I'm looking at the book Early Virginia Immigrants by George Cabell Greer, Hill printing Company, 1912 on page 332 which reads in part:

Triggs, Wm., 1640, by Henry Porter and Raphaell Joyner, James City Co.
Trigg, Samuel, 1640, by Henry Porter and Raphaell Joyner, James City Co.
Trigg, Elian, wife of Saml. Trigg, 1640, by Henry Porter and Raphaell Joyner, James City Co.
Trigg, William, 1639, by Samuell Trigg and Raphael Joyner, James City Co.
Trigg, Samuell, 1635, by Thomas Harwood, ________ Co.
Trigg, Ellian, wife of Saml. Trigg, 1639, by Saml. Trigg and Raphael Joyner, James City Co.

The first link above gives whole book transcribed to permit search (transcribed by Allen Price in 2011).

The explanation at the top of Price's transcription says:

 Each line contains from left to right:    
  LAST & FIRST - Name of immigrant who came to America    
  ARRIVAL -  Year of immigrant arrival 
  SPONSOR - Name of sponsoring person(s) paying passage of immigrant   
  COUNTY - County in which sponsor received land for payment of passage

I notice what appear to be inconsistencies in that Samuell is listed coming in 1635 by way of Thomas Harwood (I assume this is an indentured servant) and then again in 1640 by Henry Porter and Raphaell Joyner but then William Trigg also comes in 1639 by way of Samuell Trigg and Raphael Joyner. Searching the transcribed page, I notice that Samuell Trigg works with both Michael Royner and Raphaell Royner for different individuals (including two from above):

Bassett Isabel  1639    Samuell Trigg & Michael Joyner  James City
Grannt  Joane   1638    Samuell Trigg & Michael Joyner  James City
Rute    Dorothy 1639    Samuell Trigg & Raphael Joyner  James City
Sanders Richard 1639    Samuell Trigg & Raphael Joyner  James City
Trigg   Ellen   1639    Samuell Trigg & Michael Joyner  James City
Trigg   William 1639    Samuell Trigg & Michael Joyner  James City

I'm guessing either there are multiple Samuels or the records are corrupted.

I note that this page documents that his wife is Ellianor and his brother is William Triggs.

Does it make sense for a person to be coming as indentured servant and then sponsoring people at about the same time?

What is the likely meaning with respect to Samuel and his wife Elian?


1 Answer 1


Let's look at the nature of the source first, using the Evidence Analysis Process Map, keeping in mind the elements of the Genealogical Proof Standard and other good genealogical practices.

On the EE website, in the discussion Citing transcribed records - document or database in the Citation issues forum, Elizabeth Shown Mills talks about the problem of how to cite databases created from abstracts of various records -- the examples given were "newspaper records, vital records, warnings out of town and overseers of the poor records".

Elizabeth Shown Mills begins her explanation of the problem as follows:

Definitely, any information taken from the database should give due attention to the generations of processing that the database entries have undergone. Deciding how and what to cite can also be torturous.

In this case, there are at least four sets of creators involved. For the first example, we see (1) the original town clerks; then (2) the transcribers, then (3) you as an abstractor and database creator, and then --something we don't see in your citation draft--(4) the individual(s) inputting your manuscript data into the database that will appear at the organizational website.

You may want to go read the entire post to compare it to your own problem, but for now, let's think about, the basic concepts.

  • In post #6 in the thread, ESM states "the most fundamental rule of citation: Cite what you use." This is stated more fully in EE 2.21, Citing the Source of a Source.
  • In post #2 (quoted above), she emphasizes that the information has gone through many steps of processing before it has reached your computer screen.
  • In the opening of Evidence Explained (page 10 of the 2012 e-edition), Mills says the most critical element of citing a source is often overlooked: "We identify our sources -- and their strengths and weaknesses -- so we can reach the most reliable conclusions."

So let's think for a moment about the nature of the source you've used. Your question refers us to two different versions of the same source -- the printed book, and Allen Price's online transcription. The two things are not equal -- Price says that

The original book had many alphabetizing errors, which have been corrected with computerized sorting.

Anyone who found Price's transcription online and used that should say that is what they used, rather than citing George Cabell Greer's printed book. You have also linked to an image copy of Greer's book via Google Books. So far, so good -- but where did Greer get his information? Have you looked in the front of Greer's book for an explanation of where his listings came from, or how he attempted to arrange the information? Can you find the original records that he used to compile his book? Do you understand the nature of that source?

If you don't understand how Greer composed his book, you can't know how Allen Price arrived at these three identical entries at the start of his transcription:

 Abbins   James   1638    Thomas Burbage  Accomack        
 Abbins   James   1638    Thomas Burbage  Accomack        
 Abbins   James   1638    Thomas Burbage  Accomack

Why is James Abbins listed three times? Is this one person, with three documents all referring to the same arrival, or three documents referring to two different James Abbins (say, a father and son) who arrived together? We can't know until we understand what Greer's listings point to -- and we can't verify the accuracy without 1) going back to the original records and 2) correlating the originals with other records about the community (e.g. land records, tax lists, and other records) -- anything that would tell us how many people of the same name might have been living in the area before and after these arrival dates.

Greer explains in his Preface how he collected his list of names "from the records of the Land Office in Richmond" so your next step would be finding how to access the originals, or some database which is closer to the originals. We just don't have enough information from Greer's book alone to answer your question.


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