A Cautionary Tale

or, Judith Vassall's Adventures in the IGI

Below I attach a cautionary experience to those who will be using the new IGI service at: http://www.familysearch.org/

Those of us who frequent Family History Centers are familiar with the inaccuracies of the International Genealogical Index. I wondered if the new web version had been "cleaned up" somewhat since it was no longer burned forever in a CD format. Nope! Its still the same old IGI. So Judith VASSALL married John Perry (which took a while, because his first name is "Reverend") in Farneborough in 1603. She also married John FREEBORNE in 1603, once at Ratcliffe, Devon, once in Prittlewell, Essex, and again in London for good measure. (She was born 25MAR1582, in Ratcliffe, although she was also born that day in Stephney, St. Duston, London, England, and in Farneborough, Hampshire, England) to parents John Vassall and Anne Russell.

Another Judith VASSALL m. Edward Winslow in 1640, in Stephney, which is also where she married Resolved WHITE on 8 APR 1640. (although just to make sure, she married the dear man again 8 NOV 1640 in Baltimore, Maryland, and several times in Scituate, Plymouth, Mass, first in 1636, once in 1639, and then several times in 1640). This poor lady had the misfortune of being born to William Vassall and Ann King, in Massachusettes about 1620, but without the benefit of having parents on the Mayflower. She was born a multitude of places in England (Prittlewell, Essex; Cold Norton, Essex; Eastwood, Essex; Stephney, London; and also in Scituate, England in 1619, but also in Scituate, Plymouth, Mass, three times in 1619, once in 1614, once in 1616, and once in 1627. )

There are at least 76 records for Judith VASSALL. How do you tell what is true? Examine the sources. Without them, everything in the IGI should regarded as heresay. MOST of what is in the IGI is secondary sources or worse. Keep that in mind. Also, sort out the strays by "majority rules", and then float what you learn past some appropriate surname lists or forums for a reality check.

But its GREAT for leads and hunches! Use it as its intended, and you'll have a blast and learn a ton!

On a happy ending note,

Eventually, I found John Vassell and Anne Russell with their children William, Ann, Judith, John, Sarah, and John, with birth, christening, death, and marriage dates for all the kids listed in somebody's PAF file. It all looked pretty good, if you don't mind Anne getting married at age 13, and having one of her kids post-humously.

My Judith's parents

The only other sad part in that PAF entry is that "my" Judith marries that loser John Freeborne two years before she was born, when he is age 2, and she age -2, and then dies 12 years later, at age 10.
How sad!

I like my version, where she waits until 1603, when she is age 21, and marries the Reverend John Perry and begets MY ancestors. Now I'm just waiting to make my story into facts. . .

Gary Warner
Gar's Genealogy Pages