Archive for the ‘Arnold’ Category

Meet the Arnolds

First of all let me say I am no expert on the Rhode Island Arnolds.  But until you find one, here is what I know about them.  Of all the email I get, a good 25% contains questions about the Arnolds, so I’m putting some thoughts down here.

There are two original Rhode Island Arnold families:

  • The Smithfield Arnolds (Thomas Arnold).  Early descendants tend to be in Providence or north of Providence.
  • the Pawtuxet/Warwick Arnolds (William Arnold). Early descendants tend to be south of Providence.

I am descended from the Smithfield Arnolds, with a possible unproven connection to the Pawtuxet/Warwick Arnolds.

My Smithfield Arnold line of descent is:  my grandmother Edna May Darling – her father Russell Earl Darling (1883-1959) – Addison Parmenter Darling (1856-1933) – Ellis Aldrich Darling (1824-1883) – Nancy Ann Aldrich (1800-1879) – Marcy Ballou (1778 – ?) – Lucy Arnold (c1755 – ?) - Thomas Arnold (1733-1798) – Thomas Arnold (1705-1765) – Richard Arnold (1660-1745) – Richard Arnold (1643-1710) – Thomas Arnold (1600 – 1674).

The Eleazer Arnold House in Smithfield, Rhode Island.  Am I a descendant?

The Eleazer Arnold House in Smithfield, Rhode Island. Photo by Diane Boumenot

Let’s start with the Smithfield Arnolds

Descendants of Thomas Arnold of Smithfield, Rhode Island are in luck, because some excellent work has been done on this line by noted genealogist Richard H. Benson, The Arnold Family of Smithfield, Rhode Island (2009).  If you are tracing your genealogy and you think you are descended in this family, you should own this book, or at the very least, borrow it through interlibrary-loan at your local library and study it carefully.

Eleazer Arnold House, side view

Eleazer Arnold House, side view. Photo by Diane Boumenot

Benson begins with a review of the misconception that William and Thomas were brothers, or otherwise closely related.  That idea is based on a rather spectacular failure in 1870′s genealogy – a genealogist was hired to do research in England, and returned with an appealing and mostly faked report.  This misinformation was repeated for a couple decades, then disproved. My recommendation to anyone researching Arnolds in Rhode Island is to treat the two families separately, and ignore any implication – in older, otherwise dependable works – that there was a relationship.

He goes on to provide documentation of the first five generations of the Thomas Arnold descendants, with an extensive bibliography.  In many cases names of the 6th generations are given.  Some of the more famous descendants include:

  • Welcome Arnold (1745-1798), Providence merchant and possible conspirator in the 1772 burning of the schooner Gaspee
  • jurists Thomas Arnold (my 7x-great grandfather; see his grave here) (1705-1765) and his son Peleg Arnold
  • Eleazer Arnold (1651 – 1722), son of the original settler Thomas, whose large “Splendid Mansion” house survives today in Lincoln (formerly Smithfield), Rhode Island and is known as the Eleazer Arnold House.

Eleazer Arnold and others helped to build an early Quaker meeting house nearby.  The first few generations of this family tended to be Quakers.

Plaque in front of the Eleazer Arnold House

Plaque in front of the Eleazer Arnold House. Photo by Diane Boumenot

And now, the Pawtuxet/Warwick Arnolds

William Arnold was a contemporary of Roger Williams, and settled in an area south of Providence, along the bay, called Pawtuxet (now part of Warwick and Cranston).  Unlike many early English  settlers, he actually brought documentation with him of his family’s vital records back in England.  So genealogically speaking, the family was off to a good start.

William prospered, and accumulated significant property.  There is more about William’s life on Wikipedia.  His son Benedict became the first Governor of the State of Rhode Island.  Proud, perhaps, of that name, there were an additional four succeeding generations in a direct line that carried the name, leading to Benedict Arnold, born 1741 in Norwich, Connecticut.

Our own Benedict Arnold

I suppose, rightly or wrongly, most Americans do not feel sympathetic to Benedict Arnold, the American Revolutionary War military officer who became discontented with his lot and transferred his allegiance to the British, and fought on the other side.  As familiar as the name is today, and as despised as it is, I think feelings ran even higher in the 19th century.

Benedict Arnold, as an American Colonel. London : Published by Thos. Hart, 1776.  Courtesy of Library of Congress LC-USZ62-39570.

Benedict Arnold, as an American Colonel. London : Published by Thos. Hart, 1776. Courtesy of Library of Congress LC-USZ62-39570.

This leads me to the reason I personally am very angry with Benedict Arnold.  In the 19th century, Rhode Island was the home of one of New England’s leading genealogists, a pioneer in the field, the person responsible for a great deal of the early work on Rhode Island vital records and cemetery transcription.  James Newell Arnold founded a genealogy journal, The Narragansett Historical Register, produced the 21-volume Vital Record of Rhode Island, and performed some similar work in nearby states.

Why didn’t James N. Arnold produce a definitive genealogy of the Arnolds, including the William Arnold descendants? I mean, the index cards were probably sitting right there in his undoubtedly crowded and dusty genealogy study.   I have only begun to explore his manuscripts, but there certainly was no published compiled genealogy.  I have a suspicion that he might have neglected this because he didn’t want to admit his kinship with Benedict Arnold.  My suspicion is based on a remark of his that I read years ago and failed to record (I had no idea I was related to the Arnolds then) claiming that Benedict was absolutely not descended from any Rhode Island Arnolds.  Although I suppose it’s possible he was fascinated with collecting and editing information, not so much with analyzing and compiling it.  I wonder if I will ever figure this out?

For a slight indication of the spirit of denial, this is from the index of my digital copy of the 1935 book “The Arnold Memorial” by Elisha Stephen Arnold (marked as a “Genealogical Society of Utah” copy).

from the index of The Arnold Memorial - page 132 is crossed out

from the index of The Arnold Memorial last name Arnold, first name Benedict – page 132 is crossed out

Which Benedict Arnold appears on page 132?

The description of Benedict Arnold in The Arnold Memorial

The description of Benedict Arnold in The Arnold Memorial

The page ends with a list of his children.  It’s a bizarre rendition of the life of traitor Benedict Arnold which, I should think, fooled no one.  I wonder if the crossed-out index entry was meant to deny that this Benedict belonged in this lineage, or to simply express displeasure at his existence.

What we do have on the William Arnold descendants

So, lacking the truly good work we could have had from James N. Arnold, we must turn instead to a variety of inadequate compiled genealogies on the William Arnold descendants.  They are listed at the bottom of this page.

The books tend to focus on the wealthier descendants – perhaps that is by necessity, since Warwick vital records are far more complete among well to do families, and there are more probate and real estate records for such families, or perhaps it is somewhat intentional.  Because of that original documentation by William Arnold and a few generations of his descendants, the early genealogy is quite complete.  It’s the later generations that get spotty.

If you are studying Arnolds

In each of the two Arnold families, there was of course a great deal of intermarriage with the other early local settlers in that region.  For the Smithfield Arnolds, this means the Comstocks, Smiths, Ballous, Whipples, Steeres, Aldriches, Buffums, Manns, and Inmans.  If you descend from these Arnolds, you have interesting ancestors in the other lines, too.  Remember that what was originally Smithfield is now Smithfield, North Smithfield, Lincoln, Greeneville, Cumberland, and Woonsocket.  My Arnold ancestors lived at one point in Union Village, North Smithfield, and some of their graves are at the Union Cemetery.

Union Cemetery, North Smithfield, R.I.  Photo by Diane Boumenot

Union Cemetery, North Smithfield, R.I. Photo by Diane Boumenot

For the Pawtuxet/Warwick Arnolds, there was intermarriage with the Greenes, Gortons, Holdens, Wickes, Westcotts, Rhodes, and Carpenters.  Settlement of Warwick spread quickly to the south and west of Pawtuxet and eventually the towns of West Warwick and Coventry were split off. Cranston was nearby on the north and East Greenwich on the south.  Certainly, for descendants, a visit to the village of Pawtuxet is in order, plus the Warwick Historical Society which is located up the road in the John Waterman Arnold House.

In the beginning, Warwick and Smithfield held  agricultural settlements which grew out of Providence, with accompanying forges, grain mills, etc.  But around 1800 small textile mills began to spring up around Rhode Island’s rivers and streams.   Both locations were impacted, resulting in mill towns like Woonsocket and West Warwick.  Although there is less manufacturing going on in those locations today, many of Rhode Island’s towns show remnants of many overlapping historical eras – several centuries of growth and change.  Surprisingly, even the late 1600′s era can be glimpsed from time to time along the bay, in rural areas like northern Cumberland and western Coventry, in historic cities such as Newport, and in the many small historic sites such as Smith’s Castle in North Kingstown.

If you have a mystery in this line, you are welcome to leave  a query here in the comments. Perhaps someone else will have an answer.  But please also use the sources I’ve listed below and the “Free Rhode Island Resources” link up top to see what you can find, as well as many other research strategies. Perhaps you could add a few sources that you know of in the comments.  The Arnolds are not easy to research; there are a LOT of them, and many other early families in other states.  Good luck!!

Some sources for the Smithfield Arnolds

Benson, Richard H.  The Arnold Family of Smithfield, Rhode Island.  Boston: Newbury Street Press, 2009.   Available for sale on the NEHGS web site.

“Eleazer Arnold” by William Greene Roelker in Rhode Island History, vol. 11, no. 3, (July, 1952) p. 81 (picture of the house on cover).  Available on this Rhode Island Historical society web page.

Greene, Welcome Arnold.  “Notes on Genealogy of the Arnold Family.”  Providence: typescript, c1840 – 1914.  Located at Knight Memorial Library; paper copy available at New England Historic Genealogical Society Library, Boston.

Richardson, E.  History of Woonsocket.  Woonsocket, R.I., 1876.  Link opens the Archive.org pdf download. 

“Some Arnolds of Smithfield, R.I”. by H. Minot Pitmann in Rhode Island History, vol. 13, no. 4, (October, 1954) p. 111.  Includes a correction to the “Eleazer Arnold” article.  Available on this Rhode Island Historical society web page.

Benedict Arnold Tavern, Warwick, demolished 1840.  From page 144, Fuller's History of Warwick, R.I.

Benedict Arnold Tavern, Warwick, demolished 1840. From page 144, Fuller’s History of Warwick, R.I.

