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Archive for the ‘Brown’ Category

About two years ago I posted my top 10 problems and that post actually led to the solution of one of those problems.  So I am trying here, again, and my list today is somewhat different, due to progress made in several areas.

1. Catherine Young (Bennett) (Baldwin) Ross (1832? – 1907).  The first “gap” in my mother’s family tree is for the parents of my gg-grandmother, Catherine Young (Bennett) (Baldwin) Ross, known as “Grandma Ross” to my grandfather.  Grandma Ross took my grandfather in for a while after his mother died and his father was busy with other things.  He knew about her three marriages because he scrawled all the names on the back of this picture – he was descended from her second husband, Edward Baldwin.

Catherine was born in Surrey, England, possibly 04 Jun 1832.  The borders of Surrey were altered around that time, making this extra-difficult.  Her father’s name may be William B and her mother, Catherine (from her death record).  In the 1900 census she gave her immigration year as 1843; the 1905 census says 1840.  Searching English census records, ship passenger lists and American records has turned up a few speculative possibilities but nothing that seems to fit together.  My earliest record for her is an 1860 census record with her second husband at Belmont in western New York; eventually she had four children, William Blackstone Bennett, Anna Jean Bennett, Harriet Elizabeth Baldwin and Miles Edward Baldwin.  I have found no trace of any member of her original family.

My latest research track:

  • try and pin down her elusive first husband, William Bennett, who was born in Massachusetts.  I suspect she was divorced rather than widowed.
  • Keep investigating the idea that her first marriage might have taken place in Massachusetts, and even the divorce could have happened there.  It did not happen in Allegany County, New York.
  • Keep pursuing possible clues from DNA.
Catherine Baldwin, circa 1900 in Providence, RI, in her 60's.

Catherine Baldwin, circa 1900 on Marshall Street, Providence, R.I. around 1900.

2. Sarah Arnold (1776? – 1861?).  Having confirmed my relationship to Sarah’s husband, Jesse Andrews, I now need to move on to determine which part of the large Arnold family in Warwick Sarah’s father, Joseph Arnold, is from.  That name is pulled from Sarah’s 1795 marriage record in Warwick, Rhode Island.  Sarah is, as far as I can tell, not mentioned in The Arnold Memorial or other books published about the Pawtuxet/Warwick Arnolds, which probably means that she was not mentioned in any local birth or probate records (although I continue to check).  A Joseph Arnold is sometimes noted nearby Jesse and Sarah in census records. 

This would be an ideal common-name problem for me to tackle because I have good access to many records. No excuses!

My latest research track:

  • make my own documentation of all possible Joseph Arnolds, using vital, probate and land records in Warwick and East Greenwich.
  • try to pin down any further details of the neighbor Joseph Arnold, including nearby possible grown children.
  • Explore Joseph Arnold more widely in court, military and cemetery records.
  • I do not know the names of most of Sarah’s children, but continue to try and find those names, possibly in Norwich, Connecticut, as hints to her family.
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”. Not every deed has that, of course. That would be too easy.

3. James Lawrence (1807-1882).  My 4x-great grandfather James Lawrence was born in England in 1807, and his father’s name may have been James.  In 1835, he married Ann Shortridge (Shortriggs) in Dorchester, Massachusetts.  The next twenty years found them in North Carolina, Virginia, Georgia, and Connecticut before ending up in Providence by 1860 with several of their almost-grown children.  According to the 1865 census, he was a machinist.  If I could learn more about James’ origins, it might help me to verify my complicated relationship to the Lawrences through DNA testing.

My latest research track:

  • Keep looking for ship passenger records and court naturalization records for James.
  • Other than birthplaces listed by his children years later, I am having trouble pursuing him across the eastern U.S. through the 1830’s – 1850’s, although I do have an 1850 census record for them in Virginia.  Try finding clues from that for further research.
  • Learn more about Dorchester resources such as directories, businesses, and immigrant populations there.
Places fo birth:  England, South Carolina, North Carolina, Connecticut, Rhode Island.  My father was right.  My mother DOES descend from a long line of gypsies.

Places of birth for James’ children, from the 1865 census: England, South Carolina, North Carolina, Connecticut, Rhode Island.

