Week #15: List some vital signs.
When I can't find a vital record [birth, marriage, or death] for one of my ancestors or to confirm what is carved on a gravestone I am researching in Massachusetts, Connecticut or Rhode Island, I must admit I get angry! I think this is because the vital records for these dates, the compiled family genealogies, Bibles and diaries and gravestones are amazingly recorded quite perfectly! Vital records in New England can be lovely to look at!
But, instead of being impressed, I go about copying and pasting them into my database or blog with perfect rhythm until BAM!, one is missing. My blood pressure rises and I stomp around in my home office.
My 2nd great grandfather is a great example. Dudley Wheeler Stewart was the last child born to Edward and Rebecca (Noyes) Stewart of North Stonington, CT. I should have been suspicious that his birth was not recorded when Wheeler's History of Stonington's year of birth for him doesn't match what his gravestone reads. Now, why is this annoying? Because without some date and something that connects him to his parents, I can't prove him as a supplemental line as a Mayflower descendant.
I ran the town clerk and the assistant town clerk ragged looking for his birth record. We looked in North Stonington, Stonington and Groton to no avail! We did find his father's birth and his marriage and his grandfather's too. [Extremely cool handwritten records] But, poor Dudley, most likely born at home, to a mother of 40 years of age, no one bothered to record his birth. I guess they were glad he and this mother survivied the birth.
The town historian, Fred Burdick, went to the Westerly (RI) Public Library and found his obituary in the microfilmed newspaper records but it had no mention of his birth or parents. Even the date of his death is different everywhere I look! (probably it is considered impolite to die on July 4th). There is no mention of his parent's names. All I have is Wheeler's History of Stonington, my family Bible and his gravestone. Arggghhhhhhhhh!
Dudley grew up to be an important member of his community. He ran the general store (and this did not serve in the Civil War) and he was selectman of the town of North Stonington. His wife, being a Denison, was prominent in the social and church community. I have their photographs.
Well, I know quite a lot about him and I guess I should be happy with that.