"These so, these irretrievable"

'Tis the season! We celebrate a birthday on 25 December, ostensibly, and although not expecting messiahs (nor even anyone of Levantine birth), I was curious to see who in my family tree shared that birth date, a similar exercise about which I have posted previously.

Running a quick report, I discovered that Christmas births in my family were not many, and those few that did turn up were usually neither verifiable nor even very likely.

There was undoubtedly Ephraim Davenport (25 Dec 1708 - 11 Dec 1789), a paternal seventh great-father, born in Rhode Island, died in Connecticut. Unfortunately, that is the sum total of what I know about him. He does has a nice headstone, however.

South Street Cemetery, AKA Silver Street Cemetery,
Coventry, Tolland, Connecticut.
photo: VCEastman

After Ephraim, things get sketchy and dubious. For instance, John Maxwell (25 Dec 1775 - 12 Nov 1824), a theoretical maternal sixth great-grandfather, is fairly well-documented. But his son, William Maxwell, from whom I am descended, is generally reported as having been born in 1765, ten years before his father. Or take Richard Gay (25 Dec 1580 - 1693), a purported paternal eleventh great-grandfather. He is seen everywhere online with these undocumented dates, without anyone seeming to question how the old coot lived to be one hundred and thirteen years old....

Anyway. Those of you who pay close attention to details may notice that this post, with its Christmas theme, was in fact published 1 January, my resolution about not procrastinating failing even before the new year began. Which means I will need to focus that much harder on two additional genealogical resolves (none of you reading this having any interest in my more personal goals, I hope): first, to make sure I am documenting and double-checking information as I receive it, so as not to perpetuate these too common, well-meaning familial falsehoods; second, to find a way over some of the most vexing brick walls in my research.

Here is the list, focussed primarily on Americans. Anyone out there in cyberland who can contribute (or refute) any information about these folks, especially their parents, would be appreciated!

Isaac Burnett (1780? - May 1860), lived most of his life in Newport, Penobscot, Maine. He married Deborah Grindle (25 Feb 1784 - aft 1860) on 23 Dec 1802. I have written about his garbled ancestry elsewhere.

Samuel Squire (1773 - aft 1830); his wife was perhaps named Mary Ann LKU (abt 1775 -  aft 1830). He appears on the U S Federal Censuses from 1800 through 1830, primarily in Madison, Somerset, Maine.

Aaron Colman (abt 1783 - aft 1830), and his father, Aaron Colman (? - aft 1820); both residents of Maine, appearing on the U S Federal Censuses from 1800 through 1830 and 1820, respectively. Aaron Colman, junior, was married to Mary "Polly" Lombard or Lumbar.

John Swarts (28 Nov 1795 - 24 Oct 1874), born in Pennsylvania, but living most of his life in Brighton, Kenosha, Wisconsin; and his wife Mary McDonald (abt 1799 - 1893), also born in Pennsylvania.

Anna B. A. "Annie" Miller (Jan 1867 - aft 1920), was born in Germany and arrived in the U S about 1870. She married Dor Henry Eaton (May 1869 - 31 Dec 1945) on 27 Jan 1890, in Minnesota.

Willard Brown (abt 1806 - aft 1860), born in New Hampshire. He married Mary "Polly" Rasey (21 Oct 1808 - 12 Dec 1868) on 17 Nov 1826 in New York.

William Carter (1800 - 30 Mar 1849) and Melinda Johnson (1813 - 1902). Complicated by both a scarcity of information and fairly common names, they were both believed born in Tennessee; she died there, while he died in Missouri.

William Kinman (abt 1830 - aft 1858), born in New York and died in Illinois, and Sarah R Moore (abt 1826 - aft 1875). She was probably born in Ohio (I have one U S Federal census to back that up), and the only reason I have "Moore" is that my maternal grandmother provided it, although she was occasionally wrong about these details. Sarah later married a Walter Reading or Redding (abt 1825 - aft 1875); they lived in Illinois.

Frederick Dillazone Ketchum (6 Apr 1811 - 21 Jan 1888), about whom I have written often. I believe I have discovered his father as Elisha Ketchum (abt 1771 - aft 1840), but yearn to know more about these two, including the identity of Frederick's mother. I would also love to know if "Dillazone" is in fact correct (I no longer know where I first saw it; it may have been another Grandma Brown error), and from where it derives. He was most often referred to as "Capt F D Ketchum."

And speaking of Captains, there is Samuel Cherry (15 May 1756 - 27 Oct 1825), about whom I have also written in one of my earliest posts. His parents, and even his place of birth are a great mystery. It is generally agreed that he was born in Londonderry--but which: Ireland or New Hampshire?

Finally, there is Clarissa Adams (31 Jan 1791 - 7 Feb 1872), daughter-in-law of Capt Cherry, above. She was born in New York, and died in Delaware, Delaware County, Ohio. I have visited and photographed her gravesite, which perhaps explains in part her particular appeal for me; that and her potentially historically rich last name! The Cherrys were great patriots, after all....

Detail of the Cherry family marker, Oak Grove Cemetery,
Delaware, Delaware, Ohio.
photo: Robert Burnett

Will anyone contribute facts about these ancestral ciphers of mine? One hopes so, and wishes that 2014 will bring you each what you are looking for as well!