Critique: Parsons Family (2 volumes), by Henry Parsons

Parsons, Henry. Parsons Family: Descendants of Cornet Joseph Parsons, Springfield, 1636 – Northampton, 1655. Volume 1. New York: Frank Allaben Genealogical Company, 1912.

Parsons, Henry. Parsons Family: Descendants of Cornet Joseph Parsons, Springfield, 1636 – Northampton, 1655. Volume 2. New Haven, Conn: Tuttle, Morehouse and Taylor Co., 1920.

The Parsons family entered the New England colonies in the late 1600s and settled first in Springfield, Massachusetts, and later moving to Northampton, also in Massachusetts.

The two volumes, by the same author, are well constructed, and well indexed. The second volume is a continuation, with revisions, of the first. The introduction and the first generation presented in volume two explain the reasoning for it and set the context for the rest of the volume. While they are constructed mostly from correspondence with extended family, the author includes sketchy citations and references to other materials, mostly of the secondary or derivative sort.

The majority of the genealogy covers the 1600s, 1700s, and early 1800s, before the western territories opened up. Most of the Pacific Northwest families referenced, therefore, appear in the second volume. Perhaps, because of increased interest in family history in the later 1800s and early 1900s, these family members began correspondence with the author and were included.

Among the notable entries for the Pacific Northwest states are the families of:

  • 1: 374–376 — Nathaniel Emerson and Clara J. (Williams) Parsons. There is a full-page portrait of him tipped in between pages 374 and 375. They spent time in both Oregon and in Washington Territory.
  • 2: 196–197 — Sidney Stanhope and Mary A. (Spaulding) Parsons from North Carolina, and later, Kelso, Washington. Two of the sons are continued in later entries. [436, 437]
  • 2: 328–329 — Avery A. and Helen M. (Parsons) Smith, of Spokane County, Washington, and earlier in Oregon.

A number of brief entries for families which spent time in Idaho appear in both volumes.

The two volumes of the Parsons genealogy are available on Google Books. They are free downloads, as they are in the public domain. The copies used here were from the Wisconsin Historical Society collection.


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