Some sources for the Pawtuxet/Warwick Arnolds

Arnold, Charles Robbins. The William Arnold Outline: a list of persons surnamed Arnold, descendants of William Arnold of Providence and Pawtuxet, Rhode Island.  1983.  [link goes to FamilySearch screen for the book]

Arnold, Elisha Stephen.   The Arnold Memorial: William Arnold of Providence and Pawtuxet, 1587-1675 and a genealogy of his descendants.  Rutland, VT: The Tuttle Publishing Co., 1935.  [link goes to FamilySearch screen for the book]

Arnold, Ethan L.  An Arnold Family Record, 323 years in America: a record of some of the descendants of William Arnold and his son, Governor Benedict Arnold of Rhode Island, and his grandson, Benedict Arnold, Junior: 1635-1958.  Salem, Mass.:  Higginson Book Co., 1997.  [link goes to FamilySearch screen for the book]

Arnold, W.H. (William Hendrick).  The Arnold Family.  reprint Salem, Mass.: Higginson Book Co., 2002.

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So in my search for the origins of the Jesse and Sarah Andrews who lived in Ashford, Connecticut in 1820, I have concentrated recently (see the previous post) on a family by that name who seemed to disappear from Warwick, Rhode Island after 1810.

The problem

As the search goes on, I have come to believe that poverty is playing a big role in the lack of available evidence.  Around 1800, most of my other New England ancestors were doing many of the following things:

  • farming, and using ear marks for cattle (well maybe ear marks were more common in 1700)
  • buying and selling property; paying taxes
  • recorded in state or federal census records
  • occasionally: divorce or other lawsuits, licenses for various businesses, church membership, graduating from college
  • holding various small public service positions in their towns or serving in the military
  • recording the births of children with the town
  • having their own death noted briefly in a local paper, and/or recorded by the town
  • leaving an estate that required probate and/or guardianship of children
  • buried in a grave with a marker

But, not so much with Jesse Andrews.  While I do have some good evidence of his parentage and his father’s family tree, this is all I have on Jesse himself:

  • 1795 – Jesse Andrews and Sally Arnold married in Warwick, by James Jerrauld, Justice.  He was the son of “Philip, dec.”  She was the daughter of Joseph.
  • 1797 – Jesse, a “mariner”, purchased a house and lot on Main Street, East Greenwich, R.I.  His brother Christopher seemed to have a half share of it.
  • 1798 – Jesse, age 32, received a Seaman’s Protection Certificate, Providence, Rhode Island. Reportedly had been born in Warwick R.I.
  • 1799 – Jesse returned from a 4 month voyage to Surinam as crew on the Brig Fanny (B. Alger, Master)


  • 1800 – Jesse, “yeoman alias mariner” sold the East Greenwich house and lot.  Christopher seemed to sell his half share.
  • 1800 – Census - Jesse was living in Warwick with 3 children and two women.  Joseph Arnold was a neighbor. Freelove Andrews was next door (may possibly be his widowed mother)
  • 1810 – Census - Jesse living in Warwick with an adult female and 7 children under 16.  Joseph Arnold was a neighbor. Freelove Andrews was next door (may possibly be his widowed mother)
  • 1820 – Census - Jesse living in Ashford, CT with two females over 16 and 8 children under 16.
  • 1830 – Census - Jesse living in Ashford, CT with a female, 50-59.
  • 1832 – Jesse purchased a 50 acre property in southeastern Ashford, with a mortgage
  • 1838 – Jesse sold the 50 acre property to his son Alden; Alden mortgaged it, then sold it in 1839.
  • 1838 – when daughter Hannah (my ggg-grandmother) married in 1838, she was “of Ashford.”
  • [after this, I find records for a Benjamin B. Andrews and widowed mother Sarah - not proved she is the same Sarah. No death record for Sarah.]

Looking for family and neighbors

I have been tracking family and neighbors like crazy.  That is probably the only thing that will solve this but so far, it has only provided numerous clues.  There are three main impediments:  (1) I only know one of Jesse’s siblings, but early census records show there are at least five more; (2) I only know two of Jesse’s children, but census records indicate there may be five more, and (3) Sally Arnold’s father was named Joseph Arnold, which is not only an incredibly common name in the area, but is shared with two others that made dozens of land transactions.  So I am still wading through that.

Years in Rhode Island

Jesse does not appear in the East Greenwich or Warwick land records except for the brief ownership of a house on Main Street, East Greenwich (which is adjacent to Warwick – the busy street is half East Greenwich, half Warwick).  The house and lot in East Greenwich were “24 square rods of land” (equals less than a sixth acre) so clearly Jesse was not going into farming on his own.  Since the deeds indicate he was a mariner in 1797 and was, by 1800, “yeoman, alias mariner” we know it’s the same person, but I can only suppose “yeoman” meant, in this case, farming someone else’s land, perhaps his father in law’s, Joseph Arnold, who seems to be nearby in the census.

The division between Warwick and East Greenwich is close to Main Street, EG.  Post Road marked in blue.

The division between Warwick and East Greenwich is close to Main Street, EG. Post Road marked in blue. Map from 1856.

The crew lists I examined at the Rhode Island Historical Society begin around 1797, so although I only have one record of a voyage for him, he may have had earlier voyages.  But clearly, from the deeds, he transitioned from mariner to yeoman by 1800.  I assume his plan to support a house for his growing family was not sustainable, although perhaps there was another reason to give up the house.

Years in Connecticut

Other than the land transactions in Ashford which definitely tie Jesse to the son I know about, Alden, and pretty much prove to me that the Jesse in Ashford is indeed my gggg grandfather, I am finding nothing else in Connecticut – no probate, no other property, no taxes, no death record for him or for Sarah, no graves, and no military records.

The one decent theory I have, tying Jesse & Sarah Andrews of Ashford to the Warwick couple, is reinforced by the numbers in the 1810 and 1820 census records – they had 7 children under 16 in 1810, and 8 in 1820.  A possible son, and his widowed mother Sarah, consistently claim after 1840 to have been born in Rhode Island. This additional son is named Benjamin B. Andrews.  He lived with a mother Sarah from about 1840 until 1861 when, I believe, she died.  I was surprised to see, as he grew older, that Benjamin developed quite a criminal record.

The life of a chicken thief

As I was preparing for my trip to the Connecticut State Archives, I came across a search screen for “Databases of Individuals Listed in State Archives Records“.  None of the data sets looked appropriate for my Andrews family so on a whim I tried “Wethersfield Prison Records 1800-1903.”  Uh oh.  A search for Andrews turned up this:

  • last name: Andrews
  • first name: Benjamin
  • residence: Eastford
  • court: Windham
  • crime: breaking and entering
  • victim: Higginbotham, Daniel
  • prison term: one year, six months
  • date issued: 2/14/1882

This was the person I have tentatively identified as Jesse’s son.  So that was not cheerful news, and I started a newspaper search for more details of Benjamin’s life (I knew he had lived in the towns of Ashford/Eastford, and Norwich at various times; he married twice, to Lucy B Snow, and Mary Ann Davis).  I found various criminal convictions, such as:

  • 09 December 1864Benjamin B. Andrews of Norwich, Ct., went out robbing hen roosts, on the 2d stole about a wagon load, was arrested, examined, case adjourned, and then he took leg bail.  [note - I believe that means he ran off]. (Springfield Union (Springfield, MA), p. 2).
  • 03 March 1866Benjamin B. Andrews of Norwich, has been arrested and bound over for trial by the superior court for pretending to be a justice of the peace and marrying a couple. (Providence Evening Press (Providence, RI) vol. XIV, iss. 157, p. 3).  Same story – 17 March 1866  (Springfield Republican (Springfield, MA), p. 8).
  • 30 April 1878Benjamin Andrews from Eastford, was brought before Judge Tilden last week, charged with stealing 10 chickens from Cha. Simpson of South Windham.  He was found guilty on circumstantial evidence, and fined $5 and costs.  He appealed, and in default of bonds was sent to Brooklyn to await trial.  He was well known at the jail, and bears a bad reputation among his neighbors.  It is stated that one year he sold 200 chickens and did not raise one of them.  (Willimantic Enterprise News, as transcribed on the Ancestry.com Message Board for “1877 Willimantic Enterprise News” item #1262)
  • 20 March 1882Benjamin Andrews, one of a gang of burglars who have plundered many houses in Windham County, has been sent to state prison for a year.  (New Haven Register (New Haven, CT) vol. XLII, iss. 66, p. 4.)

chickensBenjamin had married twice, and had several children.  He was usually listed as a farmer. Whether he was pursuing criminal activity his whole life, or only later in life, I don’t know.  He died of “Peritonitis” in 1885.  Benjamin appears in the Eastford, Connecticut death records (Town of Eastford Births Marriages Deaths, vol. 3 1881-1886, p.210-211)  with no place of birth, parents, or exact age listed.  Court or even prison records, if I can find them, might reveal more about his origins.

Poverty and genealogy

Jesse Andrew’s lack of wealth and property are holding back my progress on this search.  This will not come as news to genealogists, of course.  And it could be pointed out that sometimes, poverty itself causes records to be produced for an individual – “warnings out” for out-of-town residents who were falling on hard times, to put them on notice not to expect town support if needed, and perhaps consider relocating to their home town, also repayment by the town for support of the poor by residents who “bid” to house and feed them, or perhaps for the coffin and burial. Interviews were often a part of the warning-out system, involving the life story of the poor person, since the home town needed to be determined, and the rules on that were convoluted.  Finding any stray remnants of such interviews can be extremely helpful, of course.

Unwelcome Americans

Unwelcome Americans

In my frustration with the Jesse Andrews question I turned for help to a book which focuses on poverty in 18th-century Rhode Island.  Unwelcome Americans by Ruth Wallis Herndon (Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 2001) traces the stories of 40 Rhode Island paupers, presenting as much of their lives, families, and experiences as can be known.  Genealogists would enjoy the book, which attempts to tell the stories that other history books never will.  Often, the stories are partial – a glimpse of a well-documented span of a couple years, perhaps, with no clear beginning and no clear end.  Because a number of Ruth’s profiles are of Warwick residents, I hoped to find some familiar names, but did not.  But I learned a lot about the undocumented nature of the life of paupers, and about the communities she describes in Rhode Island.

This glimpse into the world of Rhode Island’s somewhat invisible classes helped me to realize that Jesse’s absence from  town and tax records, vital records, newspapers, probate records, and cemeteries, with only brief stints of property ownership, probably puts him in the struggling un-landed class, with no real trade.  According to Unwelcome Americans, stints as ship crew members were common for poorer families during this period.  In neither location did Jesse’s fortunes sink low enough to put him on public assistance (I would have seen that in the town records I looked at).  In Warwick I suspect, from the census record evidence, that he and his wife usually lived with her father, or his mother.  By the time they got to Ashford, Connecticut, some of the older children were capable of helping out.  Indeed, an older sibling must have taken in the younger children if the 1830 census, showing Jesse and Sarah living alone, is to be believed, because daughter Hannah was only 12 then.

