Thursday, January 17, 2013

Charlestown, MA - Multiple Births Review 1663-1850

While there were earlier births in the town of Charlestown, MA., multiple births did not appear in the records until 1663. At that point there were still Tidd family members living in the town, but no multiple births are listed for them. While looking for possible family records within the books, Charlestown, MA Vital Records to 1850, Vol. I and Vol. II - Parts 1 and 2, I became intrigued by the occurrences of multiple births. Book I stops with the births of 1797 on page 446, and then they continue in Vol. II Part 1. The birth records are interspersed with Marriages and Deaths, and sometimes are given for the entire family in group format. Most are listed as having been born in Charlestown, while others it is another place or not identified.

So, I decided to squelch my curiosity by doing a study of the multiple births. For this post I will present some of the interesting findings of the review. Please note that there is definitely the possibility of errors in my count, but I made a diligent effort in the process. The first interesting item is that there were only two records of triplets and no other multiples other than twins.

The first set were three daughters born to William and Hannah Hurrie. They were the parents of the following ten children:
Hannah born 27 Aug. 1663, she died 23 Aug. 1692, married 1687, age 29
William born 1 Dec. 1664, married 1689/90
Temperance born 13 Aug. 1666, married 1690
John born 29 Aug. 1667, he died 22 Nov. 1690, age 23
Matthew born 2 Apr. 1669
Rachell born 23 Dec. 1670
Rebeca born 23 Dec. 1670, she died 24 July 1671, age 6 months
Sarah born 23 Dec. 1670
Rebeca born 5 Feb. 1672, she died 1 Sep. 1673, age 1.5
Abigale born 22 July 1674, she died 2 July 1714, age 40
The father William died 10 June 1689, about age 55

The dear mother Hannah gave birth to ten children, five before the triplets and two after. It is hard for me to fathom the emotional and physical toll this would place on a woman. Her older children were ages 7, 6, 4, 3 and 1 at the birth of the triplets. Just think of the amount of meals to prepare, diapers to keep up and probably very little outside help. Then she loses two infants, a son at age 23, a daughter at age 29, a daughter at age 40 and her husband at age 55. With the death of one of the triplets at the age of six months, she would have felt a terrible sense of loss. At the time of her husband's death her youngest child was fifteen. The three older children were marrying and then her son John dies six months after his father's death, yet she probably still had four or five children living at home.

The second set of triplets arrived 180 years later on 7 June 1850, the daughters of Daniel and Mary Dinign. These are the only children listed for this couple in the book. The girls were Mary, Elizabeth and Margaret. Mary the mother probably had some more modern conveniences, and maybe some outside help. Both parents were born in Ireland and were probably recent immigrants.

Within the three books, which were a generous gift from a fellow genealogist, there are 118 sets listed as twins. A few of these births are listed as illegitimate, and some had only one parent listed. Of this group four families actually had two sets of twins. They are listed in order of the twin's births and include all identified children.

The seven children of Thomas and Alise Lord:
Nathaniel and Marie born 30 Oct. 1666, Marie died 26 Sep. 1667
Elizabeth born 22 Aug. 1668
Joseph and Benjamine born 24 Sep. 1670 both died 1 Aug. 1671
Joseph born 30 June 1672
Abigale born 21 July 1674

The nine children of Capt. John and Sarah Foy:
Elizabeth eldest daughter of John Foy died 16 Nov. 1721
Hannah and Mary born 9 Apr. 1704
John born 5 Jan. 1705/6
Andrew born 13 Feb. 1707/8
Andrew and Sarah born 31 Mar. 1710, both died 7 Apr. 1710
Benjamin born 15 Nov. 1711, died 3 June 1712
Benjamin born 16 Oct. 1714
Mrs. Sarah Foy wife of Capt. John died Nov. 1717

The 10 children of Joseph Newell and Ann Phillips, who were married 8 July 1712
Anne born 15 Apr. 1713
Joseph born 7 June 1716
Margrit and Richard born 24 Aug. 1720
Margrett and Mary born 16 Sep. 1722
Thomas born 23 July 1724
David born 18 Jan. 1726/7, died 19 Sep. 1730
Mary born 1728
David born Oct. 1730

The 8 children of Abraham and Hepsy R. Larkin:
Henry born 7 Feb. 1819
Franklin born 30 Aug. 1821
Joanna and Caleb born 28 Oct. 1823
Francis P. b. 11 Mar. 1825
Abraham J. born 7 Jan. 1827
Sarah H. and Elizabeth S. born 21 May 1837

For me, having had six children, I have always been grateful that my children arrived as single births. There are twins on both sides of our family. My grandmother was a twin, one of the oldest two of ten children. In our time of conveniences such as washing machines, dryers, dishwashers, electricity, heat for our homes, ovens and stoves, disposable diapers, etc. we can appreciate the work load they bore. Even with all those very helpful and useful items it still seems it would be very challenging to have a multiple birth.

Are there multiple births in your family history? Examining our ancestor's lives includes any children they had in their family. The impact of multiple births, whether they be triplets, twins or more than one set of twins, brought many blessings and challenges and to their family.

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