Tuesday, March 21, 2023

My Top Ten Genea-Mysteries


I posted another blog post about my "Top Ten Genea-Mysteries" in 2014, and it is time for an update!  I'm hoping that by posting these brickwall stories, maybe someone can send me a clue or make a cousin connection.  Some of these mysteries have bothered me for 30 or more years! 

My Top Ten Brick Walls:

1.)  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? Of course my top brickwall would be a SMITH!

2.) 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.  Both the DAR and the Mayflower Society have no information on Mary Hovey. 

3.)  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.

4.) 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.  I recently found her 14 November 1884 death record in Sutton, New Hampshire under the name "Nancy Palmer".  How do I know it is my 4x great grandmother?  I recently found a court record where she lists her name as Nancy Palmer, but gives names of relatives in the Batchelder family, so I know this is her!  Unfortunately she doesn't give any testimony on her own side of the family. 

5.)  Related to Nancy Thompson, above:  I'd love to see the testimony Nancy Thompson Batchelder Palmer gave during the court case in Louisiana in 1866.  Does it survive? All I have are excerpts in books. I'm not familiar with records from outside of New England! 

6.)  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 was hoping she was 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.

7.) 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.

8.) 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?

9.)  I'd love to research my grandmother's roots in Leeds, Yorkshire, England.  Her name was Bertha Roberts (1891 - 1990). I have traced back to Samuel Roberts, my 4th great grandfather, father of John Roberts, named on his 1803 baptism record in Holbeck, Leeds, Yorkshire, England (no mother listed). I have no idea how to proceed further back on this family line from this side of the pond!  Roadtrip to the UK? 

10.) Who is my 4th great grandmother, Amelia wife of Capt. Thomas Lewis of Salem, Massachusetts.  She died on 22 April 1860 in Wayland, Massachusetts.  She was possibly born about 1790 maybe in Stoughton, Massachusetts?  She married three times.  She was married first to Capt. Lewis, and he died on 31 August 1824 and she had two posthumous babies (twins) born 26 June 1824 (one is my 3rd great grandfather Thomas Russell Lewis).  Then she married Thomas Johnson on 16 October 1827 in Salem.  She married third to John Adams on 11 June 1843 in Topsfield.  Both John and Amelia were listed as paupers at the poor farm in Wayland in the 1860 Federal Census mortality schedule (he died of "lung fever" and she died of "paralysis").  What is her maiden name? Parents and family?  

For the truly curious:

Click here for a previous post from 2014 of my Top Ten Brickwall mysteries: 

Click here for a previous post from 2012 of my Top Ten Brickwall Problem Ancestors:


To cite/link to this blog post:  Heather Wilkinson Rojo, "My Top Ten Genea-Mysteries", Nutfield Genealogy, posted March 21, 2023, ( https://nutfieldgenealogy.blogspot.com/2023/03/my-top-ten-genea-mysteries.html: accessed [access date]). 

1 comment:

  1. As you and my wife share SO MANY ancestors, I'm surprised not to see one of her brick walls listed here. Just this past week I broke through two lines that have given me trouble since I first started her family genealogy almost 15 years ago. Of course those lead to two new brick walls....... That's not the first time that has happened. See you Saturday at the clubhouse.