Friday, March 07, 2014

What’s up with the Pearson/Pierson and Clifford names?

The names Pearson and Clifford show up in my Montgomery family line quite often. We have always thought that James Montgomery was the source of the Pearson name because we assumed that he gave his first-born son his middle name.

The Clifford name, while not as prevalent as Pearson, also shows up in the Montgomery line; however, this name has no convenient explanation like that of Pearson.

I believe that the both Pearson and Clifford names did not come from the Montgomery line and that James Montgomery’s middle name, if he had one, was not Pearson.

Let me step back some, James Montgomery was my 4th great grandfather. I connected him to my family by a bible transcription available in two places online, here and here.  

I wrote about finding this information previously (you can read about it here) and have since verified most of the dates with records. This transcription lists James Montgomery as James Montgomery, no middle name. His oldest son is named Pearson Clifford Montgomery (1828 – 1892). This is the first instance of either of those names in the Montgomery line as far as I can tell.

Going forward, we have the following names, from oldest to current.

Pearson Clifford Montgomery (1854 – 1949)

Rosetta "Rose" Clifford Montgomery (1898 – 1996)

Frank Pearson Montgomery (1916 – 1997)

Frank Pearson’ line embraced the Pearson name and there are several living individuals with Pearson in their full name.

Now, let us go back to James Montgomery (1805 – 1878), since I do not know for sure who James’ parents are, I cannot positivity say that there is no Pearson or Clifford further back in the Montgomery line. The problem I run into is I have not found any record that includes Pearson as James’ middle name. I believe that we (the Montgomery family researchers) assumed that Pearson/Pierson was James’ middle name .

So where did Pearson and Clifford come from?

Again, we start with James Montgomery (1805 – 1878). James married Nancy Varble, the daughter of Daniel Varble and Katie Clifford. So this to me explains the Clifford name. Pearson Clifford Montgomery got his grandmother’s maiden name as his middle name. Nevertheless, we are no closer to the elusive Pearson/Pierson.

Moving back, Katie Clifford’s parents were Jacob Pearson Clifford and Nancy Boone. There it is, the first Pearson! But this is also a middle name, where did it come from?

Moving back further still, Jacob Pearson Clifford’s parents were Michael Clifford and Elizabeth Pierson/Pearson. Aha! We have a mother, Elizabeth, who gave her son her maiden name as his middle name, or as another researcher put it, “a mother who named a son after her father.”

To me this is a much better explanation of the Pearson names then simply saying James Montgomery’s middle name was Pearson, but as always I await the documents that prove me wrong.   Smile

Happy Hunting,

Copyright © 2014 Regina De León. All rights reserved.
Side note: I want to thank Clint Jones for helping me figure out the lines backwards from Nancy Varble and for stressing the importance of finding records, both primary and secondary. Thank you, cousin Clint!!!
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