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Wednesday, September 02, 2015

52 ANCESTORS IN 52 WEEKS 2015 WEEK 32: CALEB COBURN PT1

The three posts about the TChart I did for Caleb Coburn contain all I had known about my
5x great grandfather up until last week. For his installment of the 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks
challenge, I'm going to discuss what I discovered about him since then.

I'll start with another document I found in the Middlesex County, MA: Probate File Papers, 1648-1871 collection on the AmericanAncestors website. It's a petition from Caleb and his two younger siblings,  Mary and Abiel, asking the Court to appoint a Timothy Coburn as their guardian:


Middlesex County, MA: Probate File Papers, 1648-1871.Online database. AmericanAncestors.org. New England Historic Genealogical Society, 2014. (From records supplied by the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court Archives.)


This raised a few questions for me. Why didn't they want their stepfather Edward Coburn as a guardian? From what I have found, he didn't die until 1771. I haven't found a date of death for their mother Deborah (Wright) Coburn yet so it's possible that she had died.Had the relations between Edward and his three youngest stepchildren suffered if that were the case?

Then there is the puzzle as to why Caleb and the others had chosen Timothy Coburn. I can find only one family member living at that time in Dracut named Timothy and he was a second or third cousin. According to the Coburn genealogy he was a prominent citizen and there was a "Negress" working for him who was the subject of several family stories. (I'll go into those in another post.) 

The family dynamics behind the petition will probably always be a mystery. At any rate, the petition was granted by the court. Notice that on the second document, a Moses Coburn had signed as well as  Timothy, and not Edward. Had older brother Moses Coburn been acting as guardian for Caleb and the others?


Middlesex County, MA: Probate File Papers, 1648-1871.Online database. AmericanAncestors.org. New England Historic Genealogical Society, 2014. (From records supplied by the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court Archives.)


Next, I'll discuss some land records that might hold a clue as to the identity of Caleb Coburn's
wife.

To be continued.

Monday, August 31, 2015

A "T CHART" FOR CALEB COBURN REVISITED PT3


((Before I do the 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks for Caleb Coburn, I thought I'd repost
three posts from four years ago I did as part of an exercise we did in the Genealogists
in Second Life group four years ago. Afterward I'll discuss what I've found recently
and revise my Tchart for him. Here's part 3.))

 
Before I go into the Federal Censuses I've found for Caleb Coburn, here's
the page for him from The Descendants of Edward Colburn (p48):

Notice the entry following Caleb for his brother Abiel.

This is the image from the 1790 Census for Tyngsborough, Ma.There
is only one Caleb Coburn on this Census and the presence of Reuben
Butterfield is significant since Caleb's brother married the daughter of a
Reuben Butterfield..Notice how the town of Dunstable has been changed
to Tyngsborough:
What I hadn't done when I found this document was pay attention to the other
members of the household. There is a male under 16 years old and 3 females
living with Caleb. Caleb's son Moses Coburn was my ancestor and was already
25 years old in 1790. Who was this young boy?

On the 1800 Census there is again only one Caleb Coburn. On the same page
I found an Abiel Coburn. Again, there are additional members of Caleb's household
that I hadn't paid attention to up until now. The boy is gone, either deceased or grown
and out on his own. There are still three females, one between age 10 to 15, one
between 15 and 25, and one over age 45.


By 1810 the household is reduced to Caleb, one female between 16 to 25 years
old and one 45 years or older:
When I found these records on Ancestry,com I was just starting to really dig
into researching my family. I took a two week trial with Ancestry and grabbed
any records I could find as fast as I could before the two weeks were up. While
I spent more time examining the records for the generations a bit closer to me,
I only recently began to analyzing the older ones. Back then, for example,
I assumed that Caleb only had one child, Moses, because I couldn't find a record
of any other. I went back to the Early Vital Records of Massachusetts site to see
if I could find the births or marriages of daughters of Caleb Coburn but was
unsuccessful.

But I did find something I had missed before, the possible date of death for Caleb
and perhaps the answer to the mystery of the boy from the 1790 Federal Census.
From Vol 1, p97 of the Tyngsborough Vital Records I found the following:
    Caleb, s. Caleb, Apr. 3, 1798. PR1
    Caleb, Dec. 17, 1810, a. 72 y. PR1


(Fellow SL genealogist DeeDee Nelson found the same information
 elsewhere while I was writing this post. Thanks DeeDee!)

I know Caleb was born in 1738 so he would have indeed been 72 years
old in 1810, so there's  a good chance that 17Dec 1810 is indeed his
death date. The other Caleb might be a younger son, but I need more
to be confident about that. What I need to find now is a will or a deed
that lists members of Caleb's family, or find Caleb's grave and check for
other Coburn's buried nearby. In otherwords, I know I need to look
beyond the Internet. I also need to keep the "genealogy of place" in
mind and look beyond Tyngsborough to the surrounding towns.( including
across the state line to Pelham which once was part of Tyngsborough).


