Place Name: Glastonbury, Connecticut

+5 votes

The Barbout Collection has indicies for "Glastonbury"; the familysearch location hints also shows "Glastonbury". I was sourcing a profile in which a marriage was entered in the town records of both Glastonbury and Rocky Hill. (more about that later). I did quite a bit of noodling around and discovered that Glastonbury's original - and official - name from its 1692 founding until 1785 was "Glassenberry". From 1785 until 1870 its official name was Glastenbury. It became Glastonbury only in 1870. Should we be using these names for the appropriate time periods, or am I splitting hairs and Glastonbury is satisfactory for its entire history?

As for Rocky Hill, well it was part of Wethersfield until the township was formed in 1843. The profiles I was working on had entries in Barbour's Rocky Hill volume from the 1700s, though. It seems that the area that became Rocky Hill became a separate ecclesiastical division of Wethersford circa 1720, that was called Stepney Parish, having, I presume, its own church. The entries in "Rocky Hill" are for the marriage and baptism of some of the children which leads me to believe church records may have contributed to the Rocky Hill town records. The records for my profile's children in the Glastonbury town records give birth dates rather than baptismal dates.

Here is what is interesting about this profile's family: they have records in both places, even though they were across the Connecticut River from each other which, except for the ferry (still in operation today!) that began in 1665, it was a 13 mile trek from one place to the other. I can imagine them going to church using the ferry, but not in winter (I imagine the ferry did not operate then - it is closed now for the winter season). Why attend there at all, when there was a perfectly good church in Glastonbury. (Ancestry has church records indicating Appleton was quite involved in the Glastonbury church for more than 20 years). 

in Policy and Style by Jim Parish G2G6 Pilot (175k points)
retagged by Ellen Smith
Maybe the family had relatives on both sides of the river? Maybe they ran the ferry.

3 Answers

+9 votes
Best answer
I think you should just use the modern name in profile location fields and, if adding a place category, simply use [[Category:Glastonbury, Connecticut]] for all.

You could add a sentence to the above category to make clear the different official names and the dates they applied.

In biographies, you can use the actual name that applied at the time. A child born in 1784 in Glassenberry, may have married in Glastenbury in 1810, and died in Glastonbury in 1870! All this can be covered in the bio.

Hope this helps.
by Martin White G2G6 Pilot (150k points)
selected by Jim Parish
I agree with Martin that the category and data fields should use the name Glastonbury, but the alternative spellings should appear in the text.
Thanks, Martin, your suggestion makes perfect sense. I am often guilty of overthinking these sorts of things!
Thank you, Ellen, for giving Martin's suggestion your stamp of approval.

Thank you Jim for selecting as best answer smiley

+7 votes
In Glastonbury, Somerset, England, the local accent makes it sound like "Glassenberry".
by Ros Haywood G2G Astronaut (2.0m points)
Thanks, Ros. I read that it was likely that the Connecticut Glassenberry was named after the one in Somerset. I found it interesting that the various spellings were official, and not just creative differences by individuals!
+6 votes
Sometimes, especially in New England, marriage, baptism, and occasionally deaths are recorded in multiple church records because the family had significant ties in both places.

As for why one church rather than another, many families in New England held rather strong religious preferences. It might have been worth while to travel a bit further to hear someone preach that made sense to them. Also, the Connecticut river is passable on foot once the ice is solid. The ice is broken now in winter to permit shipping and to prevent ice dams, but it would have been quite passible in the past for much of the winter.
by J Briller G2G6 Mach 1 (12.4k points)

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