Monday, September 10, 2018

Batchelder Family Do Over Part 2

Lane Library, Hampton, NH
Jonathan Batchelder, my 4th great grandfather, had a hard life.  He was born about 1800, and he died sometime in 1847, shortly after being declared an “insane person”.  He has no gravestone, and his widow was given guardianship over his children.  I don’t have a birth record for Jonathan, nor do I have a death record.  I know his farm in Chichester, New Hampshire was auctioned off due to his early death in 1847 from a newspaper ad for his property sale.  To add to this conundrum, his wife is a mystery, too.  I know her name was Nancy Thompson, but I don’t know her birthdate, birthplace or parents. 

In the compiled Batchelder Genealogy written by Frederick C. Pierce in 1898, Jonathan was attributed to being the son of Elisha Batchelder and Sarah Lane of Pittsfield, New Hampshire.  When I visited the place where Elisha and Sarah are buried in Pittsfield, Jonathan was not buried there.  Nor was he mentioned in Elisha’s 1813 will (Jonathan would have been only 12 years old, and not yet an “insane person”). Some researchers have theorized that he was left out of the will because he was insane, but this could not be true due to the age difference.  He was just not Elisha’s son.

The first step in finding more information about Jonathan Batchelder’s parents was to go to the Lane Public Library website    This library in Hampton, New Hampshire has a 222 page manuscript from genealogist Carl W. Brage transcribed in 1985 from portions of Charles Hull Batchelder’s notes.   C.H. Batchelder was working on a revision of Pierce's published genealogy book, but Brage's manuscript only had five generations, and didn't include the generation with my 4th great grandfather Jonathan Batchelder.  This 222 page manuscript was divided into five PDF files.  The zipped versions must be downloaded from the website, and then saved on your own device or hard drive.  You can start on page 1 and then look at each page to trace back to find your own Batchelder family members.  However, in my case, I didn’t know where to find Jonathan.  There is an index at the end of the last file (pages 186 – 222). 

This is when I realized that Charles Hull Batchelder used his own mysterious numbering system for each member of the BATCHELDER family.  The immigrant ancestor, Rev. Stephen Batchelder was not included in this system.  His grandson Nathaniel (1630 – 1709/10) was #0, and great grandson Stephen (1675/6 – 1748) was listed as #3, and 2x great grandson Stephen (1701 – 1748/9) was listed as #32, and 3x great grandson Nathaniel (1732 – 1778) was listed as #322.  I realized that this numbering system was based on sons.  Stephen was a third son - 3, the next Stephen was the second son of the third son – 32, and Nathaniel was the second son in the next generation – 322. 

So, I took another look at Elisha Batchelder (my “supposed” 5x great grandfather) in the online scan of Brage’s manuscript, page 154.  “Elisha Batchelder (1351) son of David (135).  Farmer.  As a young man he went from Hampton Falls to Pittsfield and settled on land belonging to his father, which belonged to Josiah (13) as an original proprietor of Chichester, from which Pittsfield had been set off.  Elisha’s father deeded this land to him in Sept. 1803.  Elisha married Sarah Lane of Hampton Falls (no record of the date found), dau. Of Samuel & Hepsibah (Sleeper)… Elisha’s family is correctly given in “Ancestry and Descendants of Deacon David Batchelder” but Pierce splits Nancy into a dual personality, and arbitrarily adds Jonathan (32,213) to the family.  If more proof is needed it is found in a deed from Nathaniel (13,511) to Samuel (13,512), Feb. 12, 1823, by which Nathaniel quit claims one third of 130 acres in Pittsfield, the homestead farm “where we now live”, in common with said Samuel and Nancy Batchelder (Rockingham Deeds 236-242)” 

Jonathan Batchelder who married Nancy Thompson was listed as #32,213. 

This meant that from this numbering system I could go through the manuscript to see who was Jonathan’s father.  But the 222 page manuscript ended with #3221, which was Nathaniel Batchelder (1763 – 1809).  The next generation was missing from the manuscript.  I knew that from the numbering system Nathaniel #3221 must have had a third son named Jonathan, but that family group sheet was not included.

From page 95 of the Brage manuscript:

Nathaniel Batchelder (322), son of Stephen (32).  Called Nathaniel, Jr… moved to Deerfield as early as 1756. He married Mary Longfellow, dau. Of Jonathan & Mercy (Clark)…. Children born in Deerfield:
i.                     Mercy b. 1753 m. Smith Morrill of Chichester NH and Strafford VT
ii.                   Anne (Nancy) b. 1755 m. Abraham True Oct. 28, 1779 Deerfield
iii.                 Stephen b. 1757 d. Revolution Nov. 2, 1777 sp
iv.                 Hannah b. 1759 m. Josiah Kennerson
v.                   Mary (Molly) b. April 29, 1761 m. Benjamin True   
              1.  vi.           Nathaniel b. 1762      [my note:  Jonathan is #32,213]
             vii           Sarah b. March 12, 1766 m. Joseph True
             vii          Dau. d. umn dy
             x.            Deborah, b. 1769, m. Samuel Tilton”

This meant that I next had to go to the New Hampshire Historical Society library in Concord, New Hampshire and look through the eleven boxes of notebooks and loose papers held in their archive. Somewhere in there was a note about Jonathan Batchelder #32,213 including proof of his parents and his true Batchelder lineage.


Stay tuned for more...

Heather Wilkinson Rojo, "Batchelder Family Do Over  Part 2", Nutfield Genealogy, posted September 10, 2018, ( accessed [access date]).


  1. The numbering system they used is called the Henry system, and is fairly logical. I haven't seen it used only for sons - usually it includes all children in each generation. Usually, you start with the immigrant or earliest known ancestor.

    Are there probate records for Nathaniel? did Jonathan have land records?

    1. Thanks for the name of the "Henry system"! I had seen it before, but didn't know it had a special name. No, Nathaniel had no probate (yet!), and yes, Jonathan owned a farm in Chichester, NH sold in 1847 by his guardian when he was declared insane. See my blog post at this link (I have learned a lot more since this blog post was written - I see that I will have to update six or seven blog posts, now!)

  2. Thank you, Heather, for info about this source. I too am descended from the Batchelder line. I've launched my own re-examination using the Brage transcription to see what I can find, clarify or re-confirm. (My line is Stephen/Nathaniel/Nathaniel/Nathaniel/Jethro/Jethro/Daniel/Judith (who married Joseph Rogers. Joseph Rogers was born 1777 in Chichester NH and I've been working for years to definitively prove his parentage.) Thanks again--I enjoy your blog very much!

    1. If you are stuck, the clues to Joseph Rogers parents might be in Charles Hull Batchelders extensive notes in the New Hampshire Historical Society.

  3. What a journey of discovery this is. I too have heard of the Henry system, but until Randy identified it, I didn’t know that’s what the author was using. I look forward to your further posts about Jonathan.

  4. Awesome reseacch...and very exciting as well.

  5. I have Elisha Batchelder born 1763 to David Batchelder & Elizabeth Swett. Is this the same Elisah and David you mentioned in your blog.

    1. Yes, Kevin, Elisha is the son of David Batchelder and Elizabeth Swett, born 10 June 1763. He married Sarah Lane, and had Nancy, Nathaniel and Samuel Lane Batchelder. But he did NOT have a son named Jonathan (as stated in the Pierce genealogy). Jonathan is the son of Nathaniel Batchelder (1763 - 1809) and Mary Perkins. Nathaniel was also married to Elizabeth Perkins and Polly Libby.