Edward Starbuck in England

Edward Starbuck was English. This small fact is all we know for certain about his life before migration, even after many years of exhaustive research.

However, there are enough clues in the data to build a reasonably probable family tree.

Most likely baptism : 27 February 1603/4 at Derby

The only baptism found in England for an Edward Starbuck at a suitable date is this one from the parish register of All Saints’ church in the town of Derby, Derbyshire, for 27 February 1603/4:

The bottom line of the image reads, in Latin: “Bap. Edwardus filius Edwardi Starbuck bap, 27.” In English: “Baptised: Edward son of Edward Starbuck (on the) 27th of February 1603/4.”[1]

In the same town and parish of Derby, also at All Saint’s church on 7 June 1607, a William Starbuck, son of Edward, was baptised so he was probably a brother to Edward. Sadly, their mother was not named.[2]

Although these baptisms both happened at Derby, no evidence has been found that the family were resident in the town, then or at any time, so it is possible that both Edward and William were born elsewhere or that their parents lived only a brief spell in Derby.

Other siblings for migrant Edward

Close to a hundred parishes and chapelries within an 8-10 mile radius of Long Eaton in Derbyshire (heart of Starbucky Territory in England) were checked. The search established that the surname is rare: there were only ever a few Starbuck families around at any one time in this area in the 16th and 17th centuries, and of those, only a few individuals were named Edward. See this graphic for evidence of Starbuck numbers from 1550 to 1700 (surname variants such as Buck and Starre have not been included).

So when we found the following events in the parish registers of Nottingham and nearby Bingham, in Nottinghamshire, we reasonably deduced that these are likely to be migrant Edward’s siblings:

  • Baptism 26 April 1606 Nottingham St Nicholas – Margerie dau of Edward Starbucke[3]
  • Baptism 8 August 1608 Nottingham St Nicholas – Elizabeth the daughter of Edward Starbucke[4]
  • Burial 23 August 1609 Bingham St Mary & All Saints, Notts – Ann the daughter of Edward Starbuck[5] [no baptism found]
  • Gap of 9 years when other children may have been born
  • Baptism 12 June 1618 Nottingham St Nicholas – Isabell dau of Edward Starbuke[6]
  • Burial 9 January 1619/20 Nottingham St Mary – Issabell the daughter of Edward Stare Buck buryed[7]
  • Burial 10 (or 7) January 1619/20 Nottingham St Mary – Anne the daughter of the same Edward Stare Bucke buryed[8] [no baptism found]

As we can see, the only sons in this suggested family were Edward and William, and the only daughters (probably) to survive were Margerie and Elizabeth, though we have no information about their later lives. We can also surmise that father Edward had a reason (perhaps for work or religious-leanings) for moving about in the Derby-Nottingham area. These are not long distances – the places mentioned in this post are only handfuls of miles apart from each other.

Continue reading “Edward Starbuck in England”

Edward’s Silent Years 1603-40

We have no definite evidence for any of Edward Starbuck’s first 35 years of life,  between his (probable) baptism at Derby in 1603/4 and emigration to Dover, probably sometime between 1638 and 1640.

From his children’s calculated birth dates, we know Edward must have married at least by 1630 and had three children in England by 1636. We believe that his eldest child Sarah was baptised in Derby in 1630, so if that’s correct, Edward probably stayed in Starbucky Territory, rather than seeking his fortune elsewhere. What might these ‘silent years’ have been like?

Childhood and education

Edward grew up in a period of religious and political turmoil. Puritan ministers and their flocks – “the godly” as they called themselves – vied to eliminate those elements of Church of England doctrine and ritual they regarded as ‘papist’ (Roman Catholic) which the Elizabethan Settlement of 1558 had retained. At the same time, some “Separatists” rejected the Church of England completely, in favour of independent, self-governing congregations. However, the majority of people in England were conformist, attending parish church as required and getting on with their lives. A small minority staunchly (and secretly) continued their Catholic ways, paying a high price in fines, persecution and fear.

In Starbucky Territory, Edward would have been exposed to all these outlooks amongst family, friends and neighbours. From the evidence of his life in Dover and Nantucket, we know he had godly beliefs and this suggests that he was brought up or schooled in a godly fashion. The fact that he was literate and numerate strengthens this theory, as the godly believed firmly in sufficient education for all members of their gathered churches, in order to read the bible and prayer book for themselves without reliance on a priest.[1]

Godly families often educated their children within the home, or through lessons at the church with a puritan-leaning curate, or sometimes at “dame schools” where they existed. The level of Edward’s literacy we see in Dover suggests a reasonably good education, so it is possible that he attended a school, perhaps for about 7 or 8 years to the age of 12-14. Within or near Starbucky Territory were several schools he might have attended.

