In a past post, I shared about the Susquehannah Company Papers series of books because they are rather important in the genealogy of families who went to the Wyoming Valley in northeast Pennsylvania in 1762. We are most interest in 1769 when Philip Goss IV migrated to the area and settled. (Susquehannah later became Susquehanna)
Back in 2008 I took a trip to Pennsylvania because I was attending the Federation of Genealogical Societies Conference in Philadelphia and it was a great opportunity to tour the state and visit the Goss Family history sites. I wrote about my adventure in my Pennsylvania Wanderings Blog.
Before I headed to Pennsylvania I met a very amazing person. Her name was Donna Bingham Munger. She lived close to me at that time and I spent a lovely afternoon at her home. She was kind enough to come and give a lecture for my professional genealogical society. She was previously the Chief of the Division of Land Records at the Pennsylvania State Archives and this fact makes her very qualified to put all the sources and information together about the Wyoming Valley settlers from Connecticut.
The Pennsylvania State Archives are located in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania which I visited on my trip in 2008. Apparently, the archives will be getting a new home in 2020. Here is a nice brochure about the archive.
Donna has written many books and articles that can help you to understand the events of that time and I have cited several in past posts about the Susquehannah Company.
There are three very important books that you will need if you want to learn about your ancestors. It is about the land settled in the Wyoming Valley and through this information you can learn about your ancestors
The booklets are Donna’s compilations of Connecticut’s Pennsylvania Colony that cover the Susquehanna Proprietors, Settlers and Claimants. They were published in 2007 and that means they are still under copyright.
Donna painstakingly pulled together all the information from many sources and archives into 3 booklets that identify the individuals who purchased shares in the Susquehannah Company, settled on land in the 15-17 townships in the area of Northeastern Pennsylvania and became claimants after the Decree of Trenton in 1782 that placed the area under the government of Pennsylvania and then under Luzerne County in 1786.
If you have ancestors who settled in the Wyoming Valley of Pennsylvania you need to get your hands on these books. I went straight to Heritage Books to get my copies. You might be able to find used versions online. Make sure you are getting all three volumes not just one. I paid $40 for the Proprietors, and $35 for the other two, so don’t pay anymore than that. It was not cheap to purchase these books but it was worth it. You will find yourself jumping around from volume to volume to study the sources. It may seem expensive but it is a lot cheaper than traveling to all the locations to find the records in New England and Pennsylvania. I have personally studied some of the original sources that Donna used and they are not easy to find or read and Donna has done all the work of pulling them together in this compilation of three books.
Here is the link to Heritage Books
Another option to find the books in a library or archive. You can try using Worldcat which had a nice listing of archives that have these books all around the country, perhaps one is close to you. Your local genealogical society might have copies in their library so run a search in your local area before you spend the money. I was not too happy with what I saw online at various companies charging more for the books than originally charged by Heritage Books so be careful.
When you find these books in an archive you need to look at all three and make sure you read and/or copy the front beginning pages otherwise you will be lost as to what the entries in the tables mean and what sources were used and were they were found. Don’t just flip to your surname and copy that page only. You will need to find the pages for both the grantors and grantees and even do a page by page search just to be sure.
The beginning of the books has vital information. So don’t overlook those first pages.
Here is the description of each volume:
In all the volumes I, II, III the table of the names of the proprietors, settlers and claimants are in alpha order in the database, there is no surname index which would take up more space.
- Connecticut’s Pennsylvania “Colony” 1754-1810, Susquehanna Company Proprietors, Settlers and Claimants, Volume I – The Proprietors, by Donna Bingham Munger, Heritage Books, 2007.
- Introduction with Acknowledgements – In this section Donna describes her search for the Susquehanna Account Books which were scattered about. Through her efforts there are now film copies in the Pennsylvania Archives, a complete set at the Connecticut Historical Society. They are featured here under Susquehanna Co. Records Location table below. For an even more detail account seek out her article published in the New England Historical and Genealogical Register, Volume 139, April 1985, p. 112-25 titled Following Your Connecticut Ancestors to Pennsylvania. Copies of this article are at American Ancestors website.
- Section 1 – The Historical Setting
- Historical Setting: The Proprietors 1-1 – In this section Donna goes through the Susquehannah Co. minutes and explains the history of this company. It is very helpful starting in 1753 to 1802. You could follow along in the Susquehannah Company Papers Series of Books as you review her explanations.
