Monday, April 19, 2010

Who were parents of Susanna Page (ca1611-1691)?

I received an email from a CVGS colleague several weeks ago saying "Randy, do you have a tie to Susanne Page 1611-1690, if so go to Ancestry & search Richard Robert Page, this is her grandfather..." Okay, I thought, I'll go check it out, since I recalled that I did not know the parents of my Susanna Page (1611-1691).

Susannah Page was an immigrant to colonial New England, probably with her husband Thomas Gleason (1607-1686), and settled in Watertown and later Cambridge in Massachusetts Bay Colony.

Over the years, there have been many claims in online Family Trees concerning the parentage of Susannah (Page) Gleason, including:

1) In Ancestral Tree database: no entries!

2) In the Pedigree Resource File: 79 entries

* No parents listed - 24 matches
* John Page/Phoebe Paine - 24 matches
* Robert or William Page - 16 matches
* Robert Page/Lucy Ward - 8 matches
* Robert Page / no spouse - 3 matches
* John Page/Mary - 1 match
* John (George) Page/Phoebe Paine - 1 match
* William Page/no spouse - 1 match
* William Page/Ann - 1 match

3) One World Tree: 3 matches:

* John Page/Phoebe Paine - 116 trees (with 7 different birth places)
* Robert Page/Lucy Ward - 7 trees
* John Page/Mary Paine - 3 trees

4) Public Member Trees: 78 matches

* John Page/Phoebe Paine - 53 matches
* John Page/Mary Paine - 3 matches
* John Page/no spouse - 1 match
* John (George) Page/no spouse - 2 matches
* William Page/no spouse - 4 matches
* William Page/Phoebe Paine - 2 matches
* Robert Page or William Page/no spouse - 3 matches
* Robert Page/no spouse - 2 matches
* Robert Page/Margaret Goodwin - 1 match
* Robert Page/Phoebe Paine - 4 matches
* Robert Page/Lucy Ward - 3 matches

5) WorldConnect database - 72 matches

* No parents - 24 matches
* John Page/Phoebe Paine - 21 matches
* Robert or William Page/no spouse - 19 matches
* John Page/Mary Paine - 3 matches
* Robert Page/Lucy Ward - 3 matches
* William Page/no spouse - 1 match
* William Page/Phoebe Paine - 1 match

Where did these people gather their information? Likely from other researchers who put the information in an online family tree, or passed around a family group sheet or pedigree chart via snail mail or email.

The "most popular" set of parents was John and Phoebe (Paine) Page who settled in Watertown MA and had several children. This family is in Robert Charles Anderson's The Great Migration Begins book, but the sketch does not list a daughter Susanna. There are NEHGR articles (Volumes 101 and 103) that list the descendants of John and Phoebe (Paine) Page. There is an NEHGR article for the descendants of Robert and Lucy (Ward) Page - at least they had a daughter, Susanna! Wrong one, I think.

What's the right answer to my question? After being totally frustrated by the above f*ckall useless search, I Googled using search terms ["Susanna Page" "Thomas Gleason"] and received 145 matches. Almost all of them regurgitate information similar to the data above. However, the very first one is a GenForum message written by Dan Page on the GLEASON Message Board on 19 August 2007. The message (there is an identical message on PAGE message board) says:

"Recently, researcher Robert Page and others have been looking for English origins of the oft-mentioned Thomas Page who came early to the Isle of Wight, VA. Of course they were alert for Pages named Thomas. They have been sifting records for Co. Suffolk, England. In the process, they came across the following will:

"THOMAS PAGE of Hawstead, yeoman, 13 January 1636/37
Commends soul to God trusting through merits of my sweet saviour Christ Jesus to have commission of sins and consequently inherit the kingdom of heaven prepared for me and all the elect people of God. I give the poor people of Hawstead 20s to be distributed at discretion of my exor. Upon marriage with my new wife Elizabeth I entered into a bond to pay her L11 p.a. for life and another L4 p.a. out of certain lands in Finningham. In addition I now devise to her all the household stuff she brought with her at time of our marriage in lieu of all demands on my estate. I entreat her to be contented with this. I promised Thomas Lock L60 in consideration of marriage with my daughter Mary; I have already paid him L30 and I give him L30 more to be paid within a year of my decease. To son William L10 within a year; and to daughter Susan, wife of Thomas Gleason, L20 within 2 years. To son John the reversion of my two tenements of Finningham after my wife's decease; the possession of them is settled on her for life. To son Joseph, L40 when 21 and in the meantime he is to be brought up at charge of my exor and bound out as an apprentice at his charge. All the rest of my real and personal estate, my legacies and funeral charges being paid, I give to son Thomas and make him sole exec. Legatees have benefit of survivorship.
Wit. George Scarpe, Rebecca Page, Thomas Page. Pr. at Ixworth 11 July 1633 by John Syer to exor.

"You may recall that Susanna (Page) Gleason is believed to have had a brother William Page of Watertown. e.g.: William's will made small bequests to all his kinsmen in N. Eng., mentions his kinsman, Thomas Leason; to his kinsman, William Leason, then living with him, 10 pounds at the age of 22 years. Inventory, Jan. 18, 1664-5, 137 pounds 12. His widow, Anna, married previous to June 22, 1669, Nicholas Wood, of Goggestow, near Meadfield. She afterwards married Edward Winn, of Woburn.

