Trying to make connections with the names Battis/Battist/Baptiste

0 votes
My grandfathers last name was Battis. His family had been on the east coast of Canada for a few generations before him, as I am to understand.

Through another website contact, seems names on my list matched up with theirs, but the last name was Battist. They believed that before that the family's last name was Baptiste.

All records burned in a church fire sometime in the early 1900's, so I'm struggling to find out any information I can to verify the above information.

This is the only line in my family that I don't have any type of solid proof of the information & making connections with others would help with that.

Levi Battis was my grandfathers grandfather. Levi's father's last name was Battist & his grandfather was Baptiste...again this is a connection that I'm not too sure of.
WikiTree profile: Levi Battis
in Genealogy Help by Carla Sheedy G2G2 (2.5k points)

2 Answers

+1 vote
Best answer
Hi Carla

Looks like you are up against the scribes who wrote the original documents from which your information was obtained. Today we expect high standards of literacy and the ability to spell names correctly. Unfortunately this has not always been so. Often the scribe would write down what he thought he heard and this can lead to a multiplicity of spellings.

If you have good Christian name matching you can be reasonably assured that you are looking at the same families. Today some branches may have a diferent spelling which became frozen as soon as the family members learnt to write. Even in 1856 I found a report in the New York Times where "Shipton" was almost unrecognisable. I was only saved by matching Christian names and ages of the four persons concerned. Don't forget that populations were very much smaller a couple of hundred years ago so your matching probability is much higher than it would be today.


John Shipton

Devon, England
by John Shipton G2G6 Mach 1 (13.1k points)
selected by Carla Sheedy
Hi John,

I had heard stories about names being changed by accident & even on purpose.

I did manage to match up all the Christian names within my family. But can't seem to get any farther than Levi's grandfather (Baptiste). Doesn't seem to be any more information out there. I was lucky someone stumbled on my post & helped me with information beyond Levi or I'd have never known.

I have my fingers crossed maybe I'll be able to find some matches here or even better, help someone else out with theirs!

Thanks again for your answer. Valiating! :)


Ontario, Canada
Hi Carla

I presume you are familiar with the origins of the name John Baptiste.

If not check out

It would be easy to make the change from a father christened Jean-Baptiste married to a woman of English parentage to a son named after the father as John Baptiste. What is missing is the surname.

To solve the problem you need geography, a low population density, and a little luck on you side.

When I looked at your Baptiste/ Battis/Battist names I had hoped to find some locations so you will have to look in your tree for the earliest possible location.

I would start with John Battist married to Mary Eliza Turner 24 May 1848. Here you have very recognisable set of childens names with most of their birth years. This is just the sort of group you can identify in the Canadian census returns. You may have done this already since this is one of the most common ways of identifying birtth year data. With any luck you will find residence and birthplace location recorded in the census.

For information on census index holders go to :-

One thing which is obvious is the date of the marriage. If known exactly then the location is also probably known. This should narrow down the census search area.

Once you have birth location information and age of John Battist you may be able to work back through census returns to John Baptiste. This is where you need a little luck because you may only have the fathers Christian name Jean-Baptiste and you will have to start using wild cards in the search engines for surnames in census returns. Low population density may come to your rescue here because you are now searching for a Jean-Baptiste (christian name) married to an English woman with a son called John, at the location of his birth, in a census return before 24 May 1848. With a following wind you may now have the original French surname and can start digging back into immigration and passenger list information. You may find that there are a whole series of father/son christian namings as Jean-Baptiste to help you on your way. They are most likely to be first born sons.


John Shipton

Devon, England
Hi Carla

Further to my earlier comment above it occours to me that your John Baptiste may have had a mother descended from the marriage of an English woman married to a French man. As such she may well have called her son John Baptiste when in fact he had been christened Jean Baptiste. She will perhaps have a name in the records of which only the Christian name is English.

I regret having to introduce this additional complication.


John Shipton

Devon, England
0 votes
Hi Carla

Have you found any info on John Baptiste?  He is my 5x great grandfather. I can't find anything on the Battis family except they lived in Newdy Quoddy, where my grandfather was born.  I know I have Native Indian in me and I think it may come from John Baptiste, hence the reasoning why we can't find records on him.  Indians took the names of saints,  and didn't keep records and hide the fact that they were indian. and if I'm right on this if I can find proof, we may come from a very special man major John Baptiste Cope. But after John Baptiste who married Mary turner there is nothing!! Nothing!!! I have nothing putting us to the Major except for the fact he was from the same place our family was and shares the same name.

Battis is a mystery that's for sure!


Hope to hear from you


Happy new year
by Lisa Coolen G2G Crew (300 points)

Related questions

+2 votes
3 answers
169 views asked Jan 2, 2016 in Genealogy Help by Lisa Coolen G2G Crew (300 points)
+3 votes
0 answers
+1 vote
2 answers
+6 votes
4 answers
0 votes
1 answer
65 views asked Feb 15, 2020 in The Tree House by Lawrence Heiney G2G1 (1.1k points)

WikiTree  ~  About  ~  Help Help  ~  Search Person Search  ~  Surname:

disclaimer - terms - copyright