Going back, generation by generation, from my mother-in-law's fourth great-grandmother, Elizabeth Howard, to research her ancestors, I keep expecting to find the one who came to the New World from the Old Country. Now that we're back to the late 1600s, one would expect that scenario to make its appearance soon, right?
But no. Our Elizabeth's great-father, Joseph Howard, turned out to be born in colonial Maryland, as we discovered the other day. Since that Joseph was born about 1676—according to Harry Wright Newman's genealogical book, Anne Arundel Gentry—surely it would be his father who was the founding immigrant for the Howard line.
That, at least, was what I thought. The Newman book, however, set me right once again. Explaining that Joseph was the eldest son among his siblings, Newman named Joseph's father as yet another Cornelius Howard—Captain Cornelius Howard, gentleman. This one, married to a woman listed only by her given name, Elizabeth, was evidently a prosperous landowner, in addition to his many military duties and public service as a representative in the General Assembly.
Cornelius was father of five children, two sons and three daughters. Though his son Joseph was the eldest, born about 1676, the boy hadn't yet attained the age of five when his father died.
According to the Newman book, though no date of birth was given for Cornelius, land records showed he received his first land grant in colonial Maryland in 1662. But don't think he had just crossed the Atlantic to receive that property. Apparently, his parents arrived in Maryland before him—but not from the location you might have presumed. They arrived in Maryland not from England, but from the colony of Virginia, opening up yet another chapter in the Howard line for us to discover.