Jesse living near Benjamin Andrews as shown in the 1830 census.  Benjamin was a newlywed, living with his wife, Jesse and his wife are there, but Jesse's 2 youngest children are not present in either household.

Jesse living near Benjamin Andrews in Ashford as shown in the 1830 census. Benjamin was a newlywed, living with his wife, Jesse and his wife are there, but Jesse’s 2 youngest children are not present in either household.

In conclusion

The pattern that I noticed with many of my 19th century southern New England ancestors, that gradually lost the last remnants of family land after it had been divided many times over, seemed to strike early with Jesse Andrews and his family. They were poor.  Therefore I plan to pursue the following record types now:

  • General Assembly records in Rhode Island  – a Joseph Arnold of Warwick petitioned the General Assembly as an insolvent debtor in 1823.  While not certain to be Sarah’s father, it just might be since the record is unlikely to belong to the two wealthy Joseph Arnolds that I am already aware of.  This would be at the Rhode Island State Archives.
  • Court records in Rhode Island – there is a Kent County Court of Common Pleas record for the same petition, above.  This should be at the Rhode Island Judicial Archives.
  • Court records in Connecticut – there should be records related to some of Benjamin B. Andrews’ crimes, listed above (and many more, I expect).  If I could prove that he was Jesse’s son, that would be very significant, since he and his mother Sarah were born in Rhode Island.
  • Factory town records – since there is little evidence of the Andrews children in Ashford (for instance, their marriages), I should explore the Norwich area to see if they sought factory jobs there.  Son Alden pursued farming for the rest of his life, but there is no evidence of who the other children were or what they did.  My guess would be, they sought out factory jobs, or migrated north or west in search of available farmland.  Since daughter Hannah presumably met her husband in Norwich, and he worked in a factory there, I have sometimes wondered if she was a young factory worker, or living in town with older siblings.
  • Military records – Jesse’s father Philip served in the Revolutionary War, and died young, and I see no evidence that his widow (whose name I am unsure of) ever filed for a widow’s pension.  But I will keep looking.
  • Town records in Ashford – Although I have covered deeds, vital, probate and cemetery records in Ashford, I need to look more thoroughly through the town council records.

Sources for Warwick

I would not be nearly as far along with the Warwick/East Greenwich information without the following valuable works, all published by the Rhode Island Genealogical Society.  The first two contain hundreds of amazing footnotes explaining relationships and circumstances of the individuals named.  The last four books are transcriptions of some town council records.

  • Bamberg, Cherry Fletcher.  The Diary of Capt. Samuel Tillinghast of Warwick, Rhode Island 1757-1766.  Greenville, Rhode Island: Rhode Island Genealogical Society (Special Publication No. 3), 2000.
  • Bamberg, Cherry Fletcher.  Elder John Gorton and the Six Principle Baptist Church of East Greenwich, Rhode Island.  Greenville, Rhode Island: Rhode Island Genealogical Society (Special Publication No. 6), 2001.
  • Bamberg, Cherry Fletcher.  Gleanings from Rhode Island Town Records: East Greenwich Town Council Records, 1734 – 1774.  Rhode Island Roots Special Bonus Issue 2008.
  • Bamberg, Cherry Fletcher.  Gleanings from Rhode Island Town Records: East Greenwich Town Council Records, 1775 – 1800 Rhode Island Roots Special Bonus Issue 2009.
  • Bamberg, Cherry Fletcher.  Gleanings from Rhode Island Town Records: Warwick Town Council Records, 1742 – 1780 Rhode Island Roots Special Bonus Issue 2012.
  • Bamberg, Cherry Fletcher.  Gleanings from Rhode Island Town Records: Warwick Town Council Records, 1781 – 1801.  Rhode Island Roots Special Bonus Issue 2013.
Special issues of Rhode Island Roots containing transcribed and indexed town records.  RIGS members receive these - a great reason to join!

Special issues of Rhode Island Roots containing transcribed and indexed town records. RIGS members receive these – a great reason to join!

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Looking for a link between the Jesse Andrews family of Warwick, R.I. of 1810 and the Jesse Andrews family of Ashford, CT, 1820 has required a lot of patience and thought.  Here are 10 things I tried recently, and where they led me.  The story of Jesse and wife Sarah, parents of my ggg-grandmother Hannah Andrews, was detailed here.  My purpose is to find out what happened to the Warwick couple, and if they ended up in eastern Connecticut.

Word of caution:  I am related to Jesse and Sarah Andrews in Ashford, 1820.  I am only related to the Warwick folks if they are the same people.  Someday, I will know.

my grandmother is descended from Jesse Andrews

my grandmother is descended from Jesse Andrews

  1. A census of the census.  My idea, here, was to take the population of the 1810 census in Warwick and compare it, name by name, to the population of Ashford in 1820.  I wanted to see if others had migrated to Ashford, too.  This was fairly easy to set up, I opened each census record in Ancestry.com, scrolled back to page one, and using the typed index at the bottom of the page, copied that text one page at a time.  It was easy to just move the selected text to an open spreadsheet, with the mouse, and then move ahead to the next page of the census.  This resulted in a total of about 1,100 names.   I re-sorted the combined list and read it for duplicate first + last names that spanned the two places.  There were 5:  John Howard, Thomas Howard, William Howard, John Phillips, and John Smith.  Fine, but I don’t know what to make of that.  Inconclusive.

    My chart showing the two John Phillips

    My chart showing the two John Phillips

  2. Local historyI consulted Warwick’s Villages, Glimpses from the Past by Donald A. D’Amato (2009), The History of Warwick, Rhode Island by Oliver Payson Fuller (1875) and Edward Field’s State of Rhode Island and Providence Plantations at the end of the Century Volume 2 (1902) for more information about what was going on in Apponaug/Cowesett/East Greenwich around 1790-1820.  During this time some mills sprang up in Apponaug.  There was a minor port and shipyard in Apponaug Cove, and a slightly larger port in East Greenwich.  As detailed in my last post, I know Jesse Andrews had a Seaman’s Certificate in 1798Although I’ve only found one record of him shipping out internationally, in 1799, he may have worked in the shipyard or on local vessels.  Other events during that time include the War of 1812 (no participation that I can see; Jesse was a little old for that), the Great Gale of 1815, and the financial panic of 1819.  All of this could have driven them from their coastal life, inland, farming.

    Greenwich Bay, on west side of Narragansett Bay, leads to Apponuag and East Greenwich.  The area in between is called Cowesett.  Map by A. Finley, 1831.

    Greenwich Bay, on west side of Narragansett Bay, leads to Apponaug and East Greenwich. The area in between is called Cowesett. Map by A. Finley, 1831.

  3. The 1798 Direct Tax, Rhode Island.  As you can see on this Rhode Island Historical Society finding aid, “Direct Tax Records,” the federal government required the states in 1798 to compile “a particular list or description of each dwelling house” in order to create a tax assessment plan.  The descriptions of the houses often covered size of the lot, dimensions of the house, number of windows, outbuildings, owner’s name, lessee’s name, etc.  Luckily, Warwick is among the surviving records, which I viewed on microfilm.  Since Jesse and Sarah married in 1795 in Warwick and were included in the 1800 census for Warwick I was hopeful that I would find them there.  Alas, no, they were not in there, not even as tenants. There were no Andrews at all.  But, if accurate, this lack of an entry may be telling me that Jesse and his bride were living with family, or living in nearby East Greenwich.

    View of East Greenwich from the water.  From Picturespue Rhode Island, W. Munro, 1881.

    View of East Greenwich from the water. From Picturesque Rhode Island, W. Munro, 1881.

  4. Talking to a genealogy buddy.  Another genealogist and I had a talk about the problem.  She suggested that I should focus on the wife, Sarah.  Sarah is the daughter of Joseph Arnold of Warwick, but there were several Joseph Arnolds in Warwick in 1795, and no sign of a daughter Sarah among them.  But somehow I need to pursue this anyway.  So far I only have a probate record for one Joseph (not the right one), but need to pursue the others.  I tried looking at deeds at the Warwick City Hall, but that was not too helpful.

    One of several pages of Joseph Arnold deeds indexed at Warwick City Hall.  Note the "S.D." and "S.W." indicating "Son of D" and "Son of W".  Not every deed has that, of course.

    One of several pages of Joseph Arnold deeds indexed at Warwick City Hall. Note the “S.D.” and “S.W.” indicating “Son of D” and “Son of W”. That usage is common in Warwick.  Not every deed has that, of course.

  5. Looking at Sarah’s father. It seems very likely that Sarah’s father, Joseph Arnold, was alive at the time her marriage was recorded in 1795 (because Jesse’s father was specifically listed as “deceased”).   Joseph Arnold was a popular name in Warwick around this time.  One Joseph Arnold paid for a tavern license each year, as shown in the Warwick town council records that I viewed in at City Hall.  I think that may be the Joseph Andrews at Apponaug corners (see below), not the one I am looking for. 
  6. Reviewing published genealogies The Arnold Memorial and the William Arnold Outline are the works that pertain to the “Pawtuxet” Arnolds (both can be downloaded as pdf’s from the FamilySearch.org book section). I read each of these works entirely this time. I had been disheartened previously with the lack of a suitable Joseph/Sarah father/daughter match, but this time I realized that The Arnold Memorial is quite brief and concentrates mostly on wealthier Arnolds (for instance, through probate records).  I realized that her absence from the book probably meant nothing.

    Governor Greene Mansion, located in Cowesett

    Governor Greene Mansion, located in Cowesett, from The History of Warwick, R.I. by Fuller, 1875.

  7. Maps.  The Warwick Historical Society has an extraordinary collection of old maps online.  I was amazed to find a map of the exact neighborhood and exact time period I wanted, that is, Apponaug 1805.  And, more amazingly, it contained a sketch of a Joseph Arnold house.  Putting together the details on the map, what I learned from The Arnold Memorial, and an examination of deeds at the Warwick City Hall, I was able to eliminate THAT Joseph Arnold and his son, Joseph Franklin Arnold.  That was a big help.

    Snippet of the 1805 Apponuag map, showing the rather grand three story house of Joseph Arnold - the WRONG Joseph Arnold - on a busy intersection near where the city hall is today.

    Snippet of the 1805 Apponaug map, showing the rather grand three story house of Joseph Arnold – the WRONG Joseph Arnold – on a busy intersection near where the city hall is today.  Map on the Warwick Historical Society website.

