Brick Walls

For more than 60 years, I have been engaged in extensive research putting together my family tree and have published a website listing 14 of these ancestor trees and 6 descendent charts. Along the way, I have encountered numerous "brick walls", which are genealogical research problems that seem impossible to solve. While my website includes a list of these brickwalls, I have decided to supplement it with this blog. Some of the brick walls you will read here have been resolved, while others have not. My hope is that readers will perhaps have answers or possible different solutions to the ones I have presented.

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Timothy Hall, Father of Ann Hall

Claybrooke  Many of the events described below occurred in Claybrooke, Leicestershire, England.  Claybrooke is actually two villages, Claybrooke Magna (also known as Great Claybrooke) and Claybrooke Parva (also known as Little Claybrooke).  The villages lie near the junction of Watling St. and Fosse Way, and are about 15 miles from Long Buckby.

The villages of Claybrooke Magna, Claybrooke Parva, Ullesthorpe and Wibtoft form the parish of St Peter's Church, Claybrooke.

Other sites with background information about Claybrooke include About the Claybrookes, UK Genealogy Archives, Leicestershire & Rutland Churches.

The Problem  While the names of the parents of Ann Hall are known from her baptism record (see Ann Hall Research Notes), little more has been learned about them.

Ann's father: Timothy Hall  Timothy was residing in Claybrooke parish at the time of his 1799 marriage to Ann Palmer.  The 1841 Census says he was not born in Leicestershire and that he was 60 years old, therefore was born between 1776 and 1781 (ages of adults were rounded down).

Timothy was 65 years old at the time of his 23 Aug 1842 death and 26 Aug 1842 burial, suggesting a birthdate of about 1777.  A letter, dated 25 Dec 1844, from Timothy's son-in-law Henry York describes their arrival in Canada and the death of his wife Ann (Hall) York on 24 Sep 1844 at the quarantine station on Grosse Ile, Quebec (Qu├ębec (Anglican) Travelling Mission 1844).  This letter mentions only Henry's "wifes mother, brothers and sisters", likely because Timothy had died before they left England.

The informant on Timothy's death record was Elizabeth Bassett.  Research thus far has not shown any family tie to Timothy or Ann.  The only Elizabeth Bassett in 1841 in Claybrooke was a head of household, age 60, born in Leicestershire between 1776 and 1781.  In 1851, although the age doesn't quite fit, she is probably the Elizabeth Bassett, wife of Richard, age 68, born about 1783 in East Somerton, Leicestershire.  Her occupation is listed as "char woman".

The only marriage found for Richard Bassett was to an Elizabeth Lawrence 12 Oct 1801 in Claybrooke (Family Search, from FHL film 588458).  Although Family Search has a number of baptisms from Claybrooke (including the children of Timothy and Ann Hall), none were found for the children of Richard and Elizabeth Bassett, even though the 1851 census says their children were born in Claybrooke.

Warwickshire  Northamptonshire and Warwickshire are two likely neighboring counties where Timothy might have been born.  Parish records have not been sufficiently indexed for Northamptonshire to provide a thorough search.

One clue worth pursuing is the marriage of Timothy's daughter Ann in Monks Kirby, Warwickshire.  However, nothing relevant has been indexed there.  Although in different counties, Monks Kirby and Claybrooke were in the same registration district until 1932.  They are only about 5 miles apart and both are close to Fosse Way, an old Roman Road.  There are a number of Hall families in Monk's Kirby.

Other villages in Warwickshire that are close to Claybrooke include Wibtoft (about 2 miles), which is now in the Rugby borough of Warwickshire, but was at one time part of the parish of Claybrooke.

Occupation  Timothy was a bricklayer (1841 Census; Baptism of daughter Ann Hall; Timothy Hall death record).  In the 1911 census, there were four households of Hall descendants living in Claybrooke.  The men heading three of the households were all bricklayers.  Timothy Hall, two of his sons, five grandsons, and two great-grandsons were bricklayers. (The Descendants of Timothy Hall and Ann Palmer).

From the information about Timothy and his sons, the bricklayer occupation appeared to pass down in a family.  Might Timothy have had brothers who were also bricklayers?  Again, the 1841 census was the starting point.  There were three bricklayers in the Parish of Monks Kirby (which included some smaller hamlets) in 1841: James Bailey, Thomas Law and William Paybody.  However, some years ago I extracted the Hall marriages from the Monks Kirby parish register.  None of these three men married a Hall in Monks Kirby.

