The mystery book on Packard family genealogy: where can it be found?

The apparent original cover as asserted by Amazon.

The Old Bridgewater Historical Society, has, on its website, a book for $10.00 titled “The Genealogies of Samuel Packard of Bridgewater, Massachusetts and Abel Packard of Cummington, Mass.” and it is by Theophilus Packard who claimed his wife was “insane” (see our previous post). This book may have the same content as something like Nahum Mitchell’s 1840 History of the early settlement of Bridgewater in Plymouth County, Massachusetts. As Dale Cook noted below, he warns that this “is not a sound reference. It is in part cribbed from Mitchell’s “History of the early Settlement of Bridgewater,” a work that has repeatedly been shown to be unreliable concerning the 17th and early 18th century families of Bridgewater, [and] It is also partly cribbed from Kingman’s “History of North Bridgewater,” which itself was partly cribbed from Mitchell and so suffers the same faults.” Even so, it would be wrong to not write a post on this book, exposing such a horrid source.

We can say, based on the fact that it is in varying places, such as here, here, here, and here, that the book indeed exists, even within a searchable database put up by Ancestry and has been mentioned on Ancestry.com forums. But, NO ONE seems to have uploaded a copy of this book, not even on Internet Archive.

This mystery book seems to be, according to WorldCat here and here, in libraries in New Jersey, New York, Ohio, Indiana, Georgia, and Utah. It was also reprinted by the Old Bridgewater Historical Society in 1986 apparently and again in 2016 (also reprinted in 1977) This same society has some mentions of the Packards:

“Thomas Alger came from England to the American Colonies in approximately 1665. He settled in Taunton, Massachusetts and married Elizabeth Packard, daughter of Samuel Packard. They later moved with their children to the area of Bridgewater, Mass.”- here

“Born in England, John Howard came early to Bridgewater, Massachusetts, and began his family. This genealogical register details three generations of his descendants, with birth and death dates, and a complete index of individuals. Affiliated families include Alden, Ames, Conant, Edson, Field, Fobes, Howard, Keith, Kingman, Packard, Perkins, Pratt, Snell, Washburn, Williams, and many more.”- here

“Written in 1871, this book by Rev. Theophilus Packard details generations of the following two Packard families of Massachusetts: Samuel Packard, who immigrated from England in 1638 and settled early in Bridgewater, where he was licensed to keep a tavern, and Abel Packard, his greatgrandson. Abel Packard was born in North Bridgewater (now Brockton) in 1729 and removed to Cummington, where his family lived for many generations. Included are a list of college graduates bearing the Packard name, and a full index.” – here

It is viewable through Family Search but you need to either: Access the site at a family history center or access the site at a FamilySearch affiliate library. A search for the book on Abebooks turned up no results, sadly, which is deeply unfortunate to say the least. The same is the case for Google Books. Apparently, the DAR’s library has the book, but it is currently in the poor condition section perhaps because it was one of the original copies printed in 1871. Reportedly the original edition was only 85 pages long. There is apparently an eBook version (also here).

I end this post with the following extract from the book, which has been updated with the transcription of information from the book itself which I added to the Internet Archive, as talked about more in detail in a post the following week where I talk about my quest to attain this book. I worked to acquire this book not because I agree with its content, but rather to make more information available, so it can be more easily criticized. The information written about those living at the time the book was written (1871) is more accurate than any other generations, so that should be kept in mind. The extract, from pages 5-6, 40-41, 44, 52, 53 is as follows:

Samuel Packard and his wife and one child came from Windham, near Hingham, Norfolk County, England, to Hingham, in Plymouth colony, in 1638. He removed thence to Bridgewater about 1660. His sons, and probably he himself, were soldiers under Capt. Benjamin Church, in the Indian war with the famous King Philip, in 1675 and 1676. He had six sons and six daughters, viz.: Elizabeth, Samuel Jr., Zaccheus, Thomas, John, Nathanie l, Mary, Hannah, Israel, Jael, Deborah, and Deliverance. All his children Had families. He was appointed to office in Bridgewater in 1664, was licensed to keep an Ordinary in 1670, his will was dated in 1684, and it is supposed he died not long afterwards. His age was probably between seventy and eighty years.

Zaccheus, bom in Hingham, married Sarah, daughter of John Howard, of West Bridgewater, had eight sons and one daughter, viz.: Israel^Sarah, Jonathan, David, Solomon, James. Zaccheus Jr., John, and Abiel. All of his children had families His six youngest sons removed to North Bridgewater some year?subsequent to 1700, and their descendants now constitute i large portion of the population of that place. The father died in Bridgewater, Aug. 3, 1723, aged probably about eighty years.

