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This blog is for serious open-minded readers who are interested in documenting their Native American ancestry. Most of the articles challenge the internet genealogy of mythical Native American ancestry. If you have already made up your mind and if you can't handle an opinion other than your own, THIS IS NOT THE BLOG FOR YOU. Comments will be restricted to intelligent questions and concerns.

Friday, October 26, 2018

Peregrine Smith: Son of Pocahontas and Captain John Smith?

A recently comment on my blog left me scratching my head. The writer asked if I had heard the story of Peregrine Smith, son of Pocahontas and John Smith. Well, no I hadn't, but I was sure  quick to look it up. Oh, boy, here we go again. Here's what I found out about Peregrine Smith.

In a March 2001 reply to a 1998 post about the Hyatt family, a writer made reference to a 1954  family history book which said that they Hiatts/Hyatts  that descended from a Peregrine Smith who was the son of Pocahontas and John Smith. Peregrine was born in Jamestown. [1] This is the farthest back I can find an internet reference to Peregrine Smith and most accounts of him seem to be in relation to the Hyatt Family, specifically a Hyatt/Smith marriage which resulted in a child William Smith.

I am happy to see that most of the big genealogy sites, Wikitree, Genealogy.com and WeRelate have all either written it off as a myth or added a lot of red flags to alert readers to beware. It is mostly on message boards and individual websites that I found actual claims to be descended from Peregrine Smith. Here is a quote from one message board (spelling and grammar as found):
There are varying accounts historically of what happened with and between John Smith (Smyth) and Pocahontas. It depends on who's "version" of history you believe. There is evidence of Peregrin Smith born in Jamestown in 1608 at which time Pocahontas would have been 13 or 14 - certainly of child bearing age. There is too much evidence otherwise to dismiss these historical traditions. 

Dr. Joseph Copeland
This man seems to be the first name associated in a public forum with the Peregrine Smith story. He  published in some format his genealogy and descent from William Smith who he says is the son of John Smith and Pocahontas. This is part of his ancestry as given on Larry Anderson's Hyatt website [2]:

3. PEREGRINE SMITH m. Mary
b. ca 1637 b. ca 1617 parentage unknown
Named after Peregrine Bertie,
son of Lord Bertie. *Said to have
had a sister, Mary.
4. William Smith m. GRACE JOHN HIATT m. MARGARET
b. 1643 b. ca 1646 b. ca 1650 b. ca 1652
Parentage Parentage
Unknown Unknown
5. MARY SMITH m. JOHN HIATT
b. ca 1675 b. ca 1674
Imm. Quaker Imm. Quaker

Dr. Copeland has passed away. One website, which includes references to him, states that he said the Peregrine Smith story was told to him by his aunt and that it was an unproven tradition. 

Proof?
In the above quote, the writer states, "there is too much evidence otherwise to dismiss these historical traditions." What is this evidence of which the writer speaks?   Marriage, death, baptismal, land, or tax records would constitute evidence, as would a mention in contemporary writings, such as histories, biographies. Equally acceptable would be or criminal or civil court cases in which the person was named, or religious records, such as those keep by Quaker Societies. Anything, but, there is nothing, that would stand as evidence that could prove that John Smith and Pocahontas has a child named Peregrine Smith, either in England or in Virginia. 

The following webpage lays out both a lengthy argument for the possibility that Pocahontas and John Smith could have had a child (but no proof of the child itself, only its possibility) but there is so much twisting and turning and lots of ifs. If Pocahontas was really older, if the mysterious children of Powhatan are really the children of Pocahontas, if the Sedgeford Hall portrait was Pocahontas and Peregrine (it's not it's a painting of Osceola and his mother) if  this and if that. Just my opinion, but if you need multiple if this than thats, then you're likely barking up the wrong tree.  

 Sources:

[1] https://www.genealogy.com/forum/surnames/topics/hyatt/878/

[2] http://hyatt-hiatt.com/GEDCOM/database/pafn66.htm


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