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George Clifford 3rd Earl of Cumberland genealogy & the Cliffords of early New England. Not!

Why am I writing about a person that is definitely not in my family line? Well, along with thousands of other Americans, I'm directly descended from John Clifford, early resident of Hampton, NH and Salisbury MA, and I'm incredulous that there are now multiple thousands of family trees posted online that for some crazy reason list him as the progenitor of the Cliffords of New England. Granted, the names are right, even the era is right, but there is no chance that the Earls of Cumberland were the ancestors of John of Hampton and his probable father, George Clifford of Boston. For the record, there are a number of "lines" in the history of the Cliffords of England, where the name began. The Earls of Cumberland are, well, of the Cumberland line, of course. The current Lord Clifford of Chudleigh is - you guessed it - of the Chudleigh line. The prestigious Clifford Association has identified my John Clifford of Hampton as being of the Bobbing line, Bobbing being a charming village in Kent. Intensive search for any Clifford births, deaths, taxes, legal proceedings, in the village of Arnold, Nottinghamshire, around the time our Cliffords would have been preparing to emigrate, 1639-ish and before, supposedly where the Cliffords of New England lived before coming to the New World, according to 18th century US historians) by expert genealogists has come up empty. However, for reasons that are outlined in archived Clifford Association newsletters, all of which I decided to verify with my own research, I can say that I'm ALMOST 100% certain that my Cliffords are of the Bobbing Line. To know much more about what I have discovered and want to share, browse my 2 other journals on the early Cliffords of Hampton, Salisbury, and Boston - just click my user name, YankeeRoots, near the top of the Journal, and all my posts will pop up, and just scroll through them to find the Clifford journals.

What you need to know about that family coat of arms

My cousin wrote this and posted it on another popular genealogy website. I asked if I could re-post it here and luckily the answer was yes. Here goes (please don’t shoot the messenger, LOL):

Firstly, it’s important to know that there really is no such thing as a “family coat of arms”. Arms are assigned to individuals, not families, although the arms assigned to someone holding a hereditary title can be passed on. While there is what can be called a family crest in use in conjunction with arms, that can be carried through from one generation to another, the correct use of the arms themselves has strict limitations. The precise design of the arms and the “permission” for the individual to use the ‘device’ (also a reference to the arms) is very closely controlled by the College of Arms, which is not a college in the academic sense, but an authority in England, Wales, Northern Ireland, and other Commonwealth countries, founded way back in 1484. A similar institution exists in Scotland called the Court of the Lord Lyon. Prior to the organization of these authorities, the use of arms developed in Europe amongst the ruling classes from the use of banners, surcoats, and shield markings in battle and tournaments, as a means of quick visual identification. While there are no fixed criteria nowadays for the applicants to these organizations for arms, there are a few sure bets. As a general rule, all British “titled” (nobility/aristocracy/knighthoods) persons will have been granted arms. (These arms are often the basis for the generic arms designs crafted by companies that sell people a set of arms calling it a family crest or a family coat of arms.)

In the British system a hereditary title generally passes from father to eldest son, unless there is no male heir, in which case it will often “become extinct”. In some cases, especially for nobility, it might pass to a younger brother of the title holder, or a daughter, nephew, or cousin. Frequently a person that inherits a hereditary title (and therefore the use of arms) will seek to modify the arms by adding something significant to the earlier device, or to change the design in some way, like maybe a reference to the arms of a spouse (if that spouse is entitled to arms) or some way to indicate a different generation than the original holder.

This is a very simplified explanation; the modern rules concerning the use of arms is much more complex. For more information, it’s easy enough to find the history of heraldry online using any search engine, and it’s fun to read the terms used in the study and art of heraldry; it’s almost a language of its own. There are also plenty of books on the subject. The College of Arms and Court of the Lord Lyon both have their own excellent websites. Now, that brings me to the modern-day common habit of digging up (or paying for!) a generic coat of arms for everyone in the family tree. As you can tell, that is not an officially sanctioned use of arms, and since an individual entitled to arms has probably made his/hers different and unique in some way, the arms are not correct, anyway. On the other hand, as I understand it, if you are the eldest male and are descended from an unbroken line of descent from the eldest male in each generation of a rightful holder of a coat of arms, you are authorized to carry them.

