Sunday, August 2, 2020

52 Ancestors 2020 - #31: Large Losses

Nothing is worse than losing a child. In the not-so-distant past, my husband's gr-grandmother suffered the large and painful loss of her children's death.

Ida Maria Paavola, my husband’s mother’s paternal grandmother was a Finnish immigrant who married another Finnish. Several of her children died--and like many immigrants, she had no support other than her husband and her immigrant community. She didn't learn the language right away for she got married "off the boat." Only 4 children survived survived to adulthood.

Ida Maria Paavola was born in 1875 in Reisjärvi, Oulun Laani, Finland to Veino Maria Wilhelmina, age 20, and Andrew Paavola, age 25.
She was christened 19 Jul 1875
She took either her communion or communion or confirmation in 1880 in the parish of Sippolo, Viipurin (county: lääni), Finland
I found no school records.
She lived there until her departure for the USA about 1893.
Ida Paavola arrives Boston May 1893

** A UK Departure record has her leaving Liverpool for Boston on 5 May 1893**
I also found her arrival in Boston for later that month--as well as an arrival for Antilla.
Not surprisingly, shortly after arriving in Boston, she got married.  [That's a story for another post]
On 22 May 1893 when she was 17  years old (though she says she was 18), she married Heikki (Henry) Anttila in Fitchburg, Massachusetts.

1 Her son Johan was born on August 23, 1895 and passed away that same day. Fitchburg, MA
2 Son Vaino Ilmair was born on October 3, 1896, in Fitchburg, MA (1896–1969)
3 Daughter Jennie was born in December 1898 in Massachusetts
4 Her daughter Veino - (she went by Vienna) was born on March 15, 1900 (1900–1973) in Minnesota.

In Minnesota they lived in Eveleth & Sparta Villages, St. Louis County.

5 1903 Her fifth recorded birth, was Andrew Robert was born on July 11, 1903, in Sparta, Minnesota. (1903–1949)  Sparta, Chippewa, Minnesota, United States

In 1905 they are in St. Louis, Minnesota, in June.

But by 1908, she had her 6th child back east:
6 Roy Benjamin was born on November 24, 1908, in Troy, NH (1908-1975)

Then, at some point their child, Jennie. who was 1 in Minnesota in 1900, (born 1898 in Mass) died before the 1910 Census.

Here is data from the 1910 Census:
They live in Troy, Cheshire Co, New Hampshire
By 1910 Ida was speaking English (the 1900 census said she did not, but Henry could).
In 1910, Ida was 34 and he was 51.
Their children in the 1910 Census:
Vaini was 13. in Mass.(boy)
Veino or Vaino was 9 she was born in Minnesota.
Andrew was 6 yrs, born in Minnesota.
Roy was 1 year old, born in New Hampshire.

In 1911 Ida was 35 and had her 7th child.
Etheli Mirjami was born on December 16, 1911. She died on March 1, 1912, when she was less than a year old. (1911–1912)

1913 Her eighth child, son Tauno, was born on August 11, 1913, in Troy, New Hampshire. (1913–1990)
After 1910 it doesn't appear that they moved back to Minnesota. But lived either in Keene or in Troy New Hampshire.
1919 Keene, New Hampshire
1920 Troy, New Hampshire
Henry (Heikki's) Death:
Her husband Heikki died in Troy, New Hampshire on October 5, 1926, at the age of 70. She was 51 years old and they had been married 33 years.

She stayed in Troy until we find her again in Keene, New Hampshire, in 1935. (She always stayed with her children on West Hill Rd in Keene).
In the 1940 census, she was living in Troy in April.

Ida Paavola (Antilla) died 2 June 1940, in Troy, New Hampshire, when she was 64 years old.

Monday, July 27, 2020

52 Ancestors 2020 - #30: The Old Country

The "Old Country"

Most Recent Award goes to....
My most recent immigrant is my father's paternal grandmother, Catherine Higgins. She arrived a few years before she had him (their was no marriage & we're not sure what kind of 'friendship' they had). 
My grandfather was born in Dec 1905 and his mother says she arrived in 1900, but it was either 1 year earlier or later (from the records).  
Catherine spoke Gaelic as a first language, and she testified that she was from "Sligo." Ok. That's both a county and a city in Ireland.
Catherine Higgins - married by the time she received this
 And yes, I've been there...but not in many years.

