Person talk:Mary Merriam (8)

The Identity of the Mary, Wife of William Taylor [5 September 2012]

In the 1906 Merriam Genealogy, this alleged Mary Merriam is not mentioned at all. If she had been of the Concord Merriam family, it would seem that she should have been mentioned in the will of one or more of the three Merriam brothers who came to New England (noting that Joseph's will, mentioning children, names only the eldest son, William]. My own feeling is that she is not a Merriam at all, but all the secondary sources that I have found, with the exceptions of Rev. Pope's Merriam Genealogy and his Pioneers of Massachusetts, call her Mary Merriam/Meriam without further indicating her family connection. It seems appropriate at this point to detach her person page from the family of the first Joseph Merriam of Concord.--jaques1724 04:06, 2 August 2012 (EDT)

This sounds reasonable. Someone else (see the family page) indicates that the presence of a John Merriam as witness to William Taylor's inventory is one possible reason why she is thought to be a Merriam. Jillaine 15:52, 2 August 2012 (EDT)

Another reason she may have been attached to Joseph Merriam is that one of her son's is named Joseph. Jillaine 15:54, 2 August 2012 (EDT)

It's Crane (vol 3, p. 242) who names her a Merriam. Jillaine 16:19, 2 August 2012 (EDT)

Jacobus (TAG, p. 21:79): "In all case of this kind it is not proper to make a positive denial of identity, but neither should a positive assertion of identity be put forward. The sober historian can only remain a sceptic and await the production of evidence." (my emphasis) --Jrich 23:57, 2 August 2012 (EDT)

I say we leave "Merriam" in and cite it to Crane, as I have done. And include the information that there is nothing yet to tie her to specific Merriam families in Concord at this time, with the information reviewed as we have done here. Jillaine 14:12, 4 August 2012 (EDT)

It should be remembered that Crane and Cutter do not reflect any particular genealogical research and scholarship and are not well sourced if at all. Those series seem to have been designed, much like the county history mug books of the late nineteenth century, to sell to the folks, living, whose likenesses and biographies were contained therein. They are not as bad as Ancestral Files and World Family Tree, and can provide valuable clues, but should be viewed with caution when considering early generations of the families covered.--jaques1724 07:38, 5 August 2012 (EDT)

Concur. And yet they are still the sources for her last name and father, whether or not they are accurate. Thanks for finding the other volumes of Crane, Jacques! Jillaine 07:54, 5 August 2012 (EDT)
Long passages that hardly vary by a word make it clear that Crane and Cutter were merely compiling compendiums from other works they presumably deemed "generally reliable". The style of genealogy was different then, just starting to change to requiring sources, and probably seemed like a huge waste of time and effort for somebody compiling an encyclopedic work. Shattuck (1835) is however, the more significant source here, and very likely the source that influenced Cutter and Crane. What did Shattuck see that caused him to identify her as Mary Merriam? A deed? A town record? Discussion with a descendant? --Jrich 11:17, 5 August 2012 (EDT)
Tolman in his Wheeler Families of Old Concord, p. 52, mentions a deed dated 17 Apr 1667 from "heirs of Jos. Meriam Dec'd to Joseph Wheeler, who had married their mother". It is mentioned to show Joseph's daughter Sarah Meriam m. Thomas Wheeler, and as she is not mentioned in the will of Robert and Mary Merriam, it appears that those wills do not, in fact, name all the children. I haven't found a transcription of that deed yet, but it seems that it might prove interesting. It should at least shed some insight on to a relationship with Joseph Merriam. --Jrich 12:56, 5 August 2012 (EDT)
NEHGR p. 50:507, Will of Robert Goldston of Tonbridge, Kent, England, dated 10 Apr 1637, brother of Sarah (Goldstone) Merriam, names "William, Sarah, Joseph, Thomas, Elizabeth and Hanna, the six children of the said Joseph Mirriam by the said Sara his now wife". To the extent that he names these six, he seems to be familiar and up to date on the family, and no Mary by 1637 would make the birth of a first child in 1649/50 problematical. Except for the interesting phrase, "his now wife", which combined with Joseph's death in 1641, raises the question of an earlier wife? --Jrich 14:32, 5 August 2012 (EDT)
Film 554003, Middlesex Deeds, Vol. 9, p. 259. Good condition but handwriting a little difficult to decipher. "we the Subscribers & Ensealers of this prsent writing" to "our father in law Joseph Wheeler of Concord" "the housing lands & estate of our father Joseph Marion late of Concord". Dated 17 Apr 1667 (recorded 1 Apr 1685 by Tho: Danforth, and that is the date it was indexed under). Witnesses are Timothy Wheeler, Robert Meriam. Signers are William Meriam, Tho: Wheeler, Joseph Miriam, Tho: Hincksman, John Miriam. [Robert and William's surname looks like Mooriam (presumably what looks like the first o being a flourish on the M, and the second o being an e?), as opposed to Joseph and John which is clearly Miriam with dots over both i's?] Acknowledged by Thomas Wheeler & Sarah his wife along with Thomas Hincksman & Elizabeth his wife, and with Joseph Meriam. Separately acknowledged by John Meriam. Separately acknowledged by William Meriam & Elizabeth his wife. No mention of William Taylor. --Jrich 17:17, 5 September 2012 (EDT)