Published: 27 March 2015
Updated/Edited: 19 May 2016
For many generations it has been well established that the first name of our immigrant ancestor’s wife and the mother of his two sons, is Christian. The name “Christian” as a first name in early Massachusetts Bay Colony has always seemed a bit unusual to me, since most Puritan and Pilgrim parents gave Biblical names to their children.
In recent years we have made some great strides towards learning more about John and Christian. Through the help of Y-DNA and research about the Scottish prisoners of war, we’ve learned that John came to Massachusetts Bay Colony as a young unmarried man and as a Scottish prisoner of war, and that is why we do not find records of his birth or parents in Massachusetts.
We’ve also been narrowing down the search for Christian’s origin. The following message from Dan Hamilton explains his recent research and why he (and I agree) thinks that he has found our Christian.
This is still a work in progress. While Dan has built a strong case for his conclusions based on his findings, they are not yet absolute proof, so please use this information wisely.~Thanks! Teresa
FROM: Dan Hamilton of West Brookfield, Massachusetts
Date: 12 April 2016
“For several years now, I have been focusing on researching John Hamilton 1 and Christian and John Hamilton 2 and Hannah.
Now that I live in West Brookfield, MA, I have access to historical records of the Brookfield area and I have been visiting Concord, MA for more than a year.
I have been hoping to complete the research in such a way that I could report a finished product, all neatly wrapped up with all sources and proofs. But, I’m not there yet.
I realize I must share what I do have so as to lead others down the same lines should I suddenly be unable to finish.
I have found enough to prompt me to hire pro genealogist Diane Rapaport last summer to expand my search, supplementing with material she has found.
In order to share with those interested, I am going to place my material on Google Drive rather than fill the Yahoo storage space. I have many different folders in many different directions and it is all constantly being updated as I research more. It’s not ready to be written up, or published, but If you are interested in exploring with me, send me your private email, and I’ll send you a link to the Google Drive Folders.
I will use a different document to write about John 2 and Hannah. Through cluster research methods, gathering info on extended family and neighbor groups in both Concord and Brookfield, We know that the Concord records for their likely time of marriage have been lost.
I believe I have a very strong case to present showing that she is Hannah Hayward, daughter of Joseph and Hannah Hosmer Hayward of Concord. We have her birth, but no other record.
My key to finding her was her grandfather James Hosmer of Concord. The first Brookfield town grants to JH2 specified land formerly granted to James Hosmer – who never lived in Brookfield and had no other holdings. Those reference could be to James Sr. or his son James who died in Sudbury by indian attack in 1675.
Following that hint, and finding that the Hayward family women and their husbands moved as a group to Brookfield, reinforced the search results. Ebenezer Hayward, son of Joseph and Hannah, who had a land grant next to John’s, witnessed one of John’s land deeds. Ebenezer and other Hayward related men were among the victims of the indian attacks and became known as the Haymakers.
I also use software to illustrate relationships called XMind, and that helped to “see” the many overlapping connections among famiiies, land deeds, and histories.
More of that anon.
But first, summarizing my findings regarding the search for Christian:
We have long assumed Christian was actually Christian Edwards, daughter of Robert Edwards of Concord and Christian, but had no proof of marriage, only the births of their children.
I believe Christian Edwards was the only surviving child of Robert Edwards and Christian, that she married John Hamilton, and that the 8 acres of land inventoried as John Hamilton’s in 1680 and described as being in “Elm Brook Meadow” was originally Robert Edwards land.
I have researched every woman named “Christian” in Middlesex County for the time period covering both Christian Edwards and her mother Christian, searching for a possible match in births, marriages (re-marriages_ and death records. I have found no other woman to be a candidate as the wife of John 1, other than Christian Edwards.
The NEHGS Great Migration series article on Robert Edwards states that his estate goes to his family and that there was no real estate included. We have the town record copy of his will which simply refers to his “estate” without mentioning land.
Shattuck in his History of Concord refutes the NEHGS, stating that the children of Robert Edwards had land in 1660.
Shattuck feels it likely that there were other children than Christian and Sarah (who died young).
I have researched land deeds and genealogies for all the potential and possible other Edwards and have proven otherwise.
I have found a land deed reference to land owned by “Robert Edwards His Children” which is in a town grant of land given to Joseph Wheeler in 1663. That land is located in the East Quarter, in the area known as “Elm Brook Meadow”. From the Wheeler grant, I know owners of other bordering properties and am searching the land deeds for any other reference to Edwards land.
I am also searching for the next owner of the Hamilton/Edwards land, as it is not the same as identified in the land sales of John Hamilton 2 to Peter Wright in 1704 (ClayPit Meadow – 5 ½ acres) and to Obadiah Wheeler Jr. in 1708 (Brook Meadow – 20 acres, Willow Swamp – 3 acres). Note that “Elm Brook Meadow” and “Brook Meadow” are two different areas of Concord.
I am searching through the land grants of most of the major families of Concord, including those mentioned as bordering the known Hamilton lands. The land sold to Peter Wright was then given to the Ministerial Lands at Peter’s death, and then later sold. I ‘m searching for those further deeds. I’m searching the Wheeler wills, land deeds, and probate papers to track the Hamilton land there.
There are terrific maps of Concord in “The Great Meadow” as many of you know. It helps to find locations. Learning the landholdings of the Hamilton borderings, helps pinpoint both physically and legally, the exact Hamilton land holdings and I haven’t yet finished. I’m hoping to correspond with the author and ask his help in pinpointing more accurately the Joseph Wheeler Elm Meadow piece, the ClayPit Meadow and Willow Swamp locations. Those can be found in other town record references, and some of the old maps in the Concord library. But, as families held many pieces of land for many different uses, tracking on specific piece gets hard.
I hope this is useful and provides food for thought and possible places to research should I not be able to continue my own efforts. It will take a day or two to upload the folders and files to Google Drive and there is a lot of material and not as organized or finalized as I would wish before sharing.
Best to all,
Literature Search for “Christian” by Teresa:
Literature Search: Christian (_____) Hamilton
Teresa’s Research on Christian Edwards 2014 – This is my personal research on Christian Edwards, whom I believe may be John’s wife, Christian. It is not proven, just a possible theory.