Sunday, April 23, 2023

Back to the Other Side of the Family


Since we have spent the better part of this month exploring the ancestry of my mother-in-law's fourth great-grandmother, I suppose it would only be right to say at least a little bit about this ancestor's husband.

That fourth great-grandmother, Elizabeth Howard, married another colonial Maryland man by the name of William Ijams. You may remember reading about that unusual surname at A Family Tapestry, not only with this month's commentary on the history of the letter J, but from some other discoveries I've made over the years.

Since we managed to push back four more generations on Elizabeth Howard's matriline, it's no wonder we haven't dwelt much on Elizabeth's husband's line. There's been too much to discover on the Howard side of the family equation. But at least we can afford one day to run down the generations of Elizabeth's husband.

Using Harry Wright Newman's 1933 book, Anne Arundel Gentry, as my trailblazer, I was able to locate a few paragraphs on three generations of Elizabeth's husband's line. From this point, as with Elizabeth's story, I'll use the dates and names to see if I can retrace Newman's research steps and locate the documentation informing his narrative.

Here's what I've found so far. William Ijams, husband of Elizabeth Howard, was one of at least eight children born to John and his wife, Rebecca Jones. John, however, was often listed with his surname spelled as Iiams.

Born in 1712 in Anne Arundel County, John was son of yet another William Iiams and his wife, Elizabeth Plummer. His bride Rebecca was daughter of Isaac Jones, part of another Anne Arundel County family.

Just as we saw when we wove our way back through the generations in Elizabeth Howard's family, we keep going back through the Iiams family, still residing in colonial Maryland. From the elder William, husband of Elizabeth Plummer, we can step back one more generation and still be in Anne Arundel County. John Iiams' father William was born there in 1670, son of another William and his wife, Elizabeth Cheyney.

It was this William who was apparently the founding immigrant ancestor of my mother-in-law's Ijams line. According to the Newman book, William's surname was recorded, at least in one instance, as Eyams. Though Newman could not find any record of William Eyams' entry into the colony, he presumably was there in Maryland before his 1669 marriage to Elizabeth, daughter of Richard Cheyney.

Once again, the woman—my mother-in-law—who thought her ancestors had just recently "gotten off the boat" turns out to descend from families with long-standing colonial roots.


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