Mystery Monday: Ann F. Goodwin

I need to get in the habit of writing more along the way as I do research.  I’ve been doing quite a bit of family history research on the Goodwins lately and if I’d kept a good written record of everything I’d been searching for and finding, I’d have quite a few blog posts almost completed!  That’s a habit I struggle with though.  I’m not a natural writer and I struggle putting things into words, even when it’s clear as a bell inside my brain.  I guess I should make writing as I research one of my family history goals.

I’ve also been intending to do a Census Sunday post, but it seems like every census record lately has a mystery attached.  I get caught up in the mystery and never get around to writing the census post.  So today I’m skipping straight to Mystery Monday!

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In 1850 Dresden, Maine, census, in the household of David Speare Goodwin, is one Ann F. Goodwin, age 30.   I have no idea who she is!  She is listed as insane in the far right-hand column. She is a member of this same household in the 1860 (age 47), 1870 (age 57), and 1880 censuses as well.  By 1880 David is dead, but his wife Lydia is the head of household and Ann F. is listed as a cousin, age 66.  David and Lydia were themselves cousins, so I’m assuming she is a cousin of both, but I really don’t know.  In 1880, Ann F. also shows up on the Schedules of Defective, Dependent, and Delinquent Classes, where she is described as “idiotic from birth.”

I have looked at all the Goodwin families in my database and nowhere can I find Ann F. with a birthdate between 1813 and 1820 (going by the census records.)  David Speare Goodwin does have a sister Ann Frances, however, born in 1805, but I don’t think it’s her.  I really think that Ann Frances is the one who marries Allen Covel (or Covil) in Fairfield, Maine, in 1826.  That’s another one of my mysteries however and one of these days I’ll sit down and write that all out.

In the meantime, while searching for something entirely different (isn’t that always how it goes?) I found this in the Lincoln County, Maine, Probate Records, vol. 61, page 289:


I, David S. Goodwin, do solemnly swear that in executing the trust of disposing of the Real Estate of Ann F. Goodwin, a non compos person of Dresden, now deceased, I will act faithfully and impartially, according to my best skill and judgment.  (signed) David S. Goodwin, (dated) Dec. 1st, A.D. 1856

(Sorry about the blurriness of the image, I’m just starting to experiment with taking digital photos of microfilm images and I haven’t got it figured out yet!)

Thanks to Merriam-Webster online, I now know that “non compos” refers to someone “not of sound mind.”  So, as I read it, David S. Goodwin is given the authority to act for Ann F. Goodwin, a person not of sound mind.

This was as far as I got in my search as the Family History Library was about to close.  Hopefully soon, I’ll get back there and delve further into probate records and land records to see what more I can find regarding Ann F. Goodwin and any real estate in her name.

For now, if anything knows anything about who this person is or who her parents were, I’d love to know it!


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