All in all, I found the "t chart" a useful tool to break down what I'd found on
Caleb Colburn and help me analyze it more rather than just gathering it. I plan
to use it on others of my ancestors.

And thanks to Dear Myrt aka Clarisse for conducting the book review session
of Val Greenwood's book over at Second Life!


Sunday, August 30, 2015

A "T CHART" FOR CALEB COBURN REVISITED PT2

((Before I do the 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks for Caleb Coburn, I thought I'd repost
three posts from four years ago I did as part of an exercise we did in the Genealogists
in Second Life group four years ago. Afterward I'll discuss what I've found recently
and revise my Tchart for him. Here's part 2, which tells more about my problems
researching Caleb))

As I said previously, I don't know a heck of a lot about Caleb Coburn. Well,
I do know a bit more than some people know about some of their ancestors.
I found his DOB on the Early Vital Records of Massachusetts website which
contains images from the famous "Tan Books" transcriptions of the town
records. Interestingly, there appears to have been some damage to the
record because the transcription reads "(---)leb" .

There's a gap between that first fact and the second, the birth of Caleb's son
Moses Coburn in Dracut, Ma. in 1765. That's because there's apparently
no record of the name of Caleb's wife. Now I'm well aware that not everything
can be found online and there are a lot of records that can be found only at
town halls and courthouses. But even in the age before computers there were
other researchers who had no luck discovering the identity of Caleb Coburn's
wife and Moses' Coburn's mother.  Last year I blogged about how the co-authors 
of "Genealogy of the Descendants of Edward Colburn/Coburn"  dealt with
it almost a century ago in 1913. They simply wrote:

"Caleb Coburn(Moses 3 Joseph2 Edward1) was born in Dracut December
12, 1738; he married ________ ____________; they dwelt at Tyngsboro."

(p48)

But looking at the T chart I did some figuring. Caleb would have been 26 or 27
years old when Moses was born. I guessed Caleb would have been 16 years old
or older when he married the mystery wife, so that would mean that the marriage
would have taken place sometime between 1755 and 1765.

In his book Val Greenwood talks about the importance of knowing the genealogy
of places(p61) because the boundaries of early American towns and counties
shifted so much which would effect where records might be kept at different
times. Tyngsborough is a perfect example of this. It used to be part of the
town of  Dunstable but split off as a separate area in 1789 before becoming
an actual town in 1809. Also, in colonial times in Massachusetts it was not
unusual for a person's birth or marriage to be recorded not only in the town
they were born in but also in the town their parents were born, which in this
case would still have been Dracut. I'd already checked the records at Early
Vital Records of Massachusetts for Dracut, Dunstable and Tyngsborough for
any mention of Caleb's marriage. I also checked for the record of Moses
Coburn's birth in hopes it would list the name of his mother but that didn't
pan out either.

I'll talk about what the Censuses of 1790, 1800, and 1810 told me next 
in part 3 here

Saturday, August 29, 2015

A "T CHART" FOR CALEB COBURN REVISITED PT1

((Before I do the 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks for Caleb Coburn, I thought I'd repost
three posts from four years ago I did as part of an exercise we did in the Genealogists
in Second Life group four years ago. Afterward I'll discuss what I've found recently
and revise my Tchart for him.))


The Genealogists in Second Life have started a Just Genealogy Book Club  and
we're working through  Val D. Greenwood's  The Researcher's Guide to
American Genealogy, 3rd Edition (Genealogical Publishing Co. 2000) and I'm
finding it very informative. This past week we covered the chapters on
"Analyzing Pedigree and the Place" and "Evaluation of Evidence"(chapters
4 & 5). In the section on Pedigree Analysis Mr Greenwood suggested using
what he calls a "Tchart". Basically you draw a line down the center of the
piece of paper and one side label "What do I already know" and "What does
this suggest?"  I decided I'd like to try that out.

I chose 5x greatgrandfather Caleb Coburn as my guinea pig.(Forgive me,
Grandpa Caleb!). Then I wasted an hour or so hunting around for a two column
template I could use on one of my word processor programs. When that
failed, I tried making one from scratch which wasted more time. Finally I gave
up and went back to basics, pen and paper. So be warned: this isn't the
prettiest graphic you'll ever see:

I chose Caleb because I hadn't found a death date for him nor have I ever found
the name of his wife. I printed his name at the top of the page and included all
the various spellings I've encountered for Coburn, and then started listing on the
left side of the page what I already knew : his birth in Dracut, Ma on 12 Dec 1738,
the birth of his son Moses in Tyngsborough,  Ma in 1765  and where he was
enumerated on the 1790, 1800, and 1810 Federal Census. There was also a
Caleb Coburn enumerated on the 1820 Fishersfield Nh Federal Census but I
had questions about that one.(which may account for my mangling the name of the
town in my list)

And of course, he died,  (Unless Caleb was an immortal vampire or alien)  but
I'd found no date or place for that as of yet.

