Melinde Lutz Sanborn, "Unrecorded Early Births in Billerica, Massachusetts: Bacon, Farr, Brown, and Hindes," New England Historical and Genealogical Register 151[1997].

[page 59] Most genealogists are only too familiar with frustrations caused by records that are inadequate because of such hazards as illiteracy, court house fires, water damage, and occasional theft. Negligence was often a factor as well, as shown by the following communication from a frustrated registrar in 1686. The document was unearthed recently among Middlesex County Court Files. Billerica decembr 15,1686 Capt HAMMOND, Sr I received yours, dated Novembr 6th wherein you are pleased to signify to my self, ye Honrd County Court appointing myselfe to take the account of births & deaths in our Towne, sr, I have here enclosed a list of all that I have heard in our Towne, since my last returne, with a penny a name, according to former customes, but I have not sent ye shilling over pluss, for my purpose is not to hold ye Service any longer; if I may obtaine that favour of ye Honrd Court, & therefore do intreat your self to motion it to ye Court to appoint another. I have served in ye place about twenty year and have returned many a name, & money with them, that I never got a penny for. here is six names in this returne, that none take care of to pay for, in deed ye law made is strikt enought, if p[er]sons would regard it, or that there were a way found to execute it for my owne [blot] I am weary of running after many p[er]sons, & minding them of ye law, unless [blot] would reguard what ye law is. Sr, I will only mention ye names of 3 or 4, which have bin often spoken to, as Michail BACON, Steven FARRE John BROWNE has had 2 children since he came into this Towne, & has given account of none. John HINDES, was married 4 year since, often Called upon, but to no purpose, & now is removed to lankastere. So, if men may be p[er]suaded to attend ye law in these respects, I shall be willing to do any service in this kind, w[he]n called to it, but to have so much labour to looke after these things & nothing but ill will for my paines, this I am weary of Pray P[ar]don my boldness with yr selfe, I humbly request yr Honrd Court to appoint another in my stead Sr, I remains yor Humble, servt, Jonathan DANFORTH, Senr.

22028739.doc Page 1 printed 13 September 2009