News and Events: 2019
October 19th: Celebrating Family History Month
Millbrook with the Union Library of Hatboro recognized Family History month with a program titled Exploring PA Genealogy.
Mary Porter, who is a Research Librarian at Indian Valley Library in Telford and heads Millbrook's museum and archives, facilitated the program to nearly 20 eager particpants. The program explored the general and specialized resources available for genealogy in PA that include online and print repositories which may hold records useful in your search.
October 13th: Celebrating PA Archaeology Month
October was Archaeology Month in Pennsylvania! Sybil Johnson and Millbrook's staff recognized this event with an archaeology education program held at the Moland House on Sunday, October 13th.
The Millbrook Society has been leading the archaeological work at Moland House for over a decade for the Warwick Township Historical Society who oversees this historic property. This twelve acre park is named for John Moland and the house he and family lived in during the 18th century. He was a provincial councillor for the British Crown when Pennsylvania was a British colony. Ironically, the Moland family still owned the property when the Continental Army decided to camp in the area nearby and the house became Washington’s Headquarters from August 10th through 23rd of 1777.
Millbrook over the years applied its expertise to uncover Moland's history by preparing site maps, excavating, screening, journaling the historic process, and cleaning and cataloguing thousands of artifacts dating back to the pre-colonial period.
It was a beautiful warm day for enjoying Moland House's bi-weekly open house and experiencing aspects of archaeology! About 20 people stopped by the event and viewed artifacts excavated at Moland, learned about the archaeologist’s ‘tools of the trade,’ and participated in soil screening and artifact cleaning.
October 4th: The History of Hatboro: First Hundred Years
David Shannon and Millbrook's president, Lin Magaha, presented the History of Hatboro: First Hundred Years program to the Warrington Women’s Club at its Friday, October 4th meeting held at the Warminster Library.
This program begins when the soon-to-be settlement was just part of a manor and York Road was a Native American trail. Founding Fathers formed the fledgling settlement, known then as Crooked Billet, from its first cabins, mill, and hat factory into a bustling village that witnessed the American Revolution, hosted General George Washington, and established itself into a hub of education.
September 25th: The History of Hatboro: Second Hundred Years
David Shannon, a founding father of Millbrook and former Hatboro Borough Historian, presented his sequel Hatboro history program: History of Hatboro: Second Hundred Years on Wednesday evening, September 25th to an audience of about 35 interested and engaged attendees.
The two-hour program travelled through Hatboro from the post Revolutionary War period through the Civil War and into the turn of the 20th century. He highlighted the people, places and events that formed Hatboro from a settlement into a town, a hub of industry, and a center for learning.
September 14th: Living History: The Civil War comes to Hatboro!
Captain John Green and his troops of Company C of the 28th PA Volunteers set-up camp in the middle of Hatboro on the front lawn of the Hatboro Baptist Church Saturday, September 14th.
About 50 onlookers came by from mid morning to mid afternoon to meet the trrops, and learn first hand about life in a typical Union Civil War camp.
The troops conducted marching drills and firing demonstrations, talked about aspects of camp life, detailed personal and miltary accouterments and weaponry, and demonstrated camp cooking. The troops also offered a memorial service with three gun salute honoring those Civil War trrops interred at the Hatboro Baptist Church cemetery.
May 8th: Our Annual Membership Meeting and featured speaker!
Millbrook held its Annual Meeting on Wednesday evening, May 8th. Lin Magaha, Millbrook’s president and treasurer, welcomed everyone, introduced the Society’s board and staff members, and recapped Millbrook’s financial position. He then led Board member nominations for the 2019-2021 term; Lin, Dawn Dickson (Secretary), Jim Maccaroni (Grist editor) and Bob Schofield each were nominated and approved.
Ralph Ciaudelli, Millbrook’s vice present, gave an overview of the Society’s accomplishments since last meeting, and its goals for 2019. Millbrook’s activities drive its mission toward preservation, protection and education of our local history. Millbrook led several educational programs coinciding with historical events, and participated in various community and school district activities. The staff continues maintaining the Amy B. Yerkes collection and displays and handling new artifacts, remains active in archaeology at the Moland House, the Crooked Billet Monument project, and creating awareness about local preservation issues.
Dr. Erik Soiferman (also a Millbrook member!) who is founder, owner, and operator of Liberty Urgent Care of PA located in Horsham was the featured speaker. In addition to serving his patients and running a successful medical business, Erik is passionate about history, specifically the United States Revolution and Constitution. This passion and ongoing research led him to accumulate a manuscript collection including historic personal papers, correspondence, letters, and oral histories. Erik also previously served on the Board of the Historical Society of Pennsylvania.
