Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Getting Mary --?-- As Right As Possible - Not a Sherman IMHO!

I posteAm I Really Benjamin Franklin's 5th Cousin 9 Times Removed? on Monday, and Follow-Up on Collaborative Tree - Getting It Right on Tuesday.  

Reader Diane Boumenot commented on the Tuesday post with:

"Randy, there has recently been a series of articles on the early Shermans in New England Historic Genealogical Register - see the most recent, Volume 168, Whole Number 669, January 2014 p. 16 for part 6. I haven't gone through them carefully yet to determine my Sherman background."

You know, throughout this work I've had the nagging thought that "I know this has been dealt with recently" but it didn't pop up when I searched for Samuel Sherman in the website, which has all but the last year of New England Historical and Genealogical Register volumes.  

Thank you, Diane!  Of course they have!  And I have been reading them each quarter when they came out.  

1)  So I went back through the issues I have (I have them in PDF format from the AmericanAncestors website) and easily found the Samuel Sherman and Grace --?-- who were supposed to have lived in Boston in the 1640s, and had Mary Sherman (1625-1699) who, according to, WikiTree, the FamilySearch Family Tree, hundreds of Ancestry Member Trees, and many websites, was purportedly married to Thomas Fish (1619-1687) of Portsmouth, Rhode Island.  

I found the target Samuel Sherman family in the article:

Michael Johnson Wood, "The Earliest Shermans of Dedham, and Theiur wives: Part 3: Henry Sherman the Younger and his Wife," New England Historical and Genealogical Register, Volume 167, Number 2 (April 2013), pages 149-156.

Here are images of the two pages (pages 151-152) which deal with the Samuel and Grace (--?--) Sherman family:

Apparently, there is no marriage record for Samuel Sherman and Grace --?--, and the article lists their six children, including Mary Sherman, born in 1633.  She married a Clarke (probably Emanuel Clarke of Marblehead) before 1662, and Emanuel Clarke died after June 1669 when he was a defendant in an Essex County, Massachusetts Quarterly Court Case.  In addition, Mary Clarke, probably of Marblehead, was age 29 in June 1662 (so born in about 1633, probably in England) when her age was given in another Essex County Quarterly Court case.  Emanuel and Mary (Sherman) Clarke left no probate records in Essex County, Massachusetts.  See page 154 for this discussion.

Since Mary (--?--) Fish was having children with Thomas Fish in Portsmouth, Rhode Island from about 1646 to about 1661, and died in 1699 as Mary, widow of Thomas Fish, it is very unlikely that she is the Mary Sherman, daughter of Samuel and Grace (--?--) Sherman.  

2)  While this is an authored work, a careful review of Michael Johnson Wood's articles (there are at least six of them now) on the colonial Sherman family shows careful and meticulous scholarship with impeccable sourcing of a wide range of original records from England and New England.  Researchers with a New England Sherman family line should rejoice at this excellent work, and find these articles online or in a genealogical library.  

I am convinced that the lines in all of the family trees I mentioned above that show Mary (Sherman) Fish (1625-1699) to be the wife of Thomas Fish are wrong, and the authors of those trees should modify their work to reflect that Mary --?-- was not a Sherman.  

3)  A review of the published literature for colonial New England families is a must for all New England researchers.  Not every colonial family has been treated to this level of scholarship, but many of them have, and reviewing these works is part of a researcher's due diligence.  There is a wealth of similar periodical articles available in the peer-reviewed journals which every researcher needs to be aware of and read cover-to-cover.  NEHGS is on Volume 168 now.  Have New England researchers reviewed them on a regular basis for their ancestral families?  They should!  I try to keep up with them.  

4)  In this case, I doubt that I will ever do the research that Michael Johnson Wood did on the Sherman family, mainly because I don't have a Sherman line yet!.  I wish I did!  If I did, I think I would rely on Mr. Wood's work which is excellent and bookworthy, in my humble opinion.  
Thank you, Diane, for the critical comment to help me resolve this research problem.  And thank you to Michael Johnson Wood for his timely Sherman family articles!  I seem to get by with a lot of help from my readers and friends.

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Copyright (c) 2014, Randall J. Seaver

1 comment:

Gilly Wood said...

Randy I appreciate so much your kind words in regard to the research done by my brother Michael Johnson Wood. Thank you.