My genealogical journey began with a missing great-grandfather. 

This is a page of my Baby Book. My mother, Mary Margaret Shepardson, filled it in with one exception, her paternal grandfather. 

Her parents, Catherine McKenzie and Winthrop Shepardson were divorced in 1930 when she was 4. Her father’s family  disapproved of the marriage and  cut off all communications after the divorce. My mother often said that as a child she would look through the local phone directory looking for other Shepardson. I started my research in the early 2000s to fill in that Shepardson gap for her. 

Among her direct ancestors:

Daniel Shepardson, a blacksmith, who arrived in Charlestown, MA about 1633.

William Bradford, of Plymouth Colony, arrived 1620.

Peter Hobart, of Hingham, MA, arrived 1635.

Roger Conant, of Salem, arrived 1625.

I was lucky enough to be able to tell her about her Mayflower connection before her death in 2011.

Divorce, 1930s Style

“17 Divorces Given in Dedham Court”

“Catherine M. Shepardson of Quincy was given a decree from her husband, Winthrop E. Shepardson of Springfield, on the grounds of cruel and abusive treatment. They were married Sept. 28, 1925, and have one child, of whom the mother was given custody and $80 a month for its support.”

The Boston Globe, 4 Nov. 1930, p. 5

According to my mother (the child mentioned), family lore was that all parties agreed to the testimony of “abusive treatment”, given by one of Catherine’s sisters, in order to hasten the divorce proceedings.

I’ve been looking for this for 15 years. Now that I have a date and the court, the next step is to try to get the court proceedings.

The Ears Have It

Peter Gaskell Bence
Raymond Everett Bence
Raymond Everett Bence Jr.

Three generations of the Bence family

A Summer Outing

Charles WIlcox and family summer outing with Raymond Bence - 1902On Sunday, July 6th, 1902, my 9 year old grandfather, Raymond Bence (1892-1973), spent the day sailing with family off the coast of Tiverton, Rhode Island.

Charles E. Wilcox (1881-1938) was Raymond’s half-brother, the son of Raymond’s mother Emma Rowena Macomber (1853-1909) by her first husband Charles H. Wilcox.

Charles E. Macomber (1866-1937) and Fred Macomber (1856-1934) were Raymond’s uncles, Emma’s younger brothers.

Irving Cook (1827-1913) was the husband of Emma’s half-aunt, Martha B. Wilcox (1840-1914).

Source: Fall River Daily Evening News (Fall River, MA), 7 Jul 1902, p. 7, accessed at on 28 May 2020.