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


Knapp Families
20 Jan 2004

[under continual construction & updated as new information is found]

Early genealogies and printed works contributed many myths, misconceptions and out right "atrocious genealogical blunders" as related to the early Knapp immigrant families. Many of these errors currently referred to in today's jargon as being "Genealogical Viruses", are yet being quoted and tend to make one wonder just what is to be believed. As many of us beginning genealogical research at the amateur level and before we are fully aware of what is required to make an acceptable Family Research Project valid, start by copying anything and everything we can get our hands on that apply to what we hope is our family ancestors and history, which includes copying down bad information and broadcasting it further without knowledge that we are doing the same. Result: More compounded problems for those of the future and many incorrect lineages developed.

These examples abound in the Nicholas Knapp Genealogy (1953), by

(Dr) A. A. Knapp. Some Dr Knapp alludes to and many have never been corrected except in a sporadic fashion. Some of the instances of these myths and errors are as

1-Nicholas Knapp, was a brother, Cousin, Nephew, Uncles, etc, to William Knopp, Aron Knapp, and Roger Knapp. Not true!! Current research (1995), proves no relationship exists between Nicholas & William Knopp, and that they are of clearly two distinctly different surnames, i.e., Knapp vs. Knopp.
In-so-far as Aron and Roger Knapp are concerned, the only relationship that can be stated is they have the same surname as Nicholas, e.g., Knap or Knapp. No relationship has ever been proven among any of these early Knapp immigrants, and at present is presumed that they are all of independent Knapp lines, devoid of any connection to one another whatsoever.

2-The Nicholas Knapp Genealogy does not reflect sources for the information contained in the writing except to quote where known a few Wills and Land Records or a miscellaneous record that we of today may probably never see for verification purposes. Many persons are not aware that the composition of the Genealogy was printed "as is" based on information forwarded to Dr Knapp by various and sundry persons who were Knapp's by birth or connected in some allied way, generally through marriages. Efforts [attempts] were made to make sure as much information as possible in the Genealogy was verified, but, obviously with a task as monumental as the one Dr Knapp undertook, much was printed "as is", further compounding any errors that the data may have contained without verification. None-the-less, without the works produced by Dr Knapp, it is quite doubtful that many Knapp's of today and Allied Families, would have a clue as to the background of the family name. The Nicholas Knapp Genealogy with all its known errors and faults is the most quoted source of information on the surname found in print and appears in amateur as well as professional genealogical writings. The adage to apply when using this genealogy is "use but verify".

Any attempt on the authors part to quote a definite source for each entry in the genealogy would in itself encompass many more pages than the current genealogy has. The author clarifies this and states the information contained therein is known to contain error and some error of statement, but none-the-less it is to be used as a basis for ones further investigation of their family lines.

3-Claims exist that our ancestor Nicholas Knapp, was married first to, Elinor Lockwood, Elinor Disbrow, and in some writings, Elinor Waterbury.

None of these claims HAVE EVER been documented nor will they ever be as they are not within the scope of what the official records that remain extant state. In-depth research of this problem as late as November 1995, has produced what should have been stated from the beginning, and that being "ANCESTRY REMAINS UNDISCOVERED". No record has ever been found that would give even a slight "hint" as to what her SURNAME may have been. She could have just as well be labeled a Smith, Jones or any other surname and always without justification. Conscientious genealogist and descendants of this family should annotate their personal charts and research as "Elinor ?????, ancestry unknown or undiscovered".

4-English ancestries for Nicholas and his first wife, Elinor appear from time to time in writings of a non-professional nature, and are oft quoted in some researchers charts as being authentic. Nothing is further from the truth. The earliest claim that any of us who lay claim to the surname KNAPP [English origins] in any way, can only do so beginning with the extant records of 1630, at Watertown, Massachusetts.

5-No marriage date has ever been found for Nicholas and Elinor, however based on the birth of their first child, Jonathan their estimated date of marriage was probably 1629/30, in England and is quoted as such in many current writings, though some seem to believe they married at Watertown, MA.

