I am seeking information on my 5*great grandmother, Phoebe Paine. She was born 9 Aug 1762 and married Elijah Hannum in Belchertown, MA on 4 Mar 1792. I already have information on her husband, his line, and their children but all I have for Phoebe is her marriage record (Belchertown, MA: Vital Records, in the Corbin manuscript collection in New England Historic Genealogical Society. See here) which includes her birthdate, maiden name, and her marriage date. This question is requesting information about her birth - ie her birthplace and her parents.

  • I have searched on werelate.org using the 'find duplicates' feature to the link above.
  • I have searched for Phoebe Paine in the New England Historical Genealogy Society data at americanancestors.org.
  • I have searched for Phoebe Paine in myheritage.com's "World Vital Records" and also their crowd sourced links (ie the 'match' feature comparing my tree to family trees of other myheritage members).
  • I have searched on geni.com and ancestry.com
  • I have searched the newspaper archives at http://www.genealogybank.com

  • I have searched using Phoebe/Phebe and Pain/Paine/Payn

  • 1
    It's best to include the information you have in the question instead of via a link to another site. That way way, the question stands on it own, and that is likely to get more and better answers. Commented Oct 16, 2012 at 1:22
  • Hi Duncan, you can use a quote block > followed by text here to add in the information from the link, that way it's quoted and highlighted separately from your question. Good luck! :)
    – jmort253
    Commented Oct 16, 2012 at 4:15
  • 2
    This seems to be off-topic: meta.genealogy.stackexchange.com/questions/3/… Commented Oct 16, 2012 at 7:16
  • 1
    @LennartRegebro - The purpose of the beta is to determine what topics are in scope and what are not. I obviously vote that specific ancestors are in scope and include my reasoning in the answer I posted to the metaquestion you reference.
    – Duncan
    Commented Oct 16, 2012 at 21:59
  • In many respects this is a great question, but I do think it can be improved. If I have a concern about "help me find" questions, it rests with statements like "searched werelate.org" or "searched World Vital Records," etc. General searches in complex mega-databases at one time or another will too often result in answers like "may this," or "maybe that," especially because the makeup of many of these databases change with some frequency.
    – GeneJ
    Commented Oct 16, 2012 at 23:17

3 Answers 3


Here is a record with some information. Apparently, she went by the alternate spelling of "Phebe Payn". The only new information here, however, is that Elijah was born on May 25, 1759.

Because Paine was such a common name, I'm having difficulty finding more records on her without more information. However, here's what I have on Elijah:

  • Birthplace- Belchertown, Hampshire, Massachusetts

  • Father- Gideon Hannum

  • Mother- Abiah Hannum

  • Born- May 25, 1759

  • Christened 15 Jun 1759

  • Died 16 May 1832

Here's What I have on Abiah:

  • Died- 07 Feb 1796 or 19 Feb 1796

  • Birthplace- Belchertown, Hampshire, Massachusetts

  • Maiden name- Coles

  • Father- John Coles died before 08 Mar 1752

  • Married- 08 Mar 1752

  • She passed on after her husband

Here's What I have on Gideon (also Gidean):

All children were born in Belchertown, Hampshire, Massachusetts

Elijah and Phoebe had at least three children:

  • Lucy Hannum b. 25 Nov 1795 She was their first daughter

  • Unnamed male d. 18 Jan 1793 died in infancy

  • Unnamed male d. 19 Dec 1794 died in infancy

  • Elijah Hannum Jr. b. 23 Aug 1797 He was their third son

These two children were born in Belchertown,​ Hampshire,​ Massachusetts

Elijah Hannum Jr. died on 19 Apr 1877 at the age of 79 in Belchertown, Massachusetts. He was a wagon maker. In the 1860 census, he is listed as living in Belchertown, Hampshire, Massachusetts. He married Elizabeth Hannum, born about 1808. Both are listed in the 1870 census and the 1865 census.

