EXPLANATION OF SIGNS

A figure, then, at the left shows the number of the page on which the original entry is found in the first volume of the town book (births, marriages and deaths); except that the added information as to baptism, if any, is taken from the church register.

A dagger (†) shows that the entry came from the Cambridge book (Paige's copy mentioned above.) In numerous cases a dagger and a number at the left both occur in the same line. (see, for example, the birth of Elizabeth Bridge, page 9.) The marks referred to show that her birth is recorded both in the Cambridge book and in the Lexington book, the number of the page where the entry appears in the latter being 7.

A double dagger (‡) marks an entry from the record of the Church of Christ in Cambridge, above referred to. A single and a double dagger will in a few cases be found in conjunction. (See e.g. under Robbins, page 65.) The names preceded by both these signs were found in both the municipal and church register at Cambridge. The dates here recorded being so late as 1709-12 (i.e. subsequent to the organization of the separate parish at "the Farms" or Lexington), the births should probably betaken as having occurred at Cambridge, and possible as having nothing to do with a Lexington family. In making the search in Cambridge we believe it best to err on the side of a too broad rather than a too narrow inquiry; and so all family names known to have had Lexington association were incorporated.

All entries throughout Part I (i.e. those prior to1854) not marked by any sign are taken from the Lexington First Parish Church Register.(i.e. source of information No. 2 referred to above) The initials "P.R." (parish register) are used in a few instances in the text to denote this source; and "T.R." to denote the town record.

A star (*), which sign will be found only among the marriages in Part I., inculcates that the ceremony was performed in some place other than Lexington, but that one of the parties was at the time a resident of Lexington. The date for these items were found in letters from the town clerks of the places where the marriages occurred. In Part II, also there are some records of marriages which took place elsewhere of persons at the time having association with Lexington through residence, birth or parentage.

An interrogation mark (?) after a date or name does not mean that there is any doubt as to the accuracy of the copy, but denotes that there is reason to question whether the date or name copied is correctly given in the original.

Brackets [ ] among births and deaths in Part II enclose the birthplace of the person named immediately before them.

Parentheses ( ) enclose maiden names.

The meaning of abbreviations employed is believed to be in all cases obvious, when viewed in the light of the context. For born is used "b.;" for baptized, "bp.;" for married, "m.;" for died, and also for daughter, "d.;" for son "s.;" for child "ch.;" for father "f.;" for husband "hus.;" for wife "w.;" for widow or widower "wid.;" or "widr." for received into the church "r."

Thus it will be seen that the following entry under the surname BABB, in the death record, on page 409, "Charles H., 41 y. 1 m. 5 d. [Conway, NH.], s. Dan'l & Elizabeth (Child), m., May 29, 1893," means "Charles H. Babb (a married man), born in Conway, NH., the son of Daniel Babb and Elizabeth.Babb (whose maiden name was Child) died May 29, 1893, aged 41 years, 1 month and 5 days."

Similarly, the following is the meaning to be given to the marriage record under the surname WETHERN, on page 400: "George M. Wethern, of Malden, aged 32, who was born in Sumner, ME, the son of Woodman Wethern and Jerusha F. Wethern, married Nov. 1, 1863, Emeline F. Harris, aged 24 years, of Lexington who was born in Boston, the daughter of Henry Harris and Emeline Harris (whose maiden name was Bryant.)"

With reference to chronology, it is to be observed that we have printed all dates exactly as they are found in the original, reproducing "double dates" wherever the record gives them. As if well known, an act of Parliament in England was passed in 1751, directing that the new year begin Jan. 1, 1752, according to the custom which had long prevailed in Catholic countries. Before this, the year, in England and her colonies, ended March 24. By the new style it was to end December 31. It was also ordered that eleven dates be dropped, Sept. 3, 1752, to be reckoned September 14. Prior to Jan. 1, 1752, it was customary to double date the year as to any day occurring in January, February and March, to and including March 24. For example. January 10 of the year which, according to the modern system, would be 1704, would be written in the old records "Jan. 10, 1703-4."

Our town record contains the following entry: "Note that after the 28th of June, 1746, double dating will be laid aside, and the year begin[s] with the almanack." From this it would seem that Lexington attempted to adapt the new style, so far as the beginning of the year was concerned, in advance of the formal act of Parliament. Whether a date like that mentioned in the above example appears in the original Lexington records as "Jan. 10, 1703-4," or as "Jan. 10, 1703," it ought probably to be regarded as one occurring in 1704, new style. Usually, but not uniformly, the old Lexington records double date dates in January, February and March, and sometimes this was done as to the twenty-fifth and twenty-sixth days of March, although it should properly have ceased March 24.

It is our understanding that in order to reduce to the new style dates appearing in our records as prior to Sept. 3, 1752, it is necessary to add eleven days; while if the date occurs between December 31 and March 25 of any year written as 1745 or earlier, the year number also should be increased by 1, or, in case of a double date, the last figure should be taken, as explained above.

The laborious and painstaking task of copying, collating and arranging the subject matter, as well as the reading of the proof, for this book has been performed by Mr. N.A. Sparhawk of Boston, under the direction of the committee; and we desire to make public acknowledgment of the thanks due him for the intelligent and conscientious manner in which he has done his work. Though an undertaking of this kind cannot be expected to be carried through without errors occurring, we believe that the finished work now delivered from our hands to the town will be found to exhibit accuracy to a high degree, and we trust that it will prove to be correspondingly useful.

Any one who finds a name or date incorrect should not hastily conclude that the mistake is due to the compiler rather than to the person who originally furnished or recorded the item. A similar remark may be made with regard to the omission of names altogether. We have found a number of cases, even in recent years, where a missing birth or death is not contained in the original record.

The volume is published in obedience to a vote of the town, and in furtherance of a general purpose, expressed at the annual meeting in 1896, to preserve in some imperishable form the original manuscript records, and to print them for public use, beginning with the record of births, marriages and deaths.

Robert P. Clapp
C.A. Staples
Geo. O. Smith.
Committee

Lexington, October. 1898.


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