Meet the Family!

The Fisher Fallacies

Just because something is in print or on the web or on a CD doesn't make it true.

The genealogy of Anthony Fisher and his descendants is a good case study of the way in which information can be misinterpreted, incorrectly copied and even creatively embellished to produce a plethora of contradictory, inaccurate and confusing versions of the same basic facts.

Anthony Fisher was one of the earliest settlers in North America, and as a result, many Americans can trace their family tree back to him. The rapid growth in the use of personal computers and the web as tools for genealogical research has enabled many hundreds of Fisher descendants to trace their lineage back to Anthony Fisher.

Unfortunately, many of the most commonly-used sources of genealogical data contain information that is inconsistent, ambiguous or just plain wrong. Some common errors include

At Obliquity, we are fortunate to have direct access to the English county record offices which house the primary sources of genealogical information for that period: the parish records of births, marriages and deaths.

Our information on the Fisher family is taken from these primary sources and is as accurate as we can make it, taking into account the difficulties of translating the fading and often illegible handwriting in centuries-old parish record books.

Of course, it would be unwise for us to claim that we're infallible! If you believe that we have made a mistake here (or have missed out some other glaring errors), then please let us know. We look forward to hearing from you.

The Players

  1. Anthony Fisher I
    Baptised 1 February 1558/59 in Stradbroke, Suffolk
    Buried 11 April 1640 in Syleham, Suffolk
    Married 16 October 1586 in Fressingfield, Suffolk, to Mary Fiske
    1. Joshua Fisher
      Baptised 24 March 1587/88 in Fressingfield, Suffolk
      Died 18 October 1674 in Medfield, Massachusetts Colony
      Married to Elizabeth and then to Anne Orsor
    2. Mary Fisher
      Baptised 28 November 1589 in Syleham, Suffolk
      Married 25 April 1626 in Dennington, Suffolk, to Roger Briggs
    3. Anthony Fisher II
      Baptised 23 April 1591 in Syleham, Suffolk
      Died 18 April 1671 in Dorchester, Massachusetts Colony
      Married to Alice (in England) and then to Isabel (in Massachusetts)
      The following children were born to Anthony and Alice in England:
      1. John Fisher
        Baptised 16 June 1616 in Syleham, Suffolk
        Died 15 July 1637 in Dedham, Massachusetts Colony
      2. Daniel Fisher
        Baptised 4 June 1618 in Syleham, Suffolk
        Died 8 October 1683 in Dedham, Massachusetts Colony
      3. Lydia Fisher
        Baptised 4 March 1620/1 in Syleham, Suffolk
      4. Leah Fisher
        Baptised 27 January 1621/2 in Syleham, Suffolk
      5. Anthony Fisher
        Baptised 7 August 1623 in Syleham, Suffolk
        Died 13 February 1669/70 in Dedham, Massachusetts Colony
      6. Nathaniel Fisher
        Baptised 22 October 1626 in Denton, Norfolk
        Died 23 May 1676 in Dedham, Massachusetts Colony
      7. Cornelius Fisher
        Baptised 16 August 1629 in Denton, Norfolk
        Died 2 January 1699/1700 in Wrentham, Massachusetts Colony
    4. Amos Fisher
      Baptised 26 April 1594 in Fressingfield, Suffolk
      Married 24 September 1633 in Syleham, Suffolk, to Anne Norris
    5. Martha Fisher
      Baptised 15 January 1595/96 in Fressingfield, Suffolk
      Buried 31 March 1659 in Syleham, Suffolk
      Married (1637 in Ipswich, Suffolk?) to John Buckenham
    6. John Fisher
      Baptised 15 September 1597 in Syleham, Suffolk
      Buried 4 September 1636 in Syleham, Suffolk
      Married to Mary
    7. Cornelius Fisher
      Baptised 19 August 1599 in Syleham, Suffolk
      Died 1641 in East Bergholt, Suffolk
      Married 22 September 1630 in Norwich, Norfolk, to Elizabeth Thaxter

The People

Agnes Fisher
She is often omitted from the Fisher genealogy but she does appear in the baptismal and burial records of Stradbroke as a sister of Anthony Fisher I.
Alice versus Mary Bockenham/Buckenham/Buckingham
What was the name of Anthony Fisher II's wife? Mary is usually quoted. However, her name appears as Alice in the baptismal records of her youngest two children, Nathaniel and Cornelius, and in the Dedham burial records (spelled "Ellice"). Perhaps the surname of Buckenham (in various spellings) has been confused with the married name of her sister-in-law, Martha Buckenham nee Fisher.
Which Anthony Fisher?
Occasionally there is confusion over whose children are whose. The families of Anthony Fisher I and his son Anthony Fisher II are sometimes lumped together in one large family.
Hester Fisher
She is often omitted from the Fisher genealogy but she does appear in the burial records of Syleham as a daughter of Anthony Fisher I.
The "twins" Joshua and Mary Fisher
This error can be traced back to the book The Fisher Genealogy: Record of the Descendants of Joshua, Anthony and Cornelius Fisher, of Dedham, Mass., 1636-1640 by Philip A. Fisher. In his book, Fisher claims that the 1585 Syleham parish records contain the entry This is incorrect. That particular entry actually reads which obviously has nothing to do with the Fisher family. Joshua Fisher and his sister Mary were baptised two years apart in two different parishes.
Leah Fisher
She is often omitted from the Fisher genealogy but she does appear in the baptismal records of Syleham as a daughter of Anthony Fisher II.
Lord of the Manor of Syleham
Some sources give one of the Anthony Fishers as "Lord of the Manor of Syleham." There were, in fact, three manors associated with Syleham. The Manor of Syleham Comitis has existed since Saxon times and the Manor of Esham dates back to at least 1285. The third manor, which no longer exists, was variously called the Manor of Syleham, Monk's Hall, Tylney's Hall, or Syleham Hall. Monk's Hall is now a private home and we were very privileged to be invited inside by the owners when we visited Syleham in early 1997. There is absolutely no evidence, however, that Anthony Fisher or any other member of the Fisher family was lord of any of these manors. Is this an example of delusions of grandeur by an ever-hopeful descendent?
Various spellings
Bridges versus Brigges versus Briggs.
Bockenham versus Buckenham versus Buckingham.
Marie versus Mary.

The Places

Custrichhall, Weeley, Essex
This location (in various spellings) often appears as the birth or baptismal place of various members of the Fisher clan, all because Amos Fisher lived here after his marriage in 1633.
East Bergholt, Suffolk
The same problem arises with East Bergholt. Cornelius Fisher, the brother of the aforesaid Amos, worked as a clerk (clergyman) here until his death in 1641.
Syleham, Weymouth, Suffolk
Syleham, Suffolk, Kent
Weymouth, Suffolk
These particular combinations of place names are often found in various sources on the web and elsewhere. Here is a small lesson in English geography: The proper combination is Syleham, Suffolk, England. Perhaps Weymouth has been confused with the East Anglian port town of Yarmouth (now called Great Yarmouth) from which it is thought that Anthony Fisher II departed England. Where Kent comes in is anybody's guess. Perhaps another unrelated Fisher family originated in Kent.
Pre-1637 events in Massachusetts
The Anthony Fisher II family did not arrive in America until 1637 so none of the children (John, Daniel, Lydia, Leah, Anthony, Nathaniel, Cornelius) could have been born there.
Various spellings
Custrichhall versus Custrich Hall versus Custridge Hall.
Weeley versus Wesley.

Our Sources

Primary

Secondary


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