From left to right: Nephew Alfred and Richard Goodhind. Photo courtesy of Tim Goodhind
Vital records, censuses, probate files, deeds and local history are the fabric that researchers stitch together to construct a family history. The discovery of a new record is always exciting. However, there is nothing more gratifying than to gaze into an ancient face of a forbearer. I know of nothing that elicits as much commentary. Photographs of ancestors provide a glimpse into their spirit and humanity. Moreover, what is so compelling about a photo of an ancestor is that we are
really looking at piece of ourselves that is embedded somewhere deep in our DNA. No matter how voluminous our collection of records may be, the discovery of an ancestor’s photo is the crowning jewel of genealogy research.
That is why locating a photo of my great-grandfather has become a mission. My cousin Tim Goodhind has been researching the line for years and yet despite his best efforts he has only managed to acquire one photo, which is a long distance shot
of great-grandpa at an advanced age.
The lack of images of this man is frustrating because he led a remarkable, if not eventful life. Richard Goodhind emigrated from Dartford, England in 1860. His brothers, all papermakers were already settled in the United States. For a short time, he lived with his brother Frederick in Russell, Massachusetts, where he was also employed in the papermaking industry.
Shortly after the outbreak of the Civil War, he enlisted in the army and was assigned to Captain Richard Cory Company G, 2nd Massachusetts Regiment. During his service, he participated in some of the war’s most historic battles, including Gettysburg.
A "Certificate of Record", compiled by the Soldiers and Sailors Historical and Benevolent Society make mention of his employment as the superintendent of Hurlbut Division, American Writing Paper Company and superintendent of Zenas Crane, Jr. Company. He was also employed by the Chester Paper Company, the Hampshire Paper Company and Beebe and Holbrook in Holyoke. The certificate noted: “He was an example of a man rising to prominence through sterling character and persistent attention to business."
His obituary also noted his reputation: “…the skill of the deceased in his line of business was proverbial among papermakers and he was widely known.”
Richard first married Charlotte Martin Cook with whom he had five daughters. After her death,
he married Mary Stickles of Philmont, New York. Two children were born out of the union: Bertha and my grandfather Murray.
He was a member of the Scott Bradley Post (GAR) in Lee, Massachusetts at the time of his death in 1911.
An eventful life indeed and yet just one photo of the man. Even the Massachusetts Archives response to my query was negative.
It is noteworthy that his second wife died, decades after his passing, at the Berkshire Home for
Aged Women in Pittsfield, Massachusetts. Perhaps all of the ephemera was given away or simply chucked into a waste bin? Though that is a possibility, it seems unlikely that she had possession of every photo ever taken of him. Certainly, his daughters, who remained close to him over the years had a photo or two. However, if that is so, a descendant has yet to come forward to share their cache. I hold out hope that someday, I will receive a positive reply from a kind stranger or distant relative stating that an image of Richard has been found.
Indeed, photographs of ancestors are the crown jewels of our research. Whatever, our wild imaginings about our forbearers may be, whatever we may have gleaned from the records and the stories told about their battles in war and battles in life, nothing is more compelling than a photo of an ancestor.
 Soldier and Sailors Historical and Benevolent Society, compiler. Certificate of Record, no.
35096, 1904. Privately held by Timothy Goodhind, ADDRESS FOR PRIVATE USE],
Sunderland, Massachusetts, 2007. This certificate is a compilation of Richard
Goodhind’s Civil War service. Unsourced.
2; digital images, Genealogybank.com (http://www.genealogybank.com: Goodhind, Richard: 1911) :
accessed 28 Mar 2011, Historical Newspapers (1690-2007).