When I was writing my article on the Yeaton family of New Hampshire, I felt it was my job to prove relationships between the various generations of Yeatons. I used primary source records to do that. In the case of Moses3 (Philip2 Richard1) born ca. 1730, died at Somersworth shortly before 12 November 1783 [Strafford Co. Probate], I had some wonderful material. Master Tate, the schoolmaster of Somerswoth, noted the children of Moses in his diary [NEHGR 73 (1919):311-12]. I did deed work and discovered the maiden name of Moses' wife as Alice Legro. [NHPD 99:332]. I noted only that he was a successful trader and amassed quite a fortune in his short lifetime (over £1200).
Moses did not leave will, but his estate was administered. I never bothered to look at his inventory list. I had everything I needed. However, after reading Luckie's plea for people to publish such inventory lists, when they held slaves, I went back to Dover, N.H. to copy the inventory list dated March 1784 [Stafford Co., N.H. Probate 2:69]:
A few observations. He is called a negro boy Fortain (sic) worth £30. He is listed after personal property such as clothes and household items which appear on the preceding page, and after the animal livestock. In fact, he is listed with two swine. Then comes Moses's house and various land holdings. Fortune Yeaton married on 11 December 1788 to Jane Wise of Berwick [Berwick, Me. VRs.]. He is enumerated in the 1800 census in Cumberland Co., Maine as a free black heading a household of four persons. Given that Fortune was called a boy in 1784 and married in 1788, we can tentatively say he born ca. 1770.
Interestingly, Master Tate reports on 13 September 1770, "One of Lieut. Moses Yeaton's Barns part full of hay was Burnt Down, Suppos'd to be set on fire by his Negro Wench, Violet." Was Violet Fortune's mother? Moses purchased Violet on 14 December 1762 from Joseph Pattinson of Newington. The bill of sale also included a boy named Grigg and the total cost was £1155. Was Grigg Fortune? Was his named changed? The full account is here. Either way, only Fortune is listed in Moses Yeaton's estate papers.
In any case, here's a digital Internet trail for this family.
Submission for the Carnival of African-American Genealogy: March 19th: Restore My Name--Slave Records and Genealogy Research.