- Abbreviations, Vocabulary, Short Titles 1-126 – This will help with the shorthand used in the booklets.
- Susquehanna Company Records: Location Table 1-28 – A table of the various Minute and Account Books of the Susquehannah Company used in this compilation – Liber A through H and Liber I and Liber A (Volume 2). These Account books were not used in Boyd’s Susquehannah Company Papers, he only used the Minute book.
- Section 2 The Database – Guide – How to Search, Spelling, Database Field – See below.
- Connecticut’s Pennsylvania “Colony” 1754-1810, Susquehanna Company Proprietors, Settlers and Claimants, Volume II – The Settlers, by Donna Bingham Munger, Heritage Books, 2007.
- Introduction, with Acknowledgments – In this section Donna writes about the Susquehanna Companies Papers Series and that the authors used only the minute books for the basis of their series. The Account Books were not consulted until Donna included them in her compilations. The Account Books are housed in the Connecticut Historical Society in Hartford as a result of her efforts. Donna used both sources for her Proprietors Volume – see above. These Account books have the names of the settlers and Donna extracted them to create these booklets.
- Section I: The Historical Setting
- Recapitulation: The Proprietors – Donna gives an overview of the first Volume.
- Historical Setting: The Settlers – In this section, Donna, gets specific about the settlers that came to the Wyoming Valley. She uses the Susquehanna Company Papers, The Pennsylvania Archive Volumes and Series of Books and many more sources too numerous to mention here. One has to read the whole section to understand what Volume II The Settlers was based on. There is a total of 32 listed sources with where to find the originals if you are so inclined.
- Abbreviations, Vocabulary and Short Titles
- Section II: The Database – Guide to the Database, How to Search, Spelling, Database Fields – see below, The Database.
- Connecticut’s Pennsylvania “Colony” 1754-1810, Susquehanna Company Proprietors, Settlers and Claimants, Volume III The Claimants, by Donna Bingham Munger, Heritage Books, 2007.
- Introduction with Acknowledgements – In this section Donna gives an overview of the first two volumes and then explains the reason for Volume III The Claimants which cover the land claiming process the settlers had to go through. The Trenton Decree on December 30, 1782 was the court decision in which Pennsylvania assumed political control of the region. “Pennsylvania offered settlers in the seventeen Company Townships granted, surveyed and settled before December 30, 1782 an opportunity to become certified claimants if they could prove a chain of title from before that date…”
- Section I The Historical Setting
- Recapitulation: The Settlers – In this section a summary of Volume II is given.
- Historical Setting: The Claimants – After December 30, 1782 solving the land claims was accomplished by a trial of Article IX of the Articles of Confederation of the United States and various Acts of the government of Pennsylvania. You have to read this complete section and you will find 30 sources that are detailed by the author.
- Appendix: The Seventeen Certified Townships are described and they are: Wilkesbarre, Kingston (Forty), Plymouth, Pittstown (Pittston) (Lackawanna), Hannover (Nanticoke), Huntington, Newport, Providence, Exeter, Salem, Springfield, Claverack, Putnam, Northmoreland, Braintrim, Bedford, Ulster.
- Abbrevations, Vocabulary and Short Titles – You need to use this to understand the sources in #ii above.
- Section II The Database – Guide to the Database, How to Search, Spelling, Database Fields – see below, The Database A to Z
The Database fields are the columns in the each volume and they contain different information. Click to open the photo.
The Proprietors are: Grantor, Grantee, notes, Grantor Residence, Grantee Residence, Description, Location, Amount, Acct bk page, deed date, record date.
The Settlers are: Name, Note, Date Present, Place, Source
The Claimants are: Claimant, Township, Drawer, Division, Date Acquired – Lot No., Chain of Title, Acres, Patentee, Source, Patent Book, Survey Bk.
Please be advised that the sources used in these booklets were found in a variety of archives, libraries, personal papers and societies throughout New England and Pennsylvania, so it was a huge undertaking.
I highly recommend researching at the Connecticut Historical Society in Hartford. If you are researching the Wyoming Valley, this is one of the archives to visit. Donna worked with them to write her books. I have been their several times myself and each time was a joy to visit. https://chs.org/
I will be referring to these books in future posts regarding the land of the Goss Family and those individuals that married into the family.