"Now, the Will of Winn's widow Anna, dated Sept. 9, 1685, proved Nov. 1, 1686, gave John Coolidge, 5 pounds; Dea. Henry Bright, 5 pounds; brother-in-law, Gleason, 40s.; kinsman, Thomas Gleason, 20s.; wife of Thomas Pratt, 20s., and bequests to her kinsmen, Joseph, John, Philip, Isaac, William, Mary, and Anne Gleason. Thomas Pratt was the spouse of our Susanna (Page) Gleason's daughter Susanna."

What a superb example of genealogy research performed by the Page people! They found the link to Susanna (Page) Gleason. My thanks to Dan Page for noting it and posting it to the PAGE and GLEASON message boards.

In my little mind, this will, and the other cited documents, are primary information concerning Susanna's birth parents. I need to find the original source, the actual record, of course, but will pursue that in Salt Lake City next week! Now what about Thomas Page? I could find no other record for this particular Thomas Page in Suffolk in Ancestry family trees. Perhaps the Hawstead parish registers will have him listed with a spouse and children (if it exists). I wonder what Susanna's mother's name was? Susanna named daughters Mary and Ann.

So who's going to beat me and be the first person to put this on an Ancestry Public Member Tree? Better hurry!

The bigger question is "who is going to correct ALL of those spurious online family tree entrees?" Unfortunately, the answer is "only a few researchers who see the GenForum message and this post." Too bad.

This is pretty typical of the state of online family trees - every researcher needs to understand that online family trees are full of wrong information!

UPDATED: I got curious if Hawstead Church records existed before 1640, and it looks like they do not. There are records for 1668-1857, but not before then, at least in Family History Library. Drat! No low hanging parish register fruit.


Kay Haden said...

Amen, Randy. Just lately have found several amazing screw-ups apparently related to the Shaking Leaves and spreading like wildfire in my own families. There are going to be some very strange trees in the future. Congrats on finding something worthwhile out there.

Anonymous said...

Randy - you are so lucky to have found that message board post! So many trees and postings exist that list the wrong information (I've been one of those people in the past who spread around the misinformation...Thankfully, I've learned the value of a source and to take everything with a grain of salt).

Good luck in finding those real records. While it would be a pain and hassle, perhaps you can message some of those users with the bad information. If you write one post and copy and paste it into each message to the tree owners, perhaps they will change. Although, it is unfortunately doubtful.

Susi's Quarter said...

This so sounds like the comments I gave at the Round Table the other day.
MY hope is a WILL or PROBATE will give me the same clues.

Barbara Poole said...

I will be following this, as it is my direct line. I have William as father of Susanna Page, and you prob. saw it on RootsWeb and/or Ancestry. Good article.
My source, I believe, was White, John Barber, Genealogy of the Descendants of Thomas Gleason of Watertown, Massachusetts, (Haverhill, MA: Press of the Nichols Print, 1909). Pg. 19.

Martin said...

According to Burke's "Key to The Ancient Parish Registers of England & Wales" 1908, Hawstead, Suffolk registers start in 1558. Assuming they were not destroyed in WWII, the Genealogists Society in London would have them.

I was just doing work on the Gleason family last week. Not for me for someone else.

Martin said...

I don't know if you're familiar with this web page, but this is the listing of all the parish registers that have been transcribed into the IGI. Hawkstead is not among them.

Sheena said...

Randy - according to the Phillimore "Atlas and Index of Parish Registers" (2003 Edn) the parish registers survive from 1558-1926. The originals are in the Bury St Edmunds branch of Suffolk Record Office. The Society of Genealogists in London has copies for 1558-1857 and Boyd's marriage index has coverage from 1559-1837.

Anonymous said...

There is an old book out there on the lineage of the Gleason family which begins with Susannah and Thomas coming here from England in the 1600s. This is my husband's family and I believe my son is the 11th generation or so. My name is Susan Page Gleason but can't confirm that I am the right Page. :)

Susan (Page) Gleason said...

My name is Susan Page Gleason. (for real) I cannot say that I am related to your Susan Page Gleason but I can say positively that I am married to Peter G. Gleason who is definitely descended from Thomas Gleason who arrived in this country with his wife back in the 1600s. She can be traced back in England. He cannot, which is interesting.

SusanG said...

What I should have mentioned is that a cousin of my husband has an old book which does nothing but outline this particular family tree. He is Paul Gleason of Ash St. in Spencer Massachusetts. -Susan Gleason

Rob Chapman said...

Thanks very much for this post, and thanks to the original researcher. Susanna Page, spouse of Thomas Gleason, is one of my 11th Great-grandmothers. I am just putting together my family story, after years of research, and had picked up some of the erroneous materiel mentioned. It was obvious there was a lot of conflicting suggestions out there, and most were bound to be wrong.

Unknown said...

There is a new 2014 article which in part addresses the parentage of William and Susana Page: Judith Gleason Claassen, “The Origin of Thomas Gleason of Watertown and Cambridge, Massachusetts,” The New England Historical and Genealogical Register, 168(2014)5-­‐15. For more information about the New England Historic Genealogical Society, please visit