Sometimes, in genealogy, sparse records lead people to make assumptions & jump to incorrect conclusions.
This has been the case with my great x 5 grandfather, ALBERT CAMPBELL, born about 1748 in or near Clarkstown, Orange Co (Rockland Co by 1798) New York.
ALBERT was the son of WILLIAM CAMPBELL II and his wife GEERTJE STEPHENSEN of Clarkstown. He married in Orange Co New York, in about 1772, CATHARINA/CATHERINE VAN HOUTEN, the daughter of JOHANNES ROELOFSE VAN HOUTEN & CATHARINA LEPPER.
A few years back, I was contacted by a researcher who was certain that my ancestor ALBERT CAMPBELL was the same person as his ancestor ALBERT OLIVER CAMPBELL who was a Loyalist and left for Nova Scotia Canada in July 1783 from New York City, settling May 2, 1784 in Shelburne, then migrated to Kingston, Ontario, Canada in 1796.
(**UPDATED Note 8/17/17: This timeline of settlement is apparently incorrect, according to the United Empire Loyalists Association of Canada website, which shows that OLIVER CAMPBELL has been proven a Loyalist, lived in Adophustown, Ontario sometime around 1784, then Cramahe township, Northumberland, Ontario by 1797. He had a land grant of 300 acres in Kingston in 1802. See my subsequent post on OLIVER CAMPBELL)
I was not so certain. I looked at all the records I could find, and came to the conclusion that ALBERT CAMPBELL of Orange/Rockland Co New York and ALBERT OLIVER CAMPBELL, Loyalist, were absolutely NOT the same person. In the end, we had to "agree to disagree", and that was the end of it, or so I thought.....
Unfortunately, as of this date, on Ancestry.com public trees, I have found 64 people who have copied this error.
Here is why ALBERT CAMPBELL of Orange/Rockland Co New York could not be same person as ALBERT OLIVER CAMPBELL the Loyalist:
1) ALBERT CAMPBELL fought in the Revolutionary War, 2nd Regiment Orange Co New York Militia, under Capt JACOB ONDERDONK.
Also in the same regiment were ALBERT's brothers:
WILLIAM CAMPBELL III, and
LUCAS/LUKE CAMPBELL, as well as his brothers-in-law:
JOHANNES VAN HOUTEN (b July 17, 1750 brother of CATHARINA),
STEPHANUS SMITH (married MARRITJE VAN HOUTEN sister of CATHARINA), and
GERRIT SMITH (married AELTJE VAN HOUTEN sister of CATHARINA).
According to historical sources, there were many Loyalist families in Orange/Rockland Co New York, in the vicinity of what is now Clarkstown, but clearly the CAMPBELLs & the VAN HOUTENs were committed to the rebellion.
2) ALBERT CAMPBELL still lived in Orange (later Rockland) Co New York in 1790. He is listed on the 1790 census, Haverstraw, Orange Co, New York, living adjacent to his father WILLIAM CAMPBELL II, and brothers STEPHEN CAMPBELL, WILLIAM CAMPBELL III, and LUCAS/LUKE CAMPBELL.
Here is the census image, showing the father & sons all living in close proximity, upper left of image.
Therefore, if ALBERT CAMPBELL was living in Haverstraw, Orange Co New York (Clarkstown & Rockland Co had not yet been formed from Haverstraw), he could not be the same person as ALBERT OLIVER CAMPBELL, Loyalist.
(**UPDATED Note 8/17/17: According to many sources, Loyalists were reviled and considered traitors. They had their land & belonging confiscated and were summarily kicked out of their communities at the end of the Revolutionary War in 1783-1784. None of this happened to ALBERT CAMPBELL. Census & Baptism records show that he was still living in the same community in Orange/Rockland Co New York over a decade after the war ended in 1783. )
3) BAPTISM RECORDS FROM THE DUTCH REFORMED CHURCH SHOW THAT ALBERT CAMPBELL WAS LIVING IN ORANGE (LATER ROCKLAND) CO NEW YORK IN 1788 & 1791
ALBERT CAMPBELL & CATHARINA VAN HOUTEN of Orange/ Rockland Co NY had the following children, as per the records of the Tappan/Clarkstown Dutch Reformed Church, Orange (later Rockland) Co New York:
--JOHANNES CAMPBELL b Jan 25, 1773 Tappan/Clarkstown DRC, Orange Co NY
(no further info)
--GEERTJE "CHARITY" CAMPBELL b Jan 17 1776 Tappan/Clarkstown DRC Orange Co NY (married ISAAC MARTINE; lived New York City by 1808, Spencerport Monroe Co NY by 1840, died Spencerport in 1850)
--JOHN CAMPBELL b April 6 1778 Tappan/Clarkstown DRC Orange Co NY (no further info)
--CATHARINA/CATRINA/CATHERINE CAMPBELL b Aug 22, 1788 Tappan/Clarkstown DRC Orange Co New York (no further info)
--CORNELIUS CAMPBELL b Aug 16, 1791 Tappan/Clarkstown DRC Orange Co New York (no further info)
Clearly, if ALBERT CAMPBELL & his wife were Loyalists who fled to Shelburne, Nova Scotia in 1784, they would NOT be coming back & forth across the border to have their children baptized at the Dutch Reformed Church in Tappan/Clarkstown in 1788 and 1791!!
And just for comparison, here are the children of ALBERT OLIVER CAMPBELL & unknown wife, from various online trees:
--JOHANNES WILLIAM CAMPBELL b Dec 25, 1773 (?) New York m HARRIET SCRIBNER, died Canada
(Note that the Michigan death certificate for his daughter MARY shows his name as WILLIAM CAMPBELL **not** "JOHANNES WILLIAM")
--STEPHEN CAMPBELL b 1780 New York m ACHSAH unknown died Canada
--LUCY CAMPBELL b 1788 New York died Canada
--PLUS all of the children of ALBERT CAMPBELL & CATHARINA VAN HOUTEN that I listed above. All the erroneous online trees I found blend the family of ALBERT CAMPBELL/CATHRINA VAN HOUTEN, with the family of ALBERT OLIVER CAMPBELL, Loyalist, who died in Canada.
4) ALBERT CAMPBELL of Orange/Rockland Co New York was named in the 1794 Orange/Rockland Co New York will of his father WILLIAM CAMPBELL II
The will was written Aug 12, 1794, and probated Jan 4, 1799 Clarkstown, Rockland Co New York. NOT ONLY WAS ALBERT CAMPBELL LISTED AS AN HEIR, HE WAS LISTED AS AN EXECUTOR!!! (see next blog post for a scanned copy of original will). Clearly, ALBERT CAMPBELL was still alive at the time WILLIAM wrote his will, and was not a Loyalist living in Canada.
5) ALBERT CAMPBELL & his family are not listed in the 1800 Orange or Rockland Co New York census. It is possible that ALBERT died by 1800. There is no will in Orange/Rockland Co New York, however. But what happened to his wife & children? I only have been able to trace daughter GEERTJE "CHARITY" CAMPBELL who married ISAAC MARTINE, my great x 4 grandparents.
One more item: ALBERT CAMPBELL's parents both had Dutch heritage, and the Dutch did not use middle names. If anything, they would use a patronymic as a second name, and if they had done so in this case ALBERT's name would have been "Albert Williams Campbell" NOT "Albert Oliver Campbell".
Have a great day!
© Betty Tartas 2017