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Hewett Family

A Review by T. H. Roderick
in the proceedings of the
Maine Genealogical Society
Vol. 14 No. 4, Pg. 108

WILLIAM Hewett (HEWITT) 1749-1826 AND HIS DESCENDANTS, by Evelyn Hewett. 8 1/2" by 11", 407pp., paper cover, full name index, limited edition. $30, available from the author 2380 Saga Circle NE, E. Canton OH 44730.

William Hewett was born in Warrington, Lancashire, England in 1749, was a deserter from the British Army and later a colonial Revolutionary War soldier under General Washington, and finally a settler in Hope, Maine. The origin and life of William Hewett is discusses well with solid footnote documentation, including photocopies of some original documents. One chapter provides information on the ancestors of Sarah King (1754 - 1837), his wife. The book continues in a modified Register format except that the descendants are presented in a tribal fashion, that is, they are treated in separate sections for each child of William and Elizabeth (King) Hewitt [the name "Elizabeth" crossed out here and replaced with "Sarah" by the author, Evelyn Hewitt 6/21/97]. This system has no advantage over the more systematic treatment of each generation as an integrated unit or chapter.

Throughout the book citations are to primary sources including, for Q example, letters, personal testimony and pension records. Early in the book they are given as footnotes, but later as a combination of footnotes and citations following statements in the text. Consistency in the format of citation is less confusing to a reader. Sometimes citations are not complete. For example, the citation "National Archives" is insufficient for easy follow-up. Pension numbers or other specifics should be included in citations to general records or to an institution. Finally, in this book, for modern generations, there are often no citations. Lack of citations in later generations could imply that facts are derived from personal knowledge of living individuals. Yet, it is important to cite statements from personal knowledge by giving names and addresses of persons providing the information and the dates that the information was received. For example, "Information on this segment of the family was given by John Jones (with address) in a letter to the author dated 3 March 1985" is good documentation. If John Jones is not the subject of the biography, some indication about how he would have known the information is important.

There are many reasons for citations. Mainly they make it possible for the reader to judge the authenticity of the statements made. Furthermore, if necessary he can find the sources through the citations and examine them again to check the context, assure the accuracy of the statement, and come to a consensus on the interpretation.

Genealogists will be pleased not only with the nearly complete name index, but also that years of birth and/or death are added to many index entries. This reviewer's digression into a position on citations should not detract from the value of this book. Ms. Hewett has put together a useful book which descendants will find valuable to own or to use. Her hopes are "that it will be of use to many in the years to come" are certain to be realized.

Reviewed by T. H. Roderick

[This Document Received by Tay Vaughan from Evelyn Hewett in June, 1997]