Saturday, June 13, 2015

Surname Saturday: Herbert?

When I first became interested in genealogy, I began by looking through what I already had on hand.  Among those items was my mother's copy of the book The History of the Shinn Family in Europe and America.  While this is an excellent guidebook, it has errors, omissions and lack of source citations.  The book also doesn't usually provide much information on spouses who married into the Shinn family.

One of those aforementioned spouses is my 5th great-grandmother, Jane Herbert.

Through research I do have some thoughts regarding Jane's family:
  • Jane or her family might not have been Quakers.  She might have been a member of the Baptist Church, which had a community in the area where she lived and some of her children were active members.
  • At one point Jane and her family lived in the Upper Freehold Twp. area of Monmouth County.  Many Herberts also lived in that vicinity.  I have combed Herbert probate records and found no obvious candidates.  
  • Jane might not have been a Herbert from birth.  Could she have married into the Herberts before marrying John?
  • Herbert might be a typo.  I've found several neighboring families with similar names: Harbour, Herbin/Herpin and Harbert.  A John Harbour living in Mansfield Twp. on a 1780 rateable list is especially intriguing. 
  • Maybe Jane stayed behind.  Branches of the Shinn family chose to leave New Jersey, why not the Herberts?  One Harbert family went to West Virginia and it is likely others also went elsewhere, maybe Jane belongs to one of them.
I've been looking at tax and voter lists (census records don't exist for New Jersey before 1830) for both Burlington and Monmouth counties.  There are some possible leads I've found, but also many frustrations.  There are lots of New Jersey Shinns... lots and lots of Shinns... and every one of them had a John in their family (and usually a Jane too).  And many of them lived within the same general vicinity.

So, Jane might have been a Herbert, or a Harbert, Harbour, or something else entirely.  In any case, she's in my family tree.