Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Day 52

Today was an eye blurring session. I was back at the Maine Historical Society examining land transactions. Land deeds can be a good way to track family members. They often name spouses or children, where individuals come/came from, and over time, it becomes evident when spouses die and land changes hands.

It took three hours with the microfilm to go through the index for land transactions between 1647 and 1768. After a 15 minute break, I went back to the actual records, using the index notations to figure out the volume and page number of each record. You need to realize that these records are copies of hand 250 year old, handwritten documents, filmed in the 1950s and very scratched. Translating/reading them is onerous, although very interesting. I made many copies. We now have 12-15 deeds for Benjamin Sweetser III, some of which mention his wife, Constance Row. We also have two deeds that reference his son Wiggglesworth Sweetser (I know - be glad you aren't stuck with that name but it is a very concrete way of tying Abigail Wigglesworth to Benjamin Sweetser Sr). We also have a number of deeds/land transfers for Ezekiel Cushing and his wife (their granddaughter Hannah married Stephen Tukey).

By 4pm I was cooked. Took a lovely winding route home. Tomorrow I am up early to hit deeds post-1765 at the Cumberland County Courthouse. Then will make one more pass at the MHS library.

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