Thursday, October 15, 2020

A peak into a new database - Boston, MA Provident Institution for Savings

Today I received an email from American Ancestors about a database update, for a database called "Boston, MA Provident Institution for Savings 1817-1882".  I couldn't resist taking a quick peak into it, as I am not aware of having used any bank records in research up until now.

I accessed the database and ran a search for "Rice" which is a major research focus for me.  There were 101 entries for "Rice".  

I started with the first one, which was for a Melissa Rice, wife of Nelson Rice and their son Francis H Rice. The page is titled Apr 4th, 1855.  They lived at 32 Pleasant.  What I really liked about this record is that Melissa signed with an X, but a note states that she could "write but has a cane right hand".  I did a quick search in my Legacy database for a Nelson Rice married to a Melissa and didn't find one.  I then did a quick search on for a Nelson Rice married to a Melissa and didn't find one.  A quick scan of my Nelson Rice entries in my Legacy database didn't show any with a Boston birthplace, so I searched Ancestry for a marriage of a Nelson Rice to a Melissa, and found one in 1831 in Boston.  Unfortunately, there were no parents listed.

I then switched gears and looked for a Francis H Rice, in Boston, son of a Nelson Rice.  I found an 1855 Massachusetts census record with a Nelson Rice, 49, born in NH, M Rice, 39, born in MA, and Francis H Rice,23 born in MA, Horatio N Rice, 21, born in MA and Alonzo O Rice, 19, born in MA all living in Boston, MA.

I did have a Nelson Rice born in 1806 in Vermont, son of Gardner Rice and Lydia Hagar in my database.

In the 1840 city directory for Boston, there is only one Nelson Rice, living in the rear of 28 Poplar. He is listed as a laborer.

In the 1842 city directory for Boston, there is only one Nelson Rice, living in the rear of 31 Allen.

There is an 1850 Census with a Nelson Rice, 44, born in Vermont, with a "Miles" Rice, and sons Horatio and Alonzo in Boston, MA.

In 1860 the Nelson Rice family appears to be in California.

Nelson Rice would be my 4th cousin 7 times removed, he is also a descendant of Edmund Rice.

Melissa died in 1879 in California. There is a Findagrave memorial at

Other researchers have indicated that Nelson died in California in 1880.

I find a Nelson Rice, age 77 listed on a voters list in 1890, having registered in 1884.

In 1907 there is mention in the newspaper article of his son, Francis H Rice requesting administration of his estate, as he had died in 1888.

As I accepted the Ancestry hints to the top 10 trees with Nelson Rice, I added a note to each indicating I believe his correct death date is 16 Mar 1888.

I find it interesting to note that the top tree had 5 sources and 4 records for Nelson.  By this point I had 28 sources and 23 records. Only the top 2 matches had his wife Melissa, and neither had all 3 children listed.  

I also find it interesting I could only be matched with 10 other researchers, and I suspect this may be a limit imposed by Ancestry, not that there were actually only 10.

The death record of Francis Henry Rice in 1910 in Chico, Butte, California, incorrectly listed and indexed as born and died on the same date, altho he is listed as aged 77 years, 8 months. This record lists his parents as Nelson Rice and Melissa Flog, and states Nelson was born in New York, and Melissa in MA. The informatant on this death record was his brother Otis Alonzo.  In the 1910 census the brothers were listed as living together.

Otis made a will and died in 1916, and left his estate to his friend Anson.  

Going back to the bank records, later that same year, on 11 Jul 1855, there is another entry for Melissa and her son Francis H, and her address is still 32 Pleasant but his is "California"


1840 US Census, accessed at

1850 US Census, accessed at

1855 Massachusetts State Census, accessed at

1860 US Census, accessed at

1870 US Census, accessed at

1880 US Census, accessed at

various California Voters Registers, accessed at

Findagrave for Melissa Rice

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