Who are Joseph Pye’s parents?
It was easy to trace back to my great, great grandfather, Thomas Pye, who was the ancestor that came to Australia in 1837. His very informative death certificate showed that Thomas was born in Staffordshire, had married his first wife there and had five children by her and had married his second wife in Melbourne, Victoria and had seven children by her. Thomas’s parents were named as Joseph Pye and Mary Wetton.
A search of the IGI (International Genealogical Index) gave the marriage of Joseph Pye to Mary Wetton on 28 February 1797 in St Mary’s parish, Stafford, Stf; with Thomas’s baptism, and his sister Elizabeth’s, recorded in the neighbouring parish of Baswich. The following nine children were baptised in the parish of Castle Church, where Joseph and Mary had settled in the hamlet of Rickerscote.
The next step was to follow Joseph Pye’s ancestry back in time. Having found his marriage record, which did not give fathers’ names in 1797 and found his burial record (17 June, 1830) which stated Joseph was 54 years of age. From his age at death, 54 years, I calculated that Joseph was born about 1776. However, there was no baptism record in the whole of the county of Staffordshire for a Joseph Pye during or near 1776. Therefore I looked at the Pyes living in the vicinity of Stafford to see if I could determine parents for Joseph.
There really was only one Pye couple to which Joseph could belong and that was Thomas and Margaret Pye who resided in the parish of Baswich/Berkswich. There were baptisms for six children to Thomas and Margaret starting with their son John in 1777. Could Joseph possibly be their eldest child? I needed to look in records other than parish registers.
Thomas Pye’s burial record listed he was a “pauper” at the time of his death – which was very fortunate for me because it meant that there were Poor Law records that I could search for more information on the family of Thomas and Margaret Pye. I obtained a copy of Thomas Pye’s Examination Certificate which was dated 10 June, 1782. The last line stated, “that he hath a wife named Margaret and four children in the said township of Walton & Berkswich.” Only three of their children’s baptisms were recorded in the Baswich parish records prior to 1782; John in 1777, George in 1780 and William in 1782. This proves that Thomas and Margaret did have another child born prior to 1782 and that is likely to be Joseph. It was also noted that Thomas’s father’s name was Joseph and it seems that Thomas named his eldest child after his own father. This Examination Certificate also stated that Thomas Pye was originally from Abbots Bromley, Staffordshire.
I believe I have confirmed Joseph Pye’s parents. There are many trees on Ancestry which have, I assume, solely been compiled from the parish baptism records (or copied from other trees entered on Ancestry) and they have chosen a Joseph Pye baptised in 1766 in High Offley. But this individual is 10 years too old to be my ancestor. There are those who have also chosen a baptism for Joseph’s wife, Mary Wetton, which is 10 years too old (her burial record states Mary was 52 years old when she died), possibly not calculating that the individual they chose would be having a large family well into her 60s!!
I am not saying all “trees” on Ancestry are wrong. Some have led me to correct my own errors, but if I see a discrepancy with my own assumptions then I go back and search the records on all websites and those available original documents again to see if the “tree” details provided are valid.
Enjoy the hobby, but do your research well.
Post script 22 May 2014
I just had a look on Ancestry and have counted at least 60 different trees that have taken the baptismal date of a Joseph Pye, son of Thomas and Anne Pye, who was baptised on 5 October, 1766 at High Offley, Staffordshire and changed the year to 1776 and then applied it to Joseph Pye, the son of Thomas and Margaret Pye of Baswich, Staffordshire.
Are all family researchers sheep? Do they think that if someone else has a full date it must be right? And who was the first person to think well 1766 doesn’t fit with the correct birth era of the person on my tree, so I’ll just change the year to 1776 but keep the day of month of this other baptism of a child belonging to different parents. It’s sad and pathetic and perpetuates errors.