Sunday, December 18, 2016

Henry Kinne of Salem, Massachusetts (1624-1698) Was Sir Thomas Kinne his Ancestor?

King's Lynn COA from Wikipedia
This post is about my ancestor Henry Kinne (Kenny, Kinny, Keny, and any other variant of the name) and his wife Ann of Salem, Massachusetts. Multiple books have been written about Henry, his ancestors and his descendants which you would think would make this an easy bio to write. However, these books are full of undocumented claims which under scrutiny do not hold up. Unfortunately not everyone is willing to do the leg work needed to get the facts and instead copy and paste information from ancestry and other internet genealogy sites including, sadly, my favorite Wikitree. Luckily one researcher, Georgia Kinney Bopp, has done her research and has put up a great website about Henry. I'll post a link at the bottom. For sanity's sake I am going to use the surname spelling of Kinne for this article, but there is no clear consensus of how to spell his surname.

fictitious claims?
According to multiple publications and most internet genealogy site the standard 'facts' about Henry Kinne are as follows:

1. Henry was born on 8 July 1623 in King's Lynn, Norfolk, England
2. Henry was baptized on 3 May 1624 in Leiden, Holland (Netherlands) where he parents had fled to avoid persecution.
3. His father/Grandfather was Sir Thomas Kinne who was created a baronet in 1618
4. Henry arrived in Massachusetts in 1635, sailing on the "Elizabeth and Ann"
5. Henry married Ann Putnam/ Ann Howard

The first four of these claims are outright fabrications; the fifth, whether true or not, cannot be proven. What, then, are the source(s) of these claims and how were they backed up?

fiction writers
In the mid to late 1800's Americans, with our wars with England behind us and firmly settled in their identity, began looking back to England fondly. They began wanting to make a connection with their forefathers homeland and began to look for their ancestral origins. New England ancestry is centered in the British Isles. In the 1800's up to the mid 1900's the only way to travel to England was by boat; it was expensive and once you got there how would you know where to start your research? Many Americans employed  researchers to find their ancestors for them. Rich Americans did not want to find that their ancestor was a serf on a farm, they wanted to be related to someone of significance, a gentleman or a knight at the very least. And some Americans got what they wanted whether it was actually true or not because the researcher created a fake ancestry for them. This would have been okay except, once in possession of the fake information they began to publish it in books and journals. Genealogy Standards did not exist very early on and many of these writers did not include sources for their information and if they had employed a researcher they may not had be given the source information.

emerson kinne 1881
We do not know who introduced the false information but it seems some of  it was first published by Emerson Kinne in 1881. Emerson's version of Kinne is as follows: born in 1624 in Norfolk, son of Sir Thomas Kinne who was knighted for some 'signal service' to the government. The family left England for Holland. Henry arrived in Massachusetts when he was 30 years old and settled on a farm in Salem in 1653. No mention of wife and the author states that Henry, a prosperous farmer died in 1712. [1] Where did he come  by the name Sir Thomas Kinne? Did he make it up or was it given to him by a researcher? We will never know, but the fact remains that there was no such person as Sir Thomas Kinne. This man simply did not exist. He did not live in King's Lynn, he was not knighted, he did not have a son who was born in 1624 and he did not leave England for Leiden. But he is the snowball that started the avalanche of false information about Henry Kinne's origins.

raymon myers tingley 1935
Raymon Tingley adds a bit more to the Henry story in his 1935 book on his family. He states the following about Henry: Henry was born 3 May 1624 and died 6 June 1712 in Salem. Apprenticed to Vincent Potter 1639, married 3 May 1650, Ann, daughter of Thomas and Susanna Howard and Ann Unknown widow of James Lane after 1688. Tingley steers clear of the Sir Thomas Kinne story. Notice how he says Henry was born and married on 3 May. [2]