All of that said, if heraldic accuracy is not a huge priority, and if adding generic coat of arms makes your tree more fun, there’s no real harm in it; as long as you realize that unless it is the right one for the right individual, it’s only a colorful way to decorate your tree. And let’s face it, the worst that could happen is a mildly embarrassing moment or two in some circles. What IS correct and challenging is to find a depiction of the actual arms assigned to individuals in our trees (almost always those that were born in Europe, Britain, or the Commonwealth nations). Hope this clarifies - good luck to all in their research.

George Clifford (Which is Which?) and the Clifford Family pedigree in England

This is a companion post to my Family Tree Circles story about John Clifford of Hampton NH. I notice that there are an awful lot of people researching this family, and, quite honestly, much of what people find and repeat is simply erroneous, so the misinformation multiplies exponentially. I’m hoping I can shed some light on the subject with my own research. The information below is copyrighted material, excerpted from my own work (Copyright 2022). However, I’m sharing it here for those wishing to use it for non-commercial use and non-reproduction. I thank the readers for respecting the copyrighted material appropriately and I hope it helps clear up some confusion. Spoiler alert: if all you need to know is whether George Clifford, 3rd Earl of Cumberland is the direct ancestor of John Clifford, early settler of Hampton NH and his supposed father George Clifford of 1640’s Boston, read no further. He is not!

(Copyrighted material begins here.) What can be believed is that the ancient roots of the name Clifford are indeed English, and likely originated with the place name associated with the village and castle of Clifford (which lies on the English side of the English-Welsh border, near Hay-on-Wye). It was so named because of the obvious; it was an area containing the ford near a cliff. The lands in that area came into the possession of the Fitzponz family (of Norman descent) following what the British refer to as simply “The Conquest”, a.k.a. the Norman Conquest. For the uninitiated, the term refers to the victorious invasion of England by Duke William (“the Conqueror”) and his band of warrior-knights in October 1066, who sailed from Normandy (yes, the same Normandy at the northern coast of France that we know from the D-Day invasions in 1944), which at the time was its own dukedom, or more correctly, a duchy. The story of the Norman Conquest is an interesting one that I will not attempt to re-tell, but it is a monumentally important world event, since it forever changed the face of Britain, and consequently as time went on, virtually every country that was ever part of the British Empire. In more blunt terms, it means that at one time, at the peak of the empire, the culture and laws of England affected over 400 million people. To this day our expressions, habits, and language are effected by the Norman Conquest. For this reason, every student in Britain knows the date 1066! And the Cliffords were there in the very beginning.

The victorious Duke William, having become William the Conqueror, moved quickly to have himself crowned king (Christmas Day, 1066). He also wasted no time claiming the spoils of war, namely the bulk of the British mainland, as his own. He parceled out vast chunks of land to his faithful knights and Norman supporters as rewards for their service. They were also given the powerful title of Baron. In return, these barons helped William defend his crown and “have his back” by building immense castles, conscripting militias, and imposing King William’s rules across his new realm. One of these worthies was a man simply referred to as “Pons”. This Pons and his descendants are the progenitors of the first claimants to the Clifford name. This is the family that received Clifford castle and environs following the death of its first Norman recipient, William Fitzosbern, said to have built the castle, and a subsequent series of other powerful landholders, most notably Ralf de Toeni III, a man of immense power and influence. By the year 1128 or so, however, the Clifford properties were back in the hands of the Fitzpons family (a French naming protocol made the name “Fils de Pons” [Sons of Pons], which morphs into Fitzpons or Fitzponz). One of these Fitzpons descendants, Walter I, married into the de Toeni family, helping him gain overall control of the Clifford lands. He eventually took the name of his holding, de Clifford, as a surname, a process not uncommon in Norman noble circles. Over generations, the “de” prefix was used less and less. Also, as time went on, the descendants of Walter Fitzpons/Clifford continued to form powerful alliances by marriage. For generations they were important participants in the events surrounding the monarchs of England, sometimes as supporters of the crown, and sometimes as enemies (and sometimes as both, as fortune dictated; the Cliffords were clever). Forebears from other European royal families were introduced into the Clifford line with every generation. And as with other aristocratic dynasties, Clifford blood soon flowed through the veins of almost all the powerful families in England, especially amongst the “Marcher Lords” (those located in the Welsh border region), as well as courtiers, crusaders, templars, and early immigrants to the new world.

