Friday, June 18, 2010

Finding Nathaniel Wade's Wife's Name Online - Post 2

In the post Nathaniel Wade (1709-1754) married Ruth (who?) in 1731? I described my evidence and conclusions that the maiden name of Ruth was Hawkins rather than Hopkins, which appeared in Volume 3 of James Arnold's Vital Records of Rhode Island, 1636-1850.

This work by James Arnold is a set of 21 volumes that encompasses many town records (but not all), some historical newspapers, and other Rhode Island resources. The full set of these red-covered books are on the shelves of many libraries across the country. I've used them many times at the San Diego Family History Center.

I wondered if they were online, so I Googled ["vital records of rhode island" arnold] and found that there are no volumes of this work on Google Books. At least some of them are on the Internet Archive. [When I try to access Internet Archive files, my Internet Explorer freezes up and I end up having to shut IE down. Anyone else have that problem?] There does not appear to be another free website with all of the book volumes online.

I am going to search for the marriage of Nathaniel Wade to Ruth in all of the sites mentioned below.

There is one free database site with information about Nathaniel Wade, but without online images, and without any reference to the Arnold volumes. That site is the LDS FamilySearch site.

The "classic" site at has entries for the marriage of Nathaniel Wade and Ruth Hopkins in the Pedigree Resource File (31 entries for Nathaniel Wade, 4 with Ruth Hopkins, 22 with Ruth Hawkins, 4 for Ruth Howkins, and 1 for Ruth without a surname). All of these records were submitted by LDS members after 1990 (if I recall correctly). Here is a screen shot for one of the entries:

In the LDS International Genealogical Index, there are 7 entries for the Nathaniel Wade born in 1709 (2 name Ruth Hawkins, 5 name Ruth Hopkins). All of these records were submitted by LDS members - I didn't find one with a source of the Scituate RI records. A screen shot from one of the entries with a microfilm number (it's for LDS sealings of the dead - poor Nathaniel, he's sealed to the wrong person):

The LDS Ancestral File has only one entry for Nathaniel Wade. The screen shot is below:

On this record, Nathaniel is listed as being married to Ruth Hopkins on 26 June 1731 in Providence and to Ruth Hawkins on 26 June 1731 with no town named. There were four submissions for Nathaniel Wade. The Ruth Hopkins information lists no parents for her and all six children. The Ruth Hawkins information lists her parents but no children.

This study points out the problems with the large mass of classic LDS FamilySearch records - there are many errors. But there are many researchers that got it right too! Perhaps the new Family Tree database will get it right and attach Ruth Hawkins as the wife of Nathaniel Wade.

I checked the LDS FamilySearch Record Search site for Nathaniel Wade records, and this was the list of matches:

There is a Rhode Island Marriages database, but the only Nathaniel Wade listed is not the right marriage.

In online family trees, there are 28 entries in the Rootsweb WorldConnect database for Nathaniel Wade born ca 1709 - 20 list Ruth Hawkins, 2 list Ruth Hopkins, 4 list both Hawkins and Hopkins, and 2 list no spouse. I'm not going to go into all of the other online family trees (e.g., Ancestry Member Trees, MyHeritage, Geni, etc.). My guess is that they will have both Hawkins and Hopkins for Ruth's surname.

Other genealogy websites with the marriage of Nathaniel Wade include:

* the Pane-Joyce Genealogy site - lists Ruth Hawkins
* the Hopkins Clearing House RI Marriages pages - lists Ruth Hopkins
* an RIGENWEB essage board post by Bonnie that says she has an image from the original Scituate town records book - says Ruth Hawkins
* David Conover's Famous Cousins page - lists Ruth Hawkins as spouse, but notes she was also known as Ruth Hopkins.
* the Lineage Book of Hereditary Order of Colonial Governors - lists her as Ruth (Hopkins) Hawkins
* a page for Descendants of Eleazer Arnold - lists her as Ruth Hawkins

The next post will display some of the results of a search for the marriage of Nathaniel Wade and Ruth from three commercial websites.

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