Thinking About Research Process for John Gibson

I’ve decided to take another stab at the family of John Gibson (born in Stow, Massachusetts in 1751) and who I wrote a while ago after finding a reference to him in a Gibson family history.

The author of that family history apparently loses John after a land transaction in 1799 where he sold his property in Ashby, Massachusetts, and indicated that it was thought that John left the area after that point in time.

And, for unexplained reason, the author indicated that John Gibson died after 10 April 1811. The author makes no reference as to why they knew John was alive on that date. In all honesty, I need to read more completely the Gibson genealogy from which the information on John was obtained to see if there is any other reference to that 1811 date–it may be that he signed or appears in some sort of probate or other estate settlement document. But that’s only a guess.

Apparently at some point, some genealogist has taken the “last alive by date” for John and converted it into a death date. That date is given as John’s death in numerous online references, all seemingly copied from the initial date converter.

I’ve not thrown out the online references to John and his children. Just because a compilation has one fact apparently interpreted incorrectly does not mean that other information in those compilations is incorrect. Those compilations have given me solid leads on John’s children, specifically:

  • Catherine Gibson, born 1783 in Ashby
  • John Gibson, born 1778 in Ashby

I’m using the information in those online compilations on those two children as clues to obtain further information from “non-compiled” sources. I am also constantly reviewing that data to determine if the information is reasonable and consistent. And as I do that, I’m tracking from where the information was obtained. That does slow down the research process, but it makes later continued analysis and reference easier. 
Another of John’s children, Sarah (born in 1744 in Ashby) is believed to have married Samuel Sargent. I’m also hoping to find documentation to solidify that “belief.” 
Part of the rationale for tracking these children of John Gibson is that some of the records on Catherine, John, and Sarah Sargent mention where they lived and where their children were born. 
These locations are then being used as possible places to search for John Gibson in an attempt to see where he went after he apparently left Ashby. Chances are hopefully he’ll turn up near where one of his children live.
And then maybe I’ll find estate, probate, or land records on him that may more concretely tie him to his children and maybe even solidify that died after 10 April 1811 death date. 
Some schools of thought would suggest that I research the children completely, then put that information together, see what it says and go from there. Given that I’d really like to find John after 1799 and that records on him may help me confirm where his children ended up, I’ll keep working the approach that I’m using now. 
Because I’m hoping to firm up the “belief” that John’s daughter Sarah married Samuel Sargent–after all, that’s my actual line of descent.


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