Dear Grandma Emma,
Thank you for leaving family records that your daughter Estelle, my great-grandmother, typed up. They are so helpful!
But here’s the deal – your second child and first son? You gave him two, sort of three, different names. I don’t know what I should call him.
In all of the family records Estelle typed up, she listed him as Chesterfield Jerrain Maffit. But there are no birth or death records for a Chesterfield Jerrain Maffit. There is a birth record for an Orin Maffit and a death record for an Orrin Seth Maffit. But guess what? The dates on those records don’t match the dates you list for Chesterfield. Not exactly.
Your daughter typed up a birthdate of 5 January 1905, and a death date of 21 March 1905, for Chesterfield. (For a while, I was extra confused because a family member had mistyped from Estelle’s record and gave a death date for Chesterfield of 20 January 1905.)1 Orin’s birth date was 5 January 19062 and his death date was 23 March 19063. Those dates are so similar that I really struggled with whether or not Chesterfield and Orrin were the same child. I actually have both children in my tree because I did not want to leave out any of your precious children – and what if you really had two sons born on the same day a year apart who died one year and two days apart?
But just a few weeks ago, I found my first record for Chesterfield. I was soooo excited! The record is Chesterfield’s baptism record4. It reads this way:
“350 Name: Chesterfield Seth Maffit Parents: Seth and Emma When Born: January 1st ” [ditto marks for 1906] When Baptised: ” [ditto marks for Mch] 23rd ” [ditto marks for 190-, the last digit in the year is cut off, the index indicates 1906]”
This is the first record that ties the two boys together. It brings the dates for Orrin with the name of Chesterfield, just with the middle name of Seth instead of Jerrain. I think Orrin and Chesterfield are the same boy. Am I right?
In the 1910 census5, you are listed as the mother of four with two living. If you really had both Orrin and Chesterfield, those numbers should be five with two living. You wouldn’t forget a baby that you buried, would you?
So, did you name your first son Orin, baptize him as Chesterfield Seth, then list his name as Orrin Seth on his death record, and then decide to call him Chesterfield Jerrain in your family record? Or is there something else going on? Did you name him Orin, decide to go with Chesterfield and then after he died, your brother-in-law William, who was a doctor and the informant for your son’s death (and birth), listed his name as Orrin Seth on the death record without consulting you?
The baptism record also brings up other questions for me. The baptism record for Chesterfield lists his date of baptism as 23 March 1906. He was the only child baptized that day, a Friday. That is the very day that Orrin Seth died of acute fermental diarrhea. Did you know that he was going to die? Was this an emergency baptism? What must that day have been like for you? A cloth diaper disaster, the impending death of your second child, your second child to die… how did you get through that day?
Grandma Emma, I want to represent your story, and family, accurately. I think I can merge Orrin Seth and Chesterfield Jerrain. But am I right?
With Much Love,
Amberly, your 2nd great-granddaughter
Please feel free to share your thoughts on this one. Merging those two boys will be mighty difficult for me. I would hate to erase someone’s existence from my tree. But on the other hand… it seems like they are the same person. What do you think?
Amberly, the girl over here trying to sort everything out correctly
Happy Monday, wouldn’t it be wonderful if we could figure out a way to send letters to the past through some special time-traveling-bank-style-pneumatic-tube? And then get answers to our questions from that same magical tube? I would sooooo get in line to do that! 😉
- Chesterfield Jerrain Maffit has an entry in the Family Tree on FamilySearch. It shows my username as having submitted the data but my I am fairly certain that my sister did that. I may have been the one to link him to his parents early on and that may be why my username shows there. You can view him here: https://www.familysearch.org/tree/person/details/MV9B-FTM ↩
- “Illinois, Cook County Birth Certificates, 1878-1922,” index, FamilySearch.org (https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.1.1/NQRD-DLP : accessed 07 May 2014), Orin Maffit, 05 Jan 1906; citing Chicago, Cook, Illinois, reference 10380, Cook County Courthouse, Chicago; FHL microfilm 1,288,111 (film accessed 06 May 2014 at BYU). ↩
- “Illinois, Cook County Deaths, 1878-1922,” index, FamilySearch.org (https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.1.1/N7WT-332 : accessed 07 May 2014), Orrin Seth Maffit, 23 Mar 1906; citing 2896 Archer Ave, Chicago, Cook, Illinois, Cemetery, cn, Cook County Courthouse, Chicago; FHL microfilm 1,239,737 (film accessed 06 May 2014 at BYU). ↩
- Presbyterian Historical Society; Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; “U.S., Presbyterian Church Records, 1701-1907″; Book Title: Session/Register 1887-1923; Accession Number: Vault BX 9211 .I30608 I42, image for Chesterfield Seth Maffit, baptism 23 March 1906, image 170 of 228, line 350; accessed through “U.S., Presbyterian Church Records, 1701-1970,” database and images, Ancestry.com (http://www.ancestry.com : accessed 25 January 2016). ↩
- 1910 U.S. census, Cook County, Illinois, Chicago Ward 5, population schedule, enumeration district (ED) 286, page 3B (handwritten), dwelling 39, family 54, lines 93-96, Seth Moffit household, digital image, Ancestry.com, (http://www.ancestry.com : accessed 11 May 2018); citing FHL microfilm 1,374,257, original source data NARA microfilm publication T624, roll 244. ↩