Saturday, April 12, 2014

Dear MYRTLE's Ragu Challenge: 3-2-1 CITE!

To illustrate the way a variety of documents, correctly cited, will support our research, we are challenged by describe an event in two paragraphs with three sources.  As my research has recently focused on one of the early families of Erving, MA, I choose to evaluate Oliver Moore's residence as a land holder.  Was he a speculator, or did he establish a home in Erving?

The Moores were a prominent family of Southington, Connecticut mentioned in many published histories, which take the family back to the 1600s and to England before that.  Written genealogies are tempting to absorb into our research in their entirety.  They have been published, after all.  We're not talking about the internet here. No shaking leaves. None of the reports that I have uncovered, including the published History of Erving from 1983, acknowledges Oliver Moore as an early settler.  "Early" is a relative term in this town that was not incorporated until 1838.

                          Under 5 - 1 0- 15 - 20 - 30 - 40 - 50 - 60 - 70 - 80 - 90    5-10 -15-20-30-40

The first source for Oliver's residence is the 1840 Federal Census of Erving 1.  As only the Head of Household is listed on the schedule, the ages of the remaining family members are analyzed based on the age categories given.  They match what has been published about his family in Connecticut fairly well:  Oliver, born in 1796 would have been 44; son James born in 1820 would have been 20; another male is listed aged 20-30 who could have been a brother or a hired man; Oliver's wife Abigail would have been 41; and their two daughters born in 1834 and 1838 would have been under 10, although both are listed in the 5 -10 category.  Secondly, the 1838 deed from Lucius Clarke for land on the north side of the Millers River in Erving listed Oliver as "of Erving's Grant." 2 He had purchased land in Wendell in 1838, but had relatively few other transactions.  They included known family members.  Only one Oliver Moore was in the deed indices until hs grandson came along. And thirdly, a transcription of obituaries in CT states that Oliver's daughter Nancy died in Erving in 1838. 3  

When their daughter Caroline died in 1842, the family had returned to Connecticut, based on her death record. More work will narrow the window that he lived in Massachusetts, but that is not for this challenge. Oliver's son James remained in Erving and prospered. That is another story. There is something very satisfying about primary research! 


 1   Year: 1840; Census Place: Erving, Franklin, Massachusetts; Roll: 183; Page: 39; Image: 86; Family History Library Film: 1840 United States Federal Census [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Operations, Inc., 2010. Images reproduced by FamilySearch.

2   Franklin County Registry of Deeds, Greenfield, MA, Book 106, Page 213

3 Connecticut, Hale Cemetery Inscriptions and Newspaper Notices, 1629-1934 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Operations, Inc., 2012.
Original data: The Charles R. Hale CollectionHale Collection of Connecticut Cemetery Inscriptions. Hartford, Connecticut: Connecticut State Library.

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