Sunday, February 23, 2014

52 Ancestors: #8, Finding Great Grand Aunt Asenath Matilda Rand

I seem to spend a lot more time hunting down collateral lines than my direct line ancestors, especially the women. There's something about those sisters that appear in the birth records and censuses, and then just vanish, that makes me want to track them down. Did they die young? Did they marry? Did they have children of their own? Those were the questions I set out to answer for my great grand aunt, Asenath Matilda Rand, older sister of my great grandmother Kate Rand Hodsdon.

Asenath was born 20 May 1851 in Andover, Maine.1 She was the fifth child of Nahum Alonzo Rand and Dolly C. Brister, and the first to be born in Maine (the earlier children were born in Roxbury, Massachusetts). She appeared as 10-year-old "Acenith" M. Rand in the 1860 census,2 and then... nothing. She's not in the Rand household in 1870,3 and there were no records in Maine of her marriage or death. For some time I simply assumed she had died before the 1870 census at a time when death records were sketchy.
1860 U.S. census, Andover, Maine, "Naam" Rand household

1870 U.S. census, Andover, Maine, Naham Rand household

And yet... in general, the Rand family members who died in Maine, like Kate and Sam and Annie, are all buried in Andover's Woodlawn Cemetery. But not Asenath. Maybe she did marry after all? Or maybe she died somewhere else? I had to know. More marriage records are coming online all the time, but a search on and FamilySearch turned up no sign of wedding bells for Asenath. So I decided to hunt for a death record between 1860 and 1870. had an index entry for an "Aseneth M Rand," single, age 20, who died 3 Mar 1871 – in Philadelphia! Now that actually sounded promising, because Asenath's older brother Ezra Davis Rand was also missing from the 1870 census in Andover, but was likely the "David Rand" enumerated in Philadelphia that year in the John Milliken household; Ezra married in Philly in 1872 and lived there until about 1878 before returning to Maine. Still, Asenath was not with that David Rand in 1870, so I couldn't be sure this was "my" Asenath M. Rand.

The Ancestry database was just an index to a FamilySearch collection, so I turned there and found the actual death certificate.4 According to this certificate, "Asenith," who died of consumption and was buried in the Odd Fellows Cemetery, was born in Philadelphia. Not a good sign, but death certificates are only secondary sources of birth information (and no informant is listed), so I reserved judgment. Unfortunately, parents' names were required only for minors, so no help there. The only other possibly useful piece of information was an address (presumably her residence), 19th Ward, "cor. Amber & Dauphin." But no Rands were listed in the Philadelphia 1870 or 1871 city directory on either street, and John Milliken lived on Germantown Avenue, so there was no apparent connection there.

Well, clearly there was an Asenath M. Rand in Philadelphia in early 1871, so I searched for her in the 1870 census. How about "Matilda Rand," age 19, born Pennsylvania, in the household of one Edward Rhodes, 19th Ward?5 A quick lookup in the 1870 city directory reveals his address as "501 E Dauphin" – and the street index reveals that the intersection of East Dauphin and Amber is at #501!6 So "Matilda Rand" is undoubtedly the "Asenith M. Rand" who died in 1871 – but is she "my" Asenath Matilda? How was she linked to the Rhodes family?
1870 U.S. census, Philadelphia, Penn., Edward Rhodes household
1870 Philadelphia City Directory, Edward Rhodes antry and East Dauphin street index

The census record listed Edward's 25-year-old wife, Elizabeth, as being born in Maine. And Asenath had a sister, Sarah Elizabeth, born in 1845 – and who married an Edward Rhodes in 1865.7 (Granted she was actually born in Roxbury, Massachusetts, but she had lived in Maine since about age 5, so it's not surprising that an informant might have thought she was born there; she may even have thought she was born there.) So this is indeed "my" Asenath Matilda, supposed Pennsylvania birthplaces notwithstanding, and now I know why she isn't buried in Woodlawn. One more "missing sister" laid to rest.

(Note: This post is in response to Amy Johnson Crow's "52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks" challenge at No Story Too Small.)

