Family history aside, the “facts” don’t add up, the wills don’t match, and the same “proof” — evidently dropped at every opportunity — is circular, based on two questionable bits of information: The Visitations of Suffolk, and “On the authority of Somerby.”
(Joe: As I’ve noted more than once, each version of the “Visitations” contain a different story for John Gage, the son. I could point out that this is odd, especially since it is the crux of the argument that’s flung all over the place at every opportunity, but I don’t feel this is my burden — I will leave it to the experts who keep using it to beat up and shout down family histories. You can tell me which version is correct, and we can take it from there. Or we can all agree this is probably not the most reliable source of authoritative information and stop citing it.)
As this punitive activity appears to chase me no matter the forum, I will respond to the others this way: Thank you for responding so quickly — I considered this a shot in the dark, and I am grateful for your prompt replies.
Family tradition has it that our John Gage, who arrived with Winthrop’s Fleet in 1630, was the son of “John Gage of Firle.” No big deal, just an interesting tidbit. It wasn’t until the 1940s that anyone from our branch took notice, and started corresponding with folks at Firle. It’s also the same time we began to see references to John of Firle’s fancy origin story, the illustrious careers of his forebears, etc.
It didn’t take long once the internet became easy to navigate that family trees started to pop up all over the place, and I started seeing a few references along a similar theme: YOU ARE NOT RELATED TO JOHN GAGE OF FIRLE! FAKE PEDIGREE! I was nonplussed, as we have always been secure in our knowledge. But when I started to see essays reciting the same information over and over again, I began to get annoyed.
There is a reference that pops out every time somebody wants to “dis” our lineage that refers to something along the lines of: “on the authority of Horatio Somerby, John Gage of Ipswich was the son of John Gage of Firle.” I have never seen a citation for this reference; the sources that accompany the comment either do not reference Somerby, or do not reference a pedigree of any kind.
But it got me curious, and if Somerby DID make a pedigree for the Gage family, it must exist somewhere. WikiTree has a long list of pedigrees they’ve attributed to Somerby, but I have been unable to locate more than a handful of them; there are only seven at the Library of Congress. As WikiTree seeks to set the record straight, it would be tremendously helpful to me if I could read Mr. Somerby’s work for myself; and if he never referenced my family name, I would like to know that, too. Hence the search for a list of his “authorities/fake pedigrees.”
At the time Somerby was creating his masterpieces, Firle was in possession of a completely different branch of the family; any records Somerby might have used to fabricate a story would have put the progeny of Sir John at Hengrave, in Suffolk (not Firle, in Sussex), as did all of the Gage pedigrees in publication at the time. And from what I’ve read, Hengrave was much grander than Firle, so if one wanted to fake up a family history, that estate would be a better setting, especially because (according the Visitations, et al.) the place was packed with family — sometimes 100 at a time — and would be very easy for a ne’er do well genealogist to “sneak” someone in. Indeed, Somerby’s “work” was presumably based on the same materials we’re referencing today, which are overflowing with prestigious John Gage’s all over England. Every Gage who had sons seemed to have a John.
In my quest to “prove” my lineage, I want check every box, and chasing down the Somerby reference seems a good, tangible place to start. I’m already feeling like Carrie Mathison.
Joe, where I am concerned, I would really appreciate you reserving any comments on this matter, in this forum, or anywhere else besides WikiTree, where you have already made your opinions clear. No offense, but I don’t want to have to defend every arrow every time I ask a question.