Shouldn't Frances White's parents be removed since they are not correct?

+5 votes

In researching Dr Richard Wells and his family, it seems that his wife, Frances White, is NOT the child of Richard Whyte and Catharine Weston. I guess that someone keeps re-adding the incorrect people as her parents, despite them being removed previously.

I would really like to fix these profiles, but am hesitant to do it because there are so many profile managers.

WikiTree profile: Frances Wells
in The Tree House by Beth Stephenson G2G6 Mach 4 (48.8k points)
edited by Ellen Smith

6 Answers

+3 votes
Best answer
Here's my recommendation:

(1) Request to be on the trusted list.  That tells the current profile managers that you plan to work on the profile.  

(2) Focus on the biography.  use complete sentences, which are less subject to misunderstanding.  We are not Ancestry and other sites which have a "notes" section to throw in a jumble of items we hope will support the data field -- we do Biographies, and biographies are written in complete sentences and they are organized as a whole.

(3) Every sentence or paragraph should have an inline citation.  Right now there is a source for many items, but many of them are very weak, i.e. with nothing further.  Work to replace each of them with something better.

(4) The WikiTree style for major headings is that there are two required -- ==Biography== and ==Sources==,and two optional -- ==Research Notes== and ==Acknowledgements==.  Where there is contradictory material -- currently there are two different birth dates -- use Research Notes.  If you find something is simply a mistake -- someone entered the year 802 when they clearly meant 1802 -- just correct it -- but if you notice the error is prevalent all over the internet, it is better to acknowledge it, "A birth year of 1742 is widely seen in popular genealogies, but All Hallows' birth records clearly state he was born on March 26th, 1728."  

(5)  From other discussion, it seems there may be some controversy regarding the parents, so that needs to have its own sub-paragraph under Research Notes, where you document which sources says what, and why it appears persuasive that Whyte and Weston are not Frances' parents.  

(6) THEN add a comment that you propose to de-link the parents -- see Research Notes.  Then give it a couple of days and then de-link it.  

(7) THEN have it Project Protected.  Maryland Project, which I coordinate, can't do it, but we're a sub-project of US HIstory, which can.

This may seem like the "long way around Robin Hood's barn", but these are all things that the profile needs anyway.  The data field, where the de-linking takes place, has to be derived from documentation in the biography.  Without the documentation in the biography, everything in the data field is pure fiction and you might as well just have Mr. and Mrs. Santa Claus as the parents.
by Jack Day G2G6 Pilot (388k points)
selected by Barbara Cutter
If only.  Trouble is, if the parents go, everything goes.  Frances's whole life story depends on the tale that her loving Catholic parents sent her off to Virginia as a teenager, for her own safety, and she promptly married a Puritan, thus incidentally attaching her husband's descendants to her grandfather's high-class fake pedigree.

If that's not true, seems like all we have is a record somewhere, dunno where, that Richard Wells immigrated to Maryland in 1652, from Virginia, with a wife Frances and 11 kids in tow.  And then she died.  And we don't even know she was the mother of the kids.
No, not everything.  Perhaps what you have left is a legend.  Then you document the legend.  And if in fact this person never existed, then you make sure the person has no connections to parents, spouse or children, because people who never existed don't have family.  But you put in cross-references to the bio in the various other biographies that have gotten attached to this person in legend.  

If you don't document the legends, they keep coming back to bite you!
So the 17th century woman named Frances (Whyte) Wells is a legend without any supporting documentary evidence?!

That seems to be the argument RJ and Jack are making.  Hmmmm!  If she truly is a legend, then why does she have a Wikitree profile at all???
We don't create person-profiles for legends (although anyone is free to create a free-space profile for one).  However, once a person-profile has been created, it is WikiTree policy not to delete it.  Especially if a legend is in circulation around the internet, it is important to have the profile with documentation available to correct the error;  if we didn't keep the profile, some well-meaning person would re-create it.  

"If she is truly a legend" begs the next question -- how do we know?  We only now when the facts are documented in the profile.  During the research process the profile serves as a location to place the facts.  Only when they are assembled can we actually state whether the person is simply a legend or not --and even then we may be wrong.  There are always more facts to unearth, and sometimes they may cause us to change an opinion.

Once someone has been documented as being a legend and not a real person, they are candidates for the Disproven Existence Project.  Even then they can be returned to life if new facts warrant!
+5 votes
Looks like you should be looking for a project to protect it in this case.
by C. Mackinnon G2G6 Pilot (293k points)
Ok. Do you have any recommendations? I have never done this before & don't want to upset anyone.
England, they might help or euroaristo.
+4 votes
There seems to be an alternative theory about her parents, involving a mysterious Mary Sheldon.