  1. Phyllis Spaulding and Elaine Morton, trans., “Andover Births and Deaths from 1795 to 1891”, transcriptions (1998), Robert A. Spidell, Andover, Maine ( : accessed 3 Jun 2012), "Asenath Metilda Rand" birth, 1851; citing the original Vital Records, Andover, Maine.
  2. 1860 U.S. Census, Oxford County, Maine, Andover, p. 67, dwelling 492, family 491, “Naam” Rand household; database and digital images, ProQuest, HeritageQuest Online (access through participating libraries : accessed 12 Mar 2012).
  3. 1870 U.S. Census, Oxford County, Maine, Andover, p. 11, dwelling 66, family 69, Naham Rand household; database and digital images, ProQuest, HeritageQuest Online (access through participating libraries : accessed 11 Mar 2012).
  4. “Pennsylvania, Philadelphia City Death Certificates, 1803-1915,” index and digital images, FamilySearch ( : accessed 23 Feb 2014), Aseneth M. Rand, 1871. 
  5. 1870 U.S. Census, Philadelphia County, Pennsylvania, 60th Division (Philadelphia), p. 94, dwelling 677, family 728, Edward Rhodes household; digital image, ( : accessed 23 Feb 2014).
  6. Gopsill's Philadelphia City Directory for 1870 (Philadelphia: James Gopsill, 1870), p. 1275, entry for “Rhodes Edward, shoemaker” and p. 46, East Dauphin; database and digital images, “U.S. City Directories, 1821-1989,” ( : accessed 23 Feb 2014).
  7. Langdon Brown Parsons, History of the town of Rye, New Hampshire: from its discovery and settlement to December 31, 1903 (Concord, N.H.: Rumford Printing Company, 1905), p. 508; digital images, Google Books ( : accessed 28 Apr 2012).

Sunday, February 16, 2014

52 Ancestors: #7, Andrew Sukeforth: A Hessian in the Family

Thirty-odd years ago, I had only a passing interest in genealogy and family history. My younger brother was the avid family genealogist, and I admit I sometimes only half-listened to his accounts of what he had found in his research. As far as anyone knew, our family consisted of a nearly solid line of farmers (and the occasional shipwright) of Scots, Irish, and English origin, with a one-eighth portion of French-Canadian farmers thrown in – in other words, a typical New Englander mix, or so we believed.

That is, until the day my brother called me with a startling revelation about a previously-unrecognized aspect of our lineage. You see, there was this Hessian mercenary...

Eighteenth century illustration of two Hessian soldiers.
During the American Revolutionary War, the princes of several small German states hired out some of their regular army units – about 30,000 soldiers altogether, nearly half from the Hesse region (hence the "Hessian" sobriquet) – to the British, who found it easier to hire mercenaries than to recruit soldiers themselves. (Calling them "mercenaries" is a bit misleading, implying as it does that the soldier hired himself out for pay; on the contrary, a good many were press-ganged into the prince's service, with the prince getting paid when he hired them out.)

One such "Hessian" was young Andreas Suchfort, born ca 1755, perhaps in Hesse-Kassel or maybe Hanover.1 We don't know if Andreas was impressed into service or was a volunteer, but we do know he was one of the hundreds (or thousands) of Hessians taken prisoner in 1777 when British General John Burgoyne surrendered at Stillwater after the Battles of Saratoga.2 Some of the prisoners were exchanged and returned to their German homelands; some deserted after being exchanged; and many were "paroled" to work as farm hands, settling permanently in North America.

Andreas appears to have been one of the latter. Again, it's unclear how he happened to end up in Boston (many, if not most, of the captured Hessians were sent to Pennsylvania), but in the fall of 1778, he came from there to Stirlington (or Sterlingtown), Maine, "sponsored" by Philip Robbins, one of the earliest settlers of the area.3 He soon married Catherine Newbert, the daughter of a Bavarian immigrant from Waldoboro, Maine (originally the Broad Bay colony of German settlers).4 They lived in Stirlington Plantation until after its incorporation as the town of Union in 1786, eventually settling in the part of Barrettstown Plantation which later became Hope, and later still was set off to Appleton.

