Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Percival Levett of York, England; Was he the father of John Leavitt of Hingham, Massachusetts?

Every good genealogist begins their research with a research question. This helps tighten the search and avoid distractions from interesting information that leads one astray. You know how it goes, you sit down to research your great grandfather in Maine and the next thing you know your looking at stuff on your Great Great Grandmother in Bolivia. At the end of the day you have reams of paperwork on a dozen people and your really haven't advanced your genealogy. I am going to try to craft a question every time I fire up this blog and really try to stick to it, I'm sure I'll still have my moments when I go 'offroading' but I hope this will improve my research. So here's my question of the day: Who were the parents of John Leavitt, 1635 immigrant to Hingham, MA.

the internet knows
St. Michael Le Belfrey by Philip Halling
I know, I know, all I have to do is google John Leavitt, and I will have any number of websites, from ancestry to wikitree and everything in between, tell me that the parents of John Leavitt were Percival Leavitt and his wife Margaret Linkley of York, Yorkshire, England. That was easy, but now lets take a closer look at the sources (proof) on which we can make this claim. Remember, genealogy without proof is called fiction. Sometimes I feel like that lady from the hamburger ad, "Where's the Proof"! Neither the Wikitree profile nor the werelate profile for Percival and John Leavitt offer anything that looks like proof.

what does anderson say
Since John Leavitt immigrated about 1634, my go to guy is Robert Charles Anderson and his Great Migration Series. John Leavitt's profile offers no clues as to his origins. Anderson tells us that his year of birth is estimated at 1612 based only on an age of at least 21, when he married in New England. Of course he may have been older than that but we don't know. A search of  the databases on American Ancestors give an ancestry for Percival, but do not name a wife or any children, it only says that he had nine.

hitting to books  
The first book I looked at was The Leavitt Family Book, vol. 1, by Emily Leavitt Noyes, first published in 1941. She says in her book that she believes that John of Hingham was the son of Percival Leavitt and his unknown wife. She also says although she believes it, there is absolutely no proof.  She gives a list of the children of Percival beginning with John, b. 1608. then goes on to say the birth year of John of Hingham is the same as the John in England. Below is a comparison of Noyes findings and mine. Boy are they different!
I could not find a single name and date that matched. Where did she get her birth dates from?

(1625) bp. 27 Dec 1625 St. Helen’s
(1628) bp. 27 April 1628 St. Helens
(1616) bp. 29 Nov 1616 All Saints Pavement
(1631) bp. 12 July 1631 St. Michael Le Belfry
(1649) bp. 15 Feb 1649 St. Michael Le Belfry
(1614) bp. 27  Sep. 1614 All Saints Pavement
(1624) bp. 1624 St. Helens
(1634) bp. 29 March 1634 St. Michael Le Belfry
(1630) bp.  11 June 1630 St. Michael Le Belfry
(1640) bp. 4 April 1640 St. Michael Le Belfry

why I think I'm right
Photo by Euan Nelson, The Merchant Adventurers Guildhall
Percival Levett became a Freeman of the City of York in 1611 by patrimony, which means by birthright. He was a son of the city of York. A man became a Freeman of the city at the age of 21 in order to become a member of a guild. You needed to become a member of a guild to ply your trade. The Levetts were Merchants. Percival could not work as a merchant until he was a guild member. His older brother, Christopher became a Freeman when he was 21. It is logical to assume that Percival was also 21 when he became a freeman.

A few years after becoming a freeman, Christopher Levett, who was born in 1586, married and began his family. Men did not marry until they had a trade and could provide for their family. Applying this same logic to Percival, who was younger than Christoper, their father's heir, he became a freeman in 1611 and then got married and then his first child was born in 1614. This timeline would make perfect sense. He gets his freemanship, begins working as a merchant, marries and starts his family. I do not see how he could marry and have children prior to 1611.

what's in a name
The Levett's seem to reuse family names. We know that Percival had siblings named William, Grace and Mary as did the Percival in my list. Noyes Levett family does not have any of these names. Noyes makes apoint of saying that many of the English family names are carried over in the American Levetts, including the names Jeremiah and Timothy. These two male names were the sons of Christopher Levett, brother of Percival. John of Hingham had the following children: John, Hannah, Samuel, Elizabeth, Jeremiah, Israel, Moses, Josiah, Nehemiah, Sarah, Mary, Hannah, Abigail. Where is Grace, Martha, Benjamin, or Joseph. How about a Percival. John of Hingham's children's names look more like a list of biblical names than family names.

two sons named John:
While it is not out of the question that Percival would  have two sons with the same name, it was an unusual practice. I know Percival had a son John baptized in 1625. Would he have two sons named John?
medieval street in York, Eric Voller

another thing about Percival
Records show that Percival was married at least twice. In 1648 he was made administrator of his wife, Jane__Wade Levett's deceased husband, Christopher Wade. She was most likely the mother of Samuel b. 1649.

I have seen on several websites information that Percival died in Hingham, Massachusetts. However, Mr. Percival Levett was buried on 16 September 1654 in St. Michael Le Belfry, York, along way from Hingham.

back to the question
So, back to my original question: who was the father of John Leavitt of Hingham, Massachusetts. My answer: I don't know.

Francis Collins, The Registers of St. Michael le Belfry, York, Part 1 1565-1653, (Leeds: Knight and Forster, 1899), digital images, Archive ( : accessed 31 December 2015).

Francis Collins, Register of the Freeman of the City of York 1272-1759, (Durham: Andrews and Co., 1900), digital images, Archive ( : accessed 31 December 2015).

Edward  Bulmer, The Parish Records of St. Martin cum Gregory, York, (York: DeLittle and Sons, 1897), digital images, Archive ( : accessed 31 December 2015).

"England, Births and Christenings, 1538-1975," database, Family Search ( : accessed 31 December 2015), John Levitt, 27 December 1625, citing York, Yorkshire, England, reference - 2:2GZGNPQ; FHL microfilm 1,068,431.

Emily Leavitt Noyes, Leavitt, Descendants of John the Immigrant Through His Son Moses, (Concord, New Hampshire: Evans Printing Co., 1941), digital images, Archive ( : accessed 31 December 2015).

"Sheriff of York," Geni ( of york/4815 : accessed 31 December 2015), 1597, Percival Levett.

 "53: Thomas Leavitt of New England," Lincolnshire Notes & Queries, Vol 3, (1 January 1904 to 1 October 1905), 245, digital image, Google Play ( : accessed 31 December 2015).

Sunday, December 20, 2015

Edward Gilman (1587-1655) Hingham, England to Exeter, NH

Edward Gilman and his family were part of a large contingent of  immigrants from the market town of Hingham, Norfolk, England who over the course of several years established a daughter town of Hingham in Plymouth County, Massachusetts. The newly formed Colony of Massachusetts held great promise for men who had the drive, ambition and capital to take advantage of the lucrative opportunities awaiting them. All they had to do was survive the crossing and then stay healthy. Edward and his family thrived in their new home. He didn't stay long in Hingham, eventually making his home in Exeter in New Hampshire. Here is what I know about Edward Gilman. 

english origins
The ancestry of the Gilman family was first put into print in 1895. The researcher, himself a Gilman, did  great job, but he did make some errors, which are still perpetuated today. One of the best resources I found was a book called "The Ancestry of Abel Lunt, 1769-1806, of Newbury, Massachusetts," printed in 1968. The very best sources are, as any good genealogist knows, not a book or a website, but the primary information. These types of sources are not always easy or cheap to find. I always try to locate the original source if possible but I did not have much luck in this case. 

The first definite ancestor was also an Edward. He lived in Caston, a small town near Hingham. He was probably born around 1525. His King, Henry the Eighth, was still married to his first wife, Katherine of Aragon. England was still a catholic nation. On 21 June 1550 Edward married Rose Ryse in the parish church of Holy Cross. Their first child, Margaret, was baptized on 1 December 1550.  Hum, there's only six months between the marriage and the baptism, just saying. More children arrived about every two years or so. The last of ten children, to arrive was Olive. She was baptized on 21 November 1573. Olive would never know her father. 

