Several other genealogy bloggers have posted their top genea-mysteries, and have even been led to solutions to some of their top brickwalls through these posts. Among these bloggers are Diane Boumenot http://onerhodeislandfamily.com/2014/10/17/my-top-ten-genea-mysteries/ , Lorine McGinnis Schulze http://olivetreegenealogy.blogspot.ca/2014/10/my-top-10-genealogy-mysteries.html , Brian Massey http://ancestorsatrest.blogspot.com/2014/11/genealogy-mystery-what-happened-to.html . and Barbara Poole http://lifefromtheroots.blogspot.com/2014/02/brick-walls-of-mine-if-you-solve-i-pay.html (who will actually pay $100 for information leading to breaking through her brick wall ancestors).
If you know some of these mystery ancestors, or if you think there might be a cousin connection, please contact me!
Here are my Top 10 brick walls:
1. Who is James Phillips? He was born about 1792, probably in Rowley, Massachusetts (his death record says he was “a native of Rowley”). He died 5 April 1820 in Topsfield, Massachusetts. On 6 August 1815 he married Sarah Cree in Topsfield. They had two children, Sarah, born about 1816 and Hannah, my 3rd great grandmother, born about 1821, both born in in Topsfield. Were there other children? Who were James’s parents? Sarah was previously married to John W. Ham, who died before 1814, and had a daughter, Lucinda Ham, born 27 August 1809 in Topsfield.
2. Who is Hannah Smith? She married my 5th great grandfather, Stephen Cree, on 27 February 1787 in Holden, Massachusetts. Stephen was born in Topsfield in 1760 and died there in 1821. All five of their children were born in Topsfield. Did they elope to be married in Holden, or was Hannah a resident of Holden? Who were her parents? One clue is in the book Early Massachusetts Marriages Prior to 1800 Worcester County, Southborough, page 72 “Stephen Cree & Mrs. Hannah Smith February 27, 2787” What is this reference to Southborough?
3. Who is the Mary Hovey who married Nathaniel Treadwell on 17 July 1786 in Ipswich, Massachusetts? These are my 5th great grandparents. This is a Mayflower lineage back to Isaac Allerton, but none of the paperwork ever submitted with this couple names her parents. I left it blank and my application was accepted. I have no birth date for her or place of birth. She had five children with Nathaniel Treadwell, and she died on 15 January 1832 in Ipswich. Nathaniel was a Revolutionary War Patriot.
4. What are the origins of Benjamin Gardner, born about 1720 probably in Boston, and died 7 June 1797 in Salem, Massachusetts? This is my 6th great grandfather, and much has been written about him in Salem records, and in the diaries of Rev. William Bentley who mentioned his wives and his children, and his brother, but Benjamin still remains a mystery. He was married twice, first to Sarah Randall on 10 October 1751 in Boston at the West Church. They had three children, including my 5th great grandmother, Mary Gardner born in Boston. Sarah died in 1781 in Salem, and he remarried to Mary Briers (widow of Michael Ferguson and John Bassett) on 2 November 1782 in Salem. Benjamin was a ropemaker in Salem, a partner to Josiah Gaines. He had a brother, Thomas Gardner, who died on 22 September 1789 in Boston.
5. Benjamin Gardner’s (above #4) wife was Sarah Randall, my 6th great grandmother. Her parents were Stephen Randall and Sarah Cannon, married 16 January 1728 in Boston. Who was Stephen Randall? He died sometime before 18 May 1742 when his widow Sarah was made guardian to Andros Randall, age 4, “deceased, mariner”. Sarah must have died before March 1749/50 when a John Hill was made guardian to Andrus Randall, age 11, “son of Stephen, mariner & Sarah, both deceased. Sarah Cannon’s parents were Andros Cannon and Sarah Bridge, married in Boston on 3 August 1711.
6. Who is Nancy Thompson (about 1804 – 1847), my 4x great grandmother? She married Jonathan Batchelder on 11 February 1822 in Belmont, New Hampshire. Her children’s marriage and death records say she was born in Gilmanton, New Hampshire. There are several Thompson families in Gilmanton and Belmont (contiguous towns) but no record of Nancy/Ann/Hannah Thompson. Jonathan Batchelder died in the Concord State Assylum. His wife, Nancy Batchelder, was granted guardianship of their children in 1847. No further trace of Nancy can be found in the New Hampshire vital records or census records. Did she remarry and change her name?
7. Who is Elizabeth Lambert (about 1775 – 1834), my 5x great grandmother? She married Owen Jones, a native of Wales and son of a British customs officer, on 11 May 1793 at the Second Baptist Church in Boston, Massachusetts. They lived in the North End, and had six daughters all described as debutantes and all married very well. I’m hoping she is from a well-connected, wealthy family in Boston who left lots of good records, but so far I cannot find her parents or lineage. There were many Lambert/Lombard/Lumbard/Lamport families in Boston at this time, and I have searched them all for Elizabeth. One clue- Elizabeth had a sister, Sarah, who married John Darke/Dargue on 1 December 1793 in Boston. Elizabeth (Lambert) Jones named her first daughter Sarah Dargue Jones in her honor. The sister Sarah (Lambert) Dargue died on 3 September 1796. No parents listed. Another clue – Elizabeth Lambert was probably born at about the time of the siege of Boston during the American Revolution (many residents fled the city), so she may have been born elsewhere in New England.
8. Who is Margaret Welch (about 1796 – 1860), my 4x great grandmother? Her death record in Chichester, New Hampshire does not name her parents or place of birth. She married Richard Locke on 21 October 1823 in Chichester. Her children’s marriage and death records say she was born in Kittery, Maine. Census records say she was born in Maine. I haven't found her in vital records or in any compiled genealogy.
9. Who is Elizabeth, wife of William Homan (baptized 25 July 1725 in Marblehead, Massachusetts)? She is my 6x great grandmother. She married William Homan on 5 January 1758 in Marblehead and had only one child, Thomas Homan, born about 1758 (my 5x great grandfather). Who were her parents? Did she have other children or did she die young? This woman is a complete mystery to me, and so is this whole family!
10. Who is Thomas Jillings (died 1801 in Newbury), my 5x great grandfather? He married Hannah Mirick on 18 November 1725 in Newbury and had seven children with her. Hannah was born in Charlestown in 1702 and died in 1754 in New bury. If he was born around the same time as her he would have been nearly 100 years old at the time of his death. Jillings is an unusual name, but I can’t find his origins, parents or any ancestors. Is Jillings a misspelling or corruption of some other surname?
Click here for a previous post from 2012 of my Top Ten Brickwall Problem Ancestors
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