Tuesday, December 23, 2014

52 Ancestors: #51 Josiah Skillings (1734-1745)

Josiah Skillings, my fifth great grand uncle, was born on this date in 1747 in Scarborough, Maine, the second of thirteen children born to Edward Skillings and Sarah Mills, and their first son.

At the age of nearly 10 years, on May 30, 1745, Josiah passed away. There is no record of the cause. But, at the time of his death, his mother Sarah was expecting her seventh child. As was the custom, this next child, born in the fall of 1745, was given the name of the older brother who had died.

This may not have been the best decision, if one were at all superstitious. This seventh child, named Josiah, did not live to his second birthday.

When a set of male twins was born to Edward and Sarah in 1752, one of the twin brothers was named Josiah, again!

Many 18th century families consisted of a large number of children, as insurance against the high childhood mortality rate.

The re-use of first names, as this example shows, was also very common.


Descendants of Thomas and Deborah (?) Skillings of Cumberland Co, Maine (http://freepages.genealogy.rootsweb.ancestry.com/~arlene/Skillings/sources.htm#f418b)

Sargent, William M., Esq, "Records of the First Congregational Church in Scarborough, Maine," Maine Historical and Genealogical Recorder multiple (Baptisms: 2:162; 3:8-12; Marriages: 2:83-90; 144-150; 238-243).

Skillings, Franklin. Memoir of Robert F. Skillings, with genealogy and poems (Portland: Smith & Sale, printers, 1911), pp.8-9.

“The Skillings Family,” Maine Historical and Genealogical Record, Vol. II, No. 2 (1885), p. 106.


This is the 51st in a series, “52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks,” coordinated by Amy Johnson Crow at

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