Thursday, February 9, 2012

It Just does not add up

I would like to ask for your assistance in cracking a genealogical "brick wall" with which I have been struggling on and off for some 20 years. At age 97 I am starting to be concerned that I may not live long enough to see it broken.

I am not sure how best to proceed. Perhaps a brief description of what I have found and my understanding of the "brick wall" will suffice for now.

On page 975 of the "History of Bedford New Hampshire from 1737- published by the town - 1903" by the Rumford Printing Company of Concord, N.H. ... the page's heading reads "Genealogies - McDowell" and a sub-head of "McDowell or McDole".

The copy reads:

"This family comes from Scotch ancestry, which, like so many of our townspeople's ancestors, had settled in the north of Ireland (see McPherson.) A father and his two sons, whose names we have not learned, joined the Massachusetts Bay colony about 1630 or 1640. The father was killed in Boston in a singular manner, a tub of butter falling upon and crushing his chest. One son died soon after. The other son married and settled in Londonderry, where three children were born, Thomas, William, and Mary. Both parents died when the children were small, but they found a home with a Mr. McLaughlin."

The genealogy continues for another like number of lines, but the above is enough, I believe, for my query. I have searched Passenger Ship listings for years without locating one listing a father and two sons - under any name - sailing from any port to Boston or to other cities both north and south of
Boston - without locating a father and two sons.

I am anxious to confirm the story as told above - and thus either verify or find faulty the language quoted above.


So the time line as I see it is:

1630 or 1640 – Massachusetts Bay Colony, a father >30 lets say and two sons, >10 (old enough to travel)
Father dies, one son dies, remaining son marries at say age >20 or say 1650
1650 – 1660 Three children born of remaining son, Thomas, William, and Mary
1660 about parents die, children are small, live with McLaughlin.
Thomas and William serve in the Revolutionary War at the age of 110 or thereabouts.
So it is more likely that the 1630 to 1640 is a typo and that they arrived in 1730 to 1740 a full hundred years later and at a time much more consistent with Scots-Irish migration to the colonies.
So, I would say that the language is faulty and that going back from what you know and can prove about this family would be a better use of your time. The Bedford history can provide clues but it appears to have problems.

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