The Grand Wilcockson Tour to Derbyshire Day 10: After Thoughts, Puritan William Wilcockson, Margaret Harvie, DNA
Copyright © Jane E. Wilcox, Forget-Me-Not Ancestry, Albany, NY www.4getmenotancestry.com.
In September 2017 I led a tour to Derbyshire, England, in search of my Puritan ancestors William Wilcockson and his wife Margaret. They came to New England on the Planter in 1635 with their two-year-old son John Wilcockson and Ann Harvie, whom I believe to be Margaret’s sister. They came during the Puritan Great Migration 1620-1640. With them on the Planter were Margaret’s first cousins Richard Harvie and his sister Mary Harvie with her husband William Beardsley and their three children Mary, John and infant Joseph. This homecoming trip with my cousins in 2017 culminated my research on the Wilcocksons of Biggin-by-Hulland, the Harvies of Ilkeston and their minister Rev. Adam Blakeman/Blackman (who founded Stratford, Conn. with them in 1639) that I undertook on three genealogy research trips to England between 2000 and 2015.
On this trip my cousins and I followed in the footsteps of Puritan William and Margaret Wilcockson (not spelled Wilcoxson as many have tried to modernize it) from their origins in Derbyshire, England, to their exposure to non-conformist ideas that eventually caused them to emigrate to America, to the churches they attended, to their dissenting Puritan network of family and friends, to their journey to the port of London to take passage on the Planter in 1635. While in England I sent daily emails to about 50 of my extended family and friends, as I had done in the past with the three other research trips, sharing our journey with them. The emails sent during the trip have been expanded and fact-checked to present here as blog posts. When you are reading my account of Puritan William in England, keep in mind that this is a proposed family of origin for William Wilcockson of Stratford, Conn. based on the evidence in the available records. Think “probable” and “probably” when you read Puritan William’s story.
Down the road I will write a series of articles giving the documentary evidence as to why I believe Puritan William was the son of tanner William Wilcockson and his first unknown wife from Biggin-by-Hulland, Derbyshire, and why Puritan William’s wife Margaret was Margaret Harvie, daughter of weaver James Harvie and his wife Elizabeth Winfield from Ilkeston Derbyshire — and not Margaret Birdseye or Birdsey as has long been erroneously held. These articles will contain more details and all of the sources I used to compile the evidence, as well as the genealogies of the Wilcockson, the Harvie and the Blakeman families in England in the 1500s and early 1600s.
This morning we were picked up by the same driver who drove us from Hertz to the hotel on Wednesday (Day 7) – a much different way to get to the airport from what I have done in the past, which is to take a bus/Tube to Heathrow from London or to drop off a car at a rental place before my flight. This was effortless.
It has been a fantastic trip! My cousins and I have been talking about doing this trip for a few years and we finally did it. Not only was I able to share the story of Puritan William and Margaret Wilcockson with them, but I was able to share their story with all of you as well through daily emails and now this blog.
Things I meant to say and forgot in no particular order:
Please excuse all the typos, spelling and grammar mistakes, and oopses. I’m sure I’ve missed a few.
I used the term “Puritans” loosely when I discussed these people in England. There were so many differing ideas and sects springing up during this time in England. The term “Puritan” was first used in the 1560s and it was used derogatorily. They were dissenters or nonconformists when the ideas they espoused were going against the grain of the proscribed tenets of the Church of England, which still has a lot of Catholic traditions, BTW. They cross themselves, for example. I hadn’t seen that done before – or it didn’t sink it if I had seen it.
I had two other ancestors on the Mayflower: James Chilton and his wife. He was a Separatist and went to Leiden, Holland with the other Brownists – unlike John Alden who was hired on as the ship’s cooper and William Mullins who was an investor. I had on the ship: a Separatist and his wife (Chiltons), a crew member (Alden), and an investor (Mullins) and his daughter (Priscilla was the daughter of Mullins’s first wife). Chilton is on my mom’s side and Alden and Mullins on my dad’s. Alden and Mullins come in through my gg grandfather Orville Wilcox’s wife Sarah Sprague from Claremont, New Hampshire. I descend from Chilton’s daughter Isabella who stayed in Europe and then came to New England later.