4. Jessie Ruth MacLeod Murdock (1861-1936).  Thanks to a helpful cousin who saw my blog post, I learned about a 1954 local genealogy book written by the nephew of my brick-wall gg-grandmother back in Pictou, Nova Scotia. That was a great moment, but imagine my surprise as I obtained the book and saw her listed as “adopted” – a sentiment I do not believe she shared.  Although I now know more about my gg-grandmother Jessie’s early life in Pictou, Nova Scotia, I continue to know nothing about her mother, Rachel, and her relationship to the people who may have adopted her, William and Mary MacLeod.  Jessie came to the U.S. around 1881, according to the 1900 and 1905 census.  I can find no evidence of her journey or any relatives coming with her.  She married Louis Murdock in 1883, making me wonder if she was related to Louis’ adopted father, William Murdock, also from Pictou.  There are some Rachel’s in the Murdock family.

My latest research track:

  • investigate land and probate records of the Murdocks in Pictou through microfilm at the New England Historic and Genealogical Society library in Boston.
  • see if the name of her third daughter – Jessie Ellen – can be matched with any people from Pictou.
  • naturalization records
The MacLean farm which became the home of William and Mary (MacLean) Murdock, from page 192

The farm in Lorne, Pictou, where Jessie MacLeod spent her teen years, from page 192, The Pioneers and Churches.

5. Lydia Minor (1787-1849). Now that I have solved the Andrews problem, I plan to move one generation back to the Lydia Minor problem.  She married Russell Lamphere in Norwich, Connecticut in May, 1807 “At Preston”, as reported by the announcement in the Norwich Courier. Lydia and Russell had seven boys and seven girls in Norwich Falls, Connecticut.  No vital records for the marriage, the children, or Lydia’s death has been found.  A Norwich Courier notice indicates she died 18 January 1849.

Russell was from Westerly, Rhode Island, and at age 32 in 1808 his father’s probate papers said he was “late of Westerly now residing in Norwich”, however census and town records show him moving between Westerly and Norwich several times.  So the marriage at Preston could be because she was from Preston, or perhaps they were both originally Westerly residents.

Lydia’s 1849 death notice gives her age as 62, making her birth (if true) around 1787.  There was a Lydia Minor born to Jerusha Peabody and Ludowick Minor in nearby Stonington, Connecticut in 1787, however, I am pursuing another person that may be THAT Lydia.

My latest research track:

  • Examine deeds and probate for a potential “Minor” family in Westerly and Preston
  • Look for probate for Lodowick Minor at Stonington.
  • Keep pursuing the possible sister for Lydia, Eliza.
A quote from Lydia's 80 year old son, William, from the Norwich Bulletin, 12 Sep 1898, reminiscing with a friend about his mother.  Sent to me by a kind researcher in Norwich.

A quote from Lydia’s 80 year old son, William, from the Norwich Bulletin, 12 Sep 1898, reminiscing with a friend about his mother. The article later makes it clear both families had 14 children each, in Lydia’s case, 7 boys and 7 girls.  Sent to me by a kind researcher in Norwich.

 6. Maria Shipley Martin (1848? – ?).  Maria or Mariah Shipley Martin, my gg-grandmother, has a fascinating family tree that includes immigrants from Scotland and England who came to Nova Scotia in the 1700’s.  So she is one of those mystery ancestors whose origins are well known, but she disappears from records after 1892, when her daughter got married at her home in Milton, Massachusetts.  I suspect, by that time, she was separated from her husband, but I have never found any further record of her.  Massachusetts was pretty strict about death records so perhaps she had gone with a relative to another state before her death, or perhaps she did, indeed, divorce and remarry.  My family had no knowledge of this branch, so I have found the stories of her children Bessie (my great grandmother), Clara, Hazel and Daisy, but I have found very little about Minnie, May, and John Anderson Martin.

My latest research track:

  • keep looking for a divorce record in several counties.  Look further for a second marriage in Massachusetts.
  • Look for her death record at the NEHGS library in Boston.
  • Try Milton, Mass. city directories.
  • Try naturalization records.
A book of her grandson's sayings and some fabric scraps, put together by Maria's daughters in 1898 after the death of daughter Bessie.

A book of her grandson’s Teddy’s sayings and some fabric scraps, put together by Maria’s daughters in 1898 after the death of daughter Bessie.

7.  Nancy (——-) Lamphere (1752?-1833). Nancy may be a Tefft, but I have no confidence in that so I am open to all names.  She married Daniel Lamphere around 1774 and had six children.  The only records I have for her are her husband’s probate in 1808 (and later), a number of Westerly deeds that she is mentioned in, and the birth records of her children in Westerly. She may have died around 1833.  If she was living next to her son Russell Lamphere in 1810 (perhaps in her third of the house), then apparently she was sometimes called Anne, an obvious variant that I haven’t been using very much.  

