Friday’s Family History Finds

The best Family History Finds this week:

Family Stories

Looked for Civil War Service, Found Flu Victim by Marian B. Wood on Climbing My Family Tree

The Unknown Sister on Genealogy Jude

The Life of Fern Laurine Stoddard (1929-2020) Part III: A Pioneer Day Scholarship by Paul Woodbury on Genealogenes

Henry Bolton, the Victualler & Sarah Corry/Curry; Their Ancestors and Life in Medieval London – 52 Ancestors #294-301 by Roberta Estes on DNAeXplained – Genetic Genealogy

The Man Behind the Black Cross Temperance Society by Tracey Arial on Genealogy Ensemble

Research Resources

Where to Find City Directories Online by Kenneth R. Marks on The Ancestor Hunt

Quick Tip – Friesland Memorabilia by Yvette Hoitink on Dutch Genealogy

Using Newspapers: Letters Lists by Cari Taplin on Genealogy Pants

Best Genealogy Sites for Irish Research: AskAboutIreland by Donna Moughty on Irish Genealogy

10 Awesome Websites with Maps for Genealogy Research by Elizabeth O’Neal on Heart of the Family

Tech News

Libraries Lend Books, and Must Continue to Lend Books: Internet Archive Responds to Publishers’ Lawsuit by Brewster Kahle on Internet Archive Blog

Free iPhone Scanning App by Matthew Miller on Matt’s Genealogy Blog

Genetic Genealogy

Help Needed! by Marcia Crawford Philbrick on Heartland Genealogy

Ancestry Match Purge Update by Roberta Estes on DNAeXplained – Genetic Genealogy


Catch and Fix Your Missing Source Citations by DiAnn Iamarino on Fortify Your Family Tree

The Estate of Sims Kelly by Colleen G. Brown Pasquale on Leaves and Branches

Lessons Learned. . . by Judy G. Russell on The Legal Genealogist

Finding the Family Jewels – Bibles, Included! by Lori on Genealogy at Heart

Creative Thinking Solves Immigration Mystery by Marian B. Wood on Climbing My Family Tree

Dear Randy: How Do You Plan to Pass on Your Genealogy’s Life Work” – Part 2: Paper Archives by Randy Seaver on Genea-Musings

Education Is for Everyone

Mayflower Myths 2020 by Tamura Jones on Vita Brevis

Plagiarism and Copyright for Genealogists by Diana Elder on Family Locket

When Is a Marriage Date Not the Date of Marriage? by Ken McKinlay on Family Tree Knots

Can Your Genealogy Survive Without You? by DiAnn Iamarino on Fortify Your Family Tree

5 Ways to Assess Online Trees and Other Publications by Yvette Hoitink on Dutch Genealogy

Did Your Ancestors Have Arranged Marriages? by DiAnn Iamarino on Fortify Your Family Tree

Using Tools to Preserve Family Photos by Ellen Thompson-Jennings on Hound on the Hunt

Keeping Up with the Times

From the Archives – July 26, 2010 by Jill Ball on GeniAus

Joseph Meserve/y of St. George, Knox, Maine, c1773 – after 1850

Today is officially Sticky Wicket Day, as I try to cobble together the few facts about Joseph Meserve/y, father of Lavinia who married William Chadwick and his Meserve ancestors.

In 1850, when Joseph Meservey was living with the Chadwick family in St. George, the town was part of Lincoln County.

Today, St. George is in Knox County, which was set off from Lincoln County in 1860.

The second important fact to know is that the town of St. George itself was set off in 1803 from the town of Cushing, which today is just to its north.

Joseph Meservy is the eldest Meservy living in St. George in 1850, There are only a few other families with the name and the heads appear to be of an age to be his sons:

Wm. Meservy, 55, Master Mariner, $00
Hannah (Libbey), 49
Joseph, 19, Sailor
Luther, 16, Sailor
Sophrona, 13
Hariet, 9
Laura, 7

Next door, we have:
Nath’l Meservy, 52, Master Mariner
Jane, 53
Sarah, 11
Clarisa, 8
Melissa, 6

Also in St. George are:
John Meservy, 46, Master Mariner
Hannah E., 31
Allen, 14
Mary J., 10
Caroline F., 8
Hannah A., 4
John N., 4
Ruth Melona (Maloney), 67

Lastly, we have Mary Meservy, apparently a widowed head of household. Online information says she is the widow of Stephen,  born 8 September 1802. That information appears to be correct. More in a bit.

