Over the years, many people have contacted the Berlin Historical Society for research help. Whether trying to trace their family roots, learn about a particular person or business, the Society members help them in their quests. A most recent request was from a descendant from the Nichols family. Here is the story:
In 1909 Dolores Nichols Carling brought a framed collage of old photos of her grandparents, Harry & Amelia Nichols’ farm at 2259 Chamberlain Hwy. In the Nichols’ time, the highway was a dirt road extension of High Road running to Meriden, also known as Cat Hole Road. We scanned the photos to our archives and took a few notes about her memories.
Ten years later, Kathleen Brandt, a genealogist in Kansas City reached out to Berlin Historical Society for help in researching the Nichols Farm. We shared the pictures and researched records at town hall. The first recorded land sale was in 1892 from John Watrous to Harry Nichols of Meriden. We also used a link on the town website to send a digitalized aerial map of the property as viewed in 1926.
Meanwhile, we tracked down Dolores Nichols Carling to ask for more information. She had her grandfather’s 1852 birth certificate with his original Swiss name of Henri Nicoulin.
As Kathleen Brandt describes this project, she came to know Richard Alan Nichols of Kansas City, an 80 year old actor who remembered growing up on the family farm in South Kensington. Kathleen’s company does research and pitches stories to The History Channel, PBS and the Travel Network. She’s worked on shows such as “Finding Your Roots”. The Nichols story ties in with the migration of New England farmers to the mid-west.
As for the first cousins, Dolores and Richard – after Richard’s father, Allan, died, his mother sold the family farm. That created an estrangement between their parents. The cousins were long lost to each other until now. Now, since the Berlin Historical Society’s involvement, the cousins have been reunited!