Links to Collaborative Genealogy Sites

In the interest of seeing that our family tree, the actual genealogical “who, when, and where” is preserved, I have placed some of the research that went into this blog on five websites, four of which actually aim to piece together, person by person, a single family tree for everyone. Taken literally, that is wildly ambitious, not to mention completely impractical, but the effort alone has already produced, flaws and shortcomings notwithstanding, a very special body of research.

These “collaborative” genealogy sites are Geni, WikiTree, WeRelate, and FamilySearch. Each is a little different.

For example, Geni and WikiTree make room for all relatives including living people and then add privacy controls. WeRelate, meanwhile, has decided to forego information on living people and just focus on the near past. Geni makes little use of sources or documentation, but WikiTree and especially WeRelate strive, with varying success, to back up all assertions with primary documents. There are plenty of other differences, but that’s the gist of it.

The main point is that putting the information here means it will survive even in generations when no one inherits an interest in family history– something I see as increasingly  likely.

Here are some jumping off points, categorized first by site, and then by a few key relatives…














Finally, I said there are five sites. The fifth is, which somewhat sadly, has a paywall and curious people cannot simply click over to peruse the material at will. You can see it without a financial outlay, but to do so you’ll have to email me or Elisha Lee to be put on a list of invitees. Sorry, I didn’t make up those rules. If you are already on Ancestry, you can search for our tree which is called Kinsmen and Kinswomen (revised and sourced). [18,000 relatives and counting.] On the plus side, looking for a silver lining, the highly commercial aspect of Ancestry has paid huge dividends in making a vast trove of documents available online, including – in most cases – photocopies of originals. This includes birth certificates, marriage entries in the parish register, passport applications, draft registrations, VA records, medical examiners’ notes, high school yearbooks, biographical vignettes, and on and on. People can also share multiple digital copies of rare family photos.  There really is nothing like it for primary research.

At some point in the distant future, I’ll figure out how to put a version of our tree here, on this site, with measures in place to protect people’s privacy, but until then, the organizations above will have to suffice.

Marion Lee (Peabody) Lawrence

The following was sent to me by Marion Stegner, her namesake. Presumably the eulogy from her very unexpected  service.



It is hard to believe that Marion Lawrence has passed from among us, for no one was ever more imbued with energy and the zest of life than she. Even in her teens she was a leader in everything and no girl was more admired and beloved by her contemporaries. Ideally married, she carried out to the full every pleasant duty of family life, and was utterly devoted to every interest of her husband and her children. Unlike many wives, however, she was not content to let her activities stop there. She soon became sought after as a valuable adviser or executive in many different fields. During the World War she was chairman of the canteen service of the Red Cross in Boston, a work which took most of her waking hours for over a year and a half. She was a director of the Milton Hospital and the Community Health Association of Boston and chairman of the ladies’ visiting committee of the Massachusetts General Hospital, and in addition to these and other continuing activities she was constantly called upon for every sort of temporary service.

It would seem that for a woman so preoccupied but little time would he left for the cultivation of her friends, but it is precisely here that she most shone. Her house was a Mecca for young and old, and was never too full to take in an unexpected friend or two for a night or a week. When a college classmate of one of her sons was severely injured, it was she who attended to the emergency operation that was necessary and took him to her house for a long convalescence; and when any of her friends were suffering from bereavement or other trouble she was the first to arrive with understanding sympathy and constructive helpfulness. Particularly noticeable was her hospitality at “The Homestead” in Groton where her mother’s family had lived for generations, a place which she loved more than any other spot on earth and which she endeared to a multitude of friends.

For a long time she had known that she was suffering from a disease that would prove mortal, but no one around her had any inkling of the fact. She had pursued her work and her play with unabated energy and good cheer until within two days of her death, which came after an acute illness that was mercifully short and painless. No soldier ever marched more gallantly up to the last firing line than did she.

By her generosity, her sympathy, her quick action wherever action was needed, and by her sparking personality, which was like a burst of breezy sunshine wherever she appeared, she will always live on in the hearts of all who knew her, and of no one could Lowell’s words be more appropriately written:

Who gives of himself with his alms feeds three— Himself, his hungering neighbor and me.



Dec 1935

Harmony Grove Cemetery, Salem, MA

Directions to Harmony Grove in Salem, MA, tel: (978) 744-0554:

From 128 N take the exit opposite the North Shore Mall (#25), marked 114 E towards Salem. Drive along the twists and turns of 114 until, coming into Salem, you hit a large traffic light. Go R onto School St. and follow that up a hill until it T’s out, and then go L, maybe twenty yards until you come to the stop sign. Go R and you’ll start down a hill, with the road curving to the left. The entrance to the cemetery is about 200 yards past the stop sign on the right.


