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For generations many George researchers have assumed (without ever trying to confirm it) that Col. John George (c1603) was a son of Henry George who "came to America on the Ship "Assurance" in 1635". Have you seen this statement before? I see it all the time, unfortunately it is not true. As far as I know this error was first published in Wingfield's "A History of Caroline County, Virginia," published in 1924. No specific source citation was given for this statement, but I'd assume it came from a George family researcher of that time.
The fact is there is a Henry George who did come to America on the "Assurance" in 1635, however, he was only 19 years old (per the ship register), which puts his approximate birth date at ca 1615/16, and Col. John George was born ca 1602/03. How could a father be younger than his son? I have no other data on this Henry George, but it is clear he could not be John George's father. I'm assuming that some early George researcher found this immigration record and assumed it was John's father for some reason (probably since John arrived about that same time).
Recently, thanks to the Internet, there have been at least three other sets of parents assigned to John George, and since this is online, other researchers just "grab" this data and spread it around further without concern as to its accuracy. As far as I know, none of these "parents" are proven. Every time I ask someone for documentation, they refer me to someone else, who either does not respond, or again refers to me to yet someone else. Since the facts reside in England, perhaps someone will make a trip there or have access to English records that may put this to rest once and for all.
Here are the diverse claims:
1. John George's parents are "William George and Ann Green" of Chelmsford, Essex Co, England (and he has brothers named Nicholas and Humphrey George). William's parents are Richard George and Anne Gibson. ** I see this all over the Internet, but never with any documentation. What is the source for this? I also see John listed as a son of Richard George and Anne Gibson (where others show these two as parents of William George who married Ann Green).
2. John George's parents are "Isaac George and Ann Green". Isaac is a son of Isaac George and Alice Hattam. ** I see this all over the Internet as well, what is the source?
Until I see some sort of actual source documentation, I will consider all of the above as completely bogus. One of these may actually be correct, but without documentation, who can say for sure?
If anyone can shed some serious light on this subject, please contact me.
Col. John George and Nicholas George are said to be brothers, at least they are referred to as possible brothers in Southern Historical Families, Vol II, by John Bennett Boddie, 1958. I think there is ample evidence that they are closely related, though whether or not brothers, I can't say. They could be cousins, or not related at all. It does seem the are roughly the same age, and did live in the same area of Virginia, and had at least one personal friend in common, so it seems reasonable to assume that they knew each other.
John George and his wife Jane Cole, were probably married in Writtle, Essex Co, England, where Jane's father Humphrey Cole lived. John George came to Charles City County, Virginia ca 1632-1635 and later lived in Isle of Wight Co, VA.
Nicholas George supposedly married Margaret Saward in 1621 in Writtle, Essex Co, England. (I say "supposedly", since I have not seen a source for this). If true, that places John and Nicholas in the same county, and same town at the same time.
Nicholas George came to Isle of Wight Co, VA by 1638 (while John George was still in Charles City Co, VA). Nicholas may have gone back to England, for his wife Margaret didn't come to Virginia until 1652, when they patented land in Charles City Co, VA (and by this time, John George was in Isle of Wight, so although John and Nicholas both lived in Charles City and Isle of Wight County, they may not have lived there at the same time).
A 1653 land patent shows transportation of several settlers to Virginia, including "John George" and "Nicholas George". Now Col. John George was already well established in VA by then, so this may not refer to him, but it could be him returning from a trip to England with his brother Nicholas, or this could be two different people.
The most telling item, connecting them together in VA is the man Thomas Taberer. On 14 Aug 1652, Nicholas George, along with Thomas Taberer and Humphrey Clarke, all received a joint patent of land in Charles City Co, VA. Thomas Taberer was therefore a person well known to Nicholas George, perhaps a close friend or business associate. A few years later, Thomas Taberer was named as an executor to the Will of Col. John George in 1679 in Isle of Wight Co, VA. Assuming this was the same person, that proves that at least John and Nicholas had a good friend (or acquaintance) in common.
It is all over the Internet now that John and Nicholas are brothers (see the section above about possible parents for John George), however, to me this is still far from proven.
The bottom line is that they may be brothers, or they may not be. I think they are closely related, and that seems strongly suggested by the evidence, but the nature of that relationship is still unproven, as far as I know.
An definitive answer may soon be available. There is a George DNA study underway, and if we can get some male descendants (with the "George" surname) of Col. John and Nicholas to participate, then we can at least determine if they were related. Click here for more info. There has been one from each line who has participated already, and their results show no relationship to each other, though there may be other factors in those particular cases (neither has proven their line all the way back to John and Nicholas). We need more participants!
When I began my George research (ca 1980), It did not take me long to trace my line back to Col. John George with good documentation for every generation. However, for John's wife Jane, I had no maiden name.
