Hello Followers. I wanted to check in with you since I have not written a blog in quite some time. The last real blog was March 19, so almost a month now. Like you, my family has been self-isolating. Not only from the virus but the crazier people who do not think it is a serious threat.
My son and I are both essential works so we have been working except for my Easter vacation. I am working four hours in the office and four hours at home. My son works all day in the warehouse. Neither of our companies allows outside visitors. We are both very careful as my mother, who is in her late 70s, lives with us.
Since I am working from home I have not had a lot of the extra family history time I see a lot of people talking about. But, I have tried to take advantage of the free sites and free records that have become available. It’s funny, some of the records I have run across have names that I could have used a couple of years ago. But, now I at least know I am on the right track.
I did have success with my 80 year old uncle’s tree. Back on Thanksgiving he was telling me about his brick wall with his grandparents on his mother’s side. Her father seems to have disappeared after deserting her and her brothers. The name he always went by with this family seems to actually be a nickname. In tracing the date of birth and his birthplace, we tracked down what we think is his real name.
With the help of the West Virginia Archives and History Library, we followed these coincidences and found all kinds of information on his family. But, until we find a document where he uses his nickname along with his real name, we cannot be 100% sure it is him. Or, until we can find some DNA matches. Once we entered his real name into our database, a whole slew of information and family members popped up. Including others on their public trees who seemed to have come to the same conclusion. And, here’s the kicker, it seems there is another family who this man deserted…under his real name. We hope to connect to this family to find some answers.
I’ve also been doing a lot of gardening, my other great passion. We had some umbrella palms start to take over so we had them pulled out, by the root balls. Little did I know a few years after I planted them, they would become evasive! They loved the wet clay soil, too much! I’ve since been filling the spaces in with some organic matter from my compost pile. I’ve also added a few pieces of cardboard and will mulch and soil over that. It’s like having a blank canvas to start planting in.
And, my flowers are blooming. Always a welcome sight and lifts the spirits. My garden is defintely a great boost for my mental health.
I cannot seem to concentrate enough to pull an ancestor story together for a blog, but I did want to check-in. I hope that you and your family are safe and well. As our ancestors did from their pandemics, this too shall pass.
The last couple of weeks have been busy! Sure, I am busy working my full-time job, but my dabblings with my family history, as well as other’s family history, have kept me hopping.
However, this makes it all worthwhile.
This young girl is my true young protégé! She is so very excited, as are her mother and grandparents. Showing her documents and how to read them has been amazing. It helps that she is smart as a whip.
We use Zoom, video conferencing, where I can annotate, share our screens, and make notes on a whiteboard. She has genuinely picked up on chasing the leads and picking apart the information in the records.
Johann Henrich Heilig is my 6th great grandfather. He was born in in 1700 and married Susanna De Wees Rittenhausen in 1729. I wrote about the Rittenhouse family and their papermills here. Also, join the Rittenhouse Family Descendants and Friends Facebook page and learn about all the wonderful things they are doing to preserve the Rittenhouse legacy. There is a Rittenhouse Town Board of Directors. They also manage the Homestead House (1707) and the other houses in the village, as well as a Barn that was built during WPA and the grounds.
Some historians place Henrich’s birthplace as Hannover, German. But, other more recent historians say it is Baden-Wuerttenburg, Germany. Johann arrived in Philadelphia in 1720 on the ship “Polly.” Ships were not required to furnish a list of passenger names until 1727. Since their names are not shown on any lists after 1727, they must have arrived prior. Most information I have found says 1720.
Records state his Naturalization was on 11 Apr 1747. According to the Pennsylvania Archives. The requirements at the time were that they had to be a resident of the colonies for 7 years.
Henry, as he was now called, was by trade a clockmaker. It was a skilled and respected profession. At that time, clocks were for navigation and surveying, as well as time keeping.
Henry and Susanna lived first in Cheltenham. And, bought parcels of land in 1749 and 1750. It was on the boarders of Pennsburg and Upper Hanover Townships in Montgomery County. This land was from William Parsons who was a surveyor for the Penns. The homestead passed from Henrich to his son George. George passed it on to his son George Jr. and finally passed to the Hoch family in the 1860s. The house remains in the Hoch family today.
Prior to 1684, the Lenape Indians roamed the hills and fished the streams of the land on either side of the Perkiomen Creek. In 1684, the Indians lost this land when William Penn purchased it for reportedly “two watch coats, four pairs of stockings and four bottles of cider”. In time, Pennsylvania Germans settled in the area. Around 1840, the area now know as Pennsburg began to take on the appearance of a village. The hub consisted of a general store, a carpenter and blacksmith shop and several houses.
Most of the land was owned by the Heilig Brothers. They owned and resided in the oldest house in Pennsburg located at Seminary and Fourth Streets. The Heilig Brothers took it upon themselves to refer to this village as “Heiligsville”. Residents had their own ideas, and out of loyalty to the then Pennsylvania Senator, James Buchanan, wanted to name the area Buchanansville.
As the village grew in size, a meeting was held in 1843 at the Hilleg’s family store to decide on a permanent name and lay out boundary lines. After a week long bitterly contested battle, it was finally decided to name the village “Pennsburg” after William Penn.
Henrich and Susannah had five children:
i. Heinrich Heilig, b. 1722 , ii. Jurg George Heilig, b. 1720; d. 1796, Upper Hanover Township., iii. Johannes Heilig (Source: Willbook I – 1796, 149-150.). iv. Anna Maria Heilig (Source: Willbook I – 1796, 149-150.), m. Michael Slonaker., v. Susanna Heilig (Source: Willbook I – 1796, 149-150.), b. 1726; m. Henry Deany.
Johannes or John changed the surname to Highley. The other children kept the German spelling of Heilig.
Henry is even listed in the U.S., Craftperson Files, 1600-1995.
Henry was buried along with this wife in the mostly Rittenhouse family cemetery, Methacton Mennonite Cemetery. Click here for a partial list of burials with links to tombstone photographs. Henrich’s and Susannah’s are below. This cemetery is located in Worcester Township, Montgomery County, PA.
There is a wonderfully thorough history written by Linton E. Love, a descendant of the Rittenhouse family. In it are the descendancts of Henry and Susannah. Linton has created a database and another database extending from the 17th century up to the 21st century from Claus to his 12,810 descendants as of March 2005!
Finding Abigail has proven to be a significant challenge. As I wrote in Finding Abigail… Part 1, her last name has been elusive. I have been tracking my research about her through the research logs, and here is what I have.
Date Contacted-Who Contacted-Why Contacted- Response
12/2/2019 City of Danbury, CT Abigail Soper They wrote back and said, “Certifiable records began in 1840.”
12/26/2019 Dorset Historical Society Proof of Abigail’s assumed last name of Soper My email: I was hoping you could please do a preliminary search and let me know if you have any information on the Soper family. My main search is for an Abigail Soper who married Daniel Logan, about 1780, my 4th great grandparents. It is stated, but not sourced that Abigail’s father was Samuel Soper. Supposedly a Hugh Logan married Abigail’s sister, Jemima, about 1784. And, Lucy Logan (Hugh’s sister) married their brother, William, about 1797. I have contacted a few county clerks, but they do not have these earlier records. Any help or direction is much appreciated.
12/27/2019 Dorset Historical Society His response: I checked through our archives, and could not find any information to tie Samuel Soper to Abigail Soper Logan. I did find some tidbits which may be of use.
According to the History of Danby, Joseph Soper was the first settler of Danby, in 1765, and two of his (unnamed) brothers settled in Dorset. They came from Nine Partners, New York.
