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I am looking for my ancestor Laura Morton who was born in the state of Maine in
1852. According to my grandmother her father was “a doctor, and quite a prominent
one.” I have confirmed this because I once saw his medical book and notes,
however when I was a child I never noticed the name. I know after 1868 she and
her family were living in New York State, before moving ultimately to Ohio.
Searching specifically for Laura Morton did not work for me.
Answer: My first suggestion would be to
have you look at the U.S. Census for 1860 for the state of Maine for any
Morton’s who were listed with the profession of doctor. This of course would
require you to search all the Morton households for this occupation. Another
option would be to then search for Morton families born in Maine but living in
New York in the U.S. 1870 Census. If you have any other questions feel free to
I have tried to find Thomas White in the Great Migration series unsuccessfully.
According to the “History of Weymouth” volume 2, pp. 615-616 (a sketch about
his great-grandson Nathaniel White), Thomas White was “admitted a freeman in
Massachusetts Colony March 3, 1635/6”.
Answer: Thomas White is listed as a
scheduled sketch because of his arrival in Weymouth by 1635. The current volume
number six only covers alphabetically through surnames with the letter “S”.
However, Thomas will be included in the final volume of Robert Charles
Great Migration – Immigrants to New England 1634-1635. This final volume covering surnames T to Z
is anticipated with a publication date of 2011.
I am looking for an ancestor’s parents. I believe she lived in Clarksburg,
Berkshire, Massachusetts in the early 1800’s. I heard from a genealogical
friend of mine that the Clarksburg town hall burned down, and some of the
records survived. I am specifically looking for a person born there in 1793,
married there in 1814 am I out of luck?
Answer: You are correct about the early
vital records for Clarksburg, sadly fire has destroyed some New England town
and vital records. The Family History Library in Salt Lake City, Utah has a
microfilm of the Clarksburg Town records on microfilm from 1798 to 1846 [FHL
Microfilm # 1711158]. If you wish to borrow this microfilm from the Family
History Library you can call 617-226-1239 and place your order to view it at
NEHGS. We can process your order with a credit card and the film can be viewed
here at NEHGS. I hope that you will find that the destroyed records do not affect
your ancestor’s entries.
Is there any difference in the information contained in Mass Vital Records and
the Catholic Diocese of Boston? If so, what is the difference in birth/baptism,
marriage, and death records?
Answer: In the church record of marriage
you will get the witnesses, where the civil record will not list them. A birth
record will not list sponsors / godparents where you will get them in a church
record. The Massachusetts Vital Records do not include the exact place of
burial for the first fifty years. The burial registers for a church may contain
the cemetery name, and the specific lot information.
Can you identify what cemetery was considered the "Town Cemetery" in
Chicopee, Hampden, Massachusetts in 1874. My great grand-aunt died on 11 Dec
1874 in Chicopee. Her death record (Chicopee Clerk) stated she was buried in
the Town Cemetery, but no name for the cemetery is given. If I can identify the
cemetery I may also find that additional members of my family are buried there.
I would appreciate any information or leads you can provide.
Answer: The Fairview Cemetery on Forest
Avenue was the non-denominational town cemetery created in 1870. There is no
physical office for this cemetery however you can contact the town cemetery and
parks department at: 413-592-0122. This office should have the plot plans, and
maps of the cemetery to assist you in locating the interment you are searching
While researching original marriage vital records for Dartmouth Massachusetts I
have found some records stating, "they were married Coram". Please
explain what this means.
Answer: Thank you for providing a scan of
the actual document. Seeing the image has allowed me to understand how the word
was used in the context of the document. For instance:
May 11th, 1731. Samuell White of Rochester and Mary Chase of Dartmouth married
coram me. Samuel Willis, Justice of Peace.
The word “coram” is Latin and the translation is “In the presence” or “before
the eyes”. Therefore the record would basically read:
May 11th, 1731. Samuell White of Rochester and Mary Chase of Dartmouth married
(in the presence [of]) me. Samuel Willis, Justice of Peace.
My great-great-grandparents are buried in Mount Wollaston cemetery in Quincy, MA.
