Re: What's the Evidence That the Two Marthas Were One?
I'm not an Easterner either, but as I understand it, vital records were sometimes dictated to the town clerk and sometimes transmitted on slips of paper--sometimes one at a time, as the events occurred, and sometimes (as apparently in this case) long after the fact, as a complete record of a family's children.The clerk sometimes accumulated slips of paper on which he or others had written one or more records and periodically copied them into the town book.In other instances, he recorded them as he received them.Of course the risk of clerical error existed in copying data into the town book, regardless of the source, schedule, or method of transmission.But as I indicated previously, the omission of the day from five of the ten Ide children's birth records is strong evidence of faulty memory on the part of the informant.
I'm not certain how your discussion of the incompleteness of early Plymouth Colony records relates to the Nathaniel Ide issue.But in any case, the Pilgrims and Puritans, while not perfect record-keepers, were quite diligent.What you call a dearth of records is, by comparison, actually an abundance of them.While many record volumes have disappeared over the years, Massachusetts, from the time of the Pilgrims, nevertheless possesses the most complete vital records of all 50 states.And Rehoboth's vital records are certainly as complete as those of any early New England town.(As was typical, deaths were significantly underreported.)
I, too, have the relevant pages from the Ide genealogy compiled by Dunbar and also pages from Silas C. Ide's 1940 volume.The absence of discrepancies between Dunbar's work and other sources, of course, hardly means that it and/or they are correct.As I'm sure you know, the genealogical literature is filled with errors that have taken on a life of their own through repetition.I know of no basis, for example, for the oft-repeated assertion that the immigrant Nicholas Ide's father was also named Nicholas.
If you live in Utah (as you seem to imply), it is I who envy you.I'd love to spend time at the Family History Library instead of ordering FHL films at $6 each from here in Ojai (pron. O-hi), California, and waiting up to six weeks for them to come in.The film that includes the first couple of volumes of Rehoboth vital records, by the way, is restricted due to material at the end of it that is too recent to comply with Massachusetts law; it's viewable at FHL but not at Family History Centers.About fifteen years ago, I arranged for the Rehoboth town clerk (who owns the rights to the film) to buy a copy from FHL, snip off the offending items at the end, and send it to me; I reimbursed her for her costs.
Among the assumptions in your two-Nathaniels theory is that Nicholas Ide's wife Martha was surnamed Bliss.As you know from previous postings in this thread, this is by no means certain.Also problematical is the narrow window within which an older Nathaniel would have had to die--between 7 October 1647 and 11 November 1647 (or soon enough thereafter that the newborn had not already been baptized).I had briefly considered this possibility but quickly dismissed it as improbable.(The two-Nathaniels theory, of course, doesn't require a separate mother for each.)
At this point, I continue to favor the proposition that there was but one Nathaniel, and that his recorded birth date is incorrect.
Happy Thanksgiving (belatedly) to you, too, Jerry.