On 5 February 1572/3 Edward felt the need to make his will. He was likely between fifty and sixty years old, was he feeling his age, did he know his time was coming to an end? He was styled 'Yeoman' in his will so he was a successful man. He made bequests to his wife and all his children. His will was proved on 7 July 1573. His son Edward, received a tenement called Halwick's with pasture and meadow. 

edward  not robert
In his 1895 ancestry of the Gilman Family, Alexander William Gilman, wrote that the father of Edward Gilman, the immigrant, was Robert, son of Edward and Rose. In fact, it was his older brother Edward who was the father. According to long dead researcher Colonel Charles E. Banks, Edward gave a deposition in 1637 in England in which he stated his age, 50, and his father's name, Edward. The source for this, if you're interested is the Court of Requests, bundle 27, pt. 2, Charles I. You can find it at the National Archives in London if you have some spare time. I guess I'm going to take Col. Bank's word on this one.

15th century tomb in St. Andrews Hingam
I have seen on various websites a birth date of 22 June 1555 for Edward, number two. But I cannot find any source that would confirm this date. I cannot imagine where it came from. We do know he was baptized in Caston on 20 April 1557. England was in the throes of religious convulsions. King Henry had thrown off the mantle of Catholicism for a more protestant leaning church. His son, King Edward, continued to progress towards becoming a fully protestant country. But with his early death in 1553, and the crowning of his catholic sister Mary, England was once again a catholic nation. A year or so after Edward Gilman was baptized a catholic, Elizabeth was queen and England once again was a Protestant nation. This back and forth must have taken a psychological toll on the English people.

Edward married but we do not know his wife's name. They most likely married in the early 1580's. Edward also seems to have moved to Hingham, which is only about five miles from Caston. Edward may have married in Hingham and had his children baptized there. Unfortunately, the parish records for Hingham don't exist prior to 1601.

edward the immigrant
Edward was born around 1587, based on his deposition of 1637 when he said he was fifty years old. No baptismal record has been found. Edward married Mary Clark in St. Andrew's Hingham on 3 June 1614. I doubt that Mary, in her wildest dreams, could not have imagined the future that awaited her as Mrs. Edward Gilman. The first twenty four years of their marriage were predictable. Edward provided for his family, Mary had babies and ran the household.

Protestant King James I followed Queen Elizabeth and most of the country embraced the changes to the Church of England. Problems began to surface when Charles I ascended the throne. Charles was married to a Catholic French princess. Under his influence and that of his Archbishop, William Laud, the Church of England was beginning to be pressed into uniformity and in the Puritan's eyes, backsliding into Catholicism. Puritans, known as Nonconformists, and the more radical element, known as Separatist, were under threat from both royal and ecclesiastical authority. The Reverend Robert Peck, minister at St. Andrew's in Hingham was held in great esteem by his Puritan leaning flock. When he was forced out of his benefice and chose to immigrate to Massachusetts he was joined by many of his parishioners, including Edward Gilman and his family.

Reverend Peter Hobart, born and raised in Hingham had already made the courageous decision to leave England for Massachusetts. Accompanying Hobart was Nicholas Jacob and his family, his wife was Mary Gilman, sister of Edward.

children of edward and mary 
Mary gave birth to eleven children. She saw seven of them into the grave. Four of her children died as newborns or infants, and one as a small child. I wonder if she felt sad leaving her poor buried babies behind in England. Mary also lost one of her adult children. Edward was lost at sea, he must have been gone for some time before they got word of his passing.

1. Mary bp. 6 August 1615, m. John Folsom of Hingham 1636, d. Exeter, NH
2. Edward bp. 26 Dec 1617, m. before 1647 Elizabeth Smith, died at sea in 1653, sailing to England to buy sawmill components. 
3 and 4. Twins Moses and Joshua, bp.15 September buried 19 September 1619.
5. Sarah bp. 19 Feb 1622/23, m. John Leavitt, d. 26 May 1700
6. Lydia b. 1624-1625, m. in Hingham, MA Daniel Cushing, d. abt. 1689.
7. John bp. 23 May 1626, m. 30 June 1657 Elizabeth Treworgy, d. 24 July 1708.
8. Jeremy bp. 27 Nov 1628, buried 19 Aug 1635.
9. Moses bp. 11 March 1630, m. Elizabeth Hersey, d. before 6 August 1702.
10. Daniel bp. 29 Aug 1633, buried 21 April 1634.
11. Elizabeth bp. 28 Sept. 1634, buried 19 Feb 1634/35.

hingham and beyond
Edward got off the ship and hit the ground running. Some men just seem to thrive in their new home and he was one. On 13 March 1638/9 he took his freeman's oath, allowing him to hold public office and vote in elections. In 1641 he was part of a group who were given a large land grant in what would be the new town of Rehoboth, established in 1643. His son Edward left Hingham for Ipswich by 1646 and Edward Senior follow by 1648, buying his son Edward's property. 

Edward Jr. left Ipswich for Exeter where he began work on a sawmill. His father and mother joined him there in 1652. In May of that year Mr. Edward Gilman was accepted as an inhabitant and given permission to set up sawmill on the Lamprey River. John Folsom, Edward's son in law, also left Exeter and joined in the family business. Sadly Edward Jr. was lost at sea on a voyage to England in 1653. 

When Edward Gilman died, aged about sixty eight, he left an estate valued at 211 pounds in real estate. Much of this land had been given to his sons for their use. John Leavitt had the land in Hingham. Sons Samuel and Moses also held land from Edward. Edward made his final bequests in the form of a deed, which was written on 14 January 1654/5. This deed was presented his deed will to the Quarterly Court held in Salisbury in May of 1655. 

Mary left Exeter after her husbands death and returned to live in Hingham with her daughter Lydia Cushing. Mary died on 22 June1681.

a word about mary
In his many articles on the Gilman family, Clarence Torrey also wrote about Mary's family, the Clark Family. He believed that her parents were John and Elizabeth Clark of Hingham. If so she had three sisters. Rebecca Clark was the first wife of  Joseph Peck, brother of Rev. Robert Peck, she died in England in 1637, he remarried and immigrated with his second wife. There were two other sisters; Margaret who married Anthony Cooper and Jane who married Robert Kirby. The Cooper immigrated to Hingham, New England in 1635 and Jane Kirby stayed in England. If true, Mary Gilman had a sister waiting for her in her new home, this must have been of some comfort to her. 

photo by Adrian S. Pye creative commons license
the lincoln connection
Edward Gilman's sister Bridget married Edward Lincoln in Hingham, England in 1603. Their son Samuel Lincoln is the ancestor of President Abraham Lincoln. There is a memorial to President Lincoln in St. Andrews Church in Hingham. 

Mary Gilman and John Folsom of Hingham

Alexander William Gilman, Searches into the History of the Gillman or Gilman Family, Including the Various Branches in England, Ireland, America and Belgium, (London: Elliot Stock, 1895).

Walter Goodwin Davis, "The Ancestry of Abel Lunt, 1769-1806, of Newbury, Massachusetts, (Portand, Maine: The Anthoensen Press, 1963), Archive ( : accessed 14 December 2015).

Clarence Almon Torrey, "The English Origin of Edward Gilman," The American Genealogist, April 1934, 11-144 digital images, American Ancestors ( : accessed 14 December 2015).

Clarence Almon Torrey, "The Lincoln-Gilman Ancestry," The American Genealogist, April 1934, 11-137, digital images, American Ancestors ( : accessed 14 December 2015).

Clarence Almon Torrey, "The Clark and Cooper Families of Hingham, England," The American Genealogist, July 1936, 13-151, digital images, American Ancestors ( : accessed 14 December 2015).

Clarence Almon Torrey, "Reverend Peter Hobart's Wives," The American Genealogist, July 1935, 12-132, digital images, American Ancestors ( : accessed 14 December 2015).

