Thursday, April 4, 2019

Treasure Chest Thursday - 1751 Death of Melatiah Metcalf in Keene, New Hampshire

It's Treasure Chest Thursday - a chance to look in my digital image files to see what treasures I can find for my family history and genealogy musings.

The treasure today is the 1751 death record of Melatiah Metcalf in the New Hampshire Deaths and Disinterments database:

The extracted data from this record is:

*  Name:  Melatiah Metcalf
*  Place of Death:  Keene, N.H.
*  Date of Death:  Dec. 30, 1751
*  Age:  46 years
*  Sex:  F[emale]
*  Married, Single, Widowed, Divorced:  M[arried]
*  Cause of Death:  Wife of Capt. Michael Metcalf

The source citation for this record is:

"New Hampshire, Death and Disinterment Records, 1754-1947," indexed database and digital images, (, Deaths > Index to deaths, early to 1900 > Morse - Nichols, image 2529 of 4992, Melatiah Metcalf entry.

This is a Derivative Source record, with Primary Information and Direct Evidence of the name, death date, death place, and spouse's name.  The original source was probably a handwritten Keene, New Hampshire town record that is no longer available.  In the early 1900s, the vital records in the New Hampshire town records were transferred to these cards by the town clerks, and assembled in a State of New Hampshire database. 

Melatiah (Hamant) Metcalf (1704-1751) was the daughter of Timothy and Melatiah (Clark) Hamant of Medfield, Massachusetts.  She married Michael Metcalf (1706-1771) in 1728 in Medway, Massachusetts.    They are my 6th great-grandparents, through their son Burgess Metcalf (1741-1816).


Copyright (c) 2019, Randall J. Seaver

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1 comment:

goneresearching said...

A few comments regarding your post.

1. This is technically a Death Index Card not a Death Record. Similar to how one wouldn't call a soundex index card a census page.

2. In teaching genealogy we remind everyone not to stop at the index -- an index is a tool not the ending place -- there could be more in the original record that is being indexed. In the case of town records you may find information on a whole family entered together on the page, or it might just be entries recorded as events occurred. They're often mixed among the town meeting records rather than recorded it separate books.

3. You made an assumption that the original record does not exist. Just check the FamilySearch Catalog and you'll see that the town's vital records were microfilmed.

A lot of early New Hampshire records are digitized but are locked (indicated by the key above the camera) and must be viewed at the Family History Library, a local Family History Center, or a Family History Library affiliate location.

As with a lot of New England town records, you have to analyze the images of the books you are viewing. Does this book and the handwriting in it look like it could be original to the time or does it appear to be a handwritten copy of an earlier book. (One clue is the handwriting appears more modern and does not change like it would as different clerks take on the job.) Sometimes checking the first few pages of the book will yield an answer if it a copy book. Even if the book is a handwritten copy, don't assume the original is not sitting in an archive or library or a town's vault or storage area.

New Hampshire did a lot of handwritten copies of its town records called the state copy, but you will find original books out there. So don't stop at the index or even the published New Hampshire State Papers -- track down those original records that are referenced. Also remember some towns/counties were part of Massachusetts and records can be found under Old Essex County in Massachusetts, and some other places.