Possible Timothy Halls  Search engines for English baptisms (Find My Past, Family Search, Ancestry, Free Reg) are all incomplete.  All of the above were searched (as of 4 Nov 2013) from 1775 through 1781 (based on Timothy's age in 1841 census and at death, and on his 1799 marriage).  Nothing was found on Find My Past or Ancestry.  Others identified the following:
  • Timothy Hall, son of John and Elizabeth Hall, was baptized 24 May 1778 in Addingham, Cumberland, England (Family Search: England Births and Christenings, 1538-1975 from FHL 90551).  Possibly the Timothy Hall who died in 1844, Registration district: Brampton, County: Cumberland (Quarter of registration: Jan-Feb-Mar 1844, Volume no: 25, Page no: 25)

  • Timothy Hale, son of John and Jemima Hale, was baptized 21 April 1776 Bulmer, Essex, England (FreeReg and Family Search: England Births and Christenings, 1538-1975 from FHL 571179).  Note that Timothy Hall was called Timothy Hale in the 1841 census.  The surname on his death and burial records could also be read as Hale.

    This Timothy Hale is probaby the Timothy Hale, age 72, born Bulmer, Essex, England (incorrectly indexed as Middleton in Find My Past), who resided in the Sudbury Workhouse in the 1851 census (Piece: 1789, Folio: 191, Page: 3, Registration District: Sudbury, Civil Parish: St Gregory, Municipal Borough: Sudbury, Address: St Gregory, Sudbury, County: Suffolk).
Unsuccesful Searches:
  • Warwickshire Poor Law Settlement and Removal Index a 1991 search by Barbara Robinson found no specific reference to Timothy or Ann Hall, and found no Hall references in the Monks Kirby certificates.
  • Index to death duty registers (Find My Past) for 1842-1844, 1849-50
  • Family Search for Timothy Hall born in England about 1777 (as of 4 Nov 2013)
  • Ancestry for Warwickshire records (as of 4 Nov 2013)
  • Find My Past including Trinity House Calendars 1787 - 1854: Apprentices and Petitions (as of 4 Nov 2013)
The possibility of relatives of Timothy remaining in Monks Kirby was explored, using the 1841 census.  At that time, there were six adult men with the surname Hall.  Five of them were agricultural laborers.  The sixth was a baker.  For five of them, their birthdates ranged from 1776-1801 (rounded down to ages 40-60), a reasonable age to be younger brothers of Timothy.  The sixth was a son of one of the older men.

Summary  The identity and location of Timothy Hall prior to his marriage remains unsolved.

Go to Timothy Hall in the Hall Descendant Chart

Saturday, January 26, 2013

Research Notes for Tabitha Crane

The Problem  Is Tabitha Crane, born 27 Dec 1697 in Braintree, Norfolk Co., Massachusetts (Braintree Massachusetts Town Records, Births p.678, Braintree MA VR p.678), the same person that married Solomon Leavitt?  Solomon Leavitt and Tabitha Crane were married 25 Nov 1731 in Milton, Norfolk Co., Massachusetts (Milton VR, (Hingham Massachusetts Town Records 1731).  At the time of their marriage, Solomon was "of Hingham" and Tabitha was "of Milton".

There is another mystery regarding the marriage of Solomon and Tabitha - they first published their intention to marry in July 1729 (Hingham Massachusetts Town Records 1729).  For some unknown reason, they were not married at that time.

Solomon and Tabitha had at least five children:
  1. Jacob, baptized 4 Feb 1732/33 (Hingham Massachusetts Town Records, 1733 Baptisms)
  2. Abijah, baptized 30 May 1736 (Pembroke MA VR p.136)
  3. John, baptized 10 Sep 1738 (Pembroke MA VR p.136)
  4. Tabitha, born abt 1740
  5. Mary, baptized 23 May 1742 (Pembroke MA VR p.136)
Leavitt, Israel 2:20 lists a sixth child, Elizabeth, an out-of-wedlock daughter of Solomon, born in 1728.  Register 23:261 "Milton Church Records" lists a 12 Jul 1730 baptism for Elizabeth, daughter of Tabitha Crane.