That brings us to the numerous George Cliffords alive the 16th and 17th centuries, the time leading up to and encompassing what is referred to The Great Migration to New England. Many North American Clifford family researchers looking for the first Cliffords in the northern colonies (not necessarily those that went earlier to Virginia) have traced their trees up to John (of Hampton NH), and ostensibly George, his father, of Boston MA. Although research is still being conducted to verify the connection of these two to the various Clifford lines in England (including a so far inconclusive DNA and name study though the Clifford Association), there is strong historical evidence for the connection to what is known as the Bobbing Kent line (explained in further detail in the next paragraph), and more and more circumstantial evidence is coming to light to support the claim that George and John Clifford of New England are from this line. (YankeeRoots inserted note: see my post John Clifford of Hampton, NH).

Members of the House of Clifford have identified a number of lines of descendancy, named after the regions in which they developed, usually where their ancestors’ titles originated. For example, the current Lord Clifford is Thomas Hugh Clifford, 14th Baron Clifford of Chudleigh. His line is therefore called the Chudleigh line. The Bobbing (of the county of Kent) line, is a historical offshoot of the Chudleigh line. Sadly, the original manor of Bobbing Court, “seat” of the Cliffords of Bobbing, no longer exists; it was sold off by the heirs of Mary Southwell, widow of Sir Conyers Clifford (uncle of George Clifford of Boston), who by the time of her death had remarried and had had issue by that marriage. The old manor was demolished and later rebuilt in a different location by its new owners. What does remain as a testament to its Clifford years, however, is the adjacent church with its associated Clifford burials. Unfortunately, not all of the burial markers survive.

The name George Clifford appears in several different lines of the pedigree, sometimes simultaneously, Bobbing being one of the lines where the name is more prevalent. At one time there were 3 and possibly even more George Cliffords alive at the same time, including some Georges that are not depicted on any trees whatsoever, presumably of a lower social status, most of these found in legal records. Therefore, it is understandable that there would be confusion. In the course of my study of the Bobbing line, I realized that it is quite a common error for family historians to find and post information concerning one of these Georges to a completely different George. Most commonly I see people posting portrait images and data pertaining to Sir George Cliffford, 3rd Earl of Cumberland (1558-1605) with George Clifford, Esq. (1535-1585 grandfather of George the likely Boston immigrant). Sometimes, inexplicably, the information is transcribed to the George the immigrant himself. Also, it is highly unlikely that the Cliffords of Bobbing originated in or moved to the village of Arnold, Nottinghamshire; expert researchers have debunked this, irrespective of the claims made by 19th century genealogical references. With the death of Sir Conyers Clifford, the Bobbing line of Cliffords could no longer lay claim to the title attached to the manor of Bobbing, and to the best of my knowledge, were not authorized to bear arms (use a coat of arms). For this and other related reasons, slapping a generic “family” coat of arms on the Cliffords of New England, or any other person without justification, is simply wrong. The loss of the manor is, in my opinion, only one of the reasons George Clifford of Bobbing emigrated to America along with his son, John. (Copyrighted material ends here.)

