Seventh Great-Grandfather Thomas Strong, Jr.

Seventh Great-Grandfather Thomas Strong, Jr.

Let me start by saying that I only use the designation “Jr.” here because much of what I’ve read uses “Jr.” to distinguish him from his father; I have not seen that he actually used this designation himself.  Thomas Strong, Jr. was the oldest child of Thomas Strong and Mary Hewett of Northampton, Massachusetts Bay Colony.  He was born on November 16, 1661.  Thomas became a farmer.

Thomas married Mary Stebbins (daughter of John Stebbins and Abigail Bartlett) on November 17, 1683 in Northampton.  Their children (all born in Northampton) were:

  • Mary, born August 7, 1684; died August 31, 1684
  • Thomas, born August 27, 1686; married Mary _____; ended up living in Coventry, Tolland County, CT
  • Eliakim, born September 26, 1688; married Mehitable King on April 13, 1712; died January 24, 1745/46 in Durham, New Haven County, CT
  • Mary, born December 29, 1690; married Thomas Alvord, Jr. between 1707 and 1710
  • Hewett, born January 27, 1694; died March 25, 1694
  • Hewett, born May 1696; married Dinah ____ November 17, 1726 (who died in 1737); then married another wife on April 26, 1739; moved from Durham to New Berlin (New York? or perhaps actually Berlin, Connecticut?) to Farmington, Hartford County, CT; died in what became Durham, Greene County, NY (I am not sure if it was still Freehold at the time of his death.)
  • John, born April 25, 1698
  • Rachel, born April 15, 1700; married Samuel Robinson March 19, 1724
  • Damaris (some records say Tamar), born 1702; married John Camp; died August 25, 1737 in Durham, CT; buried in Old Durham Cemetery
  • Hannah, born 1704; married Benoni Hills 1724
  • Mercy, born Nov 16, 1707

With all of his family except for Eliakim and perhaps Mary, Thomas moved to Durham, CT “shortly after” 1708.  I assume that he continued his trade of farming there.  His wife Mary predeceased him on August 8, 1733.  He passed away on November 30, 1735, and both are buried in Old Durham Cemetery.

What’s In Your GEDCOM?

In December, when Ancestry announced that they would no longer be selling Family Tree Maker, it seemed to shake up much of the genealogy world. People wondered what would they do, where would they go with their data?

Although I was not an FTM user, I watched the fallout and the reaction with interest. I guess part of me wondered, if this could happen to FTM, could it happen to Legacy (what I use)? Or any other genealogy software for that matter? I didn’t want to be caught unawares, like the FTM users seemed to be. I wanted to be ready for whatever changes the future of genealogy might bring. On December 14, The Genealogy Guys had a very timely themed podcast on genealogy software. In it, they touched on GEDCOMs and how they worked. I realized that there was a lot that I did not know!

As you know, I participate in the bi-weekly #genchat on Twitter. On January 15, the topic was “What to do with…Changing Technology?” and circumstances arose that enabled me to host the chat for the evening. We talked about how we handled change, how we backed up digital and non-digital data, understanding what was in our backups (in particular, GEDCOMs), petitioning our software companies for futures changes, and the future as we saw it. Because I know I needed a greater understanding, I gave a homework assignment of just taking a look at one of those GEDCOMs that we’ve backed up, just to see what it looked like and what was in there.

Little did I know that I was in for a bigger learning experience than I bargained for! (But that’s a good thing!) Below are some of my “lessons learned” and my thoughts on them:

  • despite how Legacy’s zip file backup is named, it is not a GEDCOM nor is a GEDCOM file in there!
  • what is in the zip file is Legacy’s database back-up. So if I were to transfer to another genealogy program, I would not be able to load that back up into it.
  • I learned how to export a GEDCOM from Legacy (File/Export/GEDCOM file) and have opened it up in Notepad. As everyone promised, it does look messy, but I recognize a lot of what is there.
  • I need a much better understanding of the contents and structure of a GEDCOM. I’ve learned from the Genealogy Guys that some event types do not transfer over exactly, and I know that media and documents typically are not included. This means I need to know what other files — besides a GEDCOM — needs to be backed up.

