I went to visit the graves of my great great grandparents yesterday. They are:
Louis Rufus Murdock, 29 Jul 1863-21 Sep 1949
Jessie Ruth McLeod Murdock, 10 Mar 1863 – 03 Apr 1936
My aunt and I discussed great-great grampa Murdock at length. She can remember him: a 50-year employee at the old Brown & Sharpe company in Providence, a happily married man with a tendency, when not at work, to wear a suit and tie, and starched white shirt. Born in Providence on 29 Jul 1863 (perhaps), he was adopted by William and Maggie (Lawrence) Murdock in 1866. Family lore says he was adopted, and his marriage certificate mentions it as well next to the names of his parents.
I have learned that adoptions in Rhode Island at that time were recorded in Probate court records. A substantial index of Providence probate records accessed through the NEHGS web site AmericanAncestors.org shows nothing appropriate with the name Murdock. Perusal of the Providence birth records on microfilm at the Rhode Island Historical Society (and the indexes there) turn up nothing that one could attach to Louis although, most likely, he is there under a different name.
William and Maggie had married in October, 1865. He was 42 and she was 29. For whatever reason, they adopted two children: gg-grampa Louis, and a girl named Annie (my family has no knowledge of Annie and I can’t locate a marriage or death record for her). In 1867, they gave birth to a child, William Clark Murdock.
Maggie was an American, perhaps from Maine, and William, Sr. had been born in Pictou, Nova Scotia in 1823 and arrived with his family in Massachusetts sometime in the early 1840′s. The little girl, Annie, was born in Nova Scotia. Can that have been a coincidence? For quite a while, I thought that Louis and Annie must have been the children of either Maggie or William, but Louis’ marriage certificate said otherwise.
I don’t really know where this house is but I believe it was on Fall River Avenue. A visit to the county land records office in Taunton in 2010 showed it was on the “road from Hunts Mills”. I’m sure it’s gone now, but still, I would like to know more. I am uncertain when this property passed out of the family. My great grandmother, who was born there to the young couple Louis and Jessie in 1884, called it “the farm”.
One last part of the mystery: Louis’ wife, Jessie, was born in Pictou. Is it a coincidence that she was from the same place that Louis’ adopted father was from? No one knows why Jessie immigrated to the United States, and I have found no evidence that she came with family. But I thought perhaps through mutual friends she was given a welcome and some kindness by William and Maggie, and thereby met her future husband. Jessie’s father was William McLeod, which doesn’t narrow things down much in Pictou. Her mother’s name is listed on the marriage certificate as Rachel. But just recently I saw a surprising detail: on Jessie’s death certificate, her mother’s maiden name is listed as Rachel Murdock. Can this be a mistake? I’m sending away for an original. If Jessie is a near relation of William Murdock Sr, she would have been free to marry her “cousin,” since he was adopted. ALL OF WHICH makes me think that Louis may have had no genetic relationship to his adopted parents.
So I am looking for three things:
- evidence of the adoption of Louis
- any family ties between Jessie and her father-in-law William Murdock Sr.
- some more history of the Seekonk farm.
Advice is welcome.