Daniel Chapman: A new fifth great-grandfather?

Sepia Saturday 506. Sixth and final in a series about recent research discoveries at the NYS Archives & Library: Could Daniel Chapman be a new fifth great-grandfather?

Genealogy research trips offer uninterrupted time to ponder possibilities while perusing the records. At home, day-to-day concerns crop up — but at a repository, especially a distant one, there is a total focus on the research. And that’s when new ideas percolate — as they did for me at the New York State Archives.

In search of my Chapman heritage

While researching the tax records of my fourth great-grandfather Waples Hance in Chenango, Tioga Co., N.Y. (now Conklin, Broome Co.), I started wondering about the heritage of his wife Rachel Chapman. Who were her parents? What was her history? How to find out more about my fourth great-grandmother?

July 2019: A Conklin, N.Y. farm. J.H. French’s 1860 Gazetteer of New York State mentions Daniel Chapman as an early resident of Conklin, Broome Co., N.Y. (formerly Chenango, Tioga Co.). He is the only Chapman in the area’s early nineteenth century tax records — occupation:  farmer. Was Daniel the father of my fourth great-grandmother Rachel (Chapman) Hance — and thus my fifth great-grandfather? Photo by Molly Charboneau

Waples and Rachel’s oldest child Isaac Hance [older brother of my third great-grandmother Hannah (Hance) Blakeslee] was born 5 June 1802 — so they likely married circa 1800-1801.

The 1800 U.S. census for Chenango, Tioga Co., New York 1 shows Daniel Chapman with one female in his household aged 10-15. She was presumably his daughter, and her age coincides with the circa 1784 birth year of Rachel (Chapman) Hance. The same census return shows Waples Hance — enumerated as Waples Haner — single and living nearby.

Daniel Chapman’s tax records

J.H. French’s 1860 Gazetteer of New York State, in a footnote on Conklin, N.Y., also mentions Daniel Chapman as an early resident. Could he be the father of Rachel (Chapman) Hance? Then he might be my fifth great-grandfather.

So I took a look at the tax records — and, as summarized below, Daniel Chapman was the only Chapman I found in the 1799-1804 tax assessments for Chenango, Tioga County.

Town of Chenango, Tioga County, N.Y – Tax Assessment Rolls 1799-1804 Sources: New York State Archives and Ancestry.com
Year Name of Possessor Description: Real Estate Value of Real Estate Value of Personal Estate Tax to be paid
1799 Chapman, Daniel House & Farm $425 $30 $0.45
1800 Chapman, Danl House & Farm $425 $30 $1.12
1802 Daniel Chapman House & Farm $425 $40 $0.93
1803 Daniel Chapman House & Farm $425 $70 $0.82

Not only that, but the unalphabetized tax list for 1802 shows Daniel just three names away from Waples Hance — echoing their 1800 U.S. census2 enumerations and implying they were near neighbors. Could that be how Waples and Rachel met?

These preliminary clues indicate that I may have discovered a fifth great-grandfather — and an entirely new Chapman family line to research. What a nice surprise! And a great conclusion to my research trip.

Archival research: a worthwhile journey

Like the Gloversville city directories, early New York State tax rolls are also available online. Yet microfilm scrolling of the directories and tax records let me look at the big ancestral picture in a short period of time and place forbears in context.

That, along with the GAR research on my Union Army ancestor, made my trip to the the New York State Archives and Library a unique and worthwhile experience — one I highly recommend.

Up next: A Stoutner by any other name — launching a new series about my maternal ancestors. Please stop back! Meanwhile, please visit the blogs of this week’s other Sepia Saturday participants here.

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22 thoughts on “Daniel Chapman: A new fifth great-grandfather?”

  1. Congrats on getting another step closer! I think you’re right that research trips let us think a bit differently about our family puzzles. I’ve found some very interesting things in old tax rolls. None of those are digitized yet though.

  2. Molly, I enjoyed reading your post, as always! I like the way that you present your material. You do a very good job of breaking down the facts, and then presenting your conclusions. I have to admit, I always end up agreeing with those conclusions! Congratulations on finding a 5th-great grandfather!

    1. If you do, you won’t regret it — especially if you travel to a repository with an online finding aid. Cuts the research time dramatically!

  3. It does seem likely that you have found your 5th great grandfather. Just shows what can fall into place when you devote a decent chunk of time to the research #geneabloggers Sharing

  4. Seems to have a likely hypothesis to work with, Molly, how exciting! I’ve only ever identified one 5th great-grandfather, and I’ve not found a new ancestor for at least a year, maybe two, so well done. Best of luck with your search.

    1. Thanks, Dara. I had seen Daniel Chapman in the federal census and suspected he was an ancestor — but the tax assessment research adds that much more corroboration!

  5. Adding a fifth great-grandfather is not something many people get to brag about. My own family tree was prepared years ago by my uncle back in the pre-computer days. With the old family traditions of repeated forenames it’s no wonder that middle names and initials were so important to distinguish one John Henry from another. The valuations are interesting. Do you know how the tax man arrived at the personal estate values?

    1. Thanks, Mike. I’m pleased that the taxes backed up the census sufficiently for me to presume Daniel Chapman is a possible fifth great-grandfather. More research to do, of course. Meanwhile, I’m not sure about personal estate values, but property tax was based on the current selling price in the market. Perhaps personal estate was valued similarly: what would someone pay for one’s personal items.

  6. You have found out so much about your forebears from your diligent searches. Obviously you truly enjoy all the research it takes to achieve what you have so far. I know a fair amount about some of my forgoing kin, but I wonder when my grandchildren (or great grands, etc.) will become interested in it? Probably not for a while. I think as they grow older and begin having children of their own, they’ll begin to wonder about it. That’s when I became interested in it, so I’m hoping they will too.

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