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.

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