Monday, April 17, 2023

Finding the Founding Immigrant


We've pushed our way back through time on the Howard family of Maryland, but now we're about to find that colonial family in a different location.

First, we started with my mother-in-law's fourth great-grandmother, Elizabeth Howard, who eventually became wife of William Ijams and, at his death, the second wife of Major John Whistler. From that point, we learned Elizabeth's father was Joseph Howard, himself son of Cornelius Howard.

Still in colonial Maryland, Cornelius' father was yet another Joseph Howard, who in turn was son of another Cornelius Howard.

And we were still researching in colonial Maryland.

As we discovered last week, the elder Cornelius Howard died in Maryland in 1680, leaving five children under the age of five. Where this Cornelius Howard and his siblings were born, however, becomes conjecture—based mostly on following the whereabouts of his own parents.

According to the Harry Wright Newman book, Anne Arundel Gentry, Cornelius was one of eight children born to Matthew and Anne Howard. Newman explained that though Cornelius' parents did arrive in the New World from England, it was unlikely that any of the children were yet born at the time of the parents' passage to America.

The author estimated the date of their marriage to be 1630, and their arrival in the New World to be after that point. The only date available to help fix the time of their arrival would be the land grant Matthew received in 1638. As such grants by the English government were awarded to "adventurers" based on how many people an applicant had "transported," the amount received by Matthew seemed to be based on his passage plus that of his wife and two servants. Thus, each of those eight children were likely born somewhere in America.

That somewhere appears to have been in the recently-formed colony of Virginia. Specifically, Matthew and Anne Howard received land in the then-newly-formed—but now long-extinct—Lower Norfolk County. There, Matthew and Anne remained for nearly twenty years. It is likely that all eight of their children were born at that location, including their son Cornelius, my mother-in-law's eighth great-grandfather.

By about 1650, though, Matthew and Anne had relocated to Maryland, and their son Cornelius followed suit by 1659. Thus, we don't find our founding immigrant ancestors on this Howard line until my mother-in-law's ninth great-grandparents, Matthew and Anne Howard. Harry Wright Newman provides some interesting speculation on the connection between this Howard family and the Arundel family in England, and a marriage connecting the family to Cecilius Calvert, second Lord Baltimore.

That, however, doesn't concern us on our pursuit of my mother-in-law's Howard ancestors. Nor does it provide us with the information we'll need to find regarding her matriline, which passes through Elizabeth Howard—but then on to Elizabeth's mother, not the Howard line.

Let's backtrack to Elizabeth Howard Ijams' own generation and explore her ancestral connections on the maternal side of her family. With surnames changing with each generation, this exploration will prove to be a bit more challenging.   

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