Abigail Searles

Started by Private User on Monday, May 30, 2011


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Private User
5/30/2011 at 6:31 PM

I am a descendant of William Carpenter and Abigail Searles. However, I have run across one source that says that Wiliam's wife was Abigail Briant. Could you give me a clarafication in this matter. Thank you.

Richard Smith


Private User
5/30/2011 at 7:27 PM

Hello, fellow William & Abigail descendant! They're my 10th-great-grandparents, so it's nice to "meet" you, cousin. :)

We're actually both working on the same issue! I wrote the "About Me" profile for Deac. William Carpenter over the weekend and wound up with the same confusion as you regarding his mother. Amos Carpenter and Eugene Cole Zubrinsky, who are the major genealogists for the Carpenter family, say the wife of William Carpenter, of Rehoboth was Abigail Briant. The idea that she was married twice, first to a Briant or Bennett and then to Carpenter, seems to be speculation.

http://members.cox.net/jrcrin001/Wm2-Rehoboth.pdf is the best profile I've personally found of Abigail's William Carpenter, so I'd go with the information there. But I haven't made any changes yet because Private User is our resident expert on the Carpenters...maybe we can get her to weigh in on this?

My general impression from the reading I've done is that there is a *lot* of confusion on-line between different William Carpenters in Rhode Island and Massachusetts during that time. Zubrinsky has done an admirable job of trying to sort it all out, but I'm afraid it's going to undo a lot of family lore -- which is fine with me, because I just want accuracy, but I know some people will be tempted to hang on to flawed information because it's what's familiar. Maybe that's why contradictory information keeps circulating on-line.

Private User
5/30/2011 at 7:30 PM

Forgot to mention...at the bottom of http://members.cox.net/jrcrin001/carplink.htm, you can also find links to a few journal articles Zubrinsky has written about the confusion between all these Carpenters running around. They're worth a read.

Here's his exact wording regarding the Abigail situation:

"Some sources give wife Abigail’s maiden name as Bennett or Searles. The first instance, however (prompted by the maiden name of her son William Carpenter’s first wife, Priscilla Bennett), represents unwarranted linkage to a Bennett family of Sway, Hampshire.
The second reflects apparent confusion with the maiden name of her son William’s second wife, Miriam Sale(s)."

5/31/2011 at 12:17 AM


There's a tree mixup on geni with the *other* William Carpenter.

Our William Carpenter (of Rehobeth) was married to Abigail Briant (or Bryan). That's a family line of mine (I think) and I'm sourcing out so will prove it all the way down the road.

The source you site is a good one. It's used in the findagrave link:


We need to get MPs made of the similar Willam's and do some Geni divorcing I'm afraid.

5/31/2011 at 1:22 AM

Another source: Zubrinsky, Eugene Cole. "The Family of William Carpenter of Rehoboth, Massachusetts, With the English Origin of the Rehoboth Carpenters," The American Genealogist, Vol. 70 (October 1995), pp. 193-204.


This work establishes the English origin of William Carpenter of Rehoboth (c1605-1658[/9]); identifies his wife, Abigail Briant; and revises their children's birth order.

Private User
5/31/2011 at 8:52 AM

Yes, it looks like there's a lot of confusion between the Williams. The one from whom Richard and I descend is apparently the "lesser" one, yet his Geni profile confuses him with the church founder.

A lot of profiles in that area are going to need to be rewritten to take out some impressive "facts" that actually aren't true. I started with Deac. William Carpenter, but I'd love for more people to get involved. Maybe we can get the Carpenter Family project to be more active?

5/31/2011 at 7:18 PM

Private User

I'm using Abigail Carpenter as the "home" profile to clean up around. Maybe someone else take a different "home" profile?

Perhaps someone write a good "project overview" for http://www.geni.com/projects/Carpenter-Family ?

Private User
6/1/2011 at 7:36 AM

Since Abigail Briant is the correct wife of William Carpenter, where in the world did Abigail Searles come into play. Also, who did Abigail Searles marry? Since so many sources listed Abigail Searles as William's wife, I was able to trace the ancestory to Charlemagne. A big disappointment., but I will try to find another line to make the link.

6/1/2011 at 10:13 AM


I can't speak to the "real" Abigail Searles (was there such a person?) but no worries on a path to Charlemagne. I think the stat is 99% of people with European ancestry can trace to him, one way or another.

You just may need to give your path statement time to refresh -- or better yet, help find the "real" Abigail Briant / Briante / Bryant / Bryan's parents.

Also don't feel too bad - the Zubrinsky article is from 1995, that is "breaking news" in genealogy for a misuderstanding that's probably been around for 200 years or better.

Private User
6/1/2011 at 6:07 PM

Richard, when I went through the Massachusetts and Rhode Island records, it didn't appear there ever was an actual Abigail Searles -- at least, not one connected to the Carpenters. She was invented in the Amos Carpenter book (I'm sincerely sure it was an honest mistake on his part) and spread from there.

And like Erica said, you're all but certain to reconnect at some point. My experience is that when you actively try to seek out connections, you only find bad info. When you wait for connections to happen on their own, the information is a lot more accurate.

Private User
6/2/2011 at 5:08 AM

Thanks for your kind and thoughtful response. I deeply appreciate it.

Have a wonderful day. Richard

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