Updates to the Wyeth Family Project

One of my current projects is to document the Wyeth family of New England through the 1600s to the 1900s. The progenitor of the family was Nicholas Wyeth, born in England and emigrated to Cambridge, Middlesex County, Massachusetts during the early part of the Great Migration. He died in 1680. He was my 10th great-grandfather.

The genealogy itself, while only partly documented, is coming along nicely. I’ve been touching it off and on for several years now. Parts of this genealogy I’ve lifted off of the Internet. I’ve been looking for documents to back up the assertions made in that version. Some of the undocumented materials seem to be based on personal knowledge and recent events, so there should be documents online.

The genealogy as it exists right now is about 25 8.5” x 11” inch pages with footnotes. It is in a fairly strict NEHGS Register style. I plan to post it somewhere in the future, but not just yet since there is unfinished business with the more recent family sketches. Since it is a fairly short document, perhaps growing to 50 or so pages, I’ll probably not publish it on Amazon or Lulu, where my other publications are available.

One of the more interesting parts I’ve found is: Ruth Shepard, who married William Wyeth (1657-1703), was not the daughter of Thomas Shepard, born say 1635-1637 and died at Milton, Massachusetts 26 September 1719, and Hannah Ensign, born probably at Scituate, Massachusetts circa 1638 (baptized at Hingham, Massachusetts 6 July 1640) and died at Malden, Massachusetts 14 March 1697/8. [Robert E. Bowman, “Ensigns Revisited,” The American Genealogist, 73 (October 1998), 249.] Who she was seems to remain a mystery.

Some of the families covered, in particular the New England families, I’ve fairly completely documented, but trailing the others will be a challenge. Since they seem to have dispersed across the country, some to Washington state and some to the western states, I’ve got my work cut out for me.

Sarah Agnes and Nettie Christina Mellen, Sisters Born too Close to Each Other

According to my volume of Descendants of Simon Mellen, c. 1636-1694, pages 195-196, two sisters were born within 8 months of each other. Sarah Agnes Mellen was born 13 November 1869 and Nettie Christina Mellen was born 15 July 1870.

There is an incorrect date for one of the two.

The source I gave, Cutter’s Genealogical and Personal Memoirs Relating to the Families of the State of Massachusetts, volume 4, page 2171, shows the dates given above.

Checking the Massachusetts vital records on the NEHGS website, americanancestors.org, for Cambridge, I find that an unnamed female surnamed Mellen was born on 20 November 1869. This is likely to be Sarah Agnes Mellen.

Nettie Christina Mellen, on the other hand, according to the NEHGS records, was born in July 1871, and died 14 July 1872, aged one year. There was no day given in the date field of the birth record.

The Blethen Genealogy book

Back in 2013 I put together a new version of the Blethen Genealogy, which is in the public domain. This reformatted and reset version is a fairly faithful reproduction of the original. The Blethen Genealogy takes the family back to the New England colonies and to Wales.

While I do have some questions about the veracity of some of the lineages, it is an interesting read.

My 2013 version is available on Lulu.com, just follow the link below:
Support independent publishing: Buy this book on Lulu.

Back from hiatus

I realize that it has been five years since I last posted here.

I’ve been busy with other things and just wanted to check in here.

One of my ongoing projects has been to reset and edit a copy of History of the Lunt Family in America.

Another project is to research the New England Wyeth family to get a better understanding of how they are related to me. I’m also writing out a publishable article on the family.

Reading Society Journals

I actually like reading the notes (footnotes and end notes) in society publications. The other day I got the new New England Historical and Genealogical Register and promptly sat down to read it. The best bits I read first were the footnotes for one of the articles on John Barrows, of Plymouth, Massachusetts.

Not that I had any real interest in Mr. Barrows or his descendants; the nature of the article, and the author, Martin E. Hollick, were the attractions. The article itself, the text discussion, and the formatting, were keys to my interest in first reading this article. Mr. Hollick is one of the more interesting writers and researchers for the New England Historic Genealogical Society, and I like his work. What drew me to the article was the level of research skills on display.

