Early New England Families, phase two

Alicia Crane WilliamsEight new Early New England Families Study Project sketches have now been posted on Americanancestors.org: James Badcock of Portsmouth/Westerly, Rhode Island, and Hugh Clark of Watertown/Roxbury, Jonas Clark of Cambridge, Thomas Dyer of Weymouth, John Fairbanks of Dedham, John Grout of Watertown/Sudbury, William Marchant of Watertown/Ipswich, and Daniel Wing of Sandwich, Massachusetts. In total, 46 pages of new sketches and more than 1,000 new index entries have been added to the project.

This group of sketches marks the transition of the Early New England Families Project into its second phase. In the first phase we were mainly dealing with sons of Great Migration heads of families who had come to New England with their parents. In phase two we begin to deal with new immigrants who arrived after the Great Migration wound down in 1640. Of the eight new sketches, John Fairbanks arrived with his parents (probably in 1636), and Daniel Wing arrived by 1640 with his mother, but the others – estimated to have arrived in 1641 or possibly 1642 – are all of undocumented origin.

With the sons of Great Migration families, we have the luxury of Robert Charles Anderson’s research and the many coordinating research articles that have appeared in the Register and other periodicals over the last twenty years dealing with origins of Great Migration families. In the case of the “post”-Great Migration immigrant families, however, our work is complicated by the fact that many have not yet had their origin claims tested under current methodology. For example:

James Badcock of Rhode Island has been confused with James Babcock of Milton, Massachusetts (Badcock and Babcock are common variant spellings of the same surname), and English origins have been conflated and even fabricated. The Babcock Genealogy by Stephen Babcock (published in 1903) refuted these claims, but their appearance in other sources keeps them alive.

Thomas Dyer of Weymouth has been given origins in Somerset that we cannot confirm, and the identification of his wife, Agnes Reed, remains unsolved despite claims that she was the daughter of one of the William Reeds of Weymouth. In the course of examining the Dyer and Reed families, we found ourselves straying from our prime directive to chase down a promising avenue of research using the English birth and marriage databases on americanancestors.org and other websites. This avenue led to records of a group of Reeds and Dyers in Morval, Cornwall, who are very tempting candidates to be originators of the families who came to Weymouth.

John Grout of Watertown and Sudbury comes with the claim of being the son of a knight, complete with a coat of arms and stories passed down through the family. These may contain some kernel of truth, but need confirmation. The identification of John’s two wives has also caused confusion, as he is said to have married either a daughter or the widow of Thomas Cakebread.

Although the Wing origins of Daniel Wing of Sandwich are documented, questions remain regarding the identity of his mother, Deborah, said to be a daughter of Rev. Stephen Bachiler.[1] We were able to trace the origin of that claim in print as far back as 1829, but have not been able to substantiate it. The claim was most likely influenced by Daniel Wing giving one of his son’s the name Bachelor Wing, but no evidence has been found to securely connect the Wings with Rev. Stephen Bachiler. We suggest that the name Bachelor may have come into the Wing family through Daniel’s second wife, Bachelor’s mother Ann/Hannah (—) Ewer, whose origins are unknown, and that further research is indicated.

Phase two of the Early New England Families Study Project is definitely proving to be interesting!


[1] This surname is spelled many ways, including Bacheler, Bachelder, etc.

About Alicia Crane Williams

Alicia Crane Williams, FASG, Lead Genealogist of Early Families of New England Study Project, has compiled and edited numerous important genealogical publications including The Mayflower Descendant and the Alden Family “Silver Book” Five Generations project of the Mayflower Society. Most recently, she is the author of the 2017 edition of The Babson Genealogy, 1606-2017, Descendants of Thomas and Isabel Babson who first arrived in Salem, Massachusetts, in 1637. Alicia has served as Historian of the Massachusetts Society of Mayflower Descendants, Assistant Historian General at the General Society of Mayflower Descendants, and as Genealogist of the Alden Kindred of America. She earned a bachelor’s degree from the University of Connecticut and a master’s degree in History from Northeastern University.

21 thoughts on “Early New England Families, phase two

  1. Do you have a list of potential candidates for this study? I’d be interested in knowing how large this project will be, and of course, whether there is hope that some of any ancestors will be included. I sure appreciate all that you do to help us learn about our families!

    1. I would like to see a research into the Leland family who came to Boston/ Weymouth, in the 1640’s/ Dorchester. then settled in Sherborn Ma. Hopestill,and all descendants.

      1. Rebecca, Hi cousin. I’m a Leland, too. However, since Henry Leland married around 1653, he has to wait until we get to that year in the project — we are now just entering 1642, so many years yet.

  2. Am I correct in thinking that there is a gap from Robert Anderson’s Great Migration sketches that end in 1635 and your sketches that begin with those who arrived after 1640? The G.M. Dictionary is useful, but doesn’t provide the same authentication, depth, and information as sketches would. Is nobody taking up the immigrants from 1635 to 1640?

    1. Katharine, Yes, a big gap — all the families that arrived between 1636 and 1640. The Great Migration Project is on hold right now, but Early NE Families does overlap in some cases where later immigrants or their children married earlier immigrants or their children, but Bob Anderson has estimated another 25 years of research is needed to complete the Great Migration Project — as much as has already been done on the 1620-1635 group!

