Question regarding entry in the Barbour Collection.

+7 votes

In Family Search, there is no image, just the detail as follows:

Name Phebe Birdsey
Gender Female
Birth Date 09 Sep 1710
Father's Name Abel Birdsey
Mother's Name Comfort

Citing this Record

"Connecticut Births and Christenings, 1649-1906," database, FamilySearch ( : 3 December 2014), Abel Birdseye in entry for Phebe Birdsey, 09 Sep 1710; citing ; FHL microfilm unknown.

The entry for the same event in HAS an image and the entry reads as follows:

"Phebe, d. Abel & Comfort b. Sept. 9, 1710*     *(crossed out)".

Opinions on how this discrepancy should be interpreted? The only other Phebe indexed under "Birdseye"  in Ancestry is the d. of Abel [Jr.] and HIS wife Phebe (a Birdseye by marriage) in 1756. There is no subsequent marriage or death entry for a Phebe Birdseye. My inclination is to accept the Ancestry entry as it appears: the entry was an error, and was crossed out. There was no Phebe Birdseye (by birth). I know it's possible for there to be only a birth entry and nothing further, but the "crossed out"  notation implies that the birth did not happen. If I were only depending on Family Search, this question may never have arisen for me.

I have been creating the bio for Abel Birdseye and Comfort (Welles) Birdseye  -- which were pre-existing profiles, as is the one for Phoebe Birdseye (Birdseye-76). I have done no work on Phoebe yet. I'm not sure when the spelling "correction" occurred, or should it have occurred, or if there is even a Phebe/Phoebe to have profile for.


WikiTree profile: Comfort Birdseye
in Genealogy Help by Jim Parish G2G6 Pilot (158k points)

I admit I have a hard time accepting that a crossed out baptism is a "birth that did not happen"... I don't imagine people arranged baptisms before a child was born since they couldn't know when the child would arrive (even with modern tools due dates are a best guess). I might accept that the child was born, the parents gave the details to the priest in preparation for the baptism, the child died before the baptism was performed, and the priest erroneously entered the baptism in the register from his notes, realized the error and struck it out - a baby still would have been born.

In an unsuccessful search for an authoritative answer on why a baptism would be struck out:

A) I did see a mention of a priest who recorded baptisms in a 'day book' and later transcribed them into the baptismal register (don't know if this was a standard practice, or just something this official did) - he struck out a number of register entries when he realized the baptisms he copied were from a day book entry in a previous year.

B) I also noticed that the LDS completely removes excommunicated persons from their records, leading me to wonder if other denominations may have struck out entries in baptismal registers to denote a person had been excommunicated?

C) Another thought I had was that it might be a way to differentiate a 'lay-baptism' from one performed by church officials - while they were (and are) strongly discouraged, they were permitted in emergencies and had to be reported and recorded.

D) I also had a glance over some current Sacramental Records handbooks (mostly RC) for ideas on when a baptismal record might be crossed out - I noticed a statement that the parish that performs the rites keeps the official record, but if the person has a different home parish, the home parish may keep by an unofficial duplicate record - perhaps crossing out a record is a way to indicate it is the duplicate and that the event occurred elsewhere - I have seen something similar used in some civil records.

Again, the above is just my thoughts/speculation - Hopefully someonefamiliar with the conventions of Colonial baptismal registers will see this comment and add to it.

1 Answer

+4 votes
Hi Jim, Wish we could view the actual crossed out record.

Based on the crossed out record, I would not attach her to Abel and Comfort and I would enter a === Disputed Parents === paragraph to her biography.  Give all the sources you found.

I checked and did not find any additional information on Phebe Birdseye.
by Kitty Smith G2G6 Pilot (560k points)
Wish we could too, Kitty! Was the original record crossed out? Did the transcriber make a mistake? Was a record omitted incorrectly? Answers only the  original could disclose.

Just in General, I would interpret this as the original record was crossed out. The clerk made an error, realized the mistake, and then crossed it out.

However, She was included in The History of Stratford and Bridgeport etc  LInk at Ancestry  The author would have been consulting the originals and not the Barbour Collection.


Well, Anne, I was about to go along with you, but then I saw two mistakes their that don't appear in Barbour: 1) Comfort has a birth date of May ___ 1712. But Barbour gives Comfort a birth date of May 29, 1717. gives death date of Feb 9 1790 at age 73. That date is 3 months short of 73 years if the 1717 is accurate; 1716 if not - definitely not 1712.

2) A History of the Old Town of Stratford... assigns Samuel's 1718 birth to Comfort Sr. when she died in 1717, shortly after Comfort Jr's birth. Samuel was born to Mercy, wife #2.

Those errors make me question the accuracy of Phebe without the cross out notation.

Oh yeah definitely Comfort (dtr) didn't get born in May 1712, if her brother John was born in Sep 1712.

It does help to look at the whole picture.
It's not clear from Barbour whether Phebe was completely crossed out or if it was just her birthdate that was crossed out. In principle, there is supposed to be an original record somewhere that was examined to create the Barbour Collection entry, so that record possibly could be checked...

Since there is no other record of Phebe, I would be inclined to identify her as "questionable existence" -- but the WikiTree {{Questionable}} template is too strongly worded for this situation. It is plausible that there was a child born in 1710, since otherwise there's a long gap in the list of births for

Related questions

+8 votes
2 answers
+3 votes
1 answer
+4 votes
0 answers
112 views asked Sep 14, 2019 in Genealogy Help by Lois Tilton G2G6 Pilot (130k points)
+8 votes
3 answers
+2 votes
2 answers
+4 votes
1 answer
75 views asked Nov 20 in Genealogy Help by Warren Smith G2G2 (2.2k points)
+6 votes
2 answers
106 views asked Oct 16 in The Tree House by SJ Baty G2G Astronaut (1.1m points)
+4 votes
0 answers
75 views asked Aug 25 in Genealogy Help by SJ Baty G2G Astronaut (1.1m points)

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

disclaimer - terms - copyright