Friday, March 2, 2012

Genealogy Serendipity Moment - Gates and Tidd Connection

The Tidd family of Massachusetts has been my favorite research subject over the last forty years. This week as I further explored the Gates family I discovered that not only did both families live near each other as early settlers in America; they also lived near each other in England. Through discovering some new resources and analyzing the currently discovered data, I am having many serendipity moments and I am sure there are more to come.

Yesterday I took a day off from research work to have a genealogy play day at a friend's home. She happened to have the new edition of Clarence Almon Torrey's book, "New England Marriages Prior to 1700," published in 2010. These books concisely combine all previous versions in a much more workable format. The Gates' records are on page 604 and the Tidd's records are on page 1518.

When I came home I started to put together the puzzle pieces of these two families. Once that was done, I moved onto and discovered some early vital records for Connecticut, Massachusetts and Vermont. Again, the pieces of the puzzle started falling into place.

From there I went to look for Revolutionary War Records for the Gates family. I knew that there was a high possibility that some of the six sons of Samuel and Rachel (Hayes) Gates served. Three of the older sons were married by that time. At this point I have only identified the two youngest as serving, James was about 24 and David was about 23.

My husband's seventh generation grandparents were David and Jerusha (Whitney) Gates. He served in the Revolutionary War, along with his brother James. Both served from Connecticut, and later moved to Hinesburg, Vermont. While David died too young to claim a pension, his brother James and his widow Polly (Whitney) Gates both claimed pensions. The wives do not appear to be sisters, but may be cousins.  The file on Fold3 contains 57 pages and kept me up late last night as I read the contents. It is one of the most fascinating files I have read. Not only does it tell of his service, but also describes his experience as a prisoner of war on a prison ship.

My seventh generation grandfather was Daniel Tidd, son of Amos and Elizabeth (Smith) Tidd. He was about age 15 when served in the Revolutionary War, along with five of his brothers. Daniel and his brothers served from Massachusetts, then some of them later settled in Vermont. Daniel and three of his brothers have pension files, but they are rather short compared to the one for James Gates.

Today I returned to and stumbled upon the book, "Topographical Dictionary of 2885 English Emigrants to New England 1629-1650," by Charles Edward Banks where there are some further clues for these two families.  On pages 118-120, there is a list of 28 men within the chapter of Emigrants From England to New England, who were from Norwich Parish in England. On page 119, towards the bottom of the page are Stephen Gates and right below him John Tead. Very few of the entries actually show a ships name, so the information is probably from records created in New England. Gates is noted to have settled in Hingham, MA. and Tidd in Charlestown, MA. Below John Tead, is Daniel Fairfield, another relation of the Gates family. According to the marriage records the Gates family also lived in Cambridge and Charlestown, where some of the Tead/Tidd family lived.

After this I made the mistake of going to in hopes of further clarification, but that was a mistake. For now I am going to work from our known relatives, and maybe some day try to work on the tangled mess of names in the next generation of Gates. With the ease of finding vital records on that is my first area of focus. Next I need to read and reread some books about these early New England towns. My mind is tired tonight; I might be in need of another play day. I know as I work it often becomes obvious that I need to take a break, so I can be better focused on the work that I am doing.

On Sunday I hope to share the McSweeney Pension file of which I have dissected the documents and now have them organized by date of occurrence. I think you will be amazed at what was contained in this file. Dig, dig, and dig, which is what gopher genealogy is all about, with a few serendipity moments along the way.

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