Sometimes solutions to problems turn up in unexpected places. That’s what happened when I told my uncle in Indiana that I would be stopping by his place (first time in over 35 years) for a visit during a recent road trip. I let him know I was working on the family history and was eager to find out what he could tell me.
When I arrived, he had a number of items set aside for me. One of them was a photocopy of a handwritten family history on 3 legal-size pages. It begins with Isaac Casbon, my 4th great grandfather, and then focuses on his son Thomas (my 3rd great grandfather), who was the first member of the family to emigrate to the United States. My uncle did not know where the manuscript came from or how the copy came into his possession. It is not signed nor dated. The handwriting style looks earlier than 20th century. There is almost no punctuation in the entire document. Spelling errors are common.
First paragraph of my mystery manuscript: Isaac Casbon Married Jayne Miller of Meldreth, Near Royston Cambridge shire Englan both were raised and born in this place. (Click on image to enlarge)
When I started to read, I quickly realized the manuscript contained information about my family tree that I had never been able to verify with existing records. For example, I knew from parish records that Isaac had two sons, Thomas (my third great grandfather) and William (who remained in England). I also knew from word of mouth and circumstantial evidence that Isaac had a third son, James, who emigrated to Porter County, Indiana many years after Thomas. Despite intensive searching, I’ve never been able to find definitive proof that James was Isaac’s offspring.
The biggest surprise however, was that Isaac had a fourth son, Joseph. From my research, I knew of a Joseph Casbon who lived in the Meldreth area in the early 1800s. But I’ve never been able to find a record of his birth or baptism, nor any other clues about his ancestry.
While this was the biggest surprise, it was not the only one. I will save those for later posts.
From the standpoint of genealogical proof, a manuscript such as this doesn’t carry the same weight as a primary source such as a birth or death certificate. Memories can become distorted over time, and facts passed down by word of mouth may become confused or altered. Even so, the author seems to have had first-hand knowledge about many of the people and events. It isn’t entirely free of errors (e.g., Isaac Casbon was married to Susannah Howse or Howes, not Jayne Willams), but most of the information can be substantiated by other sources.
I’m posting my verbatim transcript of the manuscript below. If you would like to read the the entire document look in the new Documents link in the menu at the top of this page. I’ve placed a link to a PDF file there. Future posts will review it in depth, paragraph by paragraph.
I can’t begin to tell you how excited I was to read this. I hope you enjoy it as much as I did. I just wish I knew where it came from!
Isaac Casbon Married Jayne Miller of Meldreth Near Royston Cambridge shire Englan both were raised and born in this place
There were born to them Thomas William, Joseph, one dead he left no heirs James
Isaac Casbon was one of Six brothers their record of birth can be found at Meldreth or Melborn church
Thomas Casbon emigrated to United States in the year of (“1865” crossed out) 1846
He was Married to Emma Scruby at Meldrith or Melborn Church Cambridgeshire England where the record may be found
Thomas and Emma Casbon had born to them 4 son’s and 2 daughters the firs born son died in infancy the name being the same as the secon born boy
Mary Ann Silvester Charles Jesse and Emma the last Daughter beng born in the state of Ohio Wayne Co
They concluded to go to the State of Ind
Silvester went arrived in Indiana
Thomas Casbon mooved his family soon after and settled at Boon Grove lived ther some years and mooved to the County seat where he died in the 84 year of his age Feb 7 1888. his second wife Hannah Edwards survived him six week
Silvester Casbon Lives at the present time at Deep River Lake Co Ind has married 3 times having lost the two first wives He had two children by the first wife Adeline Aylsworth a daughter and son by the last Harriett Perry three sons no heirs by the last
Charles Lives near Valparaiso had born to him four children first born died in infancy two more daughters wer born to them Lodema and Sina Jo Casbon then one son Lawrence
Lodema married Highram Church
Jesse Married Emily M. Price of Koutts to them wer born four daudhters and one son who died in infancy
Record of Emma Scruby her father was Sylvester Scruby his father’s name was Joseph Scruby
Syveste Scruby scruby married Elizabeth Robison There was born to them 4 girls and three boys. one girl died in childhood
James Scruby came to United States of America settled in Wayne Co Ohio Married Pheobe Priest to them was born seven children
Joab William Charles Sam George are all dead excep two first named
no heirs left but George’s two boys Bennett and Olen
Mary Payne & Rachell or Emma Payne came to America & They were the daughters of Sarah Scruby sister to Emma wife of Thomas Casbon