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Origins of Samuel Clark

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Surnames/tags: clark pgm
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A Summary of needed corrections in the Samuel Clark profiles of WikiTree
Summary by T Stanton based on the invaluable research of Kay Wilson, Anne B, Bertram Sluys, and Others
26 June 2019



The preponderance of genealogical evidence and documentation shows that two current profiles for a Samuel Clark found in WikiTree

  1. Samuel Clark-553
  2. Samuel Clark-9611

are in fact the same person.

Furthermore, the preponderance of genealogical evidence and documentation shows that the parents of this Samuel Clark are James Clark and his unknown first wife rather than Samuel Clark born perhaps in Devon, England about 1619.

It should be noted that it has long been thought that profile Clarke-2048 is a conflation of at least two individuals and the profile is so noted.

That these two Samuel Clark’s are the same person was first proposed in July 2016. Additional research and a new merge proposal in 2018 was rejected based upon a source and beliefs lacking primary source documentation. Profiles have been changed and undocumented statements about familial relationships added.

The preponderance of primary source documentation and genealogical research going back at least a century shows that these two individuals are the same person. Under WikiTree guidelines the two profiles should be merged.

If at a later point in time valid primary source documentation and research is presented which shows these are in fact two different individuals, then at that time WikiTree can be changed to reflect that new (but currently non-existent) research and documentation.
WikiTree guidelines require that lineages follow documented research (which in this case exists) but do not provide for erroneous and or undocumented lineages to be maintained based on undocumented sources while casting for information to support them.

Following is an outline of the evidence surrounding Samuel Clark and his father James Clark presented in three groups: 1. those sources stating that he is the son of James; 2. those sources which are silent on the subject; and 3. those sources stating he is the son of Samuel.

1 Sources Stating and or Providing Evidence that Samuel is the son of James

  • Donald Jacobus in Families of Ancient New Haven, 2:407-408 (subscription required) states that he is the son of James Clark (by his first wife, name unknown). All citations in this work are NHV (New Haven Vital Statistics).
    • Jacobus gives no DOB but gives further the date of death as 22 Feb 1729/30; Hannah Tuttle as the first wife married 7 Nov 1672; second wife Mary Thompson married 18 Apr 1717.
  • Ackley-Bosworth: Parke, Nathan Grier in The Ancestry of Lorenzo Ackley & His Wife Emma Arabella Bosworth, (Woodstock, Vt., 1960) page 164, gives the same information as in Jacobus, including that the father of Samuel is James Clark, and gives the following citations: FOOF 2:407-409; New Haven Colony Records: 1:17, 92, 138, 391; 2:137; New Haven Town Records 1:183; 2:184, 397, 401, 405, 419.
  • Smith, Tenney, Charles Smith and Rachel Amy Bryant, Their Ancestors and Descendants (Brattleboro, Vt.: Vermont Printing, 1938), page 156 states that the father of Samuel Clark is James Clark, and that his two wives were Hannah Tuttle and Mary Thompson (marriage dates not given). Citations given include Jacobus Families of Ancient New Haven and New Haven Town Records.
  • Boardman, William F. J., The Ancestry of William Francis Joseph Boardman (Hartford, 1906), page 245. The Boardman ancestry is primarily concerned with James Clark and his probable father though it gives the names of two of his sons. In citing NEHGR 51:115 it is postulated that James Clark is the son of John Clark (alias Kingman) of Welles, Somerset via his 1641 will. The text also references estate papers showing sons of James [son of John Clark] made administrators are James and Samuel.
    • Of the family genealogies pre-1910 covering this family (Clark, Barton and Boardman), Boardman is the only one who gives citations. It should also be noted that Boardman is careful in his use of language when citing or providing information that he believes is uncertain.
  • Cutter, Wm. Genealogical and Family History of the State of Connecticut, Vol III: 1311-12. In the course of the discussions on this family, this part of Cutter’s extensive multi-volume work has sometimes erroneously been referred to as “a newspaper article.” While Cutter does not provide citations for his work, he does give James as the father of Samuel. An error in the surname of Samuel’s first wife, perhaps typographical in nature, has been used to discredit Cutter entirely on this matter but that would be a mistake given the preponderance of other documented work which essentially provides the same information as Cutter.

