The following item appeared on theRootsweb DALBY-L Maillist. You can read it at this link or read it below as I have copied and pasted it here with the permission of the writer Jeff Ketterer.
I would like to show my support and backing for what Jeff is trying to do on this issue.Jeff and I have had our differences in the past but I can put it aside and work work with him in a professional manner.I believe him to be a good genealogist and I do stand behind, and agree completely, with his message as follows. The only thing I would add to his comments is this.Richard D'Albey/ Dalbey/ Dalby has never been proven or documentated to be the father of "any" of the children so far attributed to him. We can only speculate.When posting your family to the internet, please keep this in mind.I am posting it to both the Dalby and the Dolby Forum because Richard is totally up for grabs - he could be the father of all of us or none of us!
Dolby Days Website
Subject: Richard Dalby as the father of Abel Dalbey. Fact or fiction?
Date: 18 Oct 2002 11:38:04 -0600
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This is kinda long folks, so I suggest you reach for the print command now.
There have been several posts both here and elsewhere concerning the subject of Richard Dalby being the father of Abel Dalbey. Furthermore, there appears to be quite a bit of bad information out there on the subject. I think that the main reason that this has been happening is that people just don't realize what the concept is based on.
Richard Dalby is the father of Abel Dalbey. Is this fact or fiction? I am taking into consideration that new documents continue to surface all of the time. Unfortunately, none of them seem to answer the question. With this in mind, the available evidence suggests that the connection between the two men appears to be a work of pure fiction. The document that ties it all together could surface at any time, and my answer could be different at that time as a result. Until that day gets here though, the existing documents suggest that it is fiction. The following is what is known.
Fact: Chester Co., PA court records show that Richard Dalby is the acknowledged father of exactly one child. This child was the result of a Christmas party in the 1740s. There is no evidence to suggest that Richard ever married the mother. Some people have given this child a name, but that is impossible to do at this point. The surviving court records make no mention of the child's name, or it's gender. When last seen, the mother was still pregnant. There is no evidence to suggest that this child was even born alive.
So just what is the truth about Richard and Abel? Nobody knows for certain. However, a cousin once theorized many years ago, that two Dalbeys met in the woods of Ohio 175 (+/-) years ago. Surprised to find another Dalbey, they sat on a stump and tried to work it out, and couldn't. They finally agreed that since the Dalbey name was rare, that they must be related somehow. As time went by, this "related somehow" concept morphed into "we are related".
My cousin's theory may be a bit closer to reality than either of us would have dared to speculate at the time. There are a few things different. One is that the meeting between the two Dalbeys appears to have taken place in 1928. Another is that one Dalbey came to the meeting with the connection already established. Existing documents point to a meeting between Marshie Austin and the Rev. John L. Dalbey and it was based on a document Marshie had received from the Rev. Dalbey. It is not clear if he started the story. It is clear though that Marshie didn’t stop it, even though she had reservations about it. Furthermore, she spread the story.
This much is known. In May of 1927, Marshie wrote to Warren Ely, Librarian of the Bucks County Historical Society on the advice of the Pennsylvania State Librarian.Her letter is part of the Ely Collection, which is microfilmed and kept on file at the Historical Society of Pennsylvania. It is also available through the LDS Family History Library. In her letter to Ely, Marshie states straight out that she does not know who Abel's parents were. Marshie's frustration with Abel is quite evident in this letter, and in her follow up letter in 1929. This frustration should look quite familiar to virtually every Abel researcher. Ely responded with a typical library letter. He dug up the deeds and some probate. He also mentioned C.V. Roberts"Early Friends Families of Upper Bucks", and then speculated that the Dalbeys might be part of the Philadelphia group. He offered no evidence. Richard is never mentioned. None of the documents that he doe!
s mention are hidden sources. In short, his answer is what you'd expect.
In early January 1929, Marshie wrote a second letter to Ely. This second letter has an attachment with it. The attachment is the "Genealogical record of Rev. John L. Dalbey of Middletown, Ohio." Again, these materials are located in the Ely Collection at the Historical Society of Pennsylvania. The attachment appears to be Marshie's abstract of the original document, and it shows Richard Dalby as having two wives with Abel belonging to his first marriage. Marshie cites this viewpoint in the letter. There are no sources listed on the attachment other then citing it as the Rev. Dalbey;s genealogical record. Marshie speculates in her letter that the source was probably Joel Dalbey.
