A deeper dive
A deeper dive
Part 1 of this post listed three categories of printed sources which stated Edward’s birthplace was the county of Derbyshire. The books and journals are not definitive evidence, but with so many sources agreeing on the same county (not just “England”), Derbyshire must be taken seriously.
Two authors in particular, John Farmer and Charles Edward Banks, gave us more than just a location. They gave us who and what they used for their sources.
John Farmer, author of the earliest history which mentioned Edward’s birthplace, stated his source was “Coffin” in his Genealogical Register of New England published in 1829.
The ”Coffin” referenced could only have been Joshua Coffin (1792-1864) one of the best-known family historians and biographers of his time. Joshua Coffin’s interest in the Coffin family and other New England lines resulted in lively correspondence between him and John Farmer, of which only a few pre-1829 letters survive in the New England Historic Genealogical Society and the Phillips Library in the Peabody Essex Museum (1826, 1828). Others may be in private hands or in small archives. I obtained and read the surviving letters. Unfortunately, none of them mentioned Edward Starbuck. I searched additional publications and archive finding aids for the NEHGS, Essex Institute, Historic New England and other societies, but no additional letters or papers mentioning the Starbuck family were found.
There is, however, good reason to believe Joshua Coffin had additional information on the Starbucks which may have come down through his family. Two children of Edward Starbuck, Abigail and Nathaniel, married children of Tristram Coffin, the fifth great grandfather of Joshua Coffin. Joshua’s interest in the Coffin family and lines connected to it came through in the letters and articles he published. His writing proves he was a thorough and careful researcher by the standards of his time. It was unlikely he reported Derbyshire as Edward’s origin unless he had a reason to believe that was correct. Coffin may have had family papers or other sources specifying Derbyshire which have since disappeared. What is for certain is that he did not have easy access to English parish records like we do now through websites or microfilm as that did not come into use for genealogical records until the 1930s. Wherever he got his information, we can be sure Coffin felt Derbyshire was correct.
Charles Edward Banks
The other publication which states its sources is the Topographical Dictionary of 2885 English Emigrants to New England by Charles Edward Banks, published in 1937. Though it didn’t appear until nearly a century after Farmer’s publication, this book was curiously specific, stating two locations for Edward Starbuck’s origin.
All other authors of family, local, and immigration histories (including Farmer) gave only a county level. Banks chose two locations, Draycott, a tiny village within the much larger parish of Sawley, and Attenborough, a once separate village now absorbed into Greater Nottingham. They are only five miles apart and have other locations of significant Starbuck interest such as Long Eaton and Toton between them. Both Attenborough and Draycott are within what we call Starbucky Territory, an area with numerous Starbuck events in parish register entries and many rivers, where Edward Starbuck could have learned the skills he needed for his occupations in New England.
In the Topographic Dictionary, Banks cited Coffin and Farmer as his sources for Draycott, a tiny village in Derbyshire. Although Banks may have used data in the Genealogical Register of New England as a starting place, that is all he could have gotten from the book because Farmer did not list a town or village for Edward Starbuck. Nor could Banks have gotten the village name directly from Farmer who died in 1838 and it is unlikely he did from Joshua Coffin who died in 1864. Banks was born in 1854 and it is highly doubtful a very young child (as he was when Coffin died) would have met Coffin or discussed Edward Starbuck with him.
Banks cited Farmer plus his own manuscript notes as his sources for Attenborough, Nottinghamshire. While he may have found something of Farmer’s which stated or hinted at Attenborough, Banks’ own notes show he focused in on that location and found seven Starbuck marriages in that parish within a period of sixty years. Starbuck is a rare surname and with so many marriages there it is good indication Attenborough was closely connected with the Starbuck family. But why did Banks decide to search Attenborough, which lies in Nottinghamshire not Derbyshire?
Why Draycott and Attenborough?
Unfortunately, Banks left us no written reasons for why he chose Draycott and Attenborough when no other published history used those specific locations, or for that matter any location more specific than a county. It was time to dig into Banks’ papers at the Library of Congress to see if those could answer the question.
Of Banks’ many papers on deposit, only five contain the surname Starbuck. Two prove Banks’ interest in Draycott because they were the pages of a 1927 response letter from Vicar Vincent Huddelsey informing Banks there was no record of an Edward Starbuck or his children in Wilne and Draycott church records. Huddelsey went on to say earlier Starbucks were found in the record but that was all.