Continue reading “Edward’s Silent Years 1603-40”

Francis and Thomas Kendall in New England

When did Francis and Thomas Kendall come to New England?

Francis Kendall came to Massachusetts during the Great Migration which covers the years 1620-1640. His first documented appearance in America is the orders for the town of Woburn, which was originally named Charlestown Village since the early founders came from Charlestown.[1] That record shows Francis was in Massachusetts by mid-May 1640.

The first documented appearance of his brother, Thomas, was in February 1642/3 in Reading (originally called Lynn Village).[2] That year, the birth of his eldest known child, Elizebeth (spelling preserved), was entered into the town vital records with a date of 17 Feb 1642. The transcribers for the early Reading vital records recorded dates exactly or used the double dating system, so this date was preserved as originally entered and should be considered 17 Feb 1642/43.

While it’s possible the brothers came different months or years, a more likely scenario is that they traveled together as many early immigrants did with friends or family. Both may have settled in Charlestown, as family histories theorize, and moved out to Woburn and Reading as lands became available, or Thomas may have moved to Reading from Lynn.[3]

Continue reading “Francis and Thomas Kendall in New England”

Who was Mabel Reed?

Some of the most descriptive information for Mabel Reed comes from the Littletown, Massachusetts town vital records book which states the following for William Reed’s family on page 529:


William Reade (same as William Reed p. 466) arrived in Boston Oct

            6 1635, m 1635 Mabel Kendall. He d. in England 1656, she

            m. 2d Henry Summers and d. June 5 1690 a. 85. Children:

George m. Aug 4 1651 Elizabeth Jennison who d. Feb 26 1664-5

a. He d. 1706 a. 77.

Ralph b. 1630 m. Mary Pierce, dau. Anthony. He d. Jan 4

            1711, she d. Feb 18 1700.

Israel m. his cousin Mary Kendall. He d. June 25 1771, she d.

Jan 17 1721.

On page 466 it states:

1st gen.         William Reed of Woburn, supposed son of Thomas, was b.

                       1587, came to America 1635, ancestor of Woburn, Lexington

                       and Bedford Reeds. He m. Mabel Kendall, b. 1605, and had children:

                       George b. in England 1629

                       Ralph b. 1636


There are differences between these entries. The first lists the marriage year for Mabel and William as 1635, yet the second has their son George’s birth in 1629.[2] It’s possible Mabel is the second wife of William or that George’s birth year is off, but there is an obvious conflict. The first entry has Ralph’s birth in 1630 (making England his birthplace) and the other is in 1636 (England and Massachusetts equally likely).[3] Each entry has its own migration year for the family. The first entry has more details on William and his children, but the second provides a Woburn connection, possible parentage, and a birth year for William.  

Continue reading “Who was Mabel Reed?”

The Alias in the Room

Why would anyone use an alias?

Though not quite the same as the elephant, wrapping our heads around the question of how an alias got into a person’s surname can be almost as baffling as how an elephant managed to get through a doorway and into a room, never mind the whole issue of people ignoring its existence despite the space it takes up. Like a room elephant, alias surnames have been largely ignored by academic researchers and by baffled family historians. Many, with modern sensibilities, might think an alias surname is associated with something nefarious as it can be today. In the period from the mid-1500s into the 1700s when alias surnames show up in many English and a few colonial records, the opposite was usually true.

An alias surname in the sixteenth through eighteenth centuries was more likely to be an “also known as.” It was an extra layer of identification for individuals and families, revealing rather than concealing. There are quite a few reasons a person might take on an alias. This article has many of them: https://www.familysearch.org/en/wiki/Use_of_Aliases_-_an_Overview[1]

The most likely reasons members of the Kendall or Mylles family used an alias surname are:

  • Commemoration by descendants of a marriage into a “socially superior” family with the retention of a maiden name of a mother or grandmother.
  • Illegitimacy, which could serve the purpose of publicly proclaiming parental origins.
  • Rights of inheritance (my personal favorite), and other economic reasons. For example, in a time when deeds/leases were not always recorded, using an extra surname could show a right to land owned by a father. A good example of this might be when a widow remarried and her children took their stepfather’s surname yet retained their biological father’s name as well as proof of their right to inheritance.
  • Individuals might also add an alias to obtain an inheritance from a family line in danger of “dying out.”
  • Adoption, or marrying into a family.