Thanks to the Legacy Family Tree Users Facebook group, I picked up a couple of handy tips:

  • A link to the GEDCOM 5.5.1 Standard document. I’ve found it myself on the internet to share with all of you. Yes, it looks dry, but it’s the go-to document about GEDCOM today!
  • There is a freeware program called GedPad that allows you to look at your GEDCOM in a more visually friendly way, as well as perform any edits (which I have no desire to do at this time).

Below is just a little excerpt of the beginning of my GEDCOM, so you can see it too:

GEDCOM sample

Next week, I’ll go back to our “regularly scheduled program” of blogging about my Strong family, but I just wanted to let everyone know my latest thoughts on this topic. As I learn more, I’ll be sure to pass it on!

Sixth Great-Grandfather Eliakim Strong

Eliakim Strong was born on September 26, 1688 in Northampton, Hampshire County, MA, the third child & second son of Thomas Strong, Jr. and Mary Stebbins. Like many of his Northampton family members, he was a member of Northampton First Church.

Eliakim married Mehitable King (daughter of John King and Mehitable Pomeroy) on April 13, 1712 in Northampton. He was a farmer in there from at least 1712 – 1725, then in Durham, New Haven County, CT starting from sometime between 1725 and 1730. He joined his father Thomas Strong, Jr., who already moved to Durham in 1708.

Eliakim and Mehitable’s children were:

  • Catherine (or Katherine), born January 8, 1713 in Northampton; married Bryan Rosseter September 2, 1736 in Durham; after Bryan’s death in 1755 married Gideon Leete in Durham; died April 11, 1778 and is buried next to her first husband in Old Durham Cemetery
    Katherine (Strong) Rosseter grave.  Author's collection.

    Katherine (Strong) Rosseter grave. Author’s collection.

    Bryan Rosseter grave.  Author's collection.

    Bryan Rosseter grave. Author’s collection.

  • Mehitable, born September 5, 1715 in Northampton; married Aaron Alvord, November 6, 1739 in Durham; they seem to have moved to Torrington, Litchfield County, CT between 1755 and 1760
  • Eliakim, born March 7, 1720 in Northampton; married Hannah Seward, June 4, 1751 in Durham; moved to Freehold, Greene County, NY (which is now Durham, NY); died 1800 in Freehold, NY
  • Thomas, born November 17, 1722 in Northampton; married Phebe Seward January 16, 1746 in Durham (more about them here)
  • Hewett (died young)
  • Experience, baptized January 3, 1730/31, probably in Durham; married Noah Norton, December 29, 1757 in Durham
  • Mary, born September 8, 1734 in Durham; married Rowland Rosseter, April 11, 1753 in Durham; died November 17, 1799; buried in Old Durham Cemetery

Eliakim died January 24, 1744 in Durham and is buried in Old Durham Cemetery. Many online trees suggest that his wife Mehitable died in 1778. I assume that she also is buried at Old Durham Cemetery.

Fifth Great-Grandfather Thomas Strong

Thomas Strong was born on November 17, 1722 in Northampton, Hampshire County, MA. He was the second son and fourth child of Eliakim Strong and Mehitable King and was probably named for Eliakim’s father Thomas. He moved to Durham, New Haven County, CT as a child, sometime between 1725 and 1730. There he became a farmer and married Phebe Seward on January 16, 1746.

Thomas and Phebe’s children, all born in Durham, were:

  • Sarah, baptized February 22, 1746; died July 13, 1770; buried in Old Durham Cemetery (was Loraine’s daughter Sarah Scranton named after her?)
  • Thomas, born July 23, 1748; took the oath of a freeman in Durham on September 16, 1777; died June 24, 1819
  • Lois, born July 1, 1750
  • Eunice, born August 16, 1752; married Simeon Coe; died October 22, 1828; buried in Norwich Corners Cemetery, Frankfort, Herkimer County, NY
  • Phebe, born November 3, 1754; died December 9, 1792; buried in Old Durham Cemetery
Phebe Strong grave, Old Durham Cemetery.  Author's collection.

Phebe Strong grave, Old Durham Cemetery. Author’s collection.

