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Saturday, November 25, 2006

Something Doesn't Add Up

Sometimes it pays to look at old evidence with fresh eyes.

I was looking over the family record of my great-great-grandfather Lemuel Dunham this afternoon, and noticed something odd. On Oct. 3, 1825, Lemuel married Molly (Bisbee) Bryant—a young widow who had borne an illegitimate child at age 17. On Mar. 26, 1826, Lemuel and Molly's first child was born.

I have read these dates thousands of times in the past, but only today did I notice that my ancestors had rolled in the hay prior to taking their vows.

Primoprematurity is nothing new in my family: three of my four sets of great-grandparents had children less than nine months after marrying. My paternal grandmother's father married twice, and on both occasions there was a bun in the oven. But this is the first proof of premarital conception in my Dunham line—proof I can't wait to spring on my father.

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