Surname Saturday: Curtis

So we get to look at another of the more common surnames in my research.  Although it is not among the top 100 surnames in the United States today (according to the Wikipedia article linked in a previous post), it is one that is still pretty easy to recognize and even at the closest relation, was among the earlier settlers of New England.  The youngest in this line in my research was my sixth great grandmother, Jemima Curtis.

As a quick side note, this post is the first where I will include footnote citations for the information presented herein.  While I can add code to create a footnote marker for each source citation, I would have to type the HTML code and keep track of the footnote numbers manually, which is something that I would rather automate.  So for now, you'll have to be satisfied with the sources listed at the end of the post (which are copy/pasted from my working database in RootsMagic).  Now, on to the data...

Jemima Curtis (also spelled Curtiss) was born on 15 January 1694 in Wallingford Township, New Haven County, Connecticut Colony.  She married on 29 September in either 1712 or 1713 to Nathan Beach (b. 18 Aug 1692 in Wallingford; d. 1739 in Wallingford), and they had eleven children:
  1. Joseph Beach: M; b. 10 June 1714 in Wallingford; m. 31 Oct 1734 to Experience Beecher; d. 25 July 1795 in Waterbury, New Haven County, Connecticut.
  2. William Beach: M; b. 18 Nov 1716 in Wallingford; m. 15 Oct 1739 to Susanna Holt; m. 26 May 1743 to Martha Clark; d. 1799 in Wallingford.
  3. Lydia Beach: F; b. 26 Feb 1719 in Wallingford; m. 1782 in Norwalk, Fairfield County, Connecticut, to Benjamin Blakeslee.
  4. Nathan Beach: M; b. 23 May 1721 in Wallingford; m. to Sarah Burton; m. to Desire Herrick; living in Fall 1778 in Fort Jenkins, Columbia County, Pennsylvania.
  5. Sarah Beach: F; b. 27 Oct 1723 in Wallingford; m. to Joseph Deremore.
  6. Enos Beach: M; b. 30 Jan 1726 in Wallingford; m. Apr 1748 to Ann Squire; d. 18 Dec 1809 in Roxbury, Connecticut.
  7. Stephen Beach: M; b. 16 Apr 1729 in Wallingford.
  8. Jemima Beach: F; b. 11 May 1732 in Wallingford; m. 19 Nov 1751 to Waitstill Parker.
  9. Elihu Beach: M; b. 14 Dec 1734 in Wallingford; m. 16 June 1755 to Zerviah Byington; d. in Elizabeth Township, Ontario, Canada.
  10. Eunice Beach: F; b. 5 March 1737 in Wallingford; m. to Simeon Fuller; living in 1782 in Stratford, Fairfield County, Connecticut.
  11. Mehitabel Beach: F; b. 2 Nov 1738 in Wallingford.
Jemima Curtis died on 3 March 1739 in Wallingford; her husband Nathan Beach also died in 1739 in Wallingford.  I don't know what happened to the children, but I suspect that the older children would have taken care of the younger since the oldest would have been 24 (and married) at the time of Mehitabel's birth.

Moving back one generation, the parents of Jemima Curtis were Thomas Curtis (also spelled Curtiss) and Mary Merriman. Thomas was born on 14 January 1648 in Stratford Township, Fairfield County, Connecticut.  He married on 9 June 1674 in Wallingford to Mary Merriman (b. 12 July 1657 in New Haven Township, New Haven County, Connecticut; d. in Wallingford).  They had 13 children:
  1. Lydia Curtis: F; m. to James Woodruff; m. to Thomas Hall.
  2. Mary Curtis: F; b. 13 Oct 1675 in Wallingford; m. to John Crane.
  3. Nathaniel Curtis: M; b. 14 May 1677 in Wallingford; m. 6 April 1697 to Sarah Hall; m. to Sarah How (may have been the same person as Sarah Hall); m. to Phebe Bartholomew.
  4. Samuel Curtis: M; b. 3 Feb 1678 in Wallingford; m. 3 Jan 1704/5 to Elizabeth Fredericks; d. 29 Oct 1769 in Plymouth, Litchfield County, Connecticut; bur. at Congregational Church, Plymouth.
  5. Elizabeth Curtis: F; b. 11 Sep 1680 in Wallingford; m. 11 May 1699 to Nathaniel Hall.
  6. Hannah Curtis: F; b. 3 Dec 1682 in Wallingford; d. 12 Oct 1703 in Wallingford.
  7. Thomas Curtis: M; b. 26 Aug 1685 in Wallingford; m. to Mary __; d. 12 March 1758 in Cheshire, New Haven County, Connecticut.
  8. Sarah Curtis: F; b. 1 Oct 1687 in Wallingford; m. 17 June 1709 to Joseph Parker; d. 6 March 1760 in Wallingford.
  9. Abigail Curtis: F; b. 3 Nov 1689 in Wallingford; m. 8 June 1705 or 1709 to Joseph Hall; d. 12 Jan 1730.
  10. Joseph Curtis: M; b. 1 Oct 1691 in Wallingford; m. 14 March 1712 to Margaret Collins; d. Jan 1756; probate 1 Feb 1756 in New Haven.
  11. Jemima Curtis (above)
  12. Rebecca Curtis: F; b. 21 Aug 1697 in Wallingford; m. 1 March 1716 to Lambert Johnson; m. to Nathan Beach; m. to William Munson.
  13. John Curtis: M; b. 18 Sep 1699 in Wallingford; m. 17 June 1723 to Jemima Abernathy; d. 4 April 1775.
The elder Thomas Curtis would have seen his children grow to middle age as he died in 1736 in New Haven.  Mary Merriman died in Wallingford, but I don't know the date (obviously it was at least September 1699, but as she was nine years younger than Thomas, she could have lived into the 1740s).