The Kendall als. Mylles alias

There is no proof yet if any of these reasons apply to the family of Francis Kendall als. Mylles  and his brother, Thomas Kendall. (Note-the double or alias surname can also be reversed.) A great deal of research time could be expended without uncovering enough evidence to say which, if any, of these reasons is correct. Or a researcher might fortuitously come across definitive evidence in an archive tomorrow. The reason the Kendall als Mylles family chose an alias is far less important than the fact that they used one for a very long time.

Continue reading “The Alias in the Room”

Finding Francis (and Thomas)

Qualifications (What should we be looking for?)

As noted in a previous post, for a birth/baptism of Francis Mylls alias Kendall or Thomas Kendall to be accepted as ancestral, it must meet certain criteria. Those qualifications are:

  • Use of the alias surname within the immediate family
  • The birth of Francis in about 1620 and Thomas a bit before that

In addition, the next two qualifications must also be met, and the third is icing on the cake:

  • No death record before 1640
  • No marriage and children’s births/baptisms in England at the same time Francis and Thomas were married and having children in New England
  • Coming from an area recognized for religious dissent (since the majority of immigrants to the Massachusetts Bay colony were puritans/dissenters)

For many years, family historians have investigated Norfolk and Cambridgeshire records in accordance with the “standard wisdom” mentioned in several Kendall histories that Francis and Thomas came from Norfolk, but no family was found in either county which met the criteria. The search needed to expand.

Continue reading “Finding Francis (and Thomas)”

A Death in 1666

Francis Kendall

Though no record of death was found for Francis Kendall als. Miles prior to his departure to New England approximately 1640, a burial record was found for a Francis Kendall in Newport Pagnell in 1666. Because the record exists in a parish where Francis may have lived, this record cannot be ignored, and logical reasoning is needed to discount it as the burial record of Francis Kendall alias Miles.

England, Buckinghamshire, Newport Pagnell, Parish Register for Newport Pagnell, 1558-1881, FHL microfilm 1,042,392, items 14-16; digitized images, Family Search (www.familysearch.org : accessed 13 April 2023). 18 and 19 Aug 1666

Death in a time of plague

The years 1665 and 1666 were nothing short of horrific for London and in many other areas of England.[1] It was called the Great Plague for a reason. Although there had been periodic outbreaks since the bubonic pandemic of the 1340s (which killed as much as half the English population), none since then had taken as high a toll as the 1665-6 plague years did. It’s been estimated that nearly 100,000 died in London alone.

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Analysis on the will of Ralph Kendall, carpenter of Middlesex

Will of Ralph Kendall, carpenter of Middlesex, image 1
“Wills” database, Buckinghamshire Council Archives (https:// shop.buckscc.gov.uk : accessed 25 April 2023), pdf of Rafe Mels, 1661, D/A/Wi/41/147.

Will of Rafe Mels, carpenter of Middlesex, image 2

Transcription by Celia Renshaw:

Continue reading “Analysis on the will of Ralph Kendall, carpenter of Middlesex”

Anabaptism, a court case, and the death of Thomas Kendall

Many family historians have covered information on Francis Kendall in Woburn and Thomas Kendall in Reading, Massachusetts. I won’t be re-writing, re-analyzing, or refuting those, rather I want to highlight some seldom-seen documents for the Kendalls in New England.


The first is a 1671 court record for Francis.[1] In December that year, thirteen citizens of Woburn were named in a Middlesex County court record for publicly manifesting contempt for the ordinance of infant baptism. They were also admonished for attending the assemblies of the anabaptists, which is what those who espoused “believers’ baptism,” were called. Believers’ baptism is the practice of baptizing only those who are old enough to understand and accept the tenets of church doctrine, which infants cannot. Two faiths had arisen in England which rejected the practice of infant baptism, the Baptists and Quakers (who did not practice baptism at all). Both had adherents in the colonies by the mid-1600s. Others agreed with or leaned towards anabaptism but did not join either sect. They simply held the belief while continuing to attend the predominant Congregational congregations.

Early transcript of the original court record (which was difficult to read)
Printed transcription of most of the record from History of Woburn
Continue reading “Anabaptism, a court case, and the death of Thomas Kendall”

Thomas Mylls als. Kendall 1605

This will is the earliest finding (so far) of the Kendall als. Mills (or Mylles als. Kendall) surname.[1] More may surface later, but as the excellent analysis by Celia states, Thomas may be the first individual to use the alias surname. Here, in order, are the will, the transcription, and Celia’s analysis of the will. No additional information is needed as the analysis covers everything that can be taken from the will.

Original Will of Thomas Kendall written and proved in 1605

Here is the transcription of the will by Celia Renshaw:

Continue reading “Thomas Mylls als. Kendall 1605”