I think it was Emma Barrett Reaves (now deceased) who first told me that her maiden name could be Cole. She offered the Will of Humphries Cole of Essex Co, VA as proof (4 Nov 1623), for in it he named his "son-in-law" John George. Unfortunately, he did not mention Jane by name, so this Will is not solid proof that it is the same John George. However, he also named (among others) a son named William Cole. This same William also went to Isle of Wight Co, VA (before John George did, in fact) and he died there ca 1664.
I found nothing to connect William Cole and John George, but William's son (also named William Cole) witnessed a 1675 Will which was also witnessed by John George. This is not the only record I've found in Isle of Wight with the Cole and George family linked.
This same William Cole (grandson of Humphries) married (as his 3rd wife) Martha Lear, daughter of John Lear, who was married to John George's widow Ann George (John George's second wife). Confused yet?
Since we know that William Cole (of 1675) was a grandson of Humphries Cole of Essex England, and that John George was a son-in-law, and that John George's widow Ann (his 2nd wife) became William Cole's father-in-law, it is not unreasonable to assume it was the same John George who married "Jane" Cole and came to Isle of Wight Co, VA.
Circumstantially, everything fits very well, and I feel it is highly likely that Jane, wife of John George is a daughter of Humphries Cole of Essex Co, VA. Too bad Mr. Cole did not list her by name in his 1623 Will, for that would have solved this little debate.
The George-Lacy Genealogy is a pretty good book. It was written regarding the James George - Agatha Watts (married 1732 Middlesex Co, VA) family of Goochland Co, VA. Apparently (per his introduction), the author had his book formatted and ready to print, when he made a new discovery: The parents of James George! He hastily added an introductory chapter with the new information, showing James George (who married Agatha Watts) as a son of John George and Mary Jordan of Caroline Co, VA, and taking the line back several generations. This hastily added chapter used a different numbering scheme than the rest of the book, and not too many details were given.
However, Mr. Smith made a mistake. James George (who married Agatha Watts) is not the son of John George and Mary Jordan, as he assumed. They did have a son named James George, but it was a different person, and that James lived in Pittsylvania County, Virginia. Mr. Smith even mentioned that John and Mary's son James was supposed to have lived in Pittsylvania, but he considered that was probably a mistake. I'm not sure what source Mr. Smith used to connect his James George to John and Mary (Jordan) George, but he did make a mistake, and unfortunately, when a mistake like that is published, it is very hard to remove it from the public genealogical consciousness, as new researchers will find the book, and think the data presented is established and proven, and latch onto it. Unfortunately this is common where genealogy books are concerned, for mistakes will always be present. This is just a guess, but I think he connected his James to the Caroline Co, VA George family based on the fact that some of them did move to Goochland County later on, and perhaps that led him to believe his line came out of Caroline also.
The truth of the matter is, that James George of Pittsylvania County, Virginia (who married Elizabeth Noden), is a proven son of John George and Mary Jordan by several sources, including personal letters from James (of Pittsylvania) and his father John (of Caroline) and some of James' siblings (all on file at the Virginia archives). These letters (and several official county records in Pittsylvania and Caroline County) prove this James George is son of John and Mary, and therefore a part of the Col. John George line.
That leaves the other James George (who married Agatha Watts) out in the cold, however, his lineage is also proven, but apparently, Mr. Smith did not find this data before his book was published (I'm not sure if he ever found this data). This James George is a proven child of David and Catherine (---) George of Middlesex County, Virginia.
Most researchers are familiar with the "Southern Historical Families" books published in the 1950's and 1960's, most by John Bennett Boddie. After his death, several more were published by his wife Mrs. John Bennett Boddie, apparently from his notes, with her acting as editor. In Volume II (1958), there is a wonderful article on the George family. However, in Volume XI (1967) there is another article on the George family and the related Jordan family, and unfortunately, this article is highly flawed.
An article entitled "PITCHER and related families of LANCASTER, DOUGLAS, GEORGE, JORDAN, BOOTH, JACKSON, of Maryland, Virginia, North Carolina, Tennessee and Kentucky" appeared in Volume XI of the wonderful "Southern Historical Families" series. This particular article is so full of errors that I have often wondered how it managed to get into print. My personal opinion is that it was published from various notes or correspondence in Mr. Boddie's files, but I have not attempted to verify that. Like I said, it is just my opinion. I don't know who the author of the article was.
I will not address the other sections, but only the section concerning the GEORGE family beginning on page 263. Much is stated about them, but no documentation is offered supporting any of the claims. At the end of the George section, several books are mentioned as sources, which I'll note later.
My reason for writing this commentary is that I'm often asked about the data contained in this article, and I thought I would address it in one place, instead of answering it over and over. I've had researchers get mad at me for questioning this, their reasoning being "if it is in print, then it must be correct". Well, to be blunt, that is just stupid. Who among us is perfect? Not me, for sure, and though Boddie was an excellent researcher, he was not perfect.
