Sarah Folger Coffin (1761-1822)

As I said in the brief story of Sarah last month, she was a widow in her 50s with young and unmarried children still in her care when she left Nantucket and migrated to Cincinnati.  While I don’t know the path she followed, she must have had crates of household goods with her since she was leaving her home to establish a new one.  It is likely that she and her family traveled in a group of fellow Nantucketers who were also migrating to Ohio, and that they traveled much of the way by water finishing by coming down the Ohio River to Cincinnati.

Sarah was born on Nantucket on the 28th of June 1761 to Christopher and Abigail Barnard Folger.  She was only 2 years old when her mother died, and her father remarried twice more before dying at sea in 1774 when she was only 13.  In all likelihood Sarah lived with her father’s 3d wife, Susanna, and several younger half brothers and sisters until she married Isaiah Coffin at age 18.  She was born into and raised in the Society of Friends and kept to this her entire life.

Sarah married Isaiah Coffin on the 29 of March 1780.  Their first child, a daughter named Mary, was born the following December and in all 13 children were born to this marriage.  Eight of the children survived to adulthood including my g-g-g-grandfather Cyrus Coffin who was their second child.  And all but one of the 8 surviving children either migrated ahead of or with Sarah to Cincinnati in 1814.

Sarah was received into the Miami Monthly Meeting on 31 Aug 1814, and became a member and an Elder of the Cincinnati Monthly Meeting.  While Cyrus Coffin offered the use of his house in the very early days of the Cincinnati Meeting before they had a Meeting House, he did not become a member and that was the place in the Coffin family line that my direct ancestors stopped being Quakers.

I have found a will that Sarah wrote, dated 2 Sept (“ninth month called September”)1816, which referenced the “uncertainty of this mortal life” as her reason for a will allthough she was not sick or dying at that time.  In fact, in 1817 she married again, to Oliver Martin who was also a Quaker.   I haven’t had much luck finding out anything about Oliver Martin, although I do find him in the 1820 federal census living, presumably, with Sarah and 3 younger people including 1 male under 16, 1 male between 16 and 26, and 1 female between 16 and 26.  These were likely to be Sarah’s children: Christopher, age 14, Reuben, age 24, and Eliza, age 18, all of whom had been received in the Miami Monthly Meeting with their mother.

Sarah did not live many years with Oliver; she died 14 Sep 1822 at age 61.  So far I have found no regisration or other official evidence of her death so I don’t know the cause.

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February Genealogy To-Do

I accomplished a little in January, mostly organizational.  I continued to work away at organizing my Evernote notebooks, making it through 8 of the surname notebooks, and having 5 more to do.  I start the month of February working in the Salt notebook, which had been the repository for all other family names that were related.  Since I have decided to orgainze by the major lines that are related I am ending up needing to move a fair number of the notes to other notebooks, but I am renaming the notes as I go.  I’m also trying out Trello on my desktop to see if it helps me with my to-do lists, etc.

I did order and receive 2 DNA test kits from familytreedna while they were on sale in December, and I now have a Y DNA kit in the works for a Boothby cousin.  The other is an autosomal kit and I am working to pursuade a Salt cousin to take it.  I haven’t decided who else I might try to use it for if she decides not to do it.  On the Denman DNA front I need to make a list of all the Denman males in my line who are still alive.  This will give me options for my on-going quest to discover what our relationship is to the two Denman cousins I have discovered.

In February I will acquire the William Boorman will from England (the National Archives), and any other Denman wills I can find there.

At the very end of December I was contacted by the new owner of the old Salt house in Clermont county, Ohio.  I had known that it was up for sale again but didn’t know it had been purchased.  The man who found me is interested in local history and we have been corresponding via email.  This has distracted me, and focused some of my research attention onto the Salt family as I search for deeds and wills and pictures.  This is very likely to continue into February and encourages me to organize the Salt files so I know where everything is.  It is an unfortunate failing of mine that I have various papers and pictures that I have gotten at earlier periods of my life and I know I have them but cannot easily find them when I want to.  So that is a related organizational goal for 2016.

