It Pays to Look Again! Benjamin Parker and Thomas Adams, 1851

As I march through my thousands of images, I am getting more and more motivated to keep at it for one simple reason. I am actually learning new bits of information about my ancestors.

Here is my latest example of why it definitely pays to take a long hard look at documents you already have amassed.

Benjamin Parker and Maria Wilson are my 3X great grandparents on my maternal grandfather’s branch of the family tree. Maria died in 1828 and I knew that Benjamin had married (2) Susan Herson. It doesn’t seem like much work had been done on Benjamin and Susan, at least not that I found online.

Benjamin lived until October 1870, when his death was noted in the 1871 Canadian census of Campobello Island in the West Isles of New Brunswick, Canada. As far as I knew, Benjamin was either born on Campobello or else moved there as a young child and spent his life on the island. His occupation was fisherman.

I wanted to document children that Benjamin apparently had with Susan Herson so I went looking for them in the 1851 census of the West Isles, which is the “neighborhood” covering all the islands off the coast of Maine and New Brunswick that belong to Canada.

Source: Provincial Archives of New Brunswick

Notice that the Canadian census doesn’t have a title header on the pages like the U.S. census has. Therefore, indexing shows this page as part of the West Isles collection.

The Parkers are the second family in the list:

Crop of the Above Image

I noted the three children living with the Parkers, cited the Canadian census as my source and thought no more about it.

Now, one more bit of information you need to know is that Benjamin and Maria Parker’s daughter, Sarah Ann, married Daniel Adams on Deer Island in 1836. Daniel Adams was the son of Thomas and Sarah (Brawn) Adams.

Now to the present. I’ve been renaming and reattaching all my images and worked on Thomas Adams, the father of Daniel who married Sarah Ann Parker. I had Canadian census images for 1851, but couldn’t find Thomas, or his wife Sarah, in 1861. As both were born in the 1780s, I assumed that they had both died before that census.

With little available in the way of a paper trail, I collected images of land deeds which involved Thomas Adams. There were a couple of transactions between John Morrison and Thomas Adams, both of Adams Island, which wasn’t a surprise since I knew Thomas Adams spent most of his life on the island named for his family.

I saved the 1851 census page of the West Isles that included Thomas and Sarah Adams. He was listed near the bottom of the page, living next door to John Morrison. On the other side of the Morrison family was Henry Adams, one of Thomas’s sons. None of this was a surprise.

What shocked me was when I renamed the 1851 census image and, at first, thought that somehow I had confused two families and incorrectly named the image. Take a close look:

My eye noticed the yellow arrowed family first – Benjamin Parker!!! Then, I scanned down the page and saw Thomas Adams. There is absolutely no doubt that the families on this page were living on Adams Island because the land deed I found for Thomas and John Morrison is dated 1852.

BENJAMIN PARKER, who I thought never lived anywhere but Campobello Island, actually lived on Adams Island in 1851!!! Plus, they only lived a few doors away from Thomas and Sarah Adams.

Adams Island never had much going for it except for some copper mining and has been uninhabited for decades and decades.

Adams Island

The families lived in the cove to the right. Compare this island with Campobello Island – the very same Campobello at which President Franklin Roosevelt loved to vacation.

Source: Google Maps

Red = Deer Island (not Deer Isle, which is part of Maine)
Green = Campobello Island
Purple = Adams Island

I have no idea why Benjamin Parker chose to move to Adams Island, but he most definitely lived at least one other place besides on Campobello Island. This census proves it!

Lesson Learned:
Taking a new look with fresh eyes can bring surprises!



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