The New England Historical and Genealogical Register

Editorial: Spring 2017, Volume 171 (Whole #682)

In the lead article, “The Black Sheep of Some Good Family:” The Essex Ancestry of John Holmes, Gentleman, Messenger of the Plymouth Court, author Denwood Nathan Stacy Holmes has taken the clues that indicated this John Holmes was from Colchester, Essex, and found documents in Colchester to identify him there. A subsequent article will present the author’s research on earlier generations of this Holmes family and their connections. A previous author had described John Holmes as perhaps the black sheep of some good family — and that is exactly what he was.

Identifying the Children of Ebenezer and Hannah (Wood) Ellis of Middleborough and Bridgewater, Massachusetts, treats a not-uncommon situation: a couple marry in 1777 but the births of their ten children do not appear in Massachusetts vital records. Most of the children had to be identified individually. Author Victor S. Dunn has determined who the ten children were and presented their children as well. Both Ebenezer and Hannah had multiple Mayflower descents.

Having noticed that many passengers on the Confidence that sailed to New England in 1638 were from Wiltshire and Hampshire, Randy A. West searched in those two counties for an Anthony Sadler baptized by 1620. The English Origin of Anthony1 Sadler of Salisbury, Massachusetts, is the successful outcome of that search. Not only was the baptism discovered, but also the 1643 will of Anthony’s uncle, Richard Cornwall, mentioned “my kinsman Anthony Sadler,” when “he shall return & come out of New England.”

In The Children of David Briggs of Halifax, Massachusetts, and Buckfield, Maine, author Judith A. Bowen skillfully identifies the many Briggses who settled in Oxford County, Maine. She shows that some were children of David, and some were his relatives. The cousin marriages were noteworthy: David and his wife, Hannah (Briggs) Briggs, were possibly first cousins, and their son Solomon married Keziah Briggs, possibly his first cousin (and definitely his second cousin).

In An Edgerly Family Update, author Paul Friday found a Jonathan5Edgerly in undocumented manuscripts on the Edgerly family, but found no record of the man in New Hampshire records. However, the children attributed to this Jonathan suggest that they were actually children of Joseph4 Edgerly of Brentwood, New Hampshire. To reach his conclusions, the author had to familiarize himself with the entire family.

The English Origin of Roger, Ann, and William Billings of Dorchester, Massachusetts, has been the subject of speculation for decades. Now authors Rachelle Child and Helen Schatvet Ullmann show that Richard Billings of Prescot, Lancashire, had children with these names baptized between 1620 and 1631, just the right ages to be the three who appear in New England. Moreover, other settlers of Dorchester were from Prescot and environs.

William Wyman Fiske continues his study of interconnected families in and around the parish of Bishop’s Stortford in eastern Hertfordshire. Two of these families are treated in The Wylley and Cramphorne Families of Hertfordshire and Their Contribution to the Great Migration. George1 Jacobs, George1Abbot, and William1 Denison were Wylley descendants, and several other Great Migration immigrants had Wylley connections. The Cramphorne family will be treated in Part 2 of this article.

Unpublished Vital Records of Union, Connecticut, were found by Scott Andrew Bartley while researching land records of that town. The vital records, which cover the years 1718–1748, are not in the Barbour Collection of Connecticut Vital Records.

We continue William H. Johnson, a Free Man of Color of Tyringham, Massachusetts, by Patricia R. Reed, with accounts of the rest of his children and most of his grandchildren, all in Western Massachusetts. Two of William’s sons-in-law served in the Union Army in the Civil War. One of them, Edward Carter, had escaped slavery via the Underground Railroad.

TheRegister depends on many people, especially associate editor Helen Ullmann. She reviews all submissions and handles review books. She edits accepted articles and often does further research for these articles. Helen and I have now “been on the same page” for sixteen years with the Register.

Helen and I rely on the Register’s consulting editors: Jerry Anderson, Bob Anderson, Cherry Bamberg, Drew Bartley, Chris Child, David Dearborn, David Greene, Charles Hansen, Gale Harris, David Lambert, Rhonda McClure, Gary Roberts, George Sanborn, Scott Steward, and Cliff Stott.

Gary Roberts and Jenifer Bakkala review all the articles for each issue. Cliff Stott does research for most of our English origin articles. Julie Otto produces the index to the Register each year.

Colleagues at NEHGS are always supportive in various ways, especially Penny Stratton, Sharon Inglis, Ellen Maxwell, Leslie Weston, and Lynn Betlock. The genealogists on each floor of the library answer my infrequent phone queries.

Finally, Helen and I are grateful for the many authors who send us articles. We couldn’t get along without you!

Henry B. Hoff