My blog has been changed to make it more appealing for those who have New England ancestors and want to see the area through photos. Things I’ll include are typical white New England churches, libraries showing their genealogical collection, historical societies, cemeteries, war memorials, in general, anything to do with history.

For four years I’ve blogged mostly about my personal genealogy in New England (Connecticut, Massachusetts, Vermont, and New Hampshire), New York, New Jersey, Michigan, Illinois, Wisconsin, and the Eastern Townships of Quebec, Canada. I still will, can’t forget my own roots.

Please check out the labels on the right side for articles. The header tabs at the top are a work in progress.

Friday, January 9, 2015

Somebody Answered my Plea to Help Solve A Brick Wall, and I Gladly Paid Him!

One nice thing about asking for help, even if you have to pay for it, is it sure saves a lot of time. And, in my case, I got more than I bargained for when John, a professional genealogist and historian responded to my request to help solve one of my top ten brick walls, see HERE. His first email to me stated, "I have found additional records for her (Elizabeth) (birth and baptism) and her parents, including her mother's identity," I knew instantly I wanted to learn more. He went over and above what I asked for by finding an additional three generations of ancestors. I believe he sent me seven deeds and so much more information! Not bad for a cold March weekend in 2014.

When I asked if he felt he had the right parents, his reply, "Yes, I feel I have the parents. To start, I am attaching a deed from Essex County Registry of Deeds, Vol. 98, p. 133. It is for 30 acres being sold in March 1748. No buildings were mentioned on the lot, but William was listed as a yeoman. Note that the land is on the Saugus River; it would have been in current Lynnfield (then part of Lynn), near current Wakefield line (then part of Reading). Noter also references to the lot bordering lands of Benjamin Wiley and land of a widow Wiley. Finally, William Johnson's wife, Elizabeth Johnson, also signs, acknowledging that she was giving up any right of dower in the land (this was standard practice), signing with her mark, suggesting that she could not write."

Among things I learned, I want to share with you. He wrote about a single woman using Mrs. before she married, and the usefulness of finding deeds.

"As Elizabeth was listed as "Mrs." when she was married, it was of course quite possible that she was a widow, but we now know that Johnson was her maiden name, and there is no evidence that she married a man named Johnson prior to the Mead marriage. I have seen "Mrs." used in many marriage records of the period, even though the person had not been married prior to the entry, so this was actually not unusual."

"Deeds are not as yet used that much by people doing genealogy, but they are a valuable source that professionals will more often consult. If nothing else, the one I sent yesterday documents that William Johnson's occupation was a yeoman (farmer) and that Elizabeth signed with an "X" (her mark), so she likely could not write. The description places their land on the Saugus River, near a saw mill and adjoining land of Benjamin Wiley. I will be sending some more deeds and add some comments. You may also find them difficult to relate to, but the deeds serve as key evidence for being able to attribute who Elizabeth's parents were [Benjamin and Mary (Nichols) Wiley]."

I highly recommend this professional, and if you would like his name, please write me. I believe he took a personal interest in this case, and just based on the following information I'm sharing I think you'll agree. Obviously, he didn't just find me the parents of Elizabeth.

"I wondered if the Pooles of Reading were connected to you. Fun when different lines end up connecting.

Books I consulted regarding John Wiley and family in Reading included:

Loea Parker Howard. Ancient Redding in Massachusetts Bay Colony [1944], pp. 44-45.
“Sergt. John Wiley was an early settler on land in
the Woodville district of Wakefield. The men of this [44]
family took a deep interest in military affairs and were
officers in all of the early companies. His descendants
settled in Stoneham and Lynnfield, also.”

Lilley Eaton. Genealogical History of the Town of Reading, Mass.(1874), pp. 125-26.
Wiley, John, one of the earliest settlers; lived in "Little World," now
called Woodville. He died probably in 1672. His wife, whose [125]
name was Elizabeth, d. 1662. Chil. : John (perhaps);
Benjamin (perhaps), who m. 1707, Mary Nichols; Elizabeth, b. 1649;
Timothy, b. 1653; Susanna, b. 1655, and m. 1678, John Damon;
Sarah, b. 1658.”

Savage vol. 4, p. 550 only says of John Wiley “Reading 1640, or at least an early sett.”

Curious, I thought I read in Howard that he likely had been from Ipswich. I guess my memory is slipping—I saw something and quickly checked Ipswich VR (finding nothing), but I failed to make a notation. Eaton certainly did more study of the Reading families than I, so he may have had a reason for thinking the most likely candidate for Benjamin’s father was immigrant John. My own instinct would be to look for possibility of Benjamin being a grandson of John.

Deeds are on microfilm at NEHGS, where I used to look them up. Copies are now uploaded in FamilySearch, but they are not as yet searchable. Originals are now at the Massachusetts Archives in Boston. I downloaded a few others if you are interested in some more."

Since this post is longer than I expected, I just posted the descendant, and it may be seen HERE.
Cemetery Stone of my 8th grandfather


Anonymous said...

How wonderful! I look forward to your descendants report. Thank you for your continued generousity in sharing your progress and sources of info.

... said...

3am again... Lol...

Well congrats! I would agree deeds are great resources but I would counter they seem much more difficult to acces than just trotting down to NEGHS because so many "common" folks deeds and documents are stuffed away in court houses etc. One of the good "lessons" though I would draw from this is that there IS a wealth of information out there that still remains untapped, untranscribed etc.

For example the Upper Canada Land Petitions (Archives Canada, free online) contain much more info than just the petitioner. Often they contain dates that locate the petitioner in a particular place, note if there is family, sometimes name other important and "breadcrumb" individuals, and so forth. So, like you said Barbara, I think it's important to follow your "instincts" some days - that's how I stumbled across - after 12 YEARS of looking - proof that my ggggggrandfather Caleb Groat's dad, was indeed Henry of Whitby, Ontario (and Que, and Cambridge, Washington Co. NY).

In an unrelated family member's petition the petitioner was after Caleb Groat's lot. The surveyors, seeking availability and Caleb's right to the land, note that he had gone out of province and that his father Henry Groat had removed as well and believed to have been deceased. Wow. That was cool! And absolutely random.

So happy hunting all! There's gold in dem der deeds!

Barbara Poole said...

Thank you "Anonymous" and Andy for your comments. Andy...get some sleep!

John D. Tew said...

Barbara: Congratulations on this post. I see Randy Seaver at Genea-Musings selected as one of the "Best of the Genea-Blogs" this past week!

Barbara Poole said...

Thank you John. As a matter of fact, I was quite pleased with three mentions I received this week. Each was for a different post! One from Miriam Robbins, Randy and you.

Kendra Schmidt said...

Enjoyed reading your post and your success story. I am definitely interested in contact information for the John, the researcher.
Thanks Kendra Schmidt

Barbara Poole said...

Please email me, you can copy what you just wrote. I'm not sharing his address over the internet. Thanks.