Genealogical Dictionary of
Maine and New Hampshire
Genealogical Dictionary of Maine and New Hampshire, by Sybil Noyes, Charles Thornton Libby, and Walter Goodwin Davis, Portland, Maine, 1928-1939. Originally published in five parts, this Digital Edition (1007 pages) has been reformatted and repaginated to improve readability (among other things, eliminating the small print of the original). The Digital Edition on CD-ROM © February 2005.
This compendium is THE standard reference for genealogists who had ancestors in Northern New England (Maine and New Hampshire) in or before 1699. Its scope, however, is much larger than its title would suggest, for it contains much information about people who came from, or removed to, other colonies in New England (Massachusetts, Rhode Island, and Connecticut), New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, and points south. Additionally, it contains information about several dozen, perhaps hundreds of women and children who were captured by raiding Indians and transported to Canada, where many remained to marry and raise families. Though the cut-off date is 1699, the compilers carried the genealogies of many, if not most settlers well into the Eighteenth Century.
Most researchers will be interested primarily in the information provided for their own ancestors. Nevertheless, the Digital Editions editor recommends perusing the work for the insights it affords about life in primitive New England. For example: the fact that most critical decisions in the colonies were made by committees (rather than imposed from above) gave the editor a new appreciation for the origins of democratic institutions in the New World -- institutions that profoundly affected the outcome of the American Revolution. Other lessons learned: the perseverance of our immigrant ancestors, notwithstanding the fragility of life on the frontier (with frequent, deadly Indian raids), and the "wild west" behavior that did not conform to the standards that we normally attribute to "Puritan" ethics. Within a mere ten pages of this compendium, we find the following "honest observations" of a type that we do not often find in the typical "family history":A sobering thought: With so many children born out of wedlock, with the father not always identified, how certain can any of us be about our ancestry?
- "A day in 1675 set apart for humiliation was to him a good day to go gunning; the court thought not."
- "Arrested there in 1699 for stealing silver; Elizabeth Corbison test. that when the silver was taken he was courting her as Thos. Starbury and later called hims. Jarvis and Wm. Mann, but he, denying ever seeing her until arrested, was cleared."
- "PUTT, Henry, in much trouble at Scarboro 1667; a common swearer; uncivil carriages toward Joan Batten (5), ... embezzling Thos. Mitchell’s peas; abs. from meet. He bot a Hog Isl. ho. from Andrew Newcomb in 1673, and that yr. was warned to go home to his w., having been absent 11 yrs."
- "Nathaniel, York, took oath that Mary Linscott (1) had had a ch. by him and concealed it, in ct. Jan. 1709-10. She denied it but m. him 1710-1."
- "Francis, freed from training for 3 yrs. in 1668 ‘there being some distemper on him’"
- "In ct. Dec. 1701 for having a ch. 4 mo. after mar."
- "A warrant was issued ag. her and four other women 7 Mar. 1709-10 ‘vehemently suspected of whoredom.’ On 29 Nov. 1715 he pet. for a divorce but the case was dismissed for lack of ev. He abandoned her and went to Providence, R. I., where he m. Amy Estance 26 July 1716 (bigamously?)."
- "Sarah, m. bef. 1671 Joseph Cutt (4). After his death she was involved with Joseph Hadley (2) and d. bef. July 1675, prob. in childbirth, her fa. being in ct. with Hadley and acc. of lying and acting as midwife."
- "One of his sons disappeared in 1655, but, after he had acc. Thos. Warrener of murder, the boy was found."
- "When Philip’s war broke out wid. Redding’s house was attacked and burned and two of her sons murdered. She fled to Salem and in 1677 pet. the Gen. Ct. for aid, asking, quite naturally, that her br.’s legacy for ‘instructing these Heathen’ who had killed her sons be diverted to her. She and her dau. Rebecca were convicted of ‘being abroad at night’ in 1680 and Rebecca was advised to seek some good service."
- "J. R., Portsm., hanged himself to a tree and was buried at the cross-roads in 1716."
- "THOMAS, abandoned his w. and two ch. in Braintree and got into trouble with Elizabeth Brooks (2). Calling himself ‘of London,’ he m. her in Portsm. 4 Aug. 1716, and was given twenty-five lashes for his cumulative offenses in Jan. 1716-7. They continued to live together at Cape Neddick, where a s. John was b. 23 Oct. 1716 and liv. to maturity and an inglorious end, dying in a drunken orgy at a ship-wreck on the York shore."
- "In 1647 he was liv. on Hog Isl., Isles of Shoals, and, contrary to law, had his wife, goats and hogs with him. He was allowed to keep the former, but the latter had to be sent to the mainland as they ate drying fish and defiled the springs."
- "Judith, in ct. for usual reason 16 Oct. 1713; d. 17 Nov. 1747, s.p. (legal)."
- "NICHOLAS, servant to Nicholas Weeks, whose w. Judith cut his toes off and he d. 1666."
Being alphabetically arranged, the volume has no index. Nevetheless, and notwithstanding ample use of cross references, readers of the Digital Edition will greatly appreaciate the search capabilities of their word processing software in their search for pertinent information.
The Digital Edition: Complete with three text files (8.5 Mb).
Enhancements: Quick links at the head of the text file to transport you instantaneously to the approximate location (within five to seven pages) of the surname you're looking for. Format enhancements improve readability (these are similar in nature to the format enhancements used in Savages Genealogical Dictionary, for which see). Nearly twenty pages of additions and corrections have been integrated with the text file. "Topography and Abbreviations" and "Lists" have been published in separate files so that they can be opened concurrently with the main "Dictionary" file.
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Of Related Interest: The Digital Editions of Savage's First Settlers of New England and Pope's Pioneers of Massachusetts
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