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After my father's death, when the question of the completion of the History of New Ipswich came up, it was understood that he had said that is was "nearly done." It was, so far as the gathering of available data was concerned, but it was like the gathering of threads which were dropped before the knot was tied.
My father had often mentioned the invaluable aid given him in this work by Miss Lee, and accordingly she was asked if she would undertake the completion of the historical part, to which she consented. It seemed best that I should take up the genealogical part, and I did so. I found that many families had been written up in great detail, (full data having been received,) with the probable intention of future condensation to proportions suitable for this book. Other families had been partially written up awaiting further data, while a large number of families had not yet been written up at all because of a lack of authentic data. As a result, some of the families have not received here the attention justly due their importance in the town.
Even the completed work was found to need careful revision, for old age leaves its marks on the works of one's hands and brain, such as the exchange of figures in copying dates, but these and other mistakes we have endeavored to discover and remove. The task of a genealogist is not an easy one; in many cases people to whom letters requesting information about their families are sent reply six months or a year later saying that they know nothing of the family, but that perhaps a certain cousin can give the information, and then another six months may bring a similar answer from the cousin; in other cases someone apparently very much interested in the genealogy may give data showing that his aunt was married at the age of two years, died twenty years before she was born, or some other equally impossible combination of dates; less absurd errors will often pass undetected. It has not been possible to avoid all mistakes in such a work as this, but lenience is besought in the criticism of what may be found amiss.
In writing a town genealogy there are manifold questions as to how much should be included. It was decided to insert no family unless two generations of voters bearing that name had resided here. This rule eliminated several who, though living here but a few years, were marked factors in the town's history, but some line had to be drawn. To many readers the ancestry of residents of the town has very little interest, but to the historian and genealogist it is of great value; so the ancestors of each family name have been inserted as far as they could be discovered.
I wish to thank Miss Sarah Fiske Lee for her aid, without which this work would have been impossible, Miss Caroline F. Barr for her generous support of the work, the other members of the Town Historical Committee, and many others who have given aid in gathering the material for this book.
Edith B. Chandler, Springfield, Missouri, September 20, 1913.