Andover Abolitionists


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Just because the Dennison family resided in Digby, Nova Scotia during the era of the Abolitionists and the Civil War, does not discourage current day descendants from being Patriots.  I am a Dennison descendent, I have lived in Andover, Massachusetts, and I am interested in learning about the Underground Railroad.


Stumbled upon this blog tonight which had two posts mentioning Andover.  There were no Dennisons in Andover during this time period, as I have mentioned.  This is not about the Dennison family, but about the history of Andover before our family arrived in 1923.

The blogger’s father, John Wilkinson,  wrote a college paper in the 1950s about the Underground Railroad.  Her posts are filled with the information and sources included in that paper.  It is presented in a series of four posts.

Part 1

Part 2

Part 3

Part 4

Heather Wilkinson Rojo did a fantastic job of presenting this information.  You will find it fascinating reading, if the subject interests you at all.

More on the Underground Railroad in Andover:


Digby, Nova Scotia Photography


Found this photographer, Jonathan Riverwalker, on Flickr today. Appears to live in or near Digby, Nova Scotia. Doesn’t allow his photos to be pinned to interest. It’s not so much about the photos, as the locations for future reference, should I have the privilege some day of visiting.

For now the link will have to do. The link is to the page with his 35 Digby collections. He has a few others as well.

Copyright prohibits me from posting any photos. Here’s a link to the one I would if I could. Check it out here.


Making changes makes life interesting, does it not? This is the first post on this blog. The earlier posts were imported from Dennison Family Tree on Blogger (now deleted).

The reason for this being “2” is that my other Denison/Dennison blog is just for genealogy and sources. This one is broader in scope and less clean and simple. More as we go along…

Online Books – Denison/Dennison

After a bit of searching, here is the online text of  “A record of the descendants of Capt. George Denison, of Stonington, Conn. With notices of his father and brothers, and some account of other Denisons who settled in America in the colonial times”.  It is in the link list now, under George Denison Book.

Arthur Wentworth Hamilton Eaton’s book History of Kings County, Nova Scotia is available from Google books.  It is downloadable for free here.

Isaiah Wilson’s Geography and History of Digby County, Nova Scotia.  This is not the link I used before, which I am not finding.  It had a search window so you could put the page number or name in.

I was hoping to find specifically what needs documenting, but that will have to wait until another time.

Here’s one I just found, a History of the Baptists of the Maritime Provinces.  It is an ebook.

1901 Census, Canada B-I-N-G-O!

Finally, a break and the solving of one mystery, but not all.

The Dennison name is misspelled as Davison in the 1901 census transcription.  This is where Charles Vantassel is listed as a Lodger.  I did not realize it was with my grandfather’s family!

So, while it is still a mystery as to when Charles Dennison died, and it is still a mystery as to who is the father of Alma/Alva/Alvira Dennison and Gladys and possibly Bernard as well, we do now know that Charles Vantassel was living in the home in 1901, three years prior to marrying Alice Dennison.

This is the 1891 Census for Charles Dennison:

Here is the link to the jpeg of the actual census record, rather than the transcription.  Will try from now on to look at the actual rather than a transcription.  And if that doesn’t work I’ll back up a page and put that link.  They both worked for me.

Digby, Nova Scotia

Photographs in the Admiral Digby Museum, Digby, Nova Scotia.  One of the bottom ones is of Paul Yates Photography Studio.

Here’s the link for looking up Canadian Census records.

The 1911 Census (Canada) lists an Alvira Dennison living as a “Nurce?” with Howard and Bertha Seeley and five children age seven and under in Yarmouth, Yarmouth, Nova Scotia.

There is a death record for Bertha Ellen Seeley which lists her place of birth as Digby.  It lists her parents as Edward VanTassel, born in Digby, and Mary Ameriault, born in Plymton.

There is a  marriage record for Bertha Vantassel and Howard Seeley, July 26, 1900 in Digby, Baptist, both 21, both unmarried.  It lists his residence and place of birth as Liverpool, NS, and hers as Digby.

It lists her parents as John and Eliza.  There is a death record for an Eliza Vantassell, Catholic, residence Marshalltown, from Digby.

This explains where Alva was in 1911, she used the name of Dennison.  It does not explain the connection between her step father, Charles VanTassell and the people for whom she was working or living.  She was 14 years old at the time of the census in 1911.

