I'm sure you've heard the term "brick wall" in genealogy. Well, I have a  "fire wall." I am trying to find the parents of Elizabeth "Betsy" Clark born 9 Oct 1758 in Falmouth (Portland) and died 23 Feb 1839 in Minot (Auburn), according to records in Woodstock, Maine. Betsy married Lazarus Rand just about time that the Revolutionary War broke out. She was recovering from the very difficult birth of their first child, James, when Lazarus sailed on the Bagaduce Expedition (more on that in another post).

I have scoured my usual places for records pertaining to Betsy and then while reading the pension file of Lazarus, I find the following affidavit from the town clerk in Falmouth.

From Pension File of Lazarus Rand

For those who would like some help with the handwriting, it reads, "I further state that in the month of October 1849 the Records of this town were destroyed by fire, and there are now no records of marriages intentions of marriages or Births for said town from 1700 to 1849 as all the town Records refer to the time above named were destroyed as above stated in 1849. John Noyes Town Clerk of Falmouth." 

And that folks is my Wall of Fire - Johnny Cash's "Ring of Fire" has been running through my head ever since I found this. 

I fell in to a burning ring of fire I went down, down ,down and the...

Lazarus Rand & Elizabeth Clark

Eunice Rand & Timothy Cox

Christiana Cox & John H. Cotton

Francis Llewellyn Cotton & Lizzie Philbrick

Ray Everett Cotton & Annie Florilla Gibbs

Fern Lyndell Cotton - my grandmother

originally posted at http://mymaineancestry.blogspot.com/

Views: 146

Comment by Chris Dunham on August 22, 2012 at 7:34pm

Many early marriage intentions from Falmouth survive, and at least some birth records may be found interspersed among other town records. The NEHGR published Falmouth marriage intentions in 1860-63, as well as birth and death records from various sources. Here's the FHL catalog entry for Falmouth town records.

It's possible that the oldest records of Falmouth were held in Portland after that city was set off from Falmouth in 1786, and that the records destroyed in 1849 were only those created in Falmouth after that date.

Records of the First Church of Falmouth have been published, as have some marriage records from the second parish (now Cape Elizabeth). The fourth parish (now Westbook) was set off in 1753, organized in 1765, but I don't know if their records have survived.

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