My latest research track:

  • Explore middle names that were used by Nancy’s children for their own offspring.
  • Do a thorough review of all the neighbors from early census records, and also those mentioned in the deeds.
  • Look at the spouses of her children for possible connections.
Transcription of Nancy's mark on the 1817 deed to Nathan F. Dixon.  So, Nancy was not able to write her name.

Transcription of Nancy’s mark on the 1817 deed to Nathan F. Dixon. So, Nancy was not able to write her name.

8. Rachel Smith (1734? – ?).   I estimate that my 7th great grandmother Rachel was born around 1735 (based on first child born mid-1750’s), and signed a deed in 1768.  She may have been a Smith.  She married Thomas Arnold around 1754 and they had 5 children that I know of: Lucy, Asa, Catherine, Aaron, and Philadelphia. My most recent clue is that Thomas Arnold purchased some property from John and Mary Smith very early on in Smithfield.  The children ended up in Cumberland, but the story of Thomas and Rachel seems to end around 1775 and although the children stayed in Cumberland, I can find no further trace of Thomas and Rachel – perhaps they died young.  Truly, this one may never be solved which, of course, just seems like a fun challenge.

My latest research track:

  • Pursue the early, local Smiths
  • Keep looking for the exact John and Mary Smith that sold land to Thomas Arnold, following clues in the deed, which I now have.
  • Try looking at town council records for Smithfield.

 

Smithfield records, held in Central Falls, will probably be the best source of Rachel's family.

Smithfield records, held in Central Falls, will probably be the best source of Rachel’s family.

9. James Anderson (1748?-1796).  With the help of some fellow researchers I know so much about my 5x-great grandfather James Anderson of Fells Point, Baltimore, later Chester, Lunenburg County, Nova Scotia.  Usually, knowing this much should have led, long ago, to knowing about his origins, but not so in this case.  His original family and place of birth remain a mystery.

My latest research track:

  • My cousins and I are focusing on DNA at this point.
  • Of the latest clues uncovered here and there, the ones that seem the most realistic are for other, earlier Anderson privateers off the coast of Maryland.  I may be able to explore those clues further in Maryland court records online, or at the Family History Library in Salt Lake City.
  • Think about how to acquire further records which may be held in England.

New York No 759. These are to Certify that Capt James Anderson was by a Majority of Votes regualrly admitted a Member of the New York Marine Society at a Meeting held the 11th day of June A.D. 1781 Given under my hand and the Seal of the Society this 11th day of June - Annoque Domini 1781.  Geo. Fowler Sec. [illegible] President.

New York No 759. These are to Certify that Capt James Anderson was by a Majority of Votes regualrly admitted a Member of the New York Marine Society at a Meeting held the 11th day of June A.D. 1781 Given under my hand and the Seal of the Society this 11th day of June – Annoque Domini 1781. Geo. Fowler Sec. [illegible] President.

10. Nathaniel Brown (1741? – 1798).  The last one is from my neglected line of Haydens/Parmenters, a closely intermarried family in Sudbury, Massachusetts that has not been that difficult to trace.  Nathaniel Brown married Elinor Hayden in 1761 in Sudbury and was “of Framingham” but I know the neighborhood where my ancestors lived was right on the border between Sudbury and Framingham, so he may have been very close by.  Nathaniel and Elinor had 11 children, and he died rather young in 1798.  There is a strong theory that he is the son of Thomas Brown and Abigail Cheney, originally of Cambridge, but no real proof.  And Brown was a common name in early Sudbury so anything is possible.  Deeds and probate have not solved this yet.

My latest research track:

  • Keep looking through probate records for local possible fathers of Nathaniel, to see if they mention him
  • Go through Nathaniel’s earliest land transactions more carefully.  He took over the farm of Elinor’s father, so the transactions are not that revealing.  Could he have been a cousin?  How did he have money for a purchase?
  • Learn more about the early history of Sudbury and the place of the Browns in it.
An early Sudbury house built by the Parmenters, in a line more closely related to Midge's husband than to mine.  Photo by Diane Boumenot.

An early Sudbury house built by the Parmenters.  Photo by Diane Boumenot.

In closing

It’s possible I wrote this so I could choose my next project.  Still not sure which it will be.