2 comment(s), latest 8 months, 3 weeks ago

Daniel & Betsey ROGERS (RODGERS), early settlers of Shelburne, NH (Later Gorham)

If anyone has any information about this Daniel Rodgers, and his wife Betsey, I would be very grateful. I'd like to know their parentage, as I have absolutely no information about them prior to 1823, other than the estimated years of their births (1798 and 1799, respectively), based on census information. Daniel and Betsey were early settlers of Gorham, listed in town in the 1830-1850 census records. The couple married on 17 Nov 1823 by the Rev. Daniel Elkins (no record of the place they married - only that bride and groom were "of Adams",later named Jackson, NH). Betsy was NOT a Kimball, as some family trees indicate for some reason. Her name on the marriage license issued in Adams NH in Nov 1822 was “Miss Betsy Rogers”; it’s possible she was a cousin, or even a Rogers from a completely different family. (There were plenty of unrelated Rogers families in New England at the time.)

Evidently Daniel and Betsey moved from Jackson to Gorham, and the family is listed in the 1830-1850 census records. Daniel died in Gorham on 20 Sep 1858, and is buried in the Adams Cemetery in that town. Betsy shows up in the 1860 census living with daughter Lydia and son Thomas, and in 1870 living with daughter Lydia and son-in-law George Webb. I am pretty sure about the dates of these facts, having found Betsey's Civil War Mother's Pension records in the National Archives. Betsey seems to have outlived all or most of her children. Her pension was awarded (in 1863) due to the fact that her son Daniel A. Rogers (who served honorably as a private in Company E of the 2nd New Hampshire Volunteers, Union forces, of course), was unmarried when he died of dysentery on 9 Oct. 1862. He may have served under his brother-in-law George Webb, also of the same Company. After the deaths of all but one of her children (by the 1870 census)I lose track of Betsey...she is not buried in the cemetery with her other family members (at least not under the name Rogers).

Her eldest son, Silas H. Rogers (my direct ancestor), served in the Civil War also; he was born around 1829, moved to Methuen MA (worked as a "field driver"), and served in the 17th Mass Volunteers (Companies F, and later A). He survived the war but died in a home for the destitute disabled in May 1878, in Stewartstown, NH. Silas' wife, Dolly Jane (Langley) Rogers, survived him, dying in 1902 in Haverhill, MA.

This is not the same Daniel Rogers that received a land grant dating from 1770 (recorded 1771) in the town of Shelburne (now called Gorham) NH , making him one of the town's founders. That Daniel would have been a much more eminent figure (called "Esquire" in many documents). In fact, I don’t think he was directly related to any of the wealthy Portsmouth NH Rogers, including Dr. Daniel Rogers. Although it is possibly that my Daniel may have been distantly related in some way, I think it is unlikely; my Daniel was a farmer all of this life, as far as I can tell, and his family struggled over the years. For you researchers out there, other grantees of land in this town are the eminent Mark Hunking Wentworth, as well as Daniel Pierce, John Rindge, Isaac Rindge, and Jotham Rindge. A Daniel Rodger/Rogers and his family are recorded as residents there in the first US census, dated 1790, but my family seems to be about a generation later. The grantees of the town almost certainly did not choose to live there; they were people of great means, and the town was very rural, undeveloped, and isolated. Portsmouth, where the wealthier folk lived, was anything but rural and isolated. Few roads existed into those undeveloped parts of northern NH and there were no easy means of access by water, that I’m aware of. (And, of course, this is long prior to railroad transportation.) So, I think it is a very big mistake (but evidently a common one) to link this Rogers couple with the Daniel Rindge Rogers family, etc.

Any history on this couple; their residences, emigration, ancestry, etc, would be greatly appreciated.

