Help! Folsom Family linking errors

+4 votes

I'm not sure this is the right place for this question. I am descended from John Folsom and Mary Gillman (I can hear you groaning). So looking at the Folsom tree, it all looks pretty kosher until generation 4 I think is the real problem. 

Keeping John Folsoms straight is a nightmare there are so many of them. I usually use the descendant list for about 4 or 5 generations, the descendants who have been to an association reunion do this too. So that said I am (John1-3, Josiah4, Samuel Bradley5).

So anyway what I've come across here is at least 2 Josiahs but maybe 3. Who are not the same person (so please don't merge them). One is John1-3, Josiah 4, the other is John 1, Peter2, John3, Josiah4, but their details have been mixed up.  Folsom-1515 has the correct parents but no spouse(s) and only 1 of the 13 children (which isn't my ancestor). The other Josiah Folsom Folsom-1007 has 1515's spouse (one of them) and my ancestor as his child. The third Josiah is Folsom-390 not sure about him he maybe needs to be a merge I think he may be another Lt. Josiah because his wife is listed with Lt. Josiah's wife Martha Eastman. Somehow I have now adopted both 1515 and 1007's profiles, sigh I didn't mean to do that. 

The Folsom Family Genealogy, 1938 by Elizabeth Knowles Folsom has a way people at the time kept the two Josiah's straight vol. I, pg. 141 listing of Lt. Josiah 

He was called "Jr." to distinguish him from Josiah4, son of John3 (John2, John1) who was b. 27 July 1725, and was called "Josiah, Sen." 

Later in life Jr. was called Lt. Josiah, my poor Josiah was only a private. Plus it looks like he got killed on his first maneuver in 1775, but he was an old dude at 50 so maybe too old for war.

What I need to know is how we fix this. I left a comment for the manager of Folsom 1007's linked father attempting to explain the problem. I didn't want to just unlink him, I need expert help on untangling this mess.

Also as a side note. I own the 4 vol. set of Folsom Genealogy. So that is where my information is coming from. It is sourced, unlike, what we call, the earlier "Chapman" genealogy. I don't think it's online anywhere but like I said I have all 4 of the books.

Thanks for listening, I hope I haven't confused anyone, my head is spinning from trying to keep it all straight.


WikiTree profile: Josiah Folsom
in Genealogy Help by Karan Folsom G2G1 (1.9k points)
edited by Ellen Smith

2 Answers

+3 votes
Best answer

Researching 18th-century ancestors like this Josiah Folsom can require great patience, fortitude, and tenacity.

For starters, you need to have the nerve to accept the possibility that all of the profiles for Josiah Folsom -- and your Folsom Genealogy are wrong. (Probably most of it is correct, but given that there are two apparently different men named Josiah Folsom sharing the same 25 September 1725 birth in Rockingham County, it is safe to conclude that at least some of the information could be wrong.) Then you need the patience to dig into the primary records and other reliable sources to find each record for Josiah Folsom, log its contents, and determine what you actually know from that particular source. Document your research findings in a free-space profile or in a Research Notes section on one of the profiles. With luck, this kind of process will help you (1) distinguish the several distinct Josiah Folsoms and (2) convince others that you know what you are talking about. Failing that, it should help you identify and discard some bad information found in the existing WikiTree profiles.

The Wikitree profiles of this family do contain more than their fair share of bad data from unreliable sources. My radar antennae shot up when I saw that 4 of the first 5 footnotes in the profile of the Puritan Great Migration immigrant ancestor Folsom-94 are citations to notoriously unreliable sources on Ancestrycom (Edmund West, Millennium File, and Yates are notoriously unreliable; AGBI is unreliable, but notoriously so):

  1. Edmund West
  2. Millennium File
  3. Edmund West
  4. AGBI
  5. Yates

Don't be afraid to replace those kinds of source citations with more reliable sources. Also note that FamilySearch online trees (including the Pedigree Resource File), OneWorldTree, and most other online trees are unreliable (but they can be good places to get hints to help us find good evidence).

by Ellen Smith G2G Astronaut (1.3m points)
selected by Karan Folsom

Practical hints:

1. While you are researching this kind of confusing collection, and also after you get done, it is very helpful for each profile to include links to the apparent doppelgangers. For example, in Folsom-1515, you could say something like: "This man died in 1775 in Cambridge, Massachusetts, in the aftermath of one of the earliest battles of the Revolutionary War. He should not be confused with the [[Folsom-390|Josiah Folsom]] who was born the same year, married Martha Eastman, and died in 1820."