Reading the footnotes, alongside the text, I found that Mr. Hollick used a large number of sources for his work, both published and not published. The sources he used in this article can serve as exemplars for my work when I research Plymouth families, or others, that he has researched in the article.

The format of the article, on the other hand, gives me an idea of how to go about putting together such a piece. The way the article opens, the structure of the event time lines, and the discussions that go with those events, are key to a good reporting style. The particular journal style of placing dates before places may vary from time to time, but that’s ok; it really just depends on the type of event you are discussing. The level of citation you use and the format of those citations will also vary, but, likewise, it depends on the journal you are writing for, whether you go into so much detail, or not.

The footnoted discussions can give you an idea of how much or how little to include in the text part of the article and how much to include in the genealogical summary part. These two parts of an NEHGR piece are particular to that particular journal, but can be roughly duplicated in your own article or book-length production. The details in each portion vary, but the important thing is that the sources are cited and any interesting bits are discussed: discrepancies between two sources, and so on. These footnotes are important to future researchers so that unnecessary research is not duplicated.

A journal like NEHGR is a major stopping point for researchers and is authoritative as far as journals go. Yes, corrections and amplifications are sometimes done, but most often the corrections are to old, old genealogy research, and amplifications are actually expansions on materials previously published in the journal, which helps even more for future genealogists.

The only downside of reading a society publication is that some of the other journals referenced in articles may not be available to the reader. This necessitates getting a reprint or photocopy request from a library for the article. I’m lucky to live in an area where there are several libraries with a number of major and minor journals available in nearby libraries. As a genealogist, I’m able and willing to do research in these materials for others who may need or want the materials, but are not able to travel to the library to get them, or get them through a library copying service.

NPM

© 2012 N. P. Maling — Sea Genes – Family History & Genealogy Research

Re-visiting Sources – New Research

Sometimes you come across a source, use it for one or a few personas, and forget it. Then you come across another persona who happens to be in the same source. Are you duplicating your research? Yes, no? Maybe.

It seems to me to be a good idea to re-visit sources that you’ve used in the past, like when you find an apparently unrelated persona. Revisiting the folks that you’ve already gotten out of that source enables you to pick up any details you may have missed the first time around.

Revisiting that source for previously discovered and newly discovered people allows you to strengthen their relationships, not only to you, but also between them.

A recent example in my research is about the Booth family of Connecticut as documented by Donald Lines Jacobus in the 1950s.

On the Booth family in Lenox, Massachusetts, I found that Lemuel and Mehetabel had eight children, including Josiah and Philo, six of whom are not referenced in the Jacobus genealogy of the family. While this line of ancestors was not the thrust of the genealogy, it seems odd that Jacobus didn’t know about the six kids.

The omission of such a large number of children shows that even a prominent genealogist can leave things out, or undone. Loose ends like this are the responsibility of later genealogists, to tie up and close some doors to possible incorrect information that might be circulating either in print or on the Internet.

Checking one’s own work (research) in this way improves your future work and provides a good exercise in checking the veracity of others’ work. Had I not followed on the statement in Jacobus about the family being in Lenox, I would not have found six descendants, or relatives, let alone the exact date of birth of Philo.

The evidence the Lenox records provides, though, seems to show that Philo was born in Massachusetts, and not Connecticut as other evidence suggests. The 1850 U. S. Census says that he was born in Connecticut, a probably direct statement, rather than implied as the Lenox record is. Which was it?

NPM

© 2012 N. P. Maling — Sea Genes – Family History & Genealogy Research

Reprint Available: Perkins, Fairfield, and King by W. M. Emery

Emery, William Morrell. The Families of Perkins, Fairfield and King. San Francisco: The Murdock Press. 1907. 58 pp. (including blank pages)

This reprint of the original 1907 edition has been completely re-set in a modern typeface. The formatting and style follows the original. The publisher used an original copy of the book to create this new version, so no marginalia or other markings interfered with the text’s appearance.

The only omission from this reprint is the image of the Perkins family arms. The textual description of the arms remains, however, as Mr. Emery wrote it.

The reprint is available on Lulu.com as a print item: Families of Perkins, Fairfield, and King.