2 comment(s), latest 11 months, 4 weeks ago

George Dyes and David Dyes of Nova Scotia, Canada, 1800's (aka Dize, Dyze)

Need more information about a George William Dyes from Nova Scotia, and later resident of Massachusetts (Lynn, Georgetown, and Groveland)

He is almost certainly a relative of George Gideon Dyes and a David Dyes from southern Nova Scotia, around Yarmouth. David arrived in Yarmouth from Kingston, Jamaica in 1813 with his parents James and Lydia Dyes aboard a British "man-o-war". This would strongly suggest the family was loyalist (giving their allegiance to the British crown) and/or they were offered freedom from slavery or servitude to an American. This was a time in history, just after the war of 1812, in which the English were doing their best to thwart American trade interests; by offering plantation slaves and other laborers refuge in British colonies, they thereby interrupted American commerce. (The British monarchy had done the same thing during the American Revolution a few years earlier.) About 2000 such individuals are known to have been moved to Nova Scotia after the War of 1812. What we are certain about is that after arrival in Nova Scotia, David signed an indenture to the Yarmouth coroner Nehemiah Porter (son of the Reverend Nehemiah Porter from Ipswich MA, who had briefly taken up residence in Yarmouth NS). Nehemiah Porter the coroner stayed on in NS after his father's departure, presumably for the rest of his life, and we feel he remained influential in David's life. David successfully completed his indenture in 1820 and became a Deacon (turned pastor later in life) of the African Baptist Church of Greenville, NS. George Dyes gave land to this church and also resided in the area. Research indicates that David was George's uncle, but this is not certain. Although my information is from various sources, I would like to thank Nova Scotia historian and author Sharon Robart-Johnson for her invaluable assistance, and for chronicling the life of David Dyes the Jamaican immigrant and indentured servant in her groundbreaking book, Africa’s Children.

My connection to this group is through my ancestor George William Dyes, emigrant to Lynn, MA, then Georgetown and Groveland MA. We know from census records that he was born in Yarmouth County, Nova Scotia in January 1846 (although some of his census records vary slightly from that). We are not 100% certain that he was related to the Dyes family above, but there are several important clues that point heavily to this probability. For one thing, this is the one and only record of the Dyes name in that specific area of Nova Scotia during the period. For another, photographs of my Dyes relatives bear some resemblance to that of David's pictures. Lastly, certain unusual names given to some of my George's offspring are names used by the earlier Dyes and Porter families. It is also possible that my George William Dyes may also have had some connection to the local Mi'kmaq tribe, since his daughter Ruth (Dyes) Wenger would talk about tribal peoples. He claimed to have served as a cabin boy aboard British Merchant vessels for some years as a youth or young man, a story that is quite plausible, as he is shown in his first census after emigrating to the US (1870) from Canada (then still part of the British Empire) as a mariner. The Royal Merchant Navy and other British shipping companies did recruit help in the area and many young men of all races were pressed into sea service from Canada (and specifically from the Yarmouth NS area) under the Union Jack. This could explain our George William Dyes’ crisp British accent. By 1880, George was living in Georgetown MA, and later sold his property there to his son Edward, and moved closer to his own son in Groveland, MA. He lived there until his death in 1942. George had 2 marriages that produced children. The first was to a woman named Lydia, who died, possibly in childbirth. George subsequently married Mary Catherine Long, whose parents briefly came to the Weymouth MA area just in time for Catherine’s birth in 1874, then returned with the family to Ireland, finding attitudes towards the Irish in America too hostile. However, Ireland at the time had little to offer Catherine, and when she was old enough, she returned to MA, where she met George Dyes. Their eldest child is David T. Dyes of Groveland, MA, whose life story can be found on the Forever Missed website.

Angus Brown (Browne) - was he father of John Brown (e), who helped found Hampton, NH??

