Surname Mystery--Is there a primary source for Littlebury Littleberry surname in 17th C. America?

+5 votes

Oh dear. I've searched high-and-low, with no luck, for even one primary source for the elusive Littlebury (aka Littleberry) family in Virginia in the 1600s or early 1700s.

All you genealogy puzzle-solvers out there--- the grandchildren of Littleberry grandfathers frantically need your help!

I've searched and followed up hundreds of leads in WT,, and Library of Virginia (including reading wills, marriages, etc.) They were all dead-ends, either no primary sources existed or they were actually given names and indexed as surnames (most common). This is not a task for the weak or busy!

Elizabeth "Littleberry" (c1620), wife of Francis Eppes II, is the profile of the earliest Littlebury surname I've found so far, so that's where I started. Their son, Littlebury Eppes-8 (c1665-1743), is the first (documented) use as a given name (in the Americas, anyhow).

After tons of searching, these are the only 2 records I found: 1) A 1654 land patent for Thomas Littleberry was actually for Thomas Leatherbury-4 (in Cavaliers and Pioneers, Vol. 1: Patent Book 4, page 413). 2) The ONLY primary source I found for a Littlebury surname was in 1734 for a Charles Littlebury, a convict, who was transported from Lincolnshire, England, to an unidentified port. I found nothing else on him.

Since almost all of the early Littlebury profiles are maiden names of women who had a son named Littleberry, I now suspect they are ALL false. When there's a source for the name (rare), they are to secondary sources like SAR, DAR or family group sheets. It appears more likely (to me) that these sons were actually named after a Littleberry who was well regarded. I love other's feed-back or experience with this idea.

The best candidate for the progenitor is Littlebury Eppes-8, son of Francis and Elizabeth. LB was in the militia (called Colonel), held many high-level political positions (Burgess, sheriff, clerk) and owned extensive acreage in VA. By the mid-1700s there were hundreds of Littleberry given names in Virginia (including my 4th gr-grandfather c1756-1796). Frequently, LB was repeated for a generation or 2, with it being rare by the 1850s or shifted to a middle name. It's now virtually non-existent.

 Please note that a Littleberry Royall (c1656, VA) might have preceded LB Eppes, but I'm still looking for supporting documentation. The Eppes and Royall family did inter-marry, and both had many Littleberry given names.

So help us solve the mystery of the mythical Littlebury surname in Virginia! If all these LBs born mid-1700s had a Littlebury surnamed ancestor then there should be at least a few records. It's hard to prove a negative, but a coordinated search could put it to rest. I know there are other descendants of Virginia Littleberry grandfathers who would love to know! Hopefully, we can figure it out together.

Good luck and thanks for your time!

Holly Witt-1888

WikiTree profile: Elizabeth Eppes
in Genealogy Help by Holly Witt G2G4 (4.5k points)

4 Answers

+4 votes
by Lynn L G2G6 Mach 8 (80.9k points)
edited by Lynn L

Lynn, thank you. Yes, I've seen these. Elizabeth's often proposed parents of [[Littlebury-4|Robert Littlebury (1591-)]] and Boughton-147|Jane Mary (Boughton) Littlebury (abt.1593-abt.1630) is not correct per these profiles. A book published in 2000 has clarified this couple only had one child Robert who never emigrated.

Right now I'm focusing on whether there is ANY record of a Littlebury family having emigrated to or resided in Virginia in the 1600s. So for, there is nothing.

Thanks for your help, and hopefully something will pop up!

Cheers, Holly Witt-1888

Lynn, thanks for that copy of English Duplicates Lost Virginia Records!

It didn't have any Littlebury surnames, but the Eppes family was cited over 50 times, including Littlebury/Littleberry Eppes 14 times! More evidence suggesting the name's popularity may have originated with Littlebury Eppes' notoriety, NOT the existence of multiple women with the Littlebury surname.

Of course, Elizabeth, mother of Littlebury Eppes, may have still been a Littlebury, but the absence of any primary sources makes it as suspicious as all the other "Littlebury" women in all those family trees. I'm also watching for the earlies source for Elizabeth as being a Littlebury. Like many family myths, that could provide a clue as to where it came from (and when it started appearing in family trees).
There is a Southey Littleberry that arrived in 1655.
Lynn, I'm finding a Southey Littleton, but not Littleberry. Do you have more clues I can check? Thanks! UPDATE: It appears surname is Littleton, not Littleberry. Probably entered wrong somewhere like Thomas Leatherbury/berry entered as Littleberry.
+3 votes

Littlebury is a village in Essex, so the surname is likely locational; most of the christening records I can find on FamilySearch for Littleburys born c. 1580-1620 are in Essex, with a few in Lincolnshire.

Unfortunately the English Civil War and interregnum are a period when many parish registers were either not kept or lost, so any record likely to refer to this Elizabeth may not exist. She was almost certainly from the Essex family, though.

by C Handy G2G6 Pilot (131k points)
Thanks for that info. Right now I'm focusing on any evidence that a Littlebury family either emigrated or lived in Virginia in the 1600s. I'm hoping someone has a good book from primary sources that might have a clue. Here's hoping!
0 votes
Hi Holly,

I have some information on that family since I am one of the Great Grandaughter’s of them. I’m currently out of town, but I can take a look tonight and see what I can find and then when I get back.

Kelly Kley
by Kelly Kley G2G6 (6.5k points)
Thanks Kelly. I’d love to see anything you have.
0 votes
These look to be the earliest first source records collected on Virginia which may contain what you are looking for?   I know you are looking for a simple answer but this may take some research to get the truth.
by Lynn L G2G6 Mach 8 (80.9k points)
Thank you Lynn, this is exactly what I'm looking for. I'll check them out. Definitely not expecting a simple answer since the Littlebury question has been out there for a long time.

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