I would need to re read the file but it all began with an enquiry made by a US resident circa 1970 to an English Pastor who until C 1969 was the Pastor of a New England Church and his name was Rev Dr Thomas Atherton and the enquiry was "could you be related to Humphrey a man of some fame".
Now then there is a manuscript collection in England devoted to documentation to people named Atherton that live or lived in South Lancashire.
Now until 1600 onwards this was a very poor part of England. There where large areas of Wet Land / Marsh and the population was small . And so it has been posible to collect up the records of every person named Atherton up to 1650. Some lived and died with no record but such men would NOT have been men of property.
I am not certain how many records have been collected up for the period from 1212 to 1650 but more than 5,000 and less than 10,000.
Back in 2005 some people vey kindly sent me details of ORIGINAL documentation concerning Humphrey and his family in New England in the 17th C and it may be the case that they received the more detailed information from me. Also as time went by some notes were posted to the effect that my information was wrong. Not happy about that. I would never tell an American all about the Civil War, much less correct him.
Now then,Just for a minute assume that I have copies of the documentation relative to Edmond Athertons Estate and the details of a dispute over land that Ed and his mother, and hisfather humphrey the elder were a party to. Then, I say ok so what happens to Humphrey the grandson? He does not marry, die, leave a will or is the subject of an enquiry into his estate after death. There is no trace of him but from MEMORY there is some connection with him and the Preacher that led a party to New England which includes A man named Humphrey.
The American Humphrey has no trade, am I right? The English Humphrey was a Gentleman and so had no trade though he would be a farmer and land lord and even an Army Officer if the fancy took him BECAUSE HE IS A GENTLEMAN.
Back in 2005 I was talking specific documents, dates and parties there to. I recorded the Baptism of Humphreys siblings and there is no doubt that they are all of the same family and they re appear in the will of Edmond, the father of Humphrey. You see there are not so many people about. The land could not support a high population at this time, until they learned how to drain it! Its not so hard to trace people if you have copies of ALL the surviving Church Registers, and most Regs have survived and I do have the transcripts of the whole lot, EVERYONE named ATHERTON. All done, checked and printed out for me to photocopy. I have not counted the Thousands of Church register entries. I just wanted to have then all .
Thats my story. I did a great deal of work back in 2005 and the elimination documentation took days if not weeks and I never found a further record of Humphrey Atherton of I think WINSTANLEY IN THE PARISH OF WIGAN WHERE HE LIVED IN A HOUSE WITH THE STRANGE NAME OF ROMESHAW.
Michael Atherton, Deputory Curator, The Atherton Manuscript Collection of Lancashire.