Probable? Gateway Ancestor-Nathaniel Browning

+7 votes
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Very long post ahead (and thank you to all who read it!):

Nathaniel Browning, a 17th century immigrant to Rhode Island, may have a descent from, among others, King Henry II of England.  The American History Society's Tercentenary of New England Families 1620-1922: A Record of the Achievements of Her People in the Making of Commonwealths and the Founding of a Nation (1922) and  Edward Franklin Browning's Genealogy of the Brownings in America from 1621 to 1908 record Nathaniel as the son of Mrs. Elizabeth Palmer.  They reference the will of John Palmer, a nonconformist London mercer, which can be seen here

A few years ago, when I was browsing the UK's National Archives online, I looked up Browning in the wills.  There was a Danyell Browning or Browninge, with a 1626 will.

About 3 and a half pounds later, I was reading-Daniel Browning's wife's name was Elizabeth, his father's name was William, his wife's parents were Ralph Furness (Furness-513) and wife Rebecca (Blennerhassett-237).  He also named several siblings and his children, one of whom was named Samuel and another was unborn.

Daniel Browning (Browning-3617) and Elizabeth Furnis (Furness-516) were married on February 9, 1612 in Saint Andrew, Norwich, Norfolk, England.  The record was abstracted on FamilySearch.org.  "England Marriages, 1538–1973  ," database, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:N271-C4T : 10 February 2018), Danyell Browning and Elizabeth Furnis, 09 Feb 1612; citing Saint Andrew,Norwich,Norfolk,England, reference , index based upon data collected by the Genealogical Society of Utah, Salt Lake City; FHL microfilm 993,970.)  

Mr. and Mrs. Browning were the parents of several children, two of whom were named Nathaniel.  The first Nathaniel was baptized in 1618 and predeceased his father.  The second Nathaniel (probably the Nathaniel who immigrated to Rhode Island) was baptized January 20, 1626 at St. Lawrence Jewry  and St. Mary Magdalene Milk Street, London, England.  He was the unborn child referenced in Daniel's will.  Brothers Samuel and Nathaniel Browning were legatees of their stepfather, John Palmer, and of their grandfather, Ralph Furness, d. 1639.  Elizabeth (Furness)(Browning) Palmer made her will and passed away in 1635, the mother of three surviving sons (Samuel and Nathaniel Browning and John Palmer Jr.)   She mentioned her children, but not by name.  I have misplaced the copy of her will and will try to locate it-I believe she mentioned Cardwell Farrington.

I am not sure what Edward Franklin Browning's source was for Nathaