Today’s guest blogger Heather Wilkinson Rojo (Nutfield Genealogy) uses her posts not only as a method of sharing her discoveries with family, but also as an opportunity to double check her work and look for new sources. “When you rely on other people’s research, you have to be careful that you are looking at the latest research,” she reminds us in today’s “How I Solved It” guest post. Here’s what that meant for her Batchelder line:
Seven years ago, I started writing “Surname Saturday” posts for my blog. As of now I have written almost 350 sketches, each featuring an immigrant ancestor. I started working my way through my ahnentafel chart, beginning with my paternal side of the tree, featuring one surname at a time. Then my mother’s side of the tree, working through her side of the family.
As I work through each name, I take a good hard look at what research I have already done on that family. (I even wrote a blog post on this process you can see at this link: https://nutfieldgenealogy.blogspot.com/2015/05/how-do-i-write-up-my-surname-saturday.html)
With some of these families, I did the original research 40 years ago, so before I publish a “Surname Saturday” post I will recheck all the sources and see what new research has been done. Back in 2015 I wrote up my BATCHELDER sketch, showing my descent from the Reverend Stephen Batchelder (1560 – 1656), the founder of Hampton, New Hampshire. I actually had three descents from Rev. Batchelder, so it was a complicated sketch. You can read that post at this link: https://nutfieldgenealogy.blogspot.com/2015/10/surname-saturday-batchelder-of-hampton.html
As I wrote up this sketch I found a new source for the BATCHELDER family that I looked at later, the year after I published the blog post. This was a manuscript that is held at the Lane Library in Hampton, New Hampshire. Charles Hull Batchelder (1876 – 1948) collected notes on the BATCHELDER family for many years, correcting the errors in the Batchelder compiled genealogy book published by Frederick C. Pierce in 1898. This Pierce book is what I used for my research, along with vital records and other local sources. It was the cause of one big mistake I made on identifying the parents of Jonathan Batchelder (about 1800 – 1847), my 4th great grandfather.
Charles Hull Batchelder died in 1948 before publishing his revised version of the genealogy book. I didn’t know that all his notes were held at the New Hampshire Historical Society Library. I knew that in 1985 a man named Carl. W. Brage transcribed some of Charles Batchelder’s research into a 222 page manuscript (available online at the Lane library website http://www.hampton.lib.nh.us/), but that document doesn’t include the generation where Jonathan Batchelder appears. I still didn’t know if I made a mistake with my conclusions. So last year we went to the New Hampshire Historical Society library to see Charles Batchelder’s original research notes.
Little did I realize, but Charles Batchelder’s notes were kept in tiny notebooks and scraps of paper held in eleven large boxes! According to the Lane library website “196 handwritten notebooks in five boxes, handwritten and typed correspondence in four boxes, about 2000 handwritten family group sheets in one box, and about 10,000 individual handwritten index cards in one box”. Happily, because Charles Batchelder was a copious note taker, a meticulous genealogist, and a hoarder of information, I was able to find Jonathan Batchelder, my 4th great grandfather, inside these boxes.
In the next few blog posts I will describe how I decoded Charles Hull Batchelder’s mysterious descendant numbering system to uncover Jonathan Batchelder’s parents and ancestors. I will also describe how to work with his enormous number of notes and their own numbered codes. And how I came to a new conclusion about my family tree, where I had to prune off 29 surnames (and 29 branches!), but I also added 31 new surnames and 31 new branches!
When you rely on other people’s research, you have to be careful that you are looking at the latest research! Even if that research has been hidden in a box in an archive for decades!
Win some, lose some! Stay tuned for more…
Click here for part 2:
Click here for part 3:
You can read Heather’s original post, with comments, at https://nutfieldgenealogy.blogspot.com/2018/09/batchelder-family-do-over-part-1.html
If you have ideas or stories to share in our “How I Solved It” series, please let us know!