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New names at both ends

29 Dec 2014

Oh, yay, I’m posting here twice this year!

I have a new yDNA match at He’s at genetic distance 2 from me on 37 markers, so probably is another descendant of John HOLMES of Plymouth — or at least of a close relative. Unfortunately his paper record dies out in 18th century Maine.

But while doing a little quick Googling to see if John had any known descendants in Maine, I stumbled across this very interesting blog post by one Denwood HOLMES, descendant of John of Plymouth via John’s son Nathaniel.

To quote from Eugene A. Stratton’s article “Descendants of Mr. John Holmes, Messenger of the Plymouth Court” (National Genealogical Society Quarterly, June 1986, p. 83):

One writer, George N. MacKenzie, has John Holmes … as the son of … Thomas Holmes, maltster, of Colchester, co. Essex, who dated his will 7 November 1637, and named his daughter Susan Morton; his grandson Thomas Holmes, the son of his son John; and his daughter Frances. … There is one other clue associating Holmes indirectly with Colchester. On 27 March 1637 William Spooner of Colchester, co. Essex, indentured himself as an apprentice to John Holmes… for a term of six years starting 1 May 1637 …. That is all. Clearly more work needs to be done on the English origins of John Holmes.

Well, more has been done, apparently. Denwood, besides displaying photo excerpts from Thomas’s will, tells us:

Susan [Morton]’s will, unearthed by chance in the Prerogative Court of Canterbury, confirms Mackenzie’s assertion: she mentions her nephews (John’s sons) Thomas (who remained in Colchester), John, and Nathaniel…

I can’t say regard this as proof Thomas of Colchester was John’s father. John son of Thomas’s having sons named John and Nathaniel certainly suggests identification with John of Plymouth, but on the other hand those names were common enough. I’d want more evidence than that before I’d be completely persuaded. Still, it’s intriguing.

Denwood also mentions something I didn’t know, that Thomas’s will was witnessed by “a number of noted Colchester Puritans”. That does help to bolster the claimed connection from John of Plymouth to Thomas of Colchester, I suppose.

If Thomas really is our man in England, then apparently his grandfather, also a Thomas, came to Colchester from Ramsden Bellhouse and perhaps was related to William HOLME of “Ramesdon Belhous” mentioned in the Feet of Fines for Essex in 1499. But let’s not get carried away with speculation…

I wonder if there are any male line descendants of John’s son Thomas running around?


From → treetops

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