The three other papers were Banks’ notes which listed the following Starbuck sightings:
- Exchequer records (Richard of Derby in 1624)
- 7 Starbuck marriages in Attenborough, Nottinghamshire between 1561 and 1621
- 1 Toton (in Attenborough parish) marriage license in 1602
- 1 marriage in Nottingham St. Nicholas (very close to Attenborough) in 1603
- 1 Derbyshire marriage license in 1612 for a groom from Toton and bride from Nottingham St. Peter with a father from Draycott
- 1 Starbuck marriage in Beeston, (bordering Attenborough) Nottinghamshire in 1605
- 2 Starbuck marriages in Bramcote, (bordering Attenborough) Nottinghamshire in 1601 and 1630
- 2 marriages listed for Draycott/Wilne in 1580 and 1581
- 2 marriages in Heanor (a short distance north of Sawley), Derbyshire in 1613 and 1618
- 1 marriage in Sandiacre (bordering Sawley), Derbyshire in 1636
- 1 marriage in Horsley (near Heanor), Derbyshire in 1613
- 1 baptism in London in 1638
This list shows Banks’ interest in Starbuck events in Attenborough and in Draycott but says nothing about why he chose to narrowly focus on them. His notes did not contain a list of all the parishes which were searched, only those which had results, but his chosen years covering 1561-1638, made it clear he was looking for Edward’s baptism, marriage, and parents’ marriage. He focused in on the names Edward (2 events), William (6 events), Richard (2 events), and Thomas (1 event), plus female Starbucks named Alice, Jane, Elizabeth, Helen, and Mary with one event for each of them, all in Nottinghamshire.
Banks’ notes did not leave any details about why he chose to research those specific given names in addition to Edward. He did not note the 1604 Edward and 1607 William who were baptized in nearby Derby. That means he did not use those events as a focal point, but instead relied on clues from Coffin’s and Farmer’s papers for the area of Derbyshire and Nottinghamshire to search, the specific area we now call Starbucky Territory. There is no getting away from how focused Charles Banks’ research was on a small area of Derbyshire and Nottinghamshire, and on specific given names. No other printed source, including Farmer’s, identified any location more specific than Derbyshire, so Banks must have had other sources which showed where to focus his research.
Even though no document made during Edward’s lifetime which specified his birthplace, a great many early researchers believed Edward came from Derbyshire. That location was attached to Edward early on, during a time period when researchers such as Coffin and Farmer likely had access to family documents and individuals unavailable to us today. Because of the preponderance of evidence pointing to Derbyshire as Edward’s origin, most likely in the area which includes Attenborough and Draycott, there is good reason to believe this area is correct, especially when it is backed up by DNA evidence (see part 3).
 John Farmer, Genealogical Register of the First Settlers of New England, (Lancaster, Massachusetts: Carter, Andrews, & Company, 1829), 273; digital images, Google Books (books.google.com : accessed 25 May 2016).
See posts on Katherine Starbuck for more on Edward’s wife.
 Wikipedia (www.wikipedia.org), “Joshua Coffin,” rev. 04:36, 19 June 2021.
 Joshua Coffin, Newbury to John Farmer, letter, 20 Aug 1826, transmitting information on early acquisition of Nantucket lands, Volume/Box: 2 (folder 7), Joshua Coffin papers 1647-1862, Phillips Library, Peabody Essex Museum, Rowley, Massachusetts.
Joshua Coffin, Newbury to John Farmer, letter, 8 Feb 1828, transmitting information on early acquisition of Nantucket lands, Volume/Box: 2 (folder 7), Joshua Coffin papers 1647-1862, Phillips Library, Peabody Essex Museum, Rowley, Massachusetts.
“John Farmer Papers 1810-1834” Mss 971, R. Stanton Avery Special Collections, New England Historic Genealogical Society, 1 ALS: 4, p. 34 1, 5 p. 42 1, 26 p. 43 1. No mention of Starbucks in Coffin-Farmer correspondence except for children of Tristram who married Starbucks.
 See Life Events of Abigail Starbuck Coffin and Life Events of Nathaniel Starbuck.
 Charles Edward Banks, Topographical Dictionary of 2885 English Emigrants to New England 1620-1650 (Philadelphia, Pennsylvania: Elijah Elsworth Brownell B.E.E., 1937), 17, 132; digital images, Internet Archive (www.archive.org: 6 Jul 2022).
 Charles Edward Banks, Topographical Dictionary of 2885 English Emigrants to New England 1620-1650, 17.
 Wikipedia (www.wikipedia.org), “Joshua Coffin,” rev. 04:36, 19 June 2021.
Wikipedia (www.wikipedia.org), “John Farmer,” rev. 09:27, 2 August 2022.
Wikipedia (www.wikipedia.org), “Charles Edward Banks,” rev. 17:26, 17 June 2022.
 Charles Edward Banks, Topographical Dictionary of 2885 English Emigrants to New England 1620-1650, 132.
 Charles Edward Banks, “Banks genealogical collection,” (microfilmed and digitized handwritten manuscript for Banks’ Topographical Dictionary, Library of Congress, Washington DC), Reel 5; digital images 302/813 Reel 6; digital images 849/1132 , 850/1132 and 851/1132, Library of Congress (www.LOC.gov : accessed 6 July 2022).