My lovely fan chart stops dead at 4th g-grandparents Hannah Woodman and husband William Jackson. It's quite unsightly. Hannah has been the most distant ancestor in her line on my charts since I inherited my mother's genealogical research.
How Not to Research
Over the years I've gathered a lot of information on Hannah and associates at the Family History Library in Salt Lake City, the University of New Hampshire at Durham, the New England Historic and Genealogical Society, and plumbed the depths of the internet. Yet I still don't have evidence to tie Hannah to any particular Woodman family. Why? Because I didn't stumble upon any direct evidence, and I haven't TAKEN THE TIME to analyze what I have gathered. And there is still more information to gather by now--online data increases at an exponential rate, so there are bound to be more clues awaiting. And I really need to go up to New Hampshire and roll around in the records. I had an appointment at the Durham Historical Society in 2009 but had to cancel and that's the last time I tried!
|What's worse, Alcatraz or writing up |
Setting the stage
Hannah is the mother of my ancestor, Maria/h Jackson. According to Maria (Jackson) Ellms' 29 January 1866 death record, she was 57 years, one month old at death, rendering a birth date of 29 December 1808. It gives her parents as William Jackson and Hannah Woodman and states that she and her parents were all born in Durham, New Hampshire. (1) But this is a death certificate, so as evidence of her birth it is wobbly because we do not know who provided the information about her parents. (Wobbly is a highly technical genealogical term.)
Maria may have married three times. I have found two: one to my ancestor, Nathan Colby, in Haverhill on 10 January 1841, though the record provides no parents. (2) She next married (as Mariah (Jackson) Colby) Robert Ellms in Scituate on 1 July 1856; his second marriage, her third. Presumably Mariah was the informant and she names her father as William Jackson, born Durham. No mother's names are listed in the register. She gives her own birthplace as Durham, and she is 49 which calculates to a year of birth of 1806-07. (3) But where did that first marriage take place? Was it the marriage of Mariah H. Jackson to Orin Fiske on 27 September 1830 in (not nearby) Claremont, Sullivan County that I noted from the IGI in 1999? I haven't followed up on it. Back to the chamber!
William Jackson and Hannah Woodman married on Christmas Day, 25 December 1795, both residents of Durham. No parents are listed. They were married by William Hooper, clergyman, resident of Madbury. (4) I'm satisfied that these are Mariah's parents because this marriage puts them in the right time and place, and I now have several sources listing them as a couple, and parents of my ancestor.
What To Do
I need to study everyone with the surnames Jackson and Woodman in the Durham area, a daunting task. Here are just a few of the things I will work on in the chamber:
- I need to go through my chicken-scratch notes from the Family History Library and duly note every record searched and whether I found anything. I got too busy and never followed up after two research trips. That is just stupid, but it was unavoidable.
- Of course I have reviewed the town histories and the published literature on the Woodmans, most written a hundred or more years ago, with little in the way of source citation, even if seemingly well researched. I can use those to help me reconstruct nearby families, and thoroughly review and note all of the Hannahs that were not married off, of which I think here are only a couple. Then of course, I'd have to corroborate everything.
- Oh sure, I've gazed at census, but haven't systematically reviewed the Woodmans in the area. They are many! Even pre-1850 census can provide indirect evidence if we really delve. Can you say Excel?
- I've examined published vital records as well as town records for both William and Hannah's births and deaths in both Massachusetts/Maine and New Hampshire, to no avail. Of course I've searched online and at NEHGS in any original records I could find. I would hope to locate some church records on my trip north, but have read that there are't many.
- I've followed possible children of William and Hannah Jackson and turned up an infant son of William Jackson who died in 1797 in Dover, but this provides me with no additional clues, just something for the inevitable timeline. Baby steps! Another potential son is William W. Jackson whose death record gives William and Hannah (Woodman) Jackson as parents.
- Land records are an obvious place to search yet I've noted nothing in my database. Because I haven't approached this systematically. I will retrace my steps in that regard. Land records are found at the county level in New Hampshire.
- In Strafford County Probate I found an administration for the estate of William Jackson, blacksmith, with wife Hannah serving as administratrix. And Hannah's estate was probated in 1821, with Moses Woodman as administrator.
- At the University of New Hampshire I pored over Durham town records and extracted mention of all nearby Woodmans (a nefarious lot), but haven't had a chance to compile and thoroughly analyze.
- Make a timeline!
- New Hampshire State Archives
- New Hampshire State Historical Society
- New Hampshire State Library
- Strafford County Register of Land
- Durham Historical Society
|"Women as Scribes Throughout History," Exploring Feminisms Blog,|
1. "Massachusetts Vital Records, 1841-1910" (online subscription database linked to digital images), Scituate, Deaths, Maria (Jackson) Ellms, 29 January 1866, 193:331; AmericanAncestors.org (http://www.americanancestors.org : accessed 20 February 2015).
2. "Massachusetts Vital Records, 1841-1910," Haverhill, Marriages, Nathan Colby and Mariah Jackson, 10 January 1841, 2:179; AmericanAncestors.org (http://www.americanancestors.org : accessed 20 February 2015); image of the published volume from the "Official Series."
3. "Massachusetts Vital Records, 1841-1910," Scituate, Marriages, Maria Colby and Robert Ellms, 1 July 1856, 100:325; AmericanAncestors.org (http://www.americanancestors.org : accessed 20 February 2015).
4. "New Hampshire Vital Statistics to 1900," Durham, Strafford, Marriages: Jackson to Jenkins, n. 148, William Jackson and Hannah Woodman, 25 December 1795; New England Historic and Genealogical Society, Boston, Massachusetts, mf #F33 N454, viewed 9 February 2002.