Need help reading a parish baptism record please!

+4 votes

I'm trying to solve the mystery of Abraham Perkins baptism date and I'm stuck. On Abraham's profile, the Hillmorton Parish Registers are referenced as a source for his possible 28 Jan 1608/9 baptism date but, in the "Perkins Register Report", Kristin C. Hall cited the same registers as a source for his 4 Jul 1603 baptism. 

The copy of the 1608/9 register is either incomplete or damaged by a tear/fold, as doesn't list a surname or a father's name, only "Abraham baptized ye xxviii of January".  I can't find anything on the 1603 register regarding an Abraham Perkins, Isaac Perkins (his father) or a date of 4 Jul 1603. I've been staring at these old records for so long my eyes are crossing. Could someone please look at the 1603 page with a fresh pair of eyes and let me know if you see anything resembling a 1603 baptism?  I'd appreciate any feedback or comments!! Thx.

WikiTree profile: Abraham Perkins
asked in Genealogy Help by Traci Thiessen G2G6 Mach 1 (15.8k points)

4 Answers

+1 vote
Best answer

I would suggest that significant weight be given to 1603 as being the best guess and approximate DOB for Abraham Perkins based on the following sources:

MORTENSEN, Paula Perkins, English Origin of Six Early Colonist by the Name of Prekins (363 So. Park Victoria Drive, Milpitas, CA 95053-5708, Paula Perkins Mortensen, 1998), Higginson Book Company, 148 Washington St, Salem MA 01970, page 08-09.

NOYES, Sibyl, LIBBY, Charles T., DAVIS Walter G., Genealogical Dictionary of Maine and New Hampshire ([database online] Portland, Maine, USA, The Southward Press, 1928),, Surnames, O-P; Page 555 of 809 [541]. Record for Abraham Perkins

TORRY, Clarence A., New England Marriages to 1700 (Online database., , 2008),, Volume 2, page 1165 of 1482. Record for Abraham Perkins.

TORRY also makes references to the following sources:  {Reg. 10:215, 12:79, 39:81, 50:34; Hampton NH 908; GDMNH 541, 773; Salisbury Fam. 282; Conant 156; Pillsbury And. 339; EIHC 13:92; Warner-Harrington 789; LBDF&P (1913)25}

All of these sources favor 1603 as his DOB, making Alice [1st] his mother.

The images in the Warwickshire, England, Baptisms, Marriages, and Burials, 1535-1812 records are not only difficult to read, but partial information can be misleading. There is an Abigail Perkins dau of Isaac bp about 8 Nov 1607 if I am reading it correctly and an Abraham bp in Jan 1608 (but you cannot read a last name for Abraham or his parents name). Also, these entries are on consecutive sequential pages so the birth/baptism events are a problem because they are only a couple of months apart. 

I believe the better argument is that Abraham was the last child born, in 1603, to the 1st Alice who may have died as a result of this childbirth on 17 Jun 1603.

answered ago by Rodney Wood G2G1 (1.8k points)
selected ago by Traci Thiessen
I agree 100% - Thank you!
And yet, the claimed record doesn't exist.

Once a factoid like that has been published in an American book, it'll be lifted and copied by any number of derivative books without being independently checked.  The number of people who repeat it says nothing.  We need to find out who said it first and where they got it from, if anywhere.
Exactly. Birth/bap. dates between 1603-1613 have been published in numerous books/periodicals, but no primary source has been found. His parents aren't even certain right now.

To what factoid do you refer? The date of 1603 has been independently reported (by TORRY, NOYES and MORTENSEN).   Are these the inappropriate sources you would call into question?  

The Warwickshire records may well be the only primary record but what if we are unable to read them with any real confidence?  My argument is that the 1603 assumption may be our best guess estimate of the birth of Abraham for the reasons that do exist.

