How to identify towns annexed by Connecticut in 1749?

+5 votes

There were a number of towns along the Massachusetts/Connecticut border that were part of Massachusetts before 1749, then in Connecticut after that date. When referencing those towns as a birth or death place, I'm assuming we should be using the proper colony at the time of the event. In the popup list of places, there are many that have a date range indicating which should be used for a specific time frame, but none show up for these towns ..

  • Suffield (1674-1749)
  • Enfield (1679-1749)
  • Woodstock (1686-1749)
  • Somers (1706-1749)

For example, for a person born in 1706 in Enfield, I'm using the place as "Enfield, Massachusetts Bay", as opposed to "Enfield, Connecticut". Is this correct? And what about the county name? I'm not sure what the right county would have been at that time for each of these places.

I've created a free-space page that provides more details.

If my assumption is correct, how do we go about getting these proper names added to the popup list of place names?


in Policy and Style by Scott Prentice G2G1 (1.0k points)

2 Answers

+3 votes
I agree with your approach, Scott. Wiki Tree's naming convention directs us to use place names and locations as they were used at the times in question. However, someone might read a profile, and without investigating, might "correct" Enfield, Massachusetts Bay Colony to Enfield, Connecticut Colony. To lessen the liklihood of that, put a note in the biography explaining your reason for using Massachusetts Bay as a birth location.
by Jim Parish G2G6 Pilot (159k points)
I agree with Jim in agreeing with your approach, and in recommending a note to explain that the town later became part of Connecticut.

However, I urge you to specify "Massachusetts Bay Colony" or "Province of Massachusetts Bay." Please let's not suggest that people were born or died in a body of water unless the event really occurred in the body of water called Massachusetts Bay.

WikiTree cannot control those drop-down suggestions; they come from FamilySearch. You might try suggesting to FamilySearch that they should add data regarding the boundary change.
Thanks. Yes, my plan was to, in the Bio, say .. "born in Enfield, Massachusetts (later Connecticut)" .. with the "later Connecticut" linked to the  free-space page explaining the situation.

And .. thanks, yes, "Massachusetts Bay Colony" .. right!

Interesting about the location suggestions, so that's a web service provided by FamilySearch, hmm. I'll definitely contact them about adding these other places. I need to figure out the correct county (or counties), if any, for these towns when they were part of Massachusetts. Been looking for old maps that might indicate, but nothing yet.
I don't attach much importance to identification of Connecticut counties.

Connecticut counties no longer have any government function, and it appears to me that they never had much relevance. For example, probate is not handled in counties, but rather in probate districts that typically include multiple towns. Thus, knowing the county will generally not help you find a probate record. Counties have somewhat more significance in Massachusetts than they do in Connecticut, but not a lot more...

In southern New England, towns are by far the most important local legal entities.
Very interesting about counties in Connecticut (and some in Mass.) having no governmental function. Reading up on that now. Still seems useful as historical geographic regions, and potentially useful in research since it may be identified differently in various sources.
+4 votes

I created (some time ago) a space page and a category for Woodstock Massachusetts, if that's helpful.

by Anne B G2G Astronaut (1.2m points)
Thanks! I'll add a link to your page from the one I set up.

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