I would like to find out where in the cemetery they are buried, or at least
where I could go to find that information, before I make a trip to Quincy to
search for the grave. Do you know if there are burial records for the cemetery,
and if so, who I could contact about searching them.
will find that the Mt. Wollaston Cemetery is very cooperative when you contact
them. Many of the contacts for Massachusetts cemeteries appear in my book, A
Guide to Massachusetts Cemeteries. Mount Wollaston was opened in
1856 at 20 Sea Street in Quincy. You can reach them by phone at: 617-376-1294.
I am delighted to share with you the contact information for the cemetery your
ancestors are buried in.
Is there a list that you know of for those who perished in the 1860 Pemberton
Answer: Due to the fact the building
collapsed many bodies were unidentifiable, making the matters worse a fire
started that burned many of those still trapped inside the mill. In the vital
records of Lawrence for the deaths in 1860 in Massachusetts Vital Records
(139:198-199) only entries numbered 6 to 73 are identified as casualties of the
mill collapse. In the proceeding weeks occasional entries can be found with
cause of death “Fall of Pemberton Mill”. An interesting note on the column of the above
register of deaths by City Clerk George R. Rowe “We are unable to obtain many
of the parents’ names of our Catholic friends as you will discover on this and
I recently consulted the Ogden Codman 1918 compilation of Granary Burying
Ground internments. Included are records taken from the Boston City death
records of tomb burials. I had always thought that tombs were limited to
relatives, but it appears that unrelated people were buried in tombs, perhaps
after the original families had died out.
There is no known connection between my family and the corresponding
No. 78. Inscription: MARTIN SMITH. Owner: Franklin Smith.
No. 107. Inscription: NO. 107 JOHNSON JACKSON'S TOMB 1810.
No. 171. Inscription: JAMES HILL AND BEZA TUCKER'S TOMB 1807.
Can you explain or point me to information explaining the system of 19th
century burials at this cemetery?
Answer: It was very common to find
“friends” or “strangers” buried in tombs of belonging to our relatives. In the
case of Tomb No. 78 I can inform you that is the same name on my ancestors at
Tomb 30 in Kings Chapel Burying Ground. Martin and Franklin Smith were
Undertakers in Boston and would purchase old tombs and sell available shelf
space for their clientele. Also it was possible for our ancestors to “sell”
their tombs; one would transfer real estate to another family. This is
primarily the reason you will notice a variety of occupants that do not relate
to one another. Often times a tomb was cleared of the former family remains and
removed to another tomb or cemetery. Occasionally, the remains were kept in the
tomb but removed to a container in the back of the tomb. You may find “removal”
records in the Boston City Archives files, but the original burial location on
the Boston city death record would not be altered. Also keep in mind that a
tomb can have many inhabitants that their names were not all inscribed on the
monument. If the tomb was sold it would occasionally bear only the name of the
new owner and when it was acquired. There are a variety of old tombs that have
multiple names of owners, and purchase date upon their entrances.
My Revolutionary War ancestor was born supposedly in Gorham, Maine in the
1750’s. An extensive search of pre-1892 records in print and microfilm has not
turned anything up. Would the state have a record, or would the church?
Answer: Since Maine only required
statewide registration in 1892 you would not need to contact them. However you
may wish to contact the First Parish Church of Gorham, Maine. They can be reached
I have had mixed success looking for my great-great grandmother in the US censuses
indexed on Heritage Quest. She is not with her parents in 1870, when she would
have been 17. There is a girl who might be the right one listed as an inmate of
the State Industrial School for Girls in Lancaster, Mass. I gather this was a
reform school of some sort. Do you know if there are there records available
from that time period?
Answer: The State Industrial School for
Girls in Lancaster, Mass. case records are located at the Massachusetts State
Archives. Unfortunately these records are closed to the public, even though
they are over one hundred years old. If you would like to inquire about the
possibility of a case being opened for you please call the Department of Youth
Services in Boston, Mass. at (617) 727-7575. The Massachusetts State Archives
can be reached at (617) 727-2816, or online at: http://www.sec.state.ma.us/arc/arcidx.htm