PGM: Need some advice on handling early Salem, MA records?

+5 votes
I need some advice on how to handle a potential duplicate marriage record where the names are similar, but not the same.

1) Medfield Record: Joseph Miles marrying Mary Wheelock 28 Jan 1661. (Marriage performed by Ralph Wheelock).  (Could be 1662 under new calendar?)

2) Salem Record (Transcription) Jospeh Miles marrying Mary Whelan, 1661, 11th month, 18th day.  (Marriage performed by Ralph Whelan).

3) Salem Death Record for Mary Whelan Miles in 1663. (Index only, haven't seen the original record).

* Does anyone have access to the original Salem record to confirm the transcription?

* Is it possible that the 11th month referred to in the Salem record is actually January, under the old calendar? (Which would make the two dates very close)

* How should I handle this information?  Without doing more research to confirm that there wasn't a separate Mary Whelan, and that they are indeed the same person, I should create a separate profile for her, keep the two separate Joseph Miles, and note it in both bios? And then merge them if and when there's enough evidence to prove they are the same?

Thanks for any help in clearing this up!
WikiTree profile: Mary Miles
in Genealogy Help by M Cole G2G6 Mach 8 (87.1k points)
It's dangerous to try to draw firm conclusions based solely on a couple of records, but it does look like the same woman's marriage may have been recorded under both "Wheelock" and "Whelan."

Apparently this family is a major subject of an article in NEHGR in 1998 entitled "The English Ancestry of Joseph Clark (1613-1683) of Dedham and Medfield, Massachusetts." Unfortunately, the article is not online on the NEHGS website, supposedly due to lack of permission from the copyright holder. That article might shed some light on the topic.

I notice that the source that gives the name as Whelan indicates the date of marriage as "18th 11th month, '61." Because the numbering of months began with March as month 1, that date should be interpreted as 18 January 1661/2, not as 18 November 1661. Thus, that marriage date is just 10 days away from the date recorded for Wheelock.
Thank you Ellen!  I do have a copy of the NEHGR article, and it unfortunately doesn't clarify this particular marriage.

I appreciate the clarification on the 11th month.  I had wondered if that was the case.  I will make sure that's reflected in the profiles.
Just a reminder: Any current NEHGS member can request an electronic copy of NEHGR articles that are not available via the website.

I do it all the time.
I guess I've led a sheltered life. This was the first time I've encountered an NEHGR article that couldn't be accessed on the website due to copyright. But they emailed a copy to me. :-)
I encounter them frequently. Especially articles from post 1990 or so.

1 Answer

+5 votes

I've added an image to her profile. "Joseph Miles & Mary Whelock were married before Mr Ralph Whelock 28:11:60. " Interpret as 28 Jan 1660/1. This is not the original record from Medfield but some kind of a county transcription, with Medfield marriages and 1660 as headings  A similar county transcription has bad bleed through and light writing but says the same thing (blowing it up made the 28th crystal clear.

The printed record for Medfield --Joseph Miles and Mary Whelock Jan 28 1662/3. The printed record in Salem -- Joseph Miles and Mary Whelase 18:11m:1661

Mary's father Ralph, so Mary also, was a resident of Medfield. Joseph, no doubt was a resident of Salem.

They are no doubt the same person.

The death record.  The (Whelase) was added by the transcriber who picked it up from the marriage record

Joseph remarried Exercise Felton in Salem 7 Sep 1664

by Anne B G2G Astronaut (1.3m points)

Thank you so much.  In sorting through the various records, what do you think the best date/location is to use?

28 January 1661/2 in Medfield?

Also, wanted to be sure that this record from the Medfield Town Clerk under 1661 is considered:
I'd use 28 Jan 1660/1 Medfield, mark the date uncertain, explain in the bio about the discrepancies in transcribed records. I think the image from family search is not an original either but an intermediate transcription.

I looked to see if they had children, the salem record says Mary child of Joseph and Exercise b. 1 2m 1660, in Salem, which is before either of Joseph's marriages.

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