The Wonderment of Walter Goodwin Davis


I’ve been working with a copy of Lunt: A History of the Lunt Family in America, by Thomas S. Lunt, published in 1913.

There are a few weird things in it that can be traced to differences with Walter Goodwin Davis’ treatments of the family in his Descendants of Abel Lunt and Massachusetts and Maine Families in the Ancestry of Walter Goodwin Davis.

One item is that Davis seems to have renamed a child of Henry(5) Lunt from Joseph to Henry. The Newbury, Massachusetts vital records record at volume 1, page 297 a Joseph born on 13 February 1774 but there is no similar entry for a Henry at page 296. There’s no indication in either Lunt or Davis that the child born on 13 February was a twin, either. Where did Davis come up with another Henry? Or did he?


Haven Genealogy Available on

Here is the link to the Haven genealogy on

I’m removing the link in the below article as the for-sale and only available version is corrected and the free version wasn’t.



Announce: Richard Haven, of Lynn, Massachusetts Genealogy Available

Adams, Josiah, author, and N. P. Maling, editor. Haven Genealogy: Descendants of Richard Haven, of Lynn, Massachusetts. Boston, Massachusetts: the author. 1843 (reprint, Seattle, Washington: Sea Genes F.H. & G.R. 2012).

I’m making this work of mine available at no charge on this site since the source material it is from is in the public domain. Printed copies of it will be available for purchase on in August 2012.

The Original Version and Changes Thereto

The format of the published research is the author’s own creation and interesting in that it combines in discrete family group sketches several generations of the Haven family. The author created a format for presentation of his forebears and relations that is extremely dense and difficult to work with, however. Adams’ style of using all caps, small caps, and italics for each of the generations within the sketches makes for easier finding.

Due to these factors, I decided to re-work what Mr. Adams had done to make it more accessible to current and future researchers.

The pages are also full and the text cramped. The author used a large number of abbreviations for places (i.e., “Fram.” for Framingham) and terms frequent in the text (i.e., “com.” for committee). The result of the abbreviations and the typographical style is a nightmare of typography.

The type has been changed and the formatting slightly modified to meet current publishing standards. The original page size was smaller than it is here and the type more closely set, resulting in difficult reading.

Most of the abbreviations that Mr. Adams used in the original have been fully spelled out to prevent possible confusion. This change also makes the text flow more realistically.

Editorial and Content Changes

When I started working with this particular book as a resource in a genealogical research project, I kept wondering how much easier it would be to use if there were an index. I also wondered what it would look like if it were re-set in a somewhat different format. An index however, would be as unworkable and as dense as the original, so I decided to leave the volume as an online, on-screen document. This way a researcher can simply work with the book alongside their favorite genealogy program, making their own changes there and comparing their work to what has already been published.

The first thing I did was find a clean copy to work from. One copy I found had considerable marginalia and blobby type. Another copy had no marginalia and clean type; perhaps it was an earlier impression in the printing run. The text file from the clean-type copy gave a much better working draft to begin cleaning up and indexing. The mechanical editing and proofreading was carefully done as there were stray characters inserted by the optical character recognition (OCR) software. Words and characters also had to be reinserted because the OCR software had either misread the text or removed them entirely.

Further editing was then possible. This was necessary to flesh out abbreviated terms and correct typographical and other errors. The resulting text is more readable, and a bit more visually pleasant to use. I also made a number of editorial and typographical changes to modernize the text.

More Improvements

One idea I had was to restructure the text into a New England Historic and Genealogical Register-style format. This would have resulted in a completely different text, so I have left the structure pretty much as found in the 1843 edition. Readers familiar with that edition can compare it to the new one. Because the new edition has a different typeface and a more open presentation, the original pagination was lost. The original page numbers are inserted where they occur as editorial additions in the margin, as such “OP 42”. This addition also preserves the connections between the jump links in the original (i.e., the use of jump links between sketches, like “(See p. 48.)” and “(From p. 17.)”) placing the “From p. 9”, for instance in the margin, also.

