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Samuel Bowen, Roxbury MA USA, 1700's

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#1
I can trace my ancestry back to Samuel Bowen of Roxbury MA who married Mary Blaney in 1771, had children John and Samuel, and died in 1802. I am hoping to continue the line but have been unable to document Samuel's birth or parentage. Any help would be greatly appreciated.

There is a well documented Bowen line coming from Wales and leading to Samuel Bowen, born 1737 in the Roxbury/Brookline area, son of Josiah Bowen and Mary Winchester. He seems a likely connection, but I can find no record for him other than has birth.

There are similar Bowen names and dates from Rehoboth MA, but they do not appear to be connected to my line.

Thanks in advance for any assistance!

- James Bowen
 

horse

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#2
Hi

There appears to be 2 possible birth dates 1737 and 1746, whilst your theory is more plausible because it is findable with parents.

Now the 'dodgy' area.. Trees, not just on Anc. but others too, there is a consensus that he was 25y when he married and that may be where they are getting a birth year of 1746 from.

He died in 1802, there is this in 1803:
Norfolk County, MA Probate Index 1793-1900
Given Name: Samuel
Surname: Bowen
Year: 1803
Residence: Roxbury
Nature of the Document: Administration

I don't know if it is possible to get any more info about this but it could be informative (assuming you haven't seen it already).

Geoff
 
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Geoff,

Yes, I've seen the 1746 date a few times, each time with no hint of it's source. As you say it may simply be surmised from a supposed age at marriage. I have never seen the 1733 date attached to my Samuel. The 1733 Samuel shows up on several other family trees, but always as a dead end.

I have seen the 1803 administration citation, but not the record it refers to. I assume that is not available online - as least I couldn't find it. I am currently retired in England, so on-site Massachusettes record searches are not currently in the picture!

My hope is to be able to trace my Bowen pedigree back to Wales so I can visit the town my family came from.

Thanks for your assistance!

- Jim
 

horse

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#4
Hi Jim

If it possible to get validation that Josiah is Samuel's father, it is very well documented that they go back to Wales (as you say in post #1), possibly Glamorgan. Not only that, there are possible royal decent lines from Henry 1, via Margaret Fleming, wife of Henry Bowen (Samuel's possible g grandfather).

Another interesting point in this line is that Isaac, Josiah's father married a Hannah Winchester. I haven't checked the Winchester line, so it could just be coincidence!

Certainly very interesting to research, there's a lot going on in the family.

Geoff
 
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#5
Just getting back to genealogical research after a busy summer...

The only historical reference to a 1746 birth date for Samuel that I can find is inferred from his death record in the Vital Records of Roxbury Mass published by the Essex Institute 1926. This printed record lists Bowen, "Samuel, Dec. 14, 1802, a. 56 y." (Hence born in 1746.)

However, the photocopy of the original, handwritten record in the vital records for Roxbury lists only his name and date of death - no reference to age or DOB. So where did the Essex Institute get the age at death?

The only Samuel Bowen that we have birth info for is the son of Josiah born in 1737. Curiously, this Samuel would have been 65 years old in Dec 1802. Might someone at some point have computed Samuel's age at death from this birth date and transposed the digits when recording them? The other option is that we have a Samuel born in 1737 who promptly disappears from all surviving records, and another Samuel, apparently born in 1746, for whom there is no birth record or indication of parentage.
 

horse

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The only historical reference to a 1746 birth date for Samuel that I can find is inferred from his death record in the Vital Records of Roxbury Mass published by the Essex Institute 1926. This printed record lists Bowen, "Samuel, Dec. 14, 1802, a. 56 y." (Hence born in 1746.)

However, the photocopy of the original, handwritten record in the vital records for Roxbury lists only his name and date of death - no reference to age or DOB. So where did the Essex Institute get the age at death?
Hi Jim

I've just had another look at this problem...

Every available record points to a birth of 1737, parents Josiah and Mary. I can see nothing for 1746. Record keeping for the area does appear to be very good.

There was a lost census in 1765 which I understand was reconstructed. There is supposed to be an e-copy available.

Samuel didn't marry until 1771, that is really the only link between them that I can see that may be useful.

Geoff
 

Lirio100

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#7
Geoff,

Yes, I've seen the 1746 date a few times, each time with no hint of it's source. As you say it may simply be surmised from a supposed age at marriage. I have never seen the 1733 date attached to my Samuel. The 1733 Samuel shows up on several other family trees, but always as a dead end.

I have seen the 1803 administration citation, but not the record it refers to. I assume that is not available online - as least I couldn't find it. I am currently retired in England, so on-site Massachusettes record searches are not currently in the picture!

My hope is to be able to trace my Bowen pedigree back to Wales so I can visit the town my family came from.

Thanks for your assistance!

- Jim
I have a Bowen in my tree too, although not related:) and got curious. I am a member of a New England society and so tried looking in what they have available. The source of the Essex entry is probably a family history written by a Blaney descendant published in the Essex Genealogist, it's possible he did get the numbers transposed.

A record for Samual Bowen appears in the records for Brookline Mass: Samuel Bowen son of Josiah and Mary 8 Aug 1737. There is a record for Josiah Bowen, son of Isaac and Mary Bowen born born in 1711 in Roxbury. What is interesting (or maybe horrifying? :biggrin:) is Anc has an application record for the Sons of the Revolution that includes this Isaac Bowen. He is the son of Henry Bowen, who was brought here in 1638 from Wales by his father Griffith Bowen. Does this fit anything you have?
 
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#9
Thanks for your comments, Lirio. In fact, I am the owner of that wikitree entry! In that line I am assuming what I have not yet proved: that Samuel Bowen son of Josiah and Samuel Bowen husband of Mary Blaney are one and the same. This seems likely as, despite the age discrepancy in the one death record, no other Samuel Bowen appears in that time and place. But it is possible that the son of Josiah died in infancy, his death record is lost, and another Samuel Bowen arrived from elsewhere to wed May Blaney. Everything else in the line from Griffith Bowen to me is nailed down to my satisfaction, and I would dearly love something to similarly nail down that Samuel Bowen question!

- Jim
 

horse

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#10
The probate document of 1803 [death Dec 1802] to me still remains pivotal, especially if there is a DOB or family member link to Samuel.

Geoff
 

Lirio100

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#11
I got kinda interested once I got into the old records from the Revolutionary War. There is one Samuel Bowen who is definitely not yours; he was born in 1760, IIRC, and was quite active, so to speak. There is another record for a Samuel Bowen, son of Simeon. There are also, however, mentions of yet another Samuel Bowen. There are also two mentions of a Josiah Bowen on two muster rolls for very short periods of time. No age requirements at the time, so it could be your Samuels's father.

Direct tax records show Samuel Bowen lived in Roxbury in 1798, owned a house that he and John Bowen lived in. He also owned property in Brookline.

Part of the problem is that Roxbury has been absorbed into Boston, and the state borders were rather fluid at the time, not to mention the counties. I wouldn't discard a source labelled Boston before looking, for instance. Your Samuels's son appears in Boston burial records, for instance. Also, a man may not have enlisted where he lived, he might have enlisted elsewhere.

If you like, I can go back and look at the Blaney article, maybe find the sources or a contact. Do you have that already?
 
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