John Jacob Beals Sr (1650 - 1726)

+13 votes

A meeting place for PMs, researchers, and descendants of John Jacob Beals Sr (1650 - 1726) to meet and discuss profile specifics.

This profile currently has a LOT of gedcom residue, mismatched parts, missing sections, etc.  I would like to give it a makeover and want to provide a place to discuss John's bio.


WikiTree profile: John Beals
in Genealogy Help by SJ Baty G2G Astronaut (1.1m points)
I concur with the above statement - I've been cleaning up messes people have made in my own lines as I go, but I hadn't seen how much of a mess John's profile is until I saw it mentioned just now (John's one of my 8th great grandparents, and I haven't worked that far back yet on here).
Thanks for your comment Jim. I cleaned up father-in-law William Clayton [Caliton-7] and I've started on John's wife Prudence. I was looking at John's profile to copy and paste sources to Prudence but I saw that despite having a lot of detail, much of John's profile is direct copy and paste and/or without direct sourcing.

I'd like to see a more book style narrative instead of rote lists and span links that lead to nothing.
SJ, I fully agree with this. I think it could also be a good time to take a lot of the Ancestry source information imported with gedcoms, perhaps delete all of them which are user submitted information, make the factual and documented sources inline citations, and do better descriptions of the inline sources in the footnotes. When I imported my gedcom I really did not like the way the Ancestry sources were footnoted and have painstakingly gone back and replaced them with more accurate descriptions and real links to data as I work through profiles. I think that could be good to do here. And happy to help with those old Ancestry citations. John's a 7th great grandfather.

"... a good time to take a lot of the Ancestry source information imported with gedcoms, perhaps delete all of them which are user submitted information, make the factual and documented sources inline citations, and do better descriptions of the inline sources in the footnotes."

My thoughts exactly.  I'll be chipping away at it this week.  I downloaded a lot of sources for William Clayton and in many, Mary and John are on the next page or two.  If you have a look at Claiton-7 you'll get an idea of where I want to go with John's profile - William's profile (six weeks ago) actually looked a lot worse than John's.

It seems the parentage remains uncertain. Are Thomas Beals and Sarah Edge being left as factual?

I've been working on factual things for Thomas' profile and then realized the relationship to the son isn't actually proven.

In looking into the hypothesis mentioned by Cleaver about Thomas making a stop in Ireland it seems that's not solidly sourced by Cleaver. Has anyone with Find My Past access checked their Irish Quaker records? There are a lot of hits to go through there to see if anything matches.
Wow, I didn't realize how bad these profiles are - sourced very weakly - if at all.  Its been on the back burner, I'll try and have a look at them over the weekend.  Thanks T and to everyone else who's working on these.
Cousin SJ, just happened back to this. Should I go ahead and add him to Penn Project? Any objections by anyone to a clean-up of the citations and basic profile rework? Any more thoughts on parentage? I've not done more research on that since early November posts. I think next step there is investigating the Ireland before Pennsylvania idea.

Also, there is now a duplicate profile of sorts in That's got some images attached for John Jacob Beals which I have linked to the correct profile.

Also, and I will post this elsewhere as well, what's up with Ancestry links? Some of my old profiles still had links to documents hosted on Ancestry and that account is still active and nothing has been moved but none of those links any longer function.
I believe we should be safe to add him and for you to do the work you've suggested.
Underway, also going to move the biographies of the children to their own profiles or simply delete if already present on those profiles. Redundant.
Thanks for the work you've done on this - when I saw that the parents were uncertain I thought then that the birthplace must be uncertain - a search of Rumbaldswyke only turns up an unsourced tree at Familysearch.  The Claytons come from Rumbaldswyke, I guess it was expedient for someone to guess and then it was treated as gospel.

Keep up the fine work!

3 Answers

+6 votes
Best answer

I'm also going to propose that John be admitted to the Penn project; he is one of a few who migrated before 1701.

by SJ Baty G2G Astronaut (1.1m points)
selected by Susan Laursen
Sounds okay to me about John Beales being admitted to PENN project. This is an old post! Thanks for all the work.
+2 votes

The cleanup and rewrite of the profile is complete and Penn Project now added as Co-Profile Manager. Suggestions welcome.

