Saturday, November 7, 2015

Ancestor Hunting Season

For genealogists, it's ancestor hunting season all year long. Ancestors with common names pose a particular challenge. I'm a big fan of Robert Charles Anderson's Great Migration Begins series and found his newsletter article, "How Many John Jacksons?" very helpful in walking through the process of disentangling men with the same name.

I have this clue for John & Katharine Jackson as the parents of Elizabeth Jackson who married Capt. Thomas West. Based on this, I can conclude that Elizabeth Jackson, and probably her parents, emigrated prior to 1661 and lived in Beverly. It is possible that they came earlier and lived in other Massachusetts towns. She was born about 1642 so her parents were likely born between 1597-1622. 

The West family from The History of Chester:
"Capt. Thomas West married in Beverly, Mass., 12 Dec. 1661, Elizabeth Jackson, dau. of John and Katharine Jackson. She died in Beverly, Mass., 12 Oct 1708, aged 66 y., 9m. Capt. Thomas West died there 28 Mar 1723, in the 81st year of his age."

The Great Migration newsletters are a great source of information, but even better, many articles give insight into the process of developing the sketches. This process is something genealogists can put into practice in their own work to help cut down on errors. I highly recommend reading the newsletter to discover not only information about your ancestors, but also to pick up tips on analyzing the information you find. The article "How Many John Jacksons?" was of particular interest because I have an immigrant John Jackson in my tree. 

There are four John Jacksons who arrived in 1635.
  1. John Jackson, aged 27, came on the Elizabeth and Ann.
  2. John Jackson, aged 30, who came on the Defence.
  3. John Jackson, aged 40, who came on the Blessing. with his wife, Margaret, and son, John Jackson, aged 2.
Looking at marriages yields more John Jacksons...some may be the same as those above...
  1. John Jackson and wife Eleanor were married by 1630 and lived in Gloucester. Further inspection revealed that there is no record that places this John Jackson in New England before 1653. 
  2. John Jackson and wife Margaret were married by 1633 and lived in Salem. He was in Salem records in 1636 and is "aged about twenty-one years" in 1639. He has a son, John Jr. and a wife, Margaret, according to the will of Bethia Cartwright. Same as #3 above.
  3. John Jackson and wife Catherine were married by 1635 and lived in Ipswich. He is living in town by 1635 as a neighbor of William Fuller. There aren't enough records to say whether this is one of the men listed above. This family is possibly the John & Katharine who were the parents of Elizabeth. 
  4. John Jackson and wife Joanna were married by 1635 and lived in Portsmouth, NH. He doesn't appear in records until 1651. From 1651 to his death in 1666, he appears frequently. The lack of records prior to 1651 suggests that he did not emigrate in 1635. 
  5. John Jackson and wife unknown were married by 1639 and lived in Cambridge. He had a brother Edward Jackson who also lived in Cambridge. Although several writers have said this man came to Massachusetts in 1635, there are no records of him prior to 1639. His two oldest children were not recorded in Cambridge. 
  6. John Jackson and wife Abigail were married by 1639 and lived in Boston. He appears in records in 1637/8 and is called a carpenter. There aren't enough records to positively conclude whether he was or was not one of the John Jackson's above.
The Great Migration sketch of John and Katherine suggest that John was born about 1614 and married Katherine by about 1637. Their children include five likely daughters and one son, but there are not enough records of the daughters to link them to husbands with only one exception. Hannah Jackson who married William Averill is a probable daughter of this couple. So the hunt continues for records and proof of parentage for Elizabeth Jackson.

John & Katherine Jackson
Elizabeth (Jackson) West
Mary (West) Woodbury
Mary (Woodbury) Herrick
Sarah (Herrick) Ellingwood
John Ellingwood, Sr.
John Ellingwood, Jr.
Asa Freeman Ellingwood
Nina (Ellingwood) Gibbs
Annie (Gibbs) Cotton
Fern Lyndell (Cotton) Carter - my grandmother

Great Migration Newsletter Volume 12 No. 3. July-September 2001. "How Many John Jacksons?"

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