Errors in online, commercial Lundy research

Started by Harry Leon Smith on Saturday, July 7, 2012


7/7/2012 at 12:21 PM

n the late 1980's Betty Lunday (a kinswoman) commissioned Mr. Michael J. L. Wickes, M.A. a professional genealogist specializing in research in Devon, Cornwall and Somerset counties England, to do extensive research on the Lundy family.
Mr. Wickes spent considerable time checking records from various sources including original Civil (church) Parish Records; Censuses; published books and articles, some very old, and the International Genealogical Index (IGI.) The IGI is the computerized records of the Church of the Later Day Saints and where your family tree goes when you submit it online. The IGI information is only as good as the efforts made and the discipline used in gathering the data by the person who submits it. In many, many cases, it is a process of “trash in, trash out” It also includes no documentation. For instance: Mr. Wickes found an entry which stated that Richard Lundy married Jane Lyon in Axminster. Most every Lundy researcher knows that Richard married Jane at the Falls Monthly Meeting in Bucks County PA as that documentation appears in the Falls Meeting records. (Incidentally, most Quaker records were collected by William Wade Hinshaw and published in his six-volume work, The Encyclopedia of American Quaker Genealogy, which is a very valuable research tool for Lundy Family researchers. It was from information in the Encyclopedia that I made my breakthrough and connected my great-grandfather tothe greater Lundy family.) Of the entry about Richard and Jane's marriage, Mr. Wickes said, “I think this entry was an error made by the Utah computer. The entry was probably written as Richard Lundy of Axminster marrying Jane Lyon in Pennsylvania but the computer became confused and filed the marriage in the wrong place.” It is important to understand that commercial online research website's use the IGI almost exclusively as their source and that is why so many errors can result.
Mr. Wickes reported a couple of hundred people with the name of Lundy or derivatives, variations, deviations or misspellings of the name. In no instance did he find the name Lundy connected to Sylvester Lundy of Axminister. At that time most people in the world were illiterate and could neither spell nor determine how any person was recording the spelling of their spoken name. The spelling “Lundy” was attached to Sylvester for the first time by his son Richard in 1685 when he signed the Register of Bucks County, Pennsylvania. He entered : Richard Lundy of Axminster, in the County of Devon, son of Sylvester Lundy, of the said town in old England.” Apparently Richard was better educated than his father or learned to read and write during the six years he was “among the Puritans” in New England. It is the first known time that the verbal “Lundy” appeared as the written “Lundy That was reported in William Jefferson Clinton Armstrong's book, The Lundy Family and Their Descendants .published in 1902. This entry can still be inspected and Sylvester remains the only documented ancestor of Richard I and his descendants.
Among the other documentations found by Mr. Wickes was a reference to Silvester Lindy in the Axminster Constable's Rate (a special fund maintained by the Parish overseers for the poor) of 1674. He was being given a shilling as one of several poor people on the list, which implies that he had fallen on hard times at about the time his son Richard emigrated to America.
In the Axminister Parrish Register he found the entry for the baptism on May 28 1662 of Meline daughter of Silvester and Mary Lendon. Note that this does not say Silvester Lundy and his wife Mary (nee; Lendon) Lundy. It says Silvester and Mary Lendon. In the same Register he found the entry: Silvester Lindy buried, Nov. 1 1697.
Searching the Chardstock (a tiny village very near Axminster ) Parish Register, he found the baptism in 1644 of Richard son of Silvester and Mary Lindon.
Also in the Chardstock Register he found the burial notification on March 12, 1641 of Silvester son of Silvester and Mary Linden. Through the efforts of very kind friends in Chardstock, I recently was able to locate the Chardstock Register online and you can view that entry at,html. Go down and click on Pblication11 Chardstock Record Group.
Of all the names reported, only two males would fit the time-line for being Sylvester's father and Mr. Wickes may have done more harm than good in pointing this out.
In the Axminster Register he found a reference to the marriage of Vynson Lynddye, gentleman, married to Rebecka Mallocke. Wickes adds in parenthesis after Vynson (Vincent?) and then makes the comment “Could these people have been Sylvester's parents. I wonder.” The spelling of the last name, however, is questionable. Later Mr. Wickes states that he ran into a problem, “There is a book entitled 'Abstracts of the Transcripts (Bishops) of the lost Parish Registers of Devon' by Roger Granville, published in 1908. Granville writes Vynson Lynddye as Vynson Huddye. This is because he believed that the Ly was in fact a seventeen century H, as shown in Henry Weston in the first entry (of the book.) Ordinarily, he would have been right, especially as the Ly in Lynddy does not look quite like the L in Langley in the above entry (in the book,) However, I would still say that this name could be Lynddye. So, I think we will have to leave it like that. Regrettably there are no grounds for believing that Sylvester was the son of this couple. This cannot be assumed until Sylvester's baptism is found, which (probably) occurred in Axminster during a year not covered by the Baptismal Registry.” There was a gap between baptism records in Axminister between 1580 and 1647, probably due to the town being pretty much destroyed and the church being burned to the ground during the the Civil War.
In the Chardstock Register, Wickes found a baptism in 1612 referring to a Zacharye son of Richard Lyndye, husbandman. Wickes goes out on a limb and says “Going on name alone, I would say that this Richard Lyndye is a much more likely father for your Sylvester. This would explain why your Richard was given that name by Sylvester in 1644.” That comment cannot be interpreted as documentation.
So, without documentation how do you determine if either of these men, or any other man for that matter, was the father of Sylvester. You can't. One could spend a great amount of money and send herds to Devon, Cornwell and Someset and they would find no other information than Mr. Wicks did, and it is ludicrous to think that someone sitting before a computer thousands of mile away, across an ocean, can find new information.
The above two names have caused much trouble in our research.. I have seen trees starting with Richard Vincent Lundy and making his wife Mary Lindon. That is a Frankenstein monster created out of several people. If Mr. Wickes had seen that he would have died from a heart attack or from laughing.
I have also seen trees beginning with Richard Lundy married to Rebecca Mallocke. That also would have brought a smile to Mr. Wickes face as Rebecka Mallocke was the wife of Vynson Lynddye or Vynson Huddye. Whichever the case may be.
What anyone perceives their linage to be, does not affect me in any way but I am disturbed that serious researchers may be having erroneous conclusion forced on them by the American passion for quick, packaged, preprocessed, “fast food” solutions, especially when people have gone to great expense and time to get correct information. In the material above you have all the information available on the subject. There is no one “out there” who has more documented information. You can make your own decision but most of the serious Lundy Family Trees start with Sylvester Lundy married to Mary (unknown) and having three children: Sylvester II, Meline and Richard.
I have a copy of Armstrong's book and all three of Betty Lunday's supplements to his book . As Armstrong did a monumental and hard-to-believe job of indexing and relating his information to the various groups of the Family created by the nine children of Richard II, Betty did an equally unbelievable job of collecting many hundreds of names and relating data and tying them to the Nine Groups and then subsequently to the various branches. Much of her information was gathered in this forum. I would be happy to make any look-ups for possible connection for anyone having at least a minimum of documented material, i. e. birth or death dates of parents, grandparents and etc. Good Luck on your research.

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