Tabitha died about 1748, presumably in Pembroke, Plymouth Co., Massachusetts (see below).  Solomon married again on 16 May 1749 (Halifax Massachusetts Town Records 1749 Marriages; Halifax MA VR 1:34).

Tabitha's parents  Several sources have identified Ebenezer Crane and Mary Tolman as parents of Tabitha (Crane) Leavitt:
  • Leavitt, Israel 2:19 not only states that Tabitha is the daughter of Ebenezer and Mary (Tolman) Crane, but goes on to name the parents of Ebenezer and Mary.
  • Register 136:32 Barbara Merrick, The Original Church Records of Gad Hitchcock, D.D., 1748-1803: Deaths: "1748/1749 Tabitha, Wife of Solomon Leavitt [daughter of Ebenezer Crane and Mary Tolman]".  The bracketed information was an editorial insertion.  Reverend Gad Hitchcock was the first minister of the Second Church of Christ in the West Parish of Pembroke.
  • Genealogies of Families of Braintree, Quincy, Weymouth, Randolph, Holbrook, Mass. & Others quotes from the probate record of Ebenezer Crane: Division, Apr.9,1729: To Tabitha Crane 1st dau., [her sisters were named with their married names; Tabitha was apparently unmarried in 1729]; Warrant to divide the widow's dower Apr.26,1762: Tabitha Levet [although she had long been deceased].
Many family trees, particularly on, show John Crane and Hannah Leonard as parents of Tabitha (Crane) Leavitt, with the same Braintree birth record.  John was Ebenezer's older brother.  Apparently John resided in Taunton, Massachusetts.  No records of his children have been found.  

Ebenezer Pratt Some family trees show the same Tabitha Crane married to both Ebenezer Pratt and Solomon Leavitt.  Tabitha and Ebenezer were married 30 Apr 1726 in Weymouth, Norfolk Co., Massachusetts (Weymouth Massachusetts Town Records - Marriages).  The marriage, in Weymouth, but dated 11 Dec 1726, was also recorded in Boston (Boston, MA: Marriages, 1700-1809).  Tabitha (Crane) Pratt is said to have died in 1756.

These same trees assign a large family to Ebenezer and Tabitha Pratt - children born during the same period when Solomon and Tabitha were having children.  Birth records have been located for the Pratt children (Weymouth Massachusetts Town Records - Births).  Therefore, it must be assumed that Tabitha (Crane) Leavitt and Tabitha (Crane) Pratt are NOT the same person.  

Other Crane information  Since there is clearly more than one Tabitha Crane of approximately the same age (since they were having children about the same time), there should be another birth record besides the one in Braintree.  So far, none has been found.  Is Tabitha (Crane) Leavitt, the one born in Braintree?
  • Ebenezer and Mary Crane had children in Braintree: Ebenezer b. 1692, Ezekiel b. 1694, Daniel b. 1696/7, Tabitha b. 1697, Mary b. 1699, Elizabeth b. 1702 ...
  • Ebenezer and Mary Crane had children in Milton: Lydia b. 1703, Henery b. 1708, Thomas b. 1710, Benjamin b. 1712, Abijah b. 1714 (Solomon and Tabitha had a son Abijah).
  • Goodwife Crane Sr. and her children were dismissed from Braintree church Jan.6,1681(2) and admitted at Milton church Feb.5,1681/2 (Genealogies of Families of Braintree, Quincy, Weymouth, Randolph, Holbrook, Mass. & Others).
Since the births in one place end and then the births in the other place begin, Ebenezer and Mary Crane of Braintree are most likely the same people as Ebenezer and Mary Crane of Milton.  The transfer between churches supports that.  Therefore, Tabitha born in Braintree could easily be "of Milton" when she was married.  

Summary  The probate record of Ebenezer Crane is the only direct evidence found that identifies the relationship between Tabitha Crane, wife of Solomon Leavitt, and Tabitha Crane, daughter of Ebenezer Crane and Mary Tolman.  Other indirect evidence supports that finding.  One question has been answered: Tabitha Crane, wife of Solomon Leavitt, was not also the wife of Ebenezer Pratt.

 Go to Tabitha Crane in the Merrill Ancestor Descendant Chart