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Francis Nichols of Sedgeberrow, Worcester, England

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Francis Nichols of Sedgeberrow, Worcester, England
By Linus Joseph Dewald Jr., Editor
Fall 2002 and Revised 7 Jan 2004

Neil D. Thompson, CG, FASG, in the October, 2000 issue of "The American Genealogist" [Vol. 75, No. 4], traces Francis' roots back to about 1510. We prepared a critique of the article in our Summer 2001 article at Francis Nichols of Sedgeberrow, Worcester, England . In summary, we found the article thought provoking, but inconclusive as to Francis' roots.

We have received additional information from Paul Nichols in his email of 27 Dec 2001. We found his additional information did add additional background information and perspective, but still found that some troubling aspects still remain. They are set out in our "Conclusion" at the end of the article which can be found in our Winter 2001 at Francis Nichols of Sedgeberrow, Worster, England . Briefly, those troublings aspects were:

    1. There still is no direct evidence that the Sedgeberrow Francis Nichols ever emigrated to America. He could have died anywhere in England after the last recorded birth of a child in 1617 in Sedgeberrow. There is a gap of 22 years until 1639 before the Stratford, CT Francis Nichols first appears.

    2. The only evidence is indirect and based on two children (John and Isaac) having the same names as those of Francis Nichols of Stratford, CT and on finding Francis Nichols with a daughter Jane 2 years younger than William Washburn and living within a 5-minute horseback ride of his home.

    3. "John" is a common name which would have been found in a great many Nichols families in England. That leaves only "Isaac" as a common denominator.

    4. There still is no evidence that the Sedgeberrow Francis ever had a son named Caleb, so, for now, one has to resort to imagination that he did.

Paul Nichols has now established a website at The Nichols Family which essentially takes the information gathered by Neil D. Thompson, CG, FASG, in the October, 2000 issue and carries the line forward, treating Francis Nichols of Sedgeberrow as the same person as Francis Nichols of Stratford, CT. The above concerns are still unresolved at Paul Nichols' website. However, in an email of 25 Aug 2002, directs our attention Note #10 in his website article. It read as follows:

    "[Francis of Sedgeberrow's] daughter Jane provides the best evidence that Francis of Sedgeberrow was in fact the Stratford immigrant. Sedgeberrow Jane (baptized in 1603) was the right age to have married William Washburn (baptized in 1601) and lived only a short horseback ride from her future husband’s home in Bengeworth. And it is known that William married the immigrant Jane Nichols, because their son John named Jane’s brother ("loveing Uncle Isaac Nicholls of Stratford") as an overseer. Hempstead, New York, Court Proceedings 1657-1660, pp. 95-97."

Paul Nichols suggests that the court reference to Note #10, and its reference to Isaac Nicholls of Stratford, proves that Sedgeberrow Francis is the same person as Stratford Francis.

It is tempting to believe that the court document reference established Sedgeberrow Francis as our Stratford Francis, but before accepting that conclusion we first need answers to the foregoing questions

  1. Did Jane and William emigrate to America? And if so, when and where?
  2. What was the Hempstead court proceeding about? Was it a land dispute, probate, Will contest, or what?
  3. Who were the parties involved in the court proceeding?
  4. What was the textual context of the reference to "Loveing Uncle Isaac" who was named "as an overseer." Overseer of what? And why was an overseer needed?
  5. What other people were mentioned in the document, and in what context?
  6. When and where was John Washburn living at the time he mentioned "Loveing Uncle Isaac Nicholls of Stratford?
  7. Where was "Loveing Uncle Isaac" living at the time he was named as an overseer?
  8. How do we know the reference was to Stratford Connecticut rather than Stratford, England?
  9. Was there an Isaac Nichols living in Stratford, England?
  10. How do we know that the quoted John Washburn is the son of Jane Nichols and William Washburn?

Paul Nichols sent us an email in which he says he is seeking answers to those question.

Conclusion

Depending on the answers to the foregoing questions, it just might be that Francis Nichols of Sedgeberrow is the same person as Francis Nichols of Stratford, CT. But before reaching that conclusion, we first need those answers. Until they are received, Paul Nichols' website should be viewed with much caution.

Correspondence:   If you have any information about the folks mentioned in this article, please send your information to us at the Prentice Newsletter. Be sure to give the full title and date of this article in the Subject line of the email.

Caution: If you don't use the above email link, your email to us may be deleted as spam by our email filter.


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