Once you’re there…

Proceed into the grounds, past the chapel on your left, and drive along the hillside on Highland Ave. After passing two paved cemetery roads on your right, Summit Ave. and Maple Ave., you’ll see a little path running down the hill on your left. This is Thyme Path. Park and walk down. Officially, the Peabodys are on Ivy Path, but it doesn’t matter. You’ll see the assembled family on your left. They include:

  • Endicott Peabody d. 10/30/1909
  • George L. Peabody d. 2/10/1911
  • Marianne Cabot Lee Peabody d. 10/11/11
  • John Endicott Peabody d. 8/17/1921
  • Gertrude Lawrence Peabody d. 5/2/1883
  • Martha Whitney Peabody d. 6/17/1934
  • Rosamund Lawrence Peabody d. 6/8/1935
  • Francis Peabody d. 2/9/1938
  • Montague W.W. Prowse d. 11/24/1954
  • Samuel Endicott Peabody d. 10/14/1959
  • Harold Peabody d. 9/6/1961
  • Marian Lawrence Peabody d. 4/23/1974
  • Martha Peabody Prowse d. 8/29/1975


As a miscellaneous note, Gertrude was originally buried in lot # 1158, Francis Peabody’s lot, but was later moved to #1553. This would speak to her death preceding those of her neighbors by at least 25 yrs.

Also, George Peabody’s immense memorial is also there in Harmony Grove, and you can see it as you drive along Highland Ave., down the hill, on your left. It is just past the point where Meadow Ave turns into Dell Ave, at the entrance to Locust Path. Capt Joseph Peabody is nearby, where Dell Ave. meets Chapel Ave. and Grove Ave.


Harmony Grove Salem MA grounds

J.E. Peabody and the Cambridge Crew of 1873

At some point in his education, J.E. Peabody spent a year in England at Cambridge University, and, as an elite oarsman in his own right, was allowed to row on their crew.

We still have the team photograph, which several years ago I made the executive decision to disassemble and copy.

For a long time, I had no idea which of these men was our ancestor– I had only seen pictures of Peabody in his elder years, which wasn’t much use.  Then I happened across another photo from his college days, this one helpfully labelled by my Great-Uncle John. And now we know: Peabody is in the back row, second from right.


Before coming out from the glass… Pretty rough.



Out of the glass… Better.


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Gertrude (Lawrence) Peabody

Gertrude Peabody’s memory was virtually erased from our family’s oral history, for reasons that can be only guessed at, and restoring a sense of who she was has been difficult. The scraps that follow represent all the fragments I have been able to assemble. Perhaps someone will turn up a collection of her letters, or some other trove, and someday we will have a chance to know her a bit better…


There is a wonderful sepia photograph, retouched with pastel, of Gertrude Lawrence Peabody in the dining room at Dark Harbor. It belongs to Lee Albright. It shows the same strong face and jaw so admired in Grandfather [James Lawrence 1907-1995—LSL].

Gertrude Lawrence Peabody for WORD file

Lee told me, in August, 2001, that she had often looked at the portrait and wondered how Gertrude had died, since she was only 28. She said that Grandfather had often wondered the same thing. This piqued my interest, and I then began the process of looking into not only how this woman died, but who she was while she was alive.

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Clan Orig bnw

The family photograph at above was provided courtesy of Edward P. Lawrence. Individuals shown are as follows, from left to right:

Back row: James Lawrence, Marian Lawrence Peabody, Dorothy Lawrence, Harold Peabody

Middle row: Marion Peabody Lawrence, Martha Whitney Peabody, [picture of Sam Peabody], John Endicott Peabody

Front row: John Endicott Lawrence, Gertrude Lawrence Peabody, James Lawrence

Dated: 1918, in front of the summer house in Brookline, MA

For a diagram of who they were, and how they all relate see below:

Peabodys and Lawrences ifo House at Brookline copy

Clarification to the diagram above: Years after posting this, a product of some now-much-outdated genealogy software, I just realized the lines leading from Marion Lee (Peabody) Lawrence to her children, and the line leading from Harold Peabody to his child, are blurred, or overlap. This could cause some confusion. Pending an update/ redrawing of the diagram, Marion (and husband, James Lawrence) had three children: James, John, and Dorothy. Harold (and wife, Marian Lawrence) had one child: Gertrude Lawrence (Peabody) McCue.