Sarah Sprague’s Alden connection is where we get the name Chester in our family. Sarah’s great grandmother was Rebecca Alden who had a brother Chester Alden. Sarah’s brother was named Chester Marcellus Sprague, and Sarah’s son Stephen B. Wilcox named his son Chester Harvey Wilcox for his uncle Chester Sprague. My cousin Chet is Chet the Third – now known from this trip as Sir Chester of Moriches.
Virgin Atlantic’s app is great! It remembers the data you previously put into it when you’ve forgotten to bring the reservation code with you to check in and get your seat assignments 24 hours before your flight – this is when you’re in the middle of a walk through Eton, your alarm that you set for 15 minutes before 11:30 when you can check in doesn’t go off, and you scramble to find a place to sit and use the app at 11:28, only to find you forgot the code that you’d written on a piece of paper back at the hotel room. Your knowledge of profanity comes into play here. The reservation came right up and we were checked in within a minute, thankfully because I had tested the app and the code before we left the hotel in the morning.
I need to go back. The chapel at Windsor is calling my name, as is Churchill’s War Room, All Hollows Church and Scotland. Going back to Cornwall would be fine too. I researched my Cornish families a little when I was there on a previous trip, but there is always more to do.
Chet and Marilyn kept us groaning with their pun exchanges daily. I was going to include one of their riffs on wool and sheep one day, but obviously didn’t. Another good one was on shoes and leather. I got in a couple on that one.
Puritan William Wilcockson
Right now all I can say for Puritan William Wilcockson’s origins is that I have a proposed family for him. Tanner William and his first wife are not conclusively proven, but the evidence leads me to this proposed conclusion – plus Puritan William fits in nowhere else based on the records that have survived and are available to research today. I don’t know of any stone that we haven’t turned over in this search for Puritan William’s parents.
I so wanted to find Puritan William’s mother, but I didn’t. I have a few ideas about his mother though. Tanner William and his eldest son William exchanged copyhold land in nearby Belper (8 miles from Nether Biggin) with two generations of Woodwards (father John and son Henry) from Belper from 1610 to 1627. The land ended up back with the Woodwards over the years. I wonder if William’s mother was connected to the Woodwards in Belper. I found weavers in Belper in probate records, so I wondered if Puritan William was sent to Belper to learn weaving with an uncle or grandfather and then made his way to Ilkeston for the cottage weaving industry there at the time. Belper, Ilkeston and Heage are all within 10 miles of each other. There is no other evidence to support this Belper idea though — but this theory tops my list. Now see the next two theories.
A second thought for Puritan William’s mother is Shepshed. There is a possibility that tanner William may have had a daughter (Alice) get a license to marry from Shepshed in 1605 (however, there is nothing to indicate that she was a daughter — only her presence in Shepshed, in the right place at the right time), and he probably had another kinswoman, perhaps sister or cousin, who got married in Shepshed in the 1580s. Why were the Wilcockson women in Shepshed – 24 miles from Biggin? Could tanner William’s first wife have been from the area and they were there because of her family? Also, as previously mentioned, neighboring Loughborough was a center for weaving and we have kinsman Bryan Wilcockson and his family in Loughborough from 1560 to 1612. Did Puritan William go to Loughborough to learn weaving? Bryan’s son John was a malster in 1612, so there is no known connection to weaving by the Loughborough Wilcocksons though. Nothing in the Leicestershire probate records supports this theory.
The third idea is that Puritan William’s mother was from Wirksworth parish. There is no record of her marriage to tanner William because parish registers for St Mary the Virgin Church in Wirksworth don’t start until 1608. We have a huge blank for Wirksworth parish prior to 1608. However, there also was no evidence of any connection between a Wirksworth family and tanner William Wilcockson in Biggin in any probate record where we might have seen tanner William witnessing a will or named in a will. Perhaps someday some record will shed more light on Puritan William’s mother.