In the Old Country

The first time I went to Sligo (and to many parts of Ireland) was when I was in 10th grade, at 16 years old. I went with a younger brother and my mother's aunt Margaret. 
We traveled by bus (tour group) and our driver's name was....(surprise)  Paddy. 
Paddy, Dave, myself, Aunt Margaret (in front) Limerick, Ireland 1971
Ireland is greatly changed--I went back in the 1990s and was amazed at the changes.

I am still working at finding out my great grandma Catherine Higgins' place of birth, but I wouldn't be surprised if it were some place like this:
Fidwog, Sligo, Ireland -Google Maps

Sunday, July 19, 2020

52 Ancestors 2020 #29 - Obituaries are Newsworthy

Newsworthy Obituaries
Obituaries fall into three categories: good, bad and indifferent. Every family historian loves an obituary (not a recent one, of course). But we are picky. We want the obituary to be full, complete and, most of all, accurate. An obituary I held on to for years helped verify my husband's 3rd great-grandparents: Henry J Kendall & Dorothy Parker, and their location.
Searching for this Henry James Kendall
I combed through Ancestry's records first. Then I went to Family Search to  search their collections. Unfortunately Family Search's data on Henry James Kendall was inconclusive. Most of my records were from Ancestry. 
Facts: Henry James Kendall was born in the US, but he died in Canada (where he owned property). 
Records said he died in Quebec, Canada. And also that his son (Joseph Ward Kendall) was born in Quebec, Canada. 
I didn't know where Dorothy was born.
Fact: Henry Kendall's wife's first name was Dorothy. I had reason to believe her last name was Parker.
Obstacle: I could not find records of their marriage in Canada.  
I looked for border crossing records but they, or he, or she had immigrated there in the early 1800s. 
This was before border crossing records were kept. Not till the 20th century was the US-Canadian border continuously manned. 
In earlier days, New Englanders shuttled back and forth between their homes in Quebec and Vermont, New Hampshire or Massachusetts (this, I know from my husband's other family members' records). 
So, I wondered if perhaps they wed in New England then moved to Quebec.

Obstacle: Getting the Right Man/Woman
I need to find Henry James Kendall married to Dorothy (Parker?) either in New England or in Quebec, Canada. 
Church records have that information, but volumes of information doesn't mean I have the right man.
And yes, I found a lot of Kendalls and Parkers in New England at the time.  And I found a lot of family histories on the Kendalls. But I didn't find my Henry Kendall--or I did but I wasn't sure it was the right man. 
I learned that the Kendalls went in for large families. This meant I found plenty of Henry Kendalls, Dorothy Kendalls, James get the idea. 
So I was stuck with Henry and Dorothy Kendalls in New England. I wondered if I should dig through the Quebec records again. It had been done but there was nothing certain. I was stumped.

Stumbling Over the Information
I found an obituary, but it wasn't "out there" on the internet, or in an institution. I found it here at home, offline. 
I needed concrete evidence of my Henry Kendall. But by now I was frustrated by information overload. And, in a fit of frustrated anger, I searched (that means I dug through) my resident computer files with one word: "Kendall"
There it was-the skeleton key. Buried in my computer, I stumbled on two obituaries I had downloaded and saved. One was more recent and then there was one the other one which "opened up the door." 
I had forgotten that I had saved this obituary to my computer 6 ½ years ago. (Tip: keep your computer indexed!)
No, it wasn't Henry James Kendall's obituary, nor his wife's, but someone else's.  But that was all I needed. So yah, it was a good obituary (even though it wasn't his). Below is the gleaned information:

