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Local History
First Settler Profiles
The Middler:
SMFSD Events
SMFSD Bylaws
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Copyright © 2007-2015
All rights reserved.

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"History must not
be written with bias,
and both sides
must be given,
even if there is
only one side."

- John Betjeman

The Middler Archive:
Back issues of the SMFSD Newsletter

Issues of The Middler since 2005 are linked below in PDF format. A goal is to scan earlier issues 2001-2005 and add them to the site to form a complete archive. Note that there is a one-year holdback on posting issues to this archive. To read the latest issues of The Middler, visit our Membership page and join us as a member or friend of SMFSD!

And now . . . hit the links:

The Middler, Fall 2005
Contents: Triennial Meeting plans; new Middler editor; Jane Devlin's Dunham-Wilcox-Trott-Kirk web site; transcriber Coralynn Brown; Haddam & East Haddam; feature graphic - Main Street 1790; first settler profile - Thomas Allen.

The Middler, Spring 2006
Contents: The William Cornwell-Mary Hyanno conjecture; Triennial Meeting schedule of activities; economist & author Hannah McKinney and her book The Development of Local Public Services 1650-1860: Lessons from Middletown, Connecticut; feature graphic - 1836 engraving of Middletown; first settler profile - John Kirby; origins of some first settlers in Rowley, Mass.

The Middler, Fall 2006
Contents: SMFSD Triennial Meeting report; photo montage of weekend activities; walking in the footsteps of ancestors in Middletown; Hannah McKinney insights on early Middletown - continued from previous issue; Middlesex County Historical Society & its board president William Ryczek; feature graphic - views from Asylum Hill.

The Middler, Spring 2007
Contents: Frank Farnsworth Starr feature - Middletown's preeminent genealogist; new SMFSD web site; Special Collections & Archives at Wesleyan University; genealogy resources at the Middlesex County Historical Society; preservation news from Middletown; feature graphic - 3-in-1 research reference map.

The Middler, Fall 2007
Contents: Research destinations: Russell Library & Middletown Room; SMFSD web site report; Middletown's meeting house art & the "log cabin myth"; the settlement of Whitestown, N.Y., destination for many Middletown descendants; profile of Middletown historian Jessie Alsop; DNA analysis & Middletown genealogy; book review - Saxons, Vikings, and Celts by Bryan Sykes; feature graphic - The Jessie Alsop Map of Main Street, Middletown, in 1654.

The Middler, Spring 2008
Contents: Middletown's Godfrey Memorial Library and its recent addition of thousands of Middletown-related records to its online Godfrey Scholar resources; an obituary and appreciation of Gale Cornwell (1926-2007), founder of SMFSD; an article on the settlement of Stow, Ohio, a destination for numerous Middletown descendants; a book review of A Century in Captivity by Denis R. Caron; and more redrawn land grant maps based on the research of Jessie Alsop (1875-1951).

The Middler, Fall 2008
Contents: A summary of Middletown's participation in the Revolutionary War, based on the booklet prepared by noted Connecticut historian Albert E. Van Dusen in 1950; a profile of Paula Higgins, a researcher of early Middletown settlers; Godfrey Memorial Library's Middletown-related digitization initiative; excerpts from a new in-depth profile of early settler Thomas Ranney; and an article on how early Middletown inhabitants dealt with "growth issues" that are similar to those of the present day.

The Middler, Spring 2009
Contents: A lead article with details of the SMFSD Triennial Meeting in August 2009; an update on new genealogy/history Internet resources; a book review of Richard Bushman's From Puritan to Yankee; vistas to look for in Middletown; a profile of SMFSD Registrar Donald Brock; excerpts from early town records; and the outlandish story of mystery first-settler Edith Domey. This issue also includes a Triennial Meeting registration form.

The Middler, Fall 2009
Contents: A lead article that recaps SMFSD Triennial Meeting activities; an obituary of board member Albert C. Dudley; and interview with August DeFrance, president of the Middletown Old Burying Grounds Association; Part II of board member Don Brock's memories of growing up on a farm in Middletown; and an article on proposed bylaw changes. The feature graphic is a reference map of Middletown's early burying grounds.

The Middler, Spring 2010
Contents: The first of a two-part series that compiles what is known about Native Americans in Middletown; an article on revised SMFSD bylaws; a profile of SMFSD president Barb Stenberg; an article on John Cornwell's encounters with SMFSD founder, the late Gale Cornwell; and a profile of Wetmore family researcher Hal Whitmore. The feature graphics are maps indicating the regional and local range of respective Native American tribes.

The Middler, Fall 2010
Contents: The second of a two part series that compiles what is known about Native Americans in Middletown; a feature biographical sketch of Godfrey Library founder A. Fremont Rider; an obituary of SMFSD board member Tom Smith; and two book reviews. The feature graphic is an 1835 view of Middletown from the east side of the Connecticut River.

