Thursday, July 28, 2011

Some Notes about the Edwin and Rebecca Hood Hill Pettit Family

Edwin Pettit and grandchildren.

When I looked up Alice Pettit online after the mention of her in Mary Pettit's diary, it quickly became clear that many of the online family trees for the Edwin Pettit family are inaccurate at best.

There is a good source for information on the Pettit family. It is the book:
Pettit, William Alfred. Pettit Peregrinations, 654 to 1961. Provo, Utah: J. Grant Stevenson, 1963.
The book was written by Edwin and Rebecca Hill Pettit's youngest son Will Pettit, and includes a wealth of family information. You can purchase a copy here.

Although I will not put the entire family tree here with documentation, here are some basic facts.

First, Edwin Pettit did not have a middle name. His middle name was not Alfred. Alfred was his older brother. (See photograph below.)

Second, Edwin Pettit did not marry a woman named Elizabeth Sparks. He did not have children in Texas.

Edwin Pettit was born on February 16, 1834, in Hempstead, Queens, Long Island, New York. Hempstead is now in Nassau County, but at the time it was in Queens County, and for genealogical purposes, vital facts should be listed with the locations as they were at the time of the event, so Hempstead should be listed in Queens.

Edwin's parents were Jesse and Mary Pettit Pettit. His father and mother were first cousins, both grandchildren of Increase and Martha Eldert Pettit. The family was of English and Dutch origin and many ancestors had been among the early European settlers of North America.

The Pettit family joined the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in 1840 and moved to join the Saints in Lee County, Iowa, across the Mississippi River from Nauvoo, Illinois. There, Jesse and Mary died in 1842. Edwin and his sister Mary Pettit Seeley went with the Saints to Utah. Edwin's oldest sister Emaline Pettit Carman was married and had remained in Hempstead, Long Island. Edwin's brothers remained in the Midwest.

Edwin, William, and Alfred Pettit.

Edwin went to California in the Gold Rush, then again to California with the San Bernardino settlers. He returned to Utah in 1857. His autobiography can be found starting here.

Edwin Pettit married Maria Pettit Bush, his second cousin, in 1860. She had been married previously to Richard Bush and had two living children, Richard Nelson Bush and John Pettit Bush. A daughter, Ellen Elmira Bush, had died before her first birthday. 

Edwin and Maria had a daughter, Alice Maria, born in 1861. 

Maria Pettit died in 1863.

Edwin Pettit married Rebecca Hood Hill in 1864.

These are their children with spouses listed in parenthesis: 
  • Mary Isabell (Henry Green)
  • Clara Hannah (died at age 1)
  • Emeline (Foster Jones)
  • Edwin Jr. (Sarah Louise Weichert)
  • Lillian (Benjamin Birkinshaw)
  • Daisy (Cassius Cummings)
  • Florence (died as infant)
  • Nellie (Thomas Morton)
  • Fannie Rebecca (died unmarried at age 27)
  • Archibald (Genevieve Johnson)
  • Elsie (Victor Rue McKnight)
  • Jesse Raymond (Phyllis Clayton)
  • Winifred (Bertram Reeves)
  • William Alfred (Mildred Tanner)

Edwin and Rebecca Pettit.

Rebecca and Edwin died in Salt Lake City, Rebecca on September 17, 1922, and Edwin on April 17, 1924.

I will not provide examples of the erroneous files regarding Edwin Pettit and his families, but there are plenty, and they should be corrected or removed by the people who put them online. I will also note that I have seen files regarding the colonial ancestors of the Pettits that have truly egregious and easily correctable errors. The purpose of doing genealogy, especially when putting it online, is not to copy large sets of data from whatever family trees are available in whatever source, but to collect and publish correct, documented information.

Historical picture of Hempstead from Atlas of Long Island, New York (Beers, 1873) as found at Pictures of Edwin and grandchildren, Edwin and Rebecca, and Edwin and his two brothers sent by Sharon Wilbur. Images of family Bible are from user katy02 from

1 comment:

  1. Thank You for answer the several questions I had about Edwin Pettit.