Doctor Palgrave…

I remember the old joke, that wasn’t really a joke, more of a riddle – 

A father and his son are in a car accident. The father dies instantly, and the son is taken to the nearest hospital. The doctor comes in and exlaims “I can’t operate on this boy.”
“Why not?” the nurse asks.
“Because he’s my son,” the doctor responds.
How is this possible?

Well the answer, of course, is because it was the boy’s mother.

I bet you thought I was going to talk about Dr. Richard Palgrave.


Well, it is the best image I could find. Even though it is earlier that the 1600s it is still appropriate.

While investigating the Palgrave family in Massachusetts, I can across an interesting entry in a TAG1 article regarding his daughter Sarah.


Sarah was the second youngest daughter of Richard and his wife Ann, She was born about 1621. When she was about 27 years old she married Doctor John Alcock, a 1646 graduate of Harvard. She only lived to be about 44 years of age, but in those 44 years, she had devoted herself to following in her father’s footsteps and became a physician, although most likely not officially sanctioned as such. According to her death entry in the Roxbury church records she was skilled in medicine and surgery.

It is doubtful that she had any formal schooling, because women weren’t allowed to attend any medical schools. Her father, and possibly her husband, are mostly like the ones who taught her everything she needed to know. Women at this time provided health services that consisted mostly of sick- and wet-nursing, midwifery, minor surgery and general physicals. Of course, even then, men were doing their best to butt into the business of birthing babies, and other female related health concerns by dismissing the expertise of female medical practitioners and midwives in publications, calling their methods unscientific, consisting of nothing but folk medicine.

Thankfully those days have changed.

I was quite thrilled to find this information about a female ancestor. Here’s one who wasn’t content to just sit at home and raise the babies, she wanted to make a difference in the world. Cool.


1 The American Genealogist, volume 18, page 209, “Dr. Richard Palgrave and his family.”


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What do you do…

What do you do when in the course of your ancestral hunt you bag a couple of Kings and Queens? Do you keep mum or do you talk about it? If you talk about it, will folks think you are bragging or showing off?

That’s my dilemma. You see when I was checking out Doctor Richard Palgrave, my 11xgrandfather on the Shaw side of the family, I ran into the issue of him being a descendant of Charlemagne. I don’t know about you, but I have a hard time wrapping my head around that one. Especially since it it so far back in time, it almost seems surreal. Counting back Charlemagne is my generation’s 41xgrandfather. Of course we are not alone in our connection, as there are tens of thousands of descendants of Charlemagne. In fact, some say that the majority of Europeans are a descendant of Charlemagne.

Now that’s cool and all but for me the more interesting bit is now we have Italian and French kings and queens in the mix (when I didn’t think we had any Italian in us), until we get to William the Conquerer and finally Henry I. Although, I have to admit that it is not that these were Kings and Queens that fascinates me, so much as that these were people who were the heavy hitters in history, they played a major part in shaping their respective country’s destiny. Being a lover of history-although not an expert-I am totally cool with that.

So, no, I won’t ignore the famous ancestors in order to seem modest or humble. They have as much right to be recognized by me as those not so famous ones. And no, I am not bragging or showing off, if they are my ancestors, it is my duty as a family historian to claim them. Even the famous ones.

All the images that I have posted below are suppose to be ancestors of mine. When one goes over the tree for this line of descent there are several illegitimate connections and an unfortunate lack of names for some of the women who are birthing these generations. The images are pretty much in timeline order from oldest to most recent ancestor/ancestress.

Charlemagne King of the Franks
Bernard King of Italy
Hugh Capet King of France
William the Conqueror King of England
Mathilda of Flanders, wife of William the Conqueror
Henry I King of England

Robert Earl of Glouster

Now for the line of descent. I have kept it pretty minimal:

