Friday, October 2, 2020

African American Tufts

 Is anyone else working on African-American Tufts families from Georgia? I recently started researching this family group and discovered a classic census taker error. Jefferson Tufts is noted in the 1930 census with his mother and her new husband and family. In the 1940 census he is noted again but with her new husbands name. He was married later that year with his correct Tufts name and 2 years later his draft card also issues his Tufts name.:

1930 and 1940 Cleveland census
(Apparently Jefferson graduated from a step-son to son with the name change)

This line of Tufts originates in Georgia and shows up in available records after the Civil War. The census of 1870 and 1880 show several Tufts families in Jones County Georgia post war.
1880 Jones County Georgia census
There were both white and African American families in Georgia then. The families descended from Francis and Gardner Tufts were there. The story of brothers Francis and Gardner leaving Brookfield, Massachusetts for Savannah, Georgia is a remarkable one and will follow this story. They were descended from Peter Tufts of Charlestown, Massachusetts through Jonathan Tufts, Joseph and John. It is assumed the African-American families took the Tufts name from their owners, the descendants of this family.

I am just beginning to research these families and would appreciate any information anyone wishes to share. I discovered about 15 trees on ancestry with these families. There are over one hundred that include Francis and Gardner's families.
Stephen Tufts 1830-? Georgia
Frank Tufts 1870-1966 Georgia-Cleveland, Ohio
Jefferson Tufts Sr. 1898-1922 Ohio
Jefferson Tufts 1921-2009 Ohio

Sunday, September 20, 2020

Tufts DNA project

 I am working on a DNA project of Tufts descendants with results at Gedmatch. Please contact me if you have tested your DNA, have results there or are willing to participate.

There are many Tufts lines of descent who claim they are from other immigrants than Peter Tufts of Charlestown, MA, circa 1638, specifically TUFFS and TUFT families and Irish immigrant families of numerous spellings. This could be an opportunity to eliminate any doubt, if we get enough participants to accurately complete the genetic analysis. This is only one way this project could benefit researchers of Tufts and other families. 

Please see the links below for more information. Contained in these links are some with warnings about risks of testing and having results posted on a database or website. Please review these and learn as much as you can about DNA testing for genealogy before testing or participating in this project. As of this posting (September 20, 2020), this project is not sponsored by or affiliated with the Tufts Kinsmen Association.

My personal opinion is that DNA testing for genealogy is simply one of the many tools we use to trace our ancestry. It is like a database, a record or file. They all have to be reviewed and judged for content and accuracy. DNA results should match good genealogy research. 

Thomas W Tufts

Please email if you wish to participate.

Links for additional information:


University of Washington News article 

NY Times article

Tufts University article 

Sunday, June 7, 2020

Damariscotta Maine graves of young Tufts children

When I am on vacation in Maine, I often do a little research. I love to find an old cemetery and seek out the Tufts who might be buried there. In 2019, in Damariscotta, I discovered the graves of three Tufts children in a beautifully preserved old farm setting. 

Franklin Tufts (1809-1821)                                             
Alden Tufts (1811-1816)                                                
Sarah Jane Tufts (1817-1821)    

The website findagrave lists four Tufts family members in the Flint-Tufts Cemetery, right along Route 1 in Damariscotta. The fourth is listed as the father, Francis Tufts (unknown -1835).(Even though the epitaph refers to an "infant form".) The source comes from the information on the stones and the fourth stone is not clear enough to draw that conclusion, so research is being done to see if there is another source for the burials.  The Town of Damariscotta lists the cemetery on their website and has a map. They are progressing on documenting the stones and persons buried there. Any information on these families is appreciated.
Tufts Kinsmen listed four young children of this family. The book does not list a source and only lists the fourth child as the initials S and H (1806-1843). These children were the progeny of Francis (Frank) Tufts and Esther (Stover) Tufts of Damariscotta, Maine. Frank was the son of Moses Tufts from Lynn, Massachusetts who was an officer in the Revolutionary war, a schoolteacher and settled across the river from Damariscotta in Newcastle, Maine after the war. The story of Moses leaving Lynn, Massachusetts and settling in Newcastle is remarkable, as it was an early settlement before 1790 (when he was in census there). 

Moses Tufts (1744-1805) married Phebe Thompson (1743-1805) and had: Phebe, Rhoda, Moses, Rhoda, Katherine, Francis. (Both Rhodas died as infants.) Phebe married David Dodge in Newcastle and had a large family. Moses married Thankful Marks in Connecticut (possibly), Katherine married Abraham Dodge, then Samuel Little, and had 7 children in Maine. (from Tufts Kinsmen)
Francis (Frank), the father of the children buried in this little cemetery, was born in 1778 in Lynn, Massachusetts. It appears Frank married Esther Stover.  (Kinsmen has the notation “w?” for widow, but I have not seen any record indicating so.) No other record of this family has been found. Kinsmen also states Frank died in 1849 in Richmond County, Staten Island, NY with no reference to the record. Frank is listed as Captain. No record of military service has been found and it is likely he was a ship’s Captain as Damariscotta is an ocean community. (The death record in New York may be Sailor’s Snug Harbor, a retirement home for sailors there.) His birth record appears to be 1778 not 1779. Lynn vital records online show it as 1778. His family number in Kinsmen is 94-6. It is possible there is more information in the archives of Kinsmen author Herbert Adams at Tufts University Digital Collections Archives, Tufts Kinsmen Association collection.

A beautiful barn sits near the site of the cemetery today. The cemetery is quite close to the road, but the farm sits back and has trails and events at the barn. The farm is part of the Coastal Rivers Conservation Trust.

I especially like the epitaphs on these old stones despite the sadness. Photo credit Damariscotta Cemetery Trustees.
Dear God let all my hours be thine / Whilst I enjoy the light. / Then shall my sun in smiles decline / And bring a pleasant night.
Unveiling thy bosom faithful Tomb /Take this new treasure to thy trust /And give this lovely Infant room / To slumber in the silent dust.
Receive O earth, this infant form/ In thy cold bosom let it lie/ safe let it rest from every storm/Soon must it rise, no more to die.
It would be nice to put at least a name to this poor soul. Research continues.