Actually the Mortensen book says Isaac and 1st Alice had 5 children, and gives baptism dates for the 1st four, but no date for Abraham.
The sources are not independent.  They are generally low quality and contradictory.  No evidence has been given for the English origins of Abraham Perkins.  That he was a son of Isaac is a guess.  That Isaac Perkins of Ipswich is from the Hillmorton Perkins is a guess.

Noyes: does not provide sources.

Torrey:  Torrey should not be considered a primary source.  His method was to take every source he could find, both good and bad, and lump them together.  You have to try and track down his underlying sources if he is to be of any value.  So what are his sources and do they help with the birth date or place.  

  • NEHGR 10:215  Brief writeup on Perkins family.  Nothing on birth date or English origins.
  • NEHGR 12:79, Born about 1611.  Nothing on English origins.
  • NEHGR 39:81, Nothing on birth date or English origins.
  • NEHGR 50:34; Writeup of Abraham Perkins Family.  Says he died 31 August 1683 aged about 72.  No evidence for English origins.
  • Hampton NH 908:  Dow, Joseph, History of the Town of Hampton, N.H., from Its First Settlement in 1638 to the Autumn of 1892, 2 vols. (Salem, Mass.: Salem Press, 1893).   Born about 1613.
  • GDMNH 541, 773:  Noyes, Sybil, Charles T. Libby, and Walter Goodwin Davis, Genealogical Dictionary of Maine and New Hampshire (Portland, Me.: Anthoensen Press, 1928–29, reprinted by Genealogical Publishing Company, 1972).  States aged 60 in 1663 – I can’t find this record where I would expect to find it.  Nothing on English origins.
  • Salisbury Fam. 282: Hoyt, David Webster, The Old Families of Salisbury and Amesbury, Mass., with Some Related Families of Newbury, Haverhill, Ipswich, and Hampton, and of York County, Maine,  Born about 1613.
  • Conant 156: Conant, Frederick Odell, A History and Genealogy of the Conant Family in England and America, Thirteen Generations, 1520 to 1887 (n.p., privately printed, 1887).  No birth information, claims without evidence he was from Newent, Gloucestershire, England.
  • Pillsbury Anc. 339: Holman, Mary (Lovering), Ancestry of Charles Stinson Pillsbury and John Sargent Pillsbury . . ., 2 vols. ([Concord, N.H.]: Rumford Press, 1938).  High quality work, states he died 13 August 1683 aged 70.
  • EIHC 13:92:  Essex Institute Historical Collections, vol.  13 page 92.  Evidence for his children’s birth date.  Nothing for Abraham.;view=1up;seq=100
  • Warner-Harrington 789:  Warner, Frederick Chester, “The Ancestry of Samuel, Freda and John Warner,” typescript, 5 vols. (Boston, 1949, 1955).  No immediate access to this work.  Available for online viewing at a Family History Center.  Not the type of work you expect to be of high quality primary research.
  • LBDF&P (1913)25}  Lineage Book of National Society of Daughters of Founders and Patriots of America (Washington, D.C., 1913).  Not found, but not a reliable source.

The best source among these is Holman who says he died in 1683 aged 70.  The 1603 date comes solely from Noyes/Davis which is contradicted by the other sources.  The overall consensus is he was born in 1611 or 1613.  None of these state he was a son Isaac or that he came from Hillmorton.  Walter Goodwin Davis in his Dudley Wildes Genealogy (Walter Goodwin Davis. The ancestry of Dudley Wildes 1759-1820, of Topsfield, Massachusetts (1959): 81-90.) speculated that perhaps he could have been a son Isaac, and that Isaac might belong to this Perkins family, but he had no actual evidence.  It is likely that the parish record you are looking for does not exist or WGD would have published it when he extracted the Perkins records.

Without better evidence the parents of Abraham need to be detached.

Thanks for checking Torrey's sources, Joe.  It was literally on my to-do list for today. I've spent all week checking every source on this profile and I have to agree with you, Abraham's parents should probably be removed and his DOB changed. My very lengthy research notes are in Abraham's biography (which I'm still working on).

