Tuesday, July 8, 2014

William E. Gilbert - Born William Edwin Rogers

   Recently I came across the a 1911 death record recorded in Northampton, Hampshire County, Massachusetts for William E. Gilbert.  As I began  to cite the record in my database, I was surprised to find that the name of his father was written on this record as B. Franklin Rogers (sic) who had been born in Holden.  B. Franklin Rogers  ??? 
   My database showed that name as Benjamin Rogers Gilbert, and I had used the marriage record of William E. Gilbert and Henrietta Pepper as a source.  I immediately went back to the source as found on Americanancestors.org.  Sure enough, I had made an error by making the assumption that the last name Gilbert had been left off the record.  Had I looked carefully at the other records on the page, I would have realized that the last names of all the fathers on that page were listed.
  Now I had some new questions.  Why and when did William's last name become Gilbert?  To date, I have been unable to answer either of those questions.  My theory is that William's parents died when William was a young boy and perhaps he was adopted by one of the Gilberts in town.
  Using pre 1850 vital records from Brookfield and Holden, and later records from West Brookfield, and Brimfield I have found the following:
   1. Benjamin Rogers and Sarah Bliss Marriage intentions in Brookfield on Mar. 28, 1830, and in Holden on March 31, 1830.  [A Bliss genealogy says they married in May 1830.]  Sarah Bliss was William E. Gilbert's mother's name according to his death record.
  2. Birth of William Edwin Rogers on July 5, 1836. [Death record of William E. Gilbert says born West Brookfield on July 5, 1833] West Brookfield was a part of Brookfield until 1848.  This is probably the birth record for the man known as William E. Gilbert.
  3. Death of Sarah Rogers, wife of Benjamin on March 3, 1842. [Brookfield VR]  Mother of William E. Gilbert
  4. I have not positively identified either William Rogers or William E. Gilbert in the 1850 U.S. or 1855 Massachusetts Census
  5. 1858 Marriage record of William E. Gilbert and Henrietta Pepper
   I have not found evidence that William ever lived with a Gilbert family,  and need to find probate court records, not yet online.
   I have discovered a number of new facts about William E. Gilbert in other records, including a record of William's 2nd marriage, the last will and testament of his grandfather, Samuel Bliss, which mentions the children of his late daughter Sarah, wife of Benjamin Rogers. Masslandrecords.com has quitclaim deed where Benjamin F. Rogers of Paxton, relinquishes to William E. Gilbert, his claim on land previously owned by his uncle, David Bliss.  I also found information in two published family genealogies. One was a genealogy of his mother's Bliss family, and the other, a genealogy of the Gleason family  which he married into twice. 
  I know from Samuel Bliss' will, that Sarah Bliss Rogers had a sister who married the brother of Benjamin F. Rogers.  I also know that William Edwin Rogers had a brother named Benjamin F. Rogers.  I have yet to determine which one signed the quitclaim deed.
  I know that William's third wife, Desdemona Bump, was the niece of his second wife, Susan Gleason.  I have been unable to find an official record of the third marriage in MA.
  I am now left with a great deal more work to do on the Gleason and Bliss families, both of whom lived in Brookfield and West Brookfield for many generations, and I still have not found when or why William Edwin Rogers became William E. Gilbert.