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Sunday, August 30, 2015

A "T CHART" FOR CALEB COBURN REVISITED PT2

((Before I do the 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks for Caleb Coburn, I thought I'd repost
three posts from four years ago I did as part of an exercise we did in the Genealogists
in Second Life group four years ago. Afterward I'll discuss what I've found recently
and revise my Tchart for him. Here's part 2, which tells more about my problems
researching Caleb))

As I said previously, I don't know a heck of a lot about Caleb Coburn. Well,
I do know a bit more than some people know about some of their ancestors.
I found his DOB on the Early Vital Records of Massachusetts website which
contains images from the famous "Tan Books" transcriptions of the town
records. Interestingly, there appears to have been some damage to the
record because the transcription reads "(---)leb" .

There's a gap between that first fact and the second, the birth of Caleb's son
Moses Coburn in Dracut, Ma. in 1765. That's because there's apparently
no record of the name of Caleb's wife. Now I'm well aware that not everything
can be found online and there are a lot of records that can be found only at
town halls and courthouses. But even in the age before computers there were
other researchers who had no luck discovering the identity of Caleb Coburn's
wife and Moses' Coburn's mother.  Last year I blogged about how the co-authors 
of "Genealogy of the Descendants of Edward Colburn/Coburn"  dealt with
it almost a century ago in 1913. They simply wrote:

"Caleb Coburn(Moses 3 Joseph2 Edward1) was born in Dracut December
12, 1738; he married ________ ____________; they dwelt at Tyngsboro."

(p48)

But looking at the T chart I did some figuring. Caleb would have been 26 or 27
years old when Moses was born. I guessed Caleb would have been 16 years old
or older when he married the mystery wife, so that would mean that the marriage
would have taken place sometime between 1755 and 1765.

In his book Val Greenwood talks about the importance of knowing the genealogy
of places(p61) because the boundaries of early American towns and counties
shifted so much which would effect where records might be kept at different
times. Tyngsborough is a perfect example of this. It used to be part of the
town of  Dunstable but split off as a separate area in 1789 before becoming
an actual town in 1809. Also, in colonial times in Massachusetts it was not
unusual for a person's birth or marriage to be recorded not only in the town
they were born in but also in the town their parents were born, which in this
case would still have been Dracut. I'd already checked the records at Early
Vital Records of Massachusetts for Dracut, Dunstable and Tyngsborough for
any mention of Caleb's marriage. I also checked for the record of Moses
Coburn's birth in hopes it would list the name of his mother but that didn't
pan out either.

I'll talk about what the Censuses of 1790, 1800, and 1810 told me next 
in part 3 here

Saturday, August 29, 2015

A "T CHART" FOR CALEB COBURN REVISITED PT1

((Before I do the 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks for Caleb Coburn, I thought I'd repost
three posts from four years ago I did as part of an exercise we did in the Genealogists
in Second Life group four years ago. Afterward I'll discuss what I've found recently
and revise my Tchart for him.))


The Genealogists in Second Life have started a Just Genealogy Book Club  and
we're working through  Val D. Greenwood's  The Researcher's Guide to
American Genealogy, 3rd Edition (Genealogical Publishing Co. 2000) and I'm
finding it very informative. This past week we covered the chapters on
"Analyzing Pedigree and the Place" and "Evaluation of Evidence"(chapters
4 & 5). In the section on Pedigree Analysis Mr Greenwood suggested using
what he calls a "Tchart". Basically you draw a line down the center of the
piece of paper and one side label "What do I already know" and "What does
this suggest?"  I decided I'd like to try that out.

I chose 5x greatgrandfather Caleb Coburn as my guinea pig.(Forgive me,
Grandpa Caleb!). Then I wasted an hour or so hunting around for a two column
template I could use on one of my word processor programs. When that
failed, I tried making one from scratch which wasted more time. Finally I gave
up and went back to basics, pen and paper. So be warned: this isn't the
prettiest graphic you'll ever see:

I chose Caleb because I hadn't found a death date for him nor have I ever found
the name of his wife. I printed his name at the top of the page and included all
the various spellings I've encountered for Coburn, and then started listing on the
left side of the page what I already knew : his birth in Dracut, Ma on 12 Dec 1738,
the birth of his son Moses in Tyngsborough,  Ma in 1765  and where he was
enumerated on the 1790, 1800, and 1810 Federal Census. There was also a
Caleb Coburn enumerated on the 1820 Fishersfield Nh Federal Census but I
had questions about that one.(which may account for my mangling the name of the
town in my list)

And of course, he died,  (Unless Caleb was an immortal vampire or alien)  but
I'd found no date or place for that as of yet.

