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An evaluation of White’s Cathey book from a collateral line
Posted by: Sally Brandon (ID *****6080) Date: April 20, 2009 at 17:18:10
  of 1414

I am Sally Brandon, coordinator of the Brandon DNA Project, Lineage I. Now that things have calmed down a bit I will add my analysis of the Jim White book (“Cathey Maryland Immigrant Family 1710”) as it pertains to the pages I have viewed that include Brandon data, specifically William Brandon d.1755 who married Ann Cathey d/o James Cathey.

I must say I, too, was taken aback by the introductory phrase saying White and others “own a significant amount of the data.” Data, of course, cannot be owned and the unspoken code of genealogy is that sources should be shared, not hoarded. Nonetheless, I set my feelings aside and read on.

I quote, from pp 42, 43:
" William (Brandon) was born in 1712 in North Wheatley,, Nottinghamshire, England, was christened on 10 Dec 1713 in North Wheatley,, Nottinghamshire, England, and died in Dec 1755 in Rowan County North Carolina at age 43…..William was the son of James Brandon of North Wheatley - He was orphaned at age 12, indentured to serve 11 years to Maryland. His head right was never claimed in Maryland; therefore, we cannot prove the person or persons that held his indenture. He immigrated in 1725 to Maryland. Passenger and Immigration Lists Index, 1500s-1900 about William Brandon….Source Publication Code: 9579.10….Source Bibliography: WAREING, JOHN. Emigrants to America: Indentured Servants Recruited in London, 1718-1733. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing Co., 1985. 111p. Page 38.”

Holy Moley!

Author/researchers seem to think one way - working from the past to the future to make connections and tell a story. They take leaps from a surname in the past to another place and time and make it so.

But that's a beginner's mistake in genealogy, where you must work from the present, step by careful step, back geographically into the past. I might LIKE to believe that we are from the knights Brandon in Suffolk, whose neighbor John Archdale was a planter of County Fermanagh, Ulster (the pre-American home of the Brandons, next door to Monaghan), but that doesn't mean we're descended from Charles Brandon as one of his rumored illegitimate offspring - as I keep reminding one of our DNA participants. It's actually more likely we're off Charles' brother, who is known to have had a son who went into the army! Even more likely we’re via townspeople who adopted their name.

Now, I assume there was a James Brandon where White says there was in England. But that does NOT prove the William Brandon, who I have in my Early Origins folder on an immigrant list in 1725, was his christened son, freshly arrived from that county. It's a common forename among all lines of Brandons, those connected by DNA and those who just share the surname but are proven unrelated, by the way. It certainly IS NOT proven this man survived and wound up in North Carolina. Several so far unconnected lines of Brandons are keeping this William Brandon in mind as a possible ancestor.

What IS proven is that the William Brandon who married Ann Cathey had his will witnessed by Rowan John Brandon Jr., his brother (William calls him his brother in the will and asks him to oversee his estate). The man we call Rowan John Brandon Jr. is the son of Rowan John Brandon Sr., we Brandons believe – Jr. and Sr. warranted land next to each other in Hanover Township, then Lancaster/now Dauphin Co, PA on the same day, 23 December 1737. John Jr.’s signature matches several we have on various documents, as well.

It is unprofessional to play a game of connect the dots/surnames.

Take from this what you will.

And I, myself, would be happy to share any documents I might have that would further anyone's research into their ancestor.

Sally Brandon


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