who take any interest in it have the way prepared. It seems miraculous they way my wife has been able in the past to gather genealogical information regarding her forefathers. It is little less than marvelous the way books and other information have come into her possession. When we got right up against a stone wall, in some way there has been a hole made through that wall so that we could crawl through and get to the other side, figuratively speaking, and find something that was of value.

For years my wife had been seeking to learn the parentage of her great-great-grandfather, Gideon Burdick. Seven generations of his family were represented in the Church, but back of him she could not go. She followed every clue, but could not even obtain the name of his father.

Since he had been a soldier in the Revolutionary War, it was hoped the official records at Washington, D.C. might furnish the needed evidence. But these showed that there were two Gideon Burdicks serving in the American forces at that period, and this made the task of identification still more difficult.

Some years ago Mrs. Grant and I visited Washington and consulted the archives of the pension bureau. She found on file there the application of Gideon Burdick for a pension. Examining it, she found that his age as there given corresponded with that of her own ancestor. One of the witnesses who signed the application proved to be Hyrum Winters, Gideon's son-in-law, and her own grandfather.

His birthplace was now known to be in Rhode Island, [so] the task that remained was to trace him back to his family connection in that state.

After more searching Mrs. Grant learned from a letter that a Mr. Harcourt was compiling a genealogy of the Burdick family. She wrote immediately to his address, only to receive a letter from his daughter saying he had died ten years ago, and the manuscript had gone out of the hands of his family, and she knew nothing of it.

This seemed to be another wall to stop us, one which we could not get past. But my wife said, "I will not stop there." She wrote to the Postmaster of the place where Mr. Harcourt lived and asked him to deliver her letter to any one of the Burdick name.

The letter was handed to Dr. Alfred A. Burdick, who lived only a short distance from the Post Office. He answered immediately, saying he had the Harcourt manuscript, and was still compiling Burdick genealogy, with the intention of publishing it in book form. He said he had the record of the whole Burdick family down to Gideon, but nothing of his family, for the latter seemed literally to have dropped out of sight when he moved westward. "Send me," he wrote, "all the information of Gideon, and I will send you all you want to know about his ancestors."

This was done, and he very kindly sent to her an account of the forefathers of Gideon Burdick, giving her permission to make such use of it as she saw fit. In this way she succeeded in securing a complete copy of the information she sought after so long, definitely linking her people with the Rhode Island family.

I afterwards learned the following story of the Burdick manuscript.

Years ago William M. B. Harcourt and Dr. Alfred A. Burdick began compiling a genealogy of the Burdick family. A great store of information was collected and systematically arranged, with the intention of publishing it.

At this point Mr. Harcourt died, and a cousin of Dr. Burdick's obtained possession of the manuscript and carried it off with him to New York. At first he thought of publishing it, but several years later he wrote Dr. Burdick, saying that if the latter would pay the freight he could have the [manuscript]. Dr. Burdick, however, indignant at the other's action in taking the manuscript away, did not answer, even when the other threatened to burn the lot.

So the cousin ordered the janitor to carry all these precious papers down into the basement and burn them. For some reason the janitor failed to do this, and when the cousin discovered this some time later he packed up the whole set and shipped them off to his brother. But the brother had no room for them in his house, and consigned them to his back-yard. There they lay for months, exposed to rain and sun, with no one knowing just what to do with them.

The brother's wife died, and Dr. Burdick attended the funeral. Here he learned of the whereabouts of the manuscripts and he was told he could have them if they were of any value to him. He took them, and, fearing they might again get out of his possession, copied them book by book. Many parts had already been destroyed by the exposure, but, on examining the whole carefully, he was happy to find that practically all the important entries were preserved.

From that time to the present he has continued his research, adding to his information.

While in Washington, last December, Mrs. Grant and I made a special trip to Baltimore to meet this gentleman who had so courteously assisted us. He recognized us from the pictures we had sent, and extended both hands in greeting. Taking us into his inner office, he showed us volume after volume of genealogical data he had gathered, bearing upon the history of the Burdick family and others. "On this subject," he said, "I am willing to sit up and converse with you all night."

He had twenty manuscript volumes of Burdick material systematically arranged. Four of these were found to contain the direct line of Gideon. Dr. Burdick graciously tendered us this information, to copy and use as we saw fit. I offered to have a stenographer go to his office and make a copy, or to obtain a duplicate. But he put the books in my hands, saying, "I can trust you with these, President Grant, for I know they will be safe in your hands."

Typewritten copies have now been made of the entire set, and one of them has been returned to Dr. Burdick. Additional information has been gleaned from our own Genealogical Library, and from the family history, to supplement his compilation.

