Monday, August 8, 2011

Part and Parshall

My 5x great-grandmother, Bethia Parshall, was the wife of two of my 5x great-grandfathers, first, David Youngs and second, Benjamin Halsey, but my blood relation to her is only through the Youngs marriage.  She was born in 1724 on Long Island, New York, the daughter of David Parshall and Mary (Unknown).

David was born in 1682 to James Parshall and Elizabeth Gardiner, probably on Gardiners Island, NY.  He had significant land holdings and was one of the richest men in the area.  (Alas, nothing from all these prominent landowners I keep encountering in my family history trickled down to me.)  He was in the Southold Militia, but otherwise was not as involved as other family members in the official activities of the town.  He died in 1726, a few months after Mary’s death.  

(As an aside on his wife Mary, some genealogies indicate she was a Gardiner, but that is incorrect.  I inadvertently passed on the error here.  See Errata, Controversies, Common Errors, and  New Discoveries  In Southold Genealogy”  for details.)

It is claimed in The History of the Parshall Family, published in 1903, that David’s father, James, was born in England, probably mid-1600s (or so), but, to me, it did not seem to have a solid foundation for that.  In The Parshall Family A.D. 870-1913, it suggests that James was not the first Parshall emigrant, but rather it was his father, Jonas.  There seem to be reasonable sources for the existence of Jonas Pershall, born between 1590 and 1595 in England.  However, the suggestions that Jonas sailed to Virginia because his uncle was associated with that Colony and that he had a son, James, born either in Virginia or New York, seem to be pure speculation.

Both books then pick up James Pershall at the point--He first appears in a Aquebogue, deed record in 1679 as a resident of the Isle of Wight (Gardiner’s Island).  Based on dates in other records, it’s reasonable to assume he married in about 1678.  Then by 1686, the family was living in Southold, NY. 

In my research I discovered there are many variations of the name.  I wonder why neither book connected James to Henry Pearsall (a known variation of the name) who emigrated from England and who is documented in Long Island records.  Maybe they did consider him, but were able to conclude there was no connection.  Maybe I need to do some digging.

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