Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Attacking a Seaver Relationship Problem - Parents of Joseph T. Seaver (1805-????)

I received an email last week from a Seaver person asking for information about bridging the gap between his third great-grandfather, Joseph T. Seaver (1805-????) to Robert Seaver (1608-1683), the immigrant to Roxbury, Massachusetts Bay Colony in 1634.

1)  I've been unable to connect Joseph T. Seaver to a set of parents due to a lack of vital records or any other documentation.  The only records I have of Joseph T. Seaver are:

*  His marriage on 19 June 1830 in Freetown, Massachusetts to Betsey N. Davis (1810-1868), who died in Taunton.

*  His 1840 U.S. Census entry in Taunton, Massachusetts with one free white male aged 5 to 10, one free white male aged 30 to 40,  and one free white female aged 30 to 40.

*  In the 1850 U.S. Census, Betsey Seaver and her son Joseph N. Seaver are residing in Taunton.  Joseph T. Seaver may have died before 1850.  However, there is no death record for him in the Massachusetts Vital Records databases.

There is a birth record for one child, Joseph Nelson Seaver (1831-1907) in Taunton, Massachusetts.  His marriage and death records in Massachusetts Vital Records name his parents as Joseph T. Seaver and Betsey Davis.  He married Rebecca Frazier Hathaway (1839-1881) in 1854, and they had 10 children.  After Rebecca died, he married Betsy S. Johnson in 1883 and had five more children.

I have looked for death records of Joseph T. Seaver in all of the Massachusetts vital records online at Ancestry.com, FamilySearch.org and AmericanAncestors.org without success.  I have searched the Massachusetts Deeds on FamilySearch.org for any entries for Joseph T. Seaver (or Sever) in Bristol and Plymouth Counties without success.

2)  Based on all of my Seaver/Sever research, I have identified two families residing in Bristol County in the 1800 to 1810 time frame who might be the parents of Joseph T. Seaver:

1)  John Sever (1771-1853) and Lydia Porter (1768-1859), married before 1797, with known children John (1797-1806), Benjamin (1798-1852), Mary (1800-????), and Sally (1803-1870).  Lydia would be age 37 in 1805, and there are no other known children born after 1803. A land deed or probate record for either John or Lydia (since she survived John) may list their children.

2)  Benjamin Sever (1777-????) and Mary Porter (1777-????), married in 1803.  Their known children were Margaret (1809-????), twin sons (1813-1813), Mary (1815-????), and James (1817-????).  In 1805, Mary would have been age 28 and she and Benjamin had been married for over one year and could have been the parents of Joseph T. Seaver.

There are other families in Bristol County, and more in Plymouth County, in the 1800-1810 time frame, but the two above are the best candidates who were actively having children in the time frame and for which there is a "hole" in the birth order.

3)  Then I checked the FamilySearch Family Tree - and saw that it lists Joseph T. Seaver's parents as John and Lydia (Porter) Seaver.  That's encouraging, but is their a source for it?  Well, no...

So I left a Discussion item on Joseph's profile, saying:

"What evidence do you have that Joseph T. Seaver's parents were John Seaver and Lydia Porter? I agree that they are possible parents, but I have not found any records that name Joseph before his 1830 marriage to Betsey Davis. Did John or Lydia leave a probate record? "

4) What to do next: I recalled that I had looked for Bristol County Probate Records for Seaver many years ago, having reviewed the FHL microfilm for the Index of Probate Records. I found those pieces of paper in a notebook (the paper system works!) and see that there are probate records for John Seaver:

* Will: Vol. 99 Page 189 (1852-1853)
* Inventory: Vol. 99, page 198
* Account: Vol. 101, page 82
* Bond: Vol. 173, page 200
* Citation: Vol. 178, page 393.

I will view the microfilms for Probate records 1687-1916; index, 1687-1926 [Bristol county, Massachusetts] the next time I visit the Family History Library.

It appears that the full probate packet may be on microfilm at the Family History Library, so I will view Bristol County (Mass.) probate records, 1690-1881 also. The probate packet for John Seaver is probably in FHL US/CAN microfilm 579917 for surnames Seaman to Selney.

So this task goes onto my To-Do list for the FHL, and perhaps I can solve a long-lasting Seaver mystery.

5) As part of the effort on FamilySearch Family Tree, I found that two of the children of Joseph Nelson Seaver and Rebecca Frazier Hathaway, had been compressed into one person named Albert Nelson Seaver. Alton Nelson Seaver and Albert Nelson Seaver were twins born on 9 January 1862 in Wareham, Massachusetts. In the Family Tree, I had to disconnect Albert from Alton's wife and the children of Alton's wife, then create Alton Nelson Seaver as a child of Joseph N. and Rebecca, and then attach his two wives and five children to him. That took awhile (about two hours to get it right), but I think it's right now, and I hope their descendants appreciate it!

6) In the mean time, I took the opportunity to update him and to send two narrative reports to my Seaver correspondent, and asked him to add or correct information for his family line.

The URL for this post is: http://www.geneamusings.com/2014/10/attacking-seaver-relationship-problem.html

Copyright (c) 2014, Randall J. Seaver


Geolover said...

The problem might benefit from casting the net a bit wider. A lot of folks went to Mass. from Canada to work in textile mills and related enterprises. What were occupations of the persons living in the widow's neighborhood in 1850 and 1860?

T said...

What do you do when you have notified other genealogists that there is an error in published research but they won't 1) believe you or 2) change their data? I can bury anyone you name with data and documents but "this is what grandma's grandma told her so I know it's right".