According to a genealogy of the Allen family, “Seth Allen was born 16 Jan 1733/34 in Dartmouth, Bristol, Mass., and died Aft. 1801. He married Anna Soper Abt. 1752 in Dutchess County, N.Y., daughter of Peletiah Soper and Martha Soper. She was born 06 Feb 1734/35 in Windsor, Hartford, Ct. and died after 1801.” Seth and Anna bought land in Danby in 1769, which they sold in 1770, when they were in Manchester. They bought land in Manchester in 1773 from Peletiah Soper. After that, things get murkier, but they probably lived in East Dorset around 1800, and in Bromley, Vt. after 1800 (Bromley later changed its’ name to Peru).
“The Marriage Records of John Strong” records the wedding on September 5, 1782 of Robert Allen and Patty Soper of Dorset.
Several records say that the Soper Tavern was in South Dorset, at the intersection of modern-day Route 30 and Cross Road. None of the records give the first names of people who operated the tavern.
The Dorset Church records record the baptism of “Mrs. Samuel Soper 1803-04.”
Last, Rev. Parsons Pratt, in his genealogical records, noted that other Soper family members settled in “Brandon and other northern [Vermont] towns.
Like I said, nothing specific to your request, but I hope some of this scattershot information proves useful in your quest.
12/25/2019 Random Acts of Genealogical Kindness https://raogk.org/ Any Soper info Raymond Toolan from raogk emailed me back (his words)
I have done some looking and have found at least one extended family of Sopers from the mid-18th century in the towns of Dorset and Manchester in Bennington County. Your Abigail creates a bit of a problem. Remember the brief history lesson I gave you? In 1765 the French and Indian Wars had only ended two years previous. This means that England had new land it needed to quantify. The colonies of New York and New Hampshire felt that each of their grants gave them most or all of this former French territory as part of their landholdings. Each colony sent surveyors in to lay out grants. An early Vermont land speculator, Ethan Allen and his brother Ira preferred to deal with the governor of New Hampshire and so they formed The Green Mountain Boys, an ad hoc group of vigilantes whose mission was to force the New York surveyors and tax collectors out in favor of New Hampshire. There is some argument as to how successful they may have been. History remembers this group regarding their taking over Ft Ticonderoga in NY. The point in this is that in 1765 those towns were most likely considered part of NY as Vermont, per se, did not exist at that time. Middlebury, Vermont, is a bit north in Addison County, also on the west side of the Green Mountains, and also was most likely considered part of NY before 1777. I will see if I can find anything that connects Abigail to this family in Dorset and Manchester. You might see if you can get the contact information for the town’s historical society in Dorset and Manchester, Vermont. Every town has a historical society, and some are more active than others.
12/24/2019 The period in history that is involved here is a tough one for research in Vermont. Initially, the area, including Vermont, was under French control. After the battle on the Plains of Abraham in Quebec [ending the French and Indian wars], the area became part of the English holdings. Both the colonies of New York and New Hampshire claimed all or part of the land between them. While they were still arguing, the War of Independence broke out in 1776. IN 1777, the residents of the land area between Lake Champlain and the Connecticut River declared themselves an independent republic. This lasted until 1791 when Vermont was admitted as the 14th state. All record-keeping was done at the office of the town clerk. It still is. The recording of births, marriages, and deaths varied from town to town and really was not codified until around 1865. Copies of the various records were not collected at a central archive until around 1911. I will see if I can find any sort of documentation for you, but, honestly, the odds are very slim.
FYI, the clerks of the courts cannot really assist you as other than records of divorces or other court-related issues they have no records. Births, deaths, and marriages are all with the town clerks and at the archive in Middlesex. There are 254 towns, cities, gores, and grants in Vermont, each with its own clerk.
12/26/2019 Manchester Historical Society Vermont Soper Emailed them, have not received a response as of 1/4/2020
1/18/20 Marlin Logan Emailed Marlin and asked if he had sources on his information for Soper.
