The Elinor Myth

As posted to the Knapp-L list by Fritz Knapp - reprinted here with permission.

Elinor, was given name of the first wife of Nicholas Knapp and is documented twice - 1-in a land record at Cambridge, MA, and her death recorded at Stamford, CT.

She is also identified in the "Winthrop Fleet", by Charles Edward Banks, as the wife of Nicholas, all without citing a surname.

The protest I have maintained over the years, is against labeling Elinor, first wife of Nicholas Knapp, as any of the three surnames indicated below:

Elinor, called "Lockwood", "Disbrow", & "Waterbury"

Elinor, first wife of Nicholas Knapp of Watertown, Middlesex Co, Massachusetts and Stamford, Fairfield Co, Connecticut, has been called "Lockwood", "Disbrow" and at times, "Waterbury", in older genealogies. No known record supports such claims!

Extant records identify her as "Elinor" only, and ancestry unknown. Her origin and ancestry remain unknown, though no doubt her origin was England. Many early publications state she was born at Combs, Co Suffolk, England, though do so without benefit of supporting evidence. At best we can say "she was (of) England."

It is expected that the surname "Lockwood" was assumed as a result of the known relationship between the Knapp's and the Lockwood's, at Watertown, Massachusetts. Thus, many believe she was a probable sister of Sergeant Robert and Edmund Lockwood. On 23 Oct 1943, a query appeared in the "Hartford Times", genealogical page, Query, A-2695, authored by Judge H. Stanley Finch, a Surrogate Judge, Stamford, Connecticut, who gave his opinion that Elinor, wife of Nicholas Knapp, was a daughter of Edmund Lockwood (1594-1635) of Combs, Co Suffolk, England, but done so without supporting evidence. While this would seem possible, proof remains lacking.

Later research in 1978, and again in 1995, failed to identify that Elinor, was of any identifiable surname in the early Colonial Records. At any rate, in today's jargon, the "virus" began to spread. Eventually after having been repeated enough, Pedigree Charts sprung forth claiming her as a daughter of Edmund Lockwood, yet a cited source for the entries remain lacking. Unless an extant document can be produced, to label Elinor with any surname, records should reflect her given name of Elinor, only. To do otherwise would only perpetuate the original "atrocious genealogical blunder"!

As a result of Mr. William Pelham and Mr. Edmund Lockwood, paying the fine of Nicholas Knapp, in 1630, the assertion was made that Edmund Lockwood, was his brother-in-law. Nothing could be further from the truth. Research identifies, Mr. William Pelham, as the person responsible for Nicholas Knapp, who belonged to his company, and that Mr. Edmund Lockwood, was his Deputy, thus the reasons for paying the fine of Nicholas Knapp. Again, the "virus"
was perpetuated and became fact without attending proof.

As of this writing [2004], her surname remains UNKNOWN. For further discussion on the subject of Elinor, first wife of Nicholas Knapp, consult:

1-The American Genealogist (TAG), 10:45
2-Some Descendants of Edmund Lockwood (1594-1635) of Cambridge, MA and his son, Edmund Lockwood (c1625-1693) of Stamford, CT (1978), by Harriet Woodbury Hodge, C.G., Appendix 5:82 3-The Great Migration Begins Immigrants to New England 1620-1633 (1995), by Robert Charles Anderson, F.A.S.G., II:1136.


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