They had at least one son living with them in 1865, Spencer W. Hannum. He was born about 1832. He was listed as single in the 1865 census. In the 1880 census, he describes himself as a farm laborer and married. He married Harriet Bartlett on 08 Jun 1869 in Belchertown, Hampshire, Massachusetts. She was born about 1842. Harriet's mother was also named Harriet and her father was John Juckett.

  • Luke did a good job and some real digging. If we are to maintain a standard of excellence, however, contributed information that is not common knowledge should be documented.
    – GeneJ
    Commented Oct 16, 2012 at 23:27
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    I've added sources, if that's what you want.
    – Luke_0
    Commented Oct 17, 2012 at 0:52

Part of an answer to this question involves developing a good research plan--something that guides you in your work to extend your family tree by locating the parents of an ancestor early of New England.

The work to develop and implement a plan starts out fairly general. With time, it becomes more and more focused on precise collections/precise information. Think of it as a process of reverse engineering an "answer." So, after "Who were the parents of XXXX (XXX - XXX) m. XXX on XXX at XXXX," you are asking, "How would I go about finding clues about where XXX was born or who her early family (parents, brothers and sister, aunts and uncles) might have been?

"About places." The plan should call for a reasonable amount of study about the historical area or town(s) where your ancestor was known to have lived and died. Modern places generally evolved, they may have at one time been part of a colony, another state, a different county. Possibly they were extracted from or merged into some other identifiable "place."

As part of the work to understand the historical place(s), you will likely learn a little about the people who settled there; their motivations for settlement.

Because individuals and families migrated, you'll likely work from a timeline and learn the history of more than one area/place.

About record circumstance/collections. Once you understand a little about the place, you want to learn about the related extant historical record collections. The record circumstance varies by location and timeframe. (Not all records ever existed for all places and all times; records that once existed may have been lost to fire or flood, etc., or, "just lost.")

The FamilySearch Catalog is one place to look for lists of records about a place. Also Cyndi's list, Linpendium, etc. The US GenWeb sites can be very helpful.

Part of the work to learn the information that is available for a given town/time, etc. often involves contacting a local library, genealogical/historical society. Organizations such as these may even be repositories for local history archives (including vertical files, even family files).

It is time consuming and sometimes expensive to conduct research in these various collections. You'll start to ask familiar questions like, "Where are those records housed?"... Has the collection been indexed?" and "Is the finding aid [or are the records] online?"

Researching in the records. This is the good stuff--deed books and indexes, wills, court records, church membership rosters, voting and tax lists, militia and military records/pensions, town and vital records, published biographical sketches ...

Based on what you know "about the collection" and the kind of information the records contain, you can prioritize the work/develop a plan by which you will "exhaust" your research in those records.

About the local surnames/families/groups. As you conduct work about and in these different records, you will identify traces of early Paine/Payne and related families who settled there. What you find are may be just nubs--indexed names and maybe dates. You'll want to keep track of which nubs came from which records, because the records provide clues that you'll use to extend the research even further. I maintain research logs, but others recommend creating personas.

As you continue the work, your "collection" of research notes/logs/personas/file copies, etc. will become more and more valuable to you. You'll acquire records that contain conflicting clues/information. You may find that the research you conduct to resolve a conflict is the most valuable work you do.

Follow the children/research at the family group level. Often more information is available for events in more recent time periods. This means that although the record of Phoebe's death might not report where she was born, the marriage or death records of her children might have have asked for that information about HER. Biographical sketches written about the children (or the families into which they married) might contain family tradition or other clues that are helpful ...


You could try FamilySearch where this Phebe Paine may or may not be yours.

"Massachusetts, Births and Christenings, 1639-1915," index, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.1.1/VQDD-7YF : accessed 19 March 2015), Phebe Paine, 01 Sep 1763; citing EASTHAM,BARNSTABLE,MASSACHUSETTS, ; FHL microfilm 0907350 IT 2-6, 905406.

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