Monday, June 29, 2015

The Millinneal Quest

    I am fortunate in some respects to have successfully documented my earliest ancestor, Edmond Lewes, back to Ipswich, Suffolk, England in 1631.

    There my frustration lies, as I have been unable to find any record of Edmond's birth or ancestry. I'm stuck at ~1601, Edmond's assumed birth year based on his recorded age of 33 in the passenger list of the Elizabeth, embarked from Ipswich for Massachusetts in 1634.

    I've researched the Lewis/Lewes/Lewys/Lowys surnames of Suffolk and surrounding counties in England in an attempt to find Edmond's parentage, to no avail. I suspect that this bit of information is forever lost in antiquity.

   During that search, I've found documentation for a Lewes line that begins in Stoke-by-Nayland, Suffolk, with Edmonde Lewes, born in 1519. The descendants of this Edmonde spread throughout Suffolk between Stoke-by-Nayland and Ipswich, along the Stour River, in exactly the territory where most of Edmond's fellow passengers on the Elizabeth originated. In fact, one of the Elizabeth passengers, Thurston Reyner (Raynor) had a sister, Anna, who married Robert Lewes in Elmsett, in the heart of Lewes territory.

    While I haven't found a record of my Edmond's birth, the similarity of given names in this line to those of Edmonde's family are striking, and the proximity to Ipswich adds to the possibility that this is my Edmond's ancestral line.

    Striking further back in time, I located a family line descended from Ludovic or Lewes John, who was born c. 1380, possibly in Carmarthen, Wales who apprenticed and practiced as a vintner in London. His descendants are know as Fitz Lewes, and held property in Essex and Suffolk. A grandson of Lewes John, Richard, dropped the Fitz and was known as Sir Richard Lewes, living in Bardwell, Suffolk, south of Bury St. Edmond. Richard's brother Edmond (Fitz) Lewes was mentioned in his father's will in 1440, but I've not found any further account of his life.

   This line comes within two generations of a possible connection with Edmonde Lewes born in 1519, living and dying in Stoke-by-Nayland Suffolk, some ten miles from the border with Essex and thirty some miles from Bardell, Suffolk, home of Sir Richard Lewes.

    This is the deepest my genealogical research has taken me into the history of the Lewes/Lewis surname in Suffolk, England, and, while intriguing, is circumstantial evidence at best.

    Since I began my paper research, I have also had my DNA profile analyzed through Family Tree DNA. My DNA turns out to be quite unique. I've found twelve others who share my DNA markers, in part, six of whom are within 1 or 2 markers of my own. This means that the six are almost certainly descended from Edmond Lewes of Watertown and Lynn, Massachusetts, while the other six may be descended from a close relation to Edmond.

    In researching deep in my DNA, I've found that my pattern of DNA markers is know as the Atlantic Modal Group, indicating an origin in an area called Doggerland, between England and Scandinavia, which is now the North Sea! As the sea encroached in this once dry land, the residents thereof moved inland into what is now southern Denmark and northern Germany. These people became know as the Angles, who eventually spread into Great Britain along with Saxons from further south in Saxony and became know as Ango-Saxons, the foundation of the English people and the English language.

    The Angles came into Great Britain by two routes, one from the ancestral lands of Denmark and Germany, and one by way of the Iberian Peninsula (southern France, the Pyrenees, Spain and Portugal. The southern migration, from the area of the Pyrenees, brought with it what is know as Iberian Celtic or Celtiberian culture, into southwestern Wales, as what was named by the Romans as the Demetae tribe.

    My unique DNA profile, shared by six others, is particularly identified with this southern migration from southern France to southwestern Wales, in the area between the River Ystwyth near present day Aberystwyth and Carmarthen on the banks of River Towy. It was here that the Romans built Moridonum, the civitas, or administrative center, for their management of the Demetae people.

    As an aside, the name Ludovic is known in Southern France is taken from the name of the Frankish King Chloedevich or Clovis from the 5th Century. This is often referenced as the origin of the French "Louis" and the Welsh/English Lewes/Lewis surnames. Note the similarity of first sound of the Frankish "Chloedevich" with the Welsh Gaelic pronunciation of  "LL" sound, as a combination of "ch" and "L". It could be that Chlovis became Llewis, then Lowys. Lewys, Lewis, or Lewes.

    It is possible that the Atlantic Modal-> Angle/Celtiberian-> Demetae-> Ludovic John-> Fitz Lewes-> Lewes-> Edmond Lewes trail suggests a pathway by which my unique DNA profile could have passed from the sunken lands of Doggerland 5,000 years ago, to me sitting here pecking at this defenseless keyboard.

   Then again, it could be that the pathway from 10th Century BC southern Denmark to this keyboard came by way of 9th Century AD Anglo-Saxons in East Anglia patiently becoming my 17th Century 11th Great Grandfather in Ipswich, and I just haven't found the footprints of that trail yet in the 21st Century.

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

1895 Lewis Family Hay Crew

Lewis Family Hay Crew, Little Sioux, Iowa, 1895

     Ira Carmie Lewis, Joseph Crews on the stack
                                     Squire Rude Lewis (mower)  Branson Laughlin Lewis (mower)      
     Jonathan Wesley "Shine" Lewis                              William Crews (rake)
                driving the stacker team                                     Ether Branson Lewis (sweep)
                                                                                                 Nathaniel "Thann" Mann (mower)
                                                                                                             Charles "Charley" Crews (sweep)

Sunday, March 23, 2014

The WikiTree Experience

The past few months I've been spending a great deal of time working on WikiTree, a web site creating a giant family tree consisting of entries from thousands of users.

