Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Simpson Pedigree Errors by Don Simpson

Written Dec., 2012, by Don Simpson

A recently received copy of a Simpson pedigree has led to finding the source of some of the errors seen in several pedigrees found on the Internet. The errors involve some of the earliest generations of our Simpson line of Swan Creek in now Harford Co., MD. It is given as follows:

Thomas R Simpson, b. 1690 MD, d. 1737 MD, married 1st Eleanor, b. 1690, d. ???, 2nd Mary Smith, b. 1687, d. 1765. ---- Thomas’ father was Richard Simpson, b. 1663 MD, d. ???, married 1st Elizabeth, b. 1667, d. 1762, 2nd Ann Gilbert, b. 1670, d. 1711,  ----  Richard’s father was listed as William Simpson, b. 1645, d. 1710, married Elizabeth Pregle, b. 1646, d. 1663, ---- William’ father was listed as Richard Simpson, b. 1620 Scotland, d. 1711 Maryland, married Elizabeth, b. 1617, d. 1663.

The one listed above as Thomas R Simpson did not have any middle name or initial and how that came to be added in is a puzzle. For his first wife, Eleanor, no date of birth or death are known and it is obvious that someone has made a wild guess and posted it without acknowledging it is a guess. This and much more has been copied by naive individuals because it looks good but without attempting to determine if it is based on any solid record. Thomas’ second wife, Mary Smith, is listed as born 1687 while St. George’s Parish Register gives her birth as 1701 (she was apparently 16 when she married Thomas). Where the date 1687 came from is also a mystery. I have not seen any death date for Mary and do not know if the date 1765 is based on any record or just another wild guess.

Thomas’ father, Richard Simpson, left a will that was probated in 1711 and that is likely the year of his death as wills were then generally probated at the next quarterly court following the death of a testator. When he was born is unknown and we can only estimate it based on other later events. Where he was born is also unknown but was most likely in England. All this seemed to be the usual inexplicable garbage encountered in so many pedigrees found on the Web until I looked more carefully. I noticed that the Richard Simpson, b. 1620 Scotland, had died 1711 in Maryland and realized this was the Richard Simpson whose wife was Ann Gilbert and this pedigree had made him his own Grandfather!!!!! Further, the William Simpson listed as married to Elizabeth “Pregle” was the William Simpson, b. 1694 MD, who married Elizabeth Preble, (not Pregle).

Richard Simpson (wife Ann Gilbert) was probably born in the 1650’s or 1660’s but there is not adequate evidence to know for certain. What has become clear in recent years is that Richard was almost certainly from an English line of Simpsons and was not born in Scotland and of no known relationship to any of the many Scottish Simpson lines. This is based on the DNA analysis of the currently living male line descendants from Richard who all have the R2 haplotype, a haplotype unknown among Scottish Simpsons. Of the many English Simpson lines whose male descendants have had their DNA checked, only our English “cousin” John Simpson has yet been found to have the R2 haplotype. Since John has good evidence his line of Simpsons were in the Potteries District of north Staffordshire in the early 1800’s this seems to coincide roughly with the estimated origin of our Richard of Maryland based on associations there. I had years ago estimated an area of origin as northern Derbyshire or western Yorkshire which area is just north of Staffordshire. My best guess at present for the general area of Richard’s origin is the region of north central England from north of Leeds south to perhaps Lichfield but within that area there were so many Simpson families recorded in the parish records in the 1600’s it is not possible to know to which he may have belonged.

The claim that Richard’s first wife was an Elizabeth is also unsubstantiated and it is not certain that he had any wife before Ann Gilbert. That claim may be due to confusing him with his grandson, Richard, son of Thomas & Eleanor Simpson, whose first wife was recorded twice in St. George’s Parish Register as Elizabeth. The claim that her surname was Reese is without real support & is based on an unfortunate guess that I published years ago in Nona’s “Simpson Clan” newsletter. I was so naive as to think that by mentioning a guess that it would stimulate others to research the matter to find if there is evidence to either prove or disprove. Instead it was picked up by careless individuals as though a proven fact and spread to others equally careless. Since the Internet has become available to genealogy it appears that erroneous pedigrees are spread faster and more widely than correct pedigrees.

Now just a few words about Elizabeth Preble. She was born 27 Dec., 1699, [St. George’s Parish Register] in old Baltimore County (now Harford County) a daughter of Thomas & Mary (Bushnell) Preble. Her father, Thomas, died young and his widow, Mary, then married as her second husband, Archibald Buchanan. Mary, as Mary Buchanan, made her will in 1732, probated 1733, & in it named her daughter Elizabeth Simpson, son-in-law William Simpson, and granddaughter Hannah Simpson. This led at first to some confusion in which William Simpson’s wife was listed as Elizabeth Buchanan, but that was eventually corrected and most listings now correctly give her name as Elizabeth Preble.  While we know her year of birth, I have seen no evidence giving her date of death.