The Middler, Spring 2011
Contents: A lead article on the English origins of the pre-1700 settlers of Middletown, including four pages of tabular material and two pages of maps; a feature on the brownstone quarries of Portland, Conn. and the connection to early Middletown families; three book reviews.

The Middler, Fall 2011
Contents: A lead article that summarizes research on enslaved Africans and their descendants in Middletown from the 1660s onward; a profile of SMFSD secretary Marge Piersen; an article on Middletown's decades as a flourishing port city involved in the West Indies trade; and a review of The Sage Family - Kith and Kin, by Donald A. Sage. The feature graphic is a reproduction of runaway slave notices published in 18th-century newspapers.

The Middler, Spring 2012
Contents: A preview of the 2012 Triennial Meeting in Middletown (and registration form); an introduction to the Connecticut Society of Genealogists; a feature article in the "Where They Went" series on the emigration of some Middletown families to "West Florida" (Natchez, Miss.) in the 1770s; the earlyb 18th-century settlement of Middlefield; and a book review of Rum & Axes: The Rise of a Connecticut Merchant Family, 1795-1850, by Dr. Janet Siskind. The feature graphic is the 1671 land grant map of Middlefield based on the research of Jessie Alsop (1875-1951).

The Middler, Fall 2012
Contents: A report on the 2012 SMFSD Triennial Meeting (with 28 photos); highlights of the SMFSD business meeting; missives from new president Marge Piersen and outgoing president Barb Stenberg; and a feature article on the domestic architecture of 17th-century Connecticut and its impact on family life, with illustrations and framing diagrams from Early Connecticut Houses by Norman M. Isham (1900).

The Middler, Spring 2013
Contents: A feature research article on Puritanism in Middletown, with the focus on its identity as a "second generation" settlement; an article on the 1744 Nehemiah Hubbard House available for sale; a recap of SMFSD's presence at the 2013 New England Regional Genealogical Conference; a report on strom damage to the iron fence at Middletown's Mortimer Cemetery; and a profile of SMFSD secretary Cindy Nicewarner.

The Middler, Fall 2013
Contents: A lead article on Jason Newton's Connecticut Path Project; a feature research article on the tribulations of Middletown's Joshua Stow in the early 19th century; news on the addition of Middletown church records to Godfrey Library's "Scholar" database; book reviews of The Barbarous Years by Bernard Bailyn, and Connecticut Town Meeting Records During the American Revolution compiled by Jolene Roberts Mullen; and announcement of the publication of Early Families of Middletown, Connecticut - Vol. I: 1650-1654 by Reginald W. Bacon, which received the Brainard T. Peck Award from the Connecticut Society of Genealogists.

The Middler, Spring 2014
Contents:A lead article on enriching the understanding of family history through the study of material objects and family heirlooms; a book review of Family Trees, a history of American genealogy by Francois Weil; and an article on the history of Wilcox Island, situated inn the middle of the Connecticut River.

The Middler, Fall 2014
Contents:A research article on farming in early Middletown; an article on the Middletown DNA study project conceived by SMFSD member Peter Irvine; an obituary and appreciation of Joe Piersen, a great friend of SMFSD; news of the Middlesex County Historical Society; and the SMFSD president's preview of the 2015 New England Regional Geneaological Conference in April and the SMFSD's 2015 Triennial Meeting in October.

The Middler, Spring 2015 ... to be posted after Spring 2016.
Contents:Triennial Meeting preview; a feature article in the "Where They Went" series on the Holland Land Company in western New York; a feature article on Charles Collard Adams, author of Middletown Upper Houses; and three book reviews. (Join SMFSD to receive the latest issues of The Middler! See the Membership page for details.)

The Middler, Fall 2015 ... to be posted after Fall 2016.
Contents:A recap of the 2015 Triennial Meeting; a summary of the SMFSD business meeting; an interview with Laura Hobbs, new SMFSD secretary; an article on the restoration of Russell Chapel at Middletown's Indian Hill Cemetery; a feature on existing pre-1750 homes in Middletown (with photos); and two book reviews. (Join SMFSD to receive the latest issues of The Middler! See the Membership page for details.)

Middler articles ... now in book form

Note to the Middletown History & Genealogy Community: If your Middler collection is incomplete, many of the feature articles prepared for The Middler in past years have since been adapted and expanded as individual chapters in Early Families of Middletown, Connecticut - Volume I: 1650-1654, by R.W. Bacon, Middler editor and museum/history professional, published by Variety Arts Press.

Get Adobe Acrobat Reader FREE Links to issues of The Middler are in Adobe Acrobat format. This file format ("PDF," or Portable Document Format) is an Internet and graphics industry standard, and requires the free Adobe Acrobat reader software. If this software is not already on your system, you can download the free Acrobat reader by clicking here or the box at left.

A section of the 1877 panoramic map of Middletown. (SMFSD Middler Collection)