florance kenney robertson 1947
In 1947 Florance Kenney Robertson published her book on the ancestry of Henry and Ann Kinne. Her version of the Kinne ancestry had evolved greatly and is as follows: Henry was the son of John Keney and Sarah Cheever and was the grandson of Sir Thomas Kinne, Baronet, of King's Lynn. Born 8 July 1623, he was baptized in Leiden on 3 May 1624. [3]   Robertson introduces two very specific dates, one for his birth and one for his baptism. No explanation for the delay in baptism is given.  Most children born in this time of high infant mortality were baptized fairly soon after birth. Florance has also changed his father from Sir Thomas to Sir Thomas' son John. The false information has begun to evolve and Henry is given what appears to be a solid birth and baptismal date. Where did this information come from? Why did Emerson Kinne not know his birth or baptismal date? Why can no record of these events be found? These dates are clearly fabricated. Florance also seemed to be in possession of some document which confirmed a different name of Henry's wife. She said that he married Ann Putnam on 10 December 1649. More about that later.

In the preface of her book, Florance says that one of her future publications will be the ancestry of certain pioneers back to Adam (as in Adam and Eve). Thank the gods of genealogy that she never wrote it! What a mess that would be.

Henry was not baptized in Leiden. His Puritan parents did not flee to Leiden to escape religious persecution. In 1607 a group of religious separatists, who would later become the Pilgrims, fled the small English village of Scrooby in Nottinghamshire for Amsterdam. A year later the settled in Leiden where they took up their lives, learning new trades, but continuing in their 'separate' religious beliefs. They eventually became dissatisfied with Leiden and their failure to convert their Dutch protestant neighbors to their particular beliefs. We all know what happened in 1620, they left.[4] For more information read Nick Bunker's  Making Haste from Babylon a great book on the separatist who became the Pilgrim Fathers.

hazel otis crane 1955
How Hazel got away with her book I'll never know. This woman copied Florance Robertson's book, word for word, when she wrote her bio of Henry Kinne. I mean word for word, she totally plagiarized Robertson. Just like Florance she included Pope's reference to Henry Kenninge in his book Pioneers of Massachusetts. Pope said Henry Kenninge was apprenticed to William Parks of Roxbury by Vincent Potter on 21 (4) 1639. Pope does not say much about Potter, only noting that he was a Gentleman and that he came on the "Elizabeth and Ann" in 1635. Florance Robertson made a huge leap and assumed without a shred of proof that Vincent Potter was related to Henry and somehow zipped over to Holland to pick him up on his way to Massachusetts. [5] Potter was born in 1614 in Warwickshire to unknown parents, he was a merchant, soldier and regicide who returned to England in 1639, hence the reassignment of his four apprentices. There is no reason to believe that he was in any way related to any of the apprentices he left behind in England. See this interesting bio of Potter.

mabel gould demers hinckley, whew! 1968
In previous books on Henry, not much mention is made of his purported parents, John and Sarah Cheever Keney. Who were they and where did they come from? Who knows?  Mabel knows. According to Mabel Gould Demers Hinckley, John and Sarah Cheever were married in England. She says John was an Innkeeper in Boston and died in 1670. Sarah, she said, died in 1674. [6] No record can be found that confirms these people existed.

There was however, a John Kenney/Keeney who in 1657 married a Sarah Farr in Salem. Salem was also home to Henry Kinne. This John died in 1670, other than making a few bequeaths, he named no children of his own in his will, leaving the bulk to Sarah. Sarah remarried to John Holmes in 1672. [7] Some people claim that these were Henry's parents but, John Kenney did not name Henry in his will and Sarah remarried and had children with  her second husband. [8] Clearly a woman who is child bearing in 1672 cannot be the mother of a man born in 1623, not to mention the fact that she and John were not married until 1657.

There is no reason to believe that Henry's parents immigrated to New England or that their names were John and Sarah Cheever Kinne.

coat of arms
From F. K. Robertson's book
In her book, Florance Robertson included a picture which she claims was of the Kinne coat of arms. She says that it was the original Kinne arms and that on the bottom of the drawing the following was written: By the name of Kinne, granted and confirmed, 4 October 1618, to Sir Thomas Kinne of Norfolk and his descendants of the name.[9] How can a man who didn't exist have a coat of arms. He couldn't of course, the coat of arms is not his.