"Essex County, MA: Probate File Papers, 1638-1881," digital images, AmericanAncestors ( : accessed 20 December 2015); probate case 10958.

Sibyl I. Noyes, Charles Thornton Libby, and Walter Goodwin Davis, Genealogical Dictionary of Maine and New Hampshire, (Baltimore: Genealogical Pub., 1972) 262.

Constance Le Neve Gilman Ames, The Story of the Gilmans and a Gilman Genealogy of the descendants of Edward Gilman of Hingam, England 1550-1950, (Yakima, Washington : Shields Ranier Printing Company, 1950), digital image, Hathi Trust (

Caston Parish Registers, > parishes > Caston > Gilman, Gillman, Gylman, database, Norfolk Transcription Archive ( : accessed 20 December 2015).

Photos from England are from the website Geograph and are used under the creative commons license. 

Saturday, December 12, 2015

John Folsom: Hingham, England to Hingham, Massachusetts

english origins
Hingham is a small rural market town in the county of Norfolk, in England. A town which, I would wager, most people have never heard of. This little English town has a 'daughter' town in Massachusetts, also called Hingham. Hingham, MA, originally called Bare Cove, was formed in 1635 from the proverbial Adam's rib, when a significant portion of the population of Hingham, England separated themselves from their homes, their families and all they knew and created a new Hingham. The driving force behind this migration was the spiritual leadership of the Reverend Peter Hobart, born and raised in Hingham and the Rector of St. Andrew's parish church in Hingham, the Reverend Robert Peck. These men and their congregation hoped to join in the formation of a theocratic state in which they could live free from the intrusion of the Church of England and at the same time impose their religious views on all members of this new society. Joining in this experimental society was John Folsom and his new wife Mary Gilman, both from Hingham.

english folsoms and alias smiths
John Folsom's English ancestry can be traced back about a century or so. He seems to have come from successful yeoman stock who lived in and around the Hingham area. His earliest identifiable ancestor was William Folsom who was born around the year 1500 or so. William married a woman named Agnes Smith of Besthorpe, Norfolk, not far from Hingham. After their marriage he took the surname of Smith and kept the name Folsom as an alias. Why? It has been suggested that perhaps Agnes was a relatively wealthy heiress and William took her surname in honor of her family. Who knows, but his sons, grandsons and great grandsons, used some combination of Folsom-Smith to identify themselves. William wrote his will on 30 September 1551 and it was proved on 31 May 1552. Named in his will were sons: William, Adam and Robert.

William's son Adam married a woman known only as Eme. His will was proved on 2 April 1566 and in it he named his children: Adam, Ellen, Agnes and John. His brother Robert was his executor. He died and was buried in Besthorpe on 11 April 1566. He and his brother were both known as Smith alias Folsom. Adam and Eme's son, John, also used the name Smith alias Folsom. He married a woman named Grace. He died without a will, but his burial was recorded in the Hingham Parish records in 1620.

The Smith-Folsom family really like the name Adam. John's son Adam married a woman named Agnes. He wrote his will in April of 1627, his mother Grace was living with him and he named her in his will. He gave his son John land in Hackford. He also named sons Peter and Adam and a daughter Mary.

Finally we get to John the immigrant. It is assumed that he was baptized in Hingham, but here is no record of it. Based on his testimony in court depositions he is believed to have been born around 1613. John's marriage was recorded in the St. Andrew's parish records. John Folsom alias Smith married Marie Gyleman in Hingham in 1636. Notice that the surnames have switched back and his was calling himself Folsom at the time of the marriage.

coming to america
What were the influences that persuaded John Folsom to pack up and sail to New England. His minister, Reverend Robert Peck, was under threat from Archbishop Laud and the established Anglican church. Peck needed to leave England if he was going to continue preach and practice his puritan beliefs. He would have heard from others who had begun the Massachusetts Colony and been urged to join them. Other ministers had left and lead their flock to America.

John was young, maybe as young as 21 or 22. Mary Gilman Folsom had several brothers John's age, they and their parents also emigrated.  Maybe it sounded like a great adventure to these young men. Whatever their reasons, they bought supplies, farm implements and anything they could bring aboard ship to start a new life, said goodbye to family and friends and traveled south to the mouth of the river Thames. On 26 April 1638 they boarded the ship "The Diligent" long with 130 or so others from Hingham and surrounding towns and villages and set sail for Boston. They arrived in Boston three and a half months later on 10 August.

When the new immigrants arrived the planting season was long over. John and his family would have to survive on what they brought or what they could buy or what their new neighbors could generously share. Their first priority was to secure housing. New England winters are long and cold. A warm house with plenty of firewood was essential to surviving. The Folsoms and the Gilmans not only survived but thrived in their new home.

John and Mary's arrival in Hingham probably felt like a reunion of sorts. They were reunited with friends and neighbors who had left in 1635. John was given a house lot of four acres on which he built his house. Most, if not all, of his children were born in that house. The house was photographed in about 1873, but has long since been torn down.

Not all of the immigrants stayed in Hingham. Adam Folsom, presumably a brother of John's, immigrated a year later, in 1639. He returned to England, where he died in 1670. Reverend Robert Peck also returned to England after the overthrow of the monarchy and the establishment of the great Puritan Experiment. He regained his rectorship of the church in Hingham.

In 1654 Hingham had 60 families and is said to have 'some complete streets'. The predominant industry was farming and fishing.

children of john and mary:

1. Samuel, baptized 3 Oct 1641, (he was born between 1638 and 1639), m. 22 Dec 1663 Mary Robie, d. 1700.

2. John, baptized 3 Oct 1641, (born prob. 1639-1641), m. 10 Nov 1675 Abigail Perkins, d. before 6 Dec 1716.

3. Nathaniel baptized 2 June 1644, m. 9 June 1674 Hannah Farrow, d. after 1714.

4. Israel, baptized 26 April 1646, he married and had a son named Israel. His wife is unknown as is his death.

5. Peter, baptized 8 April 1649, m. Susanna, d. in 1717.

6. Mary, baptized 13 April 1651, m. 12 June 1672 George Marsh, death unknown

7. Ephramin born 28 Dec 1654, m. Phaltiel Hall, d. 11 June 1709 (killed by Indians)

I don't know what John did in England to make a living, but I suspect he was a farmer. He more than likely continued to farm in New England inn order to feed his family. He was also given the liberty, along with Joshua Hobart, brother of Peter, to set up a mills on Rocky Meadow and Bound Brook Rivers.

Men were also expected to participate in the civic life of their towns. In most of Massachusetts men were required to be members of their church and take the freeman's oath in order to vote or hold office. In an unusual move Hingham allowed non freeman to hold town offices. In 1645 John Folsom was chosen to be a Selectman. I cannot find anything that would indicate if he took the Freeman's Oath or not.

Exeter was founded in 1638 by the Reverend John Wheelwright and his congregation which had followed him from England to Massachusetts. He had been at odds with the Puritan establishment  almost since his arrival, and he moved to the province of New Hampshire to avoid their jurisdiction. When New Hampshire came under the control of Massachusetts he and his flock left for Maine.

The land around Exeter was heavily wooded and had many waterfalls that were excellent for sawmill operations. Mary Gilman Folsom's brother Edward took advantage of the opportunity to set up his own mills when most of the occupants of Exeter abandoned the town. John and Mary joined the Gilman family in Exeter by 1659.

John's job in the family operation was to count and measure the lumber produced in the mills. He was also appointed to choose and mark the tall white pines that were destined to become masts on the ship of his Majesty's Navy.

John was also chosen to serve as Selectman and served multiple times on juries.