  • Loraine, born March 18, 1757; married David Scranton between 1782 and 1785; died November 8, 1838 in Manchester, Guysborough County, Nova Scotia (more on Loraine and David here)
  • Catherine (or Katherine), born April 14, 1759
  • Nathan, born January 3, 1762; died April 28, 1763; buried in Old Durham Cemetery
  • Lucy, born March 4, 1764
  • Nathan, born October 13, 1766; died November 23, 1767; buried in Old Durham Cemetery
  • Nathan, born June 29, 1769; married Eunice Chalker circa 1790; died January 2, 1841 in Rodman, Jefferson County, NY; buried in Fairview Cemetery in Rodman

Either he or his son Thomas took Oath of Fidelity to State of Connecticut on August 26, 1777 in Durham. I suspect that it may have been Thomas, Sr., since the “History of Durham, Connecticut” does note the juniors who took the oath. This leads me to believe that the family, like so many in Durham, supported the Patriot cause during the American Revolution.

Thomas’ wife Phebe died in February 3, 1787 and is buried in Old Durham Cemetery. He moved to Whitestown, Herkimer County, NY, likely when his youngest son Nathan moved there in 1794-1795. Thomas died in Whitestown, by then Oneida County, NY, likely before 1810 when Nathan moved to Rodman. I don’t know the date of death or where he was buried, due to New York State’s scant vital records at that time.

My Bruce Line

I was going to pick up on Sarah Scranton’s Strong ancestry, but a little voice said that I had better do a post on my Bruce line. I try not to ignore that little voice! When I gathered the below information, I realized that this is one line that I did not do a lot of research on, other than a bit on my direct ancestors. Below is all I know.

James (in one roll of land records, called George) Bruce was born circa 1765 in Scotland. According to “Guysborough Sketches and Essays” by A.C. Jost, he was part of The Duke of Cumberland’s Regiment, on the British side of the Revolutionary War. Much of this regiment was formed from Scotsmen in South Carolina, so perhaps James lived there for a while. He never saw action, as the regiment spent much of the war in Jamaica. The regiment spent a short time in New York just after the war ended, then made their way up to Halifax in late 1783, early 1784. Eventually, he was granted either 100 or 150 acres of land (Jost has conflicting information) in the Hallowell Grant in 1795. According to Jost, his lot was in the Southeast division, Block C, Number 1 in the town of Guysborough. (Looking at Jost’s map and comparing that to today’s Guysborough, it appears the town was on the peninsula just north of today’s Mill Cove.)

The portion of Guysborough, Nova Scotia in which James Bruce settled. Courtesy Google Maps/Google Earth.

The portion of Guysborough, Nova Scotia in which James Bruce settled. Courtesy Google Maps/Google Earth.

James married Catherine Cadel on June 30, 1798 in Guysborough County, Nova Scotia. Their children were:

  • Christopher, born September 22, 1801, Manchester, Nova Scotia; married Abigail McKeough, January 27, 1827; died April 13, 1867 of consumption; buried in Boylston United Cemetery
  • Richard Samuel, born September 7, 1802, Manchester, Nova Scotia; married Margaret Morgan, February 19, 1828; died December 6, 1884
  • Mary Jane, born November 5, 1804, Guysborough County, Nova Scotia; married William McKeough before 1825
  • John, married Caroline Scott, March 20, 1827.

James was killed by a falling tree on March 28, 1805 in Guysborough County at age 40. Catherine later married a Mr. Kilfyle.

Below are John Bruce & Caroline Scott’s children, all born in Manchester:

  • Sarah Sophia, born December 10, 1828; married James Patrick O’Brien, January 13, 1853; died 1898. Their information is covered here .
  • William Wallace, born November 18, 1831; married Maria Whitman, December 25, 1855 (they emigrated with her family to Queens County, New York by July 1860)
  • Ruth Maria, born October 15, 1833; married Jeremiah Woods Lyle before 1856
  • John Joseph, born October 13, 1835; married Esther Jane Bigsby, March 15, 1877, Guysborough, Nova Scotia
  • James Robert Cooney, born December 9, 1838; married Christina Stewart, November 18, 1869, Gloucester, Essex County, MA (was James Robert Cooney O’Brien, Sarah’s son, named after him? Was she missing her brother who had moved away?)
  • Mary Jane, born March 11, 1842; married John Horton December 27, 1827; married Richard W. Cunningham, February 5, 1868, Manchester, Nova Scotia
  • George Christopher, born April 13, 1844

What else can I say about my Bruce line? Well, my grandmother claimed that we were descended from Robert the Bruce, but I have no evidence to prove or disprove it.