It is hoped that all of this is interesting not only to Mrs. Grant and to me, but to all who are seeking their own genealogies, as a testimony of how the Lord is working amongst his children outside the Church, and as an inspiration to leading men of the Church as well as to the leading men in stakes and wards of the Church to earnestly continue their own research. "Seek and ye shall find." [Matthew 7:7]


Gideon Burdick Research

by Judy Scholler (scholrs@uniontel.net)

(Judy has done extensive research on Gideon Burdick, who was Rebecca Winter's father. She has corrected several historical points regarding Gideon that were published in the March/April 2005 issue of this Newsletter. She has graciously offered to share this research with all of us. As I've expressed before, researchers like Judy always amaze me! - HB)

Gideon and Jane Burdick were my third great grandparents and I have spent many years researching them through public records. Gideon and Jane were married in Quincy, Illinois and all of their five children were born there. Records indicate that Jane did not go to Utah but remained in Quincy after Gideon's death and she herself died there two years later. Two of their five children died when only a few years old and of the remaining three, Lucinda, my g.g.grandmother married John Benjamin Baldwin and remained in Alexandria, Mo until her death. Lois Maria married John Finkle and had three sons by him: Gideon Finkle born 1843, Elias B. Finkle born 1845, and Osmer B.Finkle born 1857. The U.S Census of 1850 and 1860 indicate that they remained in Illinois, eventually moving back to Quincy where Lois died November 9, 1891.

I have visited the center at Nauvoo and all of their records bear no indication that Gideon ever lived in Nauvoo. Thomas Burdick, Gideon's son, owned no small amount of land in the city and maps can be obtained that indicate the precise location of his property.

The census for Alexandria, Clark, MO in 1850 shows Rebecca's son Oscar in residence with John Baldwin and Lucinda Burdick Baldwin. There was also an Oscar Davis in residence at the time. Perhaps both young men were working with John Baldwin until such time as they could make the trip to Utah.

A search at Quincy did not reveal any location for the burial of Gideon and Jane or of their two children that died while still very young. John and Lucinda are buried in a small cemetery in St. Francisville, Mo as are some of their children. We found the graves with the marker badly worn and were just able to make out the inscription the children had inscribed it.

In all, the total number of children with both wives comes to ten. There is no way there were eleven children left to travel to Utah with the widow Jane who, in fact, never left Illinois. Gideon's first wife, Catherine, died before his marriage to Jane so she could not have been also widowed.

Still, it does make a good story doesn't it? When I was in elementary school a long, long time ago, one of our fifth grade history books had a photo of the first gravesite for Rebecca. It only had a short white picket fence surrounding the area and the book told the story with simplicity, tying it in to the great migration westward and the development of the railroad to the west.

A mystery that I am still trying to solve is how Lucinda Burdick and John Benjamin Baldwin came to marry in Jamestown, NY. If Mr. Mueller is correct, then Gideon was still living in N.Y at that time and it would make sense. If he was there however he could not have married Jane in Quincy nor would their children have been born in Quincy as all the records indicate. Hmmmm... This genealogy stuff can cause a definite loss of sleep!

Finally, Alden Burdick didn't die until 1883 and I have a cousin in Utah to prove it.


The Thirteen Commandments for Names

submitted by Beverly Franks (bevfranks@gci.net)

(For all of you who have struggles with the names of our ancestors, Bev has the reason! - HB)

"Tongue-In-Cheek" Viewpoint of a Family Researcher

(1) Thou shalt name your male children: James, John, Joseph, Josiah, Abel, Richard, Thomas, William.

(2) Thou shalt name your female children: Elizabeth, Mary, Martha, Maria, Sarah, Ida, Virginia, May.

(3) Thou shalt leave NO trace of your female children.

(4) Thou shalt, after naming your children from the above lists, call them by strange nicknames such as: Ike, Eli, Polly, Dolly, Sukey.---making them difficult to trace.

(5) Thou shalt NOT use any middle names on any legal documents or census reports, and only where necessary, you may use only initials on legal documents.

(6) Thou shalt learn to sign all documents illegibly so that your surname can be spelled, or misspelled, in various ways: Hicks, Hicks, Hix, Hixe, Hucks, Kicks or Robinson, Robertson, Robison, Roberson, Robuson, Robson, Dobson.

(7) Thou shalt, after no more then 3 generations, make sure that all family records are lost, misplaced, burned in a court house fire, or buried so that NO future trace of them can be found.

(8) Thou shalt propagate misleading legends, rumors, and vague innuendo regarding your place origination:
(A) You may have come from : England, Ireland, Scotland, Wales....or Iran.
(B) You may have American Indian ancestry of the ______ tribe......
(C) You may have descended from one of three brothers that came over from ______

(9) Thou shalt leave NO cemetery records, or headstones with legible names.