In 1641 the four towns of New Hampshire petitioned to be taken under the wing of the Massachusetts Bay Colony. By 1665 many of the men of New Hampshire were ready to regain control of their colony. Selectmen from the towns of Dover, Exeter, Portsmouth and Hampton convened and wrote up a petition addressed to King Charles asking for his intervention. When the Governor and General Court of Massachusetts got wind of this they were not pleased. John Folsom's name is mentioned in many of the correspondences concerning this event. John and his fellow New Hampshire men were not successful in their bid for separation.

New Hampshire remained under the control of Massachusetts for many years to come. In 1684, John Folsom Jr. was involved in another attempt to secure a separation from Massachusetts, again they failed, but it's pretty cool that they were willing to take the risk of angering the powers that be to achieve some measure of freedom.

John died on 27 December 1671 at the age of about 66. Mary died 10 years later. Neither John nor Mary had a will. Their eldest son Samuel was appointed the executor of their estate on 7 Jan 1692/3. The estate was valued at only about 11 pounds or so. John must have distributed his estate prior to his death. In 1672 He gave George Marsh, the new husband of his only daughter Mary, 100 acres of land.

Presumably they were buried in the local burying ground, but their graves are long gone.

Edward and Mary Clark Gilman

The Descendants of the First John Folsom; Dea. John, Lieut. Peter, Ephraim Folsom, (Boston: David Clapp and Sons, 1876), digital images, Folsom Info ( : accessed 12 December 2015).

Jacob Chapman, A Genealogy of the Folsom Family: John Folsom and his Descendants, 1615-1882, (Concord: Republican Press Association, 1882), digital images, Archive (http/ : accessed 28 November 2015).

Elizabeth Knowles Folsom, Genealogy of the Folsom Family: A revised and extended edition including English records, 1638-1939, Vol. 1 (Rutland: The Tuttle Publishing Company, Inc., 1938), digital images, ( : accessed 29 November 2015). 

Ezra S. Sterns, William Frederick Whitcher, Edward Everett Parker, Genealogical and Family History of New Hampshire: A Record of the Achievements of Her People in the Making of a Commonwealth and the Founding of a Nation, Vol 2, (New Hampshire: Lewis Publishing company, 1908), 837, digital images, Google Books ( : accessed 29 November 2015.

H. F. Waters, "Genealogical Gleanings in England," The New England Historical and Genealogical Register 61 (April 1907): 195-196; image copy,  American Ancestors ( : accessed 29 November 2015).

Sibyl Noyes, Charles Thornton Libby, Walter Goodwin Davis, Genealogical Dictionary of Maine and New Hampshire, (Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing Co., Inc., 1972) 238-239.

Hingham Parish (Norfolk) Parish Register, Baptisms, Marriages and Burials 1600-1676, p. 39, Foulsham-Gyleman marriage, March 1636; digital images, Family Search (, citing England, Norfolk, Parish Registers, Norfolk County Records Office, 1510-1997.

Barbara Rimkunas, "The Folsoms of Exeter," The Exeter Historical Society, Historically Speaking, ( : accessed 12 December 2015. 

Nathaniel Bouton, "Provincial Papers, Documents and Records Relating to the Province of New Hampshire," Vol. 1, (Concord: George E. Jenks, 1867), Archive ( : accessed 12 December 2015).277-279, 526,544, 551, 559.

Saturday, November 21, 2015

Edmund Barlow England to Charlestown, Massachusetts

english origins
Edmund Barlow is one of those mystery men who just suddenly appear in the records of Massachusetts. No prior information for him can be found which is very frustrating to anyone trying to trace his ancestry. Now, you will see on the web and that Edmund Barlow was born on 1 Oct 1626 in Bolton, Lancashire.[1] I have looked for some kind of proof that would authenticate this birth date but so far I have had no luck. A search of the British website for Edmund Barlow born between 1615 and 1630 brings up about 10 results. I wish I knew why they chose to go with the 1626 Edmund. For now, my confidence level in this information is not high, so I'm going to stick with unknown origins for Edmund.

coming to america
Well, here's another question we can't answer about Edmund. When did he arrive in Massachusetts? Don't know, I'm afraid. His name appears in a court record in 1653. The case involves his in laws the Pembertons. So we know at least he was in Massachusetts by the early 1650s. [2]

Edmund and at least two of his son were mariners by trade. This information comes from the 1685 land grant to his son Thomas, in which he gives his occupation as mariner. [3] This may explain why Edmund did not have much land as he earned his living at sea. In fact, it seems that what land he had, he got from his father in Law, James Pemberton in his will. [4]

The choice of going to sea seems to have been a dangerous occupation. Both of Edmund's sons who became mariners died in foreign places. Edmund Jr. is said to have died in Suriname and Thomas was buried in Barbados. [5]

children of mary and edmund
None of the births for the children of mary and edmund were recorded. Neither Mary nor Edmund were members of the Church. So, the exact dates of their births is not known.

1. Mary b. abt. 1652, m. John Chadwick ancestors, she died 1724.
2. Edmund b. abt. 1655, d. 1695 in Suriname, his father probated his estate.
3. James, b. abt. 1659, mentioned in Grandfather's will, d. in Connecticut March 1690.
4. Thomas, b. abt. 1665, buried in Barbados in 1691.
5. Elizabeth b. abt. 1665, m. James Whiting
6. Sarah b. abt. 1670, m. Thomas Grover
7. Deborah b. abt. 1676, m. James Hovey, d. in Connecticut 1749.

Edmund outlived his three sons, dying himself in 1697. At least two of his daughters lived long lives. Mary Pemberton Barlow died after her husband, but her death was not recorded.

This has been a pretty boring bio. Unfortunately I can't find anything interesting about Edmund, there's just not much written about him. Maybe I'll have better luck with the Chadwicks.

Sources/ Citations

1. Edson Barlow, "Edmund Barlow of Malden Massachusetts," Barlow Genealogy 1998-2004, ( : accessed 21 November 2015).

2. Middlesex County, MA: Abstracts of Court Files, 1649–1675. (Online database:, New England Historic Genealogical Society, 2003), (Unpublished abstracts by Thomas Bellows Wyman, "Abstract of Middlesex court files from 1649," n.d.) Court case involving Ed(ward) Barlow and his In laws James and Mary Pemberton.

3. "Massachusetts Land Records, 1620-1986,"  digital images, Family Search ( : accessed 21 November 2015), Middlesex > Deeds 1684-1693 vol 9-11 > image 238 of 741; county courthouses and offices, Massachusetts.

4. "Middlesex County Probate Files, 1648-1871," digital images, American Ancestors ( : accessed 21 November 2015), James Pemberton, 1662.

5. Thomas B. Wyman, "The Genealogies and Estates of Charlestown, 1629-1818," (Boston : D. Clapp, 1879), digital copy, Internet Archive ( : accessed 21 November 2015), 59.

"Middlesex County Probate Files, 1648-1871," digital images, American Ancestors ( : accessed 21 November 2015), Edmund Barlow, 1697.

Sunday, November 15, 2015

James Pemberton (1608-1662) England to Malden, Massachusetts

english origins
At least two men named James Pemberton immigrated to New England in the early 1630's. [1] They have been confused by some genealogy researchers in the past but their lives have been fairly well documented and luckily they did not live in the same town at the same time. One James lived in Newbury and Boston and the other, our James, lived in Charlestown and Malden. [2] James of Newbury and Boston was said by Walter Watkins to have come originally from Lawford Essex, and he identified Lancashire as the English home of the Quaker Pembertons who immigrated to Pennsylvania. [3] The English origins of our James Pemberton are unknown. [4]

If you do a search of you will find a Dr. William Pemberton and Anne Heaton listed in multiple family trees as the parents of James Pemberton, baptized on 20 March 1607. First of all, there was a James baptized on that date, in London. But his father was identified as John Pemberton. [5] Not that this really matters because we do not know where James came from. One old genealogy claimed that James was at one time the a Knight and the Mayor of London, this is also incorrect.

