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John Prescott Ancestry Disproved

John Prescott of Lancaster, Mass. is definitively proven to not be the son of Ralph Prescott of Shevington.



Shared with permission of Joe Cochoit who posted this at WikiTree

https://www.wikitree.com/wiki/Space:John_Prescott_Ancestry_Disproved

John Prescott of Lancaster, Mass. is definitively proven to not be the son of Ralph Prescott of Shevington.
That John Prescott of Lancaster, Massachusetts was the son Ralph Prescott (d. 1608), and a great-grandson of James Prescott by Alice Standish was first published by William Prescott in his Prescott Memorial in 1870.[1]
However, this was later rejected by Donald Lines Jacobus in his Botsford-Marble Ancestral Lines in 1933 who, without much discussion, simply stated “the identity does not seem to have been positively established.”[2]
Next came Frederick Lewis Weis who in 1957 published Eight Lines of Descent of John Prescott which, following The Prescott Memorial, showed a rather illustrious ancestry for John Prescott of Lancaster, Mass. through his father Ralph Prescott and grandmother Alice Standish.[3]
When the book was reviewed in The American Genealogist by editor Donald Lines Jacobus, he stated that his opinion had not changed from the one he gave 25 years before in Botsford-Marble, that the identity remains unproven.[4]
Weis attempted to answer Jacobus’ criticisms and published Forty sound reasons why John Prescott (born at Shevington, Lancashire, 1604); John Prescott (of Sowerby, Halifax Parish, co. York, who married Mary Gawkroger there in 1629); and John Prescott (who died at Lancaster, Massachusetts, 1681, aged 77 years) are one and the same person. (Dublin, N.H.: privately published, 1959).
When this book was reviewed by Jacobus, the conclusions of Weis were sharply criticized and rejected again.[5] Jacobus called out Weis for drawing firm conclusions from possibilities and suppositions. He did not deny that Weis could be right regarding the parentage of John Prescott, just that it remained unproven and should not be stated so categorically as fact.
The noted genealogist John G. Hunt also evaluated the problem and also rejected the conclusions of Weis in a NEHGR article in 1959. He pointed out that the only certain English home of John Prescott was in Halifax, Yorkshire. And that there were many Prescott families in Yorkshire and Lancashire, with a number of possible John Prescotts who could be the immigrant.[6][7]
Weis in 1961 defended his position and published John Prescott of Lancaster, Massachusetts 1643-1681. (Peterborough, N.H., 1961). I’m not sure there was anything new here compared with his 1959 book. He was restating his positions.
Of course, Weis stuck to his guns and published the lines in his "Ancestral Roots" and "Magna Carta Sureties" book series, which is the original basis of many online databases.[8][9] Here the debate sat with Weis firmly stating the descent is “conclusively proven” and Jacobus saying “it remains unproven.” Though Jacobus did not deny the possibility, he did find it unlikely.
However it should be noted, the editors of later editions of AR and MCS (Walter Lee Shepard, William R. Beall and David Faris) broke the line with: The Magna Carta Sureties 1215, 4th edition (1991): page130. – “There is insufficient evidence to identify John Prescott of Lancaster, Mass. with John, son of Ralph Prescott of Shevington. Research is continuing.” And in Ancestral Roots, seventh edition (1992): page 39. – “The identification of John Prescott of Lancaster, Mass. with the son John, of Ralph of Shevington is still challenged. See TAG 34:180 and elsewhere. While evidence is not conclusive, the alternatives are not either. This line requires further work.”
The matter was finally settled by Adell T. Prescott who led an exhaustive investigation into the Lancashire and Yorkshire Prescotts. John Prescott of Lancaster, Mass. is definitively proven to not be the son of Ralph Prescott of Shevington. The conclusion was first published in the quarterly newsletter Prescotts Unlimited vol. XIII no. 2 (June 1992): 17-21 "English Research Continued: The Ancient Prescotts of Shevington", by Adell T. Prescott[10], but see also March 1992 and the near quarterly updates into the ongoing English research published over the next decade. The research of Adell T. Prescott is very good and examined the wills of the Prescotts and many related families, land records, law suits, marriage settlements and parish records to show that John, son of Ralph Prescott, never left his home of Longryding in Shevington. It is perhaps unfortunate that this excellent research was not published in a more widely available source.[11]
Among the observations and conclusions (see articles for detailed evidence):
1. Weis incorrectly stated the parish records at Standish contained a gap from 1602-1610. The records do exist and no son John was born in the time period.
2. John was the oldest son of Ralph and Helen Prescott and likely born between 1590 and 1592 when a gap in the records do exist.
3. John Prescotts’s father Ralph and grandfather Roger both lived at Longryding in Shevington. John Prescott continued to live here and was frequently called in records John Prescott of Longryding until his death in 1661. John’s son Ralph was also of Longryding until his death in 1702.
4. John Prescott, son of Ralph, did not marry in Yorkshire and move to Massachusetts, he married Margaret Walthew at Wigan on 30 September 1616.
5. He was the father of Roger Prescott of Hindley and Ralph Prescott of Longryding in Shevington.
6. John Prescott of Longryding who served as executor of the will of his nephew Ralph Chamberlain in 1653. (son of Edward Chamberlain who married a sister of John Prescott).
7. John Prescott was buried at Standish on 2 December 1661.
8. His son Ralph married (settlement 1649) Margaret Rylands. This Ralph was also of Longryding in Shevington when he died 1702.

