A whole New Look at Cornwall

As I thought I had completed my work on Cornwall in preparation for the upcoming Y-DNA test results there has been a outstanding issue of where Thomas Babb (born before 1776) was born. There were about a half dozen trees remaining that I wasn’t able to unite.

Talking with the Cornwall Babb family members I came to realize that there is a bit of a rivalry between Devon and Cornwall and the family bristled a bit at the idea of them descending from a Devon line of Babbs.

I set about starting the same research for Devon that I did for Cornwall previous to my last post but was stopped in my tracks by a revelation that I had been only seeing a subset of the results in the method of how I was doing my query. Actually, there were three revelations in short order.

The first is that I should not be searching for only exact matches to “Babb”. I recently learned this lesson while researching the line of Essex Babbs (Plural) Families. Apparently, my predecessor Ian Babb had limited his search to those with the Exact “Babb” surname.

The second is that Ancestry.com records are grossly insufficient in this area and lack virtually all of the Church of England Parish Records, which go back as far as 1538. This is an invaluable resource as the England Census first started in 1841 and can help fill in gaps. I use Ancestry as my primary research vehicle as there is usually great amounts of crossover in their records. This impacts me in two ways. The backbone of my understanding of the English Babb lineages comes from the research Ian did and a USB Drive he left with early research he did on Ancestry using Family Tree Maker before his death.

I took that file and modernized it not realizing we both were making the same mistake. In the US the variations of Babb are so limited that it typically isn’t worth looking through a bunch of records that aren’t pertinent. Ian had a saying that you have to draw the line somewhere and he only researched Babb records. He did most of his life’s work before the Genealogical Revolution took hold and resources were just coming online as he passed. It was virtually impossible to get at the breadth of information we have at our disposal in 2020.

The third revelation was in how I structured my search on FamilySearch.org (which is run by the Latter Day Saints). I had already been using this at the time of my last post, but had an error in how I did my search.

I discovered quickly as I was starting to work on the West Devon Babbs that if I ran the query a different way I got additional records. So, I returned to Cornwall for another pass and found an additional 200 early records above and beyond what I had before.

I decided that the only way to sort this out is to conduct a complete pass of the 2112 records available and found a series of new trees, some of which go back into the 1500s.

While the jury is still out on whether the Cornwall and Devon Babb families collide, one thing is for sure. We now have the most complete picture ever of the Babbs in Cornwall. Many of those trees are right along the Devon County Line so anything could happen as I begin to canvas there.

Along the way we have a large number of new pedigrees that date back into the 1500 & 1600s. With the advent of so many new trees I’ve abandoned the number and letter system used by Ian in favor of a new naming convention that gives you an idea of where and when the tree begins. This promotes clarity as to what you will find.

I’ve called those trees out on the attached map to give you an idea of where they are located.

That I’ll be introducing you to over the next few days to those trees.

Brace yourself!

Coming next:

Cornwall Pedigree (Gerrans-1560)
Cornwall Pedigree (St Minver-1562)
Cornwall Pedigree (Launcels-1607)
Cornwall Pedigree (Mawnan-1622)

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