It’s official: Captain Thomas Babb of the ship “Hopewell” is NOT the father of Phillip Babb (1) of the Isles of Shoals

I’ve often wondered about this mythical man, Captain Thomas Babb of the Hopewell. I had long pinned my hopes that something might arise to prove a connection between him and Phillip (1). I finally stumbled upon some documentation for him in Jean Sargent’s book notes (please remember that there are 40K+ pages of documentation). Why did it take me so long? Well, it just did and our collective histories are something that apparently take about 2 decades to understand.

Captain Thomas Babb died in 1655 and his only living child was Anne Babb. As Phillip (1) didn’t die until 1671, it is simply not possible for Thomas to have been Phillip’s father.

There is certainly the record in Stepney, London that shows that he had a son Phillip, which to the inexperienced eye sounds like a connection.

However, just because there is a Phillip Babb in England, doesn’t mean that he is our Phillip of the Isles of Shoals. This is a case study in how a single misconstrued record can lead an entire herd of people to believe that it might, in fact, be true.


That Phillip is not this Phillip!

On various genealogy websites you will see that many have sloppily made this connection without any real idea as to the particulars of Thomas or Phillip’s lives. Just because the names match doesn’t mean that they are the same people.

I myself have only seen one shred of evidence about Thomas Babb, of the Hopewell, which is located at the Salem Peabody Essex Museum, where he was involved in a trial about 20 years prior to Phillip’s known existence in the US. But commonality is not causality. In this case, the facts don’t stack up.

While he isn’t Phillip’s father, he might bear some relationship. Yet, the cards seem in the favor of the Eastern VA/NC Babbs.

Let me explain why

The idea was born out of a hope that every Babb was, in fact, of the same genetic lineage. Our Y-DNA tests have dispelled centuries of myth, rumor and inuendo. They cut through every story that your ancestors might have made up to placate the social mores of the time.

There is the story you heard and then there is the truth!

The Final Analysis

Thomas only left one heir in 1655 and Phillip (1) is not one of them. Thomas’ estate went to his daughter in Virgina.

While Phillip (1) of the Isles of Shoals lived for another 16 years, he could not have possibly been the son of Thomas. He might still bear relation, but that is a story for another day.

For now, just realize that this alleged connection is not a reality. It is, instead, a hope for an easy answer to a complicated question for which there isn’t a simple answer.

Thomas very well may be one of the Progenitors of a Babb line in the US, but the odds-on favorite would be the White Stags of Eastern VA/NC. He has the proximity and opportunity to be one of the Progenitors of their lineage.

There is also the opportunity that the ship “Hopewell” might be named for some famous rocks in New Brunswick, Canada.

The field is wide open on this issue, and anything could currently be the case. Only time will tell. I just hope that I live long enough to see it happen.

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