Monday, November 29, 2010

Was Gideon Macon a Huguenot ?

The following statements have been made regarding Gideon Macon of New Kent County, Virginia. He was “born in France of French parents”, he “was naturalized in England and again in Virginia”, he was “a Huguenot”, he was “the immigrant”, and he was “...connected to the Royal Families”.

Some of the Huguenot Societies in the United States have been contacted to try to document his qualifications as a Huguenot and also try to document some of these other statements.
I wrote to,
The Huguenot Society of America in New York,
The National Huguenot Society in Texas,
The Huguenot Society of South Carolina, (So far, I have not heard from them)
And two letters went out to The Manakin Huguenot Society of Virginia. (They did not answer the first one). (They did answer the second one)

The Huguenot Society of America, New York

The Huguenot Society of America, in a letter written to me, dated Nov. 1, 2010, said, “Enclosed please find the ONLY information we have concerning this line.” (Gideon Macon's line). The information states that, “Gideon Macon, son of Louis de Macon and Catherine de Prades, b. 1648, France”, was “naturalized in England and again in Va.”, (twice ?). The rest of the information they sent, listed his wife and children. There was no documentation included for his French parents or for his “naturalization” in England or Virginia.

As the only references, there were four books and “The St Peters Parish Records”, listed for his Huguenot qualifications. The first book on the list, and one of the four books listed “FOR” his qualifications, was Alethea Jane Macon's book, “Gideon Macon of Virginia And Some of His Descendants”,”And Allied Families”. Pub. in 1956, revised by Jarvis Wood in 1979. The only problem with listing this book “FOR” his Huguenot status is that on page 6 of this same book, Alethea Jane Macon says, ...”Louis de Macon...his son, Gabriel de Macon...The statement has been made repeatedly that Gideon Macon was a descendant of these Macons, whose line is given in some detail in the 'Armorial General de la France'. However, THE RECORD DOES NOT CONVINCINGLY BEAR OUT THE CLAIM. Especially significant is the absence of all given names found in the American family of Macon” (French given names).
The other three references were:
    1. “Macon”, by Mrs.Luther Isbell, “The Huguenot”, Pub. No.14, (1947 – 1949)
    2. “Macon” by Mrs.Russell S. Wolford, “The Huguenot”, Pub. No.22, (1965 – 1967)
    3. “Old New Kent County, Some Accounts of the Planters, Plantations and Places in New Kent County,Vol.1,1977.
These books do not have the actual records that we usually look for in any genealogy. The birth or parish records for Gideon, (showing his parents), ship records, wills, naturalization records from England or Virginia, records that show a connection to a Huguenot ancestor, his arrival in Virginia as the immigrant, or any official document showing the connection between Gideon and the French parents. This is the problem in documenting this.


The National Huguenot Society, Inc, of Texas

I received a letter, dated Nov. 23, 2010, from The National Huguenot Society, Inc., of San Antonio, Tx., stating that, “This draft is the entry that will be in our next 'Register of Qualified Huguenot Ancestors' , of the National Huguenot Society which will be published next year”. In the enclosed draft they include a sentence or two of possible French locations for Gideon Macon, but they did not list French parents for him. In fact they said, “Gideon Macon...his parentage is not proven...lineage is suspect...naturalized in England”. They did not enclose any documentation for his naturalization in England. At this point, my question would have to be, with these qualifications, why is he listed as a Huguenot at all ? I have received no answer for this question from any of the Huguenot Societies.

The National Huguenot Society of Tx., listed the following books as a reference for Gideon Macon's membership. All written from about 1940 and later, with no official documentations to show Gideon Macon was qualified to be a Huguenot. It seems like some of these references may have gotten their information about Gideon Macon from each other.

1)The first book on the list was again the book mentioned above, Alethea Jane Macon's book “Gideon Macon of Va. And Some of his Descendants”. They must have read page 6, where she states, “The record does not convincingly bear out the claim”, of his French ancestors.
2)“Old New Kent County – Some Accounts of the Planters and Places in New Kent County”, Vol 1, 1977,Malcolm Hart Harris
3)Parish Register of St, Peter's, New Kent Co, Va. 1680-1787
4)“The Heritage”, John Michael Johnson, 1974.
5)“Va. Historical Society, Va. Magazine, Vol. XXXll (1968)
6)“The Huguenot”, #14, (1947 – 49), #22 (1965 – 67)
7)“Tyler Quarterly Magazine”, Vol, 6, p. 118
8)“The Vestry Book of St. Peter's.
9)“Massey Genealogy Addendum”, F. A. Massey
10)Gideon Macon's Will, (No reference to him being a Huguenot)
11)“Genealogies of Va. Families”, Vol. III ,
12)Macon Family Bibles
13)”Encyclopedia of American Quaker Genealogy”, Vol. VI


The Manakin Huguenot Society of Virginia

In a letter I received on Nov. 27, 2010, from The Manakin Huguenot Society of Virginia, stating that “The date of birth of Gideon Macon and the time of his arrival in Virginia cannot be established with certainty. There are many contradictory accounts of his antecedents in France. An article in The Huguenot about 1940 states that he was born in France, the son of Louis de Macon and his wife Catherine de Prade, and the great – grandson of Gabriel de Macon... that he lived in England for a number of years, and became a naturalized citizen and member of the established church”. I would like the reader to refer to Alethea Jane Macon's book, page 6, stating , “Louis de Macon...Gabriel de Macon...THE RECORD DOES NOT CONVINCINGLY BEAR OUT THE CLAIM...”. This book was mentioned above under The Huguenot Society of America. Also, there were no documentations included that would connect Gideon Macon with being a Huguenot, or having any direct contact with France.