Andreas became Andrew, and over the years the Suchfort surname evolved through Suchforth and Suckforth to the present-day Sukeforth. Andrew and Catherine raised a small horde of Suchforths and Suckforths (anywhere from six to a baker's dozen, depending on the source you consult5), who in turn produced at least 26 little Suckforths and Sukeforths (and four Newberts – two of Andrew's daughters married two Newbert brothers, their first cousins). Succeeding generations were equally prolific, and by the time Andrew died (ca 1840-18506), Knox County and the surrounding area was swarming with Sukeforths.

In particular, Andrew's son Robert married Polly Miller7 (another descendant of the Broad Bay Germans), and one of their ten children was Simon Sukeforth. Simon married Jane Miller8 (again a Broad Bay descendant and very possibly Simon's first cousin); they had eight children, one of whom, Sarah, married Silas Kirk (week 2) and became my great-grandmother.

Thus it was that my brother had discovered our one-eighth German heritage, as well as our kinship to pretty much every Sukeforth in the entire United States; the name appears to be unique in origin. While the majority of Andrew's descendants stayed in Maine (particularly in Knox and surrounding counties) for several generations, an intrepid few migrated to Massachusetts, Minnesota, Colorado, and California, initiating offshoots of the Sukeforth clan in those then-distant parts. Today, I can be virtually certain that anyone named Sukeforth, anywhere in the U.S., is my fourth or fifth cousin, or perhaps second or third once or twice removed.

And it all began with one captured Hessian mercenary...

(Note: This post is in response to Amy Johnson Crow's "52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks" challenge at No Story Too Small.)

  1. Royce W. Miller, ed. and comp., Register of Deaths, Appleton, Maine, 6th ed., (Appleton, Maine: Appleton Historical  Society, 1999, updated 2001), p. 183; Marshall Kenneth Kirk, "Tentative Pedigree of Sarah C. Sukeforth", 10 Jun 1990, papers of Marshall K. Kirk, privately held by the author, Virginia Beach, Virginia. Miller states the birth year and lists the place as Hesse-Cassel, Germany. The pedigree chart lists the place of birth as Völkerode, Hannover, Germany. Neither gives a source for the information.
  2. Royce W. Miller and Elmer E. Light, History of Burkettville (Appleton, Maine: Appleton Historical  Society, 1996), p. 36; digital images, FamilySearch ( : accessed 11 Jun 2012).
  3. Ibid. 
  4. Wilford W. Whitaker and Gary T. Horlacher, Broad Bay Pioneers (Rockport, Maine: Picton Press, 1998), p. 490. 
  5. Miller and Light, p. 37, list six sons but no daughters. Miller, Register of Deaths, p. 183, lists eight sons (omitting one of the six given by Miller and Light, but adding three more) and four daughters. Whitaker and Horlacher, pp. 603-4, list four sons, five daughters, and four children of unspecified gender. My own analysis of the census records, together with the other sources, appears to verify five sons (two are only tentatively identified by name) and three daughters. The broad span of nearly 25 years for the children's birth dates means that several of the male Sukeforths born in the early 1800s could be either Andrew's youngest sons, or his grandsons by his eldest sons.
  6. Whitaker and Horlacher, p. 603.
  7. Ibid.
  8. “Maine, Death Records, 1617-1922,” database and digital images, ( : accessed 31 Oct 2013), Sarah C. Kirke, 1905; lists Sarah's parents as Simon "Lukeforth" and Jane Miller.

Saturday, February 8, 2014

52 Ancestors: #6, James Llewellyn Sukeforth

This week's ancestor is again a bit of a mystery. Not his parents or origin – those I know well enough. No, the mystery about my great-granduncle is what happened to him after 1872.

James Llewellyn Sukeforth was born about 1836 in Washington, Maine, the second child of Simon and Jane (Miller) Sukeforth, my great-great-grandparents. The first concrete evidence for James is the 1850 census, where he appears as an ostensibly 16-year-old "James L" in Simon's household.1 Ten years later, he is 24-year-old "Lewellan," presumably the source of his middle initial.2 (This age seems more likely, since the 1840 census showed one male under 5 and one male 5-10 in the household.)