Thank you for listing the information detail we find that TORREY considered.  It clearly shows the confusion we are concerned about, and after considering it all TORREY settles on ?1603 as his best estimate for the birth of Abraham.

The NOYES lists in GDMNH are also inconclusive but state clearly that Abraham was the brother of Isaac Perkins and was age 60 in Sept. 1603. 

The DAVIS Wildes Anc., Conant 156, and Pillsbury Anc. 339 are all primarily studies of families other than PERKINS.  They are significant in showing how Abraham and his brother Isaac relate to their respective Wildes, Conant and Pillsbury families of interest. Just not so much about Perkins ancestors.

The first (and possibly only) attempt to describe the ancestry of the Perkins Family which references (as primary source) the Hillmorton Parish Records is MORTENSEN.  Paula Perkins Mortensen’s “English Origins of Six Early Colonists by the name of Perkins” is the best source describing the Perkins Family connections.

In MORTENSEN, Abraham is listed as the 5th and last child born to Isaac Perkins (1571-bef 15 Jun 1639) and his first wife Alice who was buried 17 Jun 1603.  Of all Abraham’s brothers and sisters, he is the only child for which a baptism is not given. MORTENSEN simply says he was born about 1603 in Hillmorton Parish.  She, like DAVIS,  probably did not find his parish record either.   She does however provide the best and most recent knowledge of details about Perkins family relationships.

+6 votes
The 1603 baptisms seem to go from June to August, and there isn't one there for July...

The 1608/9 baptisms: if you look at the way the others are written, it is always "George, the sonne of...", so I would expect it to say, "Abraham, the sonne of..." and I don't think the father's name is hidden under that tear/fold.  Maybe Abraham was a twin brother of John above, and nothing to do with Isaac Perkins at all.  If he was baseborn, then most clerics seemed to delight in noting the fact!
answered by Ros Haywood G2G6 Pilot (450k points)
edited by Ros Haywood
I agree. The Abraham in the register might be a son of ____ Abraham. Abraham's bap. date may remain a mystery. Thank you very much, Ros!
Well, I was thinking if he was a twin, then there is an entry for John, sonn of Robert Willson, so this Abraham would be Abraham Willson?

Best wishes!
+5 votes
Its on the 2nd page, near top some kind person has put a x next to it

Sorry about short answer G2G keeps logging me out!
answered by
Still can't see it.  The one on the second page near the top marked with an X is for Francis Perkins, rather than Abraham...
I've had another look you're right I took the double ff to be Ab
Thx Heather!  Who do we think is the father of Francis? Is it Thomas?
Edward.  Thomas has Mary a few lines down.  Later John has Elizabeth.  All the Perkinses are marked with Xs.

Hang on, I'm looking at 1608-11.  There's a Francis in 1604 as well, daughter son of Thomas.

That's on the 1608/9 page.  On the 1603/4 page, Francis is the son of Thomas.

ffrancis is the son of Thomas - 20 Aprill 1604

Franncis is the daughter of Edward - 14 October, it might even be 1620!

Will any of you please take a look at 1605-1607 baptisms to make sure there's no Abraham Perkins, son of Isaac, listed there? I'm editing Abraham's bio and want to make sure everything has been checked. I didn't find a record on that page, but that means nothing ... I have a really hard time reading this stuff! TY!

+1 vote
I did much of the research on this family a while ago and put up the Hillmorton Parish registers.  At the time, I read each and every one multiple times for info about the Perkins family.  I was never able to find evidence for Isaac being born in Hillmorton or being the son of Abraham.

I agree with removing Abraham and his wife as father (obviously with the research notes in the profile) but you'll need to PPP the profile to make sure that they aren't added back.
answered ago by Vic Watt G2G6 Pilot (311k points)
TYVM for posting those registers! I'll request PPP from PGM.

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