Mary Meservy, 48
Mary A., 23
Eli F., 20 Sailor
Margret E., 18

The last Meservy family in St. George in 1850 is a son of William and Hannah (Libbey), as this younger William’s death certificate gives his parents’ names.

Wm. Meservy, 25, Sailor
Susan, 25
Elietta, 2
Melissa Chaples, 7
Levi Chaples, 2

It appears that perhaps William had a first marriage and his wife died after giving birth to Elietta. He then married Susan, who had been married to a Mr. Chaples and also widowed.

Moving back to 1840, there are six Meservy households in St. George:

Joseph, one male 70-80, one female 60-70
Nathaniel, 1012001-111100101
William, next door to Nathaniel, 0202001-100001
Daniel, 0101001-012001
William, again, but a different man, 0120001-2010001
John, 1000001-10001

This extra William throws a monkey wrench into the mix, as all five of these men were 40-50 years old and Joseph probably didn’t have two sons both named William living to adulthood. However, I have no clue who the second William and Daniel Meservey were and I am going to set them aside for the time being.

The 1830 census is also perplexing because there are only two Meservys in St. George:

Joseph, 000011001 (one male 20-30, one male 30-40, one male 60-70 and one female, 60-70)
William, 011001-00001

In 1820 in St. George, we again have only Joseph and William:

Joseph, 000101-10001 (one male and one female over 45, one male 16-25 and one female under 10 – Lavinia)
William, 1002-002

In 1810, Joseph Meservy is the only Meservy in St. George. There is one male over 45, one female over 45, one female 16-25, 3 males 10-15, and one male under 10. This man appears to be a little too old to be “my” Joseph, who was born c1773, according to his age in 1850. Also, Lavinia was born c1811. Even if she was born in 1810, there is no female under 10 in this home and the wife is already over 45???

In this case, there is some great help on the way. The Vital Records of St. George record set has been digitized by FamilySearch. The file was locked, though, so I had to wait to get to my local family history center to look at it.

There are some positives and negatives with the records. First, while the family of Joseph Meservey is listed, as a family group, which is how the town clerks backtracked and organized the various records, the clerk did NOT include the name of any wives.

The record also doesn’t seem to be complete because Lavinia’s birth isn’t recorded. That might be because, as I looked through the various records, which included baptisms, there was a gap in the records from around 1808/09 and 1815. All of the family groups are written in one hand and obviously not recorded at the time of each birth event.

Top left page

Joseph Meservey’s Family

1793 Jan 28 Sally Meservey
1796 March 29 William Meservey
1797 July 28 John Meservey
1800 February 16 Nathaniel Meservey
1802 September 8 Stephen Meservey

Luther Meservey died Oct 16, 1859
William K. Maxwell died Mar 29, 1889 (I don’t know where he fits in the family, but his death is listed here.)

I also came across several marriage records, which provided wives’ maiden names and helps answer one of my questions from the 1830 census.

Nathaniel Meservy married Jane Gardner, 11 January 1838
John Meservy married Hannah Johnson, 18 December 1834

It appears that Nathaniel Meservy married a bit later in life and he is most likely the male aged 30-40 in Joseph’s house in 1830. I would say the younger male, 20-30, is his son John, although he would have been 33 in 1830.

I spent quite a while reading the marriage records for St. George, but didn’t find one for Joseph’s daughter, Sally, born 1793, or for William, born in 1795. However, from William’s son, William Jr.’s death certificate, we know William married Hannah Libbey. The Libbey family was quite big and lived in several towns in the area. Hannah’s family perhaps lived in one of those towns and the couple married there.

Sally may be lost to time unless a marriage record turns up. The St. George records were compiled in random order with some pages more legible than others. It is possible I missed it, but she also might have died young.

Now, the next big question is – who were the parents of Joseph Meservey?

