Monday, April 27, 2015

Phebe Who?, Part 1 - The Mysteries of Aunt Phila

First, if you are just tuning into this saga about pertaining to a possible change in my Hildreth lineage, I suggest you read the previous posts leading up to this one to give you context. Second, this post and the next will address the daughters of Joseph Hildreth, son of Nathan Hildreth. If the account of DH-III is correct, this Joseph is no longer my 5th-g-grandfather, but my 5th-g-grand-uncle, so technically his offspring are not in my direct line and who cares? Well, let's just say I like a puzzle and I like to see the big picture, so here I am. What the heck.

Finally, the details of this post and any other subsequent posts having to do with SANDFORD or CULVER is going to seem complicated. So I will do my best to break it down and simplify it, but the whole thing is mind-boggling no matter how you slice it. So with those caveats and warnings, let's get on with the show.

According to the family history account of DH-III, Nathan's son, Joseph, married a Mary Post, and had two daugthers who married Sandford/Sanford cousins. It's fairly easy to find traces of the first couple, namely Bethuel Sandford and Sarah Hildreth. They had one son, Joseph Hildreth Sandford, before Sarah died, and Bethuel remarried. Joseph H. Sandford was also a shoemaker (the same occupation mentioned by DH-III for Joseph H.'s grandfather, Joseph), and his family settled in Newark, Wayne, New York.

Now, according to DH-III, the second daughter of Joseph Hildreth and Mary Post was named Phibe, and she married a cousin of Bethuel named Samuel Sandford. DH-III's account specifically names the children attributed to this couple. The problem is that in the world of all other compiled genealogies, the wife of this Samuel Sandford is universally named as Phebe Culver, not only in most family trees, but also in some deed abstracts [see following post for source information]. Nowhere was there a suggestion that Phibe Hildreth married anybody named Samuel Sandford. Until suddenly there was.

It seems that DH-III also published a Mortuary Record with his diary, which is to say a list of people in the area (presumably Southampton) who died between 1824 and 1869. It gives the name of the deceased, sometimes with some further identification like "wife of" or "daughter of" or "hung himself", the place (often left blank), the date, and the age at death. In this list was:

Aunt Phila Sandford, died May 10, 1840, age 70.

That's it. Can you see why it stopped me? Phila's age at death is exactly in the range of birth date we would expect for one Phibe Hildreth. The term "aunt" is interesting because Phibe would have been DH-III's grand-aunt once-removed (something like that), but just the term "aunt" suggests to me that he knew her and might have been close to her. And see the spelling of the given name? It's entirely possible that the OCR version of DH-III's account produced some strange spellings, but the name Phibe - which seems an unusual spelling - was consistent in his account. Was it Phibe or was it Phila? No clue. Until suddenly there was.

I almost never look at familysearch genealogies, but the one thing about familysearch is they are constantly improving in one way or another (and Thank You can never be said enough). So go ahead, try it. Go to familysearch genealogies and type Phil* Hildreth and a spouse of Sandford. What comes up are two IGI files for very specific christening dates for two children named Jason Sandford  and Nathan Sandford, children of Samuel Sandford and Philadelphia Hildreth! Are you kidding?

First, if there is any do-gooder in SLC who wants to look at film 0822626, and send me a copy of these christenings, you would be furthering the cause of Hildreth genealogy for all of us!

In the mean time, I now have reason to believe there actually was a Hildreth married to a Samuel Sandford. Searching for somebody named Philadelphia didn't get me very far, although somewhere along the way, I wondered if the name might not have been something like Philena? Ideas, any one?

More about the true identity of Aunt Phila still to come.

1 comment:

  1. I have now looked up the film mentioned in this post. It contains IGI batches. For anybody coming behind me, the batch and reference that we want is: 730163644. The source appears to be a Presbyterian church book. Contact me for more info if interested.