It's always fun to be able to trace our ancestors across the pond to their English home, unfortunately this is not the case for James. Maybe someone will trace his roots, but until then, beware of any claims for his ancestry.

coming to america
Well, we don't know from where, but we do know when. James was one of many men who applied for freemanship at the General Court held in Boston on the 19 of October 1630. Although he applied, there is no record of him taking the oath. In fact, there is no record of him at all until three years later, in 1633. It is possible that he returned to England for at time. [6]

In  December of 1633 James was admitted to the town of Charlestown and he was a married man. [7] His wife Alice was admitted to the church at Charlestown on 31 August 1633, so we know he was back in Massachusetts by then. [8] Did he return to England to get his wife? What's interesting is that his wife was a church member, but he was not. This meant that he could not take the Freeman's Oath. We do not know anything about Alice, other than her name.

the mystic side  
James was given land in Charlestown, but he also received land in the divisions on the Mystic side, which eventually became the town of Malden. In 1640 the 'mystic side' was set apart from Charlestown and became its own town, Malden.

children of james and alice [9]
Like all reproductive puritans, James and Alice had regularly spaced children, about every two years or so. Unlike most families, they only had four. All four were baptized in Charlestown. Nothing is heard of Alice after the 1642 baptism of John. The only reference to James is his baptism.

1. James, baptized 14 September 1633, no further record, not named in father's will

2. Mary, bp. 3 April 1636, m. abt. 1656 Edmund Barlow

3. Sarah bp. 30 December 1638, m. 30 October 1668, Samuel Gibson

4. John, bp. 24 April 1642, m. by 1668 Deborah Blake

what did he do?
Sometimes the only way to assess what someone was in life is to look at what they left behind in death and this is the for James. The probate and inventory for his estate show a very modest estate valued at only a bit less than eighty five pounds. He owned his house, some land and not a whole lot more. [10] It does not appear that he had a secondary occupation. Did lack of sons hinder James? Most puritan families were significantly larger than James' and he had only one son alive when he wrote his will. Without the 'free' labor of unmarried sons, James may not have been able to farm as much as his neighbors.

Captain Robert Keayne of Boston and Rumney Marsh Farm, left a bequest of 40 shillings to James Pemberton. Keayne said that James was sometimes his servant but now his partner on his farm. This has led many to believe that this was the James Pemberton of Malden, but it was not. In 1683, James Pemberton, age 51, and his wife Sarah, testified in court that they were tenants on the farm of Robert Keayne. Since our James was long dead in 1683, this cannot be our guy. [11]

second marriage
In 1651 an unusual document was generated in Malden in support of their Minister Mr. Matthews. The petition is signed by 31 women, no men, just women. Margaret Pemberton's name appears on that petition. There is no record of the death of Alice, she obviously died sometime after the 1642 birth of her son John and before October of 1651, the date of the petition. Nothing else is known about Margaret Pemberton, only that she survived James. [12]

court records
James appears in two published court records from Middlesex County. The first was in 1653. He, his wife Margaret and his son in law Edward Barlow were involved in some type of dispute with Richard Dexter, his wife Bridget and their daughter Elizabeth. The issue was to be resolved by a group of local men. [13]

In 1654 James was a member of jury who performed an inquest into the accidental shooting death of a twelve year old boy. [14]

James also appeared before the General Court of Massachusetts in a land dispute. He claimed ownership of an Island, known as Pemberton's Island. The Court confirmed that the land was his.

James wrote his will on 23 March 1660. The first bequest he made was to his Edward Barlow, the husband of his daughter Mary. He gave them the upland that they were living on. He also gives them his orchard and fresh meadow, his wife Margaret to get one half of the grass from the meadow while she lived. His daughter Sarah, unmarried at the time was to get ten pounds. His house and the remainder of he estate he split between his son John and his wife, John to have it all on Margaret's death. [15]

James died about two years later. His estate was in probate on 1 April 1662. Presumably he was buried in Malden. It would seem that James lead a very quiet modest life. He made his mark on his will, so he was not able to write his name. There is no record of him taking the Freeman's Oath or becoming a member of the church. He did not seem to have any civic duties, other than serving on the jury.


[1] Jeanette T. P. Barnard, "Two James Pembertons," The Essex Genealogist, 19 (February 1999): 206, American Ancestors ( : accessed 9 November 2015).

[2] Barnard, "Two James Pembertons."

[3] Walter K. Watkins, "The Pemberton Family," The New England Historic and Genealogical Register, 46 (1892) :392-396, American Ancestors ( : accessed 9 November 2015).

[4] Robert Charles Anderson, The Great Migration Begins: Immigrants to N. E. 1620-1633, Vols. 1-3, (Boston: The New England Historic and Genealogical Society, 1995) p. 1419-1420.

[5] England, Baptisms, Marriages and Burials 1538-1812, database with images, ( : accessed 9 November 2015) City of London, St. Augustine Parish, Watling Street, entry for James Pemberton baptism 20 March 1607.

[6] Anderson, Great Migration Begins, 1420.

[7] Torrey's New England Marriages to 1700, online database, digital images, American Ancestors ( : accessed 9 November 2015), entry for James Pemberton and first wife Alice, second wife Margaret.

[8] J. F. Hunnewell, Records of the First Church of Charlestown, 1632-1789, (Boston: D. Clapp and Sons, 1880), Google Books ( : accessed 10 November 2015).

[9] Anderson, Great Migration Begins, 1420.

[10] Middlesex County, Massachusetts, Probate File Papers, 1648-1871, digital images, American Ancestors ( : accessed 9 November 2015), James Pemberton will, written 23 January 1660, filed 1 April 1662, accessed in Middlesex cases 16000-17, page number 17117-2

[11] Mellen Chamberlain, Jenny Chamberlain, and William Richard Cutter, A Documentary History of Chelsea: including the Boston Precincts of Winnisimmet, Rumney Marsh and Pullen Point, 1624-1824, Vol 1, (Boston : 1908), 663.

[12]Deloraine Corey, A History of Malden, MA, 1633-1785, (Malden 1899), 134.

[13] "Middlesex County, Massachusetts Abstract of Court Records, 1643-1674," digital images, American Ancestors ( : accessed 15 november 2015, 1654 inquest for Caleb Johnson.

[14] "Middlesex County, Massachusetts Abstract of Court Records, 1643-1674," digital images, American Ancestors ( : accessed 15 november 2015, 1653 Dispute between James Pemberton and Richard Dexter.

[15] Middlesex Probate Papers, James Pemberton.

Friday, November 13, 2015

Cleopatra 'the Shawano' Powhatan and the Genealogical Proof Standard

Searcher or researcher
Families come in all shapes, sizes and styles; so do the the people who search for them. We may share a common love for genealogy, but we don't always share the same methodology in its pursuit. Most ancestor hunters fall into one of two categories; searcher or researcher. So ask yourself, are you a searcher or a researcher? Do you know the difference? Up until quite recently, I would not have been able to answer that question.

I am currently finishing up an internet genealogy course based on the Thomas W. Jones book, Mastering Genealogical Proof. This course, which I highly recommend, in fact I cannot recommend it enough, has been a real eye opener. I have always been serious about my genealogy, but this class has helped me evaluate/reevaluate not only my research process, but that of others. This process, the Genealogical Proof Standard (GPS) is critical for genealogy researchers. In fact, no reputable genealogist would consider conducting research without it.

(keep reading, I'll get to Cleopatra)
So what does it mean to be a searcher? I think there are several types of searchers. First, there is the serious searcher. A serious searcher is looking for their ancestors, but not in the most productive manner. They kinda jump around from books to web to other documents. They never properly cite sources or more importantly take the time to closely evaluate the source. Is it original, derivative, authored, is the evidence primary, secondary, unknown and is the evidence direct, indirect or negative? The serious searcher reaches a conclusion, which may be correct, but they cannot adequately communicate to others how they got there. This was me. (and it will be a long slog turning from searcher to researcher).

