I have a brick wall in my family genealogy and wonder if someone may have researched this family locally. Here is the information I have:
b. about 1734 Exeter, Devon, England
d. 25 JAN 1805 Chester, Windsor, VT USA
The following is a published account of his journey to America:
SAMUEL STEVENS, the grandfather of Samuel who now lives in Francestown, NH was born in Exeter, Devon, England. When a lad he came to America in a British man-of-war from which he escaped at night and swam ashore near the old Charlestown bridge, barely eluding a boat's company sent in pursuit of him, whose oars he could distinctly hear in the darkness. He married Rebecca Stiles and settled in Boxford. Mass. His home in this section was near the Philip Fletcher farm in Greenfield. Late in life he moved to Chester, VT where he died about the year 1805. His wife died at the same place in 1825. Samuel their son was born in Boxford, Mass., Mar. 3, 1769 and came to Francestown, NH in 1800.
Page 941 - History of Francestown, N. H.: from its earliest settlement April, 1758, to January 1, 1891
By Warren Robert Cochrane, George K. Wood
From the time Samuel shows up on record in 1758 at Boxford, MA, USA and forward I know almost everything about him and the rest of my family. Anything relating to him while living in England is a mystery. I have searched every online record that can be found to date. I have to assume that he didn't change his last name when he arrived in Boston to avoid detection from the British Navy. i have searched any parish records to be found online with no luck.
Not able to travel to Exeter in person to do additional searching does anyone have any ideas what I could do next to try and move my research forward?
Thanks in advance to any replies.
Dear Mr. Ted Stevens Sr.,
In 2011 you asked for information about Samuel Stevens b 1734.
Our family is grateful for the information you posted about Samuel Stevens. We are wondering if you have learned more about him since you made that inquiry. We would be very interested in anything you have learned.
Unfortunately, since the 2011 posting regarding Samuel Stevens I have made zero progress. I do have in combination with other direct and indirect family member an extensive tree posted on WikiTree. If you have the time I suggest reviewing it - there is mountains of data regarding the family moving forward from Samuel.
I utilize TMG (The Master Genealogist) and have complete family backgrounds on all of the descendents moving forward including civil war, land records, political positions, etc.
Over the years I have communicated with a number of far better researchers than myself and all have come to the same conclusion regarding Samuel. The only truly accurate way to solve this mystery is to have "boots on the ground". Someone needs to physically hand scourer the records of Exeter and pickup the trail of Samuel. In late 2012 I did hire a person located in Exeter claiming to have the ability to visit the site where records could be reviewed. In the end this person provided me with information I had already obtained via my own internet research. After that experience I have pretty much resolved myself to hoping someone stumbles onto information that may advance our investigation and share it with all parties concerned.
Over the years I have been surprised with the number of people connected to Samuel. Here in New England there have always been three primary Stevens families that migrated between about 1670 and 1720. One group settled in Connecticut, one in Massachusetts, and the other in the Rhode Island area. Samuel seems to be the "odd" man out unless there is a connection to one of the families somewhere back in England.
I have a theory that in fact Samuel is related to Colonel Thomas Stevens of Dovenshire, England. here are some quick facts:
Colonel Thomas Stevens (1) of Devonshire, England, was the father of the three emigrants from whom a large part of the Stevens families of Massachusetts are descended. He was the progenitor of Charles F. Stevens, and George A. Stevens, of Worcester. He was the armorer of Buttulph Lane, London, who was contracted with the Massachusetts Bay colony and government in March, 1629, for a supply of arms. He was a member himself of the Massachusetts Bay Company, gave fifty pounds to the common stock and sent three sons, Thomas, Cyprian and Richard, and one daughter to New England. Mary Stevens married Captain Whipple, of Ipswich. Thomas and Cyprian came in 1660 with Captain Green.
I truly believe that somewhere back in Thomas Stevens family maybe in the 1500's Samuel may be related to members of Thomas Stevens. I recently as November 2013 I updated my research online in England and there is still no facts that I could locate. Surprisingly in the last year or so online records in England have grown. I have seen a lot of work done to get more and more of the English records online - there are people and groups there working really hard to expand access to the information and their doing a fantastic job. All of this will take time and for now I guess we will just have to wait and hope for the little tidbit of information that will complete the family history of Samuel.
I hope I haven't rambled on for to long - keep the faith and keep looking. Sooner or later the puzzle will be completed and we will all have one great online celebration in the name of Samuel.
