Sunday, March 18, 2018

Lucky to Connect with a Page Researcher ~ 52 Ancestors #11

I am participating in this year's 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks writing challenge from Amy Johnson Crow. Each week has an optional writing prompt and this week's writing prompt is Lucky.

Lucky can be connecting with another genealogist who has already done extensive research on a brick wall ancestor.

I have volunteered for the NEHGS for many years and for over ten years as an online volunteer, indexing and transcribing for their online databases. For many years, until his death in January 2012, Robert J. (Bob) Dunkle was the volunteer coordinator of the NEHGS online volunteers.

In May 2010, we were having an email conversation where I shared that I was reviewing my Page family line and found a Dunkle mentioned in a 1991 published genealogy about the Page family, and was looking to confirm my connection.

He replied to my comment with an attachment: The Descendants of Edward Page of Boston, an unpublished manuscript that he had just completed the year before.

Wow - thank you, Bob!

My Ancestor:
Mary Page, my 4th great-grandmother, was born in Boston 5 November 1771. She married Nathaniel Copeland on 13 November 1790 in Boston, as Polly Page. (Polly was a nickname for Mary during this time period.)

This is the record of the marriage intention. At the top is "Anno 1790 Septem[ber]." You can see Copeland at the bottom and to the right: Nathaniel Copeland and under it, Polly Page. To the right of their names is "Boston 8" (i.e. the 8th of September).

Boston, Massachusetts, Marriage Publications, 1782-1798, Vol. 6, p. 187, Nathaniel Copeland-Polly Page, 8 September 1790; image, "Massachusetts, Town and Vital Records, 1620-1988," ( : accessed 18 March 2018).

They married on 13 November 1790 in Boston and that record indicates that Rev. John Lothrop married them.

Boston Marriages 1761-1807, Vol 12A, p. 40, Nathaniel Copeland-Polly Page, 13 November 1790;
image, "Massachusetts, Town and Vital Records, 1620-1988," ( : accessed 18 March 2018).

Mary/Polly and Nathaniel had seven children: Sarah, Nathaniel, Jr., Abraham (who died as an infant), Abraham (born after the older one died young), Benjamin Franklin, Thomas Jefferson, and Charles. Nathaniel died in November 1803, leaving Mary/Polly with six young children. More research is needed to determine how she managed to cope in this situation, but it may have to do with having lots of family nearby in Boston.

I descend from Thomas Jefferson Copeland, whom I wrote about here.

She lived until she was 75 and I don't believe she ever remarried, as her gravestone names her as Mary Page, widow of Nathaniel Copeland.

Photo courtesy Stone Finders at FindAGrave Memorial# 59162739
Mary Page
widow of
Nathaniel Copeland.
Born in Boston, Mass.
Nov. 5, 1771:
Died in Hallowell, Me.
Mar. 15, 1847:

After receiving this wonderful gift from Bob, I was able to trace my Page ancestry back another four generations to the immigrant Page ancestor, Edward Page. As an aside, Mary Page's paternal grandmother was Ruth Jepson. It turns out that my brother's wife has Jepson in her ancestry; they are 8th cousins 1x removed. And it would have taken me much longer to discover this had I not had the good fortune to mention my Page ancestry to Bob Dunkle back in 2010.


  1. Luck, yes, but also--one good turn deserves another. If you hadn't been helping so many other people with your transcriptions and indexing, you wouldn't have been in the right place at the right time to be in touch with Bob Dunkle. I really enjoyed this post!

    1. Marian, thank you for the lovely comment. Bob was a terrific guy who gave a lot to the genealogy community and I am glad I got to know him.

  2. I love it when something seems to "drop from the sky". I'm glad you connected with Bob.

    1. Debi, it was a wonderful surprise and the timing was serendipitous. Thanks for the comment.

  3. It's wonderful how the pieces of a genealogical jigsaw puzzle are sometimes found. I found it fascinating that Mary Page's maiden name was carved on her gravestone. The gravestones of most women from that era would have had their married name.

    1. Sheryl, you make a good point about her maiden name being on her gravestone. It's been a long time since I first saw it that I think I forgot about my excitement in first seeing it.

  4. Isn't it strange where we sometimes find connections? I think the more we are out there and sharing, the more likely others will find us, too!

    1. I totally agree with your "more we are out there and sharing" comment. Thanks for reading!