'Fictitious Pitt' ancestry would like help with, please.

+9 votes

John Pitt of Blandford Dorset England (will 1601) was the ancestor of William Pitt the Earl of Chatham and famous Pitts

.His background is vague  According to the visitation of Hampshire, his father was a William m to a 'Havylond'. (Helene?) His grandfather is named as Nicholas.

 He also  had siblings including brother called Thomas(of Bristol) d 1613 (wikitree  duplicate Williams and  Helenes at present) 

 No more known ancestors in the various 'reputable' pedigrees such as the one here


On the internet, and here, there is a splendid pedigree complete with dates going back to a Gevase de la Puette from Normandy and progressing  through Thomas of Bristol's son Henry to a family in Virginia 


 here http://www.wikitree.com/genealogy/Pitt-Family-Tree-86

 I think that this  pedigree is fictitious partly based upon another Pitt family, whose real dates are actually 100 years later than those given .  The mismatch of dates means this line doesn't work at all.

Sources given on link are

 the Visitations of Shropshire, https://archive.org/stream/gb0RAuZKnD1EcC#page/n129/mode/2up

Worcesters ,https://archive.org/stream/visitationcount00mundgoog#page/n116/mode/1up

and  Surrey. ( just contains a marriage repeated from the others)https://archive.org/stream/visitationsofcou43beno#page/141/mode/1up/search/Pitt

The visitation pedigrees certainly  don't go back to the 13th century .

The pedigrees are for the Pitt (Pytt, Pytts) family of Kyre in Worcestershire.

No 10 on the pedigree is

"Sir Edward Pitt of Kior in Worcestershire died 1455"

The profile for Edward Pitt  http://www.wikitree.com/wiki/Pitt-159   says he was  b 1425, m 1464 died 1455, m Katherine Nicholai Willford  

The transcribed archives from Kyre  show he was born 120 years later in August 1541, m to Katherine Wilford (d of Nicholas Wilford) by a license dated 1570. He died in 1618 and left a will   ( have now  written a biog  with correct dates but not yet changed dates on profile because it affects the line both up and down )


His children were as on the profile but the son William(no Blithe)  who is the supposed father of Nicholas (described above)  died young without children The  other children really belong to his brother James.(b after 1570 died 1640) Even if William had lived would only have been 31 in 1601so could not have had a g grand child John  who died in c 1601  mentioning his own grandchildren (only works on the 'pedigree' because it is a century out) 

Next moves please.  It's getting to be a full time job trying to sort this family out

in Policy and Style by Helen Ford G2G6 Pilot (294k points)
edited by Helen Ford
I'm not sure if I am a profile Manger that far back, but I probably uploaded a few of these (mostly from Unsourced ancestry trees.)  I'll happily give profile access and try to take a look myself at a few.

Another hurdle is the spelling of names, as Pitt/Pitts seem to be somewhat interchangeable (at least towards the later years), so there may need to be some project protecting once a last name is established.

Thanks Amanda,

As said I probably won't be able to do much for a while

As I said in a reply below, with the link below. Hutchins is not a bad starting point for  Dorset families (though being merchants some moved to Bristol where they also became prominent local citizens.)  You also have to be careful in interpreting what he says . John Pitt of Blandford is according to Hutchin's clerk of the exchequer; lots of trees have obviously  interpreted this as a court position but he seems to have been a wealthy merchant who took over the role of exchequer for Blandford when they built their new town hall. Tittler, Townspeople and Nation


The Pitt pedigree is in volume iv p 90 but  index at the end of this volume, has lots more pages for this extensive family (I haven't found them to be called Pitts, though the name is sometimes spelled with a .y) There is a very brief mention of a Pitts family of Chard/Tytherleyon p 84 of volume 2

.I have transcribed several of the Pitt 16th/17th cent wills from both Dorset and Bristol (but still more to do)


This blog also has several  wills from this family http://gen.julianlyon.com/1636-sir-william-pitt/



4 Answers

+4 votes
Hi Helen,

I am working some similar issues with "fictional" lineages and understand your frustration.   Here is my approach.   First, I would mark the profiles with the template "{{Questionable}}"   Put a link to this G2G discussion on the profile and add the category and add the category  Category:Serious_Data_Problems

All of the above helps identify the profiles as having issues, and will give you a category to gather all the issues.   If you go to that category, you will see many profiles in a similar condition.