Thanks for taking the time to send your very informative reply. Your conclusion that it will take someone with "boots on the ground" fits the circumstances you have carefully studied.
We are going to take time tonight to get on TMG and see the things that you have collected. We are excited to begin to learn what you have found. We'll be in touch again.
I misunderstood quite what kind of site TMG is. We do not have that software. In reading the reviews, we wonder if we purchase it, if we will have the "know how" to use it. Also, we are uncertain if we do get it whether we would be able to have access to the records you have deposited there. Do you have a suggestion about how we might best access what you have stored there?
As we have recently turned our attention to these ancestors, we are being reminded that they lived in Chester, Windsor, Vermont. We are members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (Mormons). Nearly 15 years ago other church volunteers and I spent one afternoon a week at our chapel extracting records from microfilms. For months the microfilms we extracted were from Vermont.
Here is a copy of part of a journal entry and letter I wrote then:
30 October 2001
Today we completed sending four batches from Vermont microfilm to the Name Extraction Department in Salt Lake City. As part of that process, it was necessary to go back into the microfilm and double check two or three items. As I looked carefully at the handwriting on one card, I knew immediately that the date would be 1871. That clerk, along with so many others, were known to me by their handwriting. For more than a year, we have carefully recorded the information from two microfilms containing thousands of 3 x 5 cards with information about the births, marriages, and deaths of people whose surnames begin with “P”. It was a poignant moment for me to now leave our regular contacts with those people through their cards.
I sent the following note to Salt Lake City with the batches.
“Today as we come to the end of our Vermont work–-a total of two films and six large batches all from surnames beginning with P, we feel to express our love for the families whose surnames have become familiar to us and something of whose life stories we have witnessed as we have watched their families come into the world, marry, and die. We feel a kinship with the clerks who recorded the events–even the ones whose writing was difficult to read. . . .
"We are grateful to have been a part of this great work." Karen Luthy
Perhaps you can imagine something of my feelings tonight (4/10/2014) when I think of all of those Vermonters whose names and information are now part of a great database. We worked on the "P" surnames. We hope that the "S" surnames have been of help to you and others.
Until now we have spent more time extracting/indexing records than we have spent on our own family research. We will appreciate any information or suggestions you might have for us on how we might best proceed to learn more about Samuel Stevens and his descendants.
Thank you for your time and your knowledge!
OK, sorry for the confusion about the software I use and a site that I have the major part of my research parked.
The TMG (The Master Genealogist) program is a great way to track and combine any and all of your research. Relating as to how can you figure out how to use it I have found over the years it's pretty straight forward. It has a lot of capacity but you need only use what works for you. I still have not master all of its power but am satisfied that i get back from it more than enough to know my records are safe and accessible to generations.
Where to find my research online - WikiTree (http://www.wikitree.com/). Everything I have deposited at this site is open to the public. It currently contains about 85% of my entire database in names and birth, death, locations. What isn't there are some very in-depth records on some family members that I just haven't had the time to upload.
A prime example is Sargent Charles Franklin Stevens (1835-1862)son or Samuel Stevens III. I have everything that can possibility know about this young man. As you may guess already by the year of death Charles died in the American Civil War. He is in-turned in Beaufort, SC at the Civil War Cemetery. I located in 2012 an online auction that had sold two complete letters from him to his father months before his death while stationed in Florida. Since 2012 I have been restricted to only make contact to the buyer through the auction house (they done want their names released) in an attempt to purchase these items - these are real treasures to me! At my last contact the buyer had "misplaced" both letter and was still unable to locate them. Anyway - as you can see i tend to drift off subject from time to time. I have just on Charles information that most hobbyist would likely never had located. This is priceless information that I'm more that willing to share with family members. i have not and will never post them on any of the paid sites offered. Unfortunately the paid member site just harvest the data and sell it to other members and I want no part of that. This is why I suggested you look at WikiTree - the whole premise of WikiTree is to freely share family data across the entire world - I think that a GREAT way to connect all of our families.
Also, my database of the Samuel Stevens family is far from restricted to just Stevens. I have followed may of the members out to third and fourth cousins. Currently my entire database contains 3000 persons, it cover quite a number of other than Stevens families through-out New England.
OK, hopefully I have cleared some of the confusion you experienced. I have plans for a trip to Chester VT later this spring as I want to gather some photos of the grave site and possibly the home Samuel spent his final years.