  8. Another approach to the census.  With a couple of Joseph Arnolds eliminated, I decided to look at every census record for Joseph Arnold in Warwick and East Greenwich, Rhode Island.  Now that I had eliminated some Joseph Arnolds, it got easier.  I identified two likely census records:
    • 1790 -  In East Greenwich, next to Jonathan Andrews, Whipple Andrews, and Joseph Card.  Probably my most significant find to date, and I’ve been working hard on this for months.  The Jonathan Andrews that had a son Whipple would have been the uncle of Jesse’s father, Philip (Jonathan and John Andrews were sons of Benoni Andrews).  Joseph Card was the husband of Jesse’s aunt, Welthian (Philip Andrews’ sister).
    • 1810 – In Warwick, there is a Joseph Arnold living right next door to Jesse Andrews. It seems like more than a coincidence, although it could possibly be a brother of Sarah’s, I suppose, instead of her father. Freelove Andrews appeared near him in several census records, and could possibly be his sister in law, Freelove (Rice) Andrews, if Jesse’s brother Christopher died young.  Or, it could be Jesse’s mother, who was a widow, name unknown.

    The 1810 Warwick census shows Jesse Andrews living between Freelove Andrews and Joseph Arnold. (Federal Census, Warwick, R.I. on Ancestry.com, p. 21 of 22.

    The 1810 Warwick census shows Jesse Andrews living between Freelove Andrews and Joseph Arnold. (Federal Census, Warwick, R.I. on Ancestry.com, p. 21 of 22.)

  9.  Cemetery Maps. There are hundreds and hundreds of cemeteries in Rhode Island.  Early on, there was little central control by any church.  Each family would have its own cemetery.  Looking up the “Joseph Card Lot” gave me a spot in East Greenwich where I believe the families mentioned in the 1790 census records may have been living. I base this on comparing the nearby family cemetery names with the 1790 census.  To see many of the R.I. lots on the map, try this set of links at Google Maps.  Note that sometimes, small lots were later moved when local cemeteries were built. 

    Thanks to Google maps and some wonderful volunteers for this useful map.

    Thanks to Google maps and some wonderful volunteers for this useful map.  See my link, above.

  10. Military records for Jesse’s father.  Jesse’s father was Phillip Andrews, born 1741 in East Greenwich, R.I.,  who died between 1786 and 1795.  I had seen Philip’s ancestry in a manuscript at the Rhode Island Historical Society although I had little other evidence to go on.  Looking more intently for evidence now, I came across two entries in Ancestry.com about military records for Philip Andrews:
    • he “Served in Col. Harris’ Regt. in 1760, and in Capt Tew’s Co. in 1762” – this was taken from A List of Rhode Island Soldiers and Sailors in the Old French & Indian War 1755-1762 by Howard M. Chapin, 1918 (I have a reprint from Clearfield called Rhode Island in the Colonial Wars, 1994, 2010).  Looking at my copy, I see there is also a Joshua, Benjamin and William Andrews in Col. Harris’ Regt.  I don’t know if those names mean anything.
    • he was listed in Roll Box 88, Roll State R.I. in the U.S. Revolutionary War Rolls.  (I need to try to find him in the 716 pages; perhaps when the National Archives website reopens I can find an index.)  That set of records is filled with original documents on Rhode Island regiments; I would highly recommend it (Ancestry.com. U.S. Revolutionary War Rolls, 1775-1783. Regiment: Crarys Regiment, 1777-79 (folder 45); Elliotts Regiment of Artillery, 1776-78 (folder 46); Kimballs…). 


  • I waited much too long to research the earliest Andrews in order to link them to the proper Joseph Arnold.  Knowing all the descendants helped me to recognize the name Joseph Card when it appeared as a neighbor of Joseph Arnold in 1790.
  • I suspect Jesse was living in Cowesett (in Warwick) before he left Rhode island but have not proved that yet.
  • I have a lot of names I didn’t have before:  Joshua, Benjamin and William Andrews served with Philip Andrews in 1760, there are neighbors in the 1790 and 1810 census, names appear in Warwick in 1810 and in Ashford in 1820 (perhaps coincidentally), and names nearby Jesse in the 1800 census.  Also, there will be names from Phillip’s Revolutionary War service, when I can find the page.  Perhaps I can make a connection to Ashford, or to some Massachusetts town that Jesse and Sarah may have stopped in for a while.  I think almost nothing gets solved without knowing the community.
  • The Benjamin Arnold that served in the military with Phillip is particularly worth following up on.  If my guess is right, Jesse named one of his older sons Benjamin. There may be more siblings for Jesse and his brother Christopher.
  • NEXT:  visit the Warwick and East Greenwich town halls for vital, deed and probate records (I have tried before, but I often find a return visit turns up more).  A visit to the Connecticut State Library might help me pin down Jesse’s wife Sarah’s 1861 death record, with a maiden name, which could pretty much clinch this one way or another.

The post you are reading is located at:  http://onerhodeislandfamily.com/2013/10/07/a-census-of-the-census-and-9

OK I'm pretty sure no one was a pirate here.  But if they were, "The Pirates Own Book" by Charles Ellms, 1837, might have been very helpful.  It's located at http://www.gutenberg.org/ebooks/12216

OK I’m pretty sure no one was a pirate here. But if they were, “The Pirates Own Book” by Charles Ellms, 1837, might have been very helpful. It’s located at http://www.gutenberg.org/ebooks/12216

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I realized recently that I hadn’t really explored the journal of the Rhode Island Historical Society Rhode Island History (1942 – present).  There is a good index at the RIHS website.  I started with the index, but I also downloaded (from the screen just mentioned) and perused the complete pdf table of contents for the issues online (seems to include all issues minus most recent five years).

The full issues are available online.  When an article of interest is found, the issue it’s contained in can be downloaded from the search results screen for free.

Step one – the Arnolds of Smithfield

As I perused Rhode Island History an article about the Arnolds of Smithfield (1) caught my eye.  The article was interesting and informative, although it contained one or two errors that I know were corrected in the newer, standard work on the Arnolds of Smithfield by Richard H. Benton (2).  As the article progressed it veered off from my line toward the better-known Eleazer Arnold line, and some of his descendants (the author was detailing his wife’s lineage).  That’s not particularly helpful to me.

But I did what I always do – I examined the footnotes.  Each person covered had a set following their entry.  In the first three generations, I was familiar with all of the sources (many of them were covered in this post about early R.I. research) but one of them struck me as something I had not seen before:  Annals of Centerdale by Frank C. Angell, 1909 (3).

First house in Centerdale, Epenetus Olney Homestead, 1700-02. Annals of Centerdale, p. 24.

First house in Centerdale, Epenetus Olney Homestead, 1700-02. Annals of Centerdale, p. 24.

Step two – The Angells of Centerdale, Rhode Island

It would never occur to me that Centerdale could hold any answers for me; I thought my Smithfield ancestors were farther from Providence than the tiny old mill hamlet of Centerdale, nestled in the urban clutter of North Providence, Rhode Island.  But as the original Providence settlers spread west and north, could they have stopped for a generation or two in the area that became Centerdale?

I found the book remarkably interesting.  As I read it, I realized that my entire Arnold line, which had originated in Providence among the Angells, Prays, Woodwards, Comstocks, and Browns, seemed to appear in this northwestern corner of early Providence.  And SMITHS were intermingled with them on every page.

The dwelling house built by the state for Jacob Goff, 1777.  Part of the state's attempt to establish a powder mill during the Revolutionary War.  Annals of Centerdale, p. 35.

The dwelling house built by the state for Jacob Goff, 1777 – part of the state’s attempt to establish a powder mill in this area during the Revolutionary War. It was a spectacular failure; read more in Annals of Centerdale, p. 35.

Step three – Some background on the Smith problem

My Arnold line from Smithfield begins with my 6th great grandmother, Lucy Arnold.  Her mother is Rachel (possibly Smith).  Her father is Thomas Arnold.  A glance at this portion of my tree shows the well-researched Arnold branch, and the empty Smith branch:

The missing Smiths, courtesy of my Ancestry tree

The missing Smiths, courtesy of my Ancestry tree

I have no information about Rachel Smith at all, other than her first name, which appears on some of her husband’s deeds, and the oft-repeated rumor of her last name being Smith.  So I was excited to find all these Smiths amongst the Arnolds.

Step four – Finding the Smiths on the map

The Annals of Centerdale held important stories about many of these families, and a map (p. 10):
map from Annals of Centerdale showing Land of Thomas Angell, Land of Richard Pray at the top (north); then Land of John Smith, Land of Epenetus Olney, Land of John Whipple.

map from Annals of Centerdale showing Land of Thomas Angell, Land of Richard Pray in the top corners,  then Land of John Smith, Land of Epenetus Olney, Land of John Whipple. (p. 10; my captions added in color, and my tilt to head north)

Among those to thus push out into the common land and take up holdings therein were Thomas Angell, John Smith, Epenetus Olney, and Richard Pray, and these men appear to have been the pioneers in the settlement of that portion of the Woonasquatucket valley which afterward became known as Centerdale. (p. 6-7)
The original proprietors of the land on the east side of the river where the village of Centerdale is located were John Smith, Epenetus Olney, and Richard Pray. To establish the exact boundary of the several allotments would be impossible, but by patient research a map of the original farms has been prepared for this work; and reference thereto will serve to give a general idea of their location. (p. 11)
However, it is certain that John Smith (probably the miller) took up this land, and also that he had a son John Smith; and when John Smith, Senior, died, a portion of his estate lying upon the east side of the Woonasquatucket river was given to his son John Smith, Junior. This farm contained 160 acres, and was bounded as follows: Starting at a point on the Woonasquatucket river a few rods beyond the present junction of Waterman avenue and Smith street, and running in an easterly direction 320 rods, or nearly one mile; thence running in a southerly direction 80 rods, or one-quarter of a mile; thence running in a westerly direction 320 rods to the river; thence following the river in a northerly direction to the first-mentioned bound. (See map.) (p. 12)
The land adjoining the Smith claim on the north (see map) was taken up from the original rights by Richard Pray; but it is impossible to determine the exact date, as he was an extensive land owner and took up land from the commonings in different parts of the colony, the descriptions of which, as given in the deeds, are so confusing and indefinite that many of the claims are impossible to locate.  (p. 14)
Centerdale is halfway between Providence and Smithfield, Rhode Island. map courtesy of google maps.

Today Centerdale is halfway between Providence and Smithfield, Rhode Island. map courtesy of google maps.

