Are sources cited in Torrey's also considered reliable?

+4 votes

My understanding is that Torrey's is considered a reliable source. (Please correct me if I'm wrong.) Does that mean that all of the sources for Torrey's are considered reliable sources? For example, here is a Torrey's record including Patience (Topliffe) Holmes:

HOLMES, Nathaniel (1639-1713) & 2/wf Patience TOPLIFF (1644-1697); 27 Mar 1667; Dorchester/Roxbury (David Jones will); {Dorchester Ch. Rec. 11; Reg. 5:401, 466,58:24,118; Waldo Gen. 1:64-5; Holmes (#3) 6; Topliff (1906); Parker (#9) 268}

  1. Can I treat all of the information in this entry as reliable or just the marriage date and location?
  2. Can I treat the information in the referenced sources as reliable? 

For example, Topliff (1906) is: Topliff (1906): Bolton, Ethel, Clement Topliff and His Descendants in Boston (Cambridge, Mass.: [University Press], 1906) While it seems doubtful that a 1906 book would be considered a reliable source of pre-1700 information, if it's good enough for Torrey's...

WikiTree profile: Patience Holmes
in Policy and Style by Ellen Spertus G2G6 (7.4k points)
retagged by Ellen Smith

2 Answers

+6 votes
Torrey's New England Marriages to 1700 is a source that many of us have leaned on. It's an amazing compilation of information derived from pretty much all of the sources Torrey could find. And he was an insightful genealogist who was careful to cite his sources. However, as with any secondary source, it can't be regarded as Revealed Truth. It's no better than the sources he used, and I've seen suggestions that he was somewhat indiscriminate in accepting sources. I've noticed citations to one source that is now known to have been fraudulent in part, and I've seen data in Torrey that more recent research has found to be wrong.

Since Patience was a daughter of PGM immigrants, I suggest that you consult the Great Migration Directory (or ask someone else for a lookup) to see what sources are listed for her father. That would be one indication of how well regarded the 1906 Topliffe book is.
by Ellen Smith G2G Astronaut (1.3m points)
Thanks very much. I have a NEGHS membership and did not find any relevant records when I searched for a Nathaniel Holmes married to someone whose first name was Patience.
+4 votes
Hi Ellen, I would look at the Clement Topliff book (not listed by Anderson in the Great Migration Directory under Clement Topliff.) Fact check the births and deaths against available vital records. Does the book cite sources like wills, and town records?

As the other Ellen mentioned Torrey has good and bad. Only comparison to "primary" records
by Anne B G2G Astronaut (1.2m points)

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