The post you are reading is located at:  http://onerhodeislandfamily.com/2014/10/17/my-top-ten-genea-mysteries/

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I am researching the family of my 6th great-grandfather Nathaniel Brown, who was in Framingham in 1761, and spent the remainder of his life in Sudbury, Massachusetts.  This is the first half of the search.  The next time I post about this, I expect to have formed an answer.  What follows is how the search has gone so far.

First, go see Midge

The first thing that I did was to visit the Goodenow Library special collections room in Sudbury, Massachusetts with genea-blogger Midge Frazel of “Granite in My Blood.”  Midge’s husband and I are 5th (?) cousins in the Parmenter line; by coincidence, the Parmenter brothers we are descended from, Elias and Ezra, married girls with the same last name, Eunice and Susannah Brown.  So we share this search.  Midge had located the correct names for Susannah’s parents: Nathaniel Brown and Elinor Hayden.  There was pretty good evidence for the marriage and Elinor’s family tree.  We consulted some books while we were there, including Descendants of Deacon John Parmenter, Proprietor of Sudbury, Massachusetts 1639, published by Pioneering Parmenters of America, 2009.   The question was, who exactly was Nathaniel Brown.

Goodenow Library, Sudbury

Goodenow Library, Sudbury, Fall, 2013

 The Browns

Of course we wondered, could Susannah and Eunice be sisters.  Both are listed as children of Nathaniel and Eunice Brown in the Sudbury “tan book” (Vital Records of Sudbury, Massachusetts to the Year 1850, published by the NEHGS, 1903) in the birth records section, on pages 25 and 27.  In the 1850 federal census, they were apparently living next door to each other in Sudbury (page 82 of 105), both widows, aged 70 and 79. The parents are mentioned in the marriage records for each.  So they certainly seem to be sisters. Coincidentally, I am also descended from a third sister, Abigail,

Brown was a common name in southern New England, so pinning down this Nathaniel Brown was not going to be easy.  Midge found a candidate in Nathaniel Brown of Newton, Massachusetts, son of Thomas Brown and Abigail Cheney.  The obvious things one would try first in the search for evidence – census records, vital records, town histories, cemetery records, newspapers and deeds – were raising more questions than answers.

As I waited around for the time to explore some probate and court records, I took stock of the situation.  I also have some probate microfilm on order.

The things we knew

Nathaniel and Brown and Elinor Hayden were married 29 Dec 1761.

Nathaniel Brown of Framingham and Elanor Hayden of Sudbury were married December 29th ... 1761.-  pr Israel Loring.  From Massachusetts Town and Vital Records, 1620, Wayland marriages p105, on Ancestry.com

Nathaniel Brown of Framingham and Elanor Hayden of Sudbury were married December 29th … 1761.- pr Israel Loring. From Massachusetts Town and Vital Records, 1620-1988, Wayland births, marriages and deaths, p204, on Ancestry.com.  Snip by Midge Frazel.

As best I have determined from the Sudbury town records, Nathaniel and Elinor (Hayden) Brown had the following children:

  • Elinor
  • Jonas
  • Hannah
  • Abigail
  • Susanna
  • Uriah
  • Thadde (us?), no death record found
  • Eunice
  • Thaddeus
  • Joel
  • Nancy

Looking at Elinor‘s family (names matching Elinor and Nathaniel’s children highlighted in green):

  • parents:  Uriah Hayden, Hannah (Jennings) Hayden.   Siblings:  Eunice, Moses, Abigail (2), Hepseba, Ephraim, Susannah, Jonas, Lydia, Uriah

This is a striking case of a mother naming the children after her parents and siblings.

Another solid piece of evidence is the sale of property in Sudbury from the estate of Elinor’s father, Uriah Hayden, to Nathaniel Brown in 1770.  This included 60 acres, a house and barn and seemed to be the farm of Uriah Hayden prior to his death.  The deed was recorded in 1784 in Sudbury, volume 88, pages 141 and 142.  I was startled to see the name “Jonas Brown” in the deed but then recalled it was not recorded until 1784, when Nathaniel’s son was 19. Nathaniel paid Uriah’s sons Ephraim and Uriah, and the widow Hannah a price of 100 pounds.  All the men are recorded as husbandmen (farmers).

This makes it appear that Nathaniel took over the Hayden farm fairly early in his marriage to Elinor.  That sounds like something a person would do if they were a younger son, or didn’t have a father as they reached adulthood.

