for CT TOWNS: TIPS
Things I learned about the Barbour Collection that you may need to know:
1. Not everyone made it into the town records. I've found towns in which I was almost positive my ancestors were b, m and d, but they weren't in the Barbour Collection. Two possibilities: I could be wrong, or 2. The records weren't recorded by the town. They might be in Church records, land records, who-knows-what-else records, but not the Barbour. Some records may have been lost in fires and floods, too, that's always a possibility.
2. Name spellings tended to be erratic. If the town recorder person didn't spell well, a person's name could be trashed. I've seen instances in which a girl's name was spelled one way at birth, then another way for her marriage. Some of them are pretty funny. So, bear in mind the spelling ability of the person who wrote it down. Even if a family member was the scribe, he or she may have heard the name more than he/she saw it, so they made their best guess.
3. Ages. In records that tell how old a father and mother were at the birth of their children, many, many times you know it's all messed up. Good forinstance, from Wethersfield:
John, son Thomas, blacksmith, age 40, b Ireland, & Bridget, age 30, b Ireland, b July 31, 1868
Michael, son Thomas, blacksmith, age 36 & Bridget, age 24, b Dec 22, 1858
Thomas, son Thomas, blacksmith, age 38 & Bridget, age 26, b Aug 6, 1860
Thomas, mechanic, age 40 & Bridget, age 38, had dau ________, b Nov 28, 1862
Thomas, blacksmith, age 42 & Bridget, age 40, had dau ________, b June 4, 1864
Thomas, blacksmith, age 44 & Bridget, age 48, had son _________, b Jan 20, 1866
Notice how the couple were 10 years apart at birth of son John, then with the birth of various children were put at 4 years apart and even 2 years apart, then, in the last entry she got to be 4 years his senior. (She may have felt 4 years older than he was after 6 childbirths, but come on!)
Maybe whoever wrote it down guessed? Bottom line: these are not very reliable.
4. HOW COULD THIS BE?!
I have seen listings that made no sense. They used to give a first name to another child if the first one they gave it to died. Common. But I've seen a couple places where the new child to receive the name received it before the first one died. HUH?! Maybe little Molly was deathly ill, but wouldn't it be a blow to have your parents give away your name while you were still using it no matter how close to death's door you might be?
Actually, I think in these listings the dates got switched.....typos, something.
Here's another forinstance where the info makes you scratch your head:
E Amelia, age 21, b & res Wethersfield, m Stephen B CHURCHILL, age 23, b & res Wethersfield, May 5, 1857, by Rev W P Aiken
E Amelia, age 32, had illeg son Levi Belden CHURCHILL, b Oct 10, 1864, father Stephen B CHURCHILL, laborer, age 36
This could be the first recorded instance in which a married man & woman gave birth to an illeg child.
Something is pretty fishy there, but I have no idea what.
USING the same couple, oddly enough, here's another:
Stephen, 12th child Stephen B, farmer, age 33 & E Amelia (BLINN), age 31, b Nov 30, 1867
Stephen B, age 23, b & res Wethersfield, m E Amelia BLINN, age 21, b & res Wethersfield, May 5, 1857, by Rev W P Aiken
This record would have us believe that E Amelia had 12 children in 10 years, including the illeg son she had in 1864. (see above). I sincerely hope this couple is not in your lineage, because someone in that family was seriously confused.
But.....if that's the way they recorded it, that's the way we read it. I know, arrrrrraggggghhhhhhh.
5. Blanks. If there is no known first name (or last name) for someone, or a date is lacking, you see a blank.______. Sometimes a birth was registerd before a name was given to a baby, too, so the data is there, but the name is a ________. Not helpful for genealogy research.
6. Jno is short for John, which only saves one letter, but I've noticed that a "John" will sometimes be called "Jno" later in the list.
7. Why were they married in THAT town??
Here's one from Wethersfield:
John, age 28, b Catharine, N.Y., res same, m Ada S GIBSON, age 23, b & res Wellsboro, Pa., Oct 11, 1865, by Rev Levi W Griswold of Sunbury, Pa.
There has to be a story behind why someone from NY and someone from PA would get married in CT. I keep picturing the descendants of this couple beating bushes all over NY and PA looking for the marriage.
HARTFORD is the City that has marriage records from other States in great abundance, as well as marriages performed for people in other counties of CT. Why Hartford? Good place to run off and elope if the family objected to the marriage? Dunno. BUT: I notice that if you look in the town(s) the couple came from, that m is not listed there, it's only listed in Hartford. So, don't just look for a marriage in the town where it would have made sense for the couple to be married IN, look around!!
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