John Harper Blaisdell (1817 b. Gilford, Belknap, NH – 1898 d. Haverhill, Essex, MA) lived for a time in South Hampton N H, but moved to Haverhill, Mass in 1860 where he resided until his death. His competency was made in the manufacture of shoes, but the later years of his life gave him a leisure in which he found pleasure in books and contact with others. Having a keen interest in the family history, he began a journey of collecting Blaisdell history. "He use to hitch up his old horse and go up into the country for weeks at a time digging up BLAISDELL GENEALOGY" in church yards, copying data in old Bibles and records and in sharing in the recollections of those whom he met. Later he had occasion to go to the mid-west and going and coming made it a point to seek out such Blaisdell's with whom he made contact. In the records that he accumulated, he laid the foundations of any genealogy that may ultimately be produced. For his pioneering, we owe a great debt, as we now realize.
His grandson, Dr. John Harper Blaisdell, in that same spirit, accompanied by Lowell Shepard Blaisdell and Dr. James Arnold Blaisdell, conceived the idea of forming the Blaisdell Family Association. In August 1935, the three men organized and gathered family members in York, Maine with the surname Blaisdell. The three men were overwhelmed with the large gathering and asked that each person mail their family history to one location for the establishment and maintenance of Blaisdell Family vital records. Genealogical information was handwritten, and each contributor was responded to with a personal, written response.
In 1991, this format was adapted with the advent of computers and software that would more easily allow entry and storage of genealogical records. Through the tireless efforts of many volunteers, the Blaisdell Family National Association’s PRIVATE database had reached 88,666 entries and continues to grow daily. Recorded notes include biographical sketches, military records, including Revolutionary War service notes required for DAR/SAR membership, education, organizational affiliations, census data, correspondence, obituaries, and sources of information.
In 2014 BFNA reached another milestone and the Primary Source Documents which were collected in the 1800’s forward were donated in perpetuity to the Lawrenceburg Indiana Public Library. The BFNA entered into a relationship with the library to maintain and house the records as long as the library exists. The documents are now the property of the Lawrenceburg Library, and it is the assessment of the BFNA Executive Committee that the records are now more accessible for research and view for individual family research.
Research is available on existing documentation through the BFNA Genealogist. Those wishing to add information to the BFNA database should verify births, marriages, deaths, weddings, anniversaries and obituaries to ensure the accuracy of BFNA records. Please contact the BFNA genealogist for family searches, family genealogy books and other genealogy inquiries.
Margaret Guss, BFNA Genealogist
Fernandina Beach, Florida 32034