Given that Sally was born early in 1793, Joseph probably married in 1791 or 1792. That pushes his birth year back a bit earlier that 1773, which was reported in the 1850 census. It’s maybe possible that he married between the ages of 18-21, but it was much less common for New England men in the 18th century to marry under legal age than it was in the South. Generally speaking, I’ve been close to correct when assuming that male ancestors in Massachusetts (which Maine was in the 1700s) married around the age of 25. That means Joseph was probably born between 1767 and 1771, or the ages of 21-25.

Next, we will examine the Joseph Meserveys in the area at the turn of the 19th century. We’ll also look at possible hints as to who the wife of Joseph Meservey was.





Clement Meserve, c1678-1746, Scarborough, Maine

Clement Meserve, son of the immigrant Clement from the Isle of Jersey, is the easiest of the Meserve clan to document because he (thankfully) left a will and marriage records can be found for most of his children.

For those who are researching this family, AmericanAncestors is a great resource and, for Maine records, the Scarborough town minutes, digitized on FamilySearch, will supply many early birth and marriage dates.

Clement Meserve married (1) Elizabeth Jones on 26 September 1702 in Dover, Strafford, New Hampshire and (2) Mrs. Sarah Stone, 14 August 1738 in Scarborough, Maine. I have not found any record of his marriage to Sarah, but Clement did name his wife Sarah in his will.

Clement Meserve was a joiner, or a carpenter, which would certainly have been a useful occupation in the wilds of New Hampshire in the late 1600s and early 1700s.

He lived in Newington, New Hampshire until 1727 when he removed to Scarborough, Maine, where he had purchased 100 acres of land.

Clement died in Scarborough in 1746. His will was written on 18 February 1739/40 and proved on 5 November 1746.

Transcription of the will of Clement Meserve,
Source: AmericanAncestors

Clement was the father of nine possible children, although only seven were named in his will. The children were all likely born in New Hampshire, probably in Newington.


  1. Clement, called the eldest son in his father’s will; married Sarah Decker, 13 October 1726, Newington, Rockingham, New Hampshire. Births of two children were recorded in Scarborough – Elizabeth, born 7 October 1730 and Clement, born 2 September 1733. There likely were other children.
  2. Nathaniel, married Jane Libby, 16 December 1725, Greenland, Rockingham, New Hampshire. They had at least one child, Elizabeth, born 26 February 1742, Portsmouth, Rockingham, New Hampshire.
  3. Elizabeth, married James Libby, 29 December 1726, Portsmouth, Strafford, new Hampshire. They had at least two children – Clement, born 23 October 1729 and Arthur, born 19 August 1734, both in Scarborough.
  4. Johnmarried Jemima Hubbard of Kingston, 2 September 1732, Scarborough, Maine. John and Jemima were the parents of eight children – Dorothy, born 13 October 1733, Abigail, born 21 February 1735, John, born 7 December 1738, George, born 21 December 1740, Mary, born 19 November 1742, William, born 26 October 1744, Clement, born 6 July 1746 and Joseph, born 1 November 1748, all in Scarborough.
  5. Abigail, married Lt. Samuel Libby, 29 February 1727/28; died 10 November, probably 1733 as her death is recorded with no year but immediately following the birth of Clement Meserve on 2 September 1733. They had at least two children –  Asa, born 6 September 1731 and Amine, born 10 August 1733. However, neither Abigail nor her children are mentioned in her father’s will.
  6. George, reportedly married Elizabeth Ham, 17 February 1737, Portsmouth, Rockingham, New Hampshire. No further record.
  7. ?Peter, not in his father’s will, but George, Peter and Joseph Meserve were all baptized at the Newington Church on 19 January 1724. If he was a son a Clement, then he predeceased his father. Some say he married Sarah Hond? in 1737, but I haven’t found that record and there are no children recorded for them in Scarborough.
  8. Daniel, married Mehitable Bragdon, 24 January 1738 in Scarborough, Maine. They were the parents of at least four children – Sarah, born 27 June 1745, Nathaniel, born 20 April 1747, Gideon, born 31 January 1749 and Elizabeth, born 5 January 1754, all in Scarborough.
  9. Joseph, named in his father’s will, but no marriage record has been found for him, nor have I found mention of him elsewhere.

Here ends the family sketch for Clement Meserve, son of the immigrant Clement. Tomorrow, we will look at possibilities to connect Joseph Meservey, father of Lavinia Mesrvey Chadwick with his ancestors.