On the actual page (page 168), for Gideon Macon's membership as a Huguenot in The Manakin Huguenot Society of Virginia, he is listed as the following, “Gideon Macon, son of Louis de Macon and Catherine de Prades, b. 1648, France...naturalized in England”. There was no supporting evidence for any of this included with the letter to me. Again, no one can answer the question, as to why then, is Gideon Macon listed as a Huguenot ?

The Manakin Society listed almost the same bibliography as the other Societies above.


The Huguenot Society of South Carolina

So far, I have not heard from South Carolina. If and when I do, I will update this essay. However, I anticipate their information to be no different than what was given above from the other three Huguenot Societies.


The Conclusion

The definition of “Huguenot” from the The Huguenot Society of South Carolina, (on line), states that anyone who, ...“left France or another country before 1787 as a French Protestant”. Apparently, this qualifies them as a Huguenot.

Gideon was a Church of England member. He has not been found in any French Protestant Church in France, England or Virginia. Also there has been no references to him being a French Protestant in any official records. Gideon's French ancestor could have left France for England at any time in the past. With the small amount of documentation we have now, he could have descended from a French stonemason (Macon - Mason), they were on record in England as early as the 1100's. There is no record of when he or his ancestors left France or if they were French Protestants. Also, there is no record of Gideon Macon being “naturalized” in England or Virginia at any time.

All three Societies list “The Huguenot” publication, #14, 1947 – 1949, “Macon” by Mrs. Luther Isbell, and the same publication, #22, 1965 – 1967, “Macon”, by Mrs. Russell S. Wolford. They say, “According to one authority, Gideon Macon was born in 1637, France, another believes his birth ca. 1648”. Both articles are a long this line, no supporting evidence.

The rest of the references for Gideon's Huguenot status has supplied no more supporting evidence than is listed above.

I do not believe that any professional genealogist, given the above records, would ever list Gideon Macon as a Huguenot. I refer you to the “Board for Certification of Genealogists”, and their, “Genealogical Proof Standard”, (G.P.S.). And also their definition of “proof”. In my opinion, these records do not even come close to proving Gideon Macon's Huguenot Heritage. I believe the misinformation of Gideon's French parents may have come from a French Acadian genealogy of the mid to late 1800's, but that is another story. So far, I have found no more supporting evidence there. Gideon seems to have been just added on to a French genealogy. It seems that someone turned in their genealogy to a Huguenot Society, (with no documentation), and Gideon Macon became a “Huguenot”. The information, (or misinformation) has been spread “by word of mouth” for so many years, that now, many people accept this information as fact and do not look any further.

Bib:
1)“Gideon Macon of Virginia And Some of His Descendants, And Allied Families”,by Alethea Jane Macon, Pub.1956, revised by Jarvis Wood, 1979. Page 6.
2)The letter from The Huguenot Society of America, New York, dated Nov. 1, 2010.
3)The letter from The National Huguenot Society, Inc. of Texas, dated Nov. 23, 2010
4)The letter from The Manakin Huguenot Society of Virginia, received, Nov. 27, 2010
5) The Huguenot Society of South Carolina, on line.
6)“The Board for Certification of Genealogists”, and their, “Genealogical Proof Standard, G.P.S.”

7 comments:

  1. All the records I have found have Louis De'Macon dying in 1633 and Gideon isn't born until 1648. How could that work?

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    Replies
    1. Hi, Linda. It does not work. There has been no proof that I have found, that Gideon Macon had any connection to Louis De Macon, no matter what the dates were.

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  2. I am a Macon from the Orange ,Va. Branch of the family. While attending a family wedding in Charleston,S.C. At the French Huguenot church,I noticed a plaque in the sanctuary commemorating Gideon Macon as a benefactor. I do not know if he gave the money or if it was given in his memory.

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  3. this reference found on familysearch website indicates Gideon was christened at ST BOTOLPH WITHOUT ALDGATE,LONDON,LONDON,ENGLAND, in 1848, but the last name spelling is Meacone, phonetically a match to Macon. And Ann Garland Macon's will also references St. Botolph, Aldgate in London England, and the christening reference lists William and An as the parents. Is this a reference that has already been investigated with Gideon, as if it is this would seem to support the idea that he was born in England, given the christening was likely soon after birth

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    Replies
    1. https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:NYFY-GM4
      christening reference for gideon meacone

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  4. Correction: Date in record was 1648, not 1848 as written above

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  5. Has anyone gone to Macon France or the other places stated he was born which are near Macon?

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