A while back, I told you about visiting Massachusetts and finding out that I have more ancestors than I could have imagined from the coast of Massachusetts, from Marblehead to Boston.
While in Marblehead, we visited the little Marblehead Museum. The museum is housed in what might have been a private home in an earlier life, not too far from the town center. In the large open front room, we were able to see quite a few art works depicting the early seafaring life of the town, even though they were in the midst of changing the exhibit. The upstairs main gallery was not open for the summer season yet, so we missed that.
We had stopped by the museum hoping to find a listing of historical houses. As we walked through the town, we noticed house after house had plaques by the front door, with names and dates. We soon learned that Marblehead has over 200 homes dating from the Revolutionary War era, with some even from the mid-1600s. Most of these have been beautifully restored and cared for, and the historic district is on the National Register of Historic Places. It truly is charmingly lovely.
With so many ancestors from Marblehead, I had hoped that perhaps I could find a house or two that had once belonged to my family. So, at the museum, I talked with the archivist, Lauren McCormack. She kindly looked up the information she had on the houses, which wasn’t a complete listing.
Turns out, there isn’t one.
(Insert startled expression here.)
Which I still can’t quite believe. If I lived closer, I’d be walking up and down the streets of Marblehead, camera in hand, marking a map with names and dates that future genealogists would celebrate me for. But, I digress….
Unfortunately, we didn’t find houses in the museum’s records that belonged to my family. Ms. McCormack, however, said that she would look in the archives and get back to me if she found any more information.
And, she did! She emailed me page after page relating to my Ashton, Diamond, Doliber, and Thompson ancestors: Transcripts of deeds and wills, handwritten family genealogies, and scans of centuries-old bills of sale, etc. It was a treasure trove!
I will leave you today with this one image:
This is an indenture for Paul Cooper of Bermuda to Joseph Breed, mariner, of Marblehead (who may be yet another ancestor). The indenture was for a period of eight years and five months to learn the “Art, Trade or Mastery” of seamanship.
Mr. Cooper agreed to “not absent himself day or night from his Master’s service without his leave… shall not contract matrimony… behave himself a faithful apprentice…” etc.
Master Breed agreed to the “utmost of his endeavors to teach or cause to be taught and instructed said apprentice in the trade… to provide for him… meat, drink, washing, lodging..to teach him to read, write, and cypher…” etc.
This document is signed by Samuel Ashton and Samuel Ashton, Jr., my 5x and 4x great-grandfathers. The date is March 15, 1781.
Like I said, I have deep roots in Marblehead…