Since the first 2 pages of the Watertown Books are forever lost, there is no way that an investigation can be made to ascertain the fact one way or the other. In these cases one must take an estimated view of when the action may have occurred, but bear in mind that the actual date may be anywhere from
3-5 years earlier, than the estimated date reflected. That is the best any of us can do in the absence of an official record.

6-There are two questionable entries that remain to be solved in the make-up of the family of Nicholas and Elinor.
The first being the marriage of their daughter, Hannah, who is presently stated to have married Zerubabel Hoyt in 1673. No record has been found to document this claim, though it is found in abundance and being quoted in many charts. In 1995, it was simply found that Hannah was born 3-6-1643, Watertown, Middlesex Co, MA, and no further information known about her after her father's Will of 15 Apr 1670, at which time she was a single woman. Relating the dates of birth for both Hannah [b. 1642/43] and the estimated birth date of Zerubabel Hoyt [b. ca1652], is the beginning of a question as to whether or not the marriage occurred as claimed. Remains highly doubtful!!!

The second, entry is the date and place of birth cited for their son, Moses Knapp. Currently he is reflected as the youngest son and the 8th child born to Nicholas and Elinor, and born probably at Wethersfield, Hartford Co, CT.
Again no documentation appears that will support the conclusion. Considering the English tradition of willing or passing their lands, fathers generally willed their home lott and other belongings to the eldest son living. This being the case where Moses Knapp is concerned, it would appear that Moses was the eldest son and was probably born ca1630 or before at Watertown, MA or possibly even in England. There are many dates ranging from 1630 to 1645 cited as birthdates for Moses, and the oft quoted is the spurious LDS-IGI, where it is stated he was born 5 Aug 1645. In the case of Moses Knapp [if born in or before 1645], one should consider the date his father, Nicholas Knapp, sold his farm and other property, and removed to Connecticut, in 1646, thus IF Moses Knapp, was born in 1645, then most certainly it had to have occurred in Watertown, MA.

The point is stated only that there is still another avenue to explore as relates to these two children of Nicholas and Elinor.

7-Early writings reflect that Nicholas Knapp is a descendant of "Sir Roger de Knapp", supposedly Knighted by King Henry VIII at a Tournament in 1530.

All such statements are fictional at best and are the product of an unscrupulous English genealogist attempting to satisfy the ambitions of some American client. There are no official documents to be found to prove such claims, as there was NO Tournament held at Suffolk or Essex Counties in England during the period so claimed. Further there are no records that reflect the name of Roger Knapp, in either of those counties at any time.

8-The Knapp Family Crest - The current Family Crest is an emblem that may be used by current day Knapp's if they so desire, but must do so with the knowledge that it bears no entitlement to Heraldry, and may display it as they wish with this thought in mind. All grantees of this Crest are deceased with no known descendant living who would be entitled to it's use.

9-There DEFINITELY is no connection of any sort to the oft claimed ancestry of Nicholas Knapp and that being that John Knapp and Martha Blois were his parents, and/or Robert Knapp & Margaret Poling. As previously stated no supporting evidence has ever been found to establish an ancestry of ANY VALIDITY for Nicholas, or his wives!!!!!

10-There are previous thoughts that Nicholas Knapp was probably the Nicholas Knapp of Wells-by-the-Sea, Co Norfolk, EN and that he married one Susan Mitterson. While this connection would seem highly probable, and does fall within the time-frame of our immigrant ancestor, it has been proven that this connection is invalid as the Nicholas Knapp of Wells-by-the-Sea, Co Norfolk, EN, that married Susan Mitterson is accounted for and was living in Co Norfolk, England [1660] well past our immigrants known residence in America!!

11-Probably the most current and reliable source of information relating to Nicholas and family is the condensed bibliographic sketches on families who arrived in America between 1620-1633, and is entitled "The Great Migration
Begins: Immigrants to New England 1620-1633 (1995 - in 3 Volumes), by Robert Charles Anderson, F.A.S.G.. Articles relating to the ancestry of William KNOPP [not Knapp], also appear in these volumes and in earlier articles which establish William Knopp's ancestry, etc, etc., including that of his first wife, Judith Tue. These articles give sufficient extant source references to prove and disprove the many myths and statements found in early day writings and should be adhered to by conscientious Knapp Family Researchers.


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