Ruth Esther Dennison Cvetan, 1916-2011

Ruth Esther Dennison was born in Digby, Nova Scotia on August 23, 1916, second daughter of Harry Leigh Dennison and Florence Sweeney Donnelly.   Ruth grew up in Andover, Massachusetts, where she moved when she was six.  She went to California to live on her own in the 1940s.  On May 8, 1955 she married Anton “Tony” Cvetan, who worked for the sheriff’s department.  They had no children.

Two things I will remember about Aunt Ruthie:  her love for the ocean, and her cats.  She also had a collection of dolls.  She passed away on July 28, 2011 in her home in Nipomo, California.
Ruth was preceded in death by her parents, her brother Richard, and her sister Beulah.  She is survived by her sister Marion Moore of Wisconsin, her brother Ken Dennison of Maine, nieces Cindy Cromer of Georgia, Joyce Marble of Wisconsin, Susan Cameron of Tennessee, eight great nieces and nephews and one great great niece.
Ruth and Beulah holding kittens in Nova Scotia

Ruth and Tony Cvetan  August 1989    112 Pine St. Andover, MA

Ann Borodell

Just out of curiosity, to see what sort of documentation might be found, I googled Ann Borodell.  This is what I found:

It’s getting difficult to Google things now, because I keep getting my own links!  because I have learned to use labels….

Descendants of Captain George Denison at Rootsweb.  There are photos of some gravestones.  It only goes from George to Robert Jr.

Person Page for Ann on Rootsweb.  Not impressed with the sources, and the links don’t work, the pages are gone.

Brenda J. London’s work.  Only goes as far as Robert, Sr.

Granite In My Blood blog (see previous post).

*****The Hausers, who appear to be connected to the Denison Society, which is now under the auspices of the Denison Homestead, have possession of a book entitled, the Denison Genealogies, which they have made available online.*****  THIS IS AN EXCELLENT RESOURCE (I think)
While it does not chronicle our Nova Scotia Denisons, it tells in narrative a good bit about the others.  I have not read it all, just as far as our Robert.

Findagrave dot com.  That was Ann.  This is her husband George Denison.  This is their son John Borodell Denison’s grave.

Ann Borodell Denison

 Captain George Denison

And that’s just the first page…all pretty much the same story.

Charles and Alice Denison

Googled the names Charles and Alice Denison with one ‘N’ today, just for fun.  Well, have a look at what I found!  Midge Frazel is a professional genealogist and grave photographer, and she is a descendant of our Denison line, and a member of the Denison Society.

Her blog will be a source of information, not only on the Denison family, most of which are on different branches of the tree, but in identifying authentic documentation in tracing one’s family history, and in the proper manner of citing authentic documentation.

She has a long list of labels down the side which are helpful in finding posts which pertain to our part of the tree.  And the site is currently being posted on.  Not all of the information she posts is on her family, but the labels are well done for finding what is.

Her blog is ‘Granite In My Blood‘.

Charles Dennison Randall

Charles Denison Randall is the son of Charles Randall and Sarah Denison, who I believe is a daughter or sister of David Sherman Denison of Horton/Wolfville, Kings County, Nova Scotia, formerly of Montville, New London, Connecticut.

There are links to the history of the Randall House, the Wolfville Historical Society, in reference to the New England Planters, and history of Charles and Sarah Denison Randall.

Also of interest is the history of Horton Academy, which was begun by the local Baptists to train young men for the ministry.

Bingo!   This FamilySearch link provided the lineage and Page 627 in the History of Kings County…. makes the connection:

Charles Denison Randall is the son of Charles Randall and Sarah Denison.

Sarah Denison is the second daughter of David Denison and Milcah Palmer.

David Denison is the first son of David Sherman Denison and Sarah Fox.

Therefore, Charles Denison Randall is the ggrandson of David Sherman Denison.

Now, going the other way:

David Sherman Denison is the father of Lavinia Denison, who married James Denison.

Lavinia Denison and David Denison are brother and sister.

Therefore, James and Lavinia Denison’s son James Archer Denison is a first cousin to Sarah Denison Randall.

BIG ARROW —-Therefore, James Archer Dennison’s son, Charles Dennison is a second cousin to Charles Denison Randall.

Therefore, Charles and Alice Dennison’s son, Harry Leigh Dennison is a third cousin to the children of David Denison Randall.

All I can say is Wow!  and this is so much fun!


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