Whose was it and what happened next? 
Obituary Data
The obituary was for Mariah (also spelled Maria) Kendall, their daughter, who was sister to my husband’s ancestor Henry James Kendall. 
Daughter of Henry J Kendall & Dorothy Thankful Parker
>>Mariah was the daughter of Henry James Kendall and Dorothy Thankful Parker. On March 17, 1841 in Lawrenceville, Canada she married Lyman Knowlton Phillips, son of Oliver and Hannah W. Phillips, and widower of Florina (Lawrence) Phillips. They had 11 children. At some point she and her son Lafayette moved to the US (he was born in 1862).<<
I knew Joseph Kendall (son of Henry and Dorothy) had a sister Maria(h). This obituary made me guess Mariah was born ca 1820 and likely in Quebec, Canada. 
If Mariah was in Canada in 1820, her mother was, and likely her brother Henry James Kendall. 
Next mission: to find out where Henry J Kendall and Dorothy Parker were wed.
Since I had some traction I decided to circumvent the US databases and dig in to the Canadian database.
I "Went" To Canada (Ancestry.CA)
My husband has deep Canadian roots, so I usually get a Global Ancestry subscription for my birthday gift. This way I can search N. American (Canada) records.
I logged into -- the Canadian Ancestry site. Doing this I have found makes searches in Canada more targeted. I get quicker results.
It brought me immediately to a:
Henry Rindall” who married a Dorothy Parker in Canada in 1818
Of course I looked at the image (one always should). I was right: it’s my husband's “Henry Kendall!” Hooray! 
It told me that Henry Kendall and Dorothy Parker were wed 30 Mar 1818 in  Quebec, Canada. Their respective residences are in the Eastern Townships of Quebec. 
Here’s the image:  

Signed Henry Kendall Dorothy Parker - Cropped version 

Full page with date of register
Henry James Kendall and Dorothy Thankful Parker and family:
Henry James Kendall (son of Nathaniel Kendall B.12 Sep 1759 Lancaster, Mass D.aft 1796 in Troy, Cheshire, New Hampshire and Rebecca Bodge B 15 Mar 1751 Charlestown, Mass D. ?)
B. Apr 1794, Worcester, Massachusetts, USA
D. 26 Jun 1874 Lawrenceville, Quebec, Canada
M. Dorothy Thankful Parker
(Daughter of Caleb Parker of Massachusetts and later Quebec and Thankful Pratt)
Dorothy Parker was born Apr 1800 in the US and died 30 Jul 1830 in Lawrenceville, Quebec, Canada
Their children:

  • All information that was not from the Kendall family word-of-mouth was from public records. Largely on or 

Sunday, July 12, 2020

52 Ancestors 2020 - #28 Multiple Names - Learning about "dit" names (for the French-Canadians I thought didn't exist)

Never underestimate the value of visiting a place. I tend to revisit the same types of places: gravesites, conferences, libraries. But when I branch out to court houses and to historical societies,  I’m usually pleasantly surprised: I’m illuminated, I’ve got added information, and often the ‘why’s and wherefores’ are explained, mysteries are solved.
5 years ago my husband and I took a trip to the Maritime Provinces, before heading for Montreal (I’ve written about in another post).
Lucky for me my husband is a very social person and that's handy when traveling to unknown parts. 
In this case, we headed for the Eastern Townships of Quebec, hunting through Lawrenceville, Ely, Shefford, S. Stukey and other little towns.
My husband sought his grandmother’s family, the Kendalls who were from this area of Quebec (if you don’t know, Quebec is a huge province)-his father’s mother was born in Quebec. But we didn’t find the Kendalls (for a while). 
Out of frustration when my husband saw a sign on a building: “GENERAL STORE and POST OFFICE” he stopped the car. He went inside to ask about the Kendalls.  He returned a minute later asking for more names-I gave him 2 family names of women who were likely from old families in the area. This time he popped back out of the store, to call me inside. 
I'll abbreviate our conversation and stick to the Allards. I mentioned Joseph Ward Kendall married Samantha Allard as his 2nd wife.
They knew them!-- “Oh! Allards!” the husband said, “They’re an old French-Canadian family.” She added, “Right over there is Allard Road.
I was stunned because this did not fit with what I believed his family would be. I knew they were Scottish immigrants or English to Canada, a few were disaffected Americans or Americans looking for more land (as in the Kendalls).
Multiple Names - “Dit”
I know no French and I dreaded the thought of researching ‘dit’ names, mostly because I was ignorant. 
Yet, Samantha Allard’s father’s lineage and her grandmothers, have “dit names.”  And I knew if this line, the Allard line, had "dit" names, there would be a lot more (as we're going back so far in time). I couldn't avoid it.
Let's look at the Allard line alone: We need to go back to France--and the first Allard or Alard who arrived in Canada:
My husband's 8th gr grandfather
Pierre Alard II
B Abt 1600 Sainte-Hermine, Vendée, Pays de la Loire, France
D 18 Sep 1703 Beaupré, La Côte-de-Beaupré, Quebec, Canada
àMarried 1665 Ste-Anne-de-Beaupré, Québec, Canada
Marie-Marthe De Lugré
B Nov 1667 Chateau Richer, Quebec, Canada
D 19 Jun 1699 Sainte-Anne-de-Beaupré, Capitale-Nationale, Quebec, Canada

