Letter to the Family

To the members of the Chandler family:

Twenty seven years ago my father, John Jewett Garland, handed me a collection of papers and charts and suggested that I see what I could do with them. His brother, Marshall Garland, had done a small family tree on both of my parents' families using what was then available at the Genealogical Room at the Los Angeles Public Library. With that beginning, my interest in genealogy developed into what my family would call an obsession.

I began by working at the Genealogy room at the Main Library, which is one of the best in the country. My fellow researchers, who were almost all Mormons, showed me the charts that I could buy at Mormon bookstores, and suggested that I get a manual as well to get me started in the proper way. I did get the charts, but didn't always follow the advice to take careful notes on my sources. I sent for the birth, marriage and death records of all the ancestors I had discovered. As my children got older and more self-sufficient, I began to make trips to Laguna Niguel to do research on the census records at the branch of the Federal Archives there.

A decade ago I took a correspondence course from the National Genealogical Society that required me to look into land records. After an afternoon at the Hall of Records in Los Angeles sitting on the floor with the grantor and grantee indexes, I swore I would never go back, no matter what I could find. I learned to draw a map from a description on a deed; and to extract what was valuable information from a will.

The proliferation of copy machines made the task of taking notes and citing sources much easier. The Mormon Church's microfilming of vital records all over the world has made vast amounts of information available to the genealogical researcher. For a minimal fee this information is available to everyone.

Every trip to the East Coast, for Parent's weekends or graduations from Sweet Briar, Connecticut or Trinity colleges; or for Times Mirror meetings; or Bryn Mawr or Princeton reunions have included a few days of cemetery searches. Guil has been unfailingly supportive, and is by far the better cemetery sleuth.
My children, after bouts of poison ivy and terminal boredom, have not had the same enthusiasm, but they have been good sports.

When Guil worked with Lotus Development Corporation of Cambridge, Massachusetts in the fall of 1987, I had a field day. Leaving our apartment in Cambridge every morning, I spent hours in libraries and town halls in Essex and Middlesex counties where most of my ancestors had lived. It was total immersion in my history, and a wonderful experience. I had gone back with a great deal of research blocked out, which is the only way to be successful. I carried all the information with me in my car, and all the questions had been predetermined.

When all else has failed and I can't find any clues to follow, I have used the services of an excellent research company, Lineages, in Salt Lake City. They have made wonderful breakthroughs in what were impossible problems for me.

Five years ago, I started to write up what I knew about my closest ancestors with the idea that all of my research wouldn't count for much if I couldn't make it available to others. In the past year I have finished books for the Babcock and the Garland descendants. Since I have so much information on the Chandler and Otis families, I have divided them in two and have concentrated on the Chandler family first. In two years time I will complete a similar book tracing the Otis family.

To describe briefly what I have done in this book: the first section is concerned with Harry Chandler and his life. Rather than read all the differing accounts of his business career, I have copied the section devoted to him in the Dictionary of American Biography. I hope that it is accurate, and doesn't displease anyone too much. I have memories of my mother complaining about the misinformation that she felt was printed in every account of her family.

The next section is concerned with the lives of Harry's parents, Moses Knight Chandler and Emma Jane Little Chandler, and his grandparents, Joseph Chandler and Rosanna Clark Chandler, Kimball Little and Elvira Currier Little. If you check the Chandler chart on the front you can see where they fit in.

The final sections deal with what I know about the families of these four grandparents. They are all old families in New England, and I have been very successful in tracing them back, so there are a lot of names. Keep referring to the chart and you can see where I am and where I am going. When most people talk about tracing their families they think of one line, like the Chandlers, and they follow the male line. Obviously there is an equal amount of blood from the female line in every one of us, and this half of our heritage is just as important to determine, if a little harder. Frequently in old records, the mother in a birth record is referred to as Mary, wife of John. If the couple wasn't married in the same town, it can be very difficult to discover just what Mary's maiden name was, and who her parents were.
As an example, go to number 47 in the chart and see Mary Allen who married Daniel Greenough. There were two Mary Allens born in a two year period in Essex county, Massachusetts. They both had fathers named Joseph Allen, and it has been impossible to discover which family our Mary came from. Hopefully someone will answer one of the queries I place periodically in genealogical publications, and have a definite answer.

To this end I belong to an incredible number of genealogical societies: the Society of the Mayflower and the National Society of the Colonial Dames, for which one must prove one's eligibility with well documented vital records; the First Families of Ohio; and the first Families of Newbury, Massachusetts; the New England Historic Genealogical Society, the National Genealogical Society, The Genealogical Society of Southern California; family associations like the Wetherby Round-up, the Society of Genealogy of Durkee, the Kimball Family Association and the Little Association of America. I take various magazines which provide query columns, the best for me being The Second Boat. Every once in a while I get an answer which helps me and leads me to solve another mystery and fill another hole. It is a pursuit that is never completed.

Over the years I have been very fortunate to acquire photographs from many sources: from May Goodan, and from my Chandler cousins in Riverside; and in particular from the History Center at the Los Angeles Times. I am very grateful to Carolyn Strickler and Craig St. Clair for sharing their knowledge and giving me advice and encouragment for the past few years. I also appreciate the help I received from their predecessor, Lois Markwith.

I hope that you will be able to understand what I have endeavored to do, and that you will enjoy learning some new things about your very interesting heritage.