James L. "Suckforth", age 16, in 1850 census

"Lewellan" Sukeforth, age 24, in 1860 census

On 21 Dec 1861, James L. Sukeforth enlisted in the Union Army (1st Battalion, Maine Light Artillery) as a private. Unlike some of his cousins, James was one of the fortunate soldiers who survived the Civil War; he mustered out, still a private, on 6 Jul 1865 at Augusta, Maine.3, 4

Birth record of Herbert Leroy Sukeforth, 1872
We next pick up James's trail almost four years later, when he married Eliza "Lizzie" M. Clapp in Liberty, Maine, on 28 Feb 1869.5 Although he was at least 15 years Eliza's senior, the marriage doesn't appear to have been a case of necessity, because their only child, Herbert Leroy Sukeforth, made his appearance a good three years later.6 By that time, James and Eliza were living in Washington, Maine.

And that birth record is the last we see of James. Eliza divorced him in 18787 and remarried later that year. She and her son Herbert are with her new husband in Hope, Maine, in the 1880 census, but I can't find James anywhere (for that matter, I can't find either James or Eliza in the 1870 census). Nor can I find any death record for him.

The only place I find him mentioned at all is in the record of Herbert's marriage to Ida May Simmons in 1897.8 There, the groom's father is given as James L. Sukeforth, occupation: laborer, residence: Washington. However, I find it hard to believe that James was still alive in Washington in 1897, without showing up in either the 1880 census or the 1890 Veteran's Schedule. My guess is that Herbert was simply stating that, the last he knew, his father's residence had been Washington and his occupation had been laborer.

So what happened to James Llewellyn Sukeforth? The divorce seems to imply that he was living in 1878... but perhaps he had disappeared, and Eliza filed for a divorce for desertion, so she could remarry? The divorce was granted in Waldo County (Washington is in Knox County), which probably indicates that she had been living there – perhaps with her mother, who had also divorced and remarried, and was residing in Liberty (Waldo County) with three of the younger Clapp children in the household in 1880.

Maybe one day I will find out what happened to James and be able to fill in his death date with something a little less nebulous than "after 1872." For now he remains a mystery.

(Note: This post is in response to Amy Johnson Crow's "52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks" challenge at No Story Too Small.)

  1. 1850 U.S. Census, Lincoln County, Maine, Washington, p. 576 (penned), dwelling 296, family 296, Simon Suckforth household; digital image, FamilySearch ( : accessed 14 Apr 2012).
  2. 1860 U.S. Census, Knox County, Maine, Washington, p. 37, dwelling 281, family 292, Simon Sukeforth household; digital image, ProQuest, HeritageQuest Online (access through participating libraries : accessed 14 Apr 2012).
  3. Historical Data Systems, comp., “U.S. Civil War Soldier Records and Profiles,” database, ( : accessed 11 Jan 2013), entry for James L. “Sukforth”; citing “Report of the Adjutant General of the State of Maine”.
  4. National Park Service, “U.S. Civil War Soldiers, 1861-1865,” database, ( : accessed 8 Feb 2014), entry for James L. “Suckeforth”; citing NARA publication M543, roll 20.
  5. “Maine, Marriages, 1771-1907,” index, FamilySearch ( : accessed 6 Jan 2013), entry for James L. Suckforth and Lizzie M. Clapp, 1869.
  6. “Maine Vital Records, 1892-1922,” digital images, FamilySearch ( : accessed 10 Oct 2012), Herbert Leroy Sukeforth birth, 1872; citing “Maine State Archives, Augusta, Maine”.
  7. “Maine, Divorce Records, 1798-1891,” database, ( : accessed 8 Feb 2014), Eliza Sukeforth vs. Llewellyn Sukeforth, Jan 1878, Waldo County, docket #177, Supreme Judicial Court, vol. 21, p. 13.
  8. “Maine, Marriage Records, 1705-1922,” database and digital images, ( : accessed 9 Jun 2012), Herbert Leroy Sukeforth and Ida May Simmons, 1897.

Sunday, February 2, 2014

52 Ancestors: #5, Ann (Bradbury) Kirkpatrick

On 3 Jan 1736, in ancient Falmouth (now Portland) in the Province of Maine, the third of nine children of Rowland and Elizabeth (Oliver) Bradbury was born, and named Ann.1 In the summer of that same year, a new settlement, the "Upper Town of St. Georges Plantation", was started at the head of the tide waters of the St. George River in the Waldo Patent, roughly 70 miles up the Maine coast as the crow flies.2

Record of births of Rowland and Elizabeth Bradbury's first four children, Falmouth, Maine

In 1743, war with France appeared imminent. In anticipation of possible French-encouraged attacks by the local Indian tribes, the settlement's fort was enlarged, and Capt. Jabez Bradbury – Rowland's older brother and Ann's uncle – was appointed commander of the garrison,3 a post he held throughout much of the ensuing French and Indian Wars.

