Advice before editing this pre-1700 Guard profile?

+1 vote

I have information to contribute to the profile of Mary (Guard) Gayer. I have added under Research Notes a list of discrete bits of data pertaining to the profile and, after sifting through that information to resolve questions, propose to add the following biography and to add or connect some related people::

  • Mariah (aka Maria, Mary) was born in 1647 to ____ and ___ Jameson (aka Jamison, Gimson). In 1666, she married William Gard (aka Guard, Gaurd). Their children included: William (b. 1667); Mary (b. 1668 or 1669); Christian (b. 1670); John (b. 1674). Her husband William Gard died in 1685. In 1690, she married William Gayer, a widower. She died in 1710, mentioning in her will first husband William Gard, second husband William Gayer, deceased daughter Christian (mother of William Condy and, by her (Christian's) second husband Peter Coffin, Bartlett Coffin and Lydia Coffin), grandson William Condy, grandson Bartlett Coffin, and granddaughter Lydia Coffin.

  • The last name at birth should probably be changed to Jameson (though the spelling of that name is varied in the sources). The name Guard or Gard came from her first husband.

These are the sources I am using:

  1. Barney Genealogical Record. Nantucket Historical Association Research Library.
  2. New England Marriages to 1700. (Online database. New England Historic Genealogical Society, 2008.)
  3. Boston, MA: Inhabitants and Estates of the Town of Boston, 1630-1822 (Thwing Collection). (Online database. New England Historic Genealogical Society, 2014.)
  4. Boston, MA: Births, Baptisms, Marriages, and Deaths, 1630-1699. (Online database., New England Historic Genealogical Society, 2015.)
  5. Massachusetts: Vital Records, 1620-1850 (Online Database:, New England Historic Genealogical Society, 2001-2016).
  6. Suffolk County, MA: Probate File Papers. (Online database. New England Historic Genealogical Society, 2017-2019.)

For spellings of the names, her 1710 will seems the most authoritative. It presents her first name as "Mariah" and her first married surname as "Gard."

Should I contact one of the pre-1700 projects or know about any style guidelines before proceeding? Thank you!

WikiTree profile: Mariah Gayer
in Policy and Style by John Hodson G2G6 Mach 1 (12.0k points)

1 Answer

+1 vote
Best answer

Well done, John. Great sources. I think I would also add this article as source, to both Mariah and William, mainly because of the interesting letters it contains:

William C. Folger, "The Gayer Family," ''NEHGR'' [ Vol. 31:297-302].

My preference, whenever possible, is to find a free site for the sources so others can see the data. If not available on a free site, then transcribe the portion that proves your point. For example, instead of the Boston, MA: Births, Baptisms, Marriages and Deaths, 1630-1699


It takes more work, but it's more satisfying for others to see the data.

by Bobbie Hall G2G6 Pilot (195k points)
selected by Anne B

Great suggestions, Bobbie, thank you. I'll work on finding additional free sites for the sources. 

By the way, even though is a paid membership site, some of its databases are free to non-members. One example is Massachusetts: Vital Records, 1620-1850. Just mentioning that because I don't know how widely-known that is.

I'm an NEHGS member, so I don't usually notice if the particular db is free, good point. If you use a paid site in your sources, it's good to add "free link" or "link by $ubscription" or something similar at the end.

I can usually find the original documents on, or out-of-copyright books at It's just something I challenge myself to do. And it makes it difficult for those citations to be challenged a few years down the road when you've forgotten just what they were saying ;)
At a glance, I'd say the probate record and the original VRs should be not too difficult to find on FamilySearch. Twing collection, probably not; Barney I'm not familiar with.
(Yes, I'm a bit o.c.d. about sources :D )

Here's the probate file:

Massachusetts, Suffolk County, probate records, Probate and Family Court Department FILE PAPERS, Box 8 Case 1226 to Case 1450, 1 Jan 1636-31 Dec 1894, file #1422, William Gard, 1685

Barney is a free site of the Nantucket Historical Association:

I appreciate the probate link; I have looked there but that didn't come up in my search

Awesome, I'll check out the site, though I don't have a lot of Nantucket folks in my line.

Here's the trick: Most probate records aren't indexed yet at FamilySearch, nor are many other items, so you can't use the search function to find them. But... in their catalog find the item, such as "Suffolk County, Mass > Probate Records." Use AmericanAncestors to find the file number, page, etc. Then look throught the item on FamSearch to find it. Also works well trying to find the original vital records. If, for example, it's listed in Bowman's VRs, he also lists the Vol. and page of the original. Find the original VRs in the FamSearch catalog, then page thru until you find it.

Slow, but rewarding when you see the true original record. I guess I'm an "old record" geek.
Good to know, thanks for the tip.  I love finding new online sources

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