Category: Albert Welles Fraud

Categories: Frauds and Fabrications

Albert Welles was a 19th-century American purveyor of genealogical information, with a particular interest in coats of arms and heraldry.

He fabricated aristocratic pedigrees for a number of American families and for President George Washington. His publications included:

The fraudulent nature of Welles's "American College for Genealogical Registry and Heraldry" was exposed by the New York Tribune in an article entitled "A College in One Room: Exposing a Sham in Heraldry," that appeared on page 1 on February 7, 1881. (Souce: New York Tribune, February 7, 1881. page 1, page 2.)

Albert Welles' pedigree for George Washington was critically examined early on, and found to be a fabrication. In 1901, Henry Fitz-Gilbert Waters declared the entire pedigree to be "a rank and stupid forgery." One significant bit of evidence he cited for this conclusion was a communication from the vicar of the English parish where the two emigrant brothers in the pedigree were supposed to have been baptized, who declared that he could find no record for either man's baptism. (Source:Genealogical Gleanings in England, vol. 1, page 402)

In his genealogy of the Buell family of Windsor, Connecticut, Welles spun a reference to William Buell's wife as "Goode Buell" into a claim of aristocratic parentage for William Buell. He misidentified Goode Buell as William's mother and suggested that her appellation "Goode" was an indication that she was a daughter of Sir John Goode and that her name Buell was actually a variant spelling of the name of Sir Robert Beville, a deceased husband of Sir John Goode's daughter. Genealogist George McCracken wrote "I found it so improbable that William Buell, a joiner, could be the unrecorded son of such a pair that I did not bother to transcribe all of the details recorded." (Source: McCracken, George. "William Buell & Descendants." The American Genealogist, v. 54 (1978), page 300.)

Purpose of this Category This category is a location to identify the profiles of people whose biographies or family histories have been affected (or may have been affected) by Albert Welles' fraud. "Affected" is the operative word -- listing in this category does NOT mean that the profile itself is fraudulent; hopefully it is listed because the fraud has been identified and corrected.


Welles publications available on the Internet:


  • The Nation (July 18, 1889) Vol. 49, Page 53 "The False Washington Pedigree"
  • Pass, Forrest D. "Strange Whims of Crest Fiends: Marketing Heraldry in the United States, 1880–1980." Journal of American Studies, Volume 50, Issue 3, August 2016, pp. 587-611.
  • Weil, François. Family Trees (Harvard University Press, Apr 30, 2013) Page 153
  • Waters, Henry F. Genealogical Gleanings, Vol. 1, p. 402.
  • Seale, Yvonne. "George Washington: A Descendant of Odin?", in Public Domain Review, Feb 8th 2017.
  • Eschner, Kat. Smithsonian Magazine, Sep 8th 2017.

Pages (3)

Person Profiles (19)


abt 1580 Wivenhoe, Essex, England - 12 Jun 1672
abt 1644 Portsmouth, Rhode Island - 26 Jun 1685 photo
abt 1612 England - 12 Jun 1679 photo
1616 Essex, England - 1662
abt 1605 England - 30 Oct 1676
22 Apr 1633 Bury, Lancashire, England - bef 07 Oct 1712
bef 23 May 1775 Lowestoft, Norfolk, England - 26 Jan 1849

B cont.

17 Apr 1768 Coventry, Connecticut - 17 Sep 1808
abt 1610 England - 18 Nov 1681 photo
1575 Burnchurch, Kilkenny, Ireland


04 May 1576 Amsterdam, Holland, Republiek der Zeven Verenigde Nederlanden - 08 Dec 1604


abt 1570 Burnchurch, Kilkenny, Ireland - abt 1623


1644 Portsmouth, Rhode Island - 08 Nov 1711 photo

L cont.

abt 1621 England - 16 May 1692


13 Dec 1765 Wapping, London, England - 10 Oct 1832


abt 1604 England - bef 14 Dec 1653


abt 1819 Palmyra, Wayne, New York, United States - 19 Nov 1882

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