7th gr grandfather
Joseph Allard (Alard)
B 28 Nov 1694 Ste-Anne-de-Beaupré, La Côte-de-Beaupré, Quebec, Canada
D 9 Dec 1767 St. Henri, Mascouche, Les Moulins, Quebec, Canada
à1723 November, a Marriage Contract made with "Cecile Berloin" (Canadian Notarial Record)
Note her 'dit' name:
Cecile Berloin dit Nantel
B 17 Jun 1706 St-Francois-de-Sales, Le Domaine-du-Roy, Quebec, Canada
D 4 Aug 1783 Mascouche, Les Moulins, Quebec, Canada

6th gr-grandfather
Joseph Allard
B 17 Aug 1724 Paroisse St-Charles de Lachenaie, Lachenaie, Québec, Canada
D 20 Apr 1800 Mascouche, L’Assomption-Montcalm, Quebec, Canada
àMarried 18 Oct 1745 in Lachenaie, Quebec
Marie Anne Chalifoux
B 4 Mar 1728 Lachiene, Quebec, Canada
D 28 Mar 1800 Lachiene, Quebec, Canada

5th great-grandfather
Françoise Allard
B 12 Oct 1769 Paroisse St Henri de Mascouche, Quebec, Canada
D Abt 1807  Quebec, Canada
àMarried 1789
Magdaleine Tellier [Lafortune]
B 1769 L’Asumption, Quebec, Canada
D 1833 St Roch Le Achigan, Quebec, Canada

4th great-grandfather
Francois Joseph Allard (Alard)
B 31 Mar 1790 Mascouche, L'Assomption, Quebec, Canada
D 1854 St. David d'Yamaska, Québec, Canada
àMarried- another "dit" name
Suzanne Mercier dit Lajoie
B 2 Sep 1798 Repentigny, L'Assomption, Québec, Canada
D 28 Jun 1877 Quebec, Canada

3rd great-grandfather
Stephen Allard  
B 1815 Quebec, Canada
D After 1881 Quebec, Canada
Sarah (Marston?)
B 1810 Shefford, Quebec, Canada
D Before 1880, Quebec, Canada

Their daughter: 2nd great-grandmother of husband
Samantha Elizabeth Allard
Born 10 Apr 1840 West Ely, Shefford, Quebec, Canada
Died 16 Apr 1913 Waterloo, Shefford, Quebec, Canada
àMarried 30 May 1860 Lawrenceville (Shefford Methodist Church), Quebec, Canada
Joseph Ward Kendall (B 1820 D 1898)
Joseph Ward Kendall and 2nd wife Samantha Allard (Luke Hale K is back, left)