1/19/20 Manchester Historical Society Vermont Soper and Logan Emailed them again
1/19/20 Dorset Historical Society Soper and Logan Emailed them on information for Soper
1/22/20 Email from Marlin Logan
Went back to all my old records and so sorry I don’t have anymore information than is on my Family Tree.
Tried unsuccessfully to check other resources also and I come up with a blank.
You have sparked my interest again so will keep your request as I update and find new information. Hopefully we can find a little more data than we have.
As you can see, I do not know much more than I did when I started. But, tracking my inquiries on this log will keep me from repeating quests.
I may look into the other Soper’s mentioned and see if I can find any Abigail’s in their lines.
As you can see, we all have brick walls in our family history. I may be able to help with yours. Contact me for your some virtual family history tutoring.
What is Virtual tutoring? * Individual screen shares- a virtual whiteboard to work on: * Family tree creation. * Records search for documenting your family history. * Get help to break down brick walls on a particular ancestor. http://loganalogy.com/genealogy-classes/
Virtual Family History Classes through Zoom (Video Conferencing much like Skype or Google Hangouts).
Virtual tutoring individual screen shares a virtual whiteboard to work on:
Family tree creation.
Records search for documenting your family history.
Break down brick walls on a particular ancestor.
30 minutes of free consultation to discuss your needs, prior to the paid session.
Schedule your session today by selecting the appropriate picture below.
FAMILY HISTORY DETECTIVES
VIRTUAL BASIC FAMILY HISTORY CLASS
Basic Family History Class covers how to research your family tree, step-by-step. Please note, after the second Basic Family History Class — you will be sent access to the materials to review and refer back to, at your leisure. The class was designed with children in mind, but anyone is welcome to take the class.
The class is divided into five sessions and teaches how to start to trace an ancestor.
How to start a family tree and where to look for clues for who your ancestors were, leading to who you are.
How different people in your family are related, and how to make a pedigree chart.
Using Zoom, I will guide you along the way and help you to organize your findings, locate different sources, and learn how to cite your research.
There are many genealogy activities on the internet, but this class will allow you to ask questions in a virtual classroom.
We use Google Classroom for this class. Be sure to add the extension DocHub (free) to your Google Chrome in order to open and edit certain assignments.
Well, I am still not closer to finding Abigail, although I do have a lot of feelers out. I am hoping I get a bite soon. Tracing Abigail has forced me to do something I kept reading about but didn’t think it applied to me. A research log. Yep, logging my research and tracking those I’ve contacted about an ancestor.
I didn’t think I needed it before; after all, isn’t that what my Ancestry database is there to do? Um, well, no. It sources and cites my findings once I actually find them. But, how do I keep from researching the same places maybe a year or so later? I log it!
There are many different kinds of research logs out there. Just Google, “Genealogy Research Logs,” and find one that is to your liking. I looked at a bunch and decided to make one on Google Sheets (Excel) that works for me. I named them by the person for easier access, as that is how I file other information; each person has their own electronic file.
Then I went through my emails and started logging. I know I have more and will add them as they come up. I try to use my outlook email for genealogy. But, my older contacts and older research was done through my yahoo account.
As I stated before, I’ve been cleaning up some older, researched ancestors. I feel pretty confident in at least my direct lines, that things are pretty clean, meaning the sources are there and facts are accounted for. I’ll need to do that with some of the non-direct ancestors as I come across them.
Another thing I have been working on as I clean up my sources is looking at older sources attached to my facts. I was able to locate some new (to me) information by looking over them again with more experienced eyes.
I also finished up my report for a client and sent her the latest descendant report. There is also another person who I help pro bono along the way. We private messenger each other now and then, and I give him pointers on where to look or how to navigate something. It is very satisfying being able people with their family history, whether it is to do the research for them or to tutor them on the way to experience their own journey.
