Friday, November 23, 2007

Western Massachusetts brick walls

Ah, the joy of brick walls! Of course, the fun part is smashing them down. Here is one that has plagued me for a long time now:

Esther, the wife of Edward Curtis.

Esther was born about 1748.

She was married about 1780 to Edward Curtis

Edward was born 4 May 1736 in Dudley, MA to Francis Curtis and Bethia Robinson. He was married 2 times prior - first to Lucy Chamberlin in 1770 in Dudley. Their son, Edward, was born in Dudley in 1771. Lucy's date and place of death are not known.

He was then married to a woman named Thankful, approximately 1775. Their children were born in Monson, MA - a son, Francis in 1777, and a daughter, Thankful in 1779. The wife Thankful might have died around 1779 or so.

THEN there is Esther, my ancestor. They possibly married around 1780, and my best guess is Monson, MA, as their children were born there as follows:

1. Lucy, b. 1782, married Smith Arnold in 1801 in Dudley, died 1856 in Belchertown

2. Penuel, b. 1784, married Esther Pierce in 1809 in Hopkinton, died after 1820 census (he had 3 children at least - a son Davis, born 1810 in Dudley, and another male and female child based on the 1820 census)

3. Esther May, born 1786 in Monson, married John Stone in 1810 in Dudley, had many children (my ancestor is a daughter, Sarah Emerson Stone), and died in 1860 in Thompson, CT (?).

Now, Lucy's death record does not give a place of birth for her mother; I can't find Penuel after 1820, though I have tried; and I have requested Esther May (Curtis) Stone's death certificate from the Town of Thompson (I hope they have it; a search of their records on microfilm didn't reveal her or her husband's deaths).

I've looked at different factors, like the names Penuel and Davis both being unusual first names, and perhaps working as last names; also, the granddaughter Sarah Emerson Stone - Emerson tends to be a last name. Since there are no Emersons on the father's side, I wonder if there is on the mother's side.

I've considered Esther as an Esther Penuel (Pennel, Pennell, Penel, etc.), an Esther Davis, and an Esther Emerson. However, Monson Vital Records are on microfilm and a pain to read through. But I think I will need to order the microfilm again to see what I find.

However, I first want to purchase the Corbin Collection, volume 2 on CD, as it includes records of Monson, Massachusetts. I have collected many of the Massachusetts Vital Records CDs (I need only Essex County), so I'd like to begin collecting others. They simplify searching immensely.

But there is nothing more satisfying than cranking through microfilm and finding answers in the semi-dark LDS. :-) If anyone can answer the question of Esther's surname, I would be most grateful. But finding the answer on your own is even better!

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