European Origins of the American Gossetts

New Evidence from Conventional Genealogical Research

2. Evidence From Jersey Isle That Jean and Pierre Were Not American Immigrants

As presented elsewhere (see Source of the Myth -- here), the myth that Gossetts in America descend from Jean the Huguenot of Jersey Isle rests upon a lack of evidence;  namely, the absence of evidence for the continued presence on Jersey of two brothers (Jean and Pierre) past 1730/1760, and the concurrent appearance in PA of two Gossetts (John and Peter) whose origins presented a similar mystery to the genealogical researchers.  However, recent evidence has surfaced on Jersey that convincingly argues that Jean and Pierre did not emigrate from Jersey to America.

Jean (b 1699) and Pierre (b 1705) were the 1st and 4th sons born to Jean Gosset (b 1680) and Susanne D'Allain.  The two were thus grandsons of Jean the Huguenot (b 1642; d 1712).   This much is generally agreed upon by all sources – Payne's An Armorial of Jersey; Burke's The Landed Gentry, including American Families with British Ancestry; and their derivative works (Virkus, Newcomer, Turk, Jerkins, etc.).  [For a helpful tree of these early generations, click here.]


Jean Gosset (grandson of Jean the Huguenot)

Robert Arthur Gosset, a Gosset-family researcher presently residing in Spain, discovered the following burial record in the Jersey Archives:

Jersey Archive Reference: G/C/03/A1/4

Place:              St Helier 

Name:              Town Church 

Marriage Register, 1719 - 1751 and Burials Register, 1719 - 1751 with three separate indexes.

"Jean fils Esné de Mr. Jean Gosset fut enterré le sixième jour de feuvrier mille Sept Cents vingt"

English: Jean eldest son of Mr. Jean Gosset was buried the sixth day of February one thousand seven hundred twenty


This prompts the question:  To which father/son pair of "Jean Gossets" does this record refer?  

Jean the Huguenot, b 1642 -- "Jean I"


Jean, b 1680 (son of Jean I and husband of  Suzanne D'Allain) – "Jean II"

Jean, b 1699 (son of Jean II and Susanne D'Allain, and alleged American immigrant) – "Jean III"

Clearly, the burial record is not that of Jean I -- he is known to have died in 1712.  We believe the burial record is that of Jean III, eldest son of Jean II.  And therefore, since Jean III died in 1720/1, he cannot be John of Cumberland County, PA in 1736.  Our evidence for this burial attribution?

With the assistance of another Gossett researcher, Barbara Manley, we engaged a Jersey Archivist (Michele Leerson).  Leerson advises us that the burial of Jean II was recorded in St. Helier on April 2, 1742 (but under the surname "Gosey," though the record lists Susan D'Allain as his widow) -- thus, the Jean Gosset who was buried in 1720/1 could not be Jean II.   Were there other Jean Gossets on Jersey before 1720/1?  Leerson reports, "I have checked the 12 parishes in the island and there were no other Jean Gossets born in Jersey before 1720."  She also searched land contracts and partages (division of property between family) in the Public Land Registry volumes and could find nothing. Jean III's brother Abraham "is the first member of the family to be mentioned in these sources."  Leerson further notes, "it is unlikely that the Jean buried in 1720/21 was married as it would have then said 'Jean widow of....whoever.' The fact that it says Jean, eldest son, would tend to indicate that he is relatively young and unmarried."   We had hoped to learn more from examination of the gravestone itself -- e.g., perhaps it listed a d.o.b.  However, Leerson reports, "The town church cemetery was closed in 1728 and its size reduced over the years, the result of which is that there are very few gravestones which have survived."  And those that have are generally unreadable.

Additional evidence for the 1720/1 burial record being that of John III, and not of John II, comes from other records within the Jersey Archives.  Barbara Manley provided us with transcriptions of baptismal records obtained from the Jersey Archives in St. Helier  [Click here to view].  Unfortunately, we do not have images of the original records in these instances;  the archivists were willing only to provide copies of their transcriptions of selected entries that "had been checked and re-verified for accuracy."  In these transcriptions, are several listing Jean II as godfather.  Jean II was clearly alive at least as late as May of 1741. 

In light of these baptismal records, the burial record from 1720/1 cannot be that of Jean II, who was clearly very much alive as late as 1741.  We believe, therefore, that it is the burial record of Jean III.  And that is why Jean III is not mentioned further in Payne's Armorial, and is missing from any later records from Jersey.  He cannot have been an immigrant to America ca. 1735, since he died on Jersey in 1720/1.

What about Pierre, the other supposed immigrant to America from Jersey? 

Return Home                           Previous Page                     Next:  Pierre Gosset