Done deal? Not quite. Listen to what Marshie has to say in her letter: "Some time ago I received a letter from Rev. John L. Dalbey, a retired minister at Middletown, Ohio, enclosing a page from his family record. Desiring to know the sources of his information, I called on him in Middletown, but I could learn nothing new. His wife told me that his memory is failing. I suspect, however, that his grandfather, Joel Dalbey, gave him all he had."
Now that is a loaded paragraph. Marshie raises an incredible amount of doubt as to the credibility of the Rev. Dalbey's story. All of the red flags are there, and she acknowledges them. And then she bought it at face value.
Probably the biggest question here is just what was the Rev. Dalbey's mental state at that time of the meeting. In her paper dated 5 January 1995, Loretta Nixon offers census material that would suggest that the Rev. Dalbey was somewhere around 72 years of age in 1928. Loretta's paper will be referred to as the "Nixon Report" for the remainder of this posting. Now then, was the Rev. Dalbey simply getting old? You don't need to be 72 to have a failing memory. Was he a vegetable? Was he an Alzheimer's patient? Or how about some other form of dementia? The point to all of this being that we just don't know what his condition was, or the nature of it, and Marshie is too kind to tell us.
And then we have Rev. Dalbey's chosen profession. Ministers, as a rule, are walking genealogists, whether they want to admit to it or not. The very nature of their job dictates this. They do baptisms, weddings, funerals and see loads of shut-ins, not to mention all sorts of family counseling. Just by getting out of bed and going to work, they are bound to encounter at least a limited version of various genealogies. Given the locations in which he is found in over the years, it is not out of the realm of possibility that he encountered at least some of Abel’s people in the course of his work.
Putting his job and his mental condition aside, that leaves the sources of his material. There is no evidence that he had any, other than possibly his Grandfather. No letters or notes are mentioned. Marshie wanted sources, and he couldn't show her anything. Failing memory or not, no sources means no sources.There is also another angle here. Marshie speculates that he got the information from his Grandfather, Joel Dalbey. That speculation causes problems with another source. Lovena Bowles and Aunt Ellen.
The Nixon Report contains a copy of the letter from Lovena Bowles to Loretta Nixon in 1963.Lovena states that she obtained her information from her Aunt Ellen in 1913, but she does not say where Aunt Ellen obtained it. Aunt Ellen would have been 78 years old in 1913, and Lovena credits her with having a "remarkable memory." Before I go any further, I should point out that Aunt Ellen was the half-sister of the Rev. John L. Dalbey's father.
Lovena's genealogy raises several key points. In the text of the Nixon Report, Loretta notes the most obvious one. If Aunt Ellen had such a great memory, how did she totally miss Richard's first family? There is no mention of them at all. There isn't even a suggestion as to their existence. Not only that, Lovena makes no mention of them as something she found later.
There are two other key points. Lovena and Aunt Ellen state that the Dalbeys were French and that the name was "Americanized." This contradicts Abel's descendants story that they came from Wales. The Wales story is generally attributed to Marshie's mother, Lois Smith Austin in her memoirs dictated, presumably to Marshie, in 1901. Since Lois's memoirs do not correspond with Marshie's letter to Ely in 1927, it is presumed that Marshie edited them rather heavily at a later date. Evidence of Marshie's editing exists in the copy of Lois' dictation that I have. It appears to be a hybrid blend between the Rev. Dalbey's work and what might have been Lois' original dictation. It only shows Joel with one child, being Rueben. Rueben was Rev. Dalbey's father. For the record, Joel had a minimum of twenty children and probably more.
Aunt Ellen also states that Richard came to America in 1750 and settled in Frederick Co., VA. This point here would immediately discount the Chester Co., PA Richard Dalby, as he is involved in a court case in the 1740s over his lack of judgment at the Christmas party. Furthermore, children attributed to Richard Dalby and Susannah Harris first start showing up in court documents down in Virginia, even though Richard never does. If Richard's children by Susannah fought in the Revolution, as Aunt Ellen said at least one did, they should have started showing up in Pennsylvania records. They do not do this until much later and after they have surfaced in Virginia.