The questions we ask

Based on what’s here so far, a few possibilities for solving this appear:

  • Who was Thaddeus named for?  and how about Joel and Nancy?
  • Could there be deeds telling more about Nathaniel’s activities in Framingham and Sudbury?
  • Based on a marriage date of 1761, could Nathaniel possibly have participated as a soldier in the Revolutionary War?
  • Could there be a guardianship record for Nathaniel as a child?
  • Death record or probate for Nathaniel?

I wondered if the Newton, Massachusetts family would include a Thaddeus.

  • These are the possible parents of Nathaniel Brown:  Thomas and Abigail (Cheney) Brown. They were both born and married in Cambridge, Massachusetts, and in 1737 Thomas purchased property in Newton from his father, Ebenezer, and the family relocated there.
  • The children of Thomas and Abigail were:  Aaron, Joseph, Thomas, Ebenezer, Abigail, Mary, Susannah, and Nathaniel (youngest).

While a few of the names overlap with Nathaniel and Elinor’s children, there is not a Thaddeus, Joel or Nancy to be found.  So far, I am not coming up with enough evidence that the Nathaniel born to Thomas and Abigail in 1761 was indeed the Nathaniel who married Elinor Hayden.  But the family includes enough matching names, and shows Nathaniel as a youngest son who might not have inherited from his father.  So they are still in the running.

The Brown Garrison House, pictured in Hudson's History of Sudbury Massachusetts, 1889, p. 199.  So far, I have found no link from the early Sudbury Brownes to Nathaniel Brown.

The Brown Garrison House, pictured in Hudson’s History of Sudbury Massachusetts, 1889, p. 199. So far, I have found no link from the early Sudbury Brownes to Nathaniel Brown.

I tried searching for Revolutionary War records, first for Nathaniel Brown and then for a (hypothetical) Thaddeus Brown.  “Nathaniel Brown” appears numerous times in the Massachusetts Soldiers and Sailors books (vol. 2, p. 668) and the entry dated in Sudbury is likely to be him, at least.  But Fold3.com does not show any records that seem likely to be Nathaniel.  Similar searches for Thaddeus Brown show a resident of the town of Harvard in Worcester County, Massachusetts who served in the Revolutionary War and later obtained a pension.  A Thaddeus Brown was born in Cambridge in 1746, son of William, and there were other Thaddeus Browns in eastern Massachusetts as well.  Nothing seems to link to a brother Nathaniel, or a Thaddeus Brown old enough to be Nathaniel’s father.

There is a Middlesex County probate record for Nathaniel Brown of Sudbury in 1798, Case Number 3151.  I have not seen this yet (I have ordered the microfilm from the FamilySearch Center), and for some reason I have not found his death in the Sudbury records.  I cannot find a death record or date for Elinor, either.  Her last child was born in 1786.

Early Massachusetts land records are available (although lacking an electronic index) at FamilySearch.org.  Framingham, Sudbury and Newton are all in Middlesex County so I focused my research there.  Other than the purchase of the Hayden property in 1770, the records I am finding do not seem certainly linked to this Nathaniel Brown.  Surely, there must be one for the sale after his death in 1798.

Next Steps

  • Look for land records from anywhere in Massachusetts that mention Nathaniel Brown among the heirs, selling a father’s property.  That will take a while.  Keep pursing the land records made on his property after his death.
  • Examine the probate records for Nathaniel Brown when the microfilm arrives.
  • Review the microfilm for a 1752 probate record naming a Nathaniel Brown in Cambridge which involves guardianship (when it arrives).  Perhaps Nathaniel lost his family early, and so didn’t think of naming his children for those relatives. The early Middlesex probate index is here on Ancestry.com, or try this download here on FamilySearch.org.
  • Look over the 1790 federal census for Sudbury and nearby towns, looking at the other Browns.
  • Also seek any Thaddeus in Sudbury in the 1790 census.
  • Keep trying to find any property Nathaniel might have owned in Framingham before his marriage (so far not finding any).
  • Learn more about the Newton couple, Thomas and Abigail Brown.  Look for a probate record for Thomas Brown of Newton; it may mention a location for son Nathaniel. If that fails, try to pursue the life of the Nathaniel Brown born to Thomas and Abigail of Newton – see if he can be eliminated.
  • Talk to Midge again.

The post you are reading is located at:  http://onerhodeislandfamily.com/2014/04/06/the-things-we-know/

An early Sudbury house built by the Parmenters, in a line more closely related to Midge's husband than to mine.  Photo by Diane Boumenot.

An early Sudbury house built by the Parmenters, in a line more closely related to Midge’s husband than to mine. Photo by Diane Boumenot.

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