Step 5 – Finding out more about the Smiths
It began to seem very possible that the great-great-grandchildren of the Centerdale settlers could, after the families had moved farther up the road to Smithfield, have married.  Armed with this clearer understanding of the Smiths I did not have to look far for some further help with the descendants of John Smith, the miller.
There in Rhode Island History I spotted an article “John Smith, the Miller, of Providence, Rhode Island, and some of his Descendants” by George William Farnham (5).  It appeared in 1961.  Articles on this topic continued for a total of 16 issues between 1961 and 1965.  I had previously seen these in Genealogies of Rhode Island Families (4) but only used the index, and decided it was not helpful.  I think these days I would take a more studied approach to figuring out who these descendants were, and where they were.  I would also check closely for any Smith associates I have found, meanwhile, for Thomas Arnold, for instance, from his land records in Smithfield.
The articles are fascinating, detailing the life of John the miller (early John Smiths in Providence are always referred to by occupation) and many descendants in the first five generations.  The first mill was an important part of early Providence, and located at the intersection of Charles and Mill Streets. The articles are filled with discussions of evidence, quotes from notable books, and information gained from town and court records, newspapers, and manuscripts.
Map of Rhode Island, Surveyed by James Helme and William Chandler, 1741. Note that Providence is bordered directly by Smithfield and The Gore to the north, and by Scituate to the west.  From Providence in Colonial Times by Gertrude Selwyn Kimball, 1912, p. 206.

Map of Rhode Island, Surveyed by James Helme and William Chandler, 1741. Note that Providence is bordered directly by Smithfield and The Gore to the north, and by Scituate to the west. From Providence in Colonial Times by Gertrude Selwyn Kimball, 1912, p. 206. (my typing added)

Step 6 – Learning more about the expansion of Providence
I now realize I don’t actually know that much about the patterns of expansion from the earliest Providence settlement into the remainder of what is now known as Providence County.  Looking at the Centerdale book and some additional sources, I have learned a lot about the Seven Mile Line and the fights during the 1660′s to retain control of Providence among the wealthier landowners only – legal maneuvers that were very troubling to Roger Williams.  More on that in the future.

Meanwhile, I have some John Smiths to investigate.


  1. Pitman, H. Minot.  “Some Arnold of Smithfield, R.I.”  Rhode Island History 13-4 (October 1954): 111-123.
  2. Benson, Richard H.  The Arnold Family of Smithfield, Rhode Island.  Boston: Newbury Street Press, 2009.
  3. Angell, Frank C.  Annals of Centerdale in the town of North Providence, Rhode Island.  Central Falls, R.I.: Frank C. Angell, 1909.
  4. Genealogies of Rhode Island Families From Rhode Island Periodicals, vol. 2, Smith – Yates. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing Co., 1983.  p. 1 – 150.
  5. Farnham, George William. “John Smith, the Miller, of Providence, Rhode Island, and some of his Descendants.”   Rhode Island History 20-4 (October 1961): 109-118.  [Continued in 15 more articles, every issue of 1962, 1963, 1964 and Jan-April-July 1965.  All articles also appear in Genealogies of Rhode Island Families (see my note 4, above.) ]

The post you are reading is located at:  http://onerhodeislandfamily.com/2015/08/03/a-hint-from-an-angell/

Centerdale School House. Annals of Centerdale, p. 69.

Centerdale School House. Annals of Centerdale, p. 69.

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Hannah Andrews

My 3x-great grandmother Hannah Andrews has been a mystery that I have been working on since I started genealogy.  I am related to her in the following way:  my grandmother Edna May (Darling) Baldwin, her father Russell Earl Darling, his mother Emma (Lamphere) Darling, her mother Hannah (Andrews) Lamphere.

Hannah married Russell Lamphere in Colchester, Connecticut in 1838, and was “of Ashford” Connecticut.  She had a brother, Alden, that she must have been close to; they were frequently neighbors before she left Connecticut, Alden named his first son after her husband, and even after Hannah’s death, her husband took in another of Alden’s sons and got him a job in the mill where he was a supervisor.  The birthplace of both Hannah and Alden was usually cited as Massachusetts or, sometimes, Connecticut.  Based on census ages, I would estimate Alden was born in 1817 and Hannah in 1819.

Ashford, from Connecticut Historical Collections by J.W. Barber, New Haven, 1836, p. 417.

Ashford, from Connecticut Historical Collections by J.W. Barber, New Haven, 1836, p. 417.

What I knew

I found names for Hannah’s (and Alden’s) parents in Hannah’s 1878 Providence death record, “Jesse and Sarah Andrews”.  Alden’s 1873 death record in Coventry, Rhode Island lists his father as Jesse, and no name for the mother.  Hannah named her first daughter Sarah.  Obviously, I carefully examined the Ashford, Connecticut census records for Jesse Andrews.  I thought he should be there in 1840, since Hannah had just married in 1838.   But there was no Jesse in 1840.  In 1820, there was a large household headed by Jesse. In 1830, there was a household of an older couple, headed by Jesse.  There was nothing prior to 1820.

All this seemed wrong for a household that Hannah and Alden could have been born into in the late 1810′s.  Plus, Hannah and Andrew may have been born in Massachusetts, according to various census records.  I never noticed any sign of other siblings, so I suspected Hannah and Alden were NOT part of this large family from the 1820 census … perhaps they were orphans from a nearby section of Massachusetts, living with relatives in Ashford.

Although Jesse Andrews is an unusual name, it is far from unique.  I eliminated several Jesse Andrews for various reasons.  There were actually two couples names Jesse and Sarah Andrews – one in Montague, Massachusetts, married around 1817, who unfortunately had too many documented children during the years Hannah and Alden could have been born (plus, they never left Montague). So not them.   There was one other couple, Jesse Andrews and Sally Arnold, married in Warwick, Rhode Island in 1795.  I considered them, but they seemed too old, and I found them in the 1800 and 1810 Rhode Island federal census with a growing family.  I knew that the correct Jesse and Sarah Andrews might be poorly documented (after all, I have never found birth records for Alden and Hannah), so I suspected the real couple was still unknown to me, and kept looking.

Recent progress

However, I have found additional information recently.  The process went something like this:

  1. I visited the town hall of Ashford, Connecticut to look at deeds.  The town hall also contains probate records, and more information about cemeteries than one usually sees, although I found nothing relevant in probate or cemetery records.  But I was thrilled to spot an 1838 deed where Jesse Andrews was the seller and Alden Andrews was the buyer, plus the 1832 deed for the same property where Jesse made a purchase which was mortgaged to the seller. The heavily mortgaged property was finally sold, by Alden, to neighbor Amos Weeks by 1839.  I photographed and abstracted the deeds.

    Ashford Deeds.  Jesse's transactions in green, Alden's in blue.

    Ashford Deeds. Jesse’s transactions in green, Alden’s in blue.

  2. With new assurance that Jesse had at some point lived in Ashford, I reexamined the Ashford census records, page by page.  I realized that when I concluded the Jesse in 1820 could NOT be the right one, I had also dismissed the next name in the 1830 census – next to the older Jesse and wife – Benjamin Andrews.  Now, I carefully researched Benjamin.  He was born around 1809, 10 years before Hannah and Alden.   I was surprised to find, in the 1850 census, that he was living with his widowed mother Sarah and his children.  He remarried in 1853 to Mary Ann Davis, of Norwich Town, and went to live there.  In the 1860 census, Sarah seems to be mis-recorded as “Anna” Andrews, but in the 1861 city directory she is reported as living at 22 Spring Street, which is the home of Benjamin.
  3. The most surprising part of these records?  Benjamin and his mother Sarah were born in Rhode Island. Suddenly, the Warwick, Rhode Island couple Jesse and Sarah Andrews seemed like a stronger possibility.  Could they have lived in Rhode Island for a while after their marriage, had a large family, then moved on to Ashford Connecticut (possibly living in Massachusetts briefly, in between) around 1818?  Were Alden and Hannah the last in a long string of children?
  4. I turned my attention to the record of Jesse Andrews and Sally Arnold who married in 1795 in Warwick, Rhode Island.  It was very informative, giving a name for both fathers and mentioning that one was deceased.  I needed to learn more about them, to see if it was possible they did move out of Rhode Island.

[Andrews], Jess, of Phillip, and Sally Arnold, of Joseph; m. by James Jerrauld, Justice, Feb 22, 1795.

[Andrews], Jess, of Phillip, and Sally Arnold, of Joseph; m. by James Jerrauld, Justice, Feb 22, 1795.  From Arnold’s Vital Records, bk. 1, p. 3

The usual Rhode Island sources for this period were thoroughly explored at this point:

  • Rhode Island vital records compiled by James Arnold.  Volume 1 covers both Warwick and East Greenwich.
  • Census records including 1790, 1800, 1810, 1820, 1830, 1840, 1850, 1860 plus some earlier state census records for the fathers.
  • Rhode Island Roots, the journal of the Rhode Island Genealogical Society.
  • The Narragansett Historical Register, published by James N Arnold in the late 1800′s, vol 1-9.
  • The Rhode Island Genealogical Register, 1978-1996, v. 1 – 20, particularly the Will Index, v. 16.
  • A thorough search (one major category at a time) of Ancestry.com, plus Fold3.com, FamilySearch.org, NEHGS website,  and GenealogyBank.com.
  • A visit to the Rhode Island Historical Society Library and perusal of their card catalog, manuscript collection, and various books.

    The 1810 census, in Warwick, shows Jesse with a household of 2 adults and 7 children living in Warwick, between Joseph Arnold, and Freelove Andrew, who may by his widowed sister in law.

    The 1810 census, in Warwick, shows Jesse with a household of 2 adults and 7 children living in Warwick, near Joseph Arnold, and Freelove Andrew, who may by his widowed sister in law or possibly his widowed mother.

What I found out

First of all, other than the marriage for Jesse and Sally, there are few vital records for this group.  That’s not very unusual in Rhode Island.  I am also still seeking some Connecticut death records that may turn up in Hartford when I visit later this summer.

Jesse Andrews and Sally Arnold were from old Rhode Island families.  And a search showed that Jesse Andrews no longer appeared in Rhode Island census records after 1810.

Significant clues I found were:

  • a “Register of Seamen’s Protection Certificates from the Providence, Rhode Island Customs District, 1796-1870” record for Jesse dated Dec. 4, 1798 (“age 32, light complexion, Place of birth: Warwick, R.I.”)   I found this as an Ancestry.com Military record; the source of the data was a book “Register of Seamen’s Protection Certificates from the Providence, Rhode Island Customs District, 1796-1870. Baltimore, MD, USA: Genealogical Publishing Co., 1995.”  Interesting.  Of all my Rhode Island/Massachusetts ancestors, none so far have been connected to the sea.  Only my father’s Nova Scotia side has that.  For an explanation of Seaman’s Certificates, visit this Archives.com page by noted genealogist Kathleen Brandt.  I wonder if Jesse followed that career for a while, or quickly switched to farming?
  • Jesse was born in 1766 to Phillip and (unknown) Andrews.  The Rhode Island Historical Society had a three-volume manuscript on the Rhode Island Andrews family that Jesse was from. This is a good example of a document not digitized or available elsewhere.  The first immigrant was John McAndrews (sometimes Andrews) from Scotland who first settled on Cape Cod, but was in Rhode Island by 1671 as an original participant in the “Fones Purchase” in North Kingstown, Rhode Island.  My line of his descendants settled in nearby East Greenwich, Rhode Island, and Jesse’s father, Phillip, ended up in Warwick.

