I had started another blog several years ago at http://myfamilyresearchadventures.blogspot.com/, but when google plus ended some how I messed things up and now it is very difficult for me to get into that blog to post. So I decided to start a new blog that I can get to easier.

Monday, June 22, 2015

Mastering Genealogical Proof Chapter 7

Thomas W. Jones, Mastering Genealogical Proof (Arlington, Virginia: National Genealogical Society, 2013). [Book available from the publisher at http://www.ngsgenealogy.org/r/mastering_genealogical_proof , also available
in Kindle format through Amazon.com]

Chapter 7
GPS Element 5
The Written Conclusion

The Written Conclusion, the meat of proof, is what this book has been leading to. It also is scary. Scary, to me, because it requires clear and logical language. I have never been good about writing essays or papers. So here we go. I will be working on the question "Did Dillaplain Ridgway who married Hannah Coulton in 1797 die in 1803". I have found many published and unpublished genealogies on this family and the majority have Dillaplain Ridgway dieing in 1803. The rest have no death date for him. As Russ Worthington has said many times "I try to prove the printed work wrong as a way of determining if it is correct".

Dr Jones talks about 3 types of proofs. They range from the simplest to the most complex. They are:
  1. Proof Statement - This is the simplest form of a proof. It deals with simple facts that can be gleaned from a source.
  2. Proof Summary - This contains several Proof Statements to come to a conclusion. Most Proof Summaries do not resolve any conflicts. If there is a conflict then it must be easily explained, such as name variants.
  3. Proof Argument - It is the most complex form of proof. A Proof Argument is used to solve conflicting information,and to prove things that have no direct evidence such as who are the parents when there is no record that states it directly.
Proof Statements used in my proof:
  1. Dillaplain Ridgway is the son of John Ridgway and his wife Postrema.
  2. John Ridgway is living in Mount Holly, Burlington County, New Jersey in 1797.
  3. Dillaplain Ridgway married Hannah Colton in 1797 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.
Quaker Marriage Records, Northern District, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; Section A, page 110-111 Dillaplain Ridgway and Hannah Colton, 31day 1mo 1797 (31 Jan 1797), Microfilm # 20473 (A copy of this record can also be found on Ancestry.com in their Quaker Collection)

Proof Summary: Is the Dillaplain Ridgway who married Hannah Colton the same Dillaplain Ridgway that was executor for John Ridgway's Will proved in 1809?
  • Using the proof statements from above, we know who the parents are of Dillaplain Ridgway. They are John Ridgway and Postrema.
  • The children of John Ridgway and Postrema are: Thomas, John, William, Aquila, Anna, Dillaplain, Mary, Martha, Thomas Shinn Jr, Elizabeth, and Edward.
  • Thomas died in 1761, Aquila died about 1799. Edward died in 1805.
The Society of Friends, Little Egg Harbor, New Jersey; Salt Lake Family History Library; Microfilm No. 20464, 1-2, page 8 (The family of John Ridgway and Postreme) (A copy of this record can also be found on Ancestry.com in their Quaker Collection)

  • John Ridgway's Will written in 1801 lists the following children: John Ridgway, William Ridgway, Dillaplain Ridgway, Anne Burr, Mary Night, Martha Ridgway, Thomas Shinn Ridgway, Elizabeth Ridgway, and Edward Ridgway. It also mentions grandson Aquila Shinn Ridgway the son of Aquila Ridgway.
"New Jersey, Probate Records, 1678-1980." images, FamilySearch.org: (accessed 23 June 2015) Burlington Wills 1804-1820 vol A-B, images 281 of 1220; county courthouses, New Jersey.

  • John Ridgway's will, written in 1801, and codicil, written in 1803 was proved in 1809. The full will and codicil can be found on FamilySearch.org. The will names his sons Dillaplain and Thomas S as executors with William Burr. All three men affirmed they were willing to be the executors for John Ridgway's estate. The affirmation happened in 1809 when the will was proved.
"New Jersey, Probate Records, 1678-1980." images, FamilySearch.org: (accessed 23 June 2015) Burlington Wills 1804-1820 vol A-B, images 284 of 1220; county courthouses, New Jersey.
*The complete Will can be found on images 280-284, in Will Book A

Comparing the names found in Little Egg Harbor's records and the names listed in the will, we can tell both records pertain to the same family. Also the marriage record not only lists his parents, but if you look at the names of those attending the ceremony you will find the names of some of the siblings of Dillaplain listed. Thus proving that the Dillaplain Ridgway that married Hannah Colton was still alive in 1809.

Now finally my Proof Argument: Did Dillaplain Ridgway who married Hannah Colton die in 1803?
This may seem like a ridiculous question since it was already established in my Proof Summary that Dillaplain Ridgway was alive in 1809. However, I have found several published and unpublished genealogies that list his death date as 1803. The Genealogy Proof Standard requires you to resolve conflicting evidence and a Proof Summary only handles minor conflicting evidence. I have some ideas as to where this death date came from and why it was used:

  • This family has been researched since the early 1900's and if an earlier researcher made a mistake then it may have been passed along to others and just kept spreading.
  • There is a Dillaplain Ridgway who was the son of John Ridgway that died in 1803. This Dillaplain was 9 months old.
Ancestry.com. U.S., Quaker Meeting Records, 1681-1935 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2014. Philadelphia Monthly Meeting, Northern District; Births and Deaths, 1754-1806 
  • Earlier researchers may have thought that there was only one Dillaplain Ridgway who was the son of John Ridgway. However the Ridgway family had lived in the area of Philadelphia and Mount Holly for several generations and had large families. They also used the name John several times. Thus not realizing that this Dillaplain Ridgway was an infant and could not have been the one that married Hannah Colton in 1797.
  • It is clear from these records that the assumption that there was only one Dillaplain Ridgway is wrong. In fact I have seen the name Dillaplain, Delaplaine or any number of different spelling for some one who served in the Civil War.
So my conclusion is that Dillaplain Ridgway, who was the husband of Hannah Colton, did not die in 1803 but at some point after 1809.

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