Hooray for the Town Clerk. No, not the one in Ohio who just sent you a certified copy of your great grandfather’s birth record. Hooray for David Turner Shaw (1764-1856), Town Clerk of Bath, Maine. He became Town Clerk in 1803 and served for more than forty years. Town Clerks are a devoted, meticulous bunch of people. They are committed to accuracy and correctness. And for this I will be forever grateful.
In May 2005, I posted a message to the Shaw surname board on Ancestry.com looking for information about my ancestor, David Turner Shaw. David was one of ten children, most of whom were born in Massachusetts. David and two of his siblings were born after their parents migrated to Bath, Maine. I had little proof of the connection between the Massachusetts and Maine born children.
In August 2009, four years after my original post, I received notification of a response from Ancestry.com. It came from Ann Raymond of the Monmouth Museum in Monmouth, Maine. The message said she had a handwritten account of the family history written in 1843 by David Turner Shaw himself.
I contacted Ann and she mailed me a photocopy of the family history right away. True to his Town Clerk calling, Shaw wrote a detailed, three page history of his family. In the document he honestly revealed which information was accurate and which was to his best recollection. The document gave me the link I needed to prove that he was part of the same Massachusetts family. If you haven’t tried surname message boards maybe now is the time. If you are patient they might just deliver for you too.