You don't have to throw up your arms and say, "Who knows?!" Pedigrees can be proven -- or disproven -- with documentation. Our knowledge may be incomplete -- it's impossible to "know what it is you don't know" -- but it is possible to prove assertions right or wrong, as I just did in my previous post on the bogus DAR memberships. Of course, if you depend on undocumented secondary sources, then you can never be certain of anything...
Harry Alexander DAVIS's book, "The Davis Family (Davies and David) in Wales and America: Genealogy of Morgan David of Pennsylvania" (1927, Lancaster Press, Lancaster, PA) is unreliable. Jefferson DAVIS's grandfather was Evan DAVIS, Jr., and his great-grandfather was Evan DAVIS, Sr., but neither of these Evan DAVISes is the son or grandson named Evan DAVIS (Sr./Jr.) of Morgan DAVID. These were different Evan DAVISes.
"Evan" is the Welsh equivalent of English "John," and DAVIS is the 6th most common surname in the United States. It is *extremely* easy to make a mistake doing DAVIS genealogy, and when there is a bias (conscious or unconscious) towards being connected to a famous DAVIS, such a "mistake" becomes all too easy to make.
Jefferson DAVIS's widow lived until 1906, and she worked on her husband's genealogy during his lifetime and up until her death. *THE* expert on Jefferson's genealogy, Kirk Bentley Barb, published his manuscript in 1935. There is no mystery as to the identity of Jefferson's father, grandfather, and great-grandfather, and there hasn't been for over 60 years. What makes Jefferson DAVIS genealogy difficult is the multitude of pedigrees that have been published that are untrue -- whether out of incompetence, wishful thinking, or outright fabrication. The passion to be connected to Jefferson DAVIS must be intense because I know of no other famous person about whom there is so much false genealogy in print. And, unfortunately, once a mistake is in print, it never dies.
As for Jefferson's letters not being complete, they don't need to be complete. It's perfectly possible to build a sound genealogy without using any letters, at all. In fact, it's rare in genealogy to have letters. The fact that Jefferson left such a HUGE paper history means his life and genealogy are extraordinarily well known. You just have to be certain to consult the right source; and, I'm afraid, Harry A. DAVIS isn't one of them.
What I have put on my web site is the KNOWN/PROVEN genealogy of Jefferson DAVIS, with none of the unsupported -- and certainly none of the disproven -- connections.
|Home | Help | About Us | Site Index | Jobs | PRIVACY | Affiliate|
|© 2007 The Generations Network|