Motivation Monday: Correcting Edward B. Payne Internet Errors

Edward B. Payne
Edward B. Payne, c1900 or later?

McMurray Family, Payne Family (Click for Family Tree)

OK, did you chuckle just a little when you read the title of this post? Or did the thought of ‘correcting internet errors’ elicit a loud guffaw??

Yes, me too, but I am SO motivated to take on this task- I hate junk genealogy!!

And yes, I must have a Sisyphus Complex- hopefully without my having the deceitfulness and hubris of the original Greek mythological character.

In this case, it is about Edward B. Payne (affectionately known as EBP in our household), my great genealogical obsession. I would roll a stone uphill to make sure he is remembered correctly. (Well, for a while, anyway, and depending on how big the stone is, how round it is, and how steep the hill, how hot it is outside, and…)

In the excellent “A History of Berkeley, From The Ground Up,” Dr. Frank Payne is mentioned a number of times. He apparently was an early physician in Berkeley, and his name can be found in the Alameda County Voter’s Registration Lists next to the name of Rev. Edward B. Payne. I had wondered how the two were related, but had never researched that particular question in detail. So when I saw that this article stated, in Chapter 14 under “Dwight Way Station”:

“…the Reverend Payne (the brother of Doctor Payne, Berkeley’s erstwhile physician),”

I became very motivated to document the relationship and see if I could get this statement corrected. Despite Edward’s magazine article, “Spectres on the Overland Trail,” which is most likely totally fiction, he did not have a brother who is known to Payne researchers- he only had 2 sisters. One sister died at age 11, and one stayed in the east and married. I have never found any inkling of a second male child in the family.

It turns out that I do have more information about Frank and his family than I realized, plus a few other New England Payne lines. states the relationship of the accountholder to a person in the tree, but what I found was confusing: Frank Howard Payne (1850-1904) was my “brother-in-law of 1st cousin 4x removed.” But WHICH cousin? That would take a lot of time to figure out. Thankfully I have been clicking on all sorts of things on (trusted) websites since a lot of them no longer highlight with a mouse-over to signify a hyperlink, and sometimes good intel results. This time, by clicking on that phrase, Ancestry provided me with a list of people and relationships that were used to determine the connection. Mercy Hitchcock and her husband Peter Payne were thus the common ancestors.

Dr. Frank Howard Payne (1850 – 1904)
brother-in-law of 1st cousin 4x removed
Thomas Hubbard Payne (1807 – 1892)
father of Frank Howard Payne
Emma Estelle Payne (1848 – 1884)
daughter of Thomas Hubbard Payne
Arthur Abbott Payne (1847 – 1903)
husband of Emma Estelle Payne
Alfred Payne (1815 – 1895)
father of Arthur Abbott Payne
Mercy Hitchcock (1783 – 1859)
mother of Alfred Payne
Joseph Hitchcock Payne (1810 – 1884)
son of Mercy Hitchcock
Rev. Edward Biron Payne (1847 – 1923)
son of Joseph Hitchcock Payne
(and so on with his descendants)

(At first it was hard to understand the above chart, but then I realized it is sort of an hourglass, with one family at the top going back generations to the center point, which is the common ancestor. One then follows down the other family line from that ancestor.)

From the helpful chart, I could ascertain the relationship of Frank and Edward.

Mercy Hitchcock + Peter Payne
Alfred Payne
Arthur Abbot Payne + Emma Estelle Payne
Emma Estelle was the daughter of Thomas Hubbard Payne (have not found an older connection between these Payne lines yet); her brother was Dr. Frank Howard Payne.
Mercy Hitchcock + Peter Payne
Joseph Hitchcock Payne [so brother to Alfred]
Rev. Edward B. Payne
So EBP was first cousin to Arthur Abbot, who married Emma. Arthur’s brother-in-law was Emma’s brother, Dr. Frank Howard Payne. Therefore, Edward Biron Payne was 1st cousin to the brother-in-law of Dr. Frank Howard Payne.
I have sent a note to the author and he responded quickly, even though the copyright on this was 2007-8. It is good to have a blog to put out such information too- hoping this post will come up in searches when the website also comes up.
Remember, just because it is on the internet, does not make it ‘actual factual.’ Even my blog posts may not be totally correct, and some have been updated with new information as we find it. So do always remember to trust but verify, especially with secondary sources. (Sometimes that is needed with primary sources, as well.)
Be motivated to try to correct erroneous information- whether in an online tree or a website. Corrections can happen, and our descendants will thank us for avoiding the genealogical confusions we today so often face.

Notes, Sources, and References: 

  1.   “A History of Berkeley, From The Ground Up” copyright 2007-2008 by Alan Cohen, Accessed 3/12/16.
  2. “Spectres on the Overland Trail” in The Overland Monthly, Volume XIV- Second Series, July-December 1889, p654-7, December 1889.,%22&source=bl&ots=JJHvzz85AU&sig=5zRj89fSb3fV0AdBHbOef4ls6m0&hl=en&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwiQ8qr3gbzLAhWJ4SYKHSqwCJEQ6AEIHTAA#v=onepage&q=%22Spectre%20on%20the%20Overland%20Trail%2C%22&f=false
  3. censuses, voter registrations, vital records, etc.


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