Cézanne, or maybe it was de Kooning, said a painting is never really finished, just abandoned at a more or less appropriate time. [1]  So it is for my efforts to gather back in a handful of the people and stories of our family. The rest of my life is calling, and I’ve got to go. A few words though, both philosophical and practical, to wrap things up.

First the philosophical.

At this point, I used to have a lengthy section here, in which I recapped and discussed the multiple reasons – intellectual, emotional, even spiritual – for putting in the time and effort to produce this site. It was an orderly little exposition. But…

Over the months, it really didn’t sit well with me. By explaining certain things, we kill them. We just kill them. Stone dead.

“Too much courtesy impairs your virtue,” said the Zen sage.

If you want to know why I did this… THIS!… why I’m happy to have done it, why I’d still, knowing what I know now, do it all again, find and watch the movie Coco.

If, as the credits roll, you “get it,” then great, you were meant to. You’ve probably always “gotten it.” And if not, don’t sweat it.

Now the practical.

There are mistakes here. I know that. I’ve done my best to eliminate them, but if there is one promise I can make, it is that not everything here happened the way I have set it down.

Mistakes creep in, in all sorts of ways.

Transcription error is a huge one, as is taking for gospel the work of other researchers. Material in old books varies widely in quality. Where less-well-documented families are concerned you have no idea what you’re getting. A family member writes to an author who’s doing a genealogy. That author gets a few things mixed up. Those few things get put in a book. A hundred years later, they’ve become time-honored truth.

Some deviations from the truth are at least semi-intentional. For example, a paid researcher, working at the behest of a Victorian family interested in finding the royal underpinnings they are certain exist, bends and massages and optimistically reinterprets the available evidence for his patrons in order to create a more socially advantageous history. [Would never happen, right?]

In the future, I believe the waters of research will become considerably muddier as these distortions are compiled and re-compiled, especially through the sharing of gedcoms [genealogical information stored in a unique computerized format]. The Web forgets nothing, including inaccurate information.

The moral to all this is: take everything with a grain of salt. Caveat emptor. If and when you can correct the record, do.

What else? If I were to say one other thing, it would be, “Visit the NEHGS.” The people there are the Talmudic scholars of Yankee history. I can’t recommend them highly enough.

And then? Find an ancestor who piques your interest, someone who in some way presents some kind of mystery. Then, learn whatever you can in the time you have, and—don’t wait!—tell someone you love what you learned.


L.S. Lawrence

begun in Monkton, Maryland, 1997

abandoned in Monkton, Vermont, 2017



[1] It may actually have been Paul Valery speaking about a poem.


6 thoughts on “Epilogue

  1. Helen B. Hazen June 29, 2017 / 12:52 pm

    Wonderful job, Langdon! Nate and I have both found your information fascinating and will miss your blogs. What are you on to to next? We would love to hear. Aunt Roddy

  2. Nathan Hazen December 19, 2019 / 10:33 pm

    What a surprise to find that my dear wife was here now 2 1/2 years ago, and I don’t remember her mentioning it! Your tale was/is fascinating. Nathan

    • LSL December 20, 2019 / 8:08 am

      Thanks, Nathan. I really appreciate your feedback.

  3. Cliff Truesdale May 4, 2020 / 4:34 am

    Having found that we share a ancestor that actually never set foot in the USA but his family did. I learnt so much reading your wonderful stories that I could never thank you enough for all your hard work.

  4. Linda Eastman May 6, 2021 / 8:57 am

    Thank you for all your work. My ancestor William Tarbell was the next older brother to the three children taken in 1707: Sarah, John and Zachariah. I had learned more about them after coming across a references in John Demos’s book “The Unredeemed Captive”, and appreciate your extensive quotes from historical sources.

    Darren Bonaparte, a contemporary Mohawk from Akwesasne, has written a series of articles on the early history of this community, now a Mohawk reserve spanning the Canadian-US border, where it is known as the St. Regis reservation. He has his articles at http://www.wampumchronicles.com; they include references to the Tarbell brothers, among the founders.

    I’ve learned about two contemporary Mohawk Tarbells: Reaghan Tarbell from Kahnawake made the documentary film “To Brooklyn and Back: A Mohawk Journey”, about her grandmother’s generation. While the men worked on the skyscrapers and bridges in the NY area, the women created community and held their culture together. They traveled from Little Caughnawaga, as they termed their neighborhood in Brooklyn, to Kahnawake to keep in touch with family during these years. Her film was shown on Canadian and US public TV about 2009-2010.

    Kiawenti:io Tarbell is a young actress from Akwesasne who starred in “Beans” (2021), a feature film by Tracy Deer (Mohawk, Kahnawake) that was shown at the NY International Film Festival this year, and at others. It is set during the 1990 Oka crisis.

    Kiawenti:io Tarbell also had a role in Season 3 of the Canadian series, “Anne with an E”, playing a Mik’maq girl named Ka’kwet, with whom Anne becomes friends. She is part of a storyline about indigenous issues.

    Both Tracy Deer and Reaghan Tarbell graduated from Dartmouth, where they majored in film studies. For a time Reaghan Tarbell worked at the National Museum of the American Indian, in Lower Manhattan, as a film curator. Now she is living and working in Kahnawake.

    Like you and John Demos, I was intrigued by the story of the Tarbell boys who became Mohawk and also of their sister Sarah/Marguerite, who with the Longley girl found a home with the sisters of Notre Dame in Montreal. History has given us much to contemplate.

    • LSL May 6, 2021 / 10:58 am

      Hello Ms. Eastman,

      Thank you for this! I’m presently sending a detailed reply to your email.

      All best,


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