The big thing to focus on is where the "real/proven" or "accepted" lineage ends.   Work with the other profile managers for an agreement to disconnect at that point only.   Does that make sense?
by Robin Lee G2G6 Pilot (643k points)
Thank you, that is a lot of help. It's all very well finding an alternative and I think, well documented  'story'  but not knowing the protocol of how to attempt to sort it out makes it difficult . I don't think many of the profile originators  from the earliest line are active, some of the profiles are orphaned so I can change the dates. I'm profile manager of none of them.  Further forwards at the point that I would  propose disconnection, who knows?

 It is frustrating, I am finding that I am spending a lot  of my time, in a rather a negative fashion. I'm spending more time  disproving lines/relationships   than adding detail and sources to the biographies of the families from the area I am interested in and know a bit about  (this one took me half way up the country to an area I know  very little of  so was fortunate to find the transcribed family archives)
+2 votes
One of the problems with fictitious genealogy is that a lot of people believe it and if all you do is create true profiles, people may keep trying to add the false information.  That's one reason we have several fictitious genealogy subcategories -- take a look: http://www.wikitree.com/wiki/Category:Fictitious_Genealogy.

If there are commonly recurring errors associated with a real person, they should be noted in the biography, so that others will read it.

If the person doesn't exist, I'd suggest you not only mark the profile "questionable" but add the category "legends" and describe all the stuff that is frequently told about the person.  

The worst kind of fictitious genealogy is when someone -- often a pretend genealogist working for hire -- deliberately fabricates a genealogy that mixes a lot of facts with falsehoods.  In that case all the people affected by that fraud need to be categorized with it, because once that's happened to John Doe, all the facts you find about John Doe may be true -- or they may be fake -- so extra caution is needed.
by Jack Day G2G6 Pilot (338k points)
+3 votes
I have removed the father of Nicholas Pitt from that profile for you, as I agree with your statements. I am busy working on some of this family as it pertains with intermarriages with the de Havillands. --Chris
by Christopher Haviland G2G Crew (760 points)

Thank you so much, I rather got distracted and haven't got back to this  part of the family.(there are more muddles in later generations) And I may not be able to get back to it for a while (moving house)

 I've found  Havilands  connected with other families I've been looking at. They were an important family in Poole. If you haven't already found it, there is a copy of Hutchins downloadable from the family search catalogue. This has a Haviland pedigree Vol 1 page 642. It  is by no means infallible (a four volume monster history couldn't be)  but he'(or his later editors) often gives verifiable sources for dates.


( Although I may not have regular internet access but I will be able to visit the Poole history centre and  the Dorset archives so if you have anything specific you want checking, please ask)

I think this profile may be of interest.as it's possibly Helena Havilands, nephew (son of James Mayor of  1502 and 1506. )https://www.wikitree.com/wiki/Havylond-1 

Yes, as I suspected it's a duplicate


as is his wife.(I've just added a few rough  details for his wife, and it needs more work, it's another I keep meaning to get back to )

They are though currently set as a rejected match but I'm certainly seeing them as the same people. Chrisopher has no details but he was created as the husband of Cecilie Man(n)

edit: I changed the marriage date from 28th August 1544 to the September date given by Hutchins.(which is the same as you have)

However this source )https://archive.org/stream/recordofmanneedl00need#page/n127/mode/2up gives the marriage date as 28th August. (NB I think Sukey is a miss transcription of Cecilie; he makes a lot of obvious transcription mistakes in place names as it's obvious he doesn't know the area. but also many of the names and dates I have been able to check are correct 

I checked the image of the Poole register for that date. It's almost impossible to read but there are a couple of marriages in Sept and August . Quite frankly, I can't see either name there!


Thanks Helen. I was looking for a copy of the Hutchins book, as it's an important secondary source. (May also have helped perpetuate some errors in the de Havilland family that are in conflict with primary sources, and I've wanted to investigate.) I'll keep that bookmarked and dig into it!