Thomas's parents were John Curtis and Elizabeth Ann Welles.  It is this generation where we make the "jump across the pond" back to the United Kingdom.  John Curtis was born on 26 February 1600 or 1601 in Nazing, Essex, England.  Elizabeth was born in 1605 or 1611, probably also in England (but I don't know for certain). They were married in Stratford, Connecticut, circa 1640, which was soon after the Connecticut Colony was founded (it was originally chartered on 3 March 1636 as the River Colony).  John and Elizabeth had seven children:
  1. John Curtis: M; b. 14 Oct 1642 in Stratford; m. to Hannah __; d. 17 Sep 1704 in Newark, Essex County, New Jersey.
  2. Israel Curtis: M; b. 3 April 1644 in Stratford; m. circa 1664 to Rebecca __; d. 28 Oct 1704 in Woodbury, Litchfield County, Connecticut.
  3. Elizabeth Curtis: F; b. 2 May 1647 in Stratford.
  4. Thomas Curtis (above)
  5. Joseph Curtis: M; b. 12 Nov 1650 in Stratford; m. 9 Nov 1676 to Bethiah Booth; d. 1742.
  6. Benjamin Curtis: M; b. 30 Sep 1652 in Stratford; m. 23 March 1680 or 1681 to Esther Judson; m. 1 Dec 1714 to Bathsheba Tomlinson; d. 1733 in Stratford.
  7. Hannah Curtis: F; b. 2 Feb 1655 in Stratford; m. circa 1671 to Benjamin Lewis; d. 1728.
Elizabeth Welles died on 9 March 1682 in Stratford.  John followed a quarter century later on 6 December 1707 in Stratford at the remarkable (for the era) age of about 96.

John's parents were also natives of Nazing.  His father was John Curtis, born before 1577 in Nazing.  His mother was Elizabeth Hutchins, born circa 1568 in England (probably also in Nazing).  They were married on 19 April 1610 in Nazing and had five children that I know of:
  1. John Curtis (above)
  2. William Curtis: M; b. 1618 in England; m. circa 1638 to Mary __; m. circa 1680 to Sarah Morris; d. 21 Dec 1702 in Stratford, Connecticut.
  3. Thomas Curtis: M; b. after 1618.
  4. Joseph Curtis: M; b. after 1618.
  5. Benjamin Curtis: M; b. after 1618.
It is the elder John's parents where the line gets a bit murky.  Different records show his parents as Thomas Curtiss and Mary Camp or as  William Curtis and Agnes __.  I suspect that the correct lineage is to William and Agnes since Thomas is also listed in the family of William and Agnes in some resources.  Assuming that William and Agnes are the correct parents, their children were:
  1. Mary Curtis: F; m. 19 Aug 1582 in Nazing to John Read.
  2. Thomas Curtis: M; b. 25 Aug 1560 in Nazing; m. 25 Aug 1585 in Nazing to Mary Camp; m. 3 July 1596 in Nazing to Mary Shelley; will dated 13 Dec 1604; d. 6 Jan 1605 in Nazing.
  3. John Curtis (above)
  4. Gabriel Curtis: M; b. before 1585.
  5. Edward Curtis: M; b. before 1585; m. before 1600 to Mary __; m. after 1612 to __; bur. 13 Aug 1616 in Holy Cross, Waltham, England.
I don't know the identities of William's parents yet, but I have in my notes that he had a brother named George Curtis (bur. 27 June 1602 in Nazing).

I had written in an earlier post about Nazing (also spelled Nazeing) for the Aggar line on my wife's side of the family, so here's another reason to research this town in Essex, especially since they appear to have lived there at about the same time.  If there is a common ancestor between us, it seems entirely possible that he or she would have also lived in Nazing, or the two families might have just known each other.  The primary effort in researching this line, however, will be from the youngest member of the line, Jemima Curtis, because the primary reference that I had used in my original research is no longer available.  I was able to verify a few of the birth records through the Connecticut Births database index at FamilySearch as I created this post, so it might not be as difficult as it once was to verify this information.  Also, with the Curtis line connecting back to the founding years of Connecticut Colony, there are bound to be several more resources that I could check for information.

  • Ancestral File, version 4.19. Family History Library, Salt Lake City, Utah.
  • Beach, Eugene H Jr. (Highland, Michigan) to Sean Lamb. Letter. 16 September 1993.
  • Beach family genealogy website by Eugene Beach. (no longer online)
  • "Biographical: Beach in Records of New Haven Colony; and Ancestry in Connecticut." . N.p.: n.p., n.d.
  • Brunner, Cathi. "Roots and Branches: The Ancestry and Posterity of Franklin Beach of Barker, Broome County, New York." The Beach Family Journal VIII (Spring 2000): pp 1103-1104.
  • "Connecticut Births and Christenings, 1649-1906." Index. FamilySearch. : 2011.
  • Ward, Jim. The Beach - Churchill Connection. : 2010.

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