My blog has been changed to make it more appealing for those who have New England ancestors and want to see the area through photos. Things I’ll include are typical white New England churches, libraries showing their genealogical collection, historical societies, cemeteries, war memorials, in general, anything to do with history.

For four years I’ve blogged mostly about my personal genealogy in New England (Connecticut, Massachusetts, Vermont, and New Hampshire), New York, New Jersey, Michigan, Illinois, Wisconsin, and the Eastern Townships of Quebec, Canada. I still will, can’t forget my own roots.

Please check out the labels on the right side for articles. The header tabs at the top are a work in progress.

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

The Best Genealogist Reversed the Wives

The Bishop surname was the first name I researched when I began on my genealogy road to discovery. My grandfather, Earle Bishop had done the groundwork, and because Bishop is my middle name, I thought I would have an easy time. Especially, since the family lived in Connecticut for over three hundred years, and the records in Connecticut are excellent.

Many years ago, I used the book, Families of Ancient New Haven, Vol. 4, compiled by Donald Lines Jacobus in 1927. He is known as the Dean of American Genealogy, and most genealogists have heard of him. There were plenty of sources and I quickly entered them as I trusted his work. Fast forward 19 years. 

In looking at my file recently, mostly to find out if there were any grave entries on Find-A-Grave, I realized there were major differences in what I had for dates and spouses. A dash to my Bishop binder and upon checking the contents, I found several, long forgotten pages copied from an article by Donald L. Jacobus, almost 20 years after his original Bishop genealogy. Below is the major discovery I found.

From The American Genealogist, Vol. 25 : 208-209. Vol. 3. (July 1948) Two James Bishops of New Haven, Conn. by Donald Lines Jacobus, M. A., of New Haven, Conn. I'm sharing three paragraphs written by Mr. Jacobus. Serious genealogists might enjoy reading what he wrote, and personally, I would never have my Bishop lineage if it wasn't for his help.

"Deputy-Governor James Bishop had two grandsons named James Bishop. They were born within the same year; each married (though three years apart) a woman named Elizabeth; both lived in the north parish (now North Haven) of New Haven, Conn.; and the mother of both was named Abigail, making that name among their children worthless as evidence. The recorder inconsiderately failed to distinguish them as "sr." and "jr." in their records of marriage, hence either James could have married either Elizabeth. Neither James had probate; one conveyed late in life to all his surviving children, son and daughters, in a single deed in lieu of a will, while the other conveyed in separate deeds to his sons. Presumably the latter James portioned his daughters at marriage, and their identity cannot be established by either probate or land records.

When working on a specific Bishop problem for Mrs. A. O. Lunt of Salt Lake City, Utah, the writer became convinced that in his early work on Families of Ancient New Haven (1 :201-3, 206-7) he had reversed the wives of the two cousins named James Bishop and had also made a couple of mistakes regarding their older children, and the following correction is made with Mrs. Lunt's permission.

While absolute proof cannot be claimed, the Writer has no doubt that the following is a correct account. The circumstantial evidence, however, is so involved and difficult to make clear to anyone who has not searched the records, that it would require a monograph to set forth the evidence and the chain of reasoning based on it. Here we shall have to limit ourselves to presenting the revised genealogical statement."

While I appreciate his taking responsibility for the mistakes, I am glad I was able to correct his errors in my tree. I'm very fortunate in knowing I had the best work on my genealogy.

I decided to see how many others have errors based on the James Bishop who died in 1780 and who he married. Using RootsWeb, I found 28 entries.  There were 11 who had him married Elizabeth Clinton, which is wrong, 14 who had Elizabeth Perkins which is right, and 3 who had both wives listed which of course is wrong.