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Archiver > GenMassachusetts > 1999-01 > 0916364866

From: Dora Smith <>
Subject: blindness, personality, Samuel Morse of Sherborn family
Date: Thu, 14 Jan 1999 20:47:46 -0500 (EST)

I am working on the descendants of Samuel Morse of Sherborn, and
investigating a report by someone of the Morse Society that a tendency to
go blind between one's thirties and old age runs or ran in some parts of
that family. I posted a request for anything about it including what is
the cause (somethign like that would wear a definitive clinical diagnosis,
possibly glaucoma, by this time) to the Morse list, and got NADA response.

I have two questions; one; does anyone have any knowledge about a tendency
to blindness in that family?

Two; I'm finding that most Morse's I hear from appear to rather
pronouncedly share certain personality and character traits with my
brother-in-law and his father, and some of them are writing to me that the
OTHER Morse family who are descended from cousins of this Morse family
have some of these traits. Are Morse's characteristically obstinate,
intense, formal in tone, snobbish cowardly or nice-nice or something that
looks that way, and reticent? And what is it about them that causes this
peculiar response to mentioning any genetic disease? My brother in law and
all of his family are the same way; mention something to them they don't
want to deal with, and they make no response as if they hadn't heard you.
In my experience, members of most family groups lie or get angry and
insulting! And some members of the family nearly always share the
information because they know that it is critically important.

An example:

In response to "I am researching the Morse family of Samuel, came to
Massachusetts about 1635. ...I am interested in learning more about the
personalities and temperament of this family."

>From someone who uses his first initial with middle name (as distinct from
simply using his middle name if that is what he wants to do):

"I visited your site and examined your MORSE line.

"You give the wife of Joseph (b. Mar. 1745) as Mary Martin (Leonard). Are
you using the parentheses to indicate that "Leonard" was a maiden name or
a married name? Thre seems to be no uniform practice in this respect. The
Morse Geneaogy (1903/1905 ed.) says "Mary Marton Leonard", which is also
ambiguous but if Leonard is the maiden name then Marton would be a middle

Do you know her parents? That would solve the puzzle."

My response:

"It could mean either; I usually use the unmarried name if I know it with
a former married name in parentheses if I have that choice. While I
research it, exactly what is your interest in Mary Leonard/ Martin?"

His response:

"Just to tidy up the file... But who knows...she might be in my line. I'm
stuck at g-grandfather Otis Morse (b. abt 1829-35, d. 1895, res. Erie Co.

Understand, my file contains a number of women with one surname followed
by another in parentheses! This entire exchange could have taken place
with my brother-in-law; the man is his CLONE! Including the implausible
answer when I asked simply what is his relationship to Mary Leonard/
Martin! Given the personality he expresses, one doesn't know whether he
is actually uptight enough to worry about an obscure minor ambiguity in
this manner, or he does NOT want to tell me his relationship to Mary
Leonard/ Martin, and when cornered makes implausible efforts to weasel out
of it (my brother-in-law does it constantly) or he is simply too uptight
and too formal not to ALWAYS express himself very formally! His letter is
written in the format of a formal genealogical inquiry, in standard
intellectualese form.

I"m wondering if this is characteristic of this family group or of members
of this particular list and to some degree the Morse Society; I thought
that perhaps I would learn more by posting to lists that reach a wider
variety and greater number of people.

Dora Smit

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