I’ve always been fascinated with history. As a middle school student in a New England suburb, I always took a liking to my Social Studies classes. In fact, some of the books I remember best were about history. My favorite was a 1943 novel titled Johnny Tremain, written by Esther Forbes, and was set in 18th century Boston at the beginning of the American Revolution. A close second was a book about the Holocaust in Denmark I read in the 4th grade called Number the Stars by Lois Lowry. It was these fascinating books – fiction or non – that always kept my interest more so than any other subject (although I did want to be an astronaut when I was little!).
Another major role in my love for history comes from my environment. Historically and geographically speaking, New England is one of the oldest settled regions in the United States. Yes, it is the “Birthplace of the American Revolution” and that’s why it is so special. It is a region that has witnessed the growth of the greatest nation on earth – for better or for worse – and it is this growth that can be seen everywhere you look. Yes, it is the small-town charm, the subtle changing seasons, and the traditions in New England that invoke a primal feeling; an interconnectedness with time, place, and people.
The small towns I pass through on a daily basis are obliterated with time. Old colonial homes tower over small town greens. Town “centers” are the pride of communities, local hubs that provide access to Post Offices and Churches. Mom and Pop stores exist here too, representative of decades of family ownership and hard work. And who can forget the hearty pubs whose offerings range from belly-warming Pot Roast to buttery Lobster Pie? In essence, I live, work, and play in a time machine. It is the rich history of New England that has also undoubtedly contributed to my love of history.
This love of history and country cannot be evidenced more in me than on the 4th of July. Independence Day is and always will be the one holiday I look forward to the most. I remember waking up early the morning of each 4th to help out my mother and father decorate our backyard with flags and 4th garb for our annual family cookout. Each year we would either go watch the town fireworks or watch them explode over the Esplanade in Boston on TV. As a child growing up in Suburban American, it didn’t get much better than the 4th. It was these moments (at a very young age, I might add) that fueled my fervent patriotism and gratitude of my New England roots.
I did not know much about my family history until I was in college. In fact, for someone who loves learning, I was never interested in learning about how I became me. It wasn’t until I started trying to figure out where my last name, Osgood, originated from. A late-night e-mail to my Mom requesting information about our last name and Grandparents is all I needed to become hooked. A small clue, perhaps, was given to me by my Mom: that my Grandmother Mary Osgood may have come to this country through Ellis Island from England. It was this tiny clue (as it turns out, a wrong clue, innocently enough) that sparked an undying desire for more information and answers about my Osgood ancestors.
With the help of librarians, local historians, and my wife, this journey into Osgood family history has evolved into a quest for answers. Two years later I have just scratched the surface: uncovering old family pictures, visiting grave sites, walking among old Osgood homesteads, and touching the delicate paper from century old documents once held by my ancestors. It’s been one of the most rewarding (and challenging) experiences in my life. In the end it is my hope that this blog can provide help for those who are embarking on a similar journey such as myself.
Something to note: The primary research on this website will focus only on my Dad’s side of the family, the Osgood name. There are many reasons why this is the case – the main being I have easily traced my entire male lineage back to one emigrant ancestor, John Osgood, in 1638. From John, my lineage is as follows: Stephen, Hooker, Joshua, William, William, William, Mat(t)ias, George F., Clarence, Russell, and then my Dad, Steven.