30 November 2010

Lots of Marriage Records: John Sweet & Judith Payson

Great-great-great-grandparents Norton Bates and Betsey Sweet have caused me genealogical problems for all the years I've been working on genealogy.  First, it took several years to figure out who Norton's parents were: Moses Bates & Ruth Shaw. Sorting BATES in New England is not easy, but now I have all of his lines back for at least 3 more generations and some for many more.

Betsey Sweet is still a problem.  I think of her not so much as a brick wall but more like a climbing wall with footholds and handholds out of reach and me with no safely line....  I've been collecting SWEETs for many years, studying families and hoping for possibilities, while eliminating most of them.  Recent additions to the familysearch.org databases gave me a new location for Betsey's possible parents: Adams, Berkshire, Massachusetts.

CAUTIONARY WARNING: I am NOT saying that the following couple are the parents of my Betsey Sweet.  They are simply one more lead that I am currently exploring.

From the Massachusetts Marriages, 1695-1910 database:
This looks like a very good lead, given Betsey's death record listing parents' names John & Judith Sweet and a calculated birthdate of about 1794.  Last weekend, I traveled to the newly remodeled Los Angeles Family History Library (yes, they've changed names again) and got to see the source film, FHL# 760,652.  Sure enough, there where it was supposed to be on p. 23 was entry #124:
But, it's not quite as advertised: it says "intended," not "married," and is the only entry on that page without a notation of when a certificate was given.  I was very sad to see that I did not have a solid marriage record here, but I kept reading the film, mostly because it was such easy reading.  I was not hopeful since the familysearch.org search function had not turned up any other records. Then, just a few pages later, I found this one:
 Aha! Over two years later, they again made their intentions AND got a certificate another month later!  The difference in her name is not a deal breaker; it just gives me additional names to watch.  But, now I'll need to watch for issues around Betsey's birthdate in relation to the marriage of her parents.

I kept on reading, hoping to see some children for the couple.   There were some children listed pages later for other families, but none for any Sweet family nor Payson family.  But then, the format of the document changed again and it went back to some marriage records where I found this one:
Aha! Aha!  And 'they' thought they could fool me!  This entry sure makes it look as though this couple actually married on 4 September 1796.  These three entries were the only SWEET or PAYSON names I saw on the whole film.  There weren't even any of either name among the recorded earmarks!

I still can't link this couple to my Betsey Sweet with any confidence, but they are the best candidate now and the best candidates I have ever had.

I'm sharing this research to show that the familysearch.org databases are not perfect.  I tried again today to form a search that turned up either the second or third entry in the online index.  After quite a bit of effort and knowing the records are indeed on the film, I was able to find my second record:
Again, it's indexed as a marriage rather than intentions.
And, finally, I was able to force the third one to show up in a search:
Note that it was indexed as 'Tason' rather than 'Pason,' an understandable indexing interpretation if one had not been reading pages of that handwriting and looking at how known Ps & Ts compared.

This all showed me again in just one day that I must always, always go to actual sources.  This experience also reinforced the idea that just because a search in an online database doesn't turn up the people I'm looking for, it doesn't mean that they aren't there!

Births, Marriages, and Intentions of Marriage, ca. 1766-1847 [Adams, Massachusetts].  FHL # 760,652.
https://beta.familysearch.org ; database: Massachusetts Marriages, 1695-1910.

Digital photos of the microfilm images off the microfilm reader by MHD.

29 November 2010

A New Celebrity Cousin!

I admit it's interesting to me to find a distant relative is a celebrity or historical figure, but I don't go looking for them.  I've often thought that I'd much rather be related to a professional or serious genealogist!  If only Steve Danko had a Silesian Hegwer in his Polish lines....  At least I've got Pauline Litton in my Carr line, as I've written previously, and I'm very proud of that!

But wait, today there is news:  Randy Seaver of Genea-Musings and I are cousins! I'm so excited!  Alright, it's only 8th cousins, but that's something!  

I just saw Seaver's recent post  on his Peirce Surname.  We share 7th great-grandparents George Stearns and Hannah Sanderson of my New England Porter line.  I am not totally surprised, though, since I've been reading his series of surname lines and I had seen several names that I knew were neighbors of several of my great-greats. I saw him last year at Jamboree but didn't talk with him; if he comes this year, I'll be sure to introduce myself!

06 November 2010

Something Old, Something New

Something New
I hope this is not a let down after all the talk about changing templates, but here it is!  My goals were to get to play around with the design options in Blogger and to have a new & more attractive appearance to GreatGreats. 

Something Old
I'm still reading/analyzing the microfilm version of the Bishop's Transcripts for Helperthorpe and Weaverthorpe in East Yorkshire.  As I've already posted, I've found some solid sources for baptisms and marriages for direct ancestors for whom I previously only had dates obtained from other researchers.  I've also found lots of names & dates for which I need to do some more analysis before I write about it here or accept it as something to add to my "proven" lines.

While studying this microfilm, I've been re-reading some of my reference books on genealogy in English records.  One book in particular has been very helpful:
Genealogical Research in England and Wales, Vol. I by Gardner & Smith.  My copy is from 1956.  [Whoa, stop the presses: This is younger than I am...how can I call it old?!]

I've especially found Chapter 13: Bishop's Transcripts and Their Value helpful with this film.  In a very thorough discussion of the differences between the transcripts and the parish records, the authors emphasized the importance of seeing both sets of records wherever possible:
There are cases on record where the Bishop's Transcripts list some entries not recorded in the parish registers.  One may surmise that the transcript was made, not from the parish register but from some day-by-day account.  The differences between the register and the transcript may have occurred at the time the register was copied from the day book, and the transcript was also copied up at the same time with variations occurring in the copying of the details.  Researchers should be aware of these possibilities. The Ideal method of research is to search both the registers and the transcripts if such is feasible and not too expensive. [p. 197]
I have found a film reference for Weaverthorpe parish records and I will order that film.  It will be interesting to see what differences exist between the records in this one small town. 

Older books can be very useful, especially when I am lucky enough to find them at at used bookstore for a very, very good price.  No trip to the Family History Library in Salt Lake City is complete without walking over to visit Sam Weller's Books, which is where I found this book (and also Vol 3 on a later trip).

Changing a blog's design can be just as much, if not more, fun than shopping for a new outfit with coordinating shoes!

David E. Gardner & Frank Smith. Genealogical Research in England and Wales, Vol. I.  Salt Lake City: Bookcraft Publishers, 1956. 

I have no connection with Sam Weller's Books and receive no special consideration from them.  I just like their used books department and, given the location, it's pretty likely to always have a good selection of used genealogy books!