The long and the short of it is that I got a few useful things for the $376.90 I sent NEHGS, but I don't know anything more than I did before about who Molly's parents might be. Five months was a long time to be waiting for a result, and then to have a bit of a let down was pretty disappointing. NEHGS did say they would be happy to do more research and they estimated they would need another 10 hours ($600) to search the records that should be searched.
I think what bothers me is that they suggested searching for clues in bastardy records, and I had suggested that to them in my original request. Also, they started by looking for clues in the will of Amariah Holbrook and of Molly Wright Holbrook. While I am certainly happy to have copies of those records, it doesn't make sense to me that one would start with wills when looking for the subject's parents. But OK.
The good news is that I have some clues. They sent a list of seven microfilms they would want to search, but would need to order them from Salt Lake City. I can probably order them and read them myself, quicker and more reasonably priced than they can, and a couple of local genealogists have advised me to do that.
They suggested looking for probate records for Seth Wight of Medfield because two of his sons are named Joel and Nahum, which are names Molly and Amariah used for their children. I have found a total of six children for Seth, three with Sarah Prat and three with Hannah Morse. One of their daughters, Sarah, was born exactly thirteen months before the date we have for Molly's birth, which makes me wonder if Molly is a name for Sarah, and whether somehow the birthday for Molly might be wrong. We don't know where that date came from, as far as I know. So that's a possibility.
They also suggested looking for the probate records for Elnathan Wight of Bellingham. He was a well known Baptist church leader and one of his sons was named Nathan, another name that the Holbrooks used for a son.
Molly owed money to Susanna Wright at the time of her death and it might be useful to figure out who she was.
They also suggested looking at probate files for John Pratt, who was the grandfather of Seth Wight's first three children. They thought perhaps Molly would be mentioned in the will, but the papers indicating John Pratt's bequest was dated in 1754, several years before Molly is believed to have been born.
So what I got was Amariah Holbrook's nuncupative will from 1797, probate records from 1798 and from 1799, Molly Holbrook's probate records from 1845, William Wright's probate record from 1778 (on the chance that he was Molly's first husband), guardianship records for Nahum, Joel and Aliph Wight from 1754 and for Nathan and Eliab Wight from 1764, and copies of the town clerk's entries for the births of the children of Amariah and Molly. And so ends the report.
I'd like to know if any of my readers have ordered a professional genealogy report before, from anyone, and what their results were. Did I get as much value for my money as I should have expected? Were the researchers following standard operating procedure in first looking for wills for the Holbrooks? What would you have done done?
Another $600 is totally outside my budget so I'll be doing this the DIY way, but at least I know what films to request and what to look for. In the future, I'll post Amariah's will and also Molly's administration papers, because there may be other researchers who, if they are still researching, will appreciate them.
The line of descent, again, is
Amariah Holbrook-Molly Wright
Nahum Holbrook-Susanna Rockwood
Joseph Holbrook-Mary Elizabeth Whittemore
Fremont Holbrook-Phoebe Brown
Loren Holbrook-Etta Stanard
Gladys Holbrook-Richard Allen