Sources

Footnotes and citations:
  1. ? Prescott, William. The Prescott Memorial: or, a genealogical memoir of the Prescott families in ... (Boston, 1870): pages 32-34.
  2. ? Jacobus, Donald Lines. An American Family: Botsford-Marble Ancestral Lines (1933): page 187. Available on ancestry.com.
  3. ? Weis, Frederick Lewis. Eight Lines of Descent of John Prescott, founder of Lancaster, Massachusetts, 1645, from Alfred the Great, King of England, 871-901. (Dublin, N.H.: privately published, 1957). Available at hathitrust.org
  4. ? The American Genealogist vol. 34 (1958): pages 180-181. Recent Books: Eight lines of descent of John Prescott… by Donald Lines Jacobus.
  5. ? TAG vol. 37 (1961): pages 117-119. Book Reviews: Forty sound reasons why John Prescott …, by Donald Lines Jacobus.
  6. ? NEHGR vol. 133 (1959): pages 70-71Parentage of John Prescott, by John G. Hunt.
  7. ? English Origins of New England Families, Second Series Vol. II (Baltimore, 1985): pages 937-938, Parentage of John Prescott, by John G. Hunt. Ancestry.com Link (Note: reprint of NEHGR vol. 133:70-71).
  8. ? Weis, Frederick Lewis. Ancestral roots of sixty colonists who came to New England 2nd edition. (Lancaster, 1951): pages 51-52136-137, Lines 34 and 170. Note this line was noted as unproven beginning with the 1992 7th edition. HathiTrust.org Link
  9. ? Weis, Frederick Lewis. Magna Carta Sureties, 1215, 4th edition. (Baltimore, 1991): pages 129-130, Line 116. Note that the first three editions published by Weis show the line as proven. Beginning with the 4th edition, the line is marked unproven.
  10. ? Prescotts Unlimited vol. XIII no. 2 (June 1992): 17-21 "English Research Continued: The Ancient Prescotts of Shevington", by Adell T. Prescott
  11. ? Prescotts Unlimited Quarterly Newsletter, vol. XIII no. 2 (June 1992): 17-21 English Research Continued: The Ancient Prescotts of Shevington, by Adell T. Prescott. See also March 1992
Source list:
  • The American Genealogist vol. 34 (1958): pages 180-181. Recent Books: Eight lines of Descent of John Prescott… by Donald Lines Jacobus. AmericanAncestors.org Link
  • The American Genealogist vol. 37 (1961): pages 117-119. Book Reviews: Forty sound reasons why John Prescott …, by Donald Lines Jacobus.
  • Holman, Mary Lovering. Ancestry of Colonel John Harrington Stevens and his Wife Frances Helen Miller, vol. 1 (New Hampshire, 1948): pages 54-60.
  • Prescotts Unlimited vol. XIII no. 2 (June 1992): 17-21 "English Research Continued: The Ancient Prescotts of Shevington", by Adell T. Prescott
  • Prescotts Unlimited Quarterly Newsletter, vol. XIII no. 2 (June 1992): 17-21 "English Research Continued: The Ancient Prescotts of Shevington", by Adell T. Prescott. See also March 1992.
  • Prescott, William. The Prescott Memorial: or, a Genealogical Memoir of the Prescott Families in ... (Boston, 1870): pages 32-34Caution: Original source of error regarding John Prescott's origins.
  • Weis, Frederick Lewis. Eight Lines of Descent of John Prescott, founder of Lancaster, Massachusetts, 1645, from Alfred the Great, King of England, 871-901. (Dublin, N.H.: privately published, 1957). Available at hathitrust.org Caution: Source in error regarding John Prescott's origins.
  • Weis, Frederick Lewis. Forty sound reasons why John Prescott (born at Shevington, Lancashire, 1604); John Prescott (of Sowerby, Halifax Parish, co. York, who married Mary Gawkroger there in 1629); and John Prescott (who died at Lancaster, Massachusetts, 1681, aged 77 years) are one and the same person. (Dublin, N.H.: privately published, 1959). Caution: Source in error regarding John Prescott's origins.
  • Weis, Frederick Lewis. John Prescott of Lancaster, Massachusetts 1643-1681. (Peterborough, N.H., 1961). Available at hathitrust.orgCaution: Source in error regarding John Prescott's origins.
  • Weis, Frederick Lewis. Ancestral roots of sixty colonists who came to New England 2nd edition. (Lancaster, 1951): pages 51-52136-137, Lines 34 and 170. Note this line was noted as unproven beginning with the 1992 7th edition. HathiTrust.org Link Caution: Source in error regarding John Prescott's origins.
  • Weis, Frederick Lewis. Magna Carta Sureties, 1215, 4th edition. (Baltimore, 1991): pages 129-130, Line 116. Note that the first three editions published by Weis show the line as proven. Beginning with the 4th edition, the line is marked unproven. Caution: Source in error regarding John Prescott's origins.

Owner/SourceJoe Cochoit - WikiTree
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