Then, there is the "I want this to be easy" Searcher. They just go on and copy someone else's tree, and voila, done. Who knew genealogy was so easy, it only took me a week to complete my tree and here's the exciting bit, I'm related to Sitting Bull, Henry VIII and Charlemagne. Next week I'm going to learn Mandarin Chinese.

A third type of Searcher is the one who already knows the answer. They flit from website to website looking for someone else's 'research' that fits the answer they want. Did Great Grandma tell you that you were related to someone on the Mayflower? Searchers jump from ancestry tree to ancestry tree looking for one that "proves" Grandma right. Did Grandpa tell you that your Great Grandma was a Shawnee princess, search until you land on website that tells you, heck yeah, Grandma was not only a Princess but the long lost daughter of Chief Powhatan. This searcher will dismiss any and all evidence to the contrary.

In a nutshell, searchers often start with an answer, and look for confirmation. Researchers start with a question and look for evidence, which after careful evaluation, can be used as proof.

Be a researcher not a searcher. A searcher will read about one or two paragraphs of this blog and decide on the spot if this article is headed in the direction that will confirm their answer. If it's not looking good, off they go to the next website. A researcher will read and reread the article, make notes and look at the sources. A researcher will look up those sources and read them themselves. A super researcher will look for the original sources of my sources. A researcher will evaluate the evidence and then make their own logical conclusion.

cleopatra and the GPS
Cleopatra was an Indian woman born in what is now the Tidewater Virginia area, perhaps around the year 1600 or so. Nothing is known about her other than her English name and that Thomas Rolfe, son of Pocahontas, called her his mother's sister. Based on the relationship between Pocahontas and Cleopatra it is believed that Cleopatra was the daughter of Powhatan. If I was doing research on Cleopatra I would need to start with a question. Let's say my question was: When was Cleopatra born? Who was Cleopatra's husband? Or who was her mother? What was her Indian name?

Do you have a 'research' question about Cleopatra? Start, or continue, your research with my article on Cleopatra and her family. Check out my sources and see if they are real, who knows maybe I just made them up to look impressive. Maybe I misread or misinterpreted them. Use some critical judgement. When you leave this page, go do some more research. Reach your own conclusions, not mine and not someone else's. If you find something new come back and give me a answer to your question. And don't forget to bring your sources with you.
Finally!  Here is what I know about Cleopatra

chief powhatan
The Tidewater region of Virginia was, at the time of Cleopatra's birth, under the control of a paramount chief who was and is known by the name Chief Powhatan, but whose real name was Wanhunaconacook (this is one of several contemporary spellings of his name). [1] Powhatan, as I'll call him, was the head of a confederation of about thirty or so Algonquian speaking tribes living in and around the Chesapeake Bay, they called their land Tsenacommacah. Very little, if anything, was known about Powhatan or his people prior to the arrival of the English. The Spanish had made a brief attempt to establish a beachhead with the purpose of converting the Indians to Christianity, but the small contingent of Jesuits were quickly murdered by the local Indians. [2] What we do know of Powhatan and his family comes from the contemporary writings of the English explorers and colonists who came to Virginia and documented what they saw and learned as they explored their new home.

According to current members of the Pamunkey Indian Tribe, the parents of Powhatan are unknown. Forget about Murmuring Ripple, Dashing Stream and Morning Scent Flower and all those other names you see on the internet because they belong in a file folder labeled junky genealogy. It is possible that John Smith and others asked Powhatan about his ancestors, but the names were not recorded, and if they were I believe they have been written like his, Wahunsenacawh (the original English spelling), and not some dubious English translation. Another reason some scholars believe that Powhatan did not/would not reveal his ancestors names has to do with the Algonquian culture and that they did not speak of the dead for fear of causing grief for their survivors or for fear of ghosts, as the dead were believed to come back and make people ill. [3]

We do know that Powhatan inherited his right to lead from his mother. As a matrilineal society the power of the tribe passed through the female line. Leadership was transferred to the oldest son and then to his brothers and finally their sisters. When Powhatan died he was succeeded by his brother Opitchapam and then Opechancanough. A third brother, Kekataugh, did not succeeded to the ultimate leadership position, but he did rule the Pamunkey Tribe, along with Opitchapam and Opechancanough. [4]

the recorder
William Strachey was born in 1572, a world away from Powhatan. His home was in Saffron Waldon, Essex, England. After attending Cambridge University he embarked on a diplomatic career which eventually lead to his boarding the ship The Sea Venture in 1609. Destination: Virginia. Also on board was the new Lt. Governor of the fledgling colony, Sir Thomas Gates, and John Rolfe and his wife. Despite being shipwrecked in Bermuda, most of the crew and passengers made their way to Point Comfort, on the Chesapeake Bay on 10 May 1610. Sadly, but significantly, Mrs. Rolfe and her new baby, Bermuda, did not survive. [5] 

Arriving in Jamestown on 24 May 1610, the newcomers were shocked by what they found. Of the original 240 or so colonists, only about 60 were still alive. This period has come to be known as "The Starving Time."  Having no extra supplies, Lt. Governor Gates was on the point of abandoning the town when Sir Thomas West, the new Governor, arrived with life sustaining supplies. The colonists would stay. [6]

William Strachey was appointed secretary and recorder of the council set up by the new Governor. I don't know if it was always his intention to write a pamphlet on Virginia, but he began to make note of what he saw around him.  He interviewed, extensively, two English speaking Indians, Machumps and Kemps. According to James Horn, Strachey first met Machumps in England, where he spent some time. From these two men he gathered information on the the Powhatan Indians, their lives and culture. Strachey did not stay long in Jamestown, he returned home in 1611. Back in England he began work on a manuscript about his time in the Jamestown and all that he had learned about the people who inhabited the area. He titled the manuscript "The Histoire of Travaile in Into Virginia Britannia." [7]  Most of what we know of Powhatan and his family comes from his writings.

the wives of powhatan
According to the Indian Kemps, Powhatan had numerous wives. At the time (1610-1611) of Strachey's interview, Kemps named twelve of the current favorites. One of the wives' named was Winganuske. She was the sister of Machumps. [8]

Strachey wrote that Powhatan was said to have had at that time, twenty sons and ten daughters. Winganuske, a favorite of Powhatan, had a small child in addition to these thirty. Pocahontas was also named, in addition to the fore mentioned thirty. [9]  What he does not tell us is the name or sex of Winganuske's child or the name of the mother of Pocahontas. In fact, here are his exact words:

I say they often reported unto us that Powhatan had then lyving twenty sonnes and ten daughters, besyde a young one by Winganuske, Machumps his sister, and a great darling of the Kings; and besides young Pocohunta, a daughter of his using sometyme to our fort in tymes past, now married to a private captain called Kocoum, some two years since.[10]

Strachey's grammar and syntax can make his exact meaning difficult to pin down. What is clear is that Strachey did not list the names of Powhatan's children. This will be an important point in the next section of this article. 

the children of powhatan
In the next chapter of his book, Strachey describes the power structure of the Powhatan Confederacy including the role of the weroance, which he and John Smith described as a commander. Strachey wrote a brief bio for many of the weroances, of whom he says there were about thirty four. The first weroance described was Parahunt, who Strachey said was a son of Powhatan.  He was also known as Tanxpowhatan (Little Powhatan). Parahunt was the leader of the Powhatan Tribe. [11] 

Oholasc was Queen of the Tapahanock tribe which paid tribute to Powhatan. Oholasc had a young son, whom Stachey said was the supposed son of Powhatan. His name was Tatacope and he was to be the weroance of the Tapahanock once he came of age.[12] Another weroance was a son of Powhatan was Pochins; Strachey said he was the young weroance of Kecoughtan. [13] 

According to Helen Rountree, Powhatan took wives from the tribes under his control. This created not only political ties, but family ties to his power base. Once the wife gave birth she was returned to her own people. She would raise the child for the first few years and then send it back to be reared in the house of Powhatan. The wife would then be free to remarry. For this reason, most, if not all, of Powhatan's children were half siblings, sharing only their father. [14]

other children
Only three other children have been identified as the offspring of Powhatan. Matachanna, a daughter, who in 1616 was married to the priest Uttamatomakkin. She may have traveled with Pocahontas, John Rolfe and Uttamatomakkin to England, but there is no record of her doing so. Pocahontas also had a brother named Nataquoud. [15]

Nataquoud was present at the aborted execution of John Smith. Smith wrote about him later saying he was the most manliest, comeliest and boldest spirit he has seen in a "savage". [16] Helen Rountree also says that there was another daughter whose marriage was recorded, but whose name was not. At the age of eleven she married an important tribal leader, three days journey away. That leaves us with Cleopatra.

