Sunset at Gowanus Bay

Sunset at Gowanus Bay
Sunset at Gowanus Bay, Henry Gritten, 1851

Sunday, June 3, 2012

Joseph Driggs is Not Josias Drake, Jr.

"Joseph Driggs is Not Josias Drake, Jr." was first published online in December 2008.

The absurd notion that Josias Drake, Jr. baptized on 28 May 1682 at Amersfoort, Long Island, the son of Josias Jansen Drats and Aeltje Brouwer, would emerge after surviving a shipwreck as Joseph Driggs of East Haddam, Connecticut (who died there in 1748), was first introduced in 1959 by Howard R. Driggs in his Driggs Family History (vol.1). In 1971, Driggs Family History Vol. 2, compiled by L. Lynne Driggs and Harry Stoddard Driggs, cautioned about the validity of the claim but did little to dissuade scores of descendants from buying into the story. Even today, one can still find numerous Family Trees posted on that perpetuate the fable. Fortunately the roll of Driggs family descendants include some skeptics who don't accept everything they read (especially when no evidence is supplied to support the claim). In 2008 one such descendant came forward, provided a verifiable pedigree, and signed up for a Y-DNA test with Family Tree DNA. The results, which are explained in "Joseph Driggs is Not Josias Drake," clearly demonstrate that the descendant of Joseph Driggs is not genetically related to descendants of Josias Jansen Drats (who had also been tested by Family Tree DNA).

In October 2010, Richard W. Davis (a descendant of Joseph Driggs) shared his research which leads to the likely conclusion that Joseph Driggs was of Portuguese ancestry and that the Driggs surname was derived from the surname, Rodrigues. His posts on the Driggs Family Genealogy Forum, dated 10/09/10, 10/10/10, 10/13/10 and 3/21/11, describe his research and should serve as a start for anyone seeking to take on further research into the correct ancestry of the Driggs Family.


  1. We, in our family, believe the Portunguese story of Joseph Rodriguez rather than Drake -thanks for sharing

  2. The suggestion of Portuguese origins for Joseph Driggs (Rodriguez) makes sense and we have Richard W. Davis to thank for pulling this all together. Apparently, knowledge of these origins were known by some descendants prior to the publishing of the first Driggs Family Genealogy by Howard Driggs, who was also aware of it but, for some reason, choose to ignore it. Perhaps some Driggs descendant will undertake the work of trying to locate supporting records and evidence in Portugal. The Azores might also be a place to search for the origins of Joseph Driggs (Rodriguez).

  3. I'd like to support the Azores connection by the following reasons:
    My surname Riggenmann not only strongly resembles Driggs, but in the familytreedna's public-list of earliest known ancestors my southern German forefather Jacob Rikheman (1627-1687) is placed very close to Joseph Driggs/Rodrigues (1686-1748). (
    Among my 30 closest relatives in this list, ten are from Portugal/Brazil and of these, three from the Azores. Four have earliest known ancestors ancestors with surnames Rodrigues/Rodriguez.


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