Did a Kynvet Sears exist who is mentioned as oldest son of Richard Sears or is his existence fictional?

+1 vote
I work as a Docent at Fruitlands Museum, created by Clara Endicott Sears (1863-1960) and have always been interested in the first name of her father, Knyvet Winthrop Sears (1832-1891.)  Is he named after the the supposed eldest son of Richard Sears, the immigrant,  or were there other Knyvets in the Sears line?
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3 Answers

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Berkeley Knyvet Sears, Vermont Vital Records, 1760-2008

Birth 10 Dec 2006 at Burlington, Chittenden, Vermont.

Father's name Richard Niles Sears, mother's name Laura Diane Megyesi.

Certificate of Birth at Montpelier, Vermont. Affiliate Image 31395_B004409-00045  Father's title and terms II
by Frank Gill G2G Astronaut (2.3m points)

The search results that Susan posted include a FindAGrave memorial for a Knyvet Sears, 1635-1696, but the monument in the photograph is not contemporary, and the memorial page has a statement indicating that Knyvet was probably a 19th century fabrication.

An article entitled "Some Doubts Concerning the Sears Pedigree" in the New England Historical and Genealogical Register, vol 40 (1886), reported (on page 266 -- online at https://www.americanancestors.org/DB202/i/11664/266/23504857 -- possibly available there only by paid subscription) that the 1667 will of Richard Sears did not mention a son Knyvet nor his alleged wife Elizabeth Dimoke. The author concluded that there was no such person.

I found one other published source that says that Knyvet was a fabrication by Horatio Gates Somerby, but I did not investigate the basis for that allegation. See Category:Horatio Gates Somerby Fraud for background on Somerby.

Article here


The line was always blatant nonsense.  Some story about a daughter who displeased her father so much, he had her name erased from all records.

The original book that the article is referring to


The first link that RJ posted is a free online version of the article "Some Doubts Concerning the Sears Pedigree" that I referred to.

From the second link that RJ posted, I see that the Sears pedigree connected the Sears family to Sir Edmund Knyvet (or possibly his uncle of the same name) as an ancestor.

Apparently it was the uncle.  The nephew lived at Buckenham Castle, which he inherited.  The uncle lived at Ashwellthorpe, which was his wife's.


But DNB and Wikipedia both think their guy was the one who nearly had his hand cut off.

More on Somerby on the disappeared daughter's profile


RJ, I actually tracked down a woman whose father had done exactly that, cast her off, and had in fact bought a grave plot and "buried" her, complete with headstone and etc ... found her on the next census living with her mother elsewhere
0 votes

That said, if a Knyvet Sears was born in 1832, the story must go back earlier.


According to his bio, he married a daughter of George Peabody.  If that's the banker and philanthropist


then it's interesting that Somerby originally went to England to work for the Peabody Fund.

by Living Horace G2G6 Pilot (573k points)
My guess is that the Sears family in New England had some sort of tradition that connected them to Edmund Knyvet and family, they named a child Knyvet in 1832 in honor of their Knyvet ancestry, and when family friend Horatio Somerby went off to England, they asked him to document their Knyvet pedigree (and he gave them what they asked for, even though it was not true). That is idle speculation only, of course!
Yes.  Or perhaps Knyvet Winthrop Sears had the surname Knyvet in his tree somewhere, not necessarily on the Sears side.  His paternal grandmother was a Winthrop.
Nobody named Knyvet on the 15-generation Family List (including siblings of ancestors) here on WikiTree: https://www.wikitree.com/index.php?title=Special:FamilyList&p=25534448
+1 vote


-Jackson Knyvet9 Sears, born May-1881 in Boston, Suffolk, Massachusetts son of Francis Bacon Sears and mary Elizabeth Sparhawk.

-Winthrop Knyvet9 Sears born 24 Aug 1890 in Tacoma, WA son of  Stephen Parish Sears

as for Knyvet Winthrop- that  was not his original name? S.P. May's Sears Genealogy shows  No 1497 p.261 his name changed by act of Mass Leg. 24 Mar 1849, to Knyvet Winthrop. 

by L. Ray Sears G2G6 Mach 4 (45.5k points)

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