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Ask a Genealogist: Researching a colonial New England ancestor.

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Question:

Is there any reliable data in your files regarding the parentage of Nicholas Jacobs, who came to Massachusetts in June 1633 on the ship Elizabeth Bonaventure, John Graves, Master, Nicholas settled ultimately in Hingham, Massachusetts.

Answer:

Reply from Judith Lucey, NEHGS Archivist

Thank  you for your recent submission to "Ask a Genealogist". You are trying to find a reliable source which documents the parentage of Nicholas Jacob, settler of Hingham in 1633.  The one definitive source that treats Nicholas Jacob with authority can be found in Robert Charles Anderson's work The Great Migration Begins, 1620-1633, Volume II, pgs. 1069-1071 published in 1995. In this genealogical sketch, Mr. Anderson confirms his origins from Hingham, England but no parents or birth record is listed. This means, to date, no authoritative source has uncovered the identity of Nicholas Jacob's parents. If parents had been identified through a primary source such as a baptism in a parish register, Mr. Anderson would have included it in Jacob's sketch. I checked our online journal collection of genealogical periodicals and there is no other research on this.

The Richard Jacob and Winifred Chamber identified in many online family trees appears to be false. One can easily disprove this by simply looking at the facts you mention in your question. Richard Jacob dies in 1578 and this date appears to be a documented fact based on a will, etc. It is presumed based on his 1628/1629 marriage in England that Nicholas Jacob was born around 1604. The family of Richard and Winifred are of the wealthy, peerage class and appear to be well documented. It is not uncommon to attach a family of such prominence to an early immigrant to New England. When in doubt you should always take the undocumented online information with a grain of salt and seek out primary and well cited secondary sources in your research.

I see by your form you are not a member. If you would like a copy of the above genealogical sketch, Ancestry.com has digitized these volumes at

http://search.ancestry.com/search/db.aspx?dbid=2496

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