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Hart Research Outline on Obadiah Seeley

Part 5
Frederick C. Hart Jr. information

Address: 1311 Great Hill Road, North Guilford, CT 06437-3649,
Phone: (203) 457-9383
What: Client Research Report
Date: 12/31/99
Report Number: SGS-5
Subject: Obadiah Seeley of Stamford, Connecticut
Objective: Continuing research on his English origin.
Limitations: None stated.
Other: None.

This is a progress report on activities since 6/25/99.

Summary of Results
Some investigation has been made in English records through third parties to attempt to find a will or other probate proceeding for William Seeley of Birmingham, possibly the father of Obadiah Seeley of Stamford, with entirely negative results. This investigation should be continued by the Society using other researchers more familiar with and capable in the subject matter.

Records Searched
Probate Records
Lichfield Consistory Court and peculiar courts, probate indexes at the Staffordshire Stoke on Trent Archive Service, Staffordshire, England.

Prerogative Court of Canterbury, indexes at the Public Record Office, London.

Findings and Analysis

  1. William Seeley is known to have been a member of the Birmingham St. Martins parish from (at least) 1609 to (at least) 1636. It is important to locate his will or other probate proceeding in order to determine what happened to his children, in particular to his son Obadiah, baptized 5 June 1614, who may be the Obadiah Seeley of Stamford Connecticut.
  2. Birmingham, Warwickshire, England is a major city, and happens to be on the boundary line between two present English counties, Warwickshire and West Midlands. The city of Birmingham has been in different jurisdictions at various times. Finding a probate proceeding for a person in this location therefore requires a detailed knowledge of the geography and the progression of jurisdictions that have applied to probate matters in various periods. Even with this special knowledge, it is often necessary to search records in several locations before a conclusion can be reached. It is also possible (but unlikely) that William Seeley did not leave an estate that required probate, and that no such proceeding was ever recorded.
  3. My own knowledge of these probate jurisdictions was and still is almost nonexistent, but nevertheless I made a few attempts to discover William Seeley’s will as requested by the Society. The first attempt was a request to the Lichfield Record Offfice, The Friary, Lichfield, WS13 6Qg. This archive contains records for the diocese of Lichfield including North Warwickshire. I sent them a request on 9 May 1999 and received their answer on 17 May 1999, copy enclosed. They reported negative results and recommend two other sources to try next:
    > The Family Records Centre of the Public Record Office (PRO) for the Prerogative Court of Canterbury or PCC (which recorded almost all wills in England during the period 1642-1660), and
    > Central Reference Library, Chamberlain Square, Birmingham B3 3HQ. I have not yet contacted this possible source.
  4. Upon the first suggestion of the Lichfield Record Office, I next contacted the Public Record Office (PRO) directly on 22 May 1999. I received their reply of about 25 May, in which they explained that they could not undertake the research unless a specific document or file was requested, and that I would have to contact a paid researcher, for which they provided a list.
  5. I selected one of the listed persons, Mr. Michael Gandy, based on some knowledge of his work elsewhere, and after introductory letters, made a firm request to him on 12 July 1999. I did not receive his report until 19 August 1999, but it also included negative results. His suggestion for future research was to investigate the Archdeaconry of Coventry, but he was not prepared to perform that research himself. I have not yet followed up on that suggestion.

Suggestions for Additional or Future Research

  1. As recommend to and agreed with Wesley A. Waring, the Seeley Genealogical Society will consider arrangements with others for continuation of this line of research.
  2. We have informally discussed some possible arrangements with researchers, but I also should point out that this research may be done effectively in Salt Lake City by capable researchers there using the Family History Library’s facilities. If you would like recommendations in this area, please let me know.
  3. As already noted above, two suggestions have been received that are not yet investigated, those being (1) the Birmingham Central Reference Library, and (2) the probate records of the Archdeaconry of Coventry, location not yet determined.

Other Research Notes and Observations

Table of Attachments
A. Letter from Lichfield Record Office, 17 May 1999.
B. Letter from the Public Record Office, 25 May 1999.
C. Report from Michael Gandy, 19 August 1999.


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