Friday, November 2, 2012

Inquisitive Minds Want to Know - Part I

Are all genealogists slightly crazy? Well, maybe not crazy, but truly those that dig are very inquisitive and maybe a little obsessive compulsive. We push for details that the average person would not even consider the possibility of finding. Like digging in old post office records for months to find tidbits about ancestors and their neighbors. This includes doing the FAN type of searching for Friends, Associates, and Neighbors, as first taught by Elizabeth Shown Mills.

For the past couple of months I have been reading about Charlestown, Massachusetts and in the process became inquisitive about the history and people who settled that town. While the first European people came in 1629, they established the town in 1630. In the first year it is estimated that forty-five families were living there and by 1638 an estimated one hundred-thirteen families. Intrigued by the Map of the Town Center in 1638, page 100 in Deference to Defiance, where there are listed twenty-three families, I wanted to know more about these people. One of my favorite ancestral families, the Tidd family, is listed as a property holder.

From this information, I realize that only twenty percent of the people lived in the town, while the other eighty percent lived on land within its bounds. Those living in town appear to be more merchants, seaman and trades people, while those living on the outskirts were usually farmers. In 1640 the town was split into three separate towns, including Malden and Woburn where another part of the Tidd family was a property holder. From my reading it appears that John Tidd lived in Woburn after first settling in Charlestown (or his property may have been incorporated into the new town),  and Joshua Tidd lived in Charlestown. They both appear to have arrived about 1637, but there are no passenger records for them and very few for the people from Norfolk, See my prior post about them in Fascinated by Charlestown, Massachusetts and the Tidd Family, posted on September 25, 2012.

In the book, From Deference to Defiance Charlestown, Massachusetts 1629-1692, author Roger Thompson, 2012, includes three lists useful in comparing the information about these twenty-three families:
Charlestown Immigrant Origins 1630-40 on pages 26-28
(created by author?)
Charlestown Officeholders 1634-1692 on pages 57-77
(previously unpublished)
Tax List of 16 November 1658 on pages 49-51
(previously unpublished)

Then for further information the book, Topographical Dictionary of 2885 English Emigrants to New England 1620-1650, by Charles Edward Banks, 1937, was consulted. The first book did not include information on the family of John Tidd, even though for the officeholders most were listed with just a first name initial. Also overlooked were the settlers who came from Hertfordshire and Norfolk, England in the list of Charlestown Immigrant Origins, which is where the Tidd family have been documented. In the second book there is no listing for Joshua Tidd; only one for John Tidd based on the book, Genealogies and Estates of Charlestown, 2 v., 1879, by Wyman.

The next post will be a summary of the information gleaned for the twenty-three names from the map with a few others of interest.

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