It was once written that “letters are among the most significant memorial a person can leave behind them.” Millbrook members in attendance had a rare opportunity to view such memorials! In his presentation entitled “Your Most Humble Servant: living letters of our liberty!” Dr. Soiferman displayed a number of unique, historically significant manuscripts and papers from his collection that offer insights into our country’s founding.
He masterfully prepared historical background and told stories for each of the artifacts while weaving a historical chronology from pre-revolution through early 1800s, which included letters from John Hancock, General George Washington, and President John Adams. A highlight for the Hatboro area residents included correspondence between Generals Washington and Lacey on the Battle of Crooked Billet! We are grateful to Dr. Soiferman for giving his time, and sharing his knowledge and passion for local history!
April 27th: “When I Grow Up" K-12 Career Expo at Crooked Billet-Hallowell
Hatboro-Horsham School District held its second “When I Grow Up” K-12 Career Expo on Saturday, April 27th at the Crooked Billet-Hallowell Elementary Learning Community. Led by Jeannie Hagan, Director of Community Outreach & Communications for Hatboro-Horsham School District, the program provides students from kindergarten to high school seniors awareness of many opportunities for study, vocations and avocations.
Millbrook staff displayed and discussed archaeology as a path for both a career and volunteering. Parents and students learned more archaeological processes and tools of the trade, local history, and Millbrook’s archaeology program at Moland House in Warwick Township. Visitors also saw and touched artifacts uncovered at Moland House that existed when Native Americans lived in Bucks county!
The Millbrook staff appreciated meeting the many students and families enthusuastic about archaeology and local history, and especially, seeing the students relating what they learned in school to the study of archaeology.
April 24th: “Philadelphia, Newtown & (NEVER) New York Railroad”
On Wednesday evening, April 24th, about 35 railroad and local history enthusiasts attended Millbrook's program, "Philadelphia, Newtown and (NEVER) New York."
The program was presented by Larry Eastwood, president of the Philadelphia Chapter of the National Railway Historical Society. Millbrook selected this topic to commemorate the 150th anniversary in May of the completion of the transcontinental railroad.
Larry presented a capsule history that concentrated on the railroad operating history of the PN&NY railroad from 1872 through 1983, and its impact on the development of local on-line communities and institutions. The attendees enjoyed seeing Larry's unique photos of local trains and tracks and railroad sheds and stations, many of which are no longer standing or operating, but that represented a robust time of local railway travel.
In mid April, Millbrook set up a display at Hatboro’s Union Library in advance of our "Philadelphia, Newtown and (NEVER) New York" education program. The display focuses mostly on aspects of the Hatboro railroad. You can see the display to the end of July.
The Society thanks Union Library Director Micahel Celek and his staff for this opportunity to use their display case and to share efforts and resources to educate our community about our local history. We look forward to working on future displays!
March 16th: Genealogy Starts with YOU!
A group of over 20 family history enthusiasts gathered at Hatboro’s Union Library Saturday morning March 16th for a program Genealogy Starts with YOU! The program was offered jointly by The Millbrook Society and Union Library.
The program was presented by Mary Porter, who is a Research Librarian at Indian Valley Library in Telford, and serves Millbrook as a Board Member and head of its Amy B. Yerkes Museum/Archives.
In this two-hour program, Mary offered a framework to guide family genealogists interested in starting their research or just getting underway, and provided materials listing helpful data bases, planning worksheets, and other resources.
Most people are aware of the most popular family history search sites such as Ancestry.com, FamilySearch, MyHeritage, and the National Archives, but Mary identified a large sampling of fee-based and free websites and other resources from a vast number of places offering family history information and documentation.
Ancestry.com reported in 2017 that family history research is the second-most popular hobby in the United States, according to articles in TIME and USA TODAY. “People want to know their personal history; they want to know where they came from!” Mary told the group.
She said that verification is very important for those who truly want to certify the accuracy of their family history. This requires peeling down the layers of data to connect the dots, or as Mary called it “a lot of detective work!”
Mary, sharing the process and findings of her own extensive and ongoing family history, showed examples of her encounter in the ‘data abyss’ such as misspelled and evolving surnames, incomplete or incorrect vital documents, different cities and countries of origin, and much more, as well as uncovering very interesting revelations!
People who embark on the path of unlocking their family history are in for a fun, interesting and amazing journey! And, like any journey, a person can choose the path and travel on it as far as they want or are able. There are many people and resources, online and in person, that are eager and happy to help. The Union Library, for example, offers both online and written resources, and The Millbrook Society can offer information related to local history sources.
Millbrook and Union Library are planning a second program for this October…stay tuned for announcements! Good luck with your search!