While proofing my work for the upcoming book on the North Carolina Babb Family, I stumbled across a significant error that needed correction. You see, when first transcribing Jean A. Sargent’s Babb Families of America I used the 2nd Edition, which was the only one available to me at the time. I knew that there were some “minor” corrections Jean made for the 3rd Edition, but she had said that 99% was intact. Yesterday, I stumbled across a “1%-er.” Not the kind that “Occupies Wall Street”, but the kind where Jean found and corrected a mistake.
I’ve always been amazed at the continuity of her work. She used no computers, no email, just typewritten letters and the US Mail. Yet, as I entered the data into a modern Genealogy program (Family Tree Maker), I was shocked at how few corrections were needed. As I went back and matched available records, the family units remained largely intact and for most, I have merely expanded the range of her work as I moved it towards modern day.
Yesterday, was an exception…..of sorts. William Carter Babb was listed in the 2nd Edition as (5-6-7-3-3) the son of Green B. Babb. Green’s lineage was itself initially confused with Greenberry and Greenbury Babb, who at first appeared to be the same person. Untangling this can be a mess, which is what happened to me yesterday.
Family Tree Maker was telling me that there was some connection to Phillip of the Isles of Shoals, which I know to be untrue. I had to follow the scent and clicking on each member of this branch of the family to find which had the closest connection. The trail ended at William Carter Babb. He had a second set of parents listed (Stephen Babb & Sarah Morrow) and it looked as though I had merged two people at some point, but I couldn’t be sure. Either way, Stephen isn’t his father, so this was just purely incorrect.
It is at these moments when I turn back to see what Jean had to say on the matter. Pulling the 3rd Edition first, I find William listed amongst the North Carolina Babbs but with a number that places his as a descendant of Phillip Babb of the Isles of Shoals. There is a note from Jean that explains that she initially confused the two and had corrected her mistake. Because indexing back then was extremely tedious she reused the index from Volume two and only could make corrections that would fit on the same page as before.
The numbering system presents a special challenge here as normally, someone’s number, once assigned, always remains the same. Otherwise, people looking up things by number will no longer be able to locate that person in the tree. Plus source files have been named accordingly and it would be chaos trying to move them. But we just can’t leave him in the wrong tree, so something must be done.
I knew this day would come and had a plan in place to deal with it. William and all of his descendants now have two tree numbers. Their old number in the North Carolina tree has been pre-pended with the word “Formerly” and a new entry has been made with the correct number. His parentage has been corrected and he has been reunited as the 5th child of Seth Babb, Jr. & Annie Stonecipher of Greene County, TN. William’s new tree number is 1-2-2-1-4-6-5 and he was no doubt born in the 1787 Seth Babb Homestead as he is buried in the adjacent field.
It is probably not a coincident that both Jean and I made errors on this same person, which I’d like to say makes him a 1% of a 1%.
Why is this change so significant? William is the only child of that marriage to have born children and he had 13 of them! with roughly 50 heirs this is a big change. I’ve updated the master tree and as a new edition of Volume 2: The Tale of Thomas is published; this change will be included. In the meantime, follow the link to see the corrected descendant report for William Carter Babb (1-2-2-1-4-6-5):