      1. The family I’m working on seems to be lost in the gap. The earliest authenticated ancestor is Francis Whitmore, born about 1625, who is found in Cambridge, Mass., in early adulthood and remained there. There are claims he was the son of John Whitmore, who is found in the 1630s in Watertown, was one of the settlers of Wethersfield, and by 1640 settled in Stamford where he was murdered in 1648. John is said to have immigrated single with five children. (I find no documentation) Francis would have been about 10 then and by the time John moved on, was an age where perhaps he was apprenticed. He was a tailor. John remarried about 1640 to Johanna Kerrich Jessop, widow of John Jessop, a Puritan leader. I’ve spent days at NEHGS and can’t find proof of a connection between John and Francis, or where they had lived in England. Is anyone working on the Whitmores?

        1. Hi Linda (Whitmore) (if you see this) – I’m a descendant of Joanna (Kerrich??) Jessup; you may find the last comment about Francis in Find-a-grave useful (receiving property from John Whitmore of Wethersfield/Stamford), though I don’t know where that record cited is: https://www.findagrave.com/memorial/26929801

          Joanna and John Jessup (referenced in CT court records; apparently dead in ~1637) fall into the ‘gap’ perhaps; it’s unclear when they arrived in Mass (the Wethersfield settlers came from Mass), or where they came from exactly (there is a Joanna Kerrich who was married to a John Jessup in England as of ~1620). So far as I know there’s no record that gives any direct connection with widow Joanna Jessup with “Kerrich”, though the record in England is tempting.

          1. It’s wonderful to hear from a Jessup descendant. I have been recording facts about John and Joanna Jessup because they seem to have had similar Puritan beliefs and moved together with John Whitmore to establish Wethersfield. Then, as you mentioned, after John Jessup died, Joanna married John Whitmore.
            I have read the statement that Francis Whitmore received a property inheritance from John Whitmore, but cannot find a document that proves it. I found the inventory of his estate, but not its distribution.
            I am reading a book that might be of interest to you — John Brown’s The Pilgrim Fathers of New England and their Successors, available online at https://archive.org/details/pilgrimfathersof00browuoft/page/1 It is so interesting I bought a copy on Amazon.
            It is said that Joanna Kerrich was born and married to Jessup in Leyden, the Netherlands. On page 122 of the book there is a reference to William Jessop building dwellings for congregation members in Leyden. Earlier it says that many members in Leyden came from Scrooby, England, so you might look there for Jessops. And if you find any Whitmores, let me know!

          2. This branch on my tree was quite a shock, as I am from Wethersfield myself, although I had no known family history there. So happy to see this!

      2. I do hope that NEHGS is keeping its eyes out for genealogists who could take on the task of carrying on this important project.

  3. Hi Janice. If you click on the red link above “Early New England Families Study Project” it will bring you to the description of what is included. Yes, there is a list — in “Torrey’s New England Marriages Prior to 1700” which has over 30,000 marriages! I am working on couples who married in or by 1641 and 1642 right now. Unfortunately, I can’t give you a short list of what is likely to be published next as each family presents different challenges and those that I think will be done quickly usually prove uncooperative!

  4. Thanks so very much for your thorough work. I really appreciate your documentation. Please let me know if you plan on creating sketches for the brothers of Daniel Wing (John & Stephen). I would be happy to assist with what records the Wing Family of America, Inc. has amassed.

    1. Raymond, Thank you. Stephen will have an Early NE Families sketch when we get to marriages by 1646. John, unfortunately, falls into that gap between what has been done by Great Migration and what remains to be done. Most of the references used for Daniel are applicable to John and Stephen, though.

  5. I am happy to have another of my ancestor’s families be treated in Early New England Families! James Badcock whose daughter Mary married William Champlain (this couple is my 8th great grandparents). I am sure I have some errors in this part of my tree so am looking forward to seeing what corrections I need to make. Thank you for your work!

  6. I have some comments in response to an excerpt from above…

    “Thomas Dyer of Weymouth… In the course of examining the Dyer and Reed families, we found… records of a group of Reeds and Dyers in Morval, Cornwall, who are very tempting candidates to be originators of the families who came to Weymouth.”

    First, no sketch for Thomas Dyer seems to be available online yet. Is that intentional while further research is being conducted?

    Second, are you seeing any potential connection between the immigrants Thomas Dyer of Weymouth and William Dyer of Sheepscot, Maine (whose descendants retreated to greater safety in Weymouth)?

    I know that you are most interested in primary sources but perhaps you will find something useful at…



    Keep up the great work!

  7. To second Perry’s comment – all but one of the eight sketches are posted to the Database. My ancestor, Thomas Dyer, one of the eight new sketches, is missing. When will this sketch be included?

    1. Update on missing Thomas Dyer sketch — the sketch is online, but the index search is not connected. Try this link http://www.americanancestors.org/databases/early-new-england-families-1641-1700/image/?volumeId=40486. If that doesn’t work, go to Browse Databases, search for Early New England Families, click link for list of sketches in the project and then click Thomas Dyer. Sorry about delay, NEHGS in middle of large database upload that has tech department fully engaged.

  8. Thank you for adding this missing sketch. The link worked fine. However, I don’t understand the date convention used for Thomas’ 2nd marriage. Could you please clarify?

  9. I am looking for any information of William Wright who came in on the ship The Fortune, 9 months after the Mayflower. Is there any research on him and where his descendants migrated to. I believe he is in my family tree.

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