We** have the Y-DNA proof that Puritan William comes from the Biggin Wilcocksons. We have Y-DNA tests from the descendants of the early 1700s Quaker Wilcocksons in Pennsylvania (descendants of George Wilcockson and Elizabeth Powell and their sons John Wilcockson and his wife Sarah Boone, Daniel’s sister, and Isaac Wilcockson). Genealogist Celia Renshaw has taken this Pennsylvania Quaker line back to meet the research I did on the Wilcockson families who were in Biggin ca. 1600. One of these Wilcockson families in Biggin at the time was headed by John Wilcockson. We call him Old John because there are some other Johns in the line. (I don’t know how Old John was related to tanner William.)
We then found two English Wilcocksons who are descendants of a brother of the Pennsylvania Quaker, George Wilcockson, to do Y-DNA tests. (See Rev. Steve Wilcockson below.) This brother, David, stayed in England. The two lines — Quaker George in Pennsylvania and Quaker David in England — are Y-DNA matches to each other. Puritan William’s descendants also match these two Quaker Wilcockson lines which go back to Old John Wilcockson in Biggin. This means my Puritan William’s line converges with the Old John Wilcockson line somewhere between 1300 and 1500, according to the Wilcox DNA Project administrator, Lisa Wilcox. See the Y-DNA results at the project: https://www.familytreedna.com/groups/wilcox/about/background. Lisa and I wrote an article called “Derbyshire Crossroads: A Wilcockson DNA case study” (NGS Magazine, January-March 2014, vol. 40, no. 1) that explains how we went about finding men in England to test and were able conclude that our ancestor Puritan William’s Wilcockson line came out of Biggin-by-Hulland. NGS = National Genealogical Society.
We have also tested a few other Derbyshire Wilcockson family descendants. We have represented in the Wilcox-Wilcockson DNA pool the Wilcocksons from Crich and Wheatcroft, Derbyshire and the Wilcocksons from Hope and Hathersage, Derbyshire (who interestingly were Catholics during the reform period). We are hoping someday soon to get the Wilcocksons from Cheshire into the DNA pool, as well as the Wilcocksons in Sheffield, Yorkshire. Puritan William’s Biggin line does not match the other two from Derbyshire (Crich/Wheatcroft and Hope/Hathersage) — and they don’t match each other. This shows the Wilcockson surname is polygenetic – it evolved in multiple places. It does not go back to just one person as Thomas Wilcox thought when he wanted to connect the Wilcockson surname back to a king in Wales in his 1963 genealogy, The Descendants of William Wilcoxson. The surname Wilcockson is not from a Welsh king. (See Day 1 for the surname origins.) Interestingly, the Hope/Hathersage Wilcocksons match the Y-DNA of the descendants of Edward Wilcocks who was in Rhode Island in the 1600s, indicating that there was a common ancestor somewhere before the 1600s.
It’s possible that Puritan William came from another family and I haven’t found the evidence. It could be buried in an obscure record somewhere or in a parish record that I didn’t look at. It could also have vanished in church records that have been long lost or destroyed. I have found Biggin Wilcocksons migrating to other places in Derbyshire between 1550 and 1640. The sons who did not inherit their dad’s copyholdings had to go somewhere. We have migrating from Biggin: Bryan to Loughborough, a handful in Derby city, one to Ashbourne, one or two to Atlow, one to Horsley which is very near Ilkeston. However, none of these migrating families have any sign of a William who could be my Puritan William Wilcockson. Old John Wilcockson, forefather of the Quaker line in Biggin, had a son William apparently born within a few years of Puritan William but Old John’s son William was not named in a 1611 probate record that lists his children, leading me to think that that William had died. It’s also possible that the clerk made an error and left that William off the list.
