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Test Your Skills on an 18th Century Deed - Challenge Answers

SkillChallengeAnswers

Last week we challenged you to answer questions about an 18th Century Deed.

Here are the answers to our challenge:

Jeremiah Brown deed

1. Where does Jeremiah Brown live?

Jeremiah Brown lives in Swansey [sic., the name is currently spelled Swansea], in the County of Bristol in the State Massachusetts Bay in New England.

2. How many sons does Jeremiah Brown have?

The correct answers is "at least two." Two sons are mentioned in this deed specifically by name, Samuel Miller Brown and Jeremiah Brown. Just because other sons aren't mentioned doesn't mean that Jeremiah Brown doesn't have them. At the time of this deed Samual Miller Brown was 27 years old and Jeremiah Brown was 25 years old. There were also three other sons ages 22, 13 and 11.

Jeremiah Brown deed

3. When was the land transferred?

The land was transferred 20 March 1778. "This Twentyeth Day of March A.D. 1778"

4. When was the deed recorded?

The deed was "Received May 18 1779 and Recorded"  That date is over a year after the land was transferred. This shows how important it is to note both the transfer date and the recording date because it can greatly impact your interpretation of events and facts.

5. Who are the witnesses? 

The witnesses are Peleg Shearman and Edward Luther. Witnesses should always be researched to determine if they are family, friends, neighbors or associates.

6. Who is Rebeckah Brown and how do we know?

Rebeckah Brown is the wife of Jeremiah Brown. She had a legal interest in the land because of her dower rights and therefore had the ability to reject the sale of the land. Her signature indicates her approval of the sale. For more on Dower Rights see "Dower Share, Dowry & Dower Rights" by William Dollarhide.

 

I hope you enjoyed this challenge! Let me know if you have any questions.

 

Marian Pierre-Louis is a genealogy professional who specializes in educational outreach through webinars, internet broadcasts and video. Her areas of expertise include house history research, southern New England research and solving brick walls. Since the rise in interest of genetic genealogy Marian has become addicted to using dna to help solve genealogy mysteries. Marian is the Online Education Producer for Legacy Family Tree Webinars where she produces online genealogy education classes. Once a month you'll find her as the evening host of Legacy Family Tree Webinars. Check out her webinars in the Legacy library.

 

Comments

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Excellent challenge, particularly about the 3 sons not mentioned.

Loved the challenge, especially since I got all of the answers right. Please do this again. It was fun, and helps us hone our analytical skills.

Thanks for the interesting exercise!

How do you know that Samuel Miller Brown and Jeremiah Brown are two sons and not another relative or person with the same name?

Do the circled letters at the end of their surnames have some significance?

Thanks
John B

John,

If you click on the first image and enlarge it a bit you can see that the deed says "and my two sons, Samuel Miller Brown and Jeremiah Brown." So in this case we can rely on direct evidence rather that indirect evidence because it's actually written out in the deed.

As for the S. I believe it is an abbreviation for L.S.

According to Black's Law Dictionary (4th edition) means "An abbreviation for "Locus Sigilli," the place where a seal is to be affixed, or a scroll which stands instead of a seal."

Marian

I enjoyed this exercise, and it brought up a few more questions:

1) Why is the State of Rhode Island mentioned?
2) Who is Bristol S. Martin who signed the deed on March 24th 1778, four days after the transfer?
3) Is it typical for a "Justice of Peace" to be involved in the deed process?
4) Given some historical naming conventions, along with Rebeckah's maiden name of Miller, and their son's name of Samuel Miller Brown, would it be useful to check to see if William Turner Miller is also family, friend, neighbor, or associate?

Scott,

1) Why is the State of Rhode Island mentioned?

Good catch!

Warren, Rhode Island, the town mentioned, was formed in 1747 from the towns Barrington, Swansea and Rehoboth, Massachusetts and part of Bristol, Rhode Island. Warren shares a border with Swansea. The property in this case was in Swansea, Massachusetts. The Brown family lived in Swansea but they had many family members in Warren, Rhode Island. Borders may change but families don’t necessarily move. In this particular case the Justice of the Peace, William Turner Miller was from Warren, Rhode Island. Therefore we can say that the deed was signed and witnessed in Warren, Rhode Island.

2) Who is Bristol S. Martin who signed the deed on March 24th 1778, four days after the transfer?

The transcription is actually Bristol [?] Warren March 24th: 1778
Warren is the town in Bristol County, Rhode Island

3) Is it typical for a "Justice of Peace" to be involved in the deed process?

In New England yes it is typical. Today it is usually done by a Notary Public. There role is to authenticate that the deed was signed by the people listed in the deed.

4) Given some historical naming conventions, along with Rebeckah's maiden name of Miller, and their son's name of Samuel Miller Brown, would it be useful to check to see if William Turner Miller is also family, friend, neighbor, or associate?

Absolutely! I should have included that in the challenge. At this point I’m not sure of the exact relationship between William Turner Miller and Rebeckah Miller Brown but it’s quite possible that William is a nephew or cousin.

Thanks for asking!

Marian

Great challenge! Yes, please offer us other challenges. I was able to get all the questions and some of Scott Gates questions too. I guess I'm not a beginner anymore.

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