Aunt Ellen does not appear to be the only person that thinks that the Dalbeys were French. The Nixon Report also makes mention of a letter written in 1888 by Israel Dalbey's daughter in law to her grandson. Israel Dalbey is the presumed brother of Joel Dalbey. Deborah Woods Dalbey states in her letter that the Dalbeys were French Huguenots that were driven from the country "about the time of the Edict of Nantes."
That makes no sense. The Edict of Nantes gave the Huguenots some rights, including freedom of religion, with some conditions. The Edict was proclaimed in 1598 and revoked in stages starting around 1620, and finally revoked for good in 1685. This 1685 date would fit more with what Deborah Woods Dalbey says in her letter, which is that the Dalbeys came to America in 1690 and settled in the Shenandoah Valley of Virginia. The only problem with that is that settlement did not begin in the Shenandoah until the early to mid 1700s.
So far, there is no evidence to connect the Richard Dalby in Chester Co., PA to either the people in Virginia or to Abel Dalbey. The only record that shows this is the paper given to Marshie Austin by the Rev. John L. Dalbey. The only known version of this paper does not match the story told by Aunt Ellen or by Deborah Woods Dalbey. When pushed for source material, the Rev. Dalbey could not provide it for whatever reason. Nonetheless, Marshie seems to have bought it at face value and accepted it. Even with the reservations that Marshie expressed to Ely in 1929, she felt compelled to publish this on page 25 of Ephraim Smith and his Lineal Descendants* in 1931:
The Dalbeys came from Wales. There is a tradition that they were descendants of French Huguenots who had fled to Wales to escape persecution. The name, at first DeAlbey, gradually changed to D'Albey, Dalbey, Dalby, and sometimes Dolby.
The first ancestor of whom we know was Richard D'Albey. There were four children by his first marriage: Abner, Abel, Nathan and Priscilla.
Richard;s second wife was Susannah Harris. Their children were Aaron, Joseph, Rachel, Elizabeth, Israel, Martha, Polly, Joel and Abraham.
This closely resembles the "edited" memoirs of Lois Smith Austin. Marshie does toss in a little caution by making it a "tradition." The remainder of the piece on the Dalbeys deals with Abel and Clara and their trip west. That too, is fraught with errors, but that is another day. Marshie lists five sources for the piece on the Dalbeys. These are:
The Pennsylvania State Library at Harrisburg.
Bucks County Historical Society.
Lois Austin's dictation of 1901.
Records kept by Joel Dalbey's descendants.
Court records of Clinton Co., Ohio.
The State Librarian sent Marshie to Ely in 1927. She didn't have a clue at that point as to just who Abel's father was. The Bucks County Historical Society (a.k.a. Ely) couldn' help her. Lois Austin' dictation appears to be edited. Without a version of the original, we have no way of telling just what Lois really said. The records kept by Joel Dalbey' descendants appear to be the page provided by the Rev. John L. Dalbey. There is no evidence that Marshie ever encountered Aunt Ellen. The Court records of Clinton Co., Ohio refers to a piece further in Marshie' work that lists the marriage of Ephraim Smith to Rebecca Dalbey. Abel signed this marriage license.
So where does this leave us? If anything, all that I have said here demonstrates the incredible lack of credible information. One source names Richard Dalby as Abel' father, and even that source appears to be an abstract of another source that has not yet been located. Assuming the abstract is copied verbatim, and we don' know that it was, both the abstract and its source would conflict with other sources. These other sources place Richard Dalby in a different state from where he actually appears. They also give him a different nationality than yet another source. These sources are mostly, or in some cases, completely, without support material - suggestive or otherwise.
The nationality conflict is easier to reconcile than the different state conflict. Many Huguenots did indeed flee for various points in England. It is totally believable that the Dalbey family came from France and lived in Wales for a period before moving to the New World. While the Shenandoah Valley was a destination for many people from Pennsylvania, Richard Dalby does not appear to one of those that went.
Tax and court records keep Richard Dalby in Chester Co., PA nonstop from the mid 1740s all of the way up to 1777, except for a brief period in the 1750s, when he is found in the tax records just across the border in Lancaster Co., PA. The man was clearly poor and was dragged in for bad debts. On another occasion, he and several of his neighbors met with the Chester County commissioners at a tavern in an attempt to get a tax break, which they got. Based on Richard’s history of money troubles, archivists at the Chester County Archives felt fairly certain that he didn’t have the money to go running back and forth to Virginia. But the Susannah Harris people are fairly certain that their lines come out of Frederick Co., VA and the existing court records in Virginia support that notion.