Ten years later, during a period of relative peace, General Waldo recruited a new group of settlers for St. Georges amongst the Scots of Stirling and Glasgow. Among the new emigrants was a 19-year-old unmarried cooper named John Kirkpatrick.4

No sooner had the new settlers built their initial log huts than hostilities with the Indians resumed, and the townspeople took refuge in the newly enlarged fort. The attacks, scalpings, kidnappings, and other depredations continued throughout the next few years. Eventually, though, there must have come an occasional lull in the hostilities, because sometime before Capt. Bradbury resigned his commission in August of 1757,5 two of his nieces – Ann and her older sister Mary – paid a visit to the settlement.

In the course of that visit, the two young ladies "became acquainted with two young men in the garrison," John Kirkpatrick and John Boggs6 – well enough acquainted to marry them both and settle down in Upper St. Georges (incorporated in 1776 as the town of Warren) to raise their families.

John Kilpatrick and Ann Bradbury marriage, 1758
And that is how Ann Bradbury and John Kirkpatrick became my great-great-great-great-grandparents. Marrying in Falmouth on 11 Dec 1758,7 they had 11 children, all of whom lived to adulthood. Two sons were lost at sea, two daughters died unmarried, and two daughters and five sons married, providing Ann and John altogether with at least 52 grandchildren. One of those married sons, also named John, was the father of Jabez Bradbury Kirkpatrick (who shortened the family name to Kirk), who in turn was the father of my great-grandfather Silas Kirk.

Ann outlived her husband by nearly 32 years, and four of her children, dying 19 Jan 1817 in Warren.8 Her burial place is unknown, but it may possibly be in the Old Settlers' Cemetery where John is supposed to be buried. (Most of the graves are unmarked, or marked only with a fieldstone; the handful of stones with inscriptions are now mostly worn to unreadability.)

Ann Bradbury was the great-great-granddaughter of Thomas Bradbury, who had come to Maine from England in 1634 as the land-agent of Sir Ferdinando Gorges, and Mary (Perkins) Bradbury, who was convicted of witchcraft in 1692 but never executed.9 Somewhat coincidentally, Ann was also a first cousin twice removed (through her paternal grandmother Mariah Cotton) of Rev. Cotton Mather, the New England Puritan minister who was considered a major instigator of Salem witch trials.10

(Note: This post is in response to Amy Johnson Crow's "52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks" challenge at No Story Too Small.)

  1. “Records of Falmouth (Now Portland), Maine”, The New England Historical and Genealogical Register (Boston: New England Historic Genealogical Society, 1860), 14:143; database and digital images, New England Historic Genealogical Society, ( : accessed 31 Jan 2014).
  2. Cyrus Eaton, Annals of the Town of Warren, in Knox County, Maine, Second Edition (Hallowell [Maine]: Masters & Livermore, 1877), p. 58; digital images, Google Books ( : accessed 11 Dec 2010).
  3. Eaton, p. 71. 
  4. Eaton, pp. 90-93. 
  5. Eaton, p. 114. 
  6. Eaton, p. 115.
  7. “Maine, Marriage Records, 1705-1922,” database and digital images, ( : accessed 12 Jan 2014), John Kilpatrick [sic] and Ann Bradbury, 1758.
  8. Eaton, p. 566.
  9. John Brooks Threlfall, The Ancestry of Thomas Bradbury (1611-1695) and his wife Mary (Perkins) Bradbury, 2nd ed. (Madison, Wisconsin: the author, 1995), p. 1.
  10. John Wingate Thornton, "Genealogy of the Cotton Family," The New England Historical and Genealogical Register (Boston: New England Historic Genealogical Society, 1847), 1:164-166; database and digital images, New England Historic Genealogical Society, ( : accessed 1 Feb 2014).