Sunday, May 31, 2015

Reserving the Right

My time in Boston included a research day at the New England Historic Genealogical Society. I joined the Society last month, which, as a card carrying member, entitles me to free access to the library's research areas.

I headed for the 7th floor reading room where I pulled several family history volumes from the stacks. The books shed some light on the Hawks family that I was researching, but there was no smoking gun confirming that GHJH was adopted by his maternal aunt.

After a brief lunch break in Boston's swanky Back Bay neighborhood, I headed back to the library for more research (and respite from the muggy heat).

My afternoon research zeroed in on Daniel Jucket - GHJH's father. He's been a shadowy figure. What information could I turn up on him? Much of the library's vast collection of records has been digitized, but not everything. Not yet anyway. These were the records I wanted to focus on.

I started pulling microfilmed probate and deeds for Franklin County. The Hawks name appeared frequently. Unfortunately, I didn't come across a probate record for Silas Hawks (Lucy's father), which I hoped would shed light on the status of the family in 1831 (just before Lucy's own passing).

I also didn't see an adoption record for George Henry Jucket by his maternal aunt. I didn't even see a birth record for him.

Remembering my travels the previous weekend around Quabbin Reservoir (site of the watery burial for Enfield, Daniel Jucket's final resting place), I decided to shift my search to Hampshire County (Enfield was located in the county).

Among the Hampshire County land deeds for 1883, I discovered a record for Daniel Juckett (sic) selling land in Enfield for $200. However, Daniel includes a special stipulation:

"Reserving the right to myself of occupying the buildings and land while I live. Also reserving the right to my wife Mary Juckett to remain in the house so long as she may live. Said [purchaser] to have full possession of the land and buildings upon my decease excepting the reservation to my wife Mary Juckett."

The Juckets sold the land in 1883, but legally stipulated that they would retain possession and occupancy until after their deaths. Daniel died in 1885 and Mary died in 1887. Presumably they lived out their final days on the property. But where are they buried, and do their graves still exist today?

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