Welcome, fellow genealogists! My blog will teach you about U.S. land records and United Kingdom research. My family has roots in Niagara County, New York; Norfolk, England; and northeast Germany.

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Wisdom Wednesday: Quakers from the North Midlands

The Quakers who came to the Delaware Valley and especially to William Penn’s colony of Pennsylvania were primarily from England’s North Midlands. About two-thirds of this wave of immigrants came from the counties of Yorkshire, Lancashire, Cheshire, Derby, Nottingham and Staffordshire. The remainder of the settlers were from Bristol and London. (Source: Dollarhide, William. British Origins of American Colonists, 1629-1775. Bountiful, Utah: Heritage Quest Genealogical Services, division of AGLL, Inc., 1998. ISBN 1-877677-69-8)

A notable exception to these geographic generalities is William Penn himself. The son of an admiral, Penn was born in 1644 and lived much of his first twelve years at his family's country house in Wanstead or at school in Chigwell, Essex. Later at Oxford, he was influenced by the Quaker Thomas Loe. Penn refused to attend chapel and was kicked out for nonconformity. His father eventually sent him to Ireland where he had another estate. While there, Penn connected with Loe again in Cork, and by 1667 he had become a convert and regular attender of Quaker meeting.

In 1675, the first settlers came to the Delaware River’s eastern shore in what is now New Jersey but was then known as West Jersey.

On 29 Aug 2012, I posted a blog entry about the origins and records kept by Quakers. You can easily find it in the list of topics under, ‘UK Quakers.’

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Wisdom Wednesday: UK Origins of the Virginia Cavaliers

Another migration began as the Great Migration of Puritans to New England was ending. Settlers with more conventional religious beliefs came to the Chesapeake Bay region to supplement the people who had begun settling there in 1607. Between 1641 and 1675, the face of Virginia would change.

England itself was in turmoil. Religious differences between the established church and the Puritans had taken on political overtones. The Civil War of the 1640s brought Oliver Cromwell and the Puritans/roundheads to power, and King Charles I was beheaded. Some of the Royalists or cavaliers needed to leave.
Virginia was an inviting possibility. Sir William Berkeley who had been knighted by the king on a battlefield was made Royal Governor of Virginia in 1641.  When he arrived here, Jamestown had 8000 poor residents. Berkeley quickly set out to reproduce the privileged society he had known in the West Country of England. He attracted many ‘second sons’ who could not inherit land in the UK, but having grown up on an estate, this kind of farming was all they could do.

All counties in England are represented in the wave of migration but again a majority came from two areas – the West Country including the counties of Gloucester, Somerset, Dorset, Devon, Wiltshire and Hampshire; and London and its surrounding counties. George Washington’s great grandfather, John Washington, immigrated to Virginia in 1656. John’s father had been an Essex clergyman. Essex although usually considered part of East Anglia borders on the city of London.
These families, not those of the earlier, original settlers, are known as the ‘first families of Virginia.’

Dollarhide, William. British Origins of American Colonists, 1629-1775. Bountiful, Utah: Heritage Quest Genealogical Services, division of AGLL, Inc., 1998. ISBN 1-877677-69-8

Smith, J.R. Pilgrims and Adventurers: Essex (England) and the Making of the United States of America. Chelmsford: Essex Records Office, 1992.