genealogy books

New Book – Virginia Immigrants and Adventurers 1607-1635: A Biographical Dictionary

I purchased a few new books in the last couple of weeks, and one I wanted to discuss today.  Virginia Immigrants and Adventurers 1607-1635: A Biographical Dictionary by Martha W. McCartney is a great source of early colonial information.  The first several pages are sources and abbreviations.  These are used in the biographical dictionary, which is the bulk of the book, which lists colonists along with where they were found, what land they may have owned, and sources to back up the information.  There is also a glossary, very helpful with those old English terms that we may not be familiar with.  And the map is impressive.  A total of 78 areas, houses and plantations. 

The ‘Where They Were’ section describes the different areas of the early settlements.  One area is called Hog Island.  I have seen Hog Island mentioned in some of the old records but didn’t know where or what it was.  We are told in the book that Hog Island was a ‘low-lying marshy peninsula, which protrudes from the lower side of the James River, was the site of a fort or blockhouse Captain John Smith and his men built in 1609.  Prior to that time, colonists had begun using Hog Island for the pasturing of swine.’  Have you seen in the old records where men – and women – would come to court and to list their markings for cattle and pigs?  Generally a notch or mark that was recognized by the community.  Some of the early land was specifically set aside for cattle to roam and graze.  Having a particular mark on your animals gave ownership.  

 A sample from the dictionary:

                Temperance Bailey (Baylie, Baly, Baley, Baylise) – On September 20, 1620, Temperance Bailey, who was only around 2 or 3 years old and Virginia-born, received a patent for 100 acres of land.  This suggests she was the child of an ancient planter.  When a list of patented land was sent back to England in May 1625, Temperance Bailey was credited with 200 acres of land in the Great Weyanoke (52), acreage that had been planted.  On February 16, 1624, Temperance was living at Jordan’s Journey (46).  She was still there on January 21, 1625, at which time she was identified as a 7-year-old child who had been born in the colony.  Temperance was then living in the household headed by William Farrar and Mrs. Cisley Jordan, the widow of Samuel Jordan, and may have been her daughter from a previous marriage.  Half of the land for which Temperance Bailey received a patent in September 1620 was encompassed by a tract Richard Cocke patented on October 10, 1652 (CBE 36, 51; VCR 4:554; DOR 1:120-121; PB 3:133).

CBE 36 is Martiau’s Plantation – In 1630 Captain Nicholas Martiau patented 600 acres on the lower side of the York River, land he was awarded for establishing a homestead I Chiskiack.  His property extended eastward from Martiau’s (Yorktown) Creek to Sir John Harvey’s York Plantation (37), which it adjoined.  In 1639 Martiau’s patent, which encompassed the site upon which Yorktown was built, was enlarged to 1,300 acres.  The Martiau property eventually came into the hands of Benjamin Read, Nicholas Martiau’s grandson.

CBE 51 is Captain Henry Spellman’s Dividend – Henry Spelllman or Spillman, who came to Virginia as a youth in 1609, lived with the Indians and in time became the colony’s most skillful interpreter.  Although he attained the rank of captain, in 1619 he was stripped of his status on account of making unfavorable comments about Governor George Yeardley.  Sometime prior to the March 1622 Indian attack, Henry Spellman established a plantation that abutted the west side of Ward’s Creek and extended up the James River toward Flowerdew Hundred.  When the Indians descended upon Spellman’s settlement, at least two men were slain.

VCR – Kingsbury, Susan M., ed. Records of the Virginia Company of London, 4 vols. Washington:  Government Printing Office, 1906-1935.

DOR – Dorman, John F., ed. Adventurers of Purse and Person, Virginia 1607-1624/5, Fourth ed. 3 vols. Baltimore:  Genealogical Publishing Company, 2004-2007.

PB – Virginia Land Office Patent Books 1619-1660.  Microfilm on file at Library of Virginia, Richmond, and Rockefeller Library, Colonial Williamsburg Foundation, Williamsburg, Virginia.  Database and digital images.  Library of Virginia.  (Note – this link does not work.)

This is an excellent book, not only for the earliest research in Virginia, but a better understanding of the times and government of that era.

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