    East Greenwich, view from the water.  From Wilfred Munro's Picturesque Rhode Island, 1887, p. 241.

    East Greenwich, view from the water. From Wilfred Munro’s Picturesque Rhode Island, 1887, p. 241.

  • Notably, Jesse had a grandmother named Hannah.  Hannah’s name was a little old-fashioned for 1819, so I always thought she was named for an ancestor.
  • There are two Arnold families in Rhode Island, the Thomas Arnold family of Smithfield, (from which I am also descended), and then Sally’s family, which is likely to be the William Arnold family of Providence/Pawtuxet/Warwick.  Descendants of William Arnold are related to Benedict Arnold, the first Rhode Island Governor, and his great-grandson, the Revolutionary War traitor by the same name.  I am having trouble placing Sally and her father, Joseph, in that family because there are so many Joseph Arnolds in and around Warwick in this period.  Warwick deeds may help that.
Ashford, Connecticut town hall, June, 2013

Ashford, Connecticut town hall, June, 2013

Where things stand

In 1810 Jesse was living with a family of 9 near Freelove Andrews (which was the name of his brother Christopher’s wife, but I wonder if it could possibly be his mother) and Joseph Arnold (likely his father in law).  In 1820 Jesse Andrews had a family of 11 in Ashford, CT.  My goal now is to see if I can find proof against the theory that this is the same person, or possibly some further evidence to support it.

A couple of details are troubling:

  • why were Jesse and Sarah living alone in 1830, if they still had two growing children, Alden and Hannah? Benjamin and his wife also lived alone.  The births of none of the children are recorded in Rhode Island or Connecticut, so I’m not yet sure who the siblings are – did one take Alden and Hannah over the border into Massachusetts for a while, to live?  The parents were quite old.
  • Why name a child Alden when I see no evidence of that family connection in the backgrounds of Jesse and Sarah?
  • I am only slightly troubled by Sarah (if it is her) being called Sally in the marriage record and yet was never called that in later documentation.  She was young at the time of her marriage and may have outgrown the nickname.
  • Siblings Benjamin, Alden and Hannah used the following in naming for their own children:  Griggs, Norriss, Merrill, Vernon.  So far, none appear among these Rhode Island relatives.

If the Jesse and Sally from Warwick theory proves to be a dead end, I have one more theory.  Alden Andrews moved many times, always working as a farmer until a stroke at age 56 ended his life.  He ended up living in Rhode Island just over the border from Connecticut in Summit Hill, Coventry.  There are many Andrews around there.  I am finding no evidence that his father Jesse was from there, but I will keep looking.

Next steps

  • Visit the Warwick town hall to explore deeds for Jesse and his father, Phillip, who had died before 1795.  In particular, look for evidence that Jesse was leaving town sometime in the 1810′s.
  • Also explore deeds in Warwick for Joseph Arnold,  Sally’s father.
  • Try to find a Rhode Island Andrews or Arnold connection among the neighbors in Ashford, Connecticut.  If anything, there seem to be more Arnolds.
  • Try using the Massachusetts Deeds on FamilySearch.org to help me locate Jesse in a nearby Massachusetts town around 1817.

The post you are reading is located at:  http://onerhodeislandfamily.com/2013/07/06/finding-hannah-andrews/


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It has been almost a year since I last wrote about the search for Lucy Arnold‘s family.  The questions right now are:

  1. Are Thomas Arnold and his wife Rachel (possibly Smith) the parents of Lucy?
  2. Do Thomas Arnold’s deeds provide clues about his wife’s family (possibly Smiths)?

As I looked at the date of my last post, I had to admit, it is NORMAL for a year to go by with no news.  This “brick wall” is pretty strong but, I think, solvable.  I am related to Lucy Arnold in the following way:  my grandmother Edna Darling –> Russell Darling –> Addison Parmenter Darling –> Ellis Aldrich Darling –> Nancy Anna Aldrich –> Mercy Ballou –> Lucy Arnold.

My current strategy is to examine deeds from Smithfield, Rhode Island to see what I can learn about Thomas Arnold’s life, and also to compare these details with other sources of information like tax and census records.  On my recent trip to the Family History Library I had a chance to save about 21 deeds from Smithfield, Rhode Island, of property transactions under the name of Thomas Arnold.  Once I got the copies home, here is what I did.

Sample of Thomas Arnold deed as it appears in the Smithfield Deed records.

Sample of Thomas Arnold deed as it appears in the Smithfield Deed records.

Analyzing the deeds

  • I re-read the chapters on deeds and probate from Val Greenwood’s The Researcher’s Guide to American Genealogy. (Third Edition.  Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing Company, 2000.)   Always good to know what a messuage is (a dwelling) and in this case, the definitions of rod (16-1/2 feet), chain (66 feet), and link (7.92 inches).  Mr. Greenwood always has excellent advice.
  • I reviewed each deed closely for clues that they referred to OTHER Thomas Arnolds.  I eliminated seven deeds, leaving 14.
  • I abstracted the fourteen deeds into about 6 pages of notes.
  • I abstracted the notes into a chart.
The chart is color coded by likelihood of a match to Thomas Arnold.  Columns for the 14 deeds include date, entry info, Seller, Buyer, acres, price in pounds, witnesses, neighbors mentioned, and Landmarks and notes.

The chart is color coded by likelihood of a match to Thomas Arnold. Columns for the 14 deeds include date, entry info, Seller, Buyer, acres, price in pounds, witnesses, neighbors mentioned, and Landmarks and notes.

A READABLE pdf version of the chart is HERE.

The five deeds colored in green seem to me to definitely belong to Thomas Arnold.  The five marked in blue are additional deeds ascribed to this Thomas Arnold in Richard Benson’s book, The Arnold Family of Smithfield, Rhode Island (citation below).  The remaining four, in white, may very possibly refer to Thomas Arnold.

I will go through these one by one and give the best evidence only.  I really can’t rule any of these out.  I investigated the persons mentioned below primarily through my own tree and the sources cited at the bottom of the post.

What I noticed about the people

  1. 1764 – Seller is John Smith 3rd and his wife Mary Smith.  While common names, I suspect the Mary is Mary Phillips, who would be a cousin of Lucy Arnold’s future mother in law, Elizabeth (Phillips) Ballou.  I am unsure of the Smith connection.
  2. 1766 – “… by my father Thomas Arnold, deceased.”
  3. 1776 – Witness George Comstock is married to Thomas Arnold’s sister, Catherine.
  4. 1766 – Seller Thomas Smith is possibly the son of the couple in the next deed (#5)
  5. 1767 – Sellers Thomas Smith (physician) and his wife Abigail (Aldrich) were neighbors of Thomas Arnold.  I had a theory this couple could possibly by Rachel’s parents.  But after finding the wills of Dr. Thomas (1777) and Abigail Smith (1783) online (THAT was lucky, thank you, Dan!) , I suspect Rachel was not their daughter.
  6. 1767 – Seller John Arnold (married to Martha Bucklin) was Thomas Arnold‘s half-brother.
  7. 1768 – This is the only deed where Thomas Arnold‘s wife Rachel is also on the deed.
  8. 1770 – The witnesses (the Herendeens) appear in several other deeds as witnesses.  Other than that, no clues.
  9. same as #8.
  10. 1770 – Witnesses Jacob Arnold was likely Thomas‘ cousin (son of Joseph Arnold).
  11. 1770 – Buyer Jacob Arnold, named in #10.  Witness Caleb Arnold, also likely a cousin (and brother to Jacob).
  12. 1772 – Thomas Arnold sold a large property, that he lived on, to Israel Wilkinson
  13. 1774 – Thomas Arnold sold a tiny amount of property to his uncle Peleg Arnold.
  14. Witness Joseph Buffum was married to Thomas Arnold‘s half-sister, Lydia.  Buyer Caleb Arnold was the cousin mentioned in #11.

A general note about the names – several named individuals who are not closely related to Thomas Arnold seem to be descended from the Eleazer Arnold branch.  This could be a coincidence (I believe they were among the wealthier inhabitants) or perhaps Rachel is related to them.

What I noticed about the property

  • The place clues I found included Trout Brook, Thousand Acre Line, Cedar Swamp, Hemlock Island, iron forge, iron mill, the Branch River, forge, Crook Fall River, brook near Camp Bridge, Edmund Arnold’s dam, Daley’s Hole, cedar swamp at Woonsoket, Seven Mile Line/Abbot’s Line.
Originally, Smithfield encompassed most of the area north of Providence.  Map courtesy of Google maps.

Originally, Smithfield encompassed most of the area north of Providence. Map courtesy of Google maps.

  • I am not getting a lot of information from my attempt to match some locations.  But if I could compare it to a map of the early Smithfield homesteads, it might be helpful.

What I noticed about the sequence of events

  • 1765 [note: Thomas Arnold was 32 years old] – Thomas Arnold’s father, Judge Thomas Arnold, died in 1765.  His grandfather, Hezekiah Comstock, died in 1764 and made a bequest to him, among many others.  The judge divided a forge among several heirs; the details are not clear to me since I haven’t read the probate record yet (there were mentions of it in the Arnold book).
  • 1767 – Thomas Arnold bought a quarter share of a forge and some property from his half-brother John Arnold for 150 pounds.
  • 1770 – Thomas Arnold sold a quarter share in a forge to a blacksmith for 84 pounds.
  • 1770 – That same blacksmith sold 110 acres of land and his dwelling to Thomas Arnold for 480 pounds.
  • 1770 – Thomas Arnold sold “my homestead where I now dwell” to John Comstock (probably a relative) for 140 pounds
  • 1772 – Thomas Arnold sold “land on which I now dwell” and 107 acres to Israel Wilkinson for 520 pounds.
  • 1774 - a small sale of land to uncle Peleg Arnold
  • 1774 – The Smithfield 1778 tax record shows only one Thomas Arnold, with property (a horse) worth 12 pounds.
  • 1774 – the 1774 state census shows a Thomas Arnold family of six.
  • 1790 – Thomas Arnold is not in the federal census of 1790 in Smithfield.

The death dates and burial records of Thomas and Rachel are unknown to me and I’ve never found a probate record.  Did they become impoverished, or ill?  Did they move elsewhere?  Did they move in with family?  There are few or no vital records for this family; most books put details together from other records.

