Thursday, July 17, 2014

Seavers in the News - Post 5: Finding James T. Seaver in Massachusetts Vital Records

While searching for interesting tidbits in databases about Seaver persons, I ran across an article concerning James T. Seaver, Acting Master of the U.S. Steamer Philippi in the Civil War.  There were two reports - the first is the letter to the Secretary of War by Rear Admiral D.G. Farragut, which is transcribed in Seavers in the News - James T. Seaver, Master of a Civil War Vessel - Post 1, and the second was the report of James T. Seaver about this incident, shown in Post 2.  I found an article in a book about the court-martial of James and wrote about it in Seavers in the News -- James T. Seaver, Master of a Civil War Vessel - Post 3.

The court-martial apparently ended the Naval career of James T. Seaver.  Now I wondered if he had a family, and who his parents were.  The answers first came in the U.S. Census - see 
Seavers in the News - Post 4: Finding James T. Seaver in the U.S. Census.

From the census records, James T. Seaver was born in about 1832 in Massachusetts, and was married to Elizabeth D., born about 1830 in Massachusetts.  They had at least one child, James H. Seaver, born about 1859.

I went searching for birth, marriage and death records for James T. Seaver in Massachusetts records on

1)  I found no birth record for a James T. Seaver born about 1832.  This is not an unusual finding, only a certain percentage, perhaps 40 to 60%, of births in Massachusetts were recorded in town records in the 1830s.  State Registration was started in 1841.

2)  A marriage record for James T. Seaver and Elizabeth D. Smith was found in the Massachusetts Marriage Records, 1840-1915 database on

James G. Seaver and Elizabeth D. Smith were married on 30 December 1857 in Gloucester, Essex County, Massachusetts by Rev. E.M. Bacon, pastor of First Church of Essex.  The extracted information for them includes:

*  James G. Seaver - resident of Gloucester, age 26, a mariner, born in Boston, Mass., parents James N. and Racheal B. Seaver, first marriage
*  Elizabeth D. Smith - resident of Gloucester, age 28, born in Waltham, parents are Isaac and Elizabeth D. Smith, first marriage

3)  There is a death record for James T. Seaver in the Massachusetts Death Records, 1840-1915 on

James T. Seaver died on 8 April 1895 in Gloucester, Essex County, Massachusetts.  The information extracted from this record includes:

*  James T. Seaver - male, married, age at death is 63 years, 1 month, 6 days, cause of death was paralysis and a severe cold, residence Gloucester, occupation Retired, place of birth Boston, parents names James H. and Racheal B. Bates, parents birthplace Boston.

From this record, a calculated birth date can be obtained as 2 March 1832 in Boston, Massachusetts.

4)  I found Elizabeth D. (Smith) Seaver's death record in the same database:

Elizabeth D. (m.n. Smith) Seaver died 9 May 1899 in Rowley, Essex County, Massachusetts.  The extracted information includes:

*  Elizabeth D. (m.n. Smith) Seaver - female, widow, age at death 70 years, 7 months, cause of death was Heart and Kidney disease, resides and is buried in Gloucester, died in Rowley, occupation housekeeper, born in Waltham, parents names were Isaac and Elizabeth Davis, both born in Gloucester.

So Elizabeth D. Smith, daughter of Isaac A. Smith and Elizabeth Davis, was born about 9 October 1828 in Waltham, Middlesex County, Massachusetts.  

5)  There is a birth record for the son of James T. Seaver and Elizabeth D. Smith in the Massachusetts Birth Records, 1840-1915 on

James Hovey Seaver was born 15 May 1859 in Chelsea, Massachusetts.  The extracted information from this record is:

*  James Hovey Seaver - parents names Jas. Thos. and Elizabeth D., father's occupation Mariner, father's birthplace Boston, mother's birthplace Waltham.

This record provides the father's middle name - Thomas.  There is also a potential clue for his ancestry - Hovey is the child's middle name, and may be a surname of one of his grandparents or great-grandparents, or perhaps a family friend.

I also checked for other Seaver births, with parents James and Elizabeth, born in Massachusetts, to see if perhaps James and Elizabeth had another child, who perhaps was born between, and died between, census enumerations.  I found none.

6)  Now I know that mariner James T. Seaver's parents were James H. Seaver (I think, perhaps James N.) and Racheal B. (Bates) Seaver.  i will search for records of them in the next post.  My goal is, of course, to connect James T. Seaver to my Seaver surname database and determine if he is related to me.

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Copyright (c) 2014, Randall J. Seaver

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