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Thomas More (b.1538) - Martha Brooks marriage
Posted by: Martin Wood (ID *****4348) Date: May 14, 2007 at 12:43:40
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This is a genuine call for help with information.
I have tried and tried to find out when and where the story of the marriage of Thomas More Jnr(b.1538) - son of John More and Anne Cresacre - to Martha Brooks started, but without success.
Most people who record it seem to have copied it from the Mormon site, which, in regard to this family, I have found to be seriously flawed.
I have not found anyone who can offer any early sources for their claim and no one who can offer a genuine family tree that has been kept since before the Mormon or other internet sites started - let alone going back to the 1600s.
The facts we do know are:
Thomas Junior was born 2 July 1538. He was the second son with that first name in the family of John More and Anne Cresacre. He gave up the faith for which his grandfather, Sir Thomas More had died and became a Church of England Minister (Priest). However, we do not know when or where he was ordained or where he ministered.
We know from his older brother's will that he married, but in spite of five hundred years of research, no one has been able to discover the name of his wife. We also know from his brother's will that he had three children: Cyprian, Constantine and Thomas, but no record has been found of when or where they were born or baptised - and anyone who puts in dates can only be guessing which is not good genealogy.
We know that Rev. Thomas was already dead when his brother made his will in 1606 because he is referred to as 'Decd.' but we don't know in which year he actually died.
Internet sites usually record only one son whom they call 'Thomas William Moore' when, in fact, children in those days were only baptised with one first name.
Also, although spelling of family names was more fluid in those days, history shows that the descendants of Sir Thomas always wrote their name 'More' (i.e. with one 'o').
Thomas William is said (by some) to have married a Margaret Whale, and to have given rise to a major Vail and other lines. There are, however, no sources (other than the Mormon ones) for any of this information.
Re: Martha Brooks:
She is said to have been the daughter of Sir Robert Brooke and Dorothy Gatacre and someone has guessed her date of birth as being c.1540.
Most sites say Robert Brooke was born at Madley, Shropshire, when, in fact he was from Claverley, Shropshire, where he lies buried. He did not purchase Madeley Court at Madeley (not 'Madley'or 'Medley'), Shropshire, until 1544.
Sir Robert and Dorothy did have a daughter, Martha Brooke (not Brooks), and anyone with first hand information about the family would know her date of baptism because it is recorded on her father's tomb.
I have obtained Pedigree and other information on the Brooke family from Shropshire Archives. I also have a copy of the Visitation of Shropshire, 1626, with a Pedigree based on information given by the family to Heralds of the College of Arms sent to collect this information. This latter pedigree records the marriage of Martha Brooke (daughter of Sir Robert and Margaret Gatacre) to Christopher Digon. No mention is made of an earlier or later marriage to a Thomas More.
Circumstantially, it is extremely unlikely that such a staunch Catholic family as the Brookes would allow a daughter to marry a Protestant minister!
The first mention of descendants of Thomas More Jnr. going to America is in a Pedigree of 1874 - but no names are given and it only says "whose descendants went to America". No sources for this information are given and no actual line was ever traced by Joseph Foster who drew up the pedigree. The descent is not mentioned in an earlier pedigree of 1823 or in the pedigree handed down in the More family itself.
That, in a nutshell, is what I have managed to glean from my research.
I would love to be able to establish a line from Thomas Jnr. to America, but without any sources, even secondary ones, the line cannot be recorded as fact and, on the evidence available, it remains, from an honest genealogical perspective, very suspect.
Sadly, some people seem to think that repeating it on the internet, even when the evidence, or lack of it, is given to them will somehow make it come true.
If any reader of this message can provide me some genuine sources or any other information that will help to throw light on the mystery - or knows anyone who can - I would be extremely grateful.
Please feel free to e-mail me directly.

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