In my in-laws tree, there is an ancestor Robert Judson, son of James Judson who was baptised in Haworth, Yorkshire, 11 July 1736.
When I went to the original scans of the parish records, available on Ancestry.com, it shows that the names of the children were simply not recorded. In most (but not all) cases, it just says "a son of" or "a daughter of".
I think it might be reasonable to conclude that the 1698 one is our James Judson.
- Other James Judsons born in Yorkshire in the plausible age range (here and here) seem to have died as children.
- Robert was baptised in Haworth, and so were his children, so I have no reason to believe they were a family from a long way away.
- The father's name Timothy is relatively rare in this period. Douglas Galbi's data set of given names in Northumberland for 1530-1830 contains nearly 40,000 males and their names and dates of birth, contains only 38 Timothys (i.e. 0.1%). I think this is a reasonable comparator set for Yorkshire in the late 17th and early 18th centuries. (This sort of analysis is easy to do in R or Mathematica, less so in Excel because of the size of the data set.)
- So the fact that James had a son Timothy, leads me to think it might have been a family name. (This sort of pattern is the reason I suggested in my answer to an earlier question that one can't assume that the distribution of first names is independent of the distribution of family names. There are a few other Timothys born to other Judsons later in the 18th century.)
So my questions are:
- Are these sorts of no-name dead ends common? How do people handle them?
- Is this level of evidence considered sufficient for a tentative conclusion by more experienced researchers? I suspect I won't be able to find wills or other documents to triangulate my conclusion, as I believe these were farmworkers or similar without significant property to leave.