Dennis Prue

Dennis Prue

Dennis has been researching family trees for more than 30 years. His expertise has been invaluable in helping to break through brick walls.

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New Book New Information on My Family Tree

Elizabeth Fost/Frost Dill’s real last Name

I recently purchased a new book for my own personal genealogy library. “Piscataqua Pioneers” is a collection of selected biographies of the early settlers of the Piscataqua River watershed in Southern Maine. Several of my early ancestors and their close relatives were listed. For the most part, their mini-biographies match with my early genealogy research from the 1980s and 1990s. But I did find a surprise that would require that I dig out my genealogy pruners.

Sometimes you think your genealogy is all done and move on to the next branch of your tree. This book caused me, for only the second time in the last 40 years, to step back and recognize that I would be pruning a whole branch out of my personal tree. The first time was in 2000. When I had to cut out 60% of my Beaudry Family. I had advice from others who had done more work in that part of Canada. With limited access to records, I mistakenly charted the wrong branch of the Beaudry tree.

Once I was able to look at church records for myself, I soon realized what was wrong. I was upset because I had sent the incorrect information to distant cousins. So I cut out a whole alien line. With help from the church records, I was able to figure out my correct ancestors. So I got busy and re-grew my tree with the right information. I emailed my cousins the correct tree branch.

The second time was this year, 2022. The Piscataqua Pioneers book has my ancestor Elizabeth Frost/Foss/Fost with different parents than I had listed. The problem is that in early York county records and deeds, the surnames Foss, Fost, and Frost are all interchangeable.

Elizabeth was married twice. She was married in 1698 to Daniel Dill from York, Maine. Daniel was killed by Indians in April 1711 in the Scotland District of York, Maine. Sometime after April 1711 [Daniel’s death] and the summer of 1713, Elizabeth re-married to Henry Beedle original from New Hampshire. Elizabeth and Henry had their first child Sarah born on April 24, 1714.

Many different people had multiple sets of parents for Elizabeth. When I was able to look at ”Early Vital Records of York, Maine,” where it states that she and Daniel Dill were having children, Elizabeth was listed as a daughter of John. All I knew for certain was that Elizabeth’s father was called John, according to early New England records. But which John: there were three men with similar last names: Foss, Fost, or Frost, all living in the seacoast area of Maine and New Hampshire. Several noted researchers placed Elizabeth as the daughter of John Foss & Mary Berry. But I later found that his daughter Elizabeth was married to Nathaniel Batchelder about 1685.

Elizabeth Foss was half a generation older than Elizabeth, wife of Daniel Dill. Elizabeth Fost/Frost married Daniel Dill on November 8, 1698, and Nathaniel & Elizabeth Foss Batchelder were still together and having children at that time. So, I placed Elizabeth Fost/Frost Dill as a member of the John Fost family.

The Genealogical Dictionary of Maine and New Hampshire [GDMNH] stated that John FOST was married to Mary Chadbourne with five children, including a daughter named Elizabeth. The GDMNH listing for the John Frost family in York listed three known children with his wife Rose: John, Agnes, and Philip, but no Elizabeth. Information was from John Frost’s Will & Probate records. So, I had John FOST & Mary Chadbourne of Dover, New Hampshire, as my ancestors. John Fost names all five of his children: William, Humphrey, Mary, Elizabeth, and Jemima, in his will.

Now my new book states that my ancestress was a daughter of William Frost and Mary Wakefield. William Frost, living in Wells, Maine, was a brother to John Frost of York, Maine. William Frost is listed in GDMNH with 5 known children, but none is a daughter called Elizabeth. According to GDMNH, after William’s death in May of 1690, his widow remarried Israel Harding, who was appointed to settle William’s estate. I am trying to find a copy of William Frost’s will or probate from Wells, Maine, to see if Elizabeth is really his daughter.

Norman Seaver Frost wrote the book Frost Genealogy in Five Families in 1926. He places Elizabeth as William Frost’s child but without the source being listed. I still do not have enough proof that Elizabeth is the daughter of William & Mary Wakefield Frost. In the vital records of York, Maine, Elizabeth is clearly listed as the daughter of John Foss/Fost, not William Frost. Still trying to find the smoking gun that proves Elizabeth indeed was William Frost and Mary Wakefield’s daughter.