Monday, August 16, 2010

Amanuensis Monday- Lines from a Diary

Dr. Bolman's House in Lunenburg, Nova Scotia

from the Diary of Adolphus Gaetz, page 41

June 1858 Monday 7th- "Married at 12 o'clock noon, at the house of Mrs. Trider, under whose care the Bride had been brought up, Mr. C. R. Bill, formerly at teacher of vocal music in this place, to Miss Annie Bolman, daughter of the late Bremner Bolman. At 2 o'clock the married couple started on their way to New Brunswick, they were escorted as far as Mahone Bay by several young men and maidens who had been at the wedding. The above were married by the father of the Groom, Rev'd I. E. Bill, baptist preacher, at St. John, New Brunswick, who came here for the purpose."

In 2007 I went to Lunenburg, Nova Scotia for the first time, to see where my ancestors lived. The Bolman family of Lunenburg is descended from Dr. Johann Daniel Bolman, a Hessian surgeon captured at the Battle of Saratoga, and never returned to Germany. He settled in Lunenburg, married a widow of German descent, and entered Nova Scotia politics.
A published copy of Adolphus Gaetz's diary was in my room at the Lennox Inn, the Lunenburg B&B where I stayed (owned and operated by another ancestor, John Lennox, in the early 1800s). As soon as I picked up the book and perused the names inside, I noted this passage mentioned my great great grandparents, Annie Bolman and Caleb Rand Bill. She was the granddaughter of Dr. Bolman.
An advertisement from Salem, Massachusetts
for a photography studio to restore old photos
The couple depicted is Annie and Caleb Bill

When I returned home from Nova Scotia I found another copy of Gaetz's diary at the New England Historic Genealogical Society library in Boston. Only a snippet view is available on line at Google Books, but it is also in the card catalog at and can be read or browsed online. The diary is full of references to Lunenburg families, and other goings on in Nova Scotia. Adolphus Gaetz wrote his diary from 1855 to 1873. He noted births, deaths, marriages, politics and other historical events in great detail. It is surprisingly easy and fun to read, as well as a wonderful genealogical treasure trove. I was able to find many references to ancestors in 19th century Lunenburg.

Adolphus Gaetz was born 13 May 1804 in Werheim, Germany, and immigrated to Lunenburg in 1832. He had a dry goods shop, was registrar of probate and county treasurer. He married Lucy Dorothea Zwicker in 1834, the granddaughter of German immigrant to Nova Scotia Johann Peter Zwicker. He died on 12 April 1873.

Sources for Adolphus Gaetz’s Diary:

The Diary of Adolphus Gaetz, edited by Charles Bruce Ferguson, Halifax, Nova Scotia, Public Archives of Nova Scotia, 1965 website listing deaths mentioned in Adolphus Gaetz’s diary The Diary of Adolphus Gaetz [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Operations Inc, 2008. Original data: Fergusson, Charles B.. The Diary of Adolphus Gaetz. Halifax, N. S.: 1965.

Copyright 2010, Heather Wilkinson Rojo


  1. Heather,

    I'm confused by these two sentences: "...I found a copy of his diary is at the New England Historic Genealogical Society library in Boston. Only a snippet view is available on line at Google Books, but it is in the card catalog at"

    Is the original at NEHGS? Is an index online at Has the book been published at that's why a snippet is available at Google books?

    Can you clarify?

    Thanks! Marian

  2. Marian,
    The original diary resides in the NS archives. It was published in book form and NEHGS has a copy, the B&B in Lunenburg has a copy, and Google Books only shows a snippet of a copy. Via Ancestry you can browse the entire book. You can still buy copies.