Friday, November 23, 2007

Western Massachusetts brick walls

Ah, the joy of brick walls! Of course, the fun part is smashing them down. Here is one that has plagued me for a long time now:

Esther, the wife of Edward Curtis.

Esther was born about 1748.

She was married about 1780 to Edward Curtis

Edward was born 4 May 1736 in Dudley, MA to Francis Curtis and Bethia Robinson. He was married 2 times prior - first to Lucy Chamberlin in 1770 in Dudley. Their son, Edward, was born in Dudley in 1771. Lucy's date and place of death are not known.

He was then married to a woman named Thankful, approximately 1775. Their children were born in Monson, MA - a son, Francis in 1777, and a daughter, Thankful in 1779. The wife Thankful might have died around 1779 or so.

THEN there is Esther, my ancestor. They possibly married around 1780, and my best guess is Monson, MA, as their children were born there as follows:

1. Lucy, b. 1782, married Smith Arnold in 1801 in Dudley, died 1856 in Belchertown

2. Penuel, b. 1784, married Esther Pierce in 1809 in Hopkinton, died after 1820 census (he had 3 children at least - a son Davis, born 1810 in Dudley, and another male and female child based on the 1820 census)

3. Esther May, born 1786 in Monson, married John Stone in 1810 in Dudley, had many children (my ancestor is a daughter, Sarah Emerson Stone), and died in 1860 in Thompson, CT (?).

Now, Lucy's death record does not give a place of birth for her mother; I can't find Penuel after 1820, though I have tried; and I have requested Esther May (Curtis) Stone's death certificate from the Town of Thompson (I hope they have it; a search of their records on microfilm didn't reveal her or her husband's deaths).

I've looked at different factors, like the names Penuel and Davis both being unusual first names, and perhaps working as last names; also, the granddaughter Sarah Emerson Stone - Emerson tends to be a last name. Since there are no Emersons on the father's side, I wonder if there is on the mother's side.

I've considered Esther as an Esther Penuel (Pennel, Pennell, Penel, etc.), an Esther Davis, and an Esther Emerson. However, Monson Vital Records are on microfilm and a pain to read through. But I think I will need to order the microfilm again to see what I find.

However, I first want to purchase the Corbin Collection, volume 2 on CD, as it includes records of Monson, Massachusetts. I have collected many of the Massachusetts Vital Records CDs (I need only Essex County), so I'd like to begin collecting others. They simplify searching immensely.

But there is nothing more satisfying than cranking through microfilm and finding answers in the semi-dark LDS. :-) If anyone can answer the question of Esther's surname, I would be most grateful. But finding the answer on your own is even better!

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

The blogeth moveth slowly...

Because I am ever so busy. Besides my life in general (the UU, the coven, my writing, homeschooling, motherhood), I am deeply immersed in verifying my husband's Bartlett line.

Gathering evidence in this instance may be a toughie, because it seems that Burrillville, Rhode Island records in Arnold's Rhode Island VRs are seriously lacking with regards to births. That does not necessarily mean the town doesn't have them; it just means that I may have to puruse a more involved path to confirm this lineage.

Fortunately, the task of the Mayflower Society and Bartlett Society historian is to be of assistance by giving suggestions and pointing potential members in the right direction. And even as a genealogist who is fairly cetain of what she is doing and how to do it, I would rather have a second pair of eyes (or even a third!) and a fellow experienced researcher to point out any potential problems.

This line encounters problems where Nathan Taft married Sarah "Sally" Kempton. There were "no known issue", but this is because they basically disappered from Uxbridge, MA and settled in Burrillville, RI. Worcester County deeds confirm this relocation.

Also, Nathan Taft married a second time to a woman named Elizabeth fairly soon after Sarah's death. The supposed daughter of Sarah and Nathan is Rizpah Taft, who married Eseck Darling.

Rizpah and Eseck (Ezek) had a son, Albert H. Darling, about 1840. There IS an Albert Darling born in 1842 in Rhode Island, but he is a son of Timothy and Pattey. However, if you look at the 1850 census, you will find Albert Darling, a son of Timothy and Patty, AND a different Albert H. Darling in Burrillville, son of Eseck and Rizpah.

Basically, I need to obtain the necessary vitals and where those fail to establish the connection (particularly early vital that did not necessarily list parents, especially mothers' names or maiden names), I will need to turn to probate and deeds, and work my way from there.

It is not incredibly time-consuming to mail away for vital records, but it can be if I must go through deeds and probate. The search continues!