The “Massachusetts, Town Clerk, Vital and Town Records, 1627-2001” 1 database on familysearch.org was recently updated. Since my ancestor, Samuel Stratton had lived in Watertown, Massachusetts and owned land in Concord, I ended up looking for Strattons in Concord. While browsing the death records I found the following page. (a transcription follows)
Judah Stratton Son of Samuel & Mary Mar 11, 1667/8
John Stratton Son of Saml & Mary June 9, 1670
John Stratton Son of Saml & Mary Apr 29, 1672
Mary Stratton Wife of Samuel Oct 27, 1674
Joseph Stratton Son of Saml & Hannah Dec 9, 1693
Samuel Stratton Hus of Hannah (deceased) Dec 5, 1707
Samuel Stratton Son of Saml & Ruth Jan 28, 1715/6
Samuel Stratton Hus of Elizabeth Nov 30, 1717
Mary Stratton Dau of Saml & Ruth Jan 5, 1717/8
Sarah Stratton Dau of Saml & Sarah Feb 3, 1722/3
Samuel Stratton Hus of Ruth Oct 11, 1726
This page demonstrates problems that are encountered while researching ancestors: Name Abbreviations, Same Names, Multiple Spouses, Children with same name, and Double Dates.
Name Abbreviations Many names were written in a shorten form: Wm for William, Jas for James, Saml for Samuel, and Jno for John or Jonathan. In the image above the l in Saml for Samuel is raised and underlined. I haven’t ben able to find that symbol or equivalent on the computer.
Same Name Samuel & Mary, Samuel & Hannah, Samuel & Ruth, and Samuel & Sarah... How many men named Samuel Stratton are there? The first Samuel Stratton in Massachusetts had three sons with one named Samuel. Each of those sons had a son named Samuel. Keeping track of those Samuels can be a big puzzle. There were at least fourteen Samuels in the first five generation in the Watertown and Concord region.
Multiple Spouses One Samuel Stratton married Mary and when she died he married Hannah. He had children with both wives. That particular Samuel shows up in six of the entries.
Children with the same name As I was getting ready to post this blog I noticed that my cousin, Rick Platt2, had posted this same issue on his blog earlier today. If a child died then it wasn’t uncommon to name a later child with the same name. In the document above there are two John Strattons with death dates two years apart. That is not a mistake but rather two different boys. One died before the second was born. (A few generations later my Mary Stratton Fox had a son, Chester who died two weeks after his brother was born. The new son was baptized as Chester.)
Double Dates The first day of the year used to be March 25. In 1582 the calendar was adjusted in part of the world but not in England and its colonis. It wasn’t until 1752 that the colonies came into compliance with the current calendar. Consequently after 1752 when we write dates between Jan 1 and Mar 24 from the earlier time period we should write them like Jan 19, 1707/8. It can be a little confusing.
The first two sections on the following webpage has a good explanation of the Double Dates problem. http://usgenweb.org/research/calendar.shtml
1. "Massachusetts, Town Clerk, Vital and Towns Records, 1627-2001." Images. FamilySearch. https://familysearch.org : accessed 2013