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Overheard in GenForum: Perry & Hubbard: Charlestown, New Hampshire
by Rhonda R. McClure

Each week Rhonda answers a question from the GenForum message boards and gives her expert answer here. We'd love to hear anything you have to add. Go ahead and leave your comments on GenForum with the original message.

February 07, 2002
See Rhonda's Previous Columns

Q: I am searching for Adelia Perry, who married Henry Fitch Hubbard in Charlestown, New Hampshire, in 1847. There was definitely a Perry family in Charlestown during the 18th and 19th centuries, as recorded by The Rev. Henry Saunderson in his book History of Charlestown, New Hampshire and published in 1879. Some of the data in his book is relevant to the Perry family. Unfortunately, Adelia Perry is not among those named in the Perry family section, but she is identified in the Hubbard family section as having married Mr. Hubbard, and that marriage has been verified by another source. -- H.M.

A: Researching the females of the lineage is often the most difficult. They are seldom thought important enough to continue on in genealogies. Many of the record sources that we rely on favor men, because men were allowed to vote, own land, and so forth.

While Adelia does not show up in the book by Rev. Saunderson, this does not mean she was not living in the town of Charlestown, New Hampshire. When working in New Hampshire, you want to look at records on the town and county levels. While most of the records generated are found on the town level, it is still important to be aware of boundary changes when turning to census records and other published sources.

Many New Hampshire records are on the town level.

Charlestown, Sullivan, New Hampshire

First, the county of Sullivan was not created until September, 1827. Even if Adelia was born in Charlestown, it is possible for her to have been born in the county of Cheshire. While vital records were recorded on the town level, you may want to see what published genealogies and histories exist for Cheshire county. It may be necessary to look at all PERRY families that are living in both counties.

A search of the Family History Library Catalog revealed entries for the subject headings of cemeteries, genealogy, history, land and property, military records, town records, and vital records for Charlestown. Most of these resources are available on microfilm, thus allowing you to borrow them to your local Family History Center.

The Books

You have already mentioned researching in Rev. Saunderson's book. Are you aware that there is a second history for Charlestown? Second History of Charlestown, N. H., the Old Number Four: Embracing a Summary of the Early History of the Town from Its Settlement to 1876 and More Particularly Developments and Events in the Town from 1876 to 1954 by Martha M. Frizzell may give you some additional information on both the PERRY and the HUBBARD families.

One thing to keep in mind when dealing with the book by Saunderson is that it could fall under the heading of "mug book." Mug books are those published county and town histories that were published in the late 1800s to the early 1900s. Those families and individuals highlighted in the book usually were there because they were the more prominent citizens. Therefore if Adelia's father was just a hard-working, keep-to-himself, farmer, it is likely he would not be included in this volume. This is borne out by the fact that only Samuel PERRY has been highlighted in the genealogies of the book.

A search of the online index did reveal that Adelia shows up only on page 662. As Henry Fitch HUBBARD does not appear to be on that page, it might prove informative to return to the volume and see what is mentioned for Adelia on that page. Another included on that page is Alpheus PERRY.

The Records

As was mentioned above, there are a number of records available for the town of Charlestown. While the microfilmed vital records would include the marriage of Adelia PERRY and Henry Fitch HUBBARD, they begin too late to be a potential source of information for her birth. By this, I mean the recording of vital records in a separate volume does not begin until 1842. However, this does not mean you cannot find a birth record for Adelia in Charlestown, New Hampshire. This of course assumes that she was born there, and your research in the 1850 census would help in verifying that you were at least looking in the right state.

In most of the New England towns, before they began to record vital records separately, you will find them in the town records. Seldom are these indexed. Researching in the town records means that in addition to finding listings of births, marriages and deaths, you will also find town minutes, land sales, surveyors' records, tax lists, inventory lists, ear markings and school records. As you look page to page you will discover that each page records whatever was pertinent at the moment.

While searching in the town records does require time and attention, it can be a rewarding experience. And unlike many of the other records discussed so far, you can be assured that the microfilmed town records are the primary and original documents.

In Conclusion

Fortunately, New England towns offer a variety of records and resources, both published and original documents. While it would be nice to have all of this online, at least some is available online, and the remainder on microfilm, giving you easy access to the records.

See Rhonda's Previous Columns

Rhonda R. McClure is a professional genealogist specializing in celebrity trees and computerized genealogy. She has been involved in online genealogy for fifteen years. She is the author of the award-winning The Complete Idiot's Guide to Online Genealogy, now in its second edition. She is the author of four how-to guides on Family Tree Maker. In late 2001, she wrote The Genealogist's Computer Companion. She is a contributing editor to Biography Magazine with her "Celebrity Roots" column and a contributing writer to The History Channel Magazine. Her latest book is Finding Your Famous and Infamous Ancestors. She may be contacted at rhondagen@thegenealogist.com.

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