The Falls at Woonsocket, an 1870's view, from Picturesque Rhode Island by Wilfred Munro

The Falls at Woonsocket, an 1870′s view, from Picturesque Rhode Island by Wilfred Munro. Many types of manufacturing, particularly textiles, sprang up in Woonsocket after 1810.

Next Step

  • Visit Smithfield and explore each of these places more thoroughly; visit the public library there.
  • Investigate the possibility that Thomas Arnold left Smithfield for a nearby town or possibly near other relatives in New York state.  Try to find a probate record and see if Lucy or Lucy’s children are mentioned.
  • Explore the impact of the Revolutionary War on Smithfield and its soldiers.  I don’t think Thomas Arnold died as a soldier.  Was he disabled?
  • Several of Thomas’ siblings were Quakers.  Explore Quaker records at the RI Historical Society.
  • Read Thomas Arnold’s father’s probate record – probably on microfilm at the RI Historical Society.
  • Investigate every Rachel living before 1730 in or near Smithfield (any area on the north side of Providence, at that point).  Rachel may well have been named for someone.
  • Keep investigating every name on the deed grid I made.  I suspect someone on there is closely related to Rachel, and it’s not the ones I thought.  There are some Arnolds from the “Eleazer” branch – could Rachel descend from them?
  • Cast a wider net around the Dr Thomas Smith and his wife Abigail mentioned in some deeds.  I now know Rachel is unlikely to be their daughter, but may be related.
  • Find early maps of Smithfield homesteads.
  • Keep exploring the Providence Gazzette, available on GenealogyBank.com for this period.
  • Move in the other direction, and learn more about Lucy Arnold and Richard Ballou.  They moved to a different section of town, but perhaps one of her relatives also moved near them.

In summary

As I learn more about these people, places, and resources, I find myself growing more curious and knowledgeable, and making connections easily.  I would say my work on this one is about 35% done.  So while not a “success” story yet, it IS moving along in the way that many tough problems do.


  • Austin, John Osborne.  The Genealogical Dictionary of Rhode Island, with Additions and Corrections by John Osborne Austin, and Additions and Corrections by G. Andrews Moriarty.  Baltimore, Genealogical Publishing Company, 1969.
  • Ballou, Adin. An Elaborate History and Genealogy of the Ballous in America Providence: E.L. Freeman & Son, 1888.
  • Bartlett, John R. (arranged by).  Census of the Inhabitants of the Colony of Rhode Island and Providence Plantations … 1774.  Providence: Knowles, Anthony & Co., 1858.
  • Benson, Richard H.  The Arnold Family of Smithfield, Rhode Island.  Boston: Newbury Street Press, 2009.
  • Farnham, Charles William. “John Smith, The Miller, of Providence, Rhode Island – Some of His Descendants” in Genealogies of Rhode Island Families From Rhode Island Periodicals, volume II, p. 1 – 150.  Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing Co., 1983 [originally appeared in the 1960's as a series of articles in Rhode Island History, v. 20 - 24].
  • Heads of Families at the First Census of the United States Taken in the Year 1790 – Rhode Island.  Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing Company, 1977.
  • Richardson, E. History of Woonsocket.  Woonsocket: S.S. Foss, 1876.  
  • Sanborn, Melinda Lutz. “Smithfield, Rhode Island Death Records Culled from Probate.”  New England Historic Genealogical Register, October 1992, p. 343-351.
  • “Smithfield 1778 Tax List” a series of articles in Rhode Island Roots (a periodical from the Rhode Island Genealogical Society), 1995-1997.
  • Steere, Thomas. History of the Town of Smithfield.  Providence: E.L. Freeman, 1881.
  • Torrey, Clarence Almon. New England Marriages Prior to 1700.  3 volumes. Boston, New England Historic Genealogical Society, 2011.

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This was my first visit to the large Family History Library in Salt Lake City, Utah, that contains microfilmed records from around the world as well as many genealogy books and other resources.

The Family History Library, Salt Lake City

The Family History Library, Salt Lake City


I had prepared beforehand, in Evernote, a list of microfilms and books to explore. These were sortable by the “tags” which allowed me to choose records for one person or family at a time. I also added a tag “Important” in case I had to make choices.

I had three days in the library. I knew as the trip grew closer that I would concentrate on several real questions. I printed those notes and put them in a paper binder – sometimes it’s easier to rely on paper when you will need to walk around the library or be at a microfilm reader. I did access Evernote on my iphone but ended up NOT bringing the laptop to the library. Next time, everything needs to be on a clipboard or ipad, for portability. The library doesn’t want you leaving valuables around, which is understandable.

Research in the library

I like the kind of microfilm reader that lets you download each page to your own flash drive. At home, this can be enlarged and manipulated better than printed paper or photos. So I started at a regular reader, but planned to utilize the computer-reader whenever I found something. Because the library was unusually quiet during my stay, I managed to use the computer microfilm reader most of the time.


ScanPro 1000

These are the specific problems I decided to explore, and how it went.

Parents of Daniel Lamphere (died 1808), father of Russell
There are some obscure Lamphere records I haven’t seen before:
  • Lanphere/Lanphear family, ca. 1770-1920 Film 3005 Item 13
  • The Lanphere and related families genealogy by Edward Everett Lanphere, Book 929.273 L288L
  • The Bates family in America by Edward E. Lanphere Fiche 6046981
  • Record of the Lanphere family of Rhode Island, Manuscript (pedigree chart) Ped Chart no. 251
  • Probate records index, 1798-1990 [Westerly, Rhode Island] 16 mm film 1892412 & 3
  • Westerly Land Evidence records, 1661-1903
  • Bible records from Connecticut, index cards, He-Ly, film 2879

What I learned: I like to review lesser-known work on the Lampheres. Unfortunately, I didn’t find much work that would be helpful to me at all. One amusing moment was when I sought out the “Pedigree Chart” files, looking for chart number 251 on the Lampheres of Rhode Island.

Pedigree Charts

Pedigree Charts

While there were some intriguing charts in there, the Lamphere chart was, I quickly recognized, pages from Austin’s Genealogical Dictionary of Rhode Island.

Lanphere chart6

The Lamphere Chart

First cha-ching moment: The Westerly deeds were far more helpful. Prior to his death, Daniel Lamphere mortgaged his property to his son Russell, my gggg-granfather. Russell never lived on the property, but he was heavily involved in the subsequent dealings. It took the family about 10 legal transactions, over the next 10 years, to finally dispose of the property. Each transaction was more helpful than the last; listing all heirs by name, mentioning brothers, fathers, wives, widows, current locations, and neighbors. Tantalizingly, some of the neighbors were named “Tefft” which is the surname sometimes ascribed to Daniel’s wife Nancy. I even found names of some Lamphere connections that blog readers have mentioned to me. I’m getting back to them.

These 35 pages of Westerly Deeds will need some careful analysis to determine the facts, but I am hoping those facts will be very helpful. I should probably mention that I had travelled to Westerly Town Hall previously to look at these, but not all volumes were available that day. The nice thing about microfilm is that ALL volumes should have been microfilmed, and be available.

Darling/Aldrich property in Wrentham, Massachusetts

  • Norfolk County Probate films for guardianship and probate
  • Probate records, 1746-1916 [Cumberland, Rhode Island]

What I learned: I found the probate records for Asa Aldrich and I finally realized that his controversial will had produced legal records in TWO states, since Cumberland, Rhode Island and western Wrentham, Massachusetts are adjacent to each other and family members lived on each side of the border. So I saved all those records. I also found guardianship and probate records for Elias Darling, grandfather of Ellis Aldrich Darling, which answered some questions about his life.

The parents of Lucy Arnold

  • Smithfield, Rhode Island Deeds 1731-1874 Grantor index film 959536, Grantee index film 959543
  • Lincoln Probate records, 1733-1917 (Lincoln, Rhode Island) Thomas Arnold d. Aug, 1817 film 959529
  • Microfilm of records in James Arnold’s family notes – town notes collection at the Knight Memorial Library, Providence, Rhode Island film 1839290 Item 4

What I learned: I have a continuing question in my mind about why the famed Rhode Island genealogist, James Arnold, didn’t leave a volume behind about the Arnolds. I once saw an ad that claimed he was researching such a work. I knew some of his papers are housed in the archives at a local Providence library branch. I was happy with the chance to easily see some of them on microfilm, and they were interesting, but didn’t relate to the Arnolds. Oh well.

The Arnold book [Benson, Richard H. The Arnold Family of Smithfield, Rhode Island. Boston: Newbury Street Press, 2009] has helped me tentatively identify Lucy Arnold. I would like to learn as much as possible to help me confirm that. Unfortunately, I still have not found a probate record for her father. But in the many, many deeds I found for her father, there is a great deal of information, still to be completely analyzed.

Second cha-ching moment: One set of clues involves the identity of Lucy’s mother, who is possibly a Smith. I found several deeds relating to a certain Smith couple (a physician and his wife) and the last one, interestingly, says that the woman is now a widow, old and inform, and is transacting some kind of real estate deal with Thomas Arnold. I’m hoping that deed will help me find further clues that actually prove who Thomas’ wife, Rachel, is. It would be nice to prove something that wasn’t known in the NEHGS publication! I am also hoping that something about these deeds helps me determine my more immediate question about proving a link between Lucy and these parents that goes beyond name and town.

Thomas Arnold

Thomas Arnold

Marriage of Mercy Ballou/Nathan Aldrich and birth of her daughter Nancy Ann Aldrich

  • Vital records, 1734-1858 [Cumberland, Rhode Island] film 955486
  • Marriages, v. 1-3 (1746-1895) film 955487
  • his and her fathers’ property, Plan of the Town of Cumberland (Map) film 955497
  • Richard Ballou will, Cumberland Probate records, 1746-1916 Probate records Vol. 6-10 1784-1815 Film 955491

What I learned: The abstract of Richard Ballou’s will, that I’ve seen, was correct. He does not name his heirs by name, just groups them as “my heirs.” So that gave me no clues about the later life of my ggggg-grandmother Mercy Ballou. There was nothing in here that helped, and the map was badly photographed, so was no better than my own imperfect photos of an old Cumberland property map I made at the Rhode Island Historical Society.

My reaction overall

  • I should really be using these films more, through rental at my local Family History Center (now called FamilySearch Centers). I copied a number of index pages for my family names to help me order microfilm in the future, if needed.
  • They have a crazy amount of microfilm there.

