Scholefield Family Tree

Now that a general (but unverified) place is known for the Burnham family, the next step is to see if a likely father for Arnold was located in the area. Therefore, we search the 1810 and 1820 census for possible fathers in the Hartford, Connecticut, area.

A search of the 1810 Census for a head of household with the last name scho* in Connecticut turns up a Jno and a John both in New London County. A search for sco* reveals a whole slew of Scofields in Stamford and throughout Franklin County, Connecticut, there are even two “Wm. Scofield”s. A quick internet search for the Scofield family of Stamford reveals several family trees — with no Arnolds. The same searches for New York reveal several Schofields (no Williams) and, again, many Scofields.

A search of the 1820 census using the same four searches reveals that there was an enclave of Scholfields in New London Connecticut. The bevy of Scofields still in Stamford. A hit or miss group of Schofields still located throughout New York (including Arnold as the only one in Ulster County and no Williams), and no William Scofields in New York.

Again, our leads don’t pan out.

Research Plan:

  • Investigate possible children of Arnold Scholefield and Abigail Burnham.

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Scholefield Family Tree

There are several books online which contain information about Abigail’s family:
Genealogical Records of Thomas Burnham, the emigrant, Genealogy of the Olmstead Family in America, and The Descendants (by the female line) of Joseph Loomis all found at Google Books.

These three sources reveal that:
Abigail Burnham was born 8 Jan 1788 and died 20 Dec 1868. She married Rev. Arnold Scholefield on 1 Apr 1814.
Abigail was the daughter of George Burnham of Hartford, CT. He was born 13 Aug 1753 at E. Hartford and died 10 Mar 1830. He married Nancy Bigelow on 16 Nov 1775. She was born 18 Nov 1754 and died 16 Jan 1800.
The couple had twelve children.
The sources also fill in the (mostly male) ancestry of her parents.

However, when considering sources such as these, one must also examine their sources. Where did they get the information from — and is it reliable? Frustratingly, none of these books provide sources. This is not surprising because old genealogical works usually don’t provide sources. It is only relatively recently that genealogists realized that readers needed citations in family histories. And why do we want citations? So that we can verify that the information is correct.

In this case, I wonder if someone made up a family line and then that line ended up being perpetuated again and again. This is not unlikely. You might ask, “Why?” There have been instances throughout history of false lineages being created for numerous reasons. In this case, checking the Barbour Records for Hartford reveals that the whole family was apparently not recorded in town records. These records should contain information about Abigail’s birth and marriage — but they don’t. Even George’s information should be there (East Hartford wasn’t incorporated until 1783). Trying East Hartford just in case the two places were confused (or just too close together) doesn’t reveal the records either. Now, I’m not saying that the information is wrong because there could be reasons for why the vitals of the Burnham family were not reported. I am simply saying that I’d like to know where these authors got the original information.

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Scholefield Family Tree

As I push back, I am attempting to discover information about Arnold’s reported father — Sir William Scholefield. Unfortunately, there are no conclusive matches when using a Google search for his name as an exact phrase. Searches for Scholefields in Nova Scotia or in England also don’t turn up any matches.

Additionally, census searches for likely William Scholefields, Schofields, or Scofields don’t pan out. There are no matches in areas where Arnold lived. I could spend time to access each and create a full spreadsheet which indicates which possible men had a son of the correct age. I may do that, but I will work on Arnold’s wife Abigail’s family which may point in some additional directions.

Therefore, I am at a dead end right now on the direct line Scholefields.

However, this is a good time to mention the importance of knowing the name of a place as well as the name of a person. The information that Arnold was born in Nova Scotia doesn’t help anymore than a report that a he was born in England. To work effectively on an immigrant from England who was born before 1837* a researcher needs to know the name of a parish before the subject can be located. The same is true of other countries because many records were held by local jurisdictions instead of state juristictions. In Nova Scotia, according to the Nova Scotia GenWeb Project, there are eighteen counties, any one of which might be the place where the Scholefields lived. The same need for the name of a specific place applies to older American records. The fact that the US Federal Census images (with indexes) are available online mean that it is easier for a person to trace family members back to 1850. With a bit of skill one can sometimes find family back to 1790

* Countrywide civil registration of births, marriages, and deaths began this year. These records are therefore available at the national level and are indexed.

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