It is the American Genealogical Biographical Index and one of the most essential printed genealogical sources in the United States. But, I did not always know that. It was a hint, a source in Ancestry.com that would come up periodically on my New England ancestors. I never really understood it except for it to confirm a birth or some other fact. Ah, the ignorance of the early days!
Recently, I looked back at some older entries in my family tree to see if I could find new leads on some of my more elusive ancestors. One was Margaret Car(r), my 6th great grandmother. She married John Logan, the ancestor who came to Connecticut through Massachusetts. Although I know John came from Ireland, I do not know anything about Margaret before she came to Connecticut. Although I know they married in Massachusetts.
One of the first clues I looked at again was the AGBI. In researching it, I came across a blog by Diane B. of OneRhodeIslandFamily.com. In it, she wrote, “The Boston Transcript was a Boston, Massachusetts newspaper that regularly carried a page of genealogical questions and answers. That feature ran for several decades in the late 1800s/early 1900s.” And, it is indexed in the AGBI!
Even more exciting was learning that I can order them and over 800 printed genealogies and other compiled sources from the Godfrey Memorial Library. From their website, “Godfrey Memorial Library is the owner and publisher of the American Genealogical Biographical Index (AGBI) which contains more than four million names, statistics, and sources for research including local histories, church and vital records, military lists, and more. It also includes over two million records from the Boston Transcript. AGBI is the largest and most important genealogical reference set ever published and clearly the best starting point to find any early New England settlers. This is an index to the books and periodicals on our shelves.”
Did I just stumble upon a gold mine? We’ll soon find out as I mailed out my request a couple of days ago. I printed out their order form, and for $10 each entry, I can soon find out what they know about my ancestor.
You, too, can access this gold mine at https://www.godfrey.org/agbi.html. Print and fill out the order form, then use the information from the AGBI index for each ancestor requested. I limited myself to three ancestors, including Margaret.
Another source attached to Margaret is regarding her marriage in Marshfield, Massachusetts to John, titled “Mayflower Source Records.” Upon closer inspection, it was from the New England Historical and Genealogical Register called the “Mayflower Source Records: Primary Data Concerning Southeastern Massachusetts, Cape Cod, and the Islands of Nantucket and Martha’s Vineyard” by Gary Boyd Rogers. It’s a source of material where the majority of the descendants of the Mayflower Pilgrims settled by the end of the 18th century. Am I, is Margaret, descended from a Mayflower passenger?
Exciting stuff! New revelations to dig up for sure.
Thanks for reading! Make sure you follow me on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram, and LinkedIn!
If you’re reading this in hopes of getting great clues on finding your brick walls, do not get too excited. I do have a few for you, though.
Today I searched more of my dead ends using some techniques given to me on my Twitter page where I follow fellow family historians and professional genealogists. They provide some great tips and websites for research.
One such tip is getting the best out of Google™ searches called “Boolean Operators.” Here are some examples.
Some others are:
Acts as a wildcard and will match any word or phrase.
Group multiple terms or search operators to control how the search is executed.
Example: (christmas OR trees) decorations
Search for prices. Also works for Euro (€), but not GBP (£) 🙁
Example: Samsung $329
A dictionary built into Google.
Returns the most recent cached version of a web page (old version of a web page) (providing the page is indexed, of course).
Limit results to those from a specific website.
Find sites linked to a given domain.
Find pages with a specific word (or words) in the title. In our example, any results containing the word “samsung” in the title tag will be returned.
Similar to “intitle,” but only results containing all of the specified words in the title tag will be returned.
Example: allintitle:samsung android
Another excellent search tool in my research has been Google Books.
Go to Google search
Type a surname or subject and hit enter
Click on the “More” menu
Click on “Books”
You can leave the search as is or click on “Any Books”
Then click on “Google EBooks” to search for books online.
Again, you can use the above Boolean Operators here.