Their children:
Isaiah Johnston Kendall 1863–1921
**Luke Hale Kendall 1866–1948 - my husband’s great grandfather
Gardner Ward Kendall 1871–1935
Dorothy Vermilia Kendall 1874–1941
Alpheus Gordon Kendall 1876–1956
Florence Marion Amanda 1878–1935
Jennie Grace Kendall 1886–1908
 There are at least 2 “dit” names But, what is a dit name?
I first heard about dit names at my local genealogical society meeting and I cringed inwardly when I heard the brief explanation. I thought I’d escaped its clutches because it’s a French-Canadian thing, I thought. 
As you can see above, I was wrong about avoiding it: my husband’s family tree ran me smack-dab into the DIT names. I read a little bit about “dit” names. And it's not as painful as I thought it would be.
Here’s a summary from a nice source below:
What Is a Dit Name?
A dit name is essentially an alias, or alternate name, tacked on to a family name or surname. 
Dit (pronounced "dee") is a French form of the word dire, which means "to say," and in the case of dit names is translated loosely as "that is to say," or "called." Therefore, the first name is the family's original surname, passed down to them by an ancestor, while the "dit" name is the name the person/family is actually "called" or known as.
Dit names are found primarily in New France (French-Canada, Louisiana, etc.), France, and sometimes Scotland. They are used by families, not specific individuals, and are usually passed down to future generations, either in place of the original surname, or in addition to it. 
After several generations, many families eventually settled on one surname or the other, although it isn't uncommon to see some siblings within the same family using the original surname, while others carried on the dit name. 
The use of dit names slowed dramatically during the mid- to late-1800s, although they could still be found used by some families into the early twentieth century.
Dit names were often adopted by families to distinguish them from another branch of the same family. 
The specific dit name may also have been chosen for many of the same reasons as the original surname - as a nickname based on trade or physical characteristics, or to identify the ancestral place of origin (e.g. Andre Jarret de Beauregard, where Beauregard refers to the ancestral home in the French province of Dauphine). 
The mother's surname, or even the father's first name, may also have been adopted as a dit name.
Interestingly, many dit names derived from military service, where early French military rules required a nom de guerre, or war name, for all regular soldiers. 
This practice was a precursor to identification numbers, allowing soldiers to be identified collectively by their given name, their family name, and their nom de guerre.
Example of a Dit Name
Gustave Eiffel, architect of the Eiffel Tower, was born Alexandre Gustave Bonickhausen dit Eiffel in Dijon, France, on 15 December 1832. He was a descendant of Jean-René Bönickhausen, who emigrated to France from the German town of Marmagen in the early 18th century. The dit name Eiffel was adopted by descendants of Jean-René for the Eifel mountain region of Germany from which he had come. Gustave formally changed his name to Eiffel in 1880.
How You Might See Dit Names Recorded
A dit name can be legally used to replace the family's original surname.                                   Sometimes the two surnames may be linked as one family name, or you may find families who use the two surnames interchangeably.                                                                                                       Thus, you may find an individual's name recorded with a dit name, or under either just the original surname or just the dit name.                                                                                                   
Dit names may also be found reversed with the original surname, or as hyphenated surnames.
Hudon dit Beaulieu
Beaulieu dit Hudon
Hudon Beaulieu
Beaulieu Hudon

How to Record a Dit Name in Your Family Tree
When recording a dit name in your family tree, it is generally standard practice to record it in its most common form - e.g. Hudon dit Beaulieu. 
A standardized list of dit names with their common variants can be found in Rene Jette's Répertoire des Noms de Famille du Québec" des Origines à 1825 and Msgr Cyprien Tanguay's Dictionnaire genealogique des familles canadiennes (Volume 7). Another extensive source is The dit Name: French Canadian Surnames, Aliases, Adulterations, and Anglicizations by Robert J. Quentin. 
The American-French Genealogical Society also has an extensive online list of French-Canadian surnames, including variants, dit names, and Anglicizations. 
When the name is not found in one of the above sources, you can use a phone book (Québec City or Montréal) to find the most common form or, even better, just record it in the form most often used by your ancestors.
Powell, Kimberly. "What Is a Dit Name?" ThoughtCo, Feb. 11, 2020, [Accessed 12 July 2020]

Sunday, June 28, 2020

52 Ancestors 2020 #27 - Just One Hint

One--that's all you need sometimes to send one hint to set you one a genealogical discovery path. It was one middle name "McGee" that got me searching for my husband's ancestors. That one name, McGee was an inheritance of sorts from the Canadian settlers of Nova Scotia and it set me on this path to discovering their genealogy, along with a visit to the town of Pictou.
In another post I wrote of my husband's 5th great grandparents: Barnabas McGee, an Irish (Ballycastle, N. Ireland) immigrant to Pictou, Nova Scotia, Canada. He settled Merigomish, "Barney’s River," Nova Scotia, with his wife Nancy Carroll. 
And their son Charles McGee [b 1778] married into the Blackie family. 
Charles McGee of Merigomish, NS married Charles Blackie & Jannet (Herries)'s daughter named Margaret Blackie. Charles McGee M. Margaret Blackie, they are my husband's 4th gr-grandparents.

