Wednesday, February 22, 2012

52 Weeks of Abundant Genealogy: Historical Documents

Which historical document in your possession are you happy to have? How did you acquire this item? What does it reveal about your ancestors?

I think the most prized historical document that I currently have in my possession are the military records of my fourth great grandfather, Seymour Haskins. 

Seymour Haskins was born January 1789 in New York as the fifth child of Jonah Haskins (Hoskins) and Comfort  (?). He had six siblings, namely: Unknown, Alexander, Levi, Jonas, Margaret, and Clorenda. He died January 1, 1878 in Amenia, NY. When he was 24, He married Freelove Mastin,daughter of Charles Mastin and Phebe Green,  They were married on July 4, 1813 in Amenia, NY.

Seymour Haskins was buried in Smithfield Burying Grounds, Amenia Town, Dutchess Co. NY. He lived around the Stanford-Amenia area of Dutchess county, New York, United States throughout his whole lifetime.

Seymour Haskins and Freelove Mastin had the following children:

  1. Mary. She married Ralph Stockwell 25 Sep 1842.
  2. Eliza Ann Haskins was born 12 Dec 1812. She died 06 Nov 1832.
  3. Edmond P Haskins was born 01 Feb 1815. He died 10 Mar 1863.
  4. George W. Haskins was born 17 Sep 1820. He died 21 Mar 1882 in Sharon, Connecticut. He married Mary E. McFarland 09 Sep 1847 in Smithfield Presbyterian Church. He married Sarah A. MacFarland 27 May 1864.
  5. Velina Bockee Haskins was born 12 Mar 1829 in Amenia, Dutchess, New York, USA. She died 21 Oct 1919 in Baldwinsville, Onondaga, New York, USA. She married Joel Andrew Trowbridge 1845.
  6. Frances E Haskins was born 1847.

I was able to obtain his War of 1812 Pension file from the National Archives based on a record that I found on  The record on Ancestry indicated that he was in the 2 Reg'T Artillery US Vols. company.  The file that I recieved contained 19 pages of information.  He was inducted as a Private and was discharged as a Corporal.

Some of the interesting things that the file included:
  • His survivor's pension went into effect on February 14, 1871.  He was paid at a rate of eight dollars per month.
  • There was a certification of his death which stated that he died in Amenia, Dutchess, New York on the January 1, 1878 leaving no widow or minor child and without sufficent assets to defray the expenses of his last sickness and burial and that the same were borne by George W. Haksins.
  • It stated that George W. Haskins paid a sum of $30.00 to cover the expenses of his last sickness and burial.
  • There is a record that states the solider Hoskins, Seymour ("Haskins") wife Hoskins, Freelove served in the Col 2 Reg. US Vols. It indicates he enlisted on November 20, 1812 and was discharged November 20, 1813.
  • There is a record of the marriage of Freelove Mastin to Seymour on July 4, 1813. This means that they were married while he was in the military.

  • There is a letter written by George W. Haskins identifying him as the son of Seymour Haskins which discusses the expenses that he paid related to his illness and burial.
  • It includes the signature of George W. Haskins. (My third great grandfather).

  • There is a record for Allowance From Arrears Due a Deceased Pensioner to Defray Expenses of Last Sickness and Burial.  Costs included:
      • Sickness - $20.00
      • Doctors - $ 15.00
      • Grave - $5.00
      • Undertakers -$34.00
      • Total Costs = $74.00
  • It includes Seymour Haskins' signature.

As far as what these document tell me about my family, I guess I can conclude that both my 3rd and 4th great grandfathers could read and write, which wold have been common for New England males during that time period. 

I would also conclude that Seymour died without having wealth or property.  I have never been able to find a will, maybe that is because he didn't have anything to will as his estate was unable to pay for full burial expenses.

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