Logic dictates that, if anything, there is more than one Richard Dalby. By putting him in Virginia, you raise a whole series of other questions, all of which must be answered. By putting him in Chester Co., PA, you ignore the memories of people that were alive long enough to ask the important questions of people who knew the truth. In this case, that would be Aunt Ellen and Deborah Woods Dalbey. Doing this would also ignore the court records in Virginia. Although Marshie doesn't mention them straight out, several county histories from the late 1800s scattered around the Old Northwest include biographies on the various children of Joel, including Rev. Dalbey's father, Rueben. Rueben's appears to be the most extensive. It more or less follows Aunt Ellen's story.
Richard Dalby did live in Chester Co., PA. His first wife was Ann Williams, whom he married in 1750. That is documented through state records and is more or less backed up by the Women's Minutes of Goshen Monthly Meeting in Chester Co., PA. He is taxed in Chester Co., PA and dragged into court in Chester Co., PA. Similar records do not appear in Virginia, but considering the damage done to the state during the Civil War, that is not surprising. Does that mean that Aunt Ellen and the others were wrong? No. It just means that the right record hasn't been found yet that ties it all together.
I realize that a lot of what I have written here seems to come from a small handful of sources, but the fact is, that's all that there is. None of these sources are hidden, and most were already in circulation when I started twenty years ago. While it is not clear, the Rev. John L. Dalbey seems to be the source of putting Richard and Abel together. Aunt Ellen makes no mention of Abel at all. Yet, they both seem to have the same source, being Joel Dalbey. Did Aunt Ellen know more and just not mention it? Or did the Rev. Dalbey find something that nobody else had?
I have made extensive use here of the Nixon Report. This report should be required reading for any Dalbey researcher, serious, armchair or otherwise. To a lot of people, this may appear to be a rewrite of the Nixon Report. It is not. If anything, I would say that it is more of a supplement to it. Loretta concentrated mostly on Aunt Ellen in the Nixon Report, and touched on a few other areas. While she did cite the Ely Collection and wrote a page of background material on the Rev. Dalbey, she did not address the doubts raised by Marshie Austin in 1929, or their impact on the research process of the seventy years that would follow Marshie's publication of Ephraim Smith and his Lineal Descendants* two years later. Marshie's time line is a very important feature in helping the reader to understand just what came from where, and when. The Nixon Report also makes no mention of the court case in Chester Co., PA surrounding the Christmas party. However, this court case is a fairly recent find and may not have been in circulation when the Nixon Report was published. All of these are important considerations.
Loretta does point out in the Nixon Report, as I have, that all we really have are few family stories that have been handed down through the generations. I will add to this at this point, that family stories do make great filler material for your notes. However, when they are elevated to the level of primary sources with nothing to back them up, there is something seriously wrong with the research. Marshie Austin appears to have done just that, and people have been running around in circles trying to prove it ever since as a result.
I separated Abel from Richard in my files over ten years ago. I did the math with what was known at the time, and it just didn't add up. When I first suggested that there might be two Richards or that Abel wasn't related to Richard at all, the masses all but tarred and feathered me. That's how entrenched the concept was. When I see people changing the birthplaces of the children in Virginia group up to Chester Co., PA, it shows me to just what lengths people are willing to go to hold onto an old story. It is all so very sad.
In the Dalby Newsletter dated 1 July 1984 (V. 18, pg. 5) Betty Lue Jones pushes her readers to come up with solid proof of the various connections. This is not the first time, nor is it the last that she will lecture her readers on the importance of finding something more solid than hearsay. In this particular issue, Betty breaks the problem all of the way down with the following excerpt:
"I wish I knew who decided who Richard's children were. Did someone just find a group of children that looked like they were born about the right time or did they have a paper that said so?"
Betty's quote is clearly food for thought.She raises these same questions time and again. Does anybody have the answer for her?
Now then, we return to the original statement. Richard Dalby was the father of Abel Dalbey. Is it fact, or is it fiction?
18 October 2002
* Ephraim Smith and his Lineal Descendants was co-authored by Dr. George M., Florence and Marshie Austin. George and Florence were brother and sister, and were half first cousins to Marshie on their Smith side. They are probably related on the Austin side as well, but I do not know what that relationship would be.