Can You Help Susanna (Riddlesdale) French, Puritan Great Migration Project, and Collab. Prof. of the Week?

+13 votes

Collaborative Profile of the Week presents

Susanna (Riddlesdale) French (1584-1658)

Puritan Great Migration Project

The Puritan Great Migration Project concerns profiles of ancestors who arrived in New England between 1621 and 1640 only. Ancestors who arrived on the Mayflower, or who emigrated to Virginia/Southern States have their own projects.

As these are common ancestors to so many, there are numerous family trees, genealogy texts and the like about these family lines. Many are without any sources, or with incorrect information, carried down and repeated over generations. Many have been duplicated repeatedly on WikiTree and then merged, often without verification of the contents, making the work even more confusing.

The project goal is to accurately document and source these ancestors and present final profiles with only sourced information. This work is often tedious. It requires familiarity with both acceptable sources for this time frame, and a good handle on the use of the Style Guides and formatting methods used on WikiTree.

If you enjoy research, finding those elusive sources, and have familiarized yourself with the ins and outs of editing profile pages to include source documentation, this project might be of interest. There are some sample profiles on the project page so you can see what we are all about.

Our profile this week is:

Susan/Susanna Riddlesdale French.

A quick glance will show you that this ancestor is one that was duplicated over and over, and has undergone numerous merges. Except for one reference to the Essex Probate Record, none of the original profiles had any sources that would meet the project guidelines. A marriage reference and her death source have been added as well as a suggested text to start further research.

This profile needs a biography, including proof of parentage, birth record, marriage record, confirmation of the children listed as being actually of this line etc.

Please help us turn this into a great profile. Remember, when you start to work on some aspect of the profile, post an answer here first to let us know what you're going to work on. That way we won't duplicate work and the question will stay fresh (toward the top) of the G2G forum.

Thank you

WikiTree profile: Susanna French
in Requests for Project Volunteers by Anne B G2G Astronaut (1.2m points)
edited by Anne B
I seriously doubt that Edward French, born 1598, was the son of John & Susan who married in 1608.  No reliable documentation of this relationship has been provided.  FWIW

I agree.

I'm not sure if this is relevant or not, RG, but one of the sources on the profile - The History of Peter Parker and Sarah Ruggles - has some great transcriptions of parish registers from Co. Suffolk, England late 1500s- early 1600s for the French family. Check out pp 412-414.

It shows the children of Thomas and Susan French for Assington, Co. Suffolk (not seeing an Edward), but there is an Edmond and Cicilie who had a son, Edmond, born 23 March 1590 at Kensdale, Co. Suffolk; he was bapt. 16 June 1556 at Carlton, Co. Suffolk. 


Yep - I have had copies of those pages for a long time, and it's nice to see it has become available in .pdf format.  Thanks for that, Gerrie!

6 Answers

+5 votes
Thanks, Anne!

I'll do a quick clean-up of the junk in the bio right now.
by Chris Whitten G2G Astronaut (1.2m points)
Thank you Chris. It looks better already.

First off this is not my ancestor, so I don't want to offend. But I love the tools we get on Wiki Tree to "pretty-up" profiles.

Would you mind too terribly if I put the estate adm and inventory info in a text box (with ivory background) and a scroll bar? I think it would set it off a bit without over-emphasizing.

I did this for a profile of one of my ancestor's yesterday.

Gerrie, never let the fact that someone is not your ancestor, prevent you from improving profiles. That's one of the great things about Wikitree. Especially with the Collaborative Profile (they are all collaborative but the weekly is a little extra special).

However, I'm pretty sure that scroll boxes <div> </div> are not on the approved list of Wiki tags, and as such we especially don't want to put them on the collaborative profile. Chris if you're paying attention, maybe you could put your two cents in on this one.

Is the information long? If it's short just add it to the profile, properly sourced of course. We could probably dress it up with a scroll or two to highlight it. Or if it's long then consider creating a free space page for the material and linking it to Susanna's profile.

Thank you for participating in the collaborative profile.

The inventory is no longer there - just the source, so no need to add text box. Thanks, Anne for advice. (I've used it on my profiles.)

I do have a suggestion though. To me, the biography reads more like a bulleted listing rather than a story. You might want to place this in a Timeline format, preceded by a bullet, rather than just one liners. It will have the same good info as it does now; just present different.
Right, Anne. Ton's Tweaks and other fancy formatting techniques are not recommended. They're not standard style and shouldn't be used on widely collaborative profiles.

It's great that you're helping though, Gerrie. As Anne said, never let not being a descendant affect a decision on whether to improve a profile.
I painfully followed the style guide in adding a burial source but the changes would not appear in either Preview mode or after Saving.  *sigh*
I found a / missing from one of the tags, which is easy to do - I do it all the time. See if that helps.

