700 Years of Babb History in Devon, England

Having successfully culled through and imported roughly 8,000 Early Babb records from Devon we now have the most complete tree possible given the information available to me at this time. There are a dozen or so books at the Family History Center Library in Salt Lake City that I hope to get at next month when I make my first trip to Utah. They are likely redundant, but I plan to leave no stone left unturned.

Beyond that I have drained the British National Archives, Both Devon Record Archives, the Dallas Public Library and Family Search in this endeavor and am ready to call it done!

To wit, I have created this video to walk you through the history in just 90 seconds. That’s almost 8 years per second, if you happen to be wondering. The file is quite large, so you may want to download it to keep it from skipping or dragging:

I’m also including a PDF of the individual maps, for ease in zooming in.

Next, we have an alphabetical view of each of the map locations and the corresponding locations. Many of them have no corresponding locations that were outlined in the documents inspected. This will help assist for those who struggle to read the map above.

Lessons Learned

In addition to learning a great deal about the many locations and their history, I’ve gained a deep understanding of how the Babbs spread across Devon, first starting in the Newton Abbot/Highweek area and spreading along the southern coast before journeying to the North. I now know what places are close to others and which ones have high levels of interaction between them.

I’ve joined a number of trees and created 3x as many tree fragments than we had at the beginning of this process.

I’ve learned that the Totnes Repository of Wills and Administrations was not located in Exeter in 1942. Sadly, the building they were stored in was also destroyed in a similar fashion.

I’ve learned how much I still don’t know. I’ve learned just how incomplete the record is, even with this mass of available date. The loss of the Devonshire Wills during WWII is devastating to our quest. My hope is that eventually, Y-DNA evidence will help us piece additional parts of the Devon trees together.

I’ve learned that we need to Y-DNA test a number of Babbs from the Newton Abbot area in an attempt to begin drawing some of those many fragments together. We just need to find them first!

Calling all Devon Babbs

I call for any Devon Babb to come forward by placing a comment on this post. They will not become public if there is sensitive information in them. From there we can exchange information and I’ll help locate you in the Babb “Forest of Trees” and let you know if we need a Y-DNA candidate from your line.

Note that only Males born with the Surname of Babb will be of assistance in this cause. It’s due to some of the flukes of the type of DNA we use to get at these very distant problems. Other tests from any other company than FamilyTreeDNA.com will not help us unfortunately. However, the Babb Family Association will pay for your test if you are from a line of interest.

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