Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Down the Rabbit Trail - the Asa Seaver (1797-????) Family

Every so often I am asked to help someone with a Daughters of the American Revolution (DAR) application for a Seaver descendant, usually with New England ancestry.

The most recent request was for information for the Asa Seaver (1797-????) family.  He was the son of Joshua and Esther (Russell) Seaver  of Hillsborough County, New Hampshire, per Brookline N.H. town records.  He married Abigail Turner (?) before 1820, and had at least five children between 1820 and 1830.  Then Asa Seaver disappears, and my correspondent, and myself, have found no trace of him in New England records.

1)  I needed to figure out how I had Asa and his family in my database, so I dug out my copy of the typescript by Jesse Montgomery Seaver, titled The Seaver Genealogy, published in 1924 (I found it first on an FHL microfilm).  In 1900, another Seaver researcher transcribed it, and sent out a PDF of it to several Seaver/Sever researchers.

Asa Seaver is #604 in the typescript - here is an image of the page:


There is not much information about Asa or his wife Abigail Turner; no birth date, marriage date or death dates.  Five children are listed with birth years, and some more information, for three of the children.

From past experience, I know that Jesse Montgomery Seaver contacted every Seaver person by mail and telephone that  he could find in the years (decades) before he published his typescript.  He received personal letters, Bible page transcripts, record summaries, gravestone inscriptions, etc. from his correspondents.  In some cases, Jesse's typescript is the only resource I have for Seaver families.  Asa Seaver was one of those.

The only definite record that I have found online for Asa and Abigail Seaver are their 15 January 1819 marriage record in Durham, Strafford County, New Hampshire.  They are listed as Asa Seaver and Abigail Turner in the History of the Town of Durham, N.H. on Google Books.

Another possible record is the 1830 U.S. Census record for a family in Somersworth, Strafford County, New Hampshire headed by an Abigail Seaver (aged 30-39) with four children between the ages of 5 and 14.  However, those ages don't fit the ages in the Seaver typescript, so this may not be the same Abigail Seaver.

There are no census records for Asa at all, from 1820 to 1880, and none for Abigail other than the one for 1830.  Of course, she may have married again.

My correspondent was especially interested in proving that Robert Russell Seaver was the son of Asa and Abigail Seaver.

2)  I had already found records for Robert Russell Seaver (1820-1891) and Elizabeth E. Seaver (1822-????), children of Asa and Abigail (Turner) Seaver.  Did they hold clues that identify anything about Asa and Abigail?  Here are the records I found for the children:

*  A marriage record of Russell R. Seaver of Malden and Susan C. Ayers in Medford, Massachusetts on 11 April 1846 was found.  No parents names were mentioned.  

*  The death record of Russell Seaver on 6 May 1891 in Wakefield, Massachusetts was found in the Massachusetts Vital Records, 1841-1910 collection on www.AmericanAncestors.  This record provided this information:

**  Age 70-8-17 at death, which calculates to a birth date of 19 August 1820.
**  Birthplace of Rochester, Strafford County, New Hampshire.
**  Parents names of Robert A. and Abigail
**  Birthplaces of parents of Brookline N.H. and Durham N.H.

*  No marriage record of Elizabeth E. Seaver and Benjamin Tarbox was found in New England records on Ancestry, FamilySearch or AmericanAncestors.  However, birth records for two of the Tarbox children were found in the 1850-1860 time frame, which listed Elizabeth's birth place as Rochester, Strafford County, New Hampshire.

*  A death record for Elisabeth E. (Seaver) Tarbox on 25 March 1866 in Boston was found in the Massachusetts Vital Records, 1841-=1910 collection, which provided this information:

**  Age 43-6-9 at death, which calculates to a birth date of 16 June 1822.
**  Birthplace of Rochester, Strafford County, New Hampshire.
**  Parents names of Asa and Abigail
**  Birthplaces of parents of Durham, N.H. for both.

*  A death record for Sophronia A. Seaver on 2 February 1913 in Malden, Massachusetts was found in the Massachusetts Vital Records, 1911-1915 collection on www.AmericanAncestors.org:


The death record provides this information:

**  Age 88-1 at death, which calculates to about January 1825.
**  Birthplace of Dover, Strafford County, New Hampshire
**  Parents names are Asa Seaver and Abigail Furness
**  Parents birthplaces are both Somersworth, Strafford County, New Hampshire.
**  The informant was Frank M. Tarbox, one of the children of Benjamin and Elizabeth E. (Seaver) Tarbox.  

*  I found no records whatsoever for the last two children of Asa and Abigail - Charles A. Seaver and Susan Seaver.

3)  In trying to evaluate the record information collected, there are discrepancies (as there almost always are in disparate records).  They include:

*  Robert Russell Seaver's name - the Seaver transcript called him Robert Russell Seaver, but his marriage record says Russell R. and his death record indicates Russell.  The 1850, 1860, 1870 and 1880 census records also called him Russell.  The "Robert Russell" may have come from Jesse Seaver's correspondence with a family member.

*  Names of the parents of Russell, Elizabeth and Sophronia:  Jesse Seaver's typescript says Asa Seaver and Abigail Turner.  Russell's says Robert A., Elizabeth's says Asa and Abigail, and Sophronia names them as Asa Seaver and Abigail Furness.   I have no explanation for the Robert A. - perhaps Asa was Robert Asa or Asa Robert.

*  Birthplaces of Asa Seaver:  Russell's record says Brookline, Elizabeth's says Durham, N.H., and Sophornia's says Somersworth, N.H.  Dover, Rochester, Durham and Somersworth are all within a 5-10 mile radius in Strafford County, N.H.

4)  So I've been able to verify, and add, quite a bit of information to the Asa Seaver family biography in the Jesse Seaver typescript.

Unfortunately, I have not been able to help my correspondent find a clear link of Robert Russell Seaver to Asa and Abigail (Furness) Seaver.  If Russell's death record had said his father was Asa, then that might be sufficient.  But it doesn't say that!  My guess is that the correspondents of Jesse Seaver had some family records that provided the information that Jesse used in his typescript.

I have recommended to my correspondent to look for guardianship and probate records for Asa and Abigail Seaver in several New Hampshire counties, and for land records in both New Hampshire and Massachusetts.

5)  Where else would you recommend searching?

The URL for this post is:  http://www.geneamusings.com/2014/09/down-rabbit-trail-asa-seaver-1797-family.html

Copyright (c) 2014, Randall J. Seaver


1 comment:

Michael Stephens said...

I take it that you've looked for Robert A. in the census?
Mike