The Wrong Husbands

Every reference book on the Baronetage has transposed two Palmer girls, Ann and Elizabeth, the daughters of Thomas Palmer of Wingham, 4th Baronet. They all claim that Elizabeth Palmer married Edward Finch-Hatton, and that her sister Ann married Sir Brook Bridges (and after he died, Charles Feilding). References found on the IGI (the genealogical records of the Family History Library, run by the Church of the Latter Day Saints) were at odds with the reference books – but I'd always assumed that the mistake was with the IGI.

It appears to have begun with Betham's Baronetage. A screen shot from the first volume, dated 1801, is shown here.

Bethams record

An eighteen-page article in the first volume of Miscellanea Genealogica et Heraldica, from 1868, repeats this information. The Complete Peerage, considered by many to be the most reliable secondary reference work, did not differ; nor did the other Baronetages and Peerages. The following is a screen-shot from The Complete Baronetage, Volume 1, Palmer (created 29 June, 1621).

The Complete Baronetage record

IGI references point to the original parish records on microfilm. I've now seen at all of them at the Family History Library's temporary location, The National Archives at Kew. I hope that the IGI will accept my apology for doubting them. The marriage record from the registers of Goodnestone, in Kent, state that Elizabeth married Sir Brook in 1732 at the chapel of Bishopsbourn.

Brydges Palmer Marriage

The following year their son, also Brook, was born (posthumously – since his father died before the birth, he was a Baronet from his first breath) at Whitehall, and there are two records for his baptism. It appears that the service was performed at St Martin-in-the-Fields, the first image below.

Brook Brydges Baptism

The record was then copied into the Goodnestone register.

Brook Brydges Baptism copy

Because Sir Brook had died, Elizabeth was free to remarry – which she did in 1737, to the Hon. Captain Charles Fielding (generally spelt Feilding).

Feilding Brydges Marriage

Ann Palmer married Edward Finch (who hadn't yet assumed the additional surname of Hatton) in 1746. This record is from St James's Piccadilly – though they were both residents of the parish of St Martin-in-the-Fields, Sackville Street (the location of Lord Winchelsea's house, where they married) runs north from Piccadilly, not far from St James's.

Finch Palmer Marriage

The Dictionary of National Biography and the History of Parliament Online have got it wrong, presumably (and quite reasonably) having accepted earlier secondary references. Wikipedia has, of course, gone along with them. I've sent messages to the DNB and History of Parliament Online, and both have sent a preliminary response. The DNB has said that they will be passing it on to someone from their panel of experts. The History of Parliament Online are working on setting up a correction system similar to Ancestry, which keeps the original data and flags up the correction. Given the authority of both institutions, it would be good if they can provide a counterbalance against the older records.