A rootsweb group took a long hard look at Henry Kinne in the early 2000's. An Englishman named Laurence Kinney tackled the question of the coat of arms. He says that he visited with Windsor Herald William G. Hunt at the College of Arms in the City of London. They searched the College's extensive records and could find no one with any variant of the name Kinne who had been knighted or had received a Baronet. [10] One of the indexes they searched was the "Britain, Knights Of The Realm & Commonwealth Index" which is currently searchable on Findmypast. No Thomas Kinne.

There is an undated entry for the name Kinne in the General Armory of England, Scotland, Ireland and Wales. But there is no forename. The entry says only: Kinne Gu a chev. ar. That's it.

john kynne
John Kynne was a real man, who lived in King's Lynn during the 1500's. He was a shipowner and merchant who served as alderman, mayor and member of parliament for King's Lynn. See this bio of him on History of Parliament online. This John had only one son who was a minor in 1573, the year of his death. Nothing further is known about this family. He did not have a son named Thomas. There is no information on his son John and whether he married and had children is not known, but he did not have a son named Thomas who was made a Baronet in 1618 or any other year.

edward randolph kinney
Edward Kinney was a family researcher, living in Denver in the 1930's-1940's. While he never published a book, he wrote many letters to his family about his ancestry and Henry Kinne. One of his letters was transcribed and can be found in the Kinney-L archives. I cannot speak to his integrity but I can say that his letter is full of garbage.

His writings include a lurid description of life in England for the adherents of the more puritan strain of Protestantism. He says, "those who dared to differ were persecuted to the limit" and  "confiscation of property and breaking up of families was the order of the day." This is blatantly untrue. He also paints a bleak future for those traveling to the new world. He says of the indentured servant, "they were to be auctioned off to the highest bidder," and then, "they were slaves to those who bid on them. Seldom if ever did they work out their passage money in 21 years." He said that indenture servants who ran away from their masters were penalized by death. Again, not true. Now it was probably not a easy life and as always there are those who are cruel and unfair, but to categorically paint all those who employed indentured servants as diabolical master is ridiculous.

Kinney then goes on to say that apprenticeship was another form of slavery. He says, " apprentices...were indentured for a period of seven years for 6 shillings and 5 pence." He says they automatically became freeman and the end of their indenture. This is bollocks and nonsense. Apprenticeship was a centuries old tradition of teaching professions. Goldsmiths, Merchants, Candle Makers, Linen Drapers, and on and on, all learned their trade through apprenticeship, and their fathers paid a pretty penny for their sons to be trained.

Here is a brief list of other false statements made in this one letter:

1. Henry reconciled with his father and mother John Keney and Mary Cheever in Roxbury- these are not his parents.
2. Upon completion of his apprenticeship Henry was made a Freeman- false Henry was a Freeman in 1678.
3. Henry disembarked at Salem Village- false Salem Town and Salem Village were separate places. Salem Town was a seaport, Salem Village a farming community.
4. Henry was a master of law pertaining to his real and personal rights. He never lost a case and always acted as his own attorney. - Check out the court records, Henry lost most of the time.
5. Henry is mentioned in the diary of Rev. Green concerning the Witch Trials- Rev. Green did not start his diary until after the trials. Henry is not mentioned in them at all.
6. Henry's wife and daughter testified at the trial- false, Anne Putnam who testified was not Henry's wife but the wife of Thomas Putnam and it was their daughter Anne who testified not Henry's.
7. Henry was called Goodman, the highest honor a church could bestow on a layman- what????? Goodman had nothing to do with the church and everything to do with how much money you had.

I could list more, but clearly Edward Kinney did not have a firm grip on his history. And in the scheme of things these are pretty minor but then he wrote about the bible. [11]

the bible and the fire
Edward Kinney's writings are pretty easy to dismiss or forgive until he began to write about Henry's bible. He claimed that Henry wrote his own name, that of his parents, and his grandfathers and their place of residence in England in his family bible. This enabled his descendants to trace their lineage back to the date 28 September 1066. In case you don't know that is the date that Duke William of Normandy invaded England. How was he able to trace this lineage is anyone's guess. Kinney called it an 'authentic' record. Kinney next said that Henry's son Thomas made a copy of the names for his own records. Henry's house in Roxbury burned down, according to Kinney, all his worldly goods were lost including the bible. The Roxbury congregation took up a collection for Henry, five pounds, for him to start a new life.  Nothing about this story rings true.