At first I was using it as a tool to help organize my increasingly massive and unwieldy database. As I worked collaboratively with other WikiTree users, I came to appreciate how the records I have collected are not only that of my own ancestry, but that of millions of other people as well.

WikiTree allows us to work together to document our family histories and expand them into other histories and lineages we might not have discovered on our own. The collected resources of WikiTree PMs (Profile Managers in Wiki parlance) are enormous and truly impressive. It's like working with the most talented professional genealogist you can image.

If you haven't discovered WikiTree yet, click HERE for my profile, follow the links of ancestors, cousins, descendants and all of their rich documentation.

You'll be amazed!

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Edmond Lewes - Ipswich, St. Clement

Hello Suffolk Researchers:

I am still searching for birth and marriage records for Edmond Lewes (Lewis) )(b. 1600/1601) who sailed on the Elizabeth from Ipswich to Watertown, Massachusetts in 1634, with his wife Mary (b. 1602) and two sons, John (3) and Thomas (9 months). The passenger list for the Elizabeth lists Edmond's age as 33 and Mary's age of 32.

John Lewes was baptized to Edmond Lewes, July 18, 1630 at St. Mary le Tower. Thomas Lewes was baptized to Edm. and Mary, May 27, 1633 at St. Mary at the Elms. Edmond Lewes was listed in Freemen of the Borough of Ipswich in 1632, with no other information.

A will for Richard Lewes of Ipswich, merchant, 14 October 1625, lists Edmond Lewes as a son, apprenticed to Luke Fisher of Ipswich, ropemaker. Richard Lewes was noted as Church Warden of the Parish of St. Clement Ipswich in 1598. Richard Lewes's burial in 1625 is noted in the St. Clement Parish records.

Unfortunately, the microfilm of the St. Clement Parish Records available in the LDS FamilySearch catalog contains only marriages from this time period and an incomplete index compiled Edward Cookson in the 1800s.

There are repeated references of Edmond Lewes's origins in Wales or Lynn Regis, Norfolk, as well as his wife's surname as Carey. I've not found any evidence to support these claims. I find it much more likely that Edmond Lewes was born in or around Ipswich, Suffolk, where there are numerous Lewes/Lewis families in the 1600s.

I would especially appreciate any information from the Ipswich St. Clement Parish Records that might shed light on Edmond's birth around 1601.

Thank you in advance!

Sunday, May 19, 2013

William Lewes of Roxbury

It's time to deal with another Lewis family myth, that of William Lewes of Roxbury, Massachusetts, who some authors claim was a brother of Edmond Lewes of Lynn, while Isaac Newton Lewis, author of the biography and genealogy of William Lewis of Roxbury claims they were cousins.

It is said that William Lewes of Roxbury came to Massachusetts in 1630 from Stoke by Nayland, Suffolk, England, returned to Stoke by Nayland and married Lydia Morse, and then returned to Massachusetts, and Roxbury, in 1635 on the ship Globe.

Unfortunately, there is no documentation for these claims. William Lewes was indeed born in Stoke by Nayland, Suffolk, England in 1602, son of William Lewis and Elinore Taylor. He married Lydia Morse, daughter of Richard Morse in 1621 in Stoke by Nayland. He was named in his father's will in June 1634. William and Lydia had a son named John, born in Stoke by Nayland in 1638, so William and his family could not have been on the Globe in 1635 (the William Lewes on the Globe in 1635 was 25 years old, while William Lewes of Roxbury was 33).

At some point after 1638, William Lewes married Amy Weld (assumed surname), and they first appear as husband and wife in Roxbury in 1640, in the church records of Rev. John Eliot. Two sons were born to William and Amy in America, one in 1641 and one born in Boston but baptized in Roxbury in 1644. William died in Roxbury in 1671.

Therefore, William Lewes and family sailed from England, probably from Ipswich, sometime between 1638 and 1640.

As to the relationship between Edmond Lewes of Lynn and William Lewes of Roxbury, there is only anecdotal claims of them as being brothers or cousins. As yet, there is no documentation of their relationship.

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Lewis Family Tree Pages and Updates

After additional research and data entry into my database, I've uploaded a new family tree GEDcom onto my genealogy web page and onto the Rootsweb Worldconnect site. You can access them by clicking on the page links at the top of this blog, for "Lewis Family Tree" and "Rootsweb Worldconnect"

If you're not familiar with the Rootsweb Worldconnect site, it presents family trees in a searchable and browsable format, by surname. It also allows you to search through other family trees to find connections from other researchers. Keep in mind that anyone can enter anything into a family tree on Rootsweb, including me, and there is no independent verification of any information provided. Let the researcher beware!

Surnames with new information in my family tree include LEWIS, LEWES, MONKMAN, CLAXTON, MARSHALL and CARPENTER. In addition, I've added several new surnames of maternal lines of descendants from these surnames.


Saturday, September 24, 2011

Descendants of Edmond Lewes of Lynn, Massachusertts

After ten years of research, I now have the Lewis line put together in book form: Descendants of Edmond Lewes of Lynn, Massachusetts. This has the descendants pf Edmond Lewes down to my Father, as well as spouses and children not my diect descendants. I also have my latest research on the origin of Edmond Lewes in Suffolk, England.

This is a paper back book, with a coil binding for easy reference. I have it available for cost at at the following address: You can also download a PDF copy for free.

This is Part one, the House of Lewes. I'll be adding maternal lines to it as I go along, and more research on the origins of the House of Lewes in England.