    One of many many aisles of microfilm

    One of many many aisles of microfilm

  • I should keep more careful track of books and microfilms as they are released on the web at FamilySearch.org.
  • As I kept seeing so many people sitting for hours at the computers, I wondered at so many going to the trouble to visit just to use free access to various genealogy web sites. Then I tried, on a whim, looking for records of my gg-grandmother Catherine Young, born in Surrey, England. An 1841 British Census record came up, from a site I have never paid for, and then I really got it. It’s nice not having your search limited by subscriptions. No one wants to subscribe to everything.
  • All the records I found need to be carefully abstracted and analyzed. For instance, I need to eliminate deeds that refer to others with the same name.
  • Three days at the FHL is worth several months of what I’m doing at home. As more materials are moved to the web, that is bound to change.

Thanks to Randy Seaver for making me aware of the Family History At A Glance – Family History Library Research booklet, which was helpful. I would also suggest people refer to the FHL website to plan a visit.

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Over the last few years I have made a lot of progress on tracing my mother’s family.   Over the next year or two I hope to do some research on ten problems I’ve identified.  I am recording them here, and I will provide links, in the future, to any postings I do about each one.

What surprised me about this list is the huge range of skills and strategies that I would need to pursue these questions.  Searching in accessible resources and repositories has helped, but not solved these problems.  This is where research really begins. None of these are easy, but working on them will be a real education.

1. Jessie Ruth (McLeod) Murdock, 1861 – 1936

Jessie Ruth McLeod with husband Louis Murdock

Jessie Ruth McLeod was born March 10, 1861 in Pictou, Nova Scotia.  She is my great great grandmother along the all-female line.  Her marriage certificate lists her parents as William and Rachel McLeod.  She arrived in the U.S. around 1881.  There is no evidence of her coming with close family, but it’s hard to believe she came without family or friends at all.   Her subsequent life I know all about, but this is all I have of her family origins.  I have only one possible match in the Canadian census, and the only other clue is that her eventual father in law, William Murdock, had also come from Pictou, much earlier.

  • Skills needed:  Make timeline for her, try once again to learn more about her father in law’s Pictou  family, and explore naturalization records in Massachusetts.  Re-explore family records for clues.

2. Catherine (Youngs Bennett Baldwin) Ross, 1835 – 1907

Worcester Daily Spy, 03 May 1894. Catherine and third husband, Hiram Ross, lost their house in a fire in Sterling, Mass.

Another great-great-grandmother, Catherine Youngs, is the kind of mystery woman a person could chase for decades.  Born in Surrey, England, perhaps on 4 Jul 1835, Catherine arrived in the U.S. around 1843.  On one marriage certificate she lists her parents as William and Catherine Youngs.  On another, she lists them as “unknown.”  Three of her children thought her maiden name was Youngs, and one thought it was Spaulding.  She was married three times, to Bennett, Baldwin, and Ross.  After her marriage to Hiram Ross in 1870, I know a great deal about her.  Before that, very little.  Her first home in the U.S. could have been Massachusetts or New York, or someplace else.  If she came with family, I know nothing about them.

  • Skills needed:  Analyze all data reported by her and by others about her, look for other British citizens in Allegany County, New York, explore early British census and vital records,  explore U.S. immigration and naturalization records in Massachusetts and New York, look for the first husband William Bennett using methods appropriate for common name searches, and talk to my mother about the idea that her father could have been wrong about his grandmother’s maiden name being Spaulding.

3. Maria (Shipley) Martin, 1848 – ?

Maria’s daughter Bessie’s marriage announcement fails to mention Maria’s husband, although I know he was alive. — The Milton News/Dorchester Advertiser vol. XII No. 24, 10 Sep 1892

The problem with yet another great great grandmother, Maria Shipley, is almost the opposite problem.  Born in Wolfville, Nova Scotia around 1841, I know a great deal about her Shipley/Innis/Dougherty/Bransby/Munroe ancestors.  She came to the U.S. around 1885 with her husband and children, and at least one sister. But after her daughter’s wedding in 1892 in Milton, Massachusetts, at which time she seems to be separated from her husband, I have no knowledge of her.  So I would like to know more.

  • Skills needed:  Find local newspapers for any town she might have been living in. Pin down locations and circumstances for each relative I know of in Massachusetts, which would be her estranged husband, her six children, her sister, and a niece.

4. Anna Jean (Bennett Gilley) Douglas, 1854 – 1939

Anna Jean in Montreal. Perhaps around 1880?

My grandfather’s aunt Anna Jean Bennett was born in Belmont, New York in 1854 and her parents seem to have divorced, perhaps, soon after.  By 1860 she was living with her mother and stepfather in Belmont, in obscure poverty.  In 1873 she married a Boston druggist, Harrison Gilley.  They divorced at some point and in 1884 she married a Providence attorney, William Wilberforce Douglas, who became a judge and, eventually, Chief Justice of the R.I. Supreme Court.  From 1884 on, I am very familiar with her life.  But other than that first marriage record, I have no idea what happened to her from 1860 to 1884.  The lovely photographic portrait of her above was taken in Montreal during this period.  Her brother was a globe-trotting artist.  Who was her father (named William Bennett)?  I would like to know her story, which I suspect is fascinating.

  • Skills needed: Learn more about Canadian border crossings  for this time period, as well as Montreal resources such as newspapers, employment records, city directories, high schools, art.  Try to find her in the 1870/71 census, and 1880/81, possibly living with her father in the U.S. or Canada, using searches on multiple members of the family, since her father and brother have very common names. Since the first husband was from Boston, use city directories to pin down his locations over many years. Review all later artifacts, documents and photos for additional clues.

5. Hannah (Andrews) Lamphere, 1819? – 1878

Cemetery surrounding the Long Society Meeting House in Preston

Hannah Andrews, my ggg-grandmother, was born in Massachusetts or Connecticut around 1819.  She has a brother Alden and her parents’ names may be Jesse and Sarah Andrews.  She married Russell Lamphere, Jr. in 1838 in Preston, Connecticut.  There were a number of Andrews who moved from northeastern Massachusetts to Preston about 130 years before Hannah was born.  But Hannah may actually have been born in Massachusetts.  Her brother married a girl from Springfield, Mass.  I can find no sign of her parents – I wonder if they died young.

  • Skills needed: do another literature search, analyze known information, learn more about guardianship records just over the border in the central portion of southern Massachusetts and also in Preston.  Explore church records for the church where they married.

6. Daniel Lamphere, 1745? – 1808

Russell Lamphere, late of Westerly, but now residing in Norwich

Daniel Lamphere is the father of my gggg-grandfather Russell Lamphere, Sr.  The detail above from Daniel’s 1808 probate file, about his son Russell, is part of the substantial evidence of the branch back to Daniel.  Daniel, from Westerly, is likely descended somehow from George Lamphere, an original settler of Westerly, R.I.  But there were several Daniel Lampheres in the area at that time and it’s confusing, so, no luck so far.

  • Skills needed: Learning more about all the people surrounding Daniel and his wife Nancy is the strategy I have started and plan to continue.  Track down his Westerly deeds.  Find out where he’s buried. 

7. Lydia (Miner) Lamphere, 1787 – 1849

The Factories at Yantic Falls, Norwich, from “Connecticut Historical Collections” by John Warner Barber, 1836.

Lydia Miner of Norwich, Connecticut, my gggg-grandmother, married Russell Lamphere, Sr. in 1807 in Norwich, CT.  She passed away in Norwich in 1849.  There is some suggestion she may have been born in Rhode Island, most likely just over the border in Westerly, like her husband.  Miners originally settled the nearby southeastern corner of Connecticut.  People familiar with the well-documented Miners/Minors think this problem should be easily solved, but so far, it hasn’t been.  I believe Lydia and her husband were attracted by the growing factories in Norwich, since they lived in the Yantic Falls neighborhood.  Of all of my family, they were among the earliest to abandon farming for industrial life.  It’s possible that she and Russell met as factory hands, or that her father worked in an early factory.

  • Skills needed: Local Yantic Falls history is likely to provide additional clues.   Also, less easily accessed sources of local Westerly and Norwich information such as church  records, town council records, the Connecticut State Library, cemetery records, and still more tracing of each of their children may help.  Analyzing every available fact may bring up other possibilities.  I would like to find where she and Russell are buried.

8. Thomas Arnold, 1733 – 1817

Thomas’ father (Lieut. Thos.) appears in a 1748 Highway District list, a good source to learn who the neighbors are, on page 30 of “History of the Town of Smithfield” by Thomas Steere, 1881.

My ggggggg-grandfather Thomas Arnold comes from a well-documented Smithfield, Rhode Island family.  But of course my branch is not so well documented.  His wife, Rachel, might be a Smith.   That possibility is repeated here and there with no evidence.  I wonder if a concentrated look at deeds or other local records might help me determine Thomas’ association with nearby Smith families.

  • Skills needed: Investigate town records from Smithfield and any deed connected with Thomas (who is not the only Thomas Arnold in that area).  Continue to research each of the children.

9. Mercy (Ballou) Aldrich, 1778 – ?

1803 Divorce granted to Mercy Ballou by the R.I. Supreme Court

Working on Thomas Arnold, and local deeds, might help me figure out whatever happened to his granddaughter, my ggggg-grandmother Mercy Ballou, who divorced Nathan Aldrich in 1803. I have no knowledge of her life after that, but I would like to know what happened to her.  Her former husband, and his second wife, sold property to her father after the divorce, and I believe they moved up the road to Wrentham, Mass after that. I am trying to pin down her father Richard Ballou’s property to find a location she may have returned to after her divorce.

  • Skills needed: There are numerous small family cemeteries in Smithfield.  I wonder if she could have been buried there.  Her father’s 1824 will only mentions his wife and “lawful heirs”, no specifics.  Knowing far more about her siblings might help.  

10. Russell R. Lamphere, 1818 – 1898

After leaving Alabama in the mid-1870′s, Russell ended up using his metalworking skills at the Oriental Mills, in Providence. This is the building (Union Paper) as it appears today.

Of all the details of my ggg-grandfather Russell Lamphere‘s life that I don’t know, one thing that I am most curious about is his relationship with Connecticut Congressman John Turner Wait.  Congressman Wait submitted a war reparations bill for Russell Lamphere three times in the 1880′s.  What happened in Alabama that would have justified reparations, and why were they submitted by a Connecticut Congressman even though Russell and his family had moved from Alabama to Rhode Island?  There is nothing in Congressman Wait’s rather illustrious family history that suggests a connection to either Russell’s wife or mother, and yet I suspect there is a connection, or at the very least, perhaps Mr. Wait left some papers.

  • I am also learning a lot more about Tuscaloosa, Alabama during the Civil War.  A kind reader approached NARA in Washington DC about any files connected to Russell’s war claims.  Staff did some substantial searching; it wasn’t perfunctory.  So I feel fairly confident there is nothing to be found there.  I need to move on.  I have a half-formed idea that studying Congressman Wait’s complete genealogy will reveal some answers to my own.

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