Henry lived in Roxbury when he was an apprentice. Once complete, Henry moved to Salem Village where he settled down and started his family. Henry and Ann's first child was John. His birth was recorded in the Salem records in as Jan __ 1651. Henry's son Thomas, b. 1655 died at the young age of 32. Thomas and his family also lived in a part of Salem that was first known as Salem Village, but is now called Danvers. Henry never lived in Roxbury after his removal to Salem.

There is no proof that Henry knew how to write. He made his mark and one time made his autograph, but that does not mean he knew how to write. Many small children can print their name, but they do not know who to actually write.

On her website Georgia Bopp writes,
In one of his papers/letters, ERK (Edward Randolph Kinney) states that the bible was destroyed in a fire.  Elsewhere he states that his uncle offered someone $5000 for the Bible in the early 1900's and that [the uncle or ERK had] traced the bible to a family in New Preston, CT, but the owner refused to let him see it.[12]
No one has ever seen the bible or the copied pages of the bible. It seems as if the bible never existed and that Edward Kinney fabricated it's existence in order to advance his genealogy. So all we are left with is the deposition.

the deposition
In a 1911 publication, Henry Kinne is said to have been deposed in 1684, giving his age as 60. This establishes  a birth year of 1624. [13] A earlier publication offered more information about the deposition. It seems a man named John Burton wrote his will in October 1684 and died the following month. Henry Kenney, was deposed in the probate of his estate. During the deposition he gave his age as 60 years old and made a statement concerning the will of John Burton. [14]

By the 1992 publication by Basil E. Kinney, this simple deposition by Henry Kinne and John Nichols concerning the wishes of their friend John Burton for the disposal of his estate has become a recitation of Henry's genealogy. This is what B. E. Kinney claims was in Henry's deposition:
In making a deposition in 1684 at Salem, Ma. Henry Keney stated that he was sixty years of age, "my father was ye John Keney out of Norfolk, in ye olde England, and my mother was ye Cheever, and my grandfather was ye Sir Thomas Keney in Lynne ye marchant and trader there who was soe Knighted by ye Goode Queen Elizabeth for ye gifte of ships to ye Captaine Daves ye Navigator, etc."
B. E. Kinney then goes on to comment:
Surely Henry erred in the last portion of this statement. His grandfather, Thomas, was knighted 4 Oct 1618, fifteen years after the death of "ye Goode Queen Elizabeth and fifteen years into the reign of the Stuart King James I. These last lines thus apply to the great grandfather of Henry reported to be Sir Robert Kinne of Kings Lynne, Country of Norfolk, England. The deposition of Henry Keney of Salem, Ma., continues, " I ye Henry borne ye 8th of the 7th month 1623 and came by ye colonies in ye year of 1635. [15]
This is so crazy! First of all, no one gives their pedigree in a simple deposition. Who cares who Henry's father was, the court case was not about him, he was only a witness. The language is so fake with all the 'ye' this and 'ye' that. Somehow Queen Elizabeth got dragged into this and to save the day B. E. Kinney fabricates a Sir Robert Kinne of King's Lynn who just like Sir Thomas Kinne did not exist.

The ancestry of Henry Kinne of Salem Village, now Danvers, is unknown. There is no such person as Sir Thomas Kinne. There is no document that would suggest who the parents of Henry were, and they certainly were not John Kinney and Sarah Farr of Salem. There is no reason to believe that Henry's mother's maiden name was Cheever.

The bible and deposition are fabricated stories. I do not know who started these stories, but it's time to stop passing them on. Good genealogy relies on strict standards and stories without substance do not make the grade. Please help me to stamp out this fake genealogy. Check out the Georgia Kinney Bopp website on Henry, it's awesome!


[1] Emerson Kinne, History and Genealogy of a Branch of the Kinne Family, (Syracuse, NY : Masters and Stone, 1881) digital images, Archive ( : accessed 15 December 2016).

[2] Raymond Meyers Tingley, Some ancestral lines : being a record of some of the ancestors of Guilford Solon Tingley and his wife, Martha Pamelia Meyers / collected by their son, Raymon Meyers Tingley, (Rutland, Vermont : Tuttle Publishing Company, 1935) 184.

