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  • Ann D. Watson

Mapping Monday: Research trip to North Hero

Map of North Hero, Vermont showing repositories

Here's a little map of a genealogical research trip I made to North Hero, Grand Isle County, Vermont. Creating maps is fun and can help you with your genealogical research or provide a visual to display on your wall or web site.

Route 2 northeast from 89's exit 17 in Colchester took me across Grand Isle, the southernmost Champlain Island, through South Hero village to North Hero Island, a sort of two-part island which is only connected by a narrow band of land at the "Carrying Place," probably so named because it allowed easy passage by portage between the eastern and western portions of Lake Champlain in that area.

My first stop was the North Hero Town Clerk's office, just beyond the Carrying Place, to look for land deeds. The folks there are very helpful and access to the record books is easy. From there I went to the North Hero Public Library and perused two volumes written by Mary Jane Healy, Rebels Reward (North Hero, Vermont: MJBH Publishing, 2006) and Deeds and Misdeeds (North Hero, Vermont: MJBH Publishing, 2012). Ms. Healy has done a tremendous amount of research on North Hero land records and these books are a must for any genealogist researching North Hero ancestors.

Next door I visited the Methodist Church parsonage to look at the church records stored there. Pastor Bobbie Rambach was very helpful and as I had called ahead, had the pertinent volumes ready for me.

By this time I was getting hungry for lunch and the famous Heroe's Welcome General Store beckoned. Really, if you are anywhere in the vicinity you must stop there. It's worth the beautiful drive from the mainland, surrounded by Lake Champlain, to make it your destination. While I waited for my sandwich I browsed among their vast collection of unique merchandise, from kitchenware to specialty foods like Bacon Candy. And some dynamite maps! By the way, Mary Jane Healy's books are available there for purchase.

I found probate records at the Grand Isle County Courthouse, worth a stop just to see an old courthouse that hasn't been updated and is on the National Register of Historic Places.

The last task and treat was to drive out to Graveyard Point and check out an old neglected family graveyard where Jedediah Perkins Ladd, a prominent citizen of early North Hero, was buried along with his wife and a few children.

I made this map for fun, but a map like this can be useful for studying a family's bailiwick in a given area. Mapping our ancestors' neighborhoods can result in new discoveries and a deeper understanding of their daily lives.

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