I used these techniques today, searching for brick walls of mine and some of my clients, family, and friends. I was able to find some information that may help, but I have many names which have me stumped at the moment. Here is just a sample of my particular toughies:
Abigail Soper (cannot find proof of last name)
Daniel Logan’s marriage record to the above Abigail
Margaret Johnson Carr
Letitia Porterfield and John Rowan
John McMahan and Margaret Hargrove
Horace Case (could be John Horace Case)
Himan Chapman and his wife, Ann
Kezia(h) who married Isaac Burns
Williams Morrison and Christina Spiker
Charles William Davis and Eliza Wake’s parents
Franz Sierotzki’s family
Jesse Decatur Simmons (researching for my uncle) 😉
There are many more, but these are more of my frustrating names at this point. I hope those searching these same names will find this blog, and we can collaborate.
I have many, many emails to different historical societies, churches, and county clerks trying to gather information or possible avenues for me to search.
For instance, go to that website and type in the search engine, “Wood County, Ohio.” You get 1,147 results! Once you click a book or similar, you can then search inside the book itself.
And, always, always work sideways! Research the siblings, the aunts, the uncles, and cousins. You will be amazed at what you can find. You can even find others who are researching the same family.
So, do not give up, keep trying and dig, dig, dig. I have broken many brick walls, it has taken years sometimes, but it happened.
To all those that are reading, have a very Merry Christmas, Festivus, Kwanzaa, Hanukkah, Boxing Day, Ōmisoka, or other holiday you celebrate, or not. Make beautiful memories together and while you’re at it, write them down for your descendants!
Lately, I have been helping several people with their family history. One thing that they have all in common is the same issue I ran into when I first started. They did not take full advantage of the document hint that was given to them when they were researching.
For instance, a man and I had both located a census on his relative. He took it at face value, only looking at the page that, in this instance, Ancestry® had provided. It showed the page of his ancestor and their children. However, when I looked at the same document, I was able to find the wife’s family in the same census record. How? By using the back and forward arrows to look at the other pages in the census.
Most families tended to stay in the same neighborhood if not living together. In this case, they were neighbors. I’ve found where both sides of the family were neighbors up and down the street. Of course, with the inventions of cars, airplanes, and other transports, this won’t be the case for our generations and those that come after us; we move around more often.
Another common mistake is to look at the index only for information rather than looking at the whole record. For instance, take this death record of my great grandmother, Caroline Stitt Logan. The index shows her relevant details, such as her date of birth, date of death, etc.
But, if you click on the document, it shows her cause of death, the informant for the certificate (my great grandfather signed it), where they lived, where her parents were from, and where her burial was.
Another example is of this obituary that came up under Caroline’s name. If you only go by this index, then you would think that it is the obituary for Caroline, but it is not. It is for her father, William.
Click on the obit and look at all the information we have. It lists William’s father’s name and William’s children, with their married names.
The most fascinating records to do this with are passenger lists and immigration paperwork. Not only can the passenger list tell you where your ancestor is going, but it can tell you where they are from and whom they are visiting. Some immigration paperwork will list family names, birth dates, etc. You may even get a picture of the immigrant, depending on the time frame.
Dissect every document you can get your hands on. You never know what you may discover.
But, what if there is no image to click on when you find an index? Look at the film number or the “source information” at the bottom of the index. For instance, here is the index for Elizabeth Hennig.
There is no document to click on and dissect. But, there is “Source Information.”
The source information tells me that the original data can be found in FamilySearch. After pulling up FamilySearch.org, click on “Search” and then “Records.” Then “Restrict Records By” “Film Number.” Enter the film number found on the Ancestry index. In this case, it is film number 527772. Once there, you click on the link it provides and then the film number from the index.
Click on the magnifying glass next to the record your researching, in this case, the 527772.
It would help if you remembered that humans indexed and scanned these records. Sometimes there is no rhyme or reason as to how they scanned in the images. If you are lucky, they are by date, but sometimes they are scanned in randomly. It would serve you well if you were patient.
