Now I am a proud descendant of the Loyalist Lt. Caleb Howe of the Queens Rangers and one of my brickwalls has been "What is Esther's, his wife, maiden surname and also when and where were they married?" This questions has stumped experienced researchers that have been looking into this family for far longer than I've been doing my research. There were guesses as to Esther's maiden surname but no proof to back them up.
A search of this collection revealed that Esther had in fact applied for a widow's pension since Caleb died in 1810. Ancestry only took me to the first page where Caleb was mentioned so I brought up the web page for The National Archives and looked for the WO 42 collection. From the page displayed on Ancestry I knew the documents were in the WO42/61 set. A quick search revealed that I could freely download (I like free) the complete WO42/61 collection of documents. Now I could have just moved forward in the Ancestry collection page by page to find all the documents preserved pertaining to Caleb and Esther but it was just going to be easier to download it all in one bundle as a PDF. I started reading through those pages for any additional clues and then it was in front of me ... that document we have all been looking for ... my Howe Holy Grail ... an oath by someone stating Esther's maiden surname AND the month, year and town they were married.
|WO/42/61 document 182, p. 1|
Jedediah Fairweather and Samuel Fairweather at present
of the Parish of ____ in the County of Kings and Province of
New Brunswick - make oath - that they were present at the
marriage of Caleb Howe, - who was a Lieutenant (during the Amer
ican Rebellion) in His Majestys Service in the Provincial Regiment
called the Queens Rangers, and who at the close of the Rebellion - placed
on the Half Pay of _ Regiment, - with Esther Fairweather - Daughter of
Jedediah, - and that the Marriage was performed & solemnized - between
the said Caleb Howe and the said Esther Howe in the then town of
Parr, now the City of St John, in the Month of January 1784 by the
Reverend John Beardsley a Missionary of the Church of England.
One mystery after many years of searching as been resolved. All due to keeping an eye out for new collections and constantly revisiting those problem ancestors.
Tip for today: Keep your eye out for new collections and sources of information. You just never know where you will find that next clue.
Update 1: Correction to the date when the collection was released on Ancestry
Update 2: Minor corrections to transcription