Looking for someone to provide some documentary evidence that John Brown, (the well-documented settler who followed the aged Reverend Stephen Bachelor [Bachiler, etc.] to what eventually became Hampton, New Hampshire, is related to Angus Brown of London, England. This Angus is, according to some, supposedly descended from the aristocratic Brown Family of Fordel, Scotland. Getting back to known Hampton settler John, one of my many-times great grandfathers, we have some evidence that he probably arrived aboard the ship Elizabeth in 1635, married the teenaged Sarah Walker who was in his employ, and arrived in Hampton around 1640. He was apparently amongst the second group of land grantees (the first having been issued to the town’s original proprietors). As for John Browne’s lineage, we actually have 2 missing links here - John's father needs to be documented, and if it is Angus, we also need Angus' pedigree. I have corresponded with someone who claims to have visited Angus' burial in a London church, but he stopped corresponding before telling me where that was, and what the inscription might have said. Anyone with documentation, we need your help!

5 comment(s), latest 1 year, 3 months ago

The mysterious Alice Kitson, early Plymouth, MA settler

Who is this mysterious lady who seems to show up amongst all the other more well documented residents of the Plymouth Colony? Descendants have been asking this question for years, as the Plymouth settlers are probably some of the most closely studied emigrant groups to come to North America in the Great Migration! If there's anyone out there who has any information on her parentage and where she was from, etc., please speak up (and please provide whatever evidence you might have...) What I know is that she married my ancestor William Reynolds (spelled in numerous diffent ways; Rennols, Renols, Renals, Runnalls, etc.) who was in Plymouth no later than 1636, and that the two married in 1638 (Plymouth Colony Records). They then moved to the area of Kennebeck (Kennebunkport), Maine in the 1650's, after obtaining a land grant, and operated a ferry there. Some of their children left Maine for New Hampshire no later than 1718, and sold off their inherited Maine properties.

2 comment(s), latest 8 months, 3 weeks ago

William Reynolds at the Plymouth Colony (1600's) is NOT the same as William of CT

One of my many-times great grandfathers is William Reynolds, a resident of the Plymouth Colony in Massachusetts no later than 1636, and possibly earlier, who married Alice Kitson, and who moved to Maine (after a land grant from the governing Mass. Colony) in the 1650's. He is almost surely not the same William Reynolds of New Haven and Providence, RI, around the same time frame. Several Reynolds family historians and members of the Reynolds Family Association have been trying to set this straight for years. Countless genealogy researchers have made this erroneous assumption and have linked the two in their online family trees, including those posted on the very prominent Ancestry.com. The following are just two exerpts from the Reynolds family reunion publications, the first from the 10th Annual Reunion of the Reynolds Family Association pamphlet:

"Remarks by Rev. F. B. Cole"
(...text omitted for brevity; his supporting evidence is strong and extensive...closing statement follows) "It does not seem to me that the William Reynolds of Plymouth and the William Reynolds of Providence can be one and the same man. So there we have another man to account for. Dr. Street, you will remember, at one of the meetings that said William Reynolds of Providence had come from New Haven, and he referred to the old town lot which William Reynolds had plotted. I simply want to make this statement, because in these matters, if we are going to fill a book, accuracy is the first law. Traditions and guesses and suppositions are not history. They are not genealogy." (In other words, he was angry that the connection was made on supposition...)

From the 12th Annual Reunion of the Reynolds Family Association pamphlet:
(..again, some text with supporting discussions omitted for brevity) "..If William Reynolds was in Providence in 1638," (the previous paragraph outlines his many references to one William's unbroken record of residence in Providence), then "what was William Reynolds doing up in Plymouth in 1638, marrying Alice Kitson? Afterward, in 1638, this same William Reynolds and his children are mentioned at Plymouth, and by a grant of the Court land is given to these children because the father was a servant of the colony."

So, once again, people are building family trees without documentation, making the work of the researchers dedicated to accuracy work harder.

1 comment(s), latest 8 months, 3 weeks ago

John Clifford of Hampton, NH (1600's) 2024 Update!

