Friday, December 30, 2016

My Ancestor, Thomas Nock, 1617 - 1666

Yesterday, just for the heck of it, I decided to see if any information had appeared on the man who is the "end" of of my father's male ancestry.  Tracing my Dad back, father to father, I end up with Thomas Nock, who was born in 1617 in England and died in 1666 in Dover, New Hampshire.  The church has the recording of his birth date, as he told his wife (Rebecca Tibbetts) and the minister recorded his death date.
    This is what I  know of Thomas Nock, from multiple years of research:  he was born in England according to his wife.  He married his wife, Rebecca Tibbetts, in Dover.  Thomas had an established home in Dover in 1652, and was recognized as a free man.  Thomas and Rebecca's first child was born in 1654; as she was born about July 1636, it is posited that they were married in 1652 or 1653 in Dover.  They had five documented children, and the last, Henry, was born four months after his father's death in October 1666.  Thomas and Rebecca's second son, Sylvanus, married Elizabeth Emery, and their third child, daughter Rebecca, married William Willey.  (Less than two years after the death of Thomas Nock, his widow, Rebecca, married Philip Benmore.)
   I searched  long and hard to find out about the the surname "Nock" in England.  Both the Tibbetts and the Emery families, who married into the family, have stated that the name is from the old "atten Oakes" name, meaning the family originally lived near oak trees.  In England, that name has been changed by time to several variations - Knock, Knocke, Noake, Noakes, Nock, Nocks.  But there is another possibility - old English also contains the word "nock" which means a small round hill; and a person with that last name would have lived near such a hill.
   There were, and are, a lot of Nock and Nocks families in Shropshire, England.  There are small pockets of families with the same names in almost every area of England; there are some in Scotland (not  spelled Knox); and there are some in Wales, Ireland, and Northern Ireland.  Both the Emery and the Tibbetts families have declared that the Thomas Nock family is from Shropshire - but there is no solid proof that has yet been discovered.
   The whole reason I'm writing this particular blog is due to a visit to Rootsweb, a part of  Anyone can fill out a family tree and send it in, and get it posted there.  That is one of the reasons I've been recently writing a lot about checking sources, research and facts.   I looked up Thomas Nock, to see if anyone had any factual information that might have turned up regarding his parentage and place of birth.
   I really laughed out loud, and startled Rosie, the elderly dog I'm currently caring for...  First were the listings that said that "my" Thomas Nock was born in 1654 (that was actually his first son, Thomas, with Rebecca Tibbetts) and that the son had married the mother (said Rebecca Tibbetts), and had died in 1666, having had 5 children with his mother).   I know that it's confusing when first sons are always named the same - but...  really!
    And then I saw a new listing that said that "my" Thomas Nock was the son of Thomas Knox and Jayne Marie Cristy of Shropshire, England.  I began to investigate that, and it immediately fell apart.  Jayne Marie Cristy was the wife of Harold Thomas Knox, Jr (1932 - 1987); and Jayne herself was born in Illinois in 1931 and passed away in 2003.  How someone decided that Jayne was born in Romney Marsh in England in 1609, and was the mother of a man born in 1617 is a thing that has me scratching my head in puzzlement...
     The family surname was Nock when Thomas arrived in colonial America; in several generations, the "s" was added, and became Nocks.  Then we had the large wave of Scots immigrants in the northeast, and the learned people who could write decided the name was Scots and changed the spelling to Knox.  Some of my grandfather's aunts and uncles spelled the name Knox, some spelled it Nock, and Great-grandpa James Loren spelled his last name Nocks....  A part of the family came from England with the surname Waterhouse; after eight generations in Maine, they became Watrous....
   Check your facts, if you are doing genealogy!!!  Just flat out copying can lead to huge mistakes.

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