It is important to remember that the generation numbers used by Mr. Adams do not consider the immigrant ancestor as generation one. Generation numbers in the Haven genealogy begin with Richard Haven’s children; Richard, the immigrant would be considered generation zero.

The name Sherburne, as used by Mr. Adams, refers to the place called, officially, Sherborne, and later, Sherborn. There was another place called, officially, Sherburne, but it is not correct in the context of this genealogy. I have changed it to the proper form.

Almost all of the italicized words, especially those inside quote marks, have been made regular type. The reason being is that the unnecessary italicization makes the proper names in italic type harder to find.

Toward the end of the original are several items that I thought would be unnecessary in the new edition. At the bottom of page 49 of the original is a note from Mr. Adams; it has been removed. Following page 49 in the original are two tables listing graduates from New England colleges and universities. These have been removed as their content has been shifted to the index. Pages 53 and 54, the transcript of Richard Haven’s will, remain and are set pretty much as found. The will transcript is referred to in a number of the earlier family sketches, while the graduate tables are not referenced at all.

The Typesetting

The typeface used in the original is unknown to me, so I used Linux Libertine. Linux Libertine is a modern interpretation of an early typeface and is designed for use in general-purpose publishing. While the Haven genealogy uses only a few of the characters in the Linux Libertine set, the visual effect is reminiscent of the time that Josiah Adams lived in, and is therefore appropriate to the subject matter of the book. A number of weights and fonts in the family appear, making the entire volume pleasant to look at on-screen and in a printed version. While there appear to be many fonts used, the important thing to remember is that they are all complementary and they fit together as a family in themselves.

Announce: Descendants of Simon Mellen is Published

Maling, N. P. Descendants of Simon Mellen, c. 1636–1694. Seattle, Washington: Sea Genes Family History & Genealogy Research. 2012. 296pp. Indexed, illustrated. ISBN: 978-1-105-90833-0.

The first full-scale genealogical treatment of the Massachusetts Mellen family. The progenitor of this family was Simon Mellen, c. 1636–1694, who settled in Sherborne and later Framingham. The genealogy continues from Simon1 to the late 1800s birth of Albert Fisher10 Mellen, presenting 10 generations of this family. The focus is on the Mellens who settled in New England; fought in the early wars, including the Revolutionary War and Civil War; and established families. Their migration coverage ranges from Massachusetts, to Maine, to New Hampshire, to Connecticut, and to Rhode Island. Several tendrils extend into New York.

Growing out of two brief genealogies previously published in the town history of Framingham, Massachusetts, this greatly expanded and corrected history of the Mellen family is amply documented and footnoted. It corrects and clarifies numerous other publications concerning the Mellen family history. Over 2300 footnotes provide and discuss the source materials used for each piece of information. The index provides both personal names, including maiden names of wives, and place names, enabling a researcher to pinpoint migration patterns.

Constructed in the classic New England Historic & Genealogical Society’s Register style, the first ten sketches are:

1. Simon, b. circa 1636; d. Sherborne, 19 December 1694.

2. Simon, b. Winnisimmet, 25 Sept. 1665; d. Framingham, 30 Aug. 1717.

3. Thomas, b. Malden, in Aug. 1668.

4. Mary, b. Malden, between 1674 and 1677; d. Framingham, 13 March 1727.

5. Simon, b. Sherborne, 16 May 1690.

6. James, b. Framingham, 8 March 1697/98.

7. Henry, b. Sherborne, 12 Aug. 1691; d. 13 May 1767.

8. Sarah, b. Framingham, 22 March 1696/97; d. Sherborne 28 Aug. 1725.

9. Richard, b. Framingham, 10 Nov. 1701.

10. Tabitha, b. Framingham, 4 Jan. 1703/4.

The sketches continue through to numbers 123. Edward E. Mellen, b. 27 Sept. 1886; and 124. Walter Leslie Mellen, b. 10 Jan. 1868. These sketches include the descendants of both men, for a total coverage of 10 generations into the early 20th century.

This volume is available in softcover and hardcover from

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?


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