[3] Florance Kenney Robertson, The Genealogy of Henry and Anne Kinne, Pioneers of Salem, Massachusetts, (Los Angeles : Wetzel Publishing Co., 1947), digital images, HatiTrust ( : accessed 14 December 2016).

[4] Nick Bunker, Making Haste from Babylon ( New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 2010).

[5] Hazel Otis Crane, Our Ancestry, (Ann Arbor : Unknown Publisher, 1955), digital images, Hathi Trust ( : accessed 16 December 2016).

[6] Mabel Gould Demers Hinckley, The Kenney--Kinney Family: A Monograph (Unknown, 1969).

[7] Clarence Almon Torrey, New England Marriages Prior to 1700, (Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing Company, 1985) 433

[8] The Probate Records of Essex County, Vol. II, (Salem, Massachusetts: The Essex Institute, 1917) 202, digital images, American Ancestors ( : accessed 15 December 2016.

[9] Robertson, The Genealogy of Henry and Anne Kinne.

[10] Jeff Green <> Rootsweb, Kinney-L Archives, mailing list reference list number 1045155795, message of date 13 Feb 2003, entitled The Sir Thomas Myth.

[11] Mary L. Kinney <> Rootsweb, Kinney-L Archives, mailing list reference list number 0979177938, message of date 10 January 2001, entitled Re: Influence of reilgion, childrens names, immigration patterns pre-20th Century.

[12] Georgia Kinney Bopp, Henry Kinne Website, rootsweb

[13] John W. Jordan, Colonial and Revolutionary Families of Pennsylvania: Genealogical and Personal Memoirs, Vol. 3, (Pennsylvania: Lewis Historical Publishing Co., 1911),1290. [entry for Charles Clinton Kinney]

[14] Mrs. William Roome, "Notes on Burton Family of Essex County, Mass," Putnam's Historical Magazine, Vol 7, (Jan-Dec 1899) 305, digital images,  Google Books, ( : accessed 18 December 2016).

[15] Basil E. Kinney, By the name of Kinne : ancestors and descendants of Nathan Kinne of Preston, Ct. & Norton, N.S, (Bangor, Me : B. E. Kinney, 1992). 


genealogy nut said...

Jeanne, Thank you so much for your blog on the Kinne line. I've been saying for years that my William Keeney, Kinne, etc., was not the son of a baronet. He first shows up in the Cape Ann area as part of the following for Rev. Richard Blinman. And is mentioned in an early history of Gloucester and again in New London. He must have been in Boston for a short time, as I find two children baptized at 1st church there in 1646. I have not found parents for him and he apparently was not related to Henry or Alexander Kinne/Keeney. And I, too, have found absolutely no evidence of his descent from a Sir Thomas. It seems that anyone named Kinne and variations has Thomas listed as an ancestor. No me. Though I'd love to find out. Again, thanksagain. I haven't worked that line since about the dawn of the internet, and had hoped some primary evidence had come to light in thepast 20 years.

Unknown said...

Thanks for all your hard work. Being from the Kinne lineage, I only want to know the true origin of my name.

Unknown said...

Thank you Jeanne. I'm so glad to have happened upon your blog regarding the Kinne line. I've been researching William Kinney/Kinne supposedly born 1733 in Scotland, was made into a Revolutionary War Hero in North Carolina, and was buried only to be dug up again for a new interstate project. My husband is from the Jesse Kinney ancestry (born 1778 in Rowan, NC and died in Habersham, GA 1857). That's all the "facts" I know for sure. I've researched his "parents" William Kinney and Sally Parks Kinney to death for 2 years. William is as much a mystery today as it was 2 years ago. Fabrications and embellishments have severely muddied the waters.
DNA tests suggest that Jesse/William Kinney are of Dutch descent, associated with Adrian Pieterse Kinne. Seems I'm back to square one since John Thomas Kinne, I was supposedly his dad. I hope to see more from you and your quest to right the wrongs of Kinne ancestry research!

Julia, IBSSG said...