Dea. Abel Packard Jr., born in North Bridgewater, April 16, 1754, went with his brother Adam to Cummington, April 20, 1774, two months previous to the removal of his father’s family, to make preparation. He married Mary, daughter of Ebenezer Bisbee, Sept. 20, 1783. She was bora in East Bridgewater, Nov. 30, 1759, and had removed to Cummington, and died in Cummington, Sept. 1, 1807, aged 48. He married his second wife, Rachel Porter, daughter of Jacob Porter, Oct., 1808, who was bora in Abington, Nov. 17, 1765, and had removed to Worthington, and died in Cummington, Aug. 31, 1851, aged 86. She was a sister of the wife of Adam Packard, who was a brother of her husband. His four children were by his first wife, viz.: Eliphalet, Chester, Betsey, and Theophilus 2d. He long officiated as a Deacon in the Congregational church, and died in Cummington, April 30, 1832, aged 78.

Chester Packard, born in Cummington, June 6, 1788, and married, July 4, 1816, Eunice Sadler, who was born in Williamsburg in 1797, and died in Cummington, July 25, 1830, aged 33. In 1851, Sept. 17, he married Anne Bates, of Cummington, who was born there in 1796. By his first wife he had six children, born in Cummington, viz.: Ira, Edwin Chester, Edwin Chester 2d, Sumner, Silas Sadler, and William Dwight. He removed to McKean, Ohio, in 1833, and then in 1852 to Dayton, Waupacca Co., Wisconsin, where he now lives. Crystal Lake is a post office address in Dayton.

Ira Packard, born in Cummington, Oct. 28, 1817, and married, March 12, 1840, Eliza J. Bryant, of Fredonia, Ohio, who was born June 15, 1821. He removed from Cummington to Fredonia, Licking Co., Ohio, in 1833, and in 1842 removed to Allen township, Miami Co., Indiana, (post office address, Five Corners,) where he still lives. He has had ten children, the two’ oldest of whom were born in Fredonia, Ohio, and the others in Allen township, Indiana, viz.: Charles Chester, Thomas Jefferson, Nancy Eunice, William Bryant, Noah Sangston, Franklin Pierce, Silas Edwin, Ira, Laura Jane, and Nelson Sigel.

Edwin Chester Packard 2d, born in Cummington, May 9, 1822, and, March 12, 1844, married Caroline Bailey, who was born in Wilmington, N. Y., Jan. 7, 1824, and who removed to Granville, Ohio, in 1834. He removed from Cum¬ mington to Fredonia, Ohio, in 1833; to Dayton, Waupacca Co., Wisconsin, in 1852; and in 1864 to Hancock Co., Iowa, where he still lives. The township, not organized or named, is No. 94, North Range, 24 West, His present post office address is Belmond, Wright Co., Iowa. He has had seven children, three of whom were horn in Fredonia, Ohio, two in Waupacca Co., Wisconsin, one in Winneconne, Wis., and one in Hancock Co., Iowa, viz.: Ellen Caroline, Alice Agnes, Dighton Edwin, Albert Bailey, Alma Cora, Clara Marion, and Bertha May.

Sumner Packard, born in Cummington, April 6, 1824, and, Nov. 14, 1850, married Elmira Jane Eaton, in Fredonia, Ohio. She was horn in Chesterfield, N. H., May, 1834, and died in Dayton, Waupacca Co., Wisconsin, March 6, 1856, aged 22. He married, May 31, 1860, Juliet Didama Ham, in Waupacca Co., Wis., who was born in Truxton, N. Y., Nov. 25, 1834. He removed from Cummington to Fredonia, Ohio, in 1833, and in 1852 to Dayton, Waupacca Co., Wis., where he now lives. He had two children by his first wife, born in Dayton, Waupacca Co., Wisconsin, viz.: William Sumner and Marion Helena; and two children by his second wife, born in Dayton, Wisconsin, viz.: Esther Belle and Katie E.

Silas Sadler Packard, born in Cummington, April 28, 1826, and, March 6, 1850, married Marion Helena Crocker, in Cincinnati, Ohio. She was born in New York city, Sept. 23, 1828. He removed to Granville, 0., in 1833; to Fredonia, 0., in 1834; taught in Ohio from 1843 to 1845; taught in Kentucky from 1845 to 1848; taught in Cincinnati from 1848 to 1850; re-moved to Adrian, Mich., in 1850; to Lockport, N. Y., in 1851; to Tonawanda, N. Y., in 1853; to Albany, N. Y., in 1857; and in 1858 to New York city, where he now lives. He established the New York Business College there; has been an editor and author. He has had two children, Lida Emma and William Henry.

William Dwight Packard, born in Cummington, Aug. 23, 1828, and, Nov. 2, 1848, married Catherine Stinemates, of Burlington, Knox Co., Ohio. He removed to Licking Co., Ohio, in 1833, and now resides in Frazersburg, Muskingum Co., Ohio. His two children were born, Emma Angelinein Burlington, Ohio, and William Franklin in Dayton, Waupacca Co., Wis. He has lived in Burlington, Knox Co., Ohio, Weyauwega, Wis., and Davton, Wis.

12 thoughts on “The mystery book on Packard family genealogy: where can it be found?

