Thursday, January 30, 2014


I know, I am not very good at keerping up with this blogging thing but I have some information that I felt I needed to share.

When working on my ancestry, I try to be diligent in researching the facts.  There are a lot of genealogists out there that take information they have found from the web and consider it gospel.  I am here to tell you, DON'T!

I am currently researching my husband's side of the family, Harris.  I have been so excited because they can be traced back to the Mayflower and Mary Chilton, the first woman to step foot on Plymouth Rock!  Now this is a genealogists dream to have so much information at your fingertips.  I live in Mass so researching should be easy.

Anyways, the first "Harris" appeared in 1640 and was one of the original proprietors of Bridgewater.  Exciting so far!  There is so much information both on the web and in books.  One thing that kept appearing all over the place was excerps from his will.  It named 4 children, his wife, and hinted to the fact that there were additional children.  The same quotes were everywhere.  It would be so easy to take this information as truth and add it to my family's story.  Not me, though!  No, yesterday I trotted into the Massachusetts Archives and after 4 hours of research I had a copy of the of the original court document, transcribed.  It was handwritten.  We just don't appreciate the luxuries we have today such as copy machines!

I have read the entire document three times.  It clearly names 2 sons but none of the daughters by name.  The only reference is to the "eldest daughter" but no name given.  It never mentions the wife's name, only referring to her as is wife.  The quote I have found says "bequested to his wife to care for the other children".  It did not say this at all.

Research, research.  If you want accuracy, you can't take information for granted.  Wills are a wonderful source.  Not only was I able to clear up this matter but I also found that he seems to have been a wealthy man according to the inventory of his estate.

Wills can be found usually at the probate court.  If it is old enough, you may be able to find it at the archives.  Wills may give names of children and relatives.  Give description of land owned.  Even give an insight into who this person was.

Happy Hunting!!!

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