Monday, July 30, 2012

David Wright may be Mary’s Mr. “Right”

I’ve just returned from an exciting, demanding, and stimulating week in the Tom Jones “Advanced Research Methods” course at GRIP (Genealogical Research Institute of Pittsburgh.) With fresh ideas, I looked again for the father of Mary, second wife of Moses Nichols of New Windsor, New York. I wrote about narrowing my search to a very likely David Wright, also of New Windsor and failing to find clues in deeds or probate.

Names other than Wright are associated with Moses and Mary Nichols. Most prominent is Daniel Moores, an administrator, executor and guardian.[1] Samuel B. Moores is a co-executor.[2] Online family trees show Daniel and Samuel B. as sons of James and Sarah (Brewster) Moores. No one matching Mary appears. Also, Mary’s youngest son, Moses Higby Nichols, married one of Daniel’s daughters, Susannah Moores.[3] No 1790 head of household has the name Moores when Mary might be about ten.[4] That is not likely Mary’s maiden name.

Robert Fulton is another co-executor.[5] He is not mentioned in other documents. Two Fulton families lived in New Windsor in 1790, however, so it is still a possibility.

Reviewing the Orange County, New York, estate index for the surname Wright shows the earliest date in 1819. A local volunteer sent digital images of two index pages but I don’t know if there are entries on the previous page. New Windsor was part of Ulster County before it was included in Orange County. The FamilySearch Wiki was strongly recommended last week, so I went to it for information. The date wasn’t in the Orange County entry, so I tried New Windsor. In New York the town is sometimes of primary importance. Even there I didn’t find the date. I did find a link to a database at

Digging for Nichols data I searched a book at the WRHS library under the title New Windsor Presbyterian Church Record of Marriages, Orange County, New York. The catalog notes it contains marriages, 1774-1827 and baptisms, 1774-1796. Actually there is one marriage in 1827, but all other records are through 1796, before the Nichols families arrived. I hadn’t checked it since I began searching for Mary’s birth family. now has digital images of its thirty-three pages with an index. The only background is the database title: “New Windsor Presbyterian Church record.” The Family History Library catalog reveals that it is a typescript at the New York State Library in Albany. The book itself says nothing about the origin of the records.

Mary and Moses Nichols married about 1812 and she was born in New York. It is likely she was a resident of New Windsor. The only woman in the household of Moses Nichols in the 1820 census was age twenty-six and under forty-five, meaning she was born 1794 or earlier.[6] These church records could record her baptism. A search for surname Wright had one match, the Feb. 1779 baptism of Benjamin, son of Benjamin Wright. The preceding record was for a Jan. 1779 baptism of a child of John Right. Another spelling might be what I need, but the 1780 records on the next page were easy to access. That is the year an online family tree claims Mary was born.[7] Following a record for 28 May 1780 is a record for the same day for Mary, daughter of David Right.[8] The family tree claims she was born in January, but this could still be a baptism four months later. At least it is now clear that the David Wright of New Windsor did have a daughter Mary of an age to be the wife of Moses Nichols. That is a big step forward!

The index to this typescript might be the output of OCR. A search for the name “Right” only returns the one in 1779, not the one in 1780. A search for given name “Mary” also does NOT find the 1780 record. A page-by-page review is clearly needed.

[1] Orange County, New York, Letters of Administration E: 212, Moses Nichols entry, (1822), Surrogate Court Clerk's Office, Goshen (Daniel Moores a co-administrator). Also, Orange County, New York, Wills H: 302-04, Mary Nichols will, (1827), Surrogate Court Clerk's Office, Goshen (Daniel a co-executor). And, Orange County, New York, Letters of Guardianship B: 99, Aaron W. Nichols entry, (1829), Surrogate Court Clerk's Office, Goshen (Daniel guardian of the oldest son of Moses and Mary Nichols.)
[2] Orange Co., N.Y., Wills, H: 302-04 (Samuel B. Moores another co-executor of will of Mary Nichols.)
[3] Linda Moores, “MOORES and more . . .” Ancestry World Tree Project, ( : accessed 28 July 29, 2012).
[4] 1790 U.S. census, search at in New York, town of New Windsor for all names.
[5] Orange Co., N.Y., Wills H: 302-04.
[6] 1820 U.S. census, Orange County, New York, population schedule, Town of New Windsor, p. 479 (penned), p. 194 (stamped), line 18, Moses Nichols; digital image, ( : accessed 17 August 2009); citing NARA microfilm M33, roll 64.
[7] “Soher Iversen Gammon Beal Carson Spalding Bevan,” WorldConnect Project, RootsWeb ( : accessed 25 August 2009).
[8] “New Windsor Presbyterian Church record,” digital images, ( : accessed 29 July 2012), 24.