Then go back, as have been doing, and look at older records that you may have placed an index hint to and see if you can get more information out of that source. You may be surprised!
Sir Hugh de Malebisse (Malbisse, Malebysse, Malbis), one of the Norman knights who accompanied the Conqueror to England and served in the Battle of Hastings, is my 25th great grandfather. That’s right, 25th!
“Sir Hugh de Malbisse, held lands (in Yorkshire), time of William the Conqueror” is all that the Domesday Book says about him. (The Domesday Book or “Book of Winchester” is a manuscript record of the “Great Survey” of much of England and parts of Wales completed in 1086 by order of King William the Conqueror.) Since he was a Norman, he must have had a fair complexion and a tall height to him. When he fought in Hastings, he wore “a leather coat of tough bull hide.” According to the book “The Beckwiths” by Paul Beckwith, the leather coat would have had metal rings sown upon it, just touching each other. The coat and breeches would have been one piece with a casque of metal at the breast gilded and painted. He would have had gloves of leather and sheepskin covering his legs. He must have been a formidable figure in 1066 A.D.
He married Emma de Percy, daughter of Henry de Percy of Acaster. (There is a lot of confusing information found in different books on who this Emma married. Some say she married Hugh’s son, Richard. Others say she married a William.) I am more inclined to believe the original writers of history such as the Madox, Hist. of Exchequer, i. 316, which states that the first Hugh was married to the daughter of Henry de Percy.
Madox was a legal antiquary and historian, known for his publication and discussion of medieval records and charters; and in particular, for his History of the Exchequer, tracing the administration and records of that branch of the state from the Norman Conquest to the time of Edward II. It became a standard work for the study of English medieval history. He held the office of historiographer royal from 1708 until his death.
Hugh had three sons. Richard, Hugh (2), and Galfred. This Hugh (2) is our direct line. He married first, Emma de Bray. I am not finding much on this Hugh. His brother, Richard, seems to take up a lot of the glory, or in this case, scandal. More on him later. Hugh’s (2) will was proven in the third year of the reign of King Stephen, 1138. Galfred gave all his land over to God and became the first Prior at the monastery of Newbo of Lincolnshire in 1142.
By the way, Richard, whom I mentioned before, was an interesting, cruel fellow. He was a justiciar, he held Acaster in 1176, and was forester for Yorkshire (Madox, i. 316). But, then things changed for dear ‘ole Richard.
He was one of the leaders in the savage attack on and massacre of the Jews at York in 1190 (Will. Newburgh, i. 321, Rolls Ser.) As a punishment for his share in this outrage his lands were seized by the king. Malebysse appears to have been a supporter of Earl John, and in consequence he was one of those who were excommunicated by William de Longchamp in December 1191 (Hoveden, iii. 153). In 1193 he paid a fine of twenty marks for the recovery of his lands till the king’s return, and eventually paid six hundred marks for full restoration (Madox, Hist. of Exchequer, i. 473, 483).Richard Malebysse
Evidently he owed many debts to “the Jews” and was known as “the Evil Beast’. On hearing the news of the southern outbreaks, he and various members of the Percy, Faulconbridge, and Darrel families determined to seize the opportunity to wipe out their indebtedness. One hundred and fifty Jews were killed. The entire Jewish community was wiped out! More can be read in the Jewsih Encyclopedia.
However, after about ten years, Richard is back.
After the accession of John, Malebysse comes into some prominence. In June 1199 he, or it may be his brother Hugh, was sent as an envoy to Scotland to William the Lion to demand homage. In July 1200 he had license to fortify Wheldrake Castle, but the permission was withdrawn at the request of the citizens of York. In May 1201 he was sent on a mission to the king of Scots to ask him to defer his answer as to Northumberland till Michaelmas (Hoveden, iv. 91, 117, 163–4). Malebysse was a justice itinerant for Yorkshire in 1201, and next year sat to acknowledge fines at Westminster. In 1204 he was employed in enforcing the payment of aids. He was keeper of the forests of Galtres, Derwent, and Wernedale. He died in 1209.
