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ancestry of early adams of PA and MA
Posted by: roy adams (ID *****7082) Date: April 29, 2002 at 19:14:44
  of 2288

I am trying to figure out the ancestry of my fifth great grandfather John Adam Adams who died May 22, 1807 in Nockamixon, Bucks County, PA. I am not sure where he was born. His first son, John George (my 4th gr grandfather), was born in 1755 and in 1759 his third child, John, was born in Nockamixon Twp.

The line of descent appended at the end of this message was posted by Patti Marsicano (created largely on the basis of info at the LDS site) to the Adams-L roots web list in 1997. It matches up well with the info in William Davis's History of Bucks County in that both have the line proceeding: Richard -> William -> Henry, Robert, Thomas and Walter -> Anne, William, Robert, Richard -> Abraham, William, Isaac, Susanna, Catharine, Mary, Margaret, Elizabeth, Ann, Hannah. The only discrepancy is the last Hannah.

Davis makes note of the presence of both my John Adam Adams and a James Adams in Nockamixon Twp in the 1750s and 1760s and, although he had been unable to find conclusive evidence about their parents and kinship, he theorized that John and James were brothers and were sons of Abraham Adams (b about 1707) who had died in an accident in 1738. In support of that theory he notes that John Adam Adams had a farm next to land owned by Conrad Custard, the husband of Abraham's sister Susanna Adams, in the 1760s. It may also be noted that the population of Bucks County and of Nockamixon in particular was very small at the time and there were probably not very many Adams families living there.

There are problems with both Davis's discussion and with some of the info in the Marsicano data.

If the dates given by Marsicano are correct then many of Davis's assertions are in error.. Davis claims that Thomas Adams, the son of William, was Lord Mayor of London but the future Lord Mayor Thomas Adams was born in the 1580s and held his high post in 1646 when William's Thomas was but a baby. Davis also claims that William's son Henry was the one that settled in Braintree MA and became the progenitor of the line that led to the presidents, etc. but that Henry was born in 1582/83 in England and emigrated to New England (even Davis says) about 1634. Moreover, the parents of the Henry who settled in Braintree were different from those of Lord Mayor Thomas Adams.

Nor is it likely that either the Pennsylvania or the New England Adams lines go back to Ap Adams who came out of the marches of Wales in the 1200s, as Davis claims, since other convincing sources present evidence that the line ran out before it got to the Pennsylvania and New England pioneers. (See the appended note)

Some of the info in Marsicano's genealogy is also almost certainly incorrect. For example, it is highly unlikely that the first Richard Adams was born in PA (although he may have been "of" PA having resided there at some point in his life) since the first European settlers to Pennsylvania did not arrive until the 1630s when some Dutch and Swedes began to move in. Brits did not start arriving until the 1670s. If this genealogy is correct then both Richard and William were likely born in Europe or somewhere other than Pennsylvania at any rate.

Note that if William's son's Henry and Thomas were not the Braintree progenitor and the Lord Mayor respectively then they may well have had families in Pennsylvania. Both John Adam and James might very well be the descendents of one or the other of them. Davis apparently did not consider Isaac, Abraham's brother, as a likely father because he moved to Chester. Nor, apparently, did he consider William because he moved to Lancaster. Of course, either of them may have had sons who moved back to Bucks.

My current working hypothesis is that the Bucks County Adams Family discussed by Davis were not British at all. If ancestors were living in the area that is now Delaware-PA-NY before the 1670s their most probable ancestry would be German or Dutch. That proposition is supported by the fact that John Adam Adams named his children according to German naming traditions rather than British customs of the time. Finally, my grandfather claimed that the family's heritage was German although he may have been thinking about the female side which definitely traces back to Germany and Switzerland.

Of course, the possibility remains that John Adam Adams had a completely different ancestry than the Adams family documented by Davis and Marsicano. The names in that line do appear to be more English than German. There are no Maria Christinas or Anna Marias for example.

I would appreciate comments, thoughts, corrections, suggestions on any of these points.