SJ, please have a look at one item in his father's profile and that is the last item under research notes where Albert Myers Cook documents William Beals in 1766 deeded property (part of a 1763 grant) for the Huntington Meeting House. Does this answer Putman's question as to whether he ever came to America and by when? And, then, can we find anything definitive to show William is the father of John Jacob? If we can, then we can perhaps answer the origin question for John Jacob. And, can we just remove that middle name Jacob which does not appear in records of the period I have seen?

P.S. I am researching the theory of Cleaver and Ruth Kline Ladd that John stopped in Ireland before arriving in the colonies.

by T Stanton G2G6 Pilot (201k points)
Thanks for your work on this - I'll try to get over to it this week and have a look over.
It certainly proves that William came to America!

Good catch on that resource, I see that on the first Huntington meeting are recorded Ruth (Beals) Underwood, William's daughter, her husband William Underwood, and Williams sisters Olive and Jane.

Unfortunately, I don't see it offering any proof about Thomas except that his kids and grandkids crossed the Atlantic.
I found this unattached (to any children) profile a bit ago  Is this the William meant to be the donor of the Huntingdon Meeting house property? If so date of death is much too early.

It's frustrating that so many people take things Putnam clearly says are speculation, uncertain, or similar and turn them into facts!
Re Thomas. Wonder if Huntingdon and Nottingham far enough apart to have prevented a trip to the 1745 marriage due to weather or something.

It's frustrating that so many people take things Putnam clearly says are speculation, uncertain, or similar and turn them into facts!

Its because he has a website; the modern day equivalent of a hard cover genealogy book.

by the way, I'm working on mine ;-)

+3 votes

I'm starting a separate answer for the question of John Beals Sr.'s father because the other answer is getting too long and off track.

I had a fresh look today at John Beals Sr's [Beals-61] ancestry and I've found this, Bellarts, 1973:

of course no source for the father, just two sources for John Sr.:

been timed out on this post so I'll put the second as a comment...

by SJ Baty G2G Astronaut (1.1m points)

Reading Garret (1913) it becomes painfully obvious where the phantom parents Thomas Beals and Sarah (Edge) Beals come from, at least in my opinion:

"... Sarah Beales was born May 29, 1713, and was the daughter of John and Sarah (Bowater) Beals.  This later John Beales being tthe son of John and Mary (Clayton) Beales (sometimes spelled Beals-Bales).  Sarah Bowater was the daughter of Thomas and Sarah Bowater nee Edge, who came from England...

Compare the profiles of John Beals and Sarah Bowater paying attention to the parents given names and the mother's maiden name.

Thomas Beals - Thomas Bowater

Sarah (Edge) Beals - Sarah (Edge) Bowater

John Beals Sr. [Beals-61]

Sarah Bowater Beals Underwood [Bowater-12]

And consider further, Sarah Bowater's first husband is John Beals Jr. son of John Sr.

It looks like someone, when writing their tree, added the parents of John Jr.'s wife to John Sr. by accident, transposing the Beals and Bowater names.  It looks like it could be an easy mistake, especially when looking at Sarah Bowater's profile, she is Sarah Bowater Beals and her children all have the surname beals.

Once the tree is created on Ancestry or passed around as a Gedcom, other novice genealogists will go looking for any Thomas Beals, (born ~ 30 years before John Sr.) who has a wife named Sarah and then they copy dates and birth locations.  It gets copied again and again and taken as gospel.

The similarities are uncanny and it is more likely than not that this originates as a transcription error.

And adding further credence to the argument, the profile for Sarah (Edge) Beals [Edge-321] has the death information for Sarah (Edge) Bowater [Edge-242].

In other words, the ONLY source on the Beals profile is the death information for the profile that I believe that was conflated.

I did the re-sourcing on Sarah (Edge) Bowater [Edge-242] last fall so I hope that information is correct. On that profile I do not know where the info on the re-interrment came from.

I think you are on to something with your transcription error theory. So, we are left with parentage of John Beals Sr [Beals-61] as truly unknown or is this pointing back to William and is that perhaps the Beals-103 which has an erroneously early death date if he's the William who is donor of the Huntingdon meeting house property?

Ancestry has become ridiculous. I keep it for research tools. They have "loosened" their match algorithms to the point you now get suggested matches which are off not by just decades but often centuries not to mention wildly fantastical geographic distances (sometimes different continents). What this is doing to trees on Ancestry can only be imagined and some of that horror show will get imported to WikiTree.
A search on Ancestry for John Beals born ~ 1650 shows 28 trees.  Some have the name John Beals, some John Jacob Beals, and some as Thomas Beals.  Nearly all of them show Thomas and Sarah (Edge) Beals as the parents.  Not a single tree has a source that shows Thomas as the father nor Sarah as the mother.  A few trees call the father William Thomas Beals.  

There are at least two Beals books written in the 19th century that have all sorts of details that appear to be first or second hand stories about the beals, most notably grandson Thomas Beals the Quaker minister.

There is one source of a birth of a John Balles, abt 1651 in Hargham, Norfolk, England to parents William and Martha Balles.  No evidence that this is the same person as John Beals ~ 1650 but is an interesting record if John Sr.'s father's name is William.
Putnam thought he was most likely from Wales, Worcestershire or York. Is that based on the 19th century histories with unsourced parents? Where did Rumboldswyke, Sussex come from on the profile? Is this because of the origins of the Clayton family?

What do you think about the estimated birth year of 1650? That places his marriage at c 32 years of age and him 15 years older than Mary. At 17 she marries someone 32? Not out of the question but for this period it's notably below average age for her and notably above average age for him.

His court testimony says he was plowing a certain tract in 1667. Having grown up on a farm, I believe that statement could mean he was but age 10 (or even younger) in that year. And, there is the odd entry in Annals of Philadelphia, "The following were among those who came over before the end of the year 1682: ... John Beals (or Bales), who married Mary, the daughter of William Clayton..." I don't know the context of the pulled quote but it's a somewhat odd statement about someone who had been here for at least 15 years by 1682.

Putnam thought he was most likely from Wales, Worcestershire or York. Is that based on the 19th century histories with unsourced parents? Where did Rumboldswyke, Sussex come from on the profile? Is this because of the origins of the Clayton family?

Putnam uses a lot of information that is urban rumor.  When I reworked William Clayton's profile I found that Putnam included all of the popular myths but didn't always research them out to the source documents.  Much of what he writes matches the Ancestry trees but not the original docs.

I am sure that the Rumbalswyke connection is to the Claytons.  Someone saw that he married the daughter and just assumed they all came from the same neighborhood.  Once it entered the GEDCOM stream, it spread like a virus.  Or, once some armchair genealogist put it in his self-published book in 1890, it spread like a virus.

What do you think about the estimated birth year of 1650? 

The birth year is a guess the same as all of the "maybe" places of birth.  26 of 28 Ancestry trees have no source about his birth or his parents, and two have dubious evidence.  We really just don't know.  I would love to believe that all of these trees got their info from some magic book that has the family bible or some other holy grail source but the reality is that someone probably grabbed the first John Beals record that they found for Wales, Worcestershire or York and attributed it to him without any further research.

We really need to just look at source docs and/or academic level histories and record only that info and delete the rest as fantasy.  Even the birth date - we should look at the available (real) evidence and then make an estimation and mark it as such.  Why is 1650 any better than 1640 or 1660?  Because its on Ancestry?  LOL

For the year of birth, my discussion was relative to taking the available evidence and making a better the hope that might narrow the search for primary source documentation. From actual evidence that we do have, I think a more reasonable estimate of his year of birth would be 1657-1658. That would reduce the age disparity at marriage (although the current 15 year estimated difference is not without precedent) yet accommodate the statement of activity in 1667.

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