So, what did that all this suggest? As you can see, initially, not a heck of lot. But
we'll get to that next post,

Friday, August 28, 2015

FINDMYPAST FRIDAY COLLECTIONS RELEASES FOR 28 AUGUST 2015

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Wednesday, August 26, 2015

52 ANCESTORS IN 52 WEEKS 2015 WEEK 31: MOSES COBURN 1702-1742 PT2

As I said in my last post, Moses Coburn had died without a will, but there was a Probate File.
I had some questions I hoped the file would answer:

-What had he done for a living? The Coburn Genealogy had given no information.
-How big an estate did he leave?
-How many of his seven children were alive when he died, and how was the estate divided
among the heirs?

I found the images for the Probate File on AmericanAncestors.org. They were out of order
but fourteen images in I found the first page of the inventory of the "real estate of Mr. Moses
Coburn, Late of Dracut in ye county of Middlesex, yeoman, deceasd":



Middlesex County, MA: Probate File Papers, 1648-1871.Online database. AmericanAncestors.org. New England Historic Genealogical Society, 2014. (From records supplied by the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court Archives.)



The first item concerns Moses'  "Homestead Farme" which turned out to be "about twenty eight acres", bordered on the west by the Merrimack River on on the other sides by neighbors that included Coburn relatives. The farm included a barn, a "dwelling house" and a "Corn House" and was valued at 750 pounds. But what astonished me was that there were four more pages of other plots of land Moses owned in the area. In the end Moses' estate, including the livestock and farming implements, came to over 1383 pounds.

The final settlement of the estate wasn't made until 1758, at which time the eldest son, Moses Jr. received the major part of what was left after the estate debts were settled and a third was given to the widow Deborah. The second son, my ancestor Caleb Coburn, received 19 acres of land in the neighboring town of Dunstable as his share. At the end of the file is a document confirming their inheritances, but also containing the following order, for Moses Jr. and Caleb:

'to pay his Brother Abiel Coburn & to his sisters Phebe, Deborah, & Jerusha (children of the sd intestate)each fourteen pounds four shillings & four pence. one farthing; and to his sister Mary (another daughter of the said intestate) in part of her portion, the sum of thirteen pounds, fifteen shillings, & four pence half penny;

And I order the said assigneee Caleb to pay to said Mary (to complete her share) eight shillings and eleven pence, three farthings.



Middlesex County, MA: Probate File Papers, 1648-1871.Online database. AmericanAncestors.org. New England Historic Genealogical Society, 2014. (From records supplied by the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court Archives.)


The following page contains the signatures of all the family members agreeing to the terms of the settlement. By now, they were all grown and in their twenties.



Middlesex County, MA: Probate File Papers, 1648-1871.Online database. AmericanAncestors.org. New England Historic Genealogical Society, 2014. (From records supplied by the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court Archives.)

I'm guessing that after Deborah Wright remarried the children were brought up by her and
her husband Deacon Edward Coburn. I 'm not surprised the girls received small amounts of cash as their share, but I wonder why Abiel, the youngest son, didn't receive any land. Could he have been left an inheritance by his stepfather Edward? I'll have to see if I can find out!

Monday, August 24, 2015

52 ANCESTORS IN 52 WEEKS 2015 WEEK 31: MOSES COBURN 1702-1742

Continuing with my Coburn family ancestors, the subject for Week 31 of the 52 Ancestors in
52 Weeks Challenge is my 6x great grandfather Moses Coburn.

Moses is the first in the family to be a bit of a mystery. There's not much about him in the Colburne genealogy, just the vital records for his birth, marriage and death, and the names and dates for his children. What is interesting is he is the first ancestor I had encountered who had married a stepsister.

Here's what I found in Genealogy of the Descendants of Edward Colburn/Coburn by George A. Gordon and Silas R Coburn:

Moses(2) Coburn (Joseph2, Edward1) was born in Dracut on Jan.1, 1702, and died June 5, 1742;
married July 7, 1730, dau.of Joseph and Deborah (Stevens)Wright who was born 1702. The
widow married Deacon Edward Coburn; published Nov.7, 1744
Children:
i. Phebe, b. April 12, 1731
ii. Deborah, b.Dec.7, 1733; d.Oct 13, 1823; m. William Frye of Andover, Nov.17, 1769.
iii. Moses, b.July 13, 1735
iv. Moses, b. June 7, 1732; d. Jan.22. 1733.
v. Jerusha, b.Feb. 27, 1736; m. Abram Tyler.
vi. Caleb, b.12 Dec 1738.
vii.Mary, b.1740.
viii. Abiel, b.Dec. 9, 1742.  


pp27-28
Genealogy of the Descendants of Edward Colburn/Coburn  privately printed by Walter
Coburn, Lowell, Ma. 1913.

There's no mention of cause of death or place of death. It must have been for Deborah, widowed
after only ten years marriage. with possibly as many as seven young children,the youngest of whom
had been born after Moses' death. To make matters worse, Moses had died intestate.

I'll discuss his probate file in the next post in the series.