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My Nantucket Grandmothers

There is a song or poem, titled The Nantucket Girl’s Song that was written in the 19th century by one or another woman traveling in the south Pacific on a ship.  The poem appears in the back of a journal kept by Eliza Brock as she experienced life on the Lexington on a whaling voyage from May 1853 to June 1856.  She accompanied her husband Peter Brock who was master of the Lexington, out of Nantucket.  It isn’t certain who wrote the poem but it is transcribed into the journal with the name Martha Ford appended to it.  Martha Ford was the wife of a physician in New Zealand.  I first saw a part of the poem in an exhibit at the Nantucket Historical Society’s museum and it spoke to me.  A friend with wonderful creative skills made me a watercolor map of Nantucket with the portion of the poem inscribed over the island.

The portion reads:

“Then I’ll haste to wed a sailor, and send him off to sea,
For a life of independence is the pleasant life for me,
But every now and then I shall like to see his face,
For it always seemes to me to beam with manly grace,
With his brow so nobly open, and his dark and kindly eye,
Oh my heart beats fondly towards him whenever he is nigh,
But when he says Goodbye my love, I’m off across the sea
First I cry for his departure, then laugh because I’m free”

The independent spirit of women on the small spit of land that is Nantucket Island tells me about the some of the women who were my ancestors.  Three or maybe four of the women born on Nantucket migrated to the southwestern Ohio area just after Ohio became a state – two of my g-g-g grandmothers and two of my g-g-g-g grandmothers.  Two came with husbands and families (or maybe only one: the second one died in 1815 and either on Nantucket or in Ohio), one came as a young girl and the other came as a widow with several children, including her youngest son who was about 8 years old.  Although all had been members of the Society of Friends on Nantucket only some transferred that religion to Ohio.

My g-g-g-g grandmother, Sarah (Sally) Folger Coffin (1761-1822) was the wife of Isaiah Coffin (1757-1813).  She left Nantucket about a year after her husband’s death and migrated west to Cincinnati where 2 or 3 of her oldest sons and a number of other friends and relatives from Nantucket had already settled.  She was issued a certificate from the Nantucket Monthy Meeting of the Society of Friends in April 1814 and received into the Miami Monthly Meeting in August 1814.  Sarah and 3 children (Reuben, Eliza, and Christopher Folger) were received.  The records show that on the same date, and based on a certificate with the same April date, her son Benjamin along with his wife and 3 children were also received in the Miami Meeting.  The records become a little confusing though, since there is also another line showing Sarah Coffin and daughter Elizabeth, and Sarah Barnard Coffin also being received on a certificate with that April 1814 date.  Is this my Sarah and a daughter whose name doesn’t match any of the children I know about, or a different one?  And who is Sarah Barnard Coffin?  These questions are my latest Bright Shiny Object to chase – probably not related to me but intriguing nonetheless.  To be continued.

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January Genealogy To-Do

new-year-2008-5_thumb.jpgWelcome in 2016!  It is going to be a great year for genealogy, I am determined.  I have a couple of large goals, the first being to finally connect the English Denman family “dots” to learn who the parents of my emigrant ancestor, William Denman, were.  I hope knowing more surely who his parents were will help connect that family with the other Denman lines in Sussex and tell me just how I am related to two present-day Denman cousins.  This was a goal for 2015 and I failed to reach it, although not for lack of trying.  The evidence that is needed is difficult to come by, and some of the primary evidence may not exist at this point.  In service of this quest, I did start the process of convincing a male Denman cousin to do a yDNA test; unfortunately he has a lot of more important life stuff to deal with currently and I’m not sure he will agree.

My related goal is to acquire the will for William Boorman, father of my emigrant ancestor, Ann Boorman Denman.  I will transcribe it for myself, however I seem to remember a Boorman researcher noting that William mentioned his daughter Ann Denman who had migrated to America.

Organizing is always on my list of goals and this coming year is no different.  I will continue to chip away at re-naming files and Evernote notes in a consistent way that seems useful (last name, first name, date and event).

