Click on either image to see it full size. Both images were taken from the Deerfield Vital Records collections at the Wisconsin Historical Society in Madison, Wisconsin. The two records were from different books. Each of the books was sorted differently from the other. However, it appears clear that both were copied from the same original “Old Book” of Vital Records for Deerfield, Massachusetts.
Both had their own page numbering systems, but both also label this entry as “Page 2.” Joseph Barnard was the first Town Clerk of Deerfield. It appears that the original Old Book had one page allocated to each family. When a new family had their first child, they got listed on the next empty page of the Old Book. Since Joseph probably created the book, he naturally started the book with his own family on page 2.
The first image reads:
Page 2 This would be the page number in the Old Book.
(Jno T. C.) Barnard son to Jos & Sarah Barnard was born ye 19th of Novr 1676 I don’t know what the T. C. is, perhaps middle initials.
Sarah Daughtr to Jos & Sarah Barnard was born ye 30th day of Dec 1677 “ye” is an older form of the word “the” which used a letter no longer part of our written language.
Joseph Barnard son to Jos & Sarah Barnard was born ye 13th day of Oct 1679 Died
Mr Joseph Barnard son to Jos & Sarah Barnard was born the 20th day of June 1681
Joseph and Sarah Barnard named two of their children Joseph. The copy could not have been a “pure” copy, because we would not have known at birth that the second Joseph would live to adulthood.
The second image comes from a different copy of the Old Book page 2. You can see this book’s numbering system, with the 30 in the top left and something at the top center. The page is divided into two columns, with births to the left and deaths to the right.
The left column is titled “BirthS in Joseph BarnardS Family.” There is a check mark to the left of the title. The right column is titled “BurialS in Joseph BarnardS Family.” The S at the end of each word looks like a capital S to me, but it is shaped differently than the S at the beginning of Sarah, so it must merely be how that copyist wrote the letter. In the left margin is “Old Book 2 Page” which I take to mean this was a copy of page 2 of the “Old Book.”
In the first image, Joseph Barnard Jr. (b. 1681) is written as “Mr. Joseph Barnard.” In the second image, he is written as “Joseph 2nd.” It’s a minor change, but I found it interesting to note that there are differences in the two copies from the same Old Book.
The next child, Thomas, “was born ye 13th day of March 1683/2.” Until 1752, the new year began on March 25th. Thus, under the “Old Style,” December 1682 was followed by January 1682, February 1682, and the first part of March 1682. The last week of March 1682 (Old Style) had happened a year before! The 13th of March was in 1682 (Old Style), but two weeks later we were in March of 1683.
After 1752, the calendar year begins on January 1st, as it does today. While the birth of Thomas was reckoned to be in March 1682 at the time, we call that March 1683 (New Style) today. We indicate this as a “double date” of 13 March 1682/3. Joseph Barnard, when he recorded his son’s birth in 1682/3, had no way to know that we would change the calendar after 1752. Therefore someone (undoubtedly the copyist) modified the date, and therefore the copy must have been made at some time later than 1752.
We have three more points of interest in these birth records.
First, one or possibly two children are missing from the list. Hannah was born 1685 or 1688, and therefore fits in the middle of the children listed. You’d think the Town Clerk would not fail to list one of his own children! Perhaps a line was missed in copying. Hannah married Samuel Childs and is buried in Deerfield.
Second, Ebenezer was born posthumously. He was born about six months after his father died.
Third, Thankful is missing from the list. However, there is a line in the right hand column, towards the bottom, impossible to read. However, I can make out enough of the writing to guess that it reads “was born Thankful m. Eb Sheldon.” Thankful Barnard (ca. 1694–1746), daughter to Joseph and Sarah Barnard did marry Ebenezer Sheldon in 1714. So perhaps the missing line was put back in!
In the right-hand column, we read:
Burials in Joseph Barnards Family
Joseph son to Joseph & Sarah Barnard Dyed ye 8th day of August 1681.
Joseph Barnard head of this family was wounded by ye Enimie August 21, 1695 and Dyed September ye 6th in ye same year.
We know from the marriage record of Widow Sarah Barnard and Capt. Jonathan Wells that Sarah waited a full three years, remarrying in September 1698.