(10) Thou shalt leave NO family Bible with records of birth, marriages, or deaths.

(11) Thou shalt ALWAYS flip thy name around. If born James Albert, thou must make all the rest of thy records in the names of Albert, AJ, JA, AL, Bert, Bart, or Alfred.

(12) Thou must also flip thy parent's names when making reference to them, although "Unknown" or a blank line is an acceptable alternative.

(13) Thou shalt name at least 5 generations of males and dozens of their cousins with indentical names in order to totally confuse researchers.

Author unknown


Burdick News... Up-To-The-Minute!

Guess I'll start this issue of "Burdick News" with a strange item. I received an email from a family in East Greenwich, RI who recently moved into a house built by Daniel Burdick in about 1850. Recently they have been experiencing strange happenings within the house and feel there could be some restless spirits sharing their home. The current owners have only found minimal information about Daniel Burdick. He was born about 1821, married a woman named Annie, and worked as a house carpenter. Due to the odd incidents the family is experiencing, they hope other Burdicks might know the history of the house. If you can shed light on this paranormal subject, please write to me at howard@burdickfamily.org

This one is not as strange, but just as interesting. I was contacted by a musicologist at a major university who recently acquired a violin with the name "E. Burdick" and the year "1937" hand-written inside. He indicated that it is clearly the work of an amateur, but the instrument has a lot of character and charm, and it makes a fine "country fiddle." The seller also had an old violin from Rhode Island by another, anonymous maker that was originally purchased from the same source. It is entirely possible that this is the only violin made by E. Burdick, and the craftsmanship shows he was reasonably skilled with hand tools. If you know anything about this violin, contact me at howard@burdickfamily.org

Tatjana Maric (tmaric@cogeco.ca) owns an anique store in Canada and came into possession of a very old traveling trunk with the name "R. E. Burdick" on it. She says the piece is big, nice, and has lot of character. If you are interested in this family heirloom, contact Tatjana.

Gary Gygax (ggygax@genevaonline.com) has yet another honor to add to his eclectic personal history (you may remember that Gary invented the popular game "Dungeons and Dragons" a few years ago.) Now, Sync magazine named him the "#1 Nerd" of all time, and a new strain of bacteria has been named after him, "Arthronema gygaxiana"! Gary claims to owe it all to his Burdick heritage -- I'm not sure if that's a compliment to the rest of us or not! :) Regardless, microbial congratulations Gary. Oh yes, Gary also wanted to mention that Hugh Lewis Burdick, son of Hugh Abram Burdick, married Marcia Holmes.

In the last Newsletter I posted a request from Jeremy Taylor for information about his Burdicks past. I had his email listed incorrectly, it should be: JeremyJTaylor@webtv.net.

Scott Bill Hirst (scottbillhirst@yahoo.com) wants to let everyone know that The Thomas Minor Society will have a reunion in the fall in California. This group is dedicated to the genealogy of the Minor/Miner family of Stonington, Connecticut. Scott also notes that The Avery Memorial Association reunion is next month in Groton, CT.

Jude McNeil (judemcniel@cox.net) is a Burdick descendant from the Washington County, Rhode Island, but right now she is looking for someone else. One of her ancestors is a Jacob Briggs. He was married to (1) Freegift Saunders and (2) Sarah Larkin. Jude is a descendant of Jacob and Sarah. They had a child, Freegift, born in 1814 who married Denison D. Kenyon. They apparently lived in Hopkinton, RI. Jacob Briggs served in the American Revolution, however no one has joined the DAR under his name. Other "Jacob Briggs"s served in the Revolutionary War and people have joined the DAR under him. This Jacob Briggs enlisted in 1777 and served in Continental Army, Rhode Island Regiment. Jacob was born circa 1743 in the Taunton area of Massachusetts. Sarah Larkin may be the daughter of Edward Larkin and Hannah Parker. Do you know anything about Jacob Briggs and his 2nd wife, Sarah? Where did they die? Where was their marriage? If you know, please contact Jude. Thanks.

You may remember a note in the March/April 2005 Newsletter about a mid-1800's photo of an unknown child simply identified as Mary Burdick. The photo turned out to be Bev DePriest's (bev.depriest@ncsl.org) great-grandmother! Bev reports that Ashley at Surname Heirlooms (staff@surnameheirlooms.com) was a joy to work with. Check out her web site at http://www.surnameheirlooms.com .

Michael Burdick (sirreal53@charter.net) is one busy person. Not only is he the Moderator for the Burdick Message board on Rootsweb, he also hosts the New York State Biographies Project (http://sirreal53.tripod.com/) which is part of the U.S. Biographies Project (http://members.tripod.com/~demurray/usbios/usbiog.html). This organization identifies and chronicles the lives of those who lived and died. Michael is looking for volunteers who would like to host a New York county and be responsible for gathering and posting biographies. It's a very interesting web site. If you are not in a New York kind of mood, visit the national site for all other states. One last item... Madison county in New York is celebrating it's Bi-Centennial next year, with a variety of activities planned to commemorate its past.