What do I know about Margaret Blackie? Nothing, but I know her parents. They were immigrants from Scotland to Pictou, but Margaret was born in Pictou, Nova Scotia. And since I have nothing to say about Margaret I’ll talk about her parents' immigration woes (coming below).
Part of Pictou, NS, CA in June 2015 -my photo
 Here’s a bit of the story of Pictou's settlement by white Europeans.
  • 1767 - 1st permanent white settlers in Pictou County arrived in the ship Betsy on June 10, 1767, making a tiny settlement out of the forest about two miles from the present town of Pictou.
  • 1773 – 2nd The ship Hector arrived with 189 Scottish Highland immigrants on board.
  • The 3rd group of white Scottish settlers had not intended to settle in Pictou.

“It’s all quite lovely -apart from the mice:” How families were driven out of Prince Edward Island and fled to Pictou, Nova Scotia

Charles Blackie and Jannet Herries immigrated to Prince Edward Island on the ship the Lovely Nellie in 1773, sailing from Galloway and arriving 23 August 1773. They and their fellow settlers were from the south of Scotland. They planned to settle on Prince Edward Island.

They had chartered their own vessel; sailed from the port of Annan, in Dumfriesshire, and arrived at Georgetown (on Prince Edward Island, Canada) in the spring of 1773.

Although they arrived well-prepared, a plague of mice destroyed their first season's crop! They forged ahead, got see for the spring planting (1774) from Nova Scotia, and re-planted.
But this time the mice ate the seed in the ground.

Then, in the fall of 1774 compounding their problems, the supplies (from Scotland) were stored in the Georgetown Harbor, Prince Edward Island. One night, the precious stores were plundered by riotous sailors and fishermen from New England in a drunken orgy on the eve of  their departure back to New England.
Now the newly arrived settlers were almost without food and consequently suffered severely throughout that winter (1774-75). 
Prince Edward Island in summer--wasn't kind then either
They suffered so much that they gave up on Prince Edward Island all together. And in the spring of 1775 moved as a group to Pictou, Nova Scotia.

Canadian Arrival records: Charles Blackie, Janet Herries (Blackie)wife; Sons & daughters: John, James, William, Ann (Margaret was born in Nova Scotia)

There were thirteen families and a single man in the party, and with one exception, they settled permanently in Pictou County, Nova Scotia, Canada.

My husband's ancestors, Charles Blaikie (Blackie) and his wife Jannet, settled with six others families at West River (now Durham
Durham (West River) in relation to Pictou

Same map, satellite photo

John Johnson w friend

Merigomish area, Barney's River, Nova Scotia
The settlers brought a valuable element to the early Pictou settlement: since they had come from one of the best agricultural districts in Scotland and had worked the land all their lives. Several of them were sons of landowners while others had been tenant farmers. As a result, most of them prospered from the beginning.
This group seemed satisfied with their new home. Apparently from their letters back to Scotland, they boasted of their new properties. And, consequently, their relatives and acquaintances in the South of Scotland were began to arrive in Pictou; and continued coming for many years.

These settlers imported valuable livestock, seeds and fruit trees from Scotland. Still, at West River are found black cattle of Galloway (Scotland), and there is a breed of horse called Galloway, which is in the vicinity.

[The story of the settlement is from: Pictonians at Home and Abroad, by John Peter MacPhie;
Immigration records, Records: Government of Canada; Maps: Google Maps;
Photos: ACJohnson collection]

Friday, June 19, 2020

52 Ancestors 2020 #26 - Middle Point--Some Eye Candy - Long Island Photographs from abt 1900

At mid-point in our 52 weeks of ancestors, here are some photos I colorized. The girl is my great grandmother, Bertha C Hauxhurst (m. Chester Tyson of PA). Her father is the only other person shown, William Ephraim Hauxhurst. As in prior posts, he held quite a lot of land, and sold a good deal off to those who would build summer homes on Long Island's north shore in the early 1900s. Her maternal grandparents had a house in the area, they were Isaac Hicks and his wife Mary Fry Willis.
Don't you love the dog in the photo?
Wm Ephraim Hauxhurst at home Westbury NY abt 1900 - Bertha's father
Wm E Hauxhurst Marianna Hicks home Westbury NY
Wm E Hauxhurst-Marianna Hicks home Westbury, NY
Bertha C. Hauxhurst (Tyson) young adult
Isaac Hicks/Mary Fry Willis house, Westbury, NY Bertha's grparnts

52 Ancestors 2020 - #25 Unexpected Contract

My husband's 9th great grandmother's unexpected marriage contract.

