Woolsey's Myths

George Woolsey's Baptism

The Myth

George Woolsey was baptized in the Church of St. Lawrence in Great Yarmouth.

Source of the Myth

General John Ross Delafield, who wrote a masterful family history of the Delafields, unfortunately made a glaring error when he wrote: "In the register of the Church of St. Lawrence in Great Yarmouth are entered the baptisms of the following children of George Woolsey and ffrances, his wife: [Delafield, Vol. 2:644]

One writer claims "the Church of St. Lawrence" was in Wales, but that is a different myth.

Straightening the Record

There is no Church of St. Lawrence in Great Yarmouth, Norfolk County. There is a St. Lawrence in Ipswich, Suffolk County, where other Woolseys are found. This error caused no end of trouble for Wilford W. Whitaker as he attempted to "document" this stage of the life of George Woolsey. It took much work and effort to discover the following:

In the register of the largest church in Great Yarmouth, ST. NICHOLAS, are entered the baptisms of the following children of George Woolsey and ffrances, his wife:

1. John, 27 October 1611

2. Robert, 13 March 1613

3. George, 15 May 1616

Exhaustive searches in these registers, which are written in a very small, cramped style and difficult to read, have not turned up any more children of this couple nor of their marriage. Wilford W. Whitaker went through the registers from the earliest through 1650 at least three times, and then hired a professional researcher to read those records for him to check his accuracy and findings. [Perhaps because he was more used to looking for variations of the name Woolsey, he actually found more records than the professional researcher did.]

James W. Woolsey, of Richland, WA, states the following: "This compiler has learned there is no St. Lawrence Church in Great Yarmouth. It is located in Ipswich. Here is where George & Ffrances’ children were baptized. [Evidently James W. Woolsey did not search in the St. Lawrence Church records, as these baptisms are not there. q.v.]

What the Facts Tell Us About the Myth

John Ross Delafield had the baptisms recorded correctly. He or a researcher wrote down the name of the wrong church. It would seem to be no big problem, until one tried to "document" that information. But now that George Woolsey has been found in the register of the ST. NICHOLAS CHURCH in Great Yarmouth, we can say with great assurance that our Immigrant ancestor is the son of "George Woolsey and ffrances, his wife". [From the Rotterdam records we find that her name was "Ffrances Robberts".]

Fact: It is amazing how one little "fact" can dispel darkness and error so quickly.

If you have myths to suggest, or evidence to add supporting or further refuting a myth, please send your message to Wilford Whitaker - Editor and Chief of Woolsey Myths.


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Carolyn Woolsey Wilkerson, webmistress.