After deciding to launch a blog on genealogy and history I had various ideas on what to write about – but deciding what to call it was difficult. Friends and colleagues tried to advise me. But I chose today to use the name given to me by my friends – my other family. In the early 1980’s I became interested in the local Native American population of my community. In 1657 the Reverend John Eliot help establish the second praying Indian village in Massachusetts at Punkapoag. This 6,000 acre site was situated primarily in what is now Canton and Stoughton, Massachusetts was the home of generations of former members of the Massachusett Indians, from Neponset and other nearby settlements.
In the the early 1990’s I went to the TOPIC (The Organization for the Preservation of Indian Culture) Pow Wow at the foot the the great Blue Hills in Canton. It was there I met Clinton “Lighting Foot” Wixon. He was then the Sachem of the Massachusett Punkapoag tribe. After discussing with him my knowledge of tribe and their genealogy we became fast friends. Clint was a descendant of Samuel and Dinah Moho of Punkapoag Indians. I help bring the tribe back to Stoughton where they met at the Universalist Church, and I help them with their genealogy and to locate lost members of the tribe. Between 1998 and 1999 I lost both my parents to cancer. At one of the tribal meetings I was asked to come early. I was asked to step into the circle and was told the following by Clint Wixon and the current Sachem Gil Solomon – “You have lost enough family, it is time you gained back some family – you are now known as ‘Past Finder’ as you have brought back our ancestors to us”.
Other than the title of father, husband and brother – no other greater honor will ever be given to me. My efforts have long been to help those locate their ancestry. Since 1993 I have had the honor to be employed at the New England Historic Genealogical Society in Boston, Massachusetts. Each new day allows me a chance to be “The Past Finder” for our members and visitors as the Chief Genealogist for the society.