Children are difficult to raise—especially when you’re trying to put food on the table, then when your husband dies, things go from hard to impossible. The colonial community hoped that the family has made provisions for the children, so they don’t become a public burden (or nuisance!).
In colonial British America (here, New England), the force of the father’s will, the public need to have children brought up, and the mother’s own desires for her children, as well as her own property.
And, generally, English Common Law would apply. 
Sarah Riddlesdale Heard, upon her remarriage would need to secure her property (here, she has land in England, she believes). But if she did not do so, by law at that time, her property would be possessed (or disposed of) by her new husband. So, making a marriage contract at the time was a very smart thing for a woman to do.
About the family:
Sarah Riddlesdale’s 1st husband was Luke Heard, a linen weaver, died in Ipswich MA in 1647, and his short will (not shown here) stipulated the first couple of items in the contract regarding the sons’ inheritance. Their sons were John and Edmund Heard. 
A grandfather is mentioned in the contract, "Wyatt"-apparently he was a  John Wyatt and was Sarah Riddlesdale’s stepfather, whose name presumptively she took as a girl. [This, I read elsewhere, and _presume_ accurate (though it could be Luke Heard’s mother’s father?)].

The contract provides 1) the raising of the sons in apprenticeships, and their schooling, 2) for dividing of money to them, and 3) for Sarah’s land in England--to remain hers. 

Sarah, after marrying Joseph Bixby, had my husband's 8th gr grandfather, Daniel Bixby, with this husband. 
The contract gave her enormous leverage in case her new husband, Bixby, did not live up to the terms of the contract. Well done! 

Here is my typed version of the marriage contract between Sarah Heard (Riddlesdale) and Joseph Bixby:
Marriage Contract
"The condition of this obligation is such, yt ye above bounden Joseph Bigsby and Sarah Hearde, (in case they proceed together in marriage intended,) if they or either of them shall doe or cause to bee done these things following:
1. That the two children of the said widow, wch were left unto her by her late husband, Luke Hearde, of Ipswich, Linnen weaver, be well brought up and due meanes be used to teach them to read and
write well as soone as they are capable.
2. That at the age of thirteen years at the furthest, they be put forth to be apprentices in such trades as Mr. Nathaniel Rogers, their Grandfather Wyat, and Ensigne Howlet, in writing under
their hand, or any two of them in like manner shall advise unto, and the children like of.
3. That unto the said children be paid, at the age of one and twenty years, fifteen pounds given them by will of their father, vis: ten pound to the older, at his time of one and twenty yeares, and five pounds to the younger when he shall bee at the like age: also that the bookes bequeathed them by their father be given them by equall division, according to his will.
4. That five pounds more be paid to the children of the said Sarah,(if living,) or either of them at her will and discretion, as she shall see cause to divide it in even or unequall portions to them, or to give the whole to the younger in case the elder be better provided for.
5.  That the said Joseph and Sarah shall doe, or admit to bee done, any such further order as the Court of Ipswich shall see meet to require upon the motion of the said advisors, for the securing of the forementioned dues to the children, as well as for the freeing of the
said Joseph and Sarah from any entanglements on the children's part, by reason of her exequetrixship, or otherwise from hence arising beside the direct and true meaning and intent
of these conditions.
6. That whereas, there is a portion of land in Asington, in Suffolke, in England, wch shall bee the right of the said Sarah after the decease of her mother (the tenor whereof is not certainly known to us,) if the said lands bee not entailed, then the said Joseph shall not claim any title hereunto by virtue of marriage with the said Sarah, but the said Sarah shall have the whole and sole power to dispose of it, both the use and the gift of it, when and to whom she shall thinke meet.
That this obligation shall bee void and of none effect, otherwise to stand and bee of force."
Signed Joseph Bigsby, the mark | of Sarah Heard Witnesses-Margaret Rogers, John Rogers

(This document is found in Essex County Court files at Salem, MA)