Sally Chirlin (chirlin@adelphia.net), our superb Burdick researcher in Norwich, NY is seeking information about more family members. Stanley Frink Hazard Burdick was the son of Herbert James Burdick, b. ca 1901 in Norwich. The family lived in Norwich for some time, but Stanley apparently moved to (or back to) RI. When Staley's mother, Phoebe Delina Frink Burdick (who first married Herbert James, Stanley's father, and then married Herbert I. Burdick after the first Herbert's death) died in Norwich in April 1940, her obituary listed Stanley living in Providence, RI, as well as a grandson Stanley F. Hazard Burdick. He supposedly was b. 1940 which would make him a newborn at the time of Phoebe's death. Also on the list to be found is a Viola Burdick b. 1891 in CT, daughter of Calvin George Burdick who married a Charles Brown. Sally has no idea where she was supposed to be living. Help!

Suzanne Dvorak (sophiabeads@hotmail.com) has a lovely watercolor that her father-in-law purchased some time ago. It is a horse done in a beautiful shade of azure, very bold and beautiful. The artist is signed "Burdick". Suzanne believes he was a student at the Rhode Island School of Design. She wants to find out more about this artist and his work. Do you know who it is? Any assistance would be appreciated.

Deborah Rogness (sangelstargazer@msn.com) is seeking information about great-grandmother, Marjorie Burdick. She married Edward Dewitt Hamilton, their dughter, Eshter Hamilton, married William clarence McKinnon and their daughter, Ardra McKinnon, is Deborah's mother. These ancestors appear in Nellie's book, but there is not information on where Marjorie Burdick lived in Kansas before following the Oregon Trail to Washington State. Deborah knows Marjorie was born in Pennsylvania, but she doesn't know where. Do you?

Stephanie Crabtree (crabtree@xmission.com) is stuck. Her GG Grandfather was Franklin Elmer Burdick who was supposedly born in Le Boeuf Twp., PA. He married Anna L. Woodbury, but Stephanie cannot find any information about them. Her Great Grandmother was Erminnie (Erma) May Burdick born September 29, 1889. Any help would be great.

Does anyone know an Earl Burdick who lived in Colton, Oregon? The people who purchased this elderly gentleman's house found some boxes he left behind in an old shed. He was a B-17 crewman who had flown most of his missions over North Africa. The records include flight logs, journals, medals, etc. If you know anything about this family member, please contact me (howard@burdickfamily.org).

Jane Maxson (jhm2727@cox.net) wants to let Rhode Island visitors and residents know they can see the "soon-to-be-more famous" quilt made by Rodney Burdick (rodneyburdick@hotmail.com) of Texas. The quilt contains a map of the state and Rodney's family tree, a history of his Burdick line, and photographs of his ancestors (including one of himself looking like an ancestor.) There's also a map of Burdickville and a Rhode Island red chicken with her chicks. Pictures of the quilt can be seen at http://www.burdickfamily.org (click on the "Photos" button.) The quilt may be seen in "Quilts and More" at the "Simple Pleasures" gift shops complex at the corner of Route 1 and 112/2 in Charlestown. It's unique!

Patsy Mulleneaux (patsym1@cox.net) is searching for information on the family of Milton/Harry Burdick and his wife Ella/Margaret Burdick. Milton was born 1863 in Pennsylvania. Ella was born in June 1867 in Tennessee. They had 6 children, all born in South Dakota: Forest (1890), Thomas (1892), Mary (1895), Harry (1901), Lester (1904) and Lawrence (1909). Not sure when they moved to Minnesota but they do appear on the 1920 census in Minnesota.

Diana King (diking2003@hotmail.com) is looking for any descedants of Clyde R Burdick (1903-1975) and his wife Wanda (Mead) Burdick (1901/03-1992). Both lived in Altadena, CA and are buried in the Forest Lawn Cemetery in Glendale, CA. Diana is 99% sure that there were children from this marriage but the last know contact with this branch her family was in the early 1950's. Wanda was a 2nd cousin of Diana's Great Grandmother, Geneva Mead Healea Cochran.

Arthur Haynes (arthaynes@juno.com) is starting to look at his "Wolcott" (mother's side) family tree, and is finding a number of Burdicks from Charlestown and Wakefield, RI. Any information on family ties between Burdicks and Wolcotts would be helpful.


Copyright Howard E. Burdick 2017. All Rights Reserved.

howard@burdickfamily.org