Charlemagne, King of the Franks, Holy Roman Emperor b.742-d.813/14
Married
Hildegarde b.758-d.783
Son
Pepin, King of Italy b.781-d. 810 [Italy]
Married
Unknown
Son
Bernard, King of Italy b.~ 797-d.818
married ~814
Unknown d.aft 15 Jun 835
Son
Pepin of Peronne, Count of Senlis, Peronne, St Quentin and Vermandois b.Married
Unknown
Son
Herbert I, Count of Vermandois b.~840 France-d.902
married
Beatrice (Bertha) de Morvois b.France
Daughter
Beatrice de Vermandois b.~880-d.aft. Mar 931 France
married 895
Robert I, Count of Paris, King of France b.866-d.(in battle) Soissons, France 15 Jun 923
Son
Hugh Magnus, Count of Paris, Duke of France b.~895-d.Deurdan, France 16 Jun 956
married (3) ~938
Hedwig of Saxony b.~922-d.10 May 965
Son
Hugh Capet, King of France b.941 France-d.France 24 Oct 996
married 968
Adelaide de Poitou b.France 950/550-d.France ~1004
Son
Robert II, King of France b.France 27 Mar 972-d.Melun, France 20 Jul 1031
married 1002
Constance de Provence b.~986-d.France 25 Jul 1032
Daughter
Adele de France b.?-d.France 8 Jan 1078/79
married1028
Baldwin V, Count of Flanders b.Flanders, France 1012-died Lille, France 1 Sep 1067
Daughter
Mathilda of Flanders b.Flanders, France ~1031-d. Caen, France 3 Nov 1083
married ~1051 Flanders
William I, the Conquerer, Duke of Normandy, King of England b.France 1027-d.France 9 Sep 1067
Son
Henry I, King of England b.England 1068-d.France 1 Dec 1135
Married
Unknown
Son
Robert de Caen, Earl of Gloucester b.1190-d.Bristol 31 Oct 1147
Married
Maud Fitz Hamon
Daughter
Maud de Caen b?-d.29 Jul 1189
married ~1141
Ranulph de Gernon, Vicomte d’Avranches, Earl of Chester b.France ~1100-bur. England 16 Dec 1153
Son
Hugh Kevelioc b.England 1147-d.Stafford 1181
married 1169
Bertrade de Montfort b.?-d.~1181
Daughter
Mabel de Chester b.England ~1165-d.England
married
William d’Aubigny b?-d.1220/21
Daughter
Isabel d’Aubigny b~1183-d.?
married
John FitzAlan I b.?-d.~1240
Son
John FitzAlan II b.England-d.England bef 10 Nov 1267
Married England
Maud Verdun b.England-d.England 27 Nov 1283
Son
John FitzAlan b.England 14 Sep 1246-d.England 18 Mar 1271/2
Married England
Isabel de Mortimer b.England ~1248-d.England >1300
Son
Richard FitzAlan III b.England 3 Feb 1266/7-d.England 9 Mar 1301/2
married ~1285
Alesia de Saluzzo b.England-d.England 25 Sep 1292
Son
Edmund FitzAlan b.England 1 May 1285-d.England 17 Nov 1326
married 1305 England
Alice de Warenne b.England-d.England
Son
Richard FitzAlan b.England ~1313-d.England 24 Jan 1375/6
married 5 Feb 1344/5 Ditton, England
Eleanor Plantagenet b.England 1311-d.England 11 Jan 1371/72
Son
Richard FitzAlan b.England ~1346-d.England 21 Sept 1397
married ~ 28 Sept 1359
Elizabeth De Bohun b.England-d.England 3 Apr 1385
Daughter
Elizabeth FitzAlan b.England ~1375-d.8 Jul 1425
married Robert Goushill b.?-d.Battle of Shrewsbury 21 Jul 1403
Daughter
Elizabeth Goushill b.England ~1414-d.England
Married
Robert Wingfield b.England-d.England
Daughter
Elizabeth Wingfield b.England-d.England 28 Apr 1497
married Jan 1462 England
William Brandon b.England ~1425-d.England 4 Mar 1491
Daughter
Eleanor Brandon b.England-d.England 30 Jun 1480
married 1466 England
John Glemham b.England
Daughter
Anne Glemham
Married England
Henry Pagrave b.England ~1470-d.2 Oct 1516 – PALGRAVE CONNECTION
Son
Thomas Pagrave b.Married
Alice Gunton
Son
Edward Palgrave b.England 1540-d.England 20 dec 1623
Married
Unknown
Son – emigrants to AMERICA
Richard Palgrave b.England ~1585-d.Charlestown MA Oct 1651 –
married 17 Feb 1669 England
Anna Harris b.England 1594-d.Roxbury, MA 17 Feb 1668/69
Daughter
Mary Palgrave b.England ~1619-d.married ~1637 Watertown, MA
Roger Wellington b.England ~1610-d.Watertown MA 11 Mar 1697/98

It appears that the connection of Richard to these generation is legitimate, (while not all the births were). And while I haven’t done the research myself, many others have – I just hope they aren’t messing with me. The above list of ancestors is touted as the direct line down, I haven’t even begun to look into the lines of those who married into it. That would probably be another ten years of research. I will start here with little baby steps, with full intention of continuing to investigate to make sure this claim is indeed correct.

Great–now I have to bone up on my British history. As if I didn’t have enough to do.

Is there a Doctor in the house…

In the past month or so, I posted a few pictures I found on Ancestry’s site that were uploaded by users. They were of Franklin Robinson and his wife Susan Landon, both of Grand Isle, Vermont. Well I have never done any research on Franklin, and I don’t have any excuse or reason for that, it just never happened.

So over the holidays, and my lovely two weeks off, I decided to focus on researching Franklin’s side of the family. In my records the information I had on Franklin was from over 10 years ago and mostly gleaned from our cousin who put together the Shaw family book. Not much was said about Franklin, just his parents being listed as Abijah Hall and Beulah H. Billings.
My first thought was why on earth is his father listed as HALL when he is a ROBINSON. I have to admit that is was probably just an error in data entry on someone’s part and as I was just entering the data mindlessly, I didn’t really analyze it at the time.
I do know that Beulah married Abijah in 1796 when Franklin was about 4-5 years of age and he wasn’t adopted by Abijah because he went by ROBINSON his whole life. Local histories indicate he was a descendant of the Robinson’s of Bennington County, Vermont, but there are, as of yet, no records that tell just which ROBINSON that was. So, for now, his father is still a mystery.
His mother on the other hand was the daughter of a BILLINGS and a FAY, and there was much information on her and her family to be found online and in books. And it is through the FAY line that we run into Richard PALGRAVE (apparently an official descendant of Charlemagne, but that’s not important now).
Richard was born about 1593. He arrived in Charletown by 1629, which we know because his signature on a document signed by all the inhabitants of the town at that time is quite clear, it shows up third in the list:

Signature of Richard Palgrave

He is the first doctor I have come across in my research on our ancestors and will probably be the only one. The author George A. Moriarty wrote that “[h]e was a quiet man who minded his own business, got into no trouble, and buried himself in his profession.” According to his inventory of property after his death in 1651 he was worth £313, which made him well to do. The quality of his signature also indicates a good education.

His daughter Mary married Roger WELLINGTON. Their granddaughter married into the FAY family.
Richard’s other claim to fame is also being the ancestor of the Bushes. Our second link as cousins – shudder.