2. Particularly when dealing with confusing situations, do not rely on links to profiles for parents, spouses, and children to identify who the immediate family members of a profiled person were. (When some other member comes by and adds an erroneous child, a statement like "the children have all been attached to the right parents" can suddenly become false.) Document the names of the family members in the text of the profile (with sources, if possible).

3. If there is a likelihood of continuing confusion between similar-looking people, we could project-protect these profiles under the Massachusetts Project. Project protection is used to restrict merges, LNAB changes, and changes to parents, spouses, and children in situations like this.

Thank you. I looked again at my Genealogy and they corrected the death date for Private Josiah (in 1988) to the same death date as Lt. Josiah, sigh... their source is the DAR Patriot Index. Clearly someone has mixed the two of these men up again. I have an e-mail out to a friend who happens to be the Folsom Association president and used to be the genealogist but I haven't heard back from him. I'll need to remember to point out this incorrect information to him as well. I will add to the biographies of both the men that there is confusion on wikitree and indeed with the association of the facts of these two men and that 390 may indeed be the same as one or the other of them.

Just to be clear, I should not relink them to their proper parents at this time just put a note in the biography?

Also I'm not sure which state would protect the bios Mass. or New Hampshire, there seems to be some historical boundary shifting.
If the Folsom Association genealogy has errors, that is one more reason why you need to do the research yourself, rather than relying on others.

As for project protection, you are correct that several of these people should be covered by the New Hampshire project. Either way, I could do it...
If you have a few minutes, would you mind looking at what I added to his profile? [[Folsom-1515|Folsom-1515]] I would really appreciate it.

I'm new here but not new to genealogy, I just don't want to violate the honor code. I'm working on a plan of action for the corrections now that I have found primary or at least as reliable as possible secondary sources (WPA Transcriptions) of birth records and original birth & marriage notations in town records.

The Honor Code does not require us to treat the earlier version of a profile as if it were Holy Scripture needing to be preserved intact. We also are not expected to emulate the style of computer-generated biography text found in profiles created from Gedcom imports, imports from FamilySearch (the origin of the Folsom-1515 profile), etc. In a situation like this, respect for the work of the original contributor means that we do our best to determine who the profile(s) were intended to represent and ensure that we do not destroy the people or families they were recording, and we should not discard earlier contributions that have the potential to give value to a profile. Also, although the profile creator is no longer profile manager or a trusted list member, it would be a good idea to contact him via private message to tell him what you are working on and see if he wants to collaborate with you. The Honor Code says We care about accuracy. We're always aiming to improve upon our worldwide family tree and fix mistakes. -- and that means we should not be afraid to correct errors that we find.

I continue to believe that you need to pretend (temporarily) that you do not know much of anything about Josiah Folsom, and work on compiling records that will help in (1) distinguishing between multiple men of this name and (2) assembling as rich as possible a story of the man and the family that interest you.

I did a quick search for Josiah Foulsom on Below are just some of the search results I found that appear to be for Folsom-1515 -- or other contemporary men of the same name. The indication that the siblings of the Josiah born in 1725 married members of the Bradley family is for me a significant clue that he is in fact the same Josiah who was in Haverhill.

Haverhill, Mass., Vital Records, Vol. 2, page 123:

  • Foulsom, Josiah, and Abigail Farnom, married bef. 1755.
  • Foulsom, Josiah, and Elisabeth Bradley, married bef. 1747.

Haverhill, Mass., VItal Records, Vol. 1, pages 129 and 131:

  • Foulsom or Fulsom, Josiah. Records for births of 3 children with Elisabeth and 9 with Abigail, including: Foulsom, Josiah, s. Josiah and Abigail (Farnom), Jan. 8, 1761, and Fulsom, Josiah, s. Josiah and Abigail (Farnom), May 4, 1764

From The Essex Antiquarian. Salem, MA: The Essex Antiquarian, 13 vols. 1897-1909. (Online database: New England Historic Genealogical Society, 2006.)

  • Elizabeth Bradley married Josiah Foulsom before 1747, perhaps in Exeter, N.H. She died, and he married, secondly, Abigail Farnom.

New Hampshire: Births, Deaths and Marriages, 1654-1969. (From microfilmed records. Online database:, New England Historic Genealogical Society, 2014.):

+3 votes

Hi, Karan,

You might check the Folsom Genealogy page, which lists all of that name on WikiTree with their profile managers.

You could also check with the One Name Studies Project to include Folsom.

Apologies, but Data Doctors cannot help with this; would you please remove that tag and add the one-name-studies and surnames tags?  You can edit your post to do so.

Good luck with your research.

Stay safe.

by Sheryl Moore G2G6 Pilot (156k points)

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