  1. Pingback: Getting the mystery Packard family history book and putting it online | Packed with Packards!

  2. Pingback: The “Hingham Community Band” and Samuel Packard | Packed with Packards!

  3. Pingback: Plainfield, Massachusetts today | Packed with Packards!

  4. If you have access to Heritage Quest Online through your local library you can read “The Genealogies of Samuel Packard of Bridgewater, Mass., and of Abel Packard, of Cummington, Mass.” at:

    https://search.ancestryheritagequest.com/search/db.aspx?dbid=13438

    Be aware that this is not a sound reference. It is in part cribbed from Mitchell’s “History of the early Settlement of Bridgewater,” a work that has repeatedly been shown to be unreliable concerning the 17th and early 18th century families of Bridgewater, It is also partly cribbed from Kingman’s “History of North Bridgewater,” which itself was partly cribbed from Mitchell and so suffers the same faults.

    Dale H. Cook, Member, NEHGS, AGS, MA Soc. of Mayflower Descendants;
    Plymouth Co. MA Coordinator for the USGenWeb Project
    Administrator of https://plymouthcolony.net

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  5. On 02-Nov-2018 (concerning The “Hingham Community Band” and Samuel Packard) you wrote:

    In the Genealogies of Samuel Packard and Abel Packard it was written that “Samuel Packard b. 17 Sep 1612 in Windham England d. 7 Nov 1684 in Bridgewater, Massachusetts m. Elizabeth Stream …”

    The site where you found that is a site to be avoided. There is no such statement in “The Genealogies of Samuel Packard of Bridgewater, Mass., and of Abel Packard, of Cummington, Mass..”

    The statement is plainly false, as the birth date of Samuel is unknown – the date given in that statement is the date of his baptism in Stonham Aspal, which fact was not discovered until about a century after the book was published and is found nowhere in the book. Giving “Elizabeth Stream” is also not found in the book – “Stream” was an undocumented and unsupported assertion made about a century after the book was published and is found nowhere in the book.

    Note also that “The Genealogies of Samuel Packard …” leaves out the residence of Samuel Packard and his family in Weymouth.

    Dale H. Cook, Member, NEHGS, AGS, MA Soc. of Mayflower Descendants;
    Plymouth Co. MA Coordinator for the USGenWeb Project
    Administrator of https://plymouthcolony.net

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    • Once again, I recognize the problems with that source. It is true that the birth date of Samuel is unknown and that “Stream” has no basis as Elizabeth’s name. I would refer to the most recent iteration of the Family Search page for Samuel Packard for the most up-to-date information on him.

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    • What you say has validity. I have updated all the posts associated with this book, including this one, the one where I talked about the book more (https://packedwithpackards.wordpress.com/2018/01/26/getting-the-mystery-packard-family-history-book-and-putting-it-online/), and the Hingham Community Band one (https://packedwithpackards.wordpress.com/2018/11/02/the-hingham-community-band-and-samuel-packard/) as well. Looking back, I have no idea where that quote came from! Whoever put that quote out there (originally, where I copied it from) misattributed it to the book!

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      • Thanks for updating that. Since you now have the book you can keep an eye on things like that. Although Theophilus is sometimes of limited or questionable reliability for the earliest generations there is still much that is useful, especially concerning Packard descendants in western MA. I lived in that area for nearly fifteen years, and am familiar with the area’s geography and history, but that predated my involvement with genealogy.

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      • Your welcome. I definitely will keep an eye on that. As I noted in new version of the Hingham Band post, “it seems wrong to completely disregard the book because it does have accurate information about those living at the time that Theophilus Packard would have known when he assembled the book [1871]. Otherwise, sure, it is garbage that could be ripped apart into tiny shreds and thrown into a garbage compactor, never to be seen again.” So, you are right that for the earliest generations it has “limited or questionable reliability” but there is still a lot of useful information. Sources like this probably informed the Packard descendants who sent letters to my grandfather, some of which literally included family tree listings going back to Samuel Packard. He then used that information, in turn, to write a family history (The Packard/Mills Family History) which was a bit like that book in that it was relatively unsourced, and only had good information on his parents, grandparents, and great-grandparents. Early next month, I’ll publish the narrative from that book (specifically the version with the photographs of gravestones and other documents) when he went on a trip to MA in 1980 (“An addendum unfinished: Bob’s “sentimental journey to Massachusetts””), along with a narrative about my trip to Western MA in August 2017.

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  6. I really appreciate this website, and remain quite curious as to how it came about. The title is great. My great-grandmother is Isola J. Packard, daughter of Hiram “High” Packard, son of William Dwight Packard mentioned above.

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    • Ken, Thanks so much for your comment. The website came about because I was researching my family’s genealogy, which was started by grandfather, Bob Mills. I’d definitely be happy to learn more about your ancestry, and in fact, if you ever want to have a little write-up about it, I’d be more than happy to publish it on this blog, and credit you of course.

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  7. Pingback: Packed with Packards and existing social hierarchies | Packed with Packards!

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