Saturday, March 21, 2009

Perkins Adventure in Bridgewater

Perkins Adventure Post 1

Since last summer when I found out that I had an ancestor, David PERKINS and his wife Elizabeth BROWN who came to Bridgewater, Plymouth, MA in 1688, I have been thinking about the connection that was made when I randomly (or so I thought) chose Bridgewater to live in when I married and moved from my native Rhode Island to Massachusetts.

I have been reading a book titled, Psychic Roots, and have been impressed with the ideas presented about the coincidences, serendipity and intuitive moments that are part of genealogy and family history work. The author gathered stories from experienced genealogists who can't explain the twists and turns made along the way as they sought their own ancestors or looked for ancestors for clients. This book has made me think more clearly about the unusual ways in which my brain is working when I am working on family history.

By posting my family tree at, I have been fortunate to find relatives (cousins) who have some connection to those in my charts. David Perkins is a good example of this situation and has made me a believer in online database sharing such as

Mercy Perkins, wife of Stanton Hall
has a gravestone shared with her husband, with several children buried nearby in the lovely and peaceful River Bend Cemetery in Westerly, Washington, Rhode Island. Their marriage leaves no doubt to when and where they were married. [Hall, Stanton of Westerly and Mercy Perkins of Charlestown; m. by Elder Oliver Bright, July 8, 1800 Vol 5 Page 37, Westerly] Mercy was the youngest child in her family and genealogy math tells me that she was only 14 when she married and her husband Stanton Hall was only 16!

The date of her birth is not recorded but a letter in the possession of another family (who kindly scanned it and shared it with me because she was thrilled to see the gravestone) it is recorded that she was born 3 March 1786 which meshes with census and her gravestone date of death and number of years. Bingo!

I was excited to know this much and to be able to prove that she is not Mercy Lewis as some people do assume and have recorded in their database records. But, imagine my surprise when I received an email from a Perkins researcher whose ancestor is Mercy's brother Nathaniel that there are two genealogies of this Perkins family whose immigrant ancestor was Abraham Perkins of Hampton, NH. From this point on, it was easy to connect the dots to discovering David buried right here in Bridgewater. I have walked by his grave many times. I would have to say, I KNEW, somebody in that cemetery was my ancestor.

It won't surprise me to find that ancestral memory is coded into our DNA.

On to finding David and Mary Perkins...

1 comment:

Wendy Hawksley said...

"Psychic Roots" sounds like an interesting book!

Is this is the David Perkins who has a son named Thomas Perkins, who married Mary Washburn?

I was surprised at how extensive my Bridgewater ancestors were as I began researching, since I grew up there. My dad's family always talked about the Wood side (from Blue Hill, Maine and Beverly, MA before that) or the Shaw side (Middleboro and Carver, of course).

My mom's family always talked about the Bartlett side (all over Plymouth County!) and our Italian grandparents, who came to Middleboro in the late 1890's. And my Haley side was where all the Irish blood was...

But no one really knew about our deep ancestry, so as I began connecting to Perkins, Washburn, Hayward, etc. in Bridgewater, I thought it was funny how very interconnected everybody was.

Just yesterday, I found out for my sister that she and her fiancee are cousins (just as my husband and I are too). And my mother and father are cousins, all 4 of my grandparents, etc....

All that inter-relatedness starts to break up with my great grandparents, since 2 of them have parents who immigrated more recently. But when we get into those Mayflower families - whooo! Second cousins marrying second cousins constantly, right? LOL

Well, anyhow, I think there IS something to that "ancestral memory" pondering of yours. I definitely do.