Breaking down Benjamin Babb of Middletown, CT

While preparing for one of my next book releases, I was doing some research on Benjamin Babb of Middletown, CT. In Jean’s book, she had created a second tree (2) for him as she was unable to prove his relation to any other branch. I dug around online to see what others now thought of this and found that 100% of the trees on Ancestry now showed his father as Joshua Babb. (1-3-1), son of Philip Babb and grandson of Phillip of the Isles of Shoals.

But I immediately noticed that they had younger Philip’s name spelled wrong, had it so that Phillip the elder, would have only been 5 years old at his death. Not a shred of evidence supported these claims, which makes it very frustrating. So, I reviewed what Jean had to say on the topic in her book. It seems that no Babb’s lived in the neighboring villages.

It also seems that his wife Sarah Blake’s lineage was unclear to Jean. She had assumed it was a Married name, but was never certain. This is one thing that has changed since the 3rd Edition of Babb Families of America. Sarah Blake’s lineage is easily established. She lived in Middletown all of her life and is the daughter of Jonathan Blake. A variety of Birth and Marriage records support this information, which are now incorporated into the master tree.

Additional research indicated that the Benjamin Babb (1-3-1-2) who is the son of Joshua cannot be the same person as Benjamin of Middletown, CT (2). Two main reasons stick out. The Inventory of Benjamin’s estate in Middletown was taken in 1776, indicating that he had died some time previous to this moment. Yet, Benjamin the son of Joshua is located in Portsmouth, NH with his father Joshua in the 1790 Census. So, strike that thought from your minds. In the words of, that is one very shaky leaf!

Next, I see that there are 2 other potential Benjamins in our tree that could offer potential as a match:

Benjamin Babb (1-4-10),  who was born in 1723 to Sampson & Grace Taprill (Shameless Plug: Her ancestry is covered in my new book Babb Unabridged: Babb’s Rock, now available on Amazon) , which is also the estimated birthdate as the one in Middletown. He seems to have vanished after the death of his father in 1736 and drops out of site. He was not left land, just 20 Pounds of currency. This makes him an excellent candidate to have moved to Middletown by 1746 in order to marry Sarah Blake.

Benjamin Babb (1-4-2-3), who was born about 1737 to Sampson, Jr & Dorothy Hoit (Daughter of Isreal Hoyt, who also happens to be covered in the new book). This Benjamin would have been too young to have married in 1746 and also is still listed on the 1790 Census which is also a problem. So, we can exclude This Benjamin.

So, this leaves us with only one potential match. Is Benjamin Babb of Middletown, CT (2) actually, Benjamin Babb (1-4-10)? Y-DNA could reveal if one of his descendants is in fact related to Phillip Babb of the Isles of Shoals, but it won’t be able to tell us exactly which branch of the tree he is in. Maybe someday it will, but not today. It also could reveal a whole different connection that we are unaware of.

If you know of a Male Babb Descendant who traces their ancestry back to Benjamin of Middletown, the Babb Family will pay for their Y-DNA test if certain criteria is met. Have them contact me.

Daniel Greig Babb

BOOK ANNOUNCEMENT: Babb’s Rock is now available in Print!

Babb Unabridged Vol 1-Babbs Rock (Cover)I am thrilled to announce that my first book is finally available in print. Babb’s Rock, is the first volume of a new series that will unfold to include Babb lineages from around the world. I’ve title the series Babb Unabridged, because I plan to leave nothing out. Please note that this is NOT simply the next edition of Jean A Sargent’s Babb Families of America, but a whole new approach to finding our roots. I want to enable everyone to have all the information I have at my disposal, so you can do your own research without having me as a bottleneck. I have some great surprises in store for future volumes, but today, we celebrate Babb’s Rock!

Babb’s Rock isn’t just a place. It represents the most storied Babb in history. The Rock of the Babb Family in America is none other than the legendary Sheriff of the Isles of Shoals, Phillip Babb. He was as tough as the granite that bears his name.

In the most comprehensive look ever into his life, get to know all about him and the people that he called family. Find out what brought them to the Isles, who they were and where they came from. Marvel in the amazing lineage of Bathsheba Hussey, the Murder inquest that Robert Taprill served as a juror for and the story of George Walton and the Stone Throwing Devil.

In the first volume of this bold new series, I work to set the stage for the difficult work of finding where Phillip came from. Most of this work is being published for the very first time and represents a compilation of the work I’ve done over the past 14 years.

New volumes will follow as they are completed, to give the most complete picture ever of Babb Families from around the World.

Babb’s Rock is available for purchase now at:

The Anatomy of an Error?

