Wednesday, April 13, 2016’s 12 Months of Fascinating Family Finds -- March 2016: Susanne's Kirby Documents

I am participating in the "12 Months of Fascinating Family Finds" contest - see the blog post’s 12 Months of Fascinating Family Finds Challenge for details.

My most fascinating family find from March 2016 was:  Receiving the Kirby documents from my distant Kirby cousin, Susanne.

The genealogy world is composed of some really - really! - wonderful people who don't mind sharing records, documents, photographs and more that they have in their possession.

One of them is Susanne Nisbet of Wake Forest, North Carolina.  She found the Ichabod Kirby profile on WikiTree ( and wrote this note in a private message:

"I am in possession of original papers dealing with births, deaths marriages, etc. of Ichabod Kirby Jr. and Sr., David Kirby, Robert Kirby, Rachel Allen and her father and mother, Joseph Allen and Rachel (Wait ?). Included in my collection is the record of the marriage of Ichabod Kirby to Rachel Allen on "this first day of the first month called March and in the year according to the English account one thousand seaven hundred and thirty two or three" - It is signed by those who witnessed the event. These papers - among others - were in a leather - covered box shaped like a domed trunk and lined with newspaper dated 1710."

Susanne is a 7th great-granddaughter of Ichabod and Rachel (Allen) Kirby and I am a 6th great-grandson, so we are 7th cousins once removed.  

In a subsequent email, Susanne explained how she came into possession of them.  She wrote:

"When my Grandmother could no longer live by herself, she moved in with my Mother for 24/7 care.  When she died, my Mother found two shoebox-size boxes with her belongings, both full of tax receipts, wills, settlements of wills (including Ichabod), lists of births and deaths, etc.  The oldest were in the domed box I described."

Susanne offered photographs of these documents to me, and very kindly permitted me to use them in my blog and family tree, and has provided 28 images to date of wonderful material, including the 1733 marriage agreement between Ichabod Kirby and Rachel Allen.  

I have been sharing them with the genealogy world in my blog posts, including:

I expect to add more blog posts about this collection of wonderful materials, including a mystery about a will that is not in the Bristol County, Massachusetts estate files on FHL microfilms or on Ancestry's probate collection.

In each of these posts, I have transcribed the document, provided a source citation for the specific document, and discussed the content of the document as it relates to my genealogy research.

Some of the information in these documents is unique - I have not found Ichabod Kirby's birth date or Rachel (Allen) Kirby's death date in any other document.  Some of the probate record documents are not in the estate files on FHL microfilm for Ichabod or David Kirby.

Ichabod and Rachel (Allen) Kirby are my 6th great-grandparents, and David and Martha (Sowle) Kirby are my fifth great-grandparents. 

There is a lesson here - if you put your family history information online (in this case, the Ichabod Kirby profile on WikiTree), then wonderful people with a sense of history and some ancient records may find your family tree contribution and contact you.  Cousin bait works!!!

The best part of all of this is that Susanne found a distant cousin and shared our mutual family history!  Thank you to Susanne for her kindness, and to her mother, grandmother and earlier ancestors back to the 18th century Kirby family for saving them.  


Copyright (c) 2016, Randall J. Seaver

Please comment on this post on the website by clicking the URL above and then the "Comments" link at the bottom of each post.  Share it on Twitter, Facebook, Google+ or Pinterest using the icons below.  Or contact me by email at

No comments: