Who do you think you are - Thomas Trowbridge

+7 votes
4.3k views
Not really a question, but... I happened to catch the WDYTYA show on TLC tonight 8/27/2013. I have an ancestor in common with Cindy Crawford: Thomas Trowbridge 1598-1673. He has ancestors going back to the Kings of France (Hugh Capet, Charlemagne) and many descendants throughout American History including Susan B. Anthony, Clara Barton, Ernest Hemingway, and US President Rutherford B. Hayes.

I updated the profile to add additional sources (adding to the information presented in the show), including information about his participation in the English Civil War. They spent about 45 minutes of the hour-long show on this one single ancestor. I recognized the name immediately as one profile I had worked on several months ago.
WikiTree profile: Thomas Trowbridge
asked in Genealogy Help by Bob Fields G2G6 (8.8k points)
retagged by Ellen Smith

2 Answers

+4 votes
O.M.G.,

I watched "Who do you think you are?" I couldn't believe it!!!! Cindy Crawford is related to me through the Trowbridge Line.

I couldn't believe it. I haven't many Crawfords but, Trowbridges' up the butt. They were Knights and very important people in England and here in the United States.

How can I get a copy of the Trowbridge book? Sounds like I have more important people in my family line to brag about.

Your WikiTree is on but now you can fill in more info. as will I.

Rosemary Bousson
answered by
I added a link to the online version of the Trowbridge book (text only, which is more useful for searching and citing references), however there is a PDF version of the book available in the same area. Since it was published before 1920, it's in the public domain. Funny, they made it sound like it was all original research during the show, like they were making new discoveries, however looking at the citations online, all of the information presented was researched many years ago. That's typical for early immigrant families with lots of descendants, many of them prominent. Also typical for families that have lived in the midwest for a long period of time (the earlier pioneers, like Cindy Crawford's family) is that they came from early Colonial lines. They found the relationship for Cindy very quickly because of her (very distant) relationship to Ernest Hemingway. I'm very glad they focused on much older ancestors this time, that many more people are related to, with a good bit of historical context (Great Puritan Migration, and the English Civil War) thrown in.

I should try to connect Hemingway and Cindy to the Trowbridge family in WikiTree. I caught a little bit of the tree during the show, it looks like Cindy is descended from son James Trowbridge and grandson Thomas Trowbridge, and then through the Gates family. I'm descended through son James and grandson William, through the Winchester/Dana family. I can probably fill in the blanks pretty quickly.
+2 votes

I'm not sure what to make of this.....

On one hand, it has been reported that Ancestry researchers devoted over 1,000 hours in preparation for this show.

But, several prominent genealogy bloggers are slamming the show for not addressing concerns over the claims made about Thomas Trowbridge.  Specifically, several genealogists over the years have been unable to find evidence showing that the Thomas Trowbridge who was a Colonist is the same Thomas Trowbridge who died in Taunton, Somerset:

http://olivetreegenealogy.blogspot.com/2013/08/who-do-you-think-you-are-with-cindy.html

http://www.geneamusings.com/2013/08/its-really-not-that-easy.html

These two comments from this blog post are red flags:

Wayne Shepheard said...

Isn't everyone related to Charlemagne?! That is a subject I find most annoying about public family trees. So many historians eventually find their way back to this particular monarch. If there is a familiar name in someone's pedigree it can be added in, linked to royalty and away we go! My other problem with Cindy's ancestors was that there was no confirmed link between the missing Thomas Trowbridge in Connecticut to the one who appeared back in Taunton, Somerset. Did someone find a passenger list for the 1600s on which he appeared on his way back to England? Unlikely! 

Celia Lewis said...

Since I'm also down from Thomas Trowbridge, I'd love to know about the research 'proving' the link to Taunton. Sigh. Is anyone posting that lovely research analysis/proof?? Could we ask nicely?? :) 

answered by Ray Jones G2G6 Pilot (149k points)
Do you have some links or other info on the doubts raised by the genealogists about the Taunton and the New Haven Thomas Trowbridge being the same person? It seems like the letters from England back to his children giving them power of attorney in their dispute with the guardian would have satisfied that ("Thomas regularly corresponded from England to the authorities in New Haven"), but I'm not familiar with any of the research trying to prove the connection. A quick google search comes back empty. The links above were only about how easy the show makes the research seem (I completely agree), not about proving the immigrant/Taunton connection. If found, I will add the info to the Trowbridge profile. I'm interested only in accuracy and completeness of information presented within a profile, including any information in dispute.
No - I have never done any research on Thomas Trowbridge.  I have just been following the reactions to the Cindy Crawford episode.  By all means, I am not suggesting that you change anything without proper documentation.  Instead, I am just following my gut reaction to the show highlighting how Cindy Crawford descends from Charlemagne - which is to wonder/question the degree to which Ancestry/TLC provided research to support their claims.  It seems like they go out of fheir way on the show to promote a celebrity's prominent ancestors and dramatic storylines.
I was only planning on adding additional information to the biography to help any future researchers, related to the Taunton/New Haven connection, to show all evidence if some facts are in dispute. Seems like there should be a wealth of correpondence and court records given the ongoing long-term dispute with the guardians, but I haven't done anything other than online research either. Any published information from any of genealogists would be helpful to add, no matter what the conclusion.

The Charlemagne connection has been pretty well documented for a number of early immigrants in various publications over the years. Find a connection to one of those and you've found a connection all the way back, assuming you accept the research done in those publications. A number of the families who could afford to leave England during the Puritan Migration were connected to the aristocracy and royalty. Dramatic storylines do make for good TV, I was happy that they included so much historical context along with the specific human stories.

The one nitpick I did notice about the show - they presented evidence showing Thomas remarried when he went back to Taunton, other researchers seem to think that this was a different younger Thomas Trowbridge. Ancestry.com says they did more than 1000 hours of research for the story, quite a lot for lines who have already been very well researched, I hope some of that was spent resolving some of these disputes. http://blogs.ancestry.com/ancestry/2013/08/28/cindy-crawford-turning-1000-hours-of-research-into-one-hour-of-television.

I loved this review of the episode http://tracingthetree.wordpress.com/2013/08/28/cindy-crawford-who-do-you-think-you-are.
Ya - the tracingthetree blog entry is really interesting, as the blogger has some strong views about the Puritans, the English Civil War and so on.

It sounds like you are really up on your Trowbridge research though.  I guess it is both a blessing and curse when something like this happens, and an ancestor of your's is connected to a Cindy Crawford on a TV show.  The positive side is a spike of interest in an ancestor of your's with an interesting background, with the downside being that moment when TLC presents Cindy Crawford with a giant scroll conveniently linking her back to Charlemagne.

LOL - I have now seen 10-12 different posts on Facebook stating "Wow - I never knew I related to Cindy Crawford.....and Charlemagne!"
I found an abstract of the power of attorney from Thomas, in the New Haven Land Records, where he states he is from Taunton and mentions the three New Haven sons. Added it to the Trowbridge biography. No doubt it is the same person.

BTW I had forgotten about a message I had from a distant relative, documenting one error in my tree in the Dana family about 1800. I'm actually descended from someone whose brother's wife (Winchester) came from the Trowbridge family, originally I thought I came from the Trowbridge descendant. After I had added all of that info to the family tree, now I have to disconnect it. :( Such is the danger of collaboration, but accuracy is more important, and at least some others may benefit.
LOL - well, even though you might not go back to Charlemagne through the Trowbridge family, he's probably still your 45th-great grandfather (probably multiple times over).  In fact, he is a lot of people's 45th-great grandfather (another reason why the Cindy Crawford show was irritating).

Hey - on another note - do you happen to be related to Seth Field (born in Leveritt, Franklin, Massachusetts in 1741 - the son of Jonathan Field and Esther Smith from Hampshire, Mass)?  My 5th great-grandmother married Seth Field after she was widowed.

Yes I have plenty of other Charlemagne links.

I connected Jonathan Field 1697-1781 MA (Field-761) with the rest of the Field family tree, which goes back before the Norman Conquest. The best resource is a book: "Field Genealogy: Being the Record of All the Field Family in America, Whose Ancestors Were in this Country Prior to 1700." There are numerous online links and full text downloads. Mostly transcribed in http://www.rootsweb.ancestry.com/~vtwindha/nfc/nfc155_176.htm, which traces that line back to the astronomer John Field in 1560, that's our common ancestor. My ancestors (Field, not Fields, until about year 1900) were from Rhode Island and Massachusetts about the same time.

Great!  That is definitely them.  The link you gave mentions Seth Field and Margery Knowlton (my 5th great grandmother).

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