From Whence It Came?

Determining the origin of pieces of information that have been shared and reproduced endlessly can be difficult. Sometimes it is seemingly impossible. It is made even worse when using compiled materials that do not cite sources or provide any references as to where they obtained material.

One can find a seemingly endless set of sources providing the information underlined in red in the illustration, which is:

  • Samuel Sargent died on 2 April 1841–apparently in Potsdam, New York.
  • Sarah (Gypsom/Gibson), wife of Samuel, died on 4 February 1847.
  • Clark Sargent removed to Buckton, Illinois, and died in 1847.

There are other histories that provide the same information. There are numerous online trees that include the same information. Records on Clark Sargent and his wife Mary (Dingman) Sargent in Winnebago County, Illinois, where he lived at least the last half of the 1840s, suggest that 1847 is a reasonable year of death. I have been unable to verify the dates of death for Samuel and Sarah, his parents.

The reference to “Buckton” in the 1881 history of Marlborough, New Hampshire, is actually helpful for tracking this information because it probably is incorrect. Buckton is likely a mangled reference to Rockton, Illinois. Rockton is located in Winnebago County, where Clark lived. There is a Bucktown in Illinois, but the town is near Danville, Illinois, a distance from where Clark lived and someplace where there is no evidence that he lived (although it is possible he went there and died). This 1881 publication is the earliest publication date for an item containing the information on Samuel, Sarah, and Clark summarized in the three bulleted items.

Because of that, at this point, I am considering this reference the earliest reference for the information. I’m not citing all the other print and online publications that include this information. Repetition of a fact by others does not make it any more reliable. There may be an item published earlier that contains the same information. If that is the case, then I’ll have to revise my “earliest reference” comment.

I’d really like to document the information with sources whose validity and probable informant is a little easier to determine. I cannot tell where the information obtained in this 1881 publication was located. I’m not saying the 1881 history as shown here is incorrect–just that I have no way of “checking” t for reasonableness based upon likely informant, how they probably came to know the information. etc. The book has a great deal of information and any one piece of it could be wrong.

It is noted that that publication of the book is not that long after the events took place and it is possible that a family member of Clark’s provided the information.

This may be the earliest document I have for these dates. It may also end up being the only “source” of these dates that I have.


One thought on “From Whence It Came?

  1. Patty Gilbert says:

    Boy, what a relief! I was having issues with a certain piece of family history that wasn’t quite correct but I didn’t know which part. Going back as u have suggested & really look at what I had & where the information source came from. I was able to contact a source & get that information which was exactly as I have found in another area. Thank u.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes:

<a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.