In Response to “Letter Writing Month”

My father died when I was eleven years old and his mother had died when he was one. The only thing I knew of my paternal grandmother was her name: Edna Burtt. She died in Lynn, MA in 1910. I contacted the City Hall there for her death certificate. It stated she had been born in Lynn, but nothing was said about her parents. I requested her birth certificate. There was none on record.

About this time, I received a letter from an older cousin in reply to a letter I’d written to her. I had asked if she knew anything more about Edna Burtt. She had no more information other than, “They called her Victoria.” I asked Lynn, MA for a birth certificate for Victoria Burtt and at the same time asked for a birth cerificate of my father.

No birth certificate for Victoria Burtt. Upon looking at my father’s birth certificate, I discovered his mother Edna Burtt Spinney had been born in New Brunswick, Canada. Based upon her age at death, she had been born in 1880. Through the Ellsworth Public Library, I received the 1881 New Brunswick Census microfilm. There, I found Victoria Burtt aged 1 living with her father Hathaway Burtt (later found in the Lynn Census) and mother Lucetta.

Following the Burtt genealogy, I discovered that one ancestor fought for the British in New York. An earlier ancestor had been captured in Connecticut by Indians and taken to Canada. As he was coming back to the Colonies with his wife aboard a ship, his wife gave birth to a son whom they named Seaborn Burtt since he was born at sea. Had it not been for my cousin who offered the tid-bit “They called her Victoria” I would likely still be looking for Edna Burtt in Canada.

Richard Spinney
MGS Treasurer

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