Sometimes it’s about what you don’t find.

Today I found myself in Portsmouth NH with some time to kill and I dropped i to the Portsmouth Athenæum to see if I could find anything relating to Captain Leonard Young (1814-1860.)

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Leonard was born and lived a good portion of his life in Trenton, Hancock County, Maine – Right near Bar Harbor.  Between 1850 and 1855 he and his family moved to Dighton, Bristol County, Massachusetts – Just North of Fall River (and shortly after the death of his father.)  He is listed as a Mariner in the Census Records, as was his son.  One census lists him as a ‘Sea Captain’ even.  His gravestone titles him as Captain.

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While I thought it may be a long shot, the Athenæum specializes in maritime records.  Portsmouth is not really that close to either, but it is a major port between the two.

The wonderful people at the Athenæum seemed to take this on as if it were a personal project of their own.  Two of the women there began to scurry in several directions once they learned of what I was seeking.  They new exactly where to look for any mention of Leonard.  Consulting Indexes, Tomes and the stacks and stacks of books they have in their collection.  These two could put Google out of business. The entire time they were firing out questions and results of other ‘Youngs’ but there were too many mismatches in dates and or places to even come close to thinking they were Leonard or related.

The long and short of it however was that they came up empty. Near the end of the search, one of the two ladies asked me if I knew if he sailed a Packet Ship as most of their Custom Records would be for overseas journies (via Galleon I would suspect.)

So in the end I learned that it was doubtful that he sailed into, or out of Portsmouth to ports over seas.

I am ok with that ‘nothing’ answer as sometimes it is just as important to rule something out.

My next step for this search will be a historical society further North I believe. They suggested Portland Maine as a start. The Bar Harbor area is a bit too far for a day trip. I may have another source to check in with too, but we will keep that one in the hat for now.

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