Friday, August 12, 2011

"Professional" Genealogists

In researching my Lewis line over the past ten years, I've come across many web sites for "professional" genealogists, those who offer to do genealogical research for hire. Most of them are legitimate, with real credentials and a track record to demonstrate their expertise.

I have also come across web sites for those who are obviously not professional genealogists, yet who make the claim and offer to do genealogical research for hire.

How can one tell the difference? How can one who really would like some help in the details of intricate genealogical research sift the legitimate genealogists from those simply posing as genealogists for their own reasons?

First of all, genealogy is a discipline based on documentation. Any web site that makes claims of genealogical connections based on heresay, rumor, innuendo, supposition or guesswork is not run by a professional genealogist. A genealogist answers questions with documentation and does not pose hypothetical questions of dubious historical connections. Any genealogists who claims great antiquity to many historical figures is also not a professional, in that deep antiquity cannot be proven, in the absence of very rare and highly unusual documentation.

Another good clue is a raft of genealogical "awards" displayed on the web site, especially when the "award" graphics do not link to any organization or web site, but are merely there for display and personal aggrandizement.

Genealogy is a labor of love, a task many of us take for on our own satisfaction, not to line our pockets with pecuniary recompense. We give our research to others for free, for personal satisfaction and for the love of our families.

Beware of genealogists bearing great gifts! If they seem to good to be true, they probably are.

The Edmond Lewes Welsh Myth

The continued assertion that Edmond Lewes was born in Llys Talybont, Glamorgan, Wales is based on two references listed in The Lewis Families of Wales and America, 1928, by Edward Simmons Lewis.

“'William Lewis of Roxbury, brother to Edmund Lewis of Lynn, was descended from a very respectable family in Wales. His descendants enjoy great satisfaction in being able to trace their descent from a very high antiquity.”  from the Annals of Lynn.

"Edmund Lewis of Lynn was brother to William Lewis of Roxbury, who descended from a Welsh family with a pedigree running back centuries.”  From the History of Lynn by Alonzo Lewis and James Newhall.

These two quotations are both refuted by subsequent research. 1602 - WILLIAM LEWIS - 1671 of Stoke-by-Nayland, England and Some of his Ancestors and Descendants by Isaac Newton Lewis, 1932, documents the origin of William Lewes of Roxbury in Stoke-by-Nayland, Suffolk, England, a descendant of Edmond Lewes, born in 1519. I.N. Lewis made the claim that Edmund Lewis of Lynn was "a cousin of William Lewis of Roxbury," not his brother, but he provides no documentation to substantiate this claim.

My research confirms the Stoke-by-Nayland origin of William Lewes of Roxbury. I found no Edmond/Edmund Lewes in this line born in or around 1600 that could be our Edmond Lewes of Lynn. 

However, there are numerous records of the birth of an Edmond Lewes in the communities surrounding Ipswich, Suffolk, and patterns of occurance of this Lewes line through time, including records of his presence in Ipswich from 1630. (Descendants of Edmond Lewes of Lynn, Arana Gulch Press, 2011)

Since a document exists recording the presence of Edmund Lewis at Llys Talybont, Glamorgan, Wales in 1637 (Survey of Lystalyboint, 1653), there is no longer reason to continue the myth that the Edmond Lewes of Watertown and Lynn, Massachusetts was the same historical person as Edmund Lewis of Wales.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Edmond Lewes not from Glamorgan, Wales

We now have definitive documentation that Edmond Lewes of Lynn, Massachusetts was not the same historical figure as Edmund Lewis of Llys Talybont, Glamorgan, Wales, as claimed by Edward Simmons Lewis in The Lewis Family of Wales and America, 1928, The Journal of American History, Volume XXII, Third Quarter, Number 3.

To whit: 

Survey of Llystalybont of 1653

Edmund LEWIS, Gent, Houldeth There by coppie of court rowle enrowled and bearing the date eight day of may in the 13th; year of the late King Charles I, in the year of our lord god 1637. One messuadge one of chard. one garden, and 36 acres of lands arable meadow and pasture with appurtence for the terme of his leiff and the lives of CATHERIN his wiffe and Thomas LEWIS their sonn and the longest liver of them successive lie according to the custome of the said manor at Ye yearlie rent of 8/4d. Etc; etc; signed by Thomas LEWIS esq; Then Steward of the Said Manor. 

(The Old County borough of Cardiff, Vol III, page 313, dated 1653; Local Studies Dept., Cardiff Central Library)

This definitively proves that Edmund Lewis of Llys Talybont, Glamorgan, Wales was alive and still living in Llys Talybont on May, 8, 1637, three years after Edmond Lewes had sailed from Ipswich, Suffolk, England to Watertown, Massachusetts.

From: Descendants of Edmond Lewes of Lynn, Copyright 2011, Arana Gulch Press, Santa Cruz, California, all rights reserved.