Monday, October 31, 2016

The Diary of Joshua Hempstead

On occasion, while conducting genealogical research, you come across a gem of a resource. Such was the case several years ago when I was taking the Salt Lake Institute's Problem Solving course. My goal was three-fold. First, I wanted to prove or disprove a rumored Mayflower connection to my Hazen family. Second, I wanted to pinpoint Mary Hazen's date of birth [I had two possible dates.] Third, I wanted to find a record of Mary's marriage. The first two would be accomplished; and there was a Mayflower connection. The third still remains approximate.

The gem that came to the surface was the Diary of Joshua Hempstead of New London, CT. Joshua Hempstead Jr. was a native of New London, CT and began chronicling the every day events of his life in September of 1711. He wrote of business dealings, travel, local marriages, births and deaths that took place until his death November 1758.

The diary is available on-line. It was published as a book by the New London Co. Historical Society in 1901. It is also available from the LDS Family History Library. []

My encounter with the Hempstead Diary involved the Turner, Dart, Douglas and Keeney families. The Hazen Family in America had John Hazen marrying Elizabeth Dart, daughter of Daniel Dart and Elizabeth Douglas. In reality, the Elizabeth Dart who married John Hazen was the widow of Thomas Dart. Elizabeth was the daughter of Ezekiel Turner and Susanna Keeney.

Hempstead noted the marriage of John and Elizabeth in his diary. May 1726: "Sund 22nd fair...Jno Hazen & Wid Eliz Darte publish." [The couple had published their intent to marry. Said marriage took place in Norwich on the 31st.]

If you have New London ancestry, check out the Hempstead Diary. You may find out details key to your research. 

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