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THE following extracts were made in August, 1891, while engaged in hunting for evidences which might help solve the Goodwin problem. The readers of my Gleanings well know that my friend, Mr. James J. Goodwin, of Hartford and New York, has kindly allowed me, during my quest, to extract occasionally such notes as may seem to me worth saving for others' benefit. The accompanying work is the result of my labors to that end in the Registry of the Bishop of London, to which access had been obtained for me by the efforts of Mr. Frank F. Starr, of Middletown, Connecticut, to whom my thanks are due for valuable aid rendered me during the search.
I labored, at the time, under the difficulty of not owning or having access to a copy of Colonel Chester's collection of similar extracts, published by the Harleian Society; and so I was forced to work rather blindly, trusting to my general memory of its contents and hoping that I might be lucky enough to gather a few items which would be new to genealogists. Since my return to New England I have borrowed a copy and compared my extracts, here published, with his, item by item, with the following results.
Of the four hundred and ninety-nine extracts of marriage licenses here presented two hundred and six are to be found in Colonel Chester's collection and two hundred and ninety-three do not appear there. These last I have marked with a dagger for the convenience of the reader. Of the two hundred and six entries which Chester has,
forty-seven are virtually the same as his (with occasional diverse readings); but the large number of one hundred and fifty-nine contain additional information, some of it of very great genealogical value, as any one may see who will take the trouble to compare them. In case of diverse readings of the same facts, which will occasionally be noticed, I can only refer the reader to the original record to establish the proper reading. I have no doubt that in some cases Colonel Chester's reading will be found the correct one and in some cases mine. I have yet to see the transcriber who is always right.
Of the two hundred and ninety-three entries not found in Colonel Chester's collection, only eighteen appear previous to 1627, while two hundred and seventy-five occur in the years 1627–1639; and, of the two hundred and six entries which are also in Chester, one hundred and eighty occur before 1627, but only twenty-six afterwards. This may be accounted for by the fact that he seems to have made a very thorough examination of the Vicar General's Books, which, he says, contain no marriage licenses between Mar. 22, 1626–7, and the period at which I stopped my examination of the Bishop's Registry. The conclusion to which I am forced is that Colonel Chester made but a very hurried and incomplete examination of the Bishop's Registry and must, in fact, have omitted not simply hundreds but even thousands of items. It seems to me therefore quite worth the while for all whose lines of ancestry run back into the Diocese of London to make a careful examination of the Bishop's Registry from and after 1627.
This collection was intended for the N. E. Hist. and Gen. Register as an instalment of my Gleanings, hitherto published in that magazine; but, much to my regret I was
1I really stopped with 1638, but took a very hurried glance over the record for 1639 and seized upon a few items. H. F. W.
unable to get it before the genealogical world through that channel. In this emergency, as it seemed to me too valuable not to be published, I applied to the Essex Institute for permission to have it appear in the Historical Collection of that Society, which was at once and most kindly granted. I trust my opinion of its value will be confirmed by the judgment of the readers.
Salem, Mass., March, 1892.
HENRY F. WATERS.