Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Committing Genealogy Fun - Part 2

In yesterday's post, Committing Genealogy Fun - Helping a Correspondent, I found the parents of a Lola Seaver who was not in my Seaver database.  George F. and Hannah R. (Ham) Seaver were the parents of Lola M. Seaver and William H. Seaver (and three other children).

At the end of the post, I found that George F. Seaver had died in 1902 in Dover, Strafford, New Hampshire.  The death record indicated that his parents were John D. Seaver and Sarah Maddox.  They were not in my database, either.  I needed to do more research.  Here is what I found:

1)  Since George was born in 1835, in either Maine or New Hampshire, he may have been with his parents John and Sarah in the 1850 U.S. Census.  A search on for Geo* Se*ver born between 1834-1838 produced 11 matches.  The last one was for a George Traver (but someone had added a correction to the index as George Seaver), age 14, born in New Hampshire, enumerated in Portsmouth, Rockingham, New Hampshire (1850 United States Federal Census, Population Schedule, Rockingham County, New Hampshire, Portsmouth: Page 51A, Family #755, John Seaver (Indexed as Traver) household; online image, (, citing National Archives Microfilm Publication M432, Roll 437).

Is this my guy?

The surname looks like Seaver rather than Traver.  The father is John (age 50), the mother is Sarah (age 47), and the children are Ellen (age 16), George (age 14) and John (age 12), all born in New Hampshire.

At this point, I don't know if this is the right family, but it is a real possibility.  More searching through the George Seaver list reveals no other parents named John and Sarah.  More searches with wild cards for the surname (Sever, Se*ers, S*ver*, Lev*, Leav*, etc.) finds no other George guys with parents John and Sarah.

I decided to track down this particular John Seaver.  I now had an approximate birth year of 1800 in New Hampshire.

2)  A check of the New Hampshire Marriage records on FamilySearch did not find a marriage for John Seaver and Sarah Maddox.  However, a search in the Maine Marriages on FamilySearch turned up their marriage on 1 March 1833 in Alfred, York, Maine (not too far from Portsmouth!).  There was no age, birth place or parents names provided on the record ("Maine Marriages, 1771-1907," online database, FamilySearch (, John Seaver and Sarah Maddox entry).

3)  A search of the New Hampshire Death records on FamilySearch found a death record for John Seaver on 18 April 1861 in Portsmouth, Rockingham, New Hampshire ("New Hampshire Death Records, 1654-1947," online database, FamilySearch International (, 2010. citing New Hampshire Bureau of Vital Records and Health Statistics. “Death certificates, 1901-1937," "New Hampshire Statewide Death Records, 1938-1947," "New Hampshire Statewide Death Records Early to 1900." Bureau of Vital Records, Concord. FHL microfilm. Family History Library, Salt Lake City, Utah., John Seaver entry.)

The information here is:

Name:  John Seaver
Place of Death: Portsmouth
Date of death:  Apl. 16 1861
Age: Years 62, Months, 8, Days, 3
Place of birth:  Worcester, Mass.
Sex: Male
Color: White
Married, Single, widowed or divorced:  Married
Occupation:  Laborer
Cause of Death: Typhoid Fever
Name of Father: John Seaver
Maiden Name of Mother: Persis
Birthplace of Father: Holden, Mass.
Birthplace of Mother: Holden, Mass.

The age at death works out to a birth date of 13 August 1798.  This record provides a birthplace and parents names for this John Seaver.

4)  A check of my database shows that I have no John Seaver born in 1798 in Worcester, or anywhere in Worcester County.  A check of my database shows that I have no John Seaver born in Holden, Massachusetts either.  I do have several Persis females that married Seaver, however.

One of them is Persis Smith (born 1766 in Worcester) who married 8 December 1791 in Holden, Massachusetts to Nathan Seaver (born 1769 in Westborough, Mass.).  Nathan is the son of Moses and Lucy (Carril) Seaver, who had 8 children between 1759 and 1779 in Framingham, Hopkinton, Westborough and Worcester.  Ephraim Seaver (1767-1834) married in 1803 and had two children in Shrewsbury.  Edward Seaver (1770-????) married in 1793 and had 7 children between 1794 and 1803, including one in January, 1798.  Moses Seaver resided in Shrewsbury in the 1800 U.S. census and died there in 1809.

This family group is one of two Seaver family groups that resided in this part of Worcester County.  Nathan Seaver and Edward Seaver both resided in Worcester in the 1800 U.S. Census, and Nathan Sever resided there in the 1810 U.S. Census.  In the 1810 Census, Nathan had 4 male children under age 16.  The known male children of Nathan are Alexander (born ca 1785), Moses (born ca 1796), and Nathan (born 1800).  There is one more young male in the census record than in the known male children.

A John Seaver, born in 1798, fits neatly into this family, doesn't he?  He doesn't fit into the Ephraim or Edward Seaver families.

So where do I go from here?  I have an evidence problem - John D. Seaver's death record says his father is John Seaver born in Holden and his mother is Persis born in Holden.  If this is the right family, then his father was Nathan rather than John.  A quandary!

5)  My present conclusion is to leave this as an unattached person in my database, with sufficient notes to document my suspicions about his parentage.

The good news is that I've been able to add two more generations to my correspondent's Seaver lineage.  Another bit of good news is that I've made good progress on the mysterious John Seaver of Portsmouth, New Hampshire.  I've known about him for twenty years, and finally have some more information about him.

What would you do about this research problem?  What records should I try to find that might help me resolve this problem?

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copyright (c) 2012, Randall J. Seaver

1 comment:

Michael Hait said...

Can't say for sure from the limited evidence you have at this point, but someone named "Jonathan" could have been called "John" in one record and "Nathan" in another.

Of course, since the death record that provides the name of John's father was created 60+ years after John's birth, it is also possible that the informant only knew John's mother, and not John's father, and simply guessed the name.

Needless to say, more evidence is definitely needed.