Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Family Discoveries in Cambridge Cameos

Earlier this week I finished reading the book "Cambridge Cameos" by Roger Thompson. He is the author of several books about New England towns and people. Previously I shared comments about his book "From Death to Defiance" a book about Charlestown, Massachusetts. While my ancestors, the Tidd family, were principally in Charlestown, Lexington, New Town, Cambridge Farms and Woburn prior to the Revolutionary War, they were most likely caught up in changing boundaries as these towns evolved. This family was not found in Cambridge Cameos, but the Stedman family was.

There were some interesting facts relating to John Stedman (1601-1693) and his family.
On page 23, John is listed as being involved in trade and noted to be an owner of a ketch and a warehouse in 1647.
On page 27 John is listed as dying in 1693 with an estate of L712.
On page 32 he is listed with his sibling Robert who died in 1667 with an estate of L210.
On page 35 he is listed as a shopkeeper who traded in Cambridge and that his shop and warehouse inventory which is included was very detailed. The notes indicate that from 1652 he was a Cambridge liquor licensee.
On page 38 the notes list him as a Selectman for thirteen years.
On page 81 that the household of John Stedman was on Brattle Square at the corner of Mount Auburn Street and his wife was Alice.
On page 206 he is listed as having 78 head of milch cows grazing on the Cow Common.
On page 289 in the notes John is listed as having arrived in Cambridge as steward to Mrs. Glover in 1638 and that he was a shopkeeper.
He seems to have some affiliation with Thomas Shepard's Church.
On page 9 his wife Alice is mentioned a member of the church.

While these nine pages do not create a broad picture of this family, they do provide insight into their lives. At this point I am not positive if or how our family connects to John or his brother Robert. The clues provided encourage me to explore this family further. Does my John Stedman (1725-1801) born in Brookline, Norfolk, Massachusetts fit into the earlier Cambridge family?

The beauty of this book, based on early Cambridge and adjacent vicinity court records, helps us to understand the lives from this time period. The cameos are generally short and quick reads. Is your family name listed in the index? Feel a bit of serendipity as you become immersed in the lives of the early Cambridge town's people.

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