One of our members asked recently about guidance on the correct marriage date for Stephen Babb (1-2-2-1-6) & Sarah Morrow. It seems that there are two common dates of marriage that float around for Stephen & Sarah. 12 Feb 1788 & 12 Feb 1799. Stephen is the Son of Philip (1-2-2-1) who is the pioneer of Greene County, TN that founded Babb’s Mill. Stephen is also a brother to Seth Babb who built the Homestead I talk so much about.

Marriage info varies widely over different time periods & geographic areas. Also, because I keep a tree for such a large family (almost 18,000 people), I don’t always notice minor data conflicts, such as this one. That is until one of the Eagle-Eyed members brings it to my attention. Which was the case here.

I myself had lifted the 1788 date from Jean A. Sargent’s 3rd edition of Babb Families of America (Copyright 2000), which seems to be unsourced. This sent me on a quest to find out where the info came from. When I secured Jean Sargent’s Papers, I also received Jean’s master copies of the first two editions that she used when creating the next edition. In that was a printed copy of the First Edition of the series, which was titled Babb Families of New England …and Beyond.

BF of New EnglandTaking a quick look at the page, you will see why I don’t recommend people use this edition. Phillip’s (1-2-2-1) entire list of descendants takes up less than 2 pages. By the 3rd Edition, this encompassed 27 pages and in the soon to be released Babb Unabridged, this area is roughly equivalent to 108 similarly sized pages. The massive number of side notes, gives a clue about just how much work goes into this. Before you ask, I don’t have a date for release, just yet. Currently, I’m struggling with formatting problems, but hope to deliver it in the next few of months.

From the 1st Edition, I can see that Stephen wasn’t discovered until after it was finalized in 1987. He does make the 2nd edition goes to print in 1994 and we find the 1788 marriage date listed. Jean got most of her data via communications with other researchers. She was a stickler for accuracy, but had to rely on other researchers to enable something the size of her book. Fortunately, she kept copious records.

Next, I turn to Box 5, Folder 10 in Jean’s papers. This is Stephen & Sarah’s folder. It contains two sub-folders, Correspondence of Vetta Babb Barton (14 Pages) & Miscellaneous Correspondence (95 Pages). In it I find many references to 1788, but initially overlook a critical document.

The exact origin isn’t obvious, but a variety of sources were quoting this date as early as 1988 and Jean herself is quoting it as early as 1989. This date has gone unchallenged for roughly 27 years. And, why not? The 1788 date easily line up with the birth of their children in 1790.

During this timeframe, the world of genealogy has been turned on its side by the Internet & Personal Computing. So, next I turn to I bypass the trees, which are notoriously incapable of handling this sort of problem, and head directly for the source documents.

The answer is instantly clear. Or is it? There are two source documents available. The first is an Index of Tennessee Marriage Records, which uses the 1788 date. It’s source is unclear.

Stephen Babb 1-2-2-1-6 Marriage RecordTurning to our second record, we finally have something of substance. A copy of the Marriage book from Greene County, TN dated 12 Feb 1999. In the original book, there is a note in the clerk’s handwriting,  that lists a previous marriage date in 1788 (no month/day was included), in the State of Franklin. Franklin is a failed State that encompasses the 8 Easternmost counties of what is now Tennessee. Franklin failed in Dec 1788 and the land returned to North Carolina, until Tennessee was founded in 1796. This harkens to an earlier document. But, where are those records? Why, they are in this same book. This is because the county always existed, just under different government names.

Looking back through the entries from 1788, there is no record of Stephen and Sarah getting married earlier. There is a girl named Sarah who marries, but that isn’t enough to say they are the same person. It also begs the question of, who is the mother of Stephen’s first two children (William & Alcy). It’s possible that either of them married someone else earlier and in a different county, but all of those seem unlikely. It’s for sure something happened, but what?

Stephen Babb (1-2-2-1-6) & Sarah Morrow Marriage-Greene Co, TN Book A, Page 577To answer this question, I searched through every marriage record that exists from 1788 in Franklin (now Tennessee). Only two of the Franklin Counties have records going back that far, so it was a short list. There isn’t a semblance of another Babb or Morrow (Moorow) in those records. As I’m about to hit send on this post, I got back one more time to copy a passage from Jean’s Papers and I come across the source document, which appears to have been entered in Deed Book A, instead of the Marriage book. I’m not clear on which collection it is from, but it clearly is marked at the bottom as being from Greene County, TN.

So, the final answer is, both are correct. It seems they reaffirmed their vows on their anniversary, or had a previously lost record re-entered into the right place. Next time I’m in Greeneville, I’ll search out the full location and see if I can get a better copy of the record.

I hope you have enjoyed this little stroll through history! I had great fun tracking it down!