Obviously, we must take the bad with the good in our family history.
Back to my direct line. Hugh (2) and Emma had Simon. He was lord of Cowton in Craven, England, and married a daughter of John, Lord of Methley. I do not know much about Simon either. More research needs to be done.
Simon had Hercules de Malebysse. Hercules married Lady Beckwith Bruce, daughter of Sir William Bruce, of Uglebarnby, and heiress of an estate named Beckwith. He retained the Malbisse escutcheon (his coat of arms), and assumed as a surname, during the period when surnames were being adopted in England, the name of his wife’s estate, Beckwith. And, so the Beckwith surname was passed down. At this time they still use “de Beckwith”. Lady Beckwith and Hercules had Nicolas de Beckwith born in 1260. He married a woman by the last name of Chaworth, but nothing more is known.
Nicolas and his wife had Hamon in 1294. Hamon married a daughter of Sir Philip Sydney. He was the first of the family to drop the use of the particle “de” in the surname. Hamon and Anne had William in 1316. William and “unknown” Usfleet had Thomas. Thomas and “unknown” Sawley had Adam. He married (second) Elizabeth Malebisse, widow of John Heringe. His children were all by his first wife, name unknown. His first wife and he had William. William married a daughter of Sir John Baskerville, a descendant of English and French ancestry, who traced his lineage to the Emperor Charlemagne (don’t we all).
I’ll run through our line in this paragraph as I know the names, I just haven’t done a lot of research on them. William and his wife had Thomas who died in 1495. Thomas had Robert who had John who had Robert who had Robert. This Robert made his will, October 6, 1536, and died before March following. Robert had Marmaduke Beckwith in 1567.
In 1597 he sold Clint and purchased Fetherstone and Aikton (or Acton). Among his numerous children were: William Beckwith, was the founder of the Virginia line of Beckwiths, who landed in America in 1607. He sailed from England in the ship “Phoenix,” and arrived in company with Captain John Smith, at Jamestown, Va. (I’ll be doing more research on this little gem!)
This immigrant ancestor and progenitor of the Beckwith’s of New England and those branches of the family which are offshoots of the New England lines was born in England about the year 1610. The history of his life to the time of his coming to America is somewhat obscure.
He is found early at Hartford, Conn. Here he bought the homestead of William Pratt, one of the original proprietors of Hartford, in 1645. About 1652 he was at New London, and Lyme, in the same colony, his land lying in both towns. It is judged from the size of his real estate holdings that he was a man of considerable wealth.
He was able to give land to his sons liberally, and it is recorded that in 1675 thirty acres of additional land were granted to him, all of which he gave to his son, Joseph Beckwith.
Matthew Beckwith occupied a prominent place in the community and was one of its most prominent citizens. He was killed on October 21, 1680, “by a fall in a dark night down a ledge of rocks.”
But, according to mothy Lester Jacobs, SDFH Genealogist, his death was probably on June 1682, as his inventory was taken on 6 June 1682, and the Jury of Inquest into his death was held on 8 June of the same year.
Updated 3/20/2021: There is some question as to the connection between Matthew and this Yorkshire family. Read more about the question of Matthew’s line here and here.
There are many books about the Malebisse family. You can research yourself at Google Books.
(WordPress will not let me cite them properly without upgrading to the Business Plan!)
Compiled by Timothy Lester Jacobs, SDFH Genealogist
Genealogy not recommended: “The Beckwiths”, Paul Edmond Beckwith, Albany, 1891. This genealogy, which contains a totally fabricated English lineage, is filled with errors, has a son Benjamin2, who never existed, and was thoroughly debunked in “The American Genealogist” articles by Simeon Fox.