So, what did that all this suggest? As you can see, initially, not a heck of lot. But
we'll get to that next post,

Friday, August 28, 2015

FINDMYPAST FRIDAY COLLECTIONS RELEASES FOR 28 AUGUST 2015

 Here's this week's Findmypast Friday announcement of recently added records:
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This week, we're bringing you over 476,000 new records and newspaper articles including:

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Wednesday, August 26, 2015

52 ANCESTORS IN 52 WEEKS 2015 WEEK 31: MOSES COBURN 1702-1742 PT2

As I said in my last post, Moses Coburn had died without a will, but there was a Probate File.
I had some questions I hoped the file would answer:

-What had he done for a living? The Coburn Genealogy had given no information.
-How big an estate did he leave?
-How many of his seven children were alive when he died, and how was the estate divided
among the heirs?

I found the images for the Probate File on AmericanAncestors.org. They were out of order
but fourteen images in I found the first page of the inventory of the "real estate of Mr. Moses
Coburn, Late of Dracut in ye county of Middlesex, yeoman, deceasd":



Middlesex County, MA: Probate File Papers, 1648-1871.Online database. AmericanAncestors.org. New England Historic Genealogical Society, 2014. (From records supplied by the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court Archives.)



The first item concerns Moses'  "Homestead Farme" which turned out to be "about twenty eight acres", bordered on the west by the Merrimack River on on the other sides by neighbors that included Coburn relatives. The farm included a barn, a "dwelling house" and a "Corn House" and was valued at 750 pounds. But what astonished me was that there were four more pages of other plots of land Moses owned in the area. In the end Moses' estate, including the livestock and farming implements, came to over 1383 pounds.

The final settlement of the estate wasn't made until 1758, at which time the eldest son, Moses Jr. received the major part of what was left after the estate debts were settled and a third was given to the widow Deborah. The second son, my ancestor Caleb Coburn, received 19 acres of land in the neighboring town of Dunstable as his share. At the end of the file is a document confirming their inheritances, but also containing the following order, for Moses Jr. and Caleb:

'to pay his Brother Abiel Coburn & to his sisters Phebe, Deborah, & Jerusha (children of the sd intestate)each fourteen pounds four shillings & four pence. one farthing; and to his sister Mary (another daughter of the said intestate) in part of her portion, the sum of thirteen pounds, fifteen shillings, & four pence half penny;

And I order the said assigneee Caleb to pay to said Mary (to complete her share) eight shillings and eleven pence, three farthings.



Middlesex County, MA: Probate File Papers, 1648-1871.Online database. AmericanAncestors.org. New England Historic Genealogical Society, 2014. (From records supplied by the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court Archives.)


The following page contains the signatures of all the family members agreeing to the terms of the settlement. By now, they were all grown and in their twenties.



Middlesex County, MA: Probate File Papers, 1648-1871.Online database. AmericanAncestors.org. New England Historic Genealogical Society, 2014. (From records supplied by the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court Archives.)

I'm guessing that after Deborah Wright remarried the children were brought up by her and
her husband Deacon Edward Coburn. I 'm not surprised the girls received small amounts of cash as their share, but I wonder why Abiel, the youngest son, didn't receive any land. Could he have been left an inheritance by his stepfather Edward? I'll have to see if I can find out!

Monday, August 24, 2015

52 ANCESTORS IN 52 WEEKS 2015 WEEK 31: MOSES COBURN 1702-1742

Continuing with my Coburn family ancestors, the subject for Week 31 of the 52 Ancestors in
52 Weeks Challenge is my 6x great grandfather Moses Coburn.

Moses is the first in the family to be a bit of a mystery. There's not much about him in the Colburne genealogy, just the vital records for his birth, marriage and death, and the names and dates for his children. What is interesting is he is the first ancestor I had encountered who had married a stepsister.

Here's what I found in Genealogy of the Descendants of Edward Colburn/Coburn by George A. Gordon and Silas R Coburn:

Moses(2) Coburn (Joseph2, Edward1) was born in Dracut on Jan.1, 1702, and died June 5, 1742;
married July 7, 1730, dau.of Joseph and Deborah (Stevens)Wright who was born 1702. The
widow married Deacon Edward Coburn; published Nov.7, 1744
Children:
i. Phebe, b. April 12, 1731
ii. Deborah, b.Dec.7, 1733; d.Oct 13, 1823; m. William Frye of Andover, Nov.17, 1769.
iii. Moses, b.July 13, 1735
iv. Moses, b. June 7, 1732; d. Jan.22. 1733.
v. Jerusha, b.Feb. 27, 1736; m. Abram Tyler.
vi. Caleb, b.12 Dec 1738.
vii.Mary, b.1740.
viii. Abiel, b.Dec. 9, 1742.  


pp27-28
Genealogy of the Descendants of Edward Colburn/Coburn  privately printed by Walter
Coburn, Lowell, Ma. 1913.

