While working on the research question we’ve posed for Joshua Chase, son of Joshua Chase and Mary Shackford we’ve learned unexpected things about Joshua – an outcome described in Harold Henderson’s article Ten-Minute Methodology: How to Ask Good Research Questions.
Our research Question:
What document appoints William Plaisted as guardian of Joshua Chase, born about 1782 in Portsmouth, the son of Dr Joshua Chase and Mary Shackford?
We knew that a guardian was appointed for Joshua Chase around 1787 so we began our research by reviewing FamilySearch’s New Hampshire, County Probate Records, 1660-1973 Rockingham Probate record index 1753-1800. While looking for Chase, we found a Joshua Chase on Image 18:
1787-1788 Chase, Joshua Gdn
We then headed to FamilySearch’s New Hampshire, County Probate Records, 1660-1973 Rockingham Probate records 1784-1793 vol 28-30 to find the actual document reviewing:
Vol 28 – Index C’s Image 6 – no Joshua Chase found
Vol 29 – Index C’s Image 298 – Joshua Chase Guardn 148
We found page 148 at Image 388 and found the unexpected!. We had expected to find a document appointing William Plaisted as Joshua’s guardian but this document reflects the appointment of Giles Seaward of Portsmouth as the guardian of Joshua Chase!
Rockingham ss At a Court of Probate held at Exeter in said County the seventh
day of November Anni Domini 1787 by Phillips White Esq Judge Administration … And Giles Seaward of Portsmouth in said County Mariner was appointed Guardian to Joshua Chase (a minor under fourteen years of age Son of Joshua Chase late of Newbury, Newton Physician) deceased and with George Wentworth Merch & William Dearing Carver both of said Portsmouth gave bond according to Law – And at said Court held at said Exeter on the ninth Day of the same November by the said Judge
So why might Giles Seaward have been appointed as Joshua’s guardian? He was Joshua’s great grandfather, the father of Joshua’s grandmother Deborah (Sewaward) Shackford. Giles would have been 70 years old and a widow when he was appointed the guardian of five years old Joshua. Giles’ daughter Deborah (Joshua’s grandmother) who would have been 48 years old was probably living in Giles’ home — we base this assumption on Giles’ will which was written two years later on 22 Aug 1789 and left his daughter Deborah (Seaward) Shackford the westerly half of his dwelling house and half of his personal estate.
Interestingly this guardianship document states that Joshua’s father the physician Dr Joshua Chase was deceased. We wonder why this claim was made to the court as we’re not sure this is a correct — later documents pertaining to the younger Joshua seem to infer that Dr Joshua Chase was living.
We didn’t answer our research question What document appoints William Plaisted as guardian of Joshua Chase, born about 1782 in Portsmouth, the son of Dr Joshua Chase and Mary Shackford? yet but certainly learned more than we expected about the younger Joshua as we had no idea that his great grandfather Giles Seaward was the first person who was appointed as his guardian.
We’ll continue looking for the document appointing William Plaisted as Joshua’s guardian.
New Hampshire, New Hampshire, County Probate Records, 1660-1973, Giles Seaward appointed Guardian of Joshua Chase; digital images, FamilySearch, http://www.familysearch.org (: accessed ); >Rockingham>Probate records 1784-1793 vol 28-30>Image 388
“New Hampshire, Wills and Probate Records, 1643-1982,” digital images, Ancestry.com (http://www.ancestry.com : accessed 15 January 2016), Giles Seaward