To confuse matters there was a second tanner William in Biggin in the early 1600s. He was from a younger generation than the tanner William I’ve been writing about, and no, I don’t think he is the elder tanner William’s eldest son William for a few reasons. His family is very distinct, with three brothers (William, John and Edward) and two sisters (Dorothy Glossop and Elizabeth Webster) – and no place for my Puritan William to fit into this family either. This Wilcockson family was closely associated with some Hutchinsons in Biggin. This tanner William fathered an out-of-wedlock child with his brother Edward’s widow, Joan, in 1638. The case appears in the ecclesiastical court records. This younger tanner William died in 1655, leaving a small amount of money to this child with Joan and the bulk of his estate to his brother Edward’s four surviving children and a few others. Edward’s descendants migrated to Brampton, Derbyshire. We don’t have a Y-DNA representative of this line in the pool – yet.
When all is said and done, what is certain about Puritan William: With the Y-DNA evidence, we do know that Puritan William’s ancestors came from Biggin-by-Hulland – if not Puritan William himself — and they were attending Trinity Church in Kirk Ireton, they were part of Wirksworth parish, they were copyholders in the manor of Biggin within the manor of Duffield Fee within the Duchy of Lancaster since 1440 and they were living in a royal forest called Duffield Firth. Our deep Wilcockson roots are in Biggin.
**Who we are: About five years ago a small group of U.S. and U.K. researchers formed to collaborate on the Wilcocksons of Derbyshire, discussing the research that Celia was engaged in regarding the Pennsylvania Quaker Wilcockson line and the research I had done on the Biggin Wilcockson families in the early 1600s. The group initially included Alan Wilcockson in England who descends from the Crich/Wheatcroft Wilcocksons and who also contributed his research and his Y-DNA (thanks, Alan!), Lisa Wilcox in the U.S. who is the admin of the Wilcox-Wilcockskon DNA project, two descendants of the Pennsylvania Quaker Wilcocksons in the U.S. (we call them the Boonie Wilcocksons since they are related by marriage to Daniel Boone), Celia Renshaw in the U.K. and I. It eventually included three descendants of the English Quaker Wilcocksons in the U.K., including Rev. Steve Wilcockson who is a bishop in the Church of England. More recently a few others from other Wilcockson lines joined the now much less active group as well.
In case you’re wondering where in England my colleagues and I have traveled to — looking for Puritan William’s origins, his wife Margaret’s origins, and Rev. Adam Blakeman’s life in England, plus their Puritan network — here are the repositories:
- Derbyshire Record Office, Matlock
- Derbyshire Local Studies Library, Matlock
- The National Archives, Kew
- Haddon Hall, Bakewell
- The British Library, London
- The Society of Genealogists Library, London
- Leicestershire Record Office, Leicester
- Nottinghamshire Record Office, Nottingham
- Lichfield Joint Record Office, Lichfield
- Derby Local Studies Library, Derby
- Northamptonsire Record Office, Mereway
- Lincolnshire Record Office, Lincoln
- Dr Williams Library: The Library of Protestant Dissent, London
- Christ College, Oxford
- Staffordshire Record Office, Stafford
Look for a series of articles on the Wilcocksons, Harvies and Blakemans in a couple of years, with my proof arguments for Puritan William’s parentage and Margaret’s identity as a Harvie, plus the genealogy of the families in England and New England. I have some income-producing commitments in the next year or so (2018) that need to take priority. The voluminous research that Celia Renshaw, Peter Foden, Simon Neal, Alan Wilcockson and I have done in England and online since 2002 has to be reviewed and put into an understandable form. I’ve given you a taste of the research, but not the minute details and some of the data used to connect the dots. We also can’t forget all the sources.
A very special thank you to Derbyshire genealogist Celia Renshaw who contributed much of her research at costs only and who bounced around interpretations of the data with me. We disagree on a couple of minor points, but Celia eventually agreed that there was no other Wilcockson family where Puritan William could fit — based on the available data.
The biggest thank you goes to my cousin Chet Wilcox who from the very start in 2001 supported and encourged me in the quest to discover the origins of our Wilcockson ancestors in England. He spit for DNA testing as early as 2004, listened when I skyped him from England and on many other occasions and told him of my discoveries, offered perspectives on the data, and much more.
Thanks for being a part of the Grand Wilcockson Tour to Derbyshire in 2017. Cheers!Posted on by Jane Wilcox