As I stated earlier, the only thing we think we know about Cleopatra is that she was the daughter of Powhatan and the sister of Pocahontas. We know this because Thomas Rolfe, several years after his return to Virginia, petitioned the Governor for permission to see her. Thomas' petition was heard in the Council on 17 December 1641. He asked for permission to see 'Opechanko', to whom he was allied and Cleopatra, his mother's sister. [17]

internet version of cleopatra
The internet tells us a very different story about the life of Cleopatra. According to stories all over the web, Cleopatra married her uncle Opechancanough and is the mother of at least two children, including, Hokolesqua Cornstalk and Princess Nicketti. (see my blog on Nicketti) Very recently she, Cleopatra has been called 'Cleopatra the Shawano Powhatan', alleging some kind of Shawnee heritage. The wikitree profile for her is a really amazing mess of names. The one thing that these internet bio's cannot/will not tell us is the source of their information. No one is able to say, I know this about Cleopatra and this is how I know it. Below is one wikitree bio for Cleopatra.

Cleopatra the Shawano Powhatan
Born about 1602 in Orapaks, Virginia, Cleopatra the Shawano Powhatan Wife of Opechancanough Mangopeesomon Opechan Stream Powhatan — married[date unknown] [location unknown] Mother of Nicketti Mangopeesomon Opechan Powhatan and Hokolesqua Opeechan Stream (Cornstalk) Shawnee Died 1680 in Henrico, Virginia, United States
Daughter of Wahunsenacawh Powhatan and Amopotuskee (UNKNOWN) Powhatan
Sister of Nanatahoack Powhatan, Mehta Powhatan, Tahacoope Quiquocohannock Powhatan, Cleopatra Scent Flower (Scent Flower) Powhatan, Tomoco Powhatan,Mantequos Powhatan, Taux Powhatan, Parahunt Powhatan, Namontack Powhatan,Cornstalk Wind Clan Powhatan, Quimca Powhatan, Pochins Powhatan, Secotin Powhatan, Opachankeno Powhatan, Nataquos Powhatan, Pamouic Powhatan, Mehtafe Powhatan,  Matachanna Powhatan,  Tatacoope the Shawano Powhatan, Powcanoe Powhatan, Taux the Shawano Powhatan, Secotin Powhatan, Mantequos Powhatan,Pochins the Shawano Powhatan, Pamouic Powhatan, Mahtafe Powhatan, Tahacoope Quiquocohannock Powhatan, Matoaka Amonute Powhatan, Namontack Powhatan, Nantaquas the Shawano Powhatan, Quimeca Powhatan, Parahunt the Shawano Powhatan,Cleopatra Powhatan, Tomoco Powhatan and Unknown Powhatan

Okay, so what are we looking at here. I did take out some of the duplication in the original wikitree to make it easier to read, but for the most part this is the information on that site. Where did all these names come from? What does "the Shawano" mean? Who was Cornstalk Windclan Powhatan and where is the documentation for him/her? There is no source of documentation offered. If you have done much searching you have most likely seem the sentence that reads something like this: "we know the names of many of Powhatan's children from the testimony of Machumps." But here's the problem with that, Machumps never named the childen of Powhatan. While in London, he 'testified' that Powhatan killed the remnants of the Roanoke Colony. He talked to Strachey about the Powhatan people, but there is no list of names of Powhatan's, children.

bearclans, windclans and cornstalks
Remember that junky genealogy folder, add bear clan, wind clan and cornstalk to it. Also, add shawano while your at it. This wikitree claims that the mother of all/most of these children was Amopotuskee, a Shawnee Indian woman from the Bear Clan in the Shenandoah Valley some 185 miles away. Other wikitrees, for the same people, have different mothers. Cleopatra has four or five profiles, each with different information. When questioned about this, one of the profile managers claimed that there were four women named Cleopatra.This should send up red flags for any researcher who is looking for documented evidence. My advice: although wikitree is a great site, avoid this Powhatan mess.

shawnee heritage
Most of this information/misinformation seems to be based on the un-sourced Shawnee Heritage Books. All I will say about them is: if you can't provide a source for your information, then all of your content is not worth the paper it's written on. And claiming 'psychic ability' as a source of your information is more than slightly off-putting.  I'm certainly not paying $45.00 for book with no sources. I have also read enough bad reviews of these books to be concerned with their content. I would urge you to tread with caution when using the books as a source for your genealogy. Use it as a starting point, but like any good genealogist, seek confirmation in original, primary sources. 

what about oral history
Oral history can be a great resource for genealogy. Treat it as a launchpad for more research, not as the gospel truth. You only have to watch one episode of The Genealogy Roadshow to see people's oral history researched and revealed as fiction. Usually there is some nugget of truth to the stories passed down by family members, but it's less shiny and bright than they had been lead to believe. The further back in time the story stretches, the more likely it is to be incorrect. 

That being said, here is some oral history from the Mattaponi Tribe who were once members of Chief Powhatan's federation. The Mattaponi say that the mother of Pocahontas and Mattachana was a Mattaponi Indian woman. The 'matta' in Mattachana indicates that her mother was of that tribe. Their oral history of Pocahontas goes on to tell us that after she was kidnapped by the English, her Indian husband, Kocoum was murdered. During her captivity Pocahontas was brutally raped, possibly by Sir Thomas Dale. She gave birth to the child and later married John Rolfe who claimed the son as his own.[18] 

Now, how many people who say they are descended from Thomas Rolfe have changed their family tree once they read that oral history? Not everyone who claims an oral history that includes Cleopatra can be correct. Whose oral history has the most weight, today's Indian descendants of Powhatan or Caucasian folks whose great granny said she was an Shawnee Indian who hid out and did not get put on a reservation?

what is a mangopeesomon?
In the above wikitree some of the Indians have been given a surname. I understand that wikitree makes you supply a name but why this mishmash: Nicketti Mangopeesoman Opechan Powhatan. In 1622, just prior to their attack on Jamestown, Opechancangough and his brother Opitchapam changed their names. Opechancangough became Mangopeesomon. This was his personal name, changed for his own personal and spiritual reasons. I see no reason why it should be applied to anyone else. 

who was don luis?
In 1561 a Spanish Caraval was blown off course and dropped anchor in a wide river in the Chesapeake Bay. They sailors did some exploring and make repairs to the ship. The encountered at least two Indian males who for some reason opted to go to Spain with them. The fate of only one of the Indians is recorded.

Paquiquineo, described as a young Indian, was renamed Don Luis de Velasco by the Spanish. He traveled to Madrid and met with King Philip II, and spent some time in the New World, visiting Mexico City. After nine years away from home, he longed to return to his homeland. To make a long story short, Don Luis convinced a group of Jesuit Priests to return with him to Virginia and set up a mission to convert the Indians to Christianity. Shortly after they arrived they began to build an outpost on the Pamunkey River near a village whose people were subjects to Don Luis' family. [19] However, upon his return, Don Luis reverted to his Indian heritage, cast off his Christianity and slaughtered all the Jesuit Priests, dramatically ending any hope the Spanish had for adding Virginia to their list of conquests. 