Rejoice, researchers! I've spent hundreds of hours in the last few months pursuing the parentage of John Clifford of Hampton NH and his supposed father George Clifford, who was supposedly from Arnold Village in Nottinghamshire, England, and who eventually settled in Boston, MA.

Here is my previous post: John Clifford, an early resident of the town of Hampton NH (first settled by Europeans in 1638) is fairly well chronicled. He was a resident by the mid 1640's. There are a couple of unsupported conclusions about his parentage in the book "History of the Town of Hampton, New Hampshire" by Joseph Dow, who contends that John's father was the George Clifford that emigrated to Boston from Arnold Village, Nottingham, England about 1644. Although the dates do match up, he provides no supporting evidence that the two were related. Other historians have tried to make this clear, most notably Walter Goodwin Davis, in his book "Massachusetts and Maine Families", in a footnote on page 283; "There is no documentary evidence whatsoever that John Clifford of Hampton was identical with John, son of George Clifford, who was baptized in Boson on May 10, 1646, that statement having been made by Mr. Dow in his History of Hampton, and copied by Mr. Hoyt in his Old Families of Salisbury and Amesbury." (He then goes on to provide his reasoning for this, which is pretty sound...) Bottom line is, I'm going to hold off on connecting the two until someone offers some more definitive documentation. Still, I will explain why I believe they were of the line of Cliffords from the county of Kent.

Here's my update, but before I do, I should point out that at the moment I'm writing this, on the world's largest paid genealogical service (you know the one I'm talking about...that big one....) that there are well over 4000 family trees listing John of Hampton as being the son of a person that never existed - "Lord George Clifford 4th Earl of Cumberland". Wow. Not only was the 4th Earl of Clifford named Frances, which is easy to find on the internet, but Frances wasn't even the 3rd Earl's son. It was his brother. Eventually, the male Cumberland line died out, and Lady Anne Clifford was able to fight to recover the inheritance she should have received because of that fact. She can be thanked for laying out the Clifford genealogies up to the time of her victory, but she does not cover her Bobbing cousins in her work, as they were not in competition for her estates. There was a Cumberland child named George, perhaps of the right age (ostensibly the illegitimate son of the 3rd Earl, also named George) but it would be impossible for more reasons that I have to explain here, for either George to be the same as the George Clifford of Boston, now widely regarded (but not proven) to be John of Hampton's father. For anyone needed clarification on the various Clifford lines (all of which seemed to have Georges and Johns and Henry's), find and read the outstanding book, now out of print but still in many libraries, called The House of Clifford, by Hugh Clifford, 13th Lord Clifford of Chudleigh, (Phillimore, 1987). Unfortunately the Bobbing line that would have included John Clifford of Hampton NH and George Clifford of Boston ends with George's father. So read on to see who that is.

So back to the question. Yes, there is finally good evidence that George Clifford of Boston in the 1640's, member of the First Church of Boston (where his son John was baptized in 1646), member of the Ancient and Honorable Artillery Company of Boston by 1643 is very likely the father of John Clifford. Although George disappears off the map by the late 1640's, sadly, there is enough in the record to substantiate a family group that actually comes from places called Bobbing and Sittingbourne in Kent, England. I don't have the time or space to get too detailed, but thanks to the very nice detective work of the late Bill Marquis, who wrote and published (with the help of his niece) a book on this family line called simply "The Clifford Family", and also by combing the newsletters of the Clifford Family Association of England, I got the break I needed to pursue the connection.

