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.

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

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