2. Sources Silent on the Parentage of Samuel

There are three sources which touch on this family that provide no information as to the parentage of Samuel Clark. These are:

  1. Elias Atwater, Lucy M. Hewitt, Bessie E. Beach: History of the colony of New Haven to Its Absorption into Connecticut (1902), pages 684-685;
  2. Todd, John Edward, The Todd Family in America or the Descendants of Christopher Todd 1637–1907 (Northampton, Mass.: Gazette Printing, 1920), page 31; and
  3. Tuttle, George Frederick, The Descendants of William and Elizabeth Tuttle, Who Came from Old to New England in 1635, and Settled in New Haven in 1639, with Numerous Biographical Notes and Sketches (Tuttle, Rutland, Vt, 1883), page 540.

3. Sources Which State Without Evidence that Samuel is the son of Samuel

An exhaustive search has produced three places or sources which name Samuel Clark as the son of Samuel Clark (Clark-2048). These are:

  1. Find-A-Grave which lists no documentation and this particular F-a-G memorial has three formal problem notices (as of early April 2019) filed by users.
  2. William Eleazar Barton, Lieutenant William Barton of Morris County, New Jersey: And His Descendants (1900), page 123. This book provides no citations for its information.
  3. Clark, Edgar W., History and genealogy of Samuel Clark, sr., and his descendants from 1636-1891--255 years (St Louis, Nixon-Jones, 1891) page 10. Provides no documentation for its entries. However it is important to take note that Edgar Clark writes that he believed a son of Samuel went to Long Island c 1644 but he is not named and is specifically not the same person as the Samuel Clark he names as son of Samuel Clark. This is perhaps one of the starting points for unraveling what many believe (and have notated) is a conflation of at least two different individuals currently embodied in the Clark-2048 profile.

The Real Samuel Clark

The merge of Samuel Clark-553 and Samuel Clark-9611 brings together two profiles which both show birth in New Haven circa 1646-1647. The exact date and place of the birth of the real Samuel Clark are unknown but the date and place are reasonable suggestions for the son of James Clark.

The merge brings together two profiles which both show date and place of death as 22 Feb 1729/30 in New Haven and there is no suggestion anywhere that there were two individuals of the same name who died the same date and place.

The merge brings together two profiles one of which shows the real Samuel Clark’s first wife and the other which shows the real Samuel Clark’s second wife. Documentation that he had two wives of these names is found multiple places in primary source genealogical documents and corroborated secondary sources.

The Children of the Real Samuel Clark

The children of Samuel Clark is beyond the scope of this summary but various descendants of four different men named Samuel Clark are believed intermingled within WikiTree. Discrepancies in children have been noted on various profiles for some time. Wikitree volunteer Bertram Sluys is currently working to correctly align children with parents. There is no valid reason for the merge of Clark-553 and Clark-9611 to be delayed while children are sorted. The merge itself will untangle many of the issues of the children and will facilitate the proper alignment of subsequent generations.

Who are the Children of Samuel Clark and Hannah Fordham?

The correct children of Samuel Clark-2048 and Hannah Fordham-97 requires additional research but it appears clear based upon available documentation that the Samuel Clark to be represented by the merge of Clark-553 and Clark-9611 is not one of them. It should be noted that Clark-2048 has long been thought to be a conflation of at least two individuals and the profile is so noted.

Next Steps

Based on this research, WikiTree's Puritan Great Migration project will be completing the merge of the two Samuel Clark profiles discussed above, making him son of James by his first wife, and merging as necessary his known children.

Should subsequent quality research reach other conclusions, the PGM project looks forward to reviewing it.

Jillaine Smith 16:54, 27 June 2019 (UTC)
(Co-Leader, Puritan Great Migration Project)


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