But clearly there's no record of Frances's marriage to Richard Wells, so I'm still looking for the evidence that Frances's maiden name was White.
by Living Horace G2G6 Pilot (573k points)
Thank you! I haven't found evidence for her, either. But I am working on it. It seems that they married somewhere in Virginia before moving down the coast to Anne Arundel County, Maryland.
Apparently a Jerome White appeared in Anne Arundel County in 1661 and went back to England later.  The theory is that he was Frances's brother.  Neato, but if there's no evidence...

Papenfuse is tempted, but uncertain.  This makes life very difficult for ditching the story, because everybody else just ignores the question marks.

Jerome White didn't just "appear" in Maryland, he was appointed as Surveyor-General and served as such for several years. He's fairly well documented in the Maryland State Archives, including a letter in which he refers to George Yate as his "cousin". (This is the George Yate who later married Mary Wells - widow of Thomas Stockett - daughter of Richard and Frances Wells.)

There was a Jerome among the children of Sir Richard White and Lady Catherine Weston, and there was a tangential connection by marriage between the White and Yate families. This Jerome became involved with the negotiations to marry Mary of Modena to James, Duke of York (afterward James II) - shortly after the Surveyor-General resigned his office and left Maryland abruptly for unexplained reasons.

Lady Catherine was Sir Richard's second wife - he had had a first wife, one Anne Gray, daughter of sharp lawyer Andrew Gray of Hinxworth, and they had had at least two children, possibly more. There was a son who died young, and a daughter Mary who was married in a secret Catholic ceremony to (Sir) Robert Brett of Whitstanton. Whether there was another daughter named one knows for sure, but there could have been. (Lady Catherine *did* have a daughter named Frances, but she was much too young to have been the one who was sent to Virginia. On the other hand, reusing names in the same family was hardly unknown at that time.)

There's nothing definite enough to point to and say "This must be so", it's all circumstantial. But there are just enough circumstances to make one wonder.

Anybody can make up "could be true" stories that fit into the gaps in the data.  Question is, whoever proposed this scheme, where did they get it from?  How did they know?  So long as we can't answer that, we'll have to assume it's just concocted like all the other royal-descents-of-immigrants stories.

There are a lot of theories around Frances Wells, and very few facts. There were a lot of Whites in early colonial Virginia, including the very early (1606) "William White, laborer" (he came on the "Susan Constant" with the first settlers).

The colony went through a nasty bottleneck during the "Starving Time" of 1609-10, and almost failed - in fact the 60(!) surviving colonists had actually abandoned it and taken ship to go...elsewhere...when they were met downriver by Lord de la Warr with an armed resupply flotilla. He "persuaded" them to give it another try, and back they went. (This is the short version of a much longer story.)

White English women remained in very short supply for about another decade, so you know where the colonists got their female companions. This was later mostly swept under the rug, with the all-important exception of Matoaka aka Pocahontas aka Rebecca Rolfe.

Without solid facts, all names belong in the hat. smiley

+1 vote

A thread!searchin/soc.genealogy.medieval/frances$20white$20wells%7Csort:date/soc.genealogy.medieval/sGN1JB8dke4/M3JJCE9BDAAJ

Sadly, the link to the rootsweb archive will never work again.  Not my idea of how to run an archive.

by Living Horace G2G6 Pilot (573k points)

But this might be the thread.!msg/soc.genealogy.medieval/bEL2sZSW1ao/uiMpV7GxFmQJ

Conatins a reference

"Of Sackcloth and Ashes - The Wells/White Marriage," by Nell
Owings Chaney, in The Maryland Genealogical Societ Bulletin, 37 (2) Spring 1996) 145-153

+2 votes

According to this

Edward Sheldon and Elizabeth Markham, who had nice ancestors, had a son William b 1588-9 whose daughter Katherine married an Edmund Plowden.

If that's correct, not just a silly mistake, then two different Edmund Plowdens married two different Katherine dau. of William Sheldons, because this one

lived a century earlier, and in fact her father William

was the great-grandfather of the other Katherine's father William.

Sadly the elder William's ancestors were nice every way except genealogically.

But all is not lost.  Some kind soul has repaired the damage by finding the younger William a nice sister Mary and marrying her to a Richard White with a daughter Frances.

This way, Richard Wells can still marry a "Frances da. of Richard White", just in case that turns out to be a fixed data point.

by Living Horace G2G6 Pilot (573k points)

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