William Billing

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ChartsAncestors of Jennie Luene Logan
William Billing, son of Richard Billing and Elizabeth (---), was born probably shortly before his baptism at Prescot, Lancashire, England, 24 April 1631.1,2 He died at Stonington, Connecticut, 16 March 1712/13.3,2

William married Mary (---), whose ancestry is unknown (or not traced here), at Dorchester, Suffolk Co., Massachusetts, 12 February 1657/58.3,4,5

William Billing was the subject of a fraudulent genealogy concocted by Horatio Gates Somerby (1805-1872). This may have been the source of a family legend in another Billings line (not yet connected with this one) that there was a fabulous Billings estate in England just waiting to be claimed. Somerby was once a well respected genealogist and member of the New England Historic Genealogical Society. However, recent discoveries have exposed the depth of his fraudulent reports. He went so far as to fabricate records to support his "research." Whatever his shortcomings as a genealogist, as a businessman he kept his clients happy, giving them the distinguished pedigree they wanted and paid for.

Rev. Spencer-Mounsey used the Somerby manuscript as the basis for his article. Although he questions some of Somerby's "facts," it appears that Spencer-Mounsey probably did not verify everything he took from Somerby, and if a statement does not have further citations to other sources not relying on Somerby, further research and verification is necessary, lest one run the risk of later discovering many "former ancestors."

Somerby included two other daughters, Mary, baptized 14 March 1675/6, and Prudence, baptized 4 March 1683. There is no other source for these two daughters and they are probably fictitious.6,4,7

William Billing removed to Stonington by 1667 where his house was on Cosatuc Hill. In 1675 he was a soldier in King Phillip's War, and was admitted to the Stonington Church 29 April 1677.

His will was dated 3 October 1712 and proved 14 April 1713 and in it he named:
wife Mary,
son William,
daughters Margaret, Mary, Lydia, and Mercy, Dorothy, and Patience,
four granddaughters (daughters of his daughter Abigail),
grandson Beriah Grant (illegitimate son of his daughter Mercy),
granddaughter Mary Keeays [the last name is doubtful]
son Ebenezer, residuary legatee and executor.


His gravestone reads:
"1713 Here lies the body of William Billing who died in the 85th year of his age."4,6

Family

Mary (---) d. 27 Feb 1717/18
Children
  • Mary Billing4 b. abt. 1659
  • William Billings+2 b. 1660, d. bef. 8 Jun 1738
  • Ebenezer Billing8 b. abt. 1661, d. 16 Sep 1727
  • Joseph Billing4 b. say 1663
  • Mary Billing4 b. say 1665
  • Lydia Billing4 b. say 1667, d. Aug 1747
  • Mercy Billing4 b. 27 Oct 1674
  • Abigail Billing4 b. 1 Jul 1677, d. 1705
  • Dorothy Billing4 b. 1 Jul 1677
  • Elizabeth Billing4 b. 28 Sep 1679, d. aft. 1701
  • Patience Billing4 b. 9 Apr 1682

Citations

  1. [S2099] Rachelle Child and Helen Schatvet Ullmann, "English Origin of Roger, Ann, and William Billings of Dorchester, Massachusetts," The New England Historical and Genealogical Register 171 (Spring 2017): 129-132, at 130, further cited as Child and Ullmann, "Origin of Roger, Ann, and William Billings."
  2. [S1400] Creighton Spencer-Mounsey, "The Billings Family of Connecticut," The New England Historical and Genealogical Register 81 (Apr 1927): 156-178, at 137-138, further cited as Spencer-Mounsey, "Billings Family of Connecticut."
  3. [S1401] Issues and Problems with the Billings Genealogy, online http://homepages.rootsweb.ancestry.com/~wdwrth/Billings/Issues.html, Mary Montagu French Moore: William Billings wife, Mary (Atherton), accessed Nov 2009. Hereinafter cited as Billings Problems.
  4. [S1400] Spencer-Mounsey, "Billings Family of Connecticut," 134-137.
  5. [S1872] Clarence Almon Torrey, New England Marriages Prior to 1700, 3 vols. (Boston, Massachusetts: New England Historic Genealogical Society, 2011), 144, further cited as Torrey, New England Marriages (2011).
  6. [S1402] Paul C. Reed, "Two Somerby Frauds or 'Placing the Flesh on the Wrong Bones'," The American Genealogist 74 (Jan 1999): 15-30, at 28-30, further cited as Reed, "Somerby Frauds."
  7. [S1404] John M. Bradbury, "Necrology of the New-England Historic, Genealogical Society: Horatio Gates Somerby," The New England Historical and Genealogical Register 28 (Jul 1874): 340-342, further cited as Somerby Necrology, "Necrology: Horatio Gates Somerby."
  8. [S1400] Spencer-Mounsey, "Billings Family of Connecticut," 134-139.