Humphrey Johnston - Early Johnston/Johnson tree: Highly Problematic

Started by Anne Brannen on Saturday, November 9, 2019
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11/9/2019 at 9:34 AM

I came across this tree this morning. It's full of Things Which Are Not True -- I'm trying to figure out where the fantasy stops and reality begins.

I explain:

Here, we have Humphrey Johnston born in 1087. The name Humphrey wasn't in use in England until the Normans came in. They've been in England for 20 years by this time, but this isn't a Norman family, as shown by the name Johnston. That's a Scottish name not in use in England at this time.

Worse, his father is alarmingly named Smerviemore. That name does exist, but it is a fiction, one of the sons of King Arthur: Smervie Mor Amid Coslidh, {Fictional, Early Scottish Genealogies}

I see by the notes in this profile that the rumor is that this Smerviemore is the illegimate son of King Robert I of France! Yeah, no. First of all, why anybody in Anjou is giving a son a Celtic name is unclear; also, since Robert died 200 years before this guy was born, I'm thinking, nah. Here's Robert, in case you think I'm getting my arithmetic wrong: Robert I, king of West Francia (the fact that both Smerviemore and his son were born on the same year doesn't bother me, because THEY WEREN'T THERE.)

So, ok. These people didn't exist.

Let's go further down the tree! Maybe other people did!

Humphrey's son is named Henry, a Norman name, but ok, since the Normans had by the time the son was supposedly born been in England for a few decades, let's let that go. He's married to someone named Adrian, though. No. That was a name given only to men at this time.

Henry's son Edward -- Edward J. Johnston -- the dates here are really wonky -- has a middle initial. Nobody had middle names at this time.

Here is Edward's son Cecil: Cecil J. Johnston -- you think I'm going to rant about the middle initial, right? Nope! I already mentioned that. No, I'm going to rant about the Cecil part. "Cecil" does show up at this time, though it's a back spelling. It's a Welsh name -- Seisyllt. It will indeed become the Cecil family. But at this time, if it appears, it's in a Welsh family. This one isn't Welsh. Believe me. It's all over the map so far -- Normandy, England, Scotland, but Wales? No.

Ok! Moving on! Pseudo-Welsh guy has a son named Charles: Charles Johnson -- oh, whatever. Even the French weren't spelling it thusly at the time, but this isn't worth me ranting about it. But! He's married to Ethelred! This is an Actual Old English Name. So I guess this polyglot family was going back to its roots. Alas! Like Adrian, this is, at the time, still a man's name.

We have a few generations that aren't actually alarming (though they were all lords and ladies, which I took out, because, no), till we get to Rubin Johnson, born in 1335 -- Rubin Johnson -- I take this to be Reuben, why not -- Now, obviously, the English/Normans/Welsh/Scots KNEW the name Reuben at this time, since it's in the Bible, but it didn't become used in England till the 17th century -- I have never, myself, come across it in medieval or even Renaissance English records.

A few more generations I can't get excited about -- then we come to Annabelle Johnson -- a version of Annabelle was used in Scotland, but this name wasn't used in England at this time.

then we come to Ira Johnson -- Ira was not used as a name in England until after the Reformation.

One of the several improbable Iras was married to Ambrosia Johnson -- this is remotely possible. Unlikely use of the name Ambrosia, but unlikely. Given the fantasy of many of the rest of the names in the family, I'm not impressed.

This line was connected to Maurice Johnson, Esq. but I have disconnected that; Maurice Johnson's parents are unknown. They certainly weren't fantasy people with impossible names. Just saying.

The line is still connected to the World Tree, however, at Sarah Johnson -- we need to disconnect it at some point.


I'm going to go have a little rest now, and attack the Where to Disconnect the Mythical Johnsons later.

But please to add in ACTUAL sources for these people, if you have them.

Real sources. That point to actual documents and the like.

Thank you.

11/9/2019 at 10:25 AM

Never a dull moment ;)

Sarah Johnson is your 17th great aunt.
→ Viet Nam War Veteran, SFC Freddie Ralph Hicks, Sr
your father → Arvel Yewell Hicks
his father → Theodore Hicks
his father → Sarah Ann Hicks
his mother → Martha Roberts
her mother → Mitchell Pool
her father → Mahulda Ann Pool
his mother → Lieutenant William Nathaniel Holloway
her father → George Holloway
his father → Elizabeth Holloway
his mother → Capt. John Mathews, of Blunt Point
her father → Gov. Samuel Mathews
his father → Frances Mathews
his mother → Joan Greville
her mother → Sir Thomas Bromley, Lord Chancellor
her father → George Bromley, of Hodnet
his father → Beatrice Bromley, of Blore
his mother → Agnes Hill
her mother → Sarah Johnson
her sister

Shortest in-law relationship
Sarah Johnson is your 16th great aunt's sister.
→ Viet Nam War Veteran, SFC Freddie Ralph Hicks, Sr
your father → Viola Isabelle Hicks
his mother → John Thomas Edgar Webber
her father → John Richard Carter Webber
his father → Samuel Webber
his father → Sarah White ‘Sally’ Webber
his mother → John Chapman, Sr.
her father → Sarah Chapman
his mother → Nathaniel Cahoon
her father → Deliverance Lombard
his mother → Rebecca Peck
her mother → Elizabeth Clark
her mother → Isabel Hobson
her mother → Olive Overton
her mother → Robert Browne, Esq.
her father → Sir John Browne, Lord Mayor of London
his father → Sir Thomas Browne, Sheriff of Kent
his father → Margaret Browne
his mother → Humphrey Hill, of Blore
her son → Agnes Hill
his wife → Sarah Johnson
her sister

11/9/2019 at 10:33 AM

"I'm thinking, nah." Anne Brannen, this post is the best humor I've read this week.

You're being far too kind. Of course, my mind's eye sees those clumps of hair in your hands ;^).

Ya know, I really like the name Smerviemore. Maybe a name for my next cat? Or just Smerv.

11/9/2019 at 10:43 AM

By the way: for those of you who have missed earlier Rants By Me Concerning Made-Up Early Trees, let me explain that the web trees are full of made up early trees, some done probably by mistake, but others done nefariously on purpose.

To wit: -- a horrible book, not a web tree, though still fairly hilarious -- my favorite

11/9/2019 at 10:44 AM

Pam Wilson (on hiatus) -- more humor for you in the links above!

11/9/2019 at 11:53 AM

One of the surefire giveaways that the tree is fake which jump out to me is that every generation (at least in the more recent portion of it) is spaced exactly 25 years apart and everyone lived for 45 years.

I'd just cut Sarah Johnson from her parents (who have an extensively research wikitree page which notes the Geni connection but sees not evidence for it) and just do away with the whole line of Johnsons.

Private User
11/9/2019 at 1:05 PM

This totally made my day :D. Thank you dear Anne. Just adore the rants!

11/9/2019 at 1:12 PM

I am so glad to be of amusing service to you all!

Yes, Tamás Flinn Caldwell-Gilbert -- that is exactly what I thought.

Gonna wait a little bit in case someone has evidence for Sarah..

Not. Holding. My. Breath.

11/9/2019 at 3:21 PM

So much fun to read this. My 8th great grandfather was a Humphrey JOHNSON, of Roxbury, so this caught my eye and I ran a descendant chart for your Humphrey JOHNSTON, which was amusing.

And a very instructional post also. You are great Anne Brannen.

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