There's no mention of cause of death or place of death. It must have been for Deborah, widowed
after only ten years marriage. with possibly as many as seven young children,the youngest of whom
had been born after Moses' death. To make matters worse, Moses had died intestate.

I'll discuss his probate file in the next post in the series. 

Saturday, August 22, 2015

FINDMYPAST FRIDAY COLLECTIONS RELEASES FOR 21AUGUST 2015

Oops. I'm a day late because of after-birthday ennui! Here's this week's Findmypast Friday announcement of recently added records:

" We're bringing you a bonanza of British records for Findmypast Friday this week. Our new probate calendars, parish records and newspaper articles will give you plenty to delve into over the weekend...


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 Discover more about your ancestors with brand new records every week on Findmypast Friday.

 The Findmypast team"

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I need to check my database and see which of my English ancestors came from Hertfordshire!


Full disclosure: I am a member of the Findmypast Ambassador Program which includes a
complimentary one year world subscription to Findmypast and a Findmypast First membership.

Monday, August 17, 2015

52 ANCESTORS IN 52 WEEKS 2015 WEEK 30: JOSEPH COBURN PT2

In this modern age road construction is a fairly simple thing. The surveyors lay out the route,
and if it runs across private land the owner is compensated, or the land is taken by eminent
domain. But back in colonial New England it wasn't as simple as that. Back then, if the road
ran through private property, sometimes the property owner might decide to block the road
because he didn't want traffic coming across his land. Such was the case in 1710 in Dracut, Ma.
when a man named Jonathan Howard bought land that included a road that had been in use
for forty years but which he now wanted to close.

The citizens of Dracut appealed to the colonial government in Boston, and my 7x great
grandfather Joseph Colburn and his brother Daniel sent the following petition to the General
Court  recorded by Silas Roger Coburn in his History of Dracut. All spellings are as recorded
by the transcriber.

"This appears to have been satisfactory to the families of the Coburns and Varnums for several years, but in 1710 the owner of the land on the south side of the river attempted to close the road. The settlers in Dracut desiring only their rights petitioned the General Court as follows: "To the Honord Court of ye Generil sessions of the peace Holden by her Majestyes Justices in & for ye County of Mddlx June ye 13 1710 at Concord. The petition of severil of the Inhabitants of the Plantations called Draucutt scituat upon the Northerly side of Merrimack river Humbly sheweth. That where as your petitioners as also our predecessors of ye fore cited place have for now fourty yeares peacebly enjoyed the free use of away to travil & go to Chelmsford over merimuck river at ye landing place against ye now dwelling house of Joseph Coleburn the wch way went from sd landing place cross ye farme wch did formerly belong to major Hinchman, the wch way as we apprehend is in the same place where it was layd out by order of the selectmen of Chelmsford and is more convenient upon several accounts then any other place fer landing our boat both from winds and Ice in the season of ye year as also that place is more convenient to defend the Boat from ye Enemies if assaulted there being no other house fortyfied at ye river but sd Colburns there being nine or ten houses near thereto all which desire the way may be there being the principle part of sd plantation. But there is now one Jonathan Howard a cuccussor upon the sd farm of major Hinchman doth stop us in our passing in sd way by fencing us from going there when we did apprehend was our right to go. And therefore we your poor petitioners Humbly beg and desire of this Honored Court to consider our Condition and order something to be done to effect."

Daniell Coburn Joseph Coburn in the name of the rest"

The answer to the petition was favorable as a brief report of the court will show: "July ye 30 1710 The Court Considering the danger of laying sd way any where else Especially in time of War Order that the sd way be Continued and used as it is now Till this Court Shall See Cause to alter the same and sd Dracut men to pay costs.
"-p241-242

History of Dracut, Massachusetts: Called by the Indians Augumtoocooke and Before Incorporation, the Wildernesse North of the Merrimac. First Permanment Settlement in 1669 and Incorporated as a Town in 1701,  Press of the Courier-Citizen Company, 1922 - Dracut (Mass.)

In this case, public safety when the colonists were still at war with the French and Indians trumped
the rights of the property owner.

Moses Coburn will be the subject of the next post in the 52 Ancestors series.