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And annoying myself in the process…

William Wiseman was The Legal Genealogist‘s 5th great grandfather.

And, according to published family histories, he was born 282 years ago today, on the second of February 1736.1

So when that popped up in my On This Day program,2 you know I was going to think to myself, what better day than today, Saturday, the day on which this blog focuses on my family, to visit William and share a bit of his story?

He’s an interesting character in so many ways — except for his name and maybe his birthplace, for example, there’s absolutely nothing in this tombstone inscription that’s demonstrably accurate.

William Wiseman

There’s no evidence that he was born in 1741, his estate was probated years before 1830 so the death date has to be wrong, and — sigh — our William isn’t the William who actually did provide support to the Revolutionary troops (although our William is credited for it).

So I set off to start gathering information about However-Many-Greats Grandpa William, starting with the information about his birthdate and supposed birthplace. And had just smugly documented the fact that that supposed birth “in the city of London, in St. James, Clerkenwell Parish, in the year of the Lord 1736, on February the second”3 surely wasn’t supported by the records of St. James, Clerkenwell Parish when it dawned on me.

This was all sounding very very familiar.

Way too familiar to be coming just from my genealogical research into William which, I recall, was some years ago.

Even the image I captured of the page of the published St. James parish record book showing that the only William Wiseman baptized there was baptized nine years before our William’s supposed birth4 seemed way too familiar.

I tiptoed over to the website.

Opened the main blog page.

Hit the search box and entered the name William Wiseman in quotes.

And, of course, up popped the all-too-ironically-titled blog post “From the state of confusion,” researched, written and posted just about exactly one year ago.5

And telling the story of “that annoying William Wiseman.”


So today’s post is a whole lot more about me annoying me than it is about William annoying me.

Whether it’s because I’m busy — and I certainly am — or getting older — and I certainly am doing that too, but I find myself more and more doing dumb things like researching the same ancestor twice or ordering the same birth certificate twice because I don’t remember and/or haven’t documented properly and/or haven’t checked to see whether I’ve done that research or ordered that certificate before.

I keep promising myself that one of these days, when I get around to it, I’m going to get organized.

Sure I am.


Image: Inscription from William Wiseman tombstone, private cemetery, Avery County, North Carolina, memorial no. 5372212; digital image, Find A Grave ( : accessed 2 Feb 2019). Photo by Chet Walker, Find A Grave contributor no. 47314925, used by his general grant of permission.

Cite/link to this post: Judy G. Russell, “Visiting William,” The Legal Genealogist, posted 2 Feb 2019 ( : accessed (date)).


  1. Thomas C. Chapman, A Wiseman’s family : Anglo-Saxons of the Carolina Hills (Redwood City, Ca. : p.p., 1960). See also Maribeth Land Vineyard and Eugene M. Wiseman, William Wiseman and the Davenports (Franklin, NC: Genealogy Publishing Service, 1997), 6-9.
  2. A fabulous add-on to The Master Genealogist that was created by John Cardinal. See On This Day ( : accessed 2 Feb 2019).
  3. Chapman, A Wiseman’s family : Anglo-Saxons of the Carolina Hills.
  4. Robert Hovenden, editor, “A True Register of all the Christeninges, Mariages, and Burrialles in the Parishe of St. James, Clarkenwell, from the Yeare of our Lorde God 1551”, 20 vols. (London : Harlein Society, 1884-1894), II: 153; digital images, Google Books ( : accessed 2 Feb 2019).
  5. Judy G. Russell, “From the state of confusion,” The Legal Genealogist, posted 3 Feb 2018 ( : accessed 2 Feb 2019).
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