Thomas Burnham & Susannah (MNU), Ipswich, MA 1700s

I’ve always tiptoed around the Burnham family because they seem to have lived in a time period in Massachusetts when vital records were not quite as complete as in other decades.

Thomas Burnham was born 30 September 1673 in Ipswich, Massachusetts, the son of John Burnham and Elizabeth Wells. He died 16 December 1748.

He married Susannah (MNU), probably around 1698, but no marriage record has been found, nor have any hints surfaced which might point to her maiden name.

Thomas and Susannah have had up to six children identified as part of their family. However, none of them have recorded births. With several Burnham cousins all living in Chebacco Parish in Ipswich, making for much confusion among descendants, particularly those who don’t research for themselves.

My ancestress is Hannah, the only daughter of Thomas and Susannah, at least the only one known to survive her father. Through the years, Hannah has been placed in other Burnham families, as several were all born around the same time in the 1710-1722 time frame.

However, I now have irrefutable proof of the six surviving children of Thomas Burnham, who died intestate on 16 December 1748 in Ipswich. Many also claim wife Susannah also died in 1748, but she was still living as of 1 July 1749 when she signed (X) for her share of Thomas’s estate and Thomas’s heirs filed a document with the probate court detailing how his estate was divided up.


Susannah (X) Burnum

Actually, I can do much better than 1 July 1749 for Susannah, so look for tomorrow’s post about her.


Thomas Burnham’s Probate File, pp. 39-41
Essex County, MA Probate File #4178
Source: American Ancestors

The genealogically important parts of these four pages are the opening paragraph and the signatures on the last page.

Know all men by these presents that We Thomas Burnam: Jerimi Burnam: Caleb Burnam: Stephen Burnam: Nathan Burnam With Isaac Parsons & Hannah his wife all chilldren and heirs of our Father Mr. Thomas Burnam Senr Late of Chebacco in Ipswich in ye County of Essex & Province of the Massachusetts Bay in New England (?) do hereby Mutually make the Following agreement in order to settle both the Reall & personal Estate of our Sd Father amongst us:

Children of Thomas and Susannah (MNU), probably born in Chebacco Parish, Ipswich:

  1. Thomas, born c1700; died before 4 July 1768 when his widow and sons divided land in his estate (DB 125:109); married Mary Wheeler, 31 March 1728, Ipswich, Essex, Massachusetts.
  2. Jeremiah, born c1702; died 12 February 1783, Ipswich, Essex, Massachusetts, of cancer humor, aged 81 years; married Jane Pride, 5 March 1729/30, Ipswich, Essex, Massachusetts.
  3. Caleb, born c1706; died before 14 November 1782, when widow Dorothy and their sons sold land in his estate. (DB 146:210); married Dorothy Browne, 14 January 1731, Ipswich, Essex, Massachusetts
  4. Stephen, born c1710; died after 20 June 1752, when he lived in Gloucester and sold land back in Ipswich (DB 100:25); married Mary Andrews, 16 August 1735, Ipswich, Essex, Massachusetts.
  5. Hannah, born c1717; died after 1753, perhaps in Wiscasset, Maine; married Isaac Parsons, 10 May 1739, Ipswich, Essex, Massachusetts.
  6. Nathan, born c1720; died in the summer of 1755 in Braddock’s Defeat, French and Indian War. He served as a first lieutenant, 4th Company, third Provincial Regiment of Foot; married Hannah Burnham, 22 November 1744, Ipswich, Essex, Massachusetts.

Most of the last page in this set of probate documents is terrific, as each heir signed their names to the agreement:

This is one of my favorite family history finds!

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