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There are books and articles written about the Bouton family and most have errors. One is almost comically bad, dating from 1890,1 and, probably due to its being available on, is one of the main sources for Bouton misinformation repeated on the web. An article published in 18972 sensibly argues against these errors, but being in a genealogical journal, it has escaped the notice of most casual family historians who lack the exprience that would tell them to not believe everything you see on the internet. Here are the major disputed points.

Bouton is different from Bowton, Boughton, Boutton, etc., etc.

     Most people were illiterate in 16th and 17th century England and 17th century American colonies, which covers the lifespans of John's immediate family. Even people with a medium amount of education were often semi-literate. Spelling evidently wasn't a priority. We don't know how John Bouton spelled his name, in any case. It appears in Connecticut records spelled in many ways depending on the person writing it. Only after several generations was it typified to "Bouton," and some branches, "Boughton." No credible assumptions can be made about where John was born based on so little evidence. The assumption that the true spelling of the name was always Bouton, and therefore French, leads to another disputed point.

John "Bouton" was the Huguenot son of a French count

     These ideas may have first appeared in print in History of Fairfield County, Connecticut.3 Like many early genealogical publications, things were stated as fact, but without any sources cited or explanations, then repeated and much further expanded in the most problematic book mentioned above. History of Fairfield has supportable facts, but it's also a compilation of heresay and outright mistakes. There isn't any publicly available evidence to make even a credible guess about John's birth family or religion, other than his almost surely being a Protestant, since Catholics and Jews weren't tolerated in the New England colonies when John was alive. It appears that someone, assuming "Bouton" was French, looked in French genealogy books for a connection. Those books were for "noble" famlies, and there they found the titled "Boutons de Chamilly." The name can be found variously spelled in English parish records, so without any credible evidence that John was French, it makes more sense to consider him English like the vast majority of his fellow settlers. Among the mistakes appearing online and in self-published genealogies is the claim that there are records for the Boutons in Great Leighs, Essex, England. This is simply confusing them with the Kelloggs. There is even a "fact" being repeated that Alice was born on the same day in 1600 as her husband Matthew Marvin. Such is the sloppy way people are treating their family histories.

John "Bouton" sailed on the ship Assurance

     There are many ship passenger lists available for immigrants from England during the "Great Migration" period of New England and Virginia. There are also many for which there is no record. One that is available is for the ship Assurance,4 sailing from London, England to Virginia. The passenger list was taken on 24 July 1635, including "Jno Bowton," age 20. James Savage's Genealogical Dictionary of New England6 mentions this ship and mistakenly says it was headed for Boston. Researchers jumped on this in the 19th century and stated without doubt that he was the one who went to New England (while also saying without a doubt that he was Jean Bouton of France). In Bouton-Boughton Family, James Boughton added that the ship landed in Boston in December 1635. There is no record of a ship with that name doing this, and can be chalked up to one of many careless and cryptic mistakes he made. Given how many unidentified ships that are known to have sailed to New England in this period with settlers, we can assume John was on one of them.

Did John Bouton marry Alice Kellogg?

     No. Theophilus R. Marvin made this claim, first in a limited edition book and again in a re-publication in the New York Genealogical and Biographical Register.5 His son published a follow-up article in 1897, also in the NYGBR (see note 2), reviewing the claim. He says "I have recently found that this was an inference made by one of his [father's] correspondents, whether based on an inspection of the will of Alice Marvin, or from some other source, cannot now be determined." He posits that "the inference was made from the will, because it mentions her 'daughter Briggit Kellock,' who was the wife of Daniel Kellogg, and it was known that Bridget was the daughter of a John Bouton; and no other John being known than the husband of Abigail Marvin [who was John, Jr., son of John and Alice] then living, it was thought that Daniel was her own son and not her son-in-law." Since the only known John was the one who married Abigail Marvin, it was thought that Bridget was their daughter, and Alice, previously married to a Kellogg, had Daniel and then, as a widow, married Matthew Marvin. As early as 1860, in James Savage's Genealogical Dictionary of New England,6 John (who now know was Jr.), was considered the immigrant. Depite some cogent research available, publications after 1897 carelessly misunderstood the misunderstanding and confused things more by saying Alice Kellogg was an earlier wife of John, Jr., and who were the parents of John, Bridget and Richard, followed by John's second marriage to Abigail Marvin and more children. John, Sr., marring "Alice Kellogg" is still the favored claim over a century after it was shown in print to be wrong.
     Another cryptic statement is that John married Joan Turney as a first wife. This appears to have originated in Bouton-Boughton Family (see note 1). and is still being included by amateur genealogists. John's son Richard married Ruth Turney, but Boughton only gives her first name.
     After John's death, Alice married Matthew Marvin and his children baptized in 1648 and 1649 are attributed to her. This suggests John died in the mid to later 1640s.
     Back to the pros and cons of the internet, I'll point out that in a sea of copy and paste misinformation, this entry has been posted for Matthew Marvin. Although the information here is disorganized, there is an rare attempt to make some sense of all the good and bad.

children of John Bowton/Bouton and Alice:


1. James Boughton, Bouton-Boughton Family, etc. (Albany:1890).
2. The New England Historical & Genealogical Register (1897), 51:330-334.
3. D. Hamilton Hurd, History of Fairfield County, Connecticut (Philadelphia:1881), 489.
4. John Camden Hotten, The Original Lists of Persons of Quality, etc. (London:1874), 110-11.
5. The New England Historical & Genealogical Register, 16:250.
6. James Savage, The Genealogical Dictionary of New England (Boston:1860), 1:220.

all text and photographs © 1998-2021 by Doug Sinclair unless where otherwise noted