I have a question, though. Did Susanna's remains get taken back to England for burial? Is that why she died in Ipswich, Mass. and is buried in Co. Suffolk, England?
That is bizarre,- the burial place, - It's not like they had refrigerators.
Oh, snap!  That burial place was for her mother Dorcas. *sigh*  Error fixed.  Taking a break!
Thank you for double checking.
+3 votes

There are THREE Thomas French, which is part of the confusion.

Thomas French the first was b. Assington 1584, d. Ipswich 1639, married Susannah. According to Anderson, they immigrated to Ipswich AFTER their son Thomas French the Sgt.

Thomas French the Sgt. bapt. 26 Nov 1608 Assington, d. 8 Aug 1680 Ipswich, Mass., married Mary _____ by 1632

Thomas the youngest was son of Thomas French the Sgt and thus the Sgt French was called "senior" which may have caused some of the confusion.

Anderson does not treat French the first except to mention the siblings of French the Sgt., but the eldest French is found with ref. to primary sources in The History of Peter Parker and Sarah Ruggles of Roxbury, Mass. and Their Ancestors and Descendants,

by April Dauenhauer G2G6 Pilot (109k points)
+6 votes


They are both listed as sons of Thomas French the first and Susanna.

Thomas French-691 is the correct son, and has been given the wrong parents.

Thomas French-53 is a different family of French, born in Sussex, died in Guildford, his data is on French Family Association, (scroll down), including correct parents and siblings.

by April Dauenhauer G2G6 Pilot (109k points)
+4 votes
I have some unlisted sources obtained when I worked on this ancestor in the early 1980's, so I'll add them.  Note:  I note that sometimes folks add sources/references to the Biography instead of at the bottom under Sources and this could be cleaned up as well.  With that in mind it would be helpful to connect a particular source to a particular piece of information.  Just listing a source without noting what fact it connects to isn't a big help.

Lastly, the terms 'Source' and 'Reference' seem to be used interchangeably.  Is there some distinction being used between the two?  This seems to cause a lot of confusion and redundancy.
by Ron Heroux G2G5 (5.2k points)
RG, this clarifies how we should be styling sources on a profile:

Currently the Susan Riddlesdale French profile does not align with that style.

RG, are you referring to "references" as the external links (or other references) that appear as Sources on this profile? 

Jillaine, can we add a sub-heading under the Source heading called "Other References" (or something to that effect) and list those links?

So it would look like this (Footnotes would be optional)



  1. ↑ 1.0 1.1 the Winthrop Fleet website:
  2.  No primary source. Ancestry Family Trees - Jen Tree 5 01.
  3.  New England Marriages Prior to 1700, by By Clarence Almon Torrey, Genealogical Publishing Com, 1985
  4.  Vital Records of Ipswich Massachusetts to the End of the Year 1849, The Essex Institute, Salem, MA, 1910
  5.  The Probate Records of Essex County, Massachusetts: Vol. I, 1635-1664, Essex Institute, Salem, MA,1916

See also:

  • The Probate Records of Essex County, Massachusetts: Vol. I, 1635-1664, Essex Institute, Salem, MA, 1916.
  • New England Marriages Prior to 1700, by By Clarence Almon Torrey, Genealogical Publishing Com, 1985.
  • Vital Records of Ipswich Massachusetts to the End of the Year 1849, The Essex Institute, Salem, MA, 1910.

Other References

Yes - the use of separate Sources, References, and Footnotes complicates the editing of profiles unnecessarily (IMHO), especially where folks don't study the Style Guide.  It would be most helpful to make this process more user-friendly without requiring study of the Style Guide.  Thanks much for anything to 'K.I.S.S.'  (keep it simple s_ _ _ _ _).

The purpose of "See also" was to list those things you're listing under "Other References".

There shouldn't be any duplication of what's under footnoted sources and what's under "See also"
RG, the purpose of the current sources style guide (and style guide generally) was actually to keep it simple.

The problem is that there are a BUNCH of older, pre-style guide profiles that have multiple headings that are no longer recommended.
Thank you, Jillaine.

The Source section was the next part I was going to edit this morning. I'll go ahead and do it.
+6 votes
I'm checking the AmericanAncestors (NEHGS) site to see what they have on her.
by Anne B G2G Astronaut (1.2m points)
They had a lovely article on the Riddlesdales, and I was able to put a source and bios (short) on her ancestors. There is also an article on Thomas' ancestors. (for another day).
+5 votes
I'm adding a list of her children on the end, I found a proper source. It was staring me in the face all the time.
by Anne B G2G Astronaut (1.2m points)

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