I don't take anyone's word on it...I check out every generation by searching on my own for documentation. I think there might be a few mistakes in Bill's book, and maybe a few assumptions, and it could have benefited from some editing, but otherwise it is a fantastic resource, and very well-researched. Hopefully, Bill's family will make sure his book gets into some deserving research libraries. But I do believe that the aforesaid George is the son of Henry Clifford, Esquire, of Sittingbourne, and formerly of Bobbing, Kent. The smoking gun is Henry Clifford's will, which is housed at the British National Archives (but can be viewed online by the Archive's pay-per-document service), in which he leaves 50 pounds to George. The Clifford Association, which has taken a great interest and has aided in identifying our George, also alleges that a recently discovered deed for property sold/purchased in Hampton, NH, which was found in the Haverhill, MA library, also spells out that John is George's son. Furthermore, there is evidently a comment in the original record about John Clifford being a fully-grown man when he was baptized in 1646 at the First Church of Boston.

Author Bill Marquis says that George married his step-sister, Elizabeth Nethersole, who grew up in a different household, and that her mother was Ellen or Helen Spencer. My research now supports the contention that George Clifford and his wife Elizabeth Nethersole were step-siblings, but his claim that Eliz.'s mother was a Spencer is a little problematic. Not saying it's wrong, but there are only indexes to records to indicate the mother of Elizabeth Nethersole was Ellen Spencer...there are scores of other books and documents that claim Edward Nethersole (father of our Elizabeth Nethersole, and stepfather of our George Clifford) first married Ellen/Helen Stoughton, the Stoughtons being a prominent family. There is also evidence that Edward had another child who married into the Spencer family...I'm wondering if the transcriber of the sole index record indicating that Ed married a Spencer got confused and entered info from his son's records. Obviously, more research is needed. The fact that George and Liz were step-siblings, and that intermarriage like that would be frowned upon in Elizabethan England, even if brought up separately, might explain why they may have provided some misleading information about their home parish in England; in fact, it could be one of the reasons they left England to begin with (besides the fact that the lands and titles of both families had been sold or lost by legal action).

Bill also alleges that son John married first a Dow, niece of an early Hampton NH settler (who married John after he went back to England to collect her). I have found no record whatsoever of that, but will continue to work on it. What is almost certain is that the Cliffords did not come from Arnold parish...several researchers have combed the records and find no Cliffords on record there until several generations later. The connection to the Cliffords of Bobbing and Sittingbourne would make the Cliffords of Hampton NH descended from some very impressive and aristocratic lineage, despite the fact they are not descended from the Earls of Cumberland, all of which is well documented (as most blue-blooded families tend to be), so I will leave all that to the researcher to take up. If I find anything further on this family I'll be sure to pass it along!


1 comment(s), latest 1 year, 8 months ago

Shadrach Bell of Portsmouth, and later New Castle, NH (1600's)

There is some confusion that needs to be cleared up! Many researchers have incorrectly linked this family with the family of someone of the same name in Virginia. My many-times great grandfathers are named Shadrach Bell. The first of them was born sometime between 1640-1650 (probably), place undocumented, but by 1683 was living in Cape Elizabeth, Maine. The probable date of his death is 1722 or 1723. His son Shadrach, was born in July, 1685. Many more generations of Bells would name their sons Shadrach (also spelled Shadrech, Shadrack, Shadreck, etc...) The Bell family of New Castle/Portsmouth is fairly well documented, and to the best of my knowlege, there is no readily available documentary evidence to support they lived anywhere other coastal New England. Many researchers have posted this Shadrach in their online family trees (including on Ancestry.com), alongside their Virginia ancestors. If you are researching these 2 Bell families, use caution, because it appears there is a lot of blind supposition out there, which, of course, leads to inaccurate resarch. This is not to say that there is definitively no link between these two families, but I have put literally thousands of hours of research into my family tree and have found nothing to indicate the Bells of New Hampshire and the Bells of Virginia are directly linked. I am trying to keep an open mind, as there was sea trade between the two colonies, and the Bell family of New Hampshire had many mariners in its ranks. Also, it is possible that an earlier Bell emigrant may have been the originator of both families. Even so, until some definitive proof is presented, I believe it is a mistake to link the two.

2 comment(s), latest 13 years, 11 months ago