It has been suggested that Don Luis and Opechancanough are one and the same. Author Don Horn suggests that this is possible. He also says that if they were not the same man then they would at least be contemporaries and would have known of each other. [20] According to the EncyclopediaVirginia entry for Don Luis, scholar Helen Rountree does not believe they were the same person. [21]

From a historical perspective, the two men might or might not be the same person. Where does this leave us from a genealogical standpoint? If there is no historical proof, then there is no genealogical proof. There is only speculation. Without proof you have nothing. 

who was hokolesqua
According to the example wikitree, Hokolequa Ope[e]chan Stream Cornstalk was the son of Cleopatra and Openchancanough. Hokolequa, for a nice change, was a real Indian and his life is documented. He was born, probably around 1720 in Pennsylvania. He was called Cornstalk by the Anglo-Americans. He was a Shawnee leader who fought against the British, siding with the French. He was killed in 1777. As this man was born some sixty years after the death of Opechancanough, simple math should tell you that it is not possible for him to be his son. [22]

why do we care
Hokolesqua is said, according to the above wikitree, and many other web generated family trees, to be the husband of Pasmere Powhatan. Pasmere was the daughter of Pride Powhatan and an Englishman named 'Thomas Pasmere Carpenter'. Thomas is the central figure in another myth connected to Cleopatra. According to the legend, Thomas Pasmere Carpenter married Pride Powhatan, daughter of Cleopatra and Opechancanough. Their children are said to be Shawnee, but their grandchildren somehow become Cherokee. This myth has been thoroughly investigated and found to be totally false.

Thomas Passmore was a carpenter by occupation who immigrated to the Virginia Colony by 1624, when he received a land grant. [23] In this grant he is called Thomas Passmore, of James City, Carpenter. He arrived a single man, but later married an English woman named Jane. He did not marry an Indian woman and he did not run off to Tennessee. He did however, go to Maryland, where Thomas Passmore, Carpenter of St. Marie's Parish bought and sold land, appeared in court, served on juries, and was mentioned in probate cases. [24]

back to cleo and the gps
So here we are back to Cleopatra. I have look high and low for her and the help of several excellent researchers, thanks Jim Glanville and Susan Reynolds! The GPS tells us that we must do an exhaustive search, I think I did a pretty good job so far. I have even followed the supposed family to look for clues. Step two; cite your sources, see below. Step three; analyse sources to assess their usefulness. I have found only one source, it is the Randolph Manuscript Volume 3 page 234. This manuscript is an 18th century copy of the Bland Manuscript which is in turn a copy of some of Virginia's original records. [25]

Our single source for Cleopatra is a derivative record, meaning it was copied from an original, and in this case it seems to be a copy of a copy. Because we cannot compare this derivative to the original we have no idea if any mistakes were made. The information is primary, it was likely written at the time of the council meeting. The evidence when applied to questions concerning Cleopatra gives us a direct answer to only one question, was Cleopatra the sister of Pocahontas. We are left with any number of unanswered genealogical questions, when was she born, who was her mother, was her father Powhatan, who did she marry, did she have any children? None of these questions can be answered by this tiny scrap of information.

How then has she come to be in so many family trees? Good question, I blame the 'copy and pasters' on the internet. At the beginning of my article I asked "are you a searcher or a researcher"? If you a serious searcher or researcher, copy my citation list and dive into the hunt. Let me know if you have anything I don't or if you find any new 'evidence'. If you are a 'copy and paster' or you already know the answer to your Cleopatra questions, I'm glad ya'll made it all the way to the end of this article and hope you have a nice day!  



[1] Francis Mossiker, Pocahontas: The Life and the Legend, (New York: DeCapo Press, 1995).

[2] James Horn, A land as God Made It, Jamestown and the Birth of America, (New York: Basic Books, 2005), 9.

[3] Helen C. Rountree, Pocahontas, Powhatan, Opechancanough, Three Indian Lives Changed by Jamestown, (Charlottesville: University of Virginia Press, 2005).

[4] Frank E. Grizzard and D. Boyd Smith, Jamestown Colony: A Political, Social and Cultural History, (ABC-CLIO, 2007).

[5] Natalie Zacek, "William Strachey 1572-1621", Encyclopedia Virginia
( : accessed 20 October 2015).

[6] Zacek, "William Strachey."

[7] Zacek, "William Strachey."

[8] William Strachey and Richard Henry Major, The Historie of Travaile Into Virginia Britania: Expressing the Cosmographie and Comodities of the Countrie, Togethir with the Manners and Customes of the People, (London, 1894); digital images, Google Books ( : accessed 20 October 2015).

[9] Strachey and Major, The Historie of Travaile into Virginia, 54

[10] Strachey and Major, The Historie of Travaile into Virginia, 54

[11] Strachey and Major, The Historie of Travaile into Virginia, 55-56

[12] Strachey and Major, The Historie of Travaile into Virginia, 57

[13] Strachey and Major, The Historie of Travaile into Virginia, 60

[14] Helen C. Rountree, "Marriage in Early Virginia Indian Society," article, Encyclopedia Virginia, Virginia Foundation for the Humanities, 30 May. 2014. Web. 23 October 2015.

[15] Rountree, Pocahontas, Powhatan, Opechancanough, 35.

[16] Thomas Wentworth Higgins, A Book of American Explorers, (Boston: Lee and Shepard, 1877) 258.

[17] Rountree, Pocahontas, Powhatan, Opechancanough.

[18] Phoebe Mills Farris, "Pocahontas' First Marriage: The Powhatan Side of the Story," article, American Indian, ( : Spring 2014 issue; accessed 1 November 2015).

[19] Horn, A Land as God Made It, 15-16.

[20] Rountree, Pocahontas, Powhatan, Opechancanough.

[21] Brendan Wolf, "Don Luis de Velasco/Paquiquineo (fl. 1561-1571)," article, Virginia Foundation for the Humanities, Encyclopedia Virginia, ( : accessed 31 October 2015).

[22] "Hokolesqua," Ohio History Central, article, Ohio History Connection,  (http://www.ohiohistorycentral,org : accessed 3 November 2015).

[23] Thomas Passmore patent, 14 August 1624, Land Office Patents [Book] 1, 1623-1643: 10; Colonial Land Office Patents, 1623-1774; Virginia State Archives; digital images, "Virginia Land Office Patents and Grants," Library of Virginia ( : accessed 7 November 2015).

[24] William Hand Brown, Clayton Coleman Hall, Bernard Christian Steiner, Archives of Maryland, Vol 4, (Baltimore: Maryland Historical Society, 1877).

[25] xxxx Glanville, Blacksburg, VA [e-mail for private use] to Jeanie Roberts, e-mail, 2 November 2015, "Cleopatra in the Randolph Manuscript," local folders, Powhatan Indians, privately held by Jeanie Roberts [e-mail and address for private use] Texas, 2015

[26] xxxx Reynolds, [e-mail for private use] to Jeanie Roberts, e-mail, 6 November 2015, "False Indian Genealogy," local folders, Powhatan Indians, privately held by Jeanie Roberts [e-mail and address for private use] Texas, 2015.

unusual notes for Opechancanough found on message boards:

1. As for myself the belief in Opechancanough as my 8th grandfather fits because while stationed in England in the 50’s I had a strange urge to kill English women and children.This of course bothered me greatly so much so that I would not even tell my shrink.Finding out about Opechancanough had let me realize that it was bred into me and I am not really a potential mass murderer.For this reason I embrace Opechancanough as mine and honor his name for being probably the first native American to fight for Indian rights.I even call my new grandson "Opi" even though my son named him (xxxxx).

2. Chief Opechancanough had brought back a woman from his attack on Jamestown in 1622. Her name was Mary Sizemore. They had a child named Goldenhawk Sizemore. Goldenhawk left the Powhatan's to live in the "white" world. As he was traveling south, he met a woman named Agnes "Aggie" Cornett Shephard, who was supposedly half Cherokee. Many of the Sizemore's are decended from this union as one of Goldenhawk's descendants was George All Sizemore, who had some 50+ children.
Want to leave a comment? Please be thoughtful, leave your sources if you are making a claim.

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