Yes there are a bunch of dupes here it looks like, and the whole Pitt family looks like it needs work. There's a son who is the brother of himself with different dates, and another son who appears to be the wrong William Pitt, and so forth.

These two William Pitts need to be merged:
and the dates and children need to be repaired and cited.

These two Helena de Havillands need to be merged:

She has duped parents, so Helena de Beauvoir (whom is posted here as De Beauvois but it's different in my sources) needs to be merged:


And the father:
Alternatively... The Haviland-296 profile has the death date of the wrong James de Havilland, so I may fix this one by keeping the death date and removing the wife and merging Haviland-296 into De_Havilland-52)

And as you have pointed out:

And his wife:

Helen PS: Not to get off-thread here but in regards to the marriage of Christopher Havilland to Cecilia Mann, you are right that "suckke" = Cecelia not Susie. :-) The marriage date was recorded in the Poole Parish Register as: "Ao 1544. Mr. Christoffer Havylland and Cecyly Manne ware maryd the xvjth day of September."
FYI: I've managed to clean up the "senior" Pitts a bit, from [[Pitt-152|Nicholas]] to his son [[Pitt-86|William]] to William's sons. I didn't go further than that. I don't know where the other children of Nicholas came from - they were already attached to the profile, and I can't find citations for them, so I left them wanting.
+2 votes

The major issue here appears to be that researchers are confusing two different families with the name of Pitt.

John Pitt of Blandford, Dorset was indeed the son of  William Pitt and Helene (or Eleanor) de Havilland, William Pitt was, in turn, the son of Nicholas Pitt and his wife of uncertain name was the daughter of Roger Cooke. (Her first name may have been Elizabeth, but evidence is scarce). 

This Pitt family was generally known as the Pitts of Blandford and Strathfieldsaye (to distinguish it from the Pitts of Curewiard, Perry near Stoke etc - and which is where the confusion arises).  The descendants of the Blandford Pitts are firmly based in southern England - Dorset, Hampshire, Somersetshire etc.

There are very good sources attesting to this lineage - both primary and secondary.  I would recommend the following:

* Burke's A General and Heraldic Dictionary of the Peerage and Baronetage, vol 2, p. 353  (via Google Books)

* Collins's Peerage of England; genealogical, biographical, and historical,  Volume 7  (via Google Books)

* Pedigrees from the Visitation of Hampshire, pp 194-95,  https://archive.org/details/pedigreesfromvis64beno/page/194

* The Haviland Genealogy, https://archive.org/details/havilandgenealog00fros/page/n21

* Will of Sir William Pitt d. 1636  (transcribed on http://gen.julianlyon.com/1636-sir-william-pitt/ and summarised on

* The Diary of William Hedges, The Diary of William Hedges, pp xxix and pp xxiix, https://ia800203.us.archive.org/7/items/diaryofwilliamhe783hedg/diaryofwilliamhe783hedg.pdf

* The Haviland Genealogy: 1653-1688, https://archive.org/stream/havilandgenealog00fros/havilandgenealog00fros_djvu.txt

* Will of William Pitt, merchant of Bristol (d. 1622), summarised on enster's Southern Genealogy, http://gensouth.blogspot.com/search/label/Pitt%20Family  and transcribed on https://www.wikitree.com/wiki/Space:Will_of_William_Pitt_Merchant_of_Bristol_Feb.1524/5 ( a useful source for establishing the family name of Nicholas Pitt's wife, i.e. daughter of Robert Cooke)

The problem with the genealogical details on https://www.genealogy.com/forum/surnames/topics/pitts/1587/ is that its sources are unclear and it  cites the Visitation of Shropshire, etc which do not support the data provided. I would not go so far as to say that it is "fictitious" but it is certainly confused.  (I make it a rule never to consult genealogies on blogs or genealogies that fail to disclose sources, and I always double check sources before proceeding.)

Most sources agree that Nicholas Pitt is the first known ancestor of the Pitts of Blandford and Strathfielsaye and unless new information comes to light, it is doubtful that any researcher can push the lineage back past this point..

I hope that his helps.

Bronwyn Higgs


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