GSV Fall Meeting 2023

Saturday, October 28, 2023 (Registration begins at 9 a.m.)

Andover, VT Town Hall,

953 Weston-Andover Rd, Andover, VT 05143


Avis Conley Hayden: “Lucy Terry Prince & Family:  One of Vermont’s Earliest Black Families"

In this presentation, Avis will introduce GSV members to Lucy Terry Prince and her family.  Lucy was our nation’s first African-American poet, and her family was one of the first to settle in Vermont.  This presentation will lay out the various genealogical research methods used to learn about the family, where they settled, and their early struggles to get along with neighbors.  Avis has uncovered six generations of descendants but has yet to find a living descendant.  Her life was (and is) inspiring in so many ways.

Avis Conley Hayden has been researching her family’s roots since 1990. She completed a Certificate Program in Genealogical Research from Boston University in 2016. She has published several articles including, most recently, “Widow Lucy Prince and her Heirs, of Sunderland, Vermont” in the Fall 2021 issue of Vermont Genealogy.  Back issues of which will be available for purchase.

Mariessa Dobrick, from the VT State Archives & Records Administration, “Documenting the 1914 Simonsville Murders in the State Archives”

On the night of November 4, 1914, in the hamlet of Simonsville in Andover, Vermont former Representative Henry Wiggins and his wife Georgia Wiggins were found murdered on their property. The suspect was their son-in-law, George Warner. The State Archives holds documents that reveal the story of George Warner’s trial and eventual execution, the first person executed in Vermont’s Electric Chair. How do you research a historic murder? Mariessa Dobrick, reference archivist, will share the kinds of documents in the state archives holdings that can help fill in the narrative on what happened to the victims and the perpetrator.

Mariessa Dobrick has been an archivist at the Vermont State Archives since 2011. Prior to that, she worked at the Wisconsin Historical Society in Madison, Wisconsin She holds a BA in French and a MA with a certificate in Archives and Records Administration from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. An avid genealogist, she delights in helping people find their family stories in unexpected places.

Jonathan W. Stevens, “From Finland to Fitchburg to Andover”

Beginning in the fall of 1909, the town Andover saw an influx of Finnish immigrants, who purchased abandoned (or soon to be abandoned) farms. By the 1920s, more than 30 Finnish families had settled in the area. Even though these families were located throughout the town, the predominate settlement was on East Hill, giving rise to the moniker “Finn Hill.” In 1916, Andover’s Finnish community formed the Finnish Farmers Co-op, Inc., to purchase much needed farm machinery. This presentation will discuss the history of this thriving group of industrious immigrants who became an integral part of the community.

Jonathan W. Stevens, is a professional genealogist and the President of the Genealogical Society of Vermont. He is also a Director of the New England Regional Genealogical Consortium and has published several genealogical articles. He is also the Andover Assistant Town Clerk, Lister (VPA I) and Secretary of Zoning Board of Adjustment/Planning Commission.

Registration is $25 for GSV members and $30 for non-members, which includes the program, morning "coffee", and cold-cut luncheon.

Please send a check by October 21, 2023 to:

Genealogical Society of Vermont, 2962 Vermont Route 12A, Braintree, VT 05060-8779

or use PayPal via the button below:

(note, there is a $1 charge for using PayPal)








Page updated 2 October 2023