One Child or Two?

More Mellen errors and omissions.

I’m revising Descendants of Simon Mellen, c. 1636-1694, and have found yet another problem with his descendants. This time with the family of John(5) Mellen and his wife Martha Fitch Wendell at pages 109 through 112.

Somehow, I assumed that there were two children, one who died young, the unnamed infant who died in 1802 and another, named Martha F. who was born and died in 1805.

The error came about from misreading some of the records, published sources, that I used to build the family sketch. One of the offenders is Binney’s account of the family which I have described as troublesome. It turns out that he was correct in this instance, however. The other two sources in the problematic sketch are the Cambridge vital records and Sharples’ volume of church records.

In the Cambridge vital records, volume 2, is an entry for an unnamed infant child surnamed Mellen who died 5 March 1802. There is no corresponding entry in volume 1 for a birth of this child. The death entry also appears in the Sharples compilation. Binney, on the other hand, wrote that it was Martha Fitch Mellen who was born on 5 March 1802 and died 6 March 1802.

Binney’s statement is backed up by an account of the family in a handwritten manuscript copied from an original, location currently unknown. The copy apparently is in the possession of the Pennsylvania Historical Society. It is available on the FamilySearch platform.

See also my earlier post on the two sisters who seemed to have been born to close to each other.

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,, 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.

Follow Friday: The Turning of Generations

In the midst of finalizing and indexing the Mellen genealogy, I try to keep abreast of geneablogging. This week I found a new (to me) blog, called The Turning of Generations. The current theme on this wonderful piece of work is the 21st Century Organized Family Historian (#21COFH).

What’s interesting about 21COFH is that all genealogists can learn from reading about it. I’ve been working on digital organizing since I had an 8086 KayPro, so had to use very restrictive (nowadays, anyway) file names and directory structures. Eeew!

There seems to be a growing number of other folks reading and practicing the exercises for this theme, so I hope to learn something and perhaps contribute something when I’m more free from other concerns.


© 2012 N. P. Maling

Mellen Genealogy Lists site

The Mellen Genealogy Lists site covers the Mellen, Mellon, Melen, Millen, et cetera surname variations. Basic uncited birth, marriage, death, census, city directory, and other interesting data about the surname holders listed is provided in individual type pages with no relation to the other pages. As these are lists of discrete names and dates, you should use extreme care in constructing a tentative individual or family group profile.

This site is interesting to me as it may provide more insight into any individuals I may have skipped or excluded for some reason from my in-progress genealogy of the Simon Mellen (c1636 – 1694) family. The Mellen Genealogy Lists site also provides a rough index of individuals with the surname so you can get a feel for what I’ve put together and will publish on in the near future.

Thanks to Gina Heffernan for posting the lists. Rootsweb also host a Mellen family history mailing list, details available from Mellen Genealogy List pages or from the list info page.


© 2012 N. P. Maling

Richard Mellen of Massachusetts – Genealogy Available

Richard Mellen of Massachusetts is a brief genealogy of the Mellen family compiled from numerous primary and published records. Richard Mellen is a relatively unknown and unknowable persona. Very little is known about him, even where and when he died is unknown. The introduction gives background on the family and their relations. Also included are notes on the family’s surname, places, and records involved. A three-generation genealogical summary is presented in the NEHGS Register style. This paper is also a preview of a forthcoming 10-generation study of the Simon Mellen (c1636-1694) family which will be published and made available for sale elsewhere.

[Update 22 October 2011: The Simon Mellen study is scheduled for publication in December 2011.]