The first generation is presented:
"1. HENRY GEORGE, b in England, came to America in "Assurance", a ship carrying 221 passengers of distinguished families. The George family was armigerous. Henry George had sons, Robert and John."
First of all the facts; a Henry George did come to Virginia on a ship named "Assurance". The list for the ship Assurance (dated 24 Jul 1635) was for persons to be transported from London to Virginia. That list included a Henry George, aged 19. If Henry was 19 in 1635, then he was born ca 1615 or 1616, presumably in England. Unless his age is in error, then it is impossible for him to be the father of John George of Isle of Wight Co, VA who was born ca 1603. I believe the author of this article was quoting Marshall Wingfield who made this same statement in his "History of Caroline Co, VA", (1924), 1997. ISBN 0806379758. This book was mentioned at the end of the article, so I'm assuming that was the source. I don't have a copy of Wingfield's book, though I've seen it (years ago), but I'm fairly sure he doesn't offer documentation for the statement either. The next questionable item is that the George family was "Armigerous" (Nobility or having Coat of Arms). I've found no evidence of that so far, but admittedly, I've not researched the family origins in England. Also, what does it mean to be "distinguished"? I have the passenger list, and most of the names on it were unfamiliar to me. They could be from well known families, but I just don't know.
I've never found a Robert George who could be a brother of John George (c1603). I don't know the source of that name.
Back to Boddie, The next generation is presented:
"2. JOHN GEORGE, b 1610, m Jane ___. He was a Colonel, and a member of the House of Burgesses in Isle of Wight Co, VA, 1653. In 1668 he had 200 acres surveyed in Maryland, called Fareall", His son ...".
Ok, this section is slightly more accurate. John George was married to Jane (Cole), was a Colonel, and he was a Burgess, but in 1647 and 1652, not 1653 as stated. I have no clue as to John having land in Maryland surveyed. This seems unlikely considering the distance between Isle of Wight Co, VA and Maryland. I'll not totally refute that statement though, at least not until further evidence is located.
The next generation is presented:
"3. ROBERT GEORGE, who d. in Middlesex Co, VA in 1734, m. ___ Elmore(?). He had lived in Kent Co, MD 1732. He had children: Richard, Susanna, Catherine and John."
This section is mostly wrong. Robert George was not a son of John George, but a grandson. Robert married Sarah Elliott in July 1687 Middlesex Co, VA. She was a widow of Thomas Elliott who died in March 1687. Her maiden name is so far unknown. I have no idea why the author listed "Elmore", but notice they had a question mark after it. This also states that Robert George lived in Kent Co, MD in 1732. From the records I've seen, Robert George was in Middlesex Co, VA in 1732. Perhaps there was another Robert George in MD, and his wife was an Elmore. The children listed for Robert are correct, though there were several others not listed.
The next generation is presented:
"4. JOHN GEORGE, b 1704, d 1784, m (1) Mary Jordan. They had children: Reuben, John, James, Ann, Elizabeth, Mary and Sarah. John George m (2) Ursula Dudley, dau of Ursula Beverly and grand-daughter of Ursula Byrd, or Westover Estate in VA."
This is mostly correct. John George was born 18 Aug 1704, and he died 1784. He was married twice, first to Mary Jordan and 2nd to Ursula Dudley. I have been told by several Dudley researchers, that the lineage for Ursula is incorrect, but I won't go into that here. The children listed for John and Mary are also correct, though a few were left out.
The next generation is presented:
"5. SARAH GEORGE, b 1726 in Caroline Co, VA, m 1740 Colonel Edward Douglas. the removed to Chatham Co, NC and from there to Davidson Co, Tenn. Their children: John, Elizabeth, Elmore, Ezekiel, Sarah, Edward, Reuben, James and William.... (more about the Douglas, but I won't quote it here)".
This section, by itself, is probably accurate, however, this Sarah George was not the daughter of John George and Mary Jordan. From what I've been able to gather, Edward Douglas never lived in Caroline Co, VA. The name "Elmore" used as one of their children is quite interesting. The name Elmore George does show up among Nicholas George's descendants in Lancaster Co, VA. My personal opinion is that Sarah George was part (in some way) of the Nicholas George family. Of some note is that many George's appeared in Chatham Co, NC at the same time the Douglas family did. Several researchers list her as "Sarah Elizabeth George", but I don't know why she is listed with two names. John George and Mary Jordan had a daughter named Sarah George (married James Isbell) and one named Elizabeth George (married James Baber), so it is doubtful they would also have one named "Sarah Elizabeth". I've seen absolutely no proof that Sarah George, wife of Edward Douglas, was connected to the George family of Caroline Co, VA (other than this undocumented article). John's daughters Sarah George Isbell and Elizabeth George Baber are well proven, so there is no way Sarah George Douglas is his daughter.
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