My other larger goal this year will be to follow my Boothby family line, which I haven’t spent much time on lately.  I was just inspired by discovering that the Maine Registers of Deeds Association has a web portal for accessing all counties digitized land records.  The NEHGS blog, Vita-Brevis, just had a posting about this and I immediately checked it out.  I’m not up to speed on researching in Maine, even though I’ve done a research trip visit, and this is a resource I didn’t know about.  For my Boothby line I need to make the direct connection back to Maine, which is where they seem to have come from.  I only have them in Ohio so far.

As usual, there is plenty for me to do and to learn.  I wonder what I’ll end 2016 having accomplished?

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Tracking My Mother’s Mother’s Mother’s…

Having tested my mitochondrial DNA (on FTDNA) to expand my mother’s lines, I am in the process of doing a RootsMagic database to track those families and add evidence.  As soon as my DNA results were posted in early 2014 I began occasionally to get contacted by people who match me.  One of the very first pointed me at Eunice Phelps and her ancestors, including a url for a family website that I believe took her line back to a Prentice woman.  Unfortunately that site is no longer available and the Wayback Machine doens’t have the pages I want to look at again.  Just this past October I received another email from a match and this kind woman reported that she traced my line back 6 additional generations, 5 in Connecticut (which also includes a Prentice) and the last in Buckinghamshire, England in 1603.  I haven’t confirmed any of this yet but am on the trail.

Starting with my mother’s mother, Bricena Snow Denman, I have only had about 3 or maybe 4 generations of women before her in my tree (and I don’t have most of the evidence for any of these).

Bricena’s mother was Mary Malvina Sweet, born in 1852 or maybe 1853 (her children reported two different birth years as I posted earlier.). While I have an exact date I have no solid evidence, e.g., from a registration of her birth or a family Bible.  Mary and Clemon Snow married in May 1880, in Lorain County, Ohio.   They had only two children surviving (given amount of time between there may have been others who did not survive although this wasn’t passed along in family lore).  My grandmother was the only female so the only one passing mitochondrial DNA on.

Mary Sweet’s mother was Brisena (or Bricena) Chadwick who was born in 1814 in Lee, Massachusetts and married Colvin Sweet in 1835 in Cuyahoga County, Ohio.  As a child one of my favorite family stories was that my grandmother was named after her grandmother who had been a twin (girls named Bricena and Chrisena).  That looks like a family myth since I (so far) find no evidence that there was twin (based on the Lee Vital Records to 1850 on the site.  So much for stories.  Bricena and Colvin Sweet had somewhere around 10 children including 3 girls.  The first Mary died within a month of her birth.  The second, Bricena E. Sweet (known as Aunt Britie) never married (and had no children as far as I know).  and the second Mary was my great grandmother.  So she was (at least so far) the only one to pass on mitochondrial DNA.

Bricena Chadwick’s mother was Eunice Phelps, born in 1785 in Hebron, Connecticut one week after Hebron’s county changed from Windham county to Tolland county.  In 1805 she married Hemen (or Herman) Chadwick in Lee, Massachusetts and they had 5 children, only one a girl (Bricena).  Hemen Chadwick died young, in 1815 leaving Bricena a 30 year old widow.  If she had married again and had more children there would be other possibilities, however, I believe that she did not remarry until 1827 (when she was 41) and did not have more children.  So again, my great-great grandmother was the only female in her line passing along mitochondrial DNA.

This is the point at which my own research stopped until very recently.  I think Eunice’s mother was a Lucy Lord, born 1748, and married to Solomon Phelps, Jr. born 1743, both in Connecticut.  I am only beginning to research from here, so will just list the names I have been given by my recent match in October.  What she found, and I think is at least close to the earlier tree that isn’t online anymore, are these women:

Lucy Lord 1748 in Colchester
Lucy Bulkeley 1720 in Colchester
Patience Prentice 1680 New London
Sarah Jones 1654 Boston
Ann Griggs 1632 New London
Alice Sibtharp 1603 Buckinghamshire, England

So I have a “map” of sorts to guide me.  I am particularly interested in finding the families that had more than one female living to adulthood and having children of her own, since these could be my mitochondrial matches which don’t look at all familiar in family tree surnames at first glance.

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