Dear Ms Jeanie,

Thank you so much for posting this information. It is clearly presented and important to Kenny genealogy. Data is also in the crosshairs of history, particularly by folks who want to happily plug their family holes with completely unvetted "information" without question.

I am concerned that Georgia Kinney Bopp's Rootsweb site, "Henry of Massachusetts", will disappear in future purges that Rootsweb could further endure. The Rootsweb mailing lists are discontinued as of 2 March 2020. I am concerned about the longevity of the list archives in spite of Ancestry's statements. Perhaps they will eventually create some kind of "source collection" out of them like they did some years back when they scaped all those GB of information from private websites across the internet and put it behind their paywall.

Do you have any insight into some of the evaluations that Ms Bopp left unfinished when she retired from genealogy -

* Henry's burial place?
* A wife named Ann Putnam or Ann Howard?
* A wife named Widow Wiggins?
* Whose name is on Martha Coey's arrest warrant and who spoke out at Rebecca Nurse's trial - Henry the elder or Henry the younger?
(I don't have documentary proof, but in my opinion, it was the elder. Since he was still alive during these events and not yet 70, if it had been the younger, I think that it would have been specifically noted in the verbatim manuscript. During this early era, differentiation was in the records when persons bore the same name, but were not even related. So, I think that relatives bearing the same name would definitely have been differentiated if it was the younger man that did these things.)

Yours in genetics, JuliasGenes

Julia, IBSSG said...

PS: I CAN'T WAIT until Ancestry starts selling those Genealogical Crystal Balls!

Robert said...

Unfortunately, this blog format does not allow me, the author to reply directly to any comments left by readers. I want to respond to Julia of JuliasGenes. It would be detrimental to the Kinney Genealogy to loose the work done by Ms. Bopp. I have no further answers to your questions which we all have. I do not think there is any proof of a surname for Ann, nevermind a choice between Putnam or Howard.

Julia if you would like to continue this conversation, please contact me directly.


Trish the Sixth said...

This is what I have been searching for! I have a relative who has tied our Kinnees to England , knighthood and such. I am a researcher and skeptic by nature and must have proof when no paper trail is available.
I am stalled at Kinnee in Canada in the early 1800s.
Recently, I started researching first names. I was led to Norway -- which confirms my DNA -- and the Dutch. My father always said we had Dutch lineage. Never a word about British Colonies or England. Ireland is another possibility.
It is truly frustrating when false information is used over and over. I truly appreciate what you've done!

Trish the Sixth said...

This is what I have been searching for! I have a relative who has tied our Kinnees to England , knighthood and such. I am a researcher and skeptic by nature and must have proof when no paper trail is available.
I am stalled at Kinnee in Canada in the early 1800s.
Recently, I started researching first names. I was led to Norway -- which confirms my DNA -- and the Dutch. My father always said we had Dutch lineage. Never a word about British Colonies or England. Ireland is another possibility.
It is truly frustrating when false information is used over and over. I truly appreciate what you've done!

April said...

Since this was several years ago, do you happen to have more info? Henry is possibly my 10th great grandfather ( still double checking that)

Anonymous said...

I'm a descendant of Henry Kinney, then Thomas Kinney, then Jonathan Kinney, then Samuel Kinney, then Rev. Isaac Kinney, then Rebecca Kinney who married Simon Greenwood.

In looking over the will of Thomas Kinney, I found that he was leaving land to his son given to him by his deceased father. This will was written and signed in 1687.

Also, there are Cheever's in this will which I will look into further as well as a Sarah Lamb.

Thomas Kinney, son of Henry Kinney, husband of Elizabeth Knight. Elizabeth Knight being the daughter of Joseph Knight and Hannah Lamb.

So his father Henry couldn't have been the Henry Kinney in the witchcraft trials.

Also, in looking over marriage records for Salem, I do find an Ann Putnam being married in 1645, however the film does not indicate who she was married to. I will look into this further.

Just a thought......

hansen said...

John Keney/ Sarah Cheever are still Henry Kinney Sr.'s parents in family search, the LDS app.

Bill from Arizona said...

I tried to access Georgia Kinney Bopp website on Henry. The link is broken. If anyone is able to find it please post.

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