Cheers

Roy Adams


PATTI MARSICANO'S ADAMS GENEALOGY (I've added the notes in parentheses)

1 Richard Adams b: 1590-1592 in <PA> (LDS site has a Richard Adams being baptised in London on 24 Dec 1592. Parents John Adams and Margaret Alexander.
LDS also has a John Adams born in London in 1568, parents Henry and Rose - the apparent grandparents to Henry (Braintree) Adams. Henry, the New England progenitor, had a cousin - his grandfather's brother's son - John [b 1566, m. Martha] who had a son Richard but that Richard was reportedly born only in 1603)
........ 2 William Adams b: 1615-1618 in <PA>
................... 3 Henry Adams b: Abt. 1640
................... 3 Robert Adams b: Abt. 1641
................... 3 Thomas Adams b: Abt. 1643
................... 3 Walter Adams b: Abt. 1649 in PA d: in PA
(These are the 4 bros mentioned by Davis)
....................... +Elizabeth Adams b: Abt. 1648 in of
Philadelphia, PA m: Abt. 1668
.............................. 4 Richard Adams b: Abt. 1676 in of
Hanover, PA d: 1748 in of New Province Twp., M, PA
.................................. +Gertien op den Graeff b: Abt. 1679
in Krefeld, Germany m: Bef. 1698 in PA
......................................... 5 Susannah Adams b: 1692 in
of Hanover, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania d: Abt. 1747 in Brock's Gap, VA
......................................... 5 Ann Adams b: Abt. 1700
......................................... 5 Abraham Adams b: 1707 in
Germantown, Philadephia, PA
......................................... 5 William Adams b: Abt.
1709
......................................... 5 Isaac Adams b: Abt. 1712
in Germantown, Philadephia, PA
......................................... 5 Catherine Adams b: Abt.
1713
......................................... 5 Mary Adams b: Abt. 1715
......................................... 5 Margaret Adams b: Abt.
1717
......................................... 5 Elizabeth Adams b: Abt.
1719 in PA

THE BOGUS AP ADAMS ANCESTRY

Posted by Julie Otto 19 September 1998

The "Ap Adams" story is one of the most embarrassing nineteenth-century forgeries. It first
appeared in The New England Historical and Genealogical Register, vol. 7 (Jan. 1853), claiming
descent from a landed Adams family at Stoke-Gabriel, co. Devon. Because it claims grand
ancestry people have happily quoted it and copied it as gospel ("hey, it's in print, it has to be
right"). The Ap Adams fiction was DISPROVED in print as long ago as 1927 when Josiah
Gardner Bartlett published the known, documented English origins of Henry Adams, a yeoman
farmer from Barton [St.] David (just south of Wells) and next-door Kingweston, Somerset, who
married on 19 Oct. 1609 married Edith Squire, from neighboring Charlton Mackrell, Somerset.
See Bartlett's book ("Henry Adams of Somersetshire, England and Braintree, Mass.: His English
Ancestry and Some of His Descendants" [New York, 1927]), also "Ancestors and Descendants of
Jeremiah Adams, 1794-1883, of Salisbury, Connecticut, Sullivan County, New York, Harbor
Creek, Pennsylvania and Vermilion, Ohio" by Enid Eleanor Adams (1974), p. 652, from which I
quote: "In 1853...an Adams pedigree purporting to show that Henry Adams, English emigrant to
New England, was a descendant of one Sir John ap Adams and his wife Elizabeth de Gurnay,
heiress to estates in Somersetshire, Dorsetshire and Gloucestershire, was published and has been
reprinted and quoted from frequently ever since. J. Gardner Bartlett, in his 1927 history of Henry
Adams, stated unequivocally that the alleged connection of Henry Adams with the Ap Adam
family of Beverstone and Tidenham rested on forged evidences. In proof [the Ap Adam chart
from The Complete Peerage, vol. 1 (1910), pp. 179-81] was given in the Bartlett book. It shows
conclusively that the Adams line issuing from Elizabeth de Gurnay ended by an heiress in 1424,
159 YEARS PRIOR TO Henry Adams's birth! [The last male Ap Adams died in 1424, with his
nephew John Huntley appar. sole heir.] Moreover, although Sir John Ap Adams acquired vast
estates in Gloucestershire and Somersetshire, he never had the manor of Cherleton-Adam."
Mr. Bartlett's book (1927) has numerous photographs of the Saxon church at Barton [St.] David,
bonds and other documents signed by, or associated with, the real Henry Adams, his wife, and
their ancestors. Miss Adams's treatment (1974) of Henry and his English background is also
excellent. It's always a good idea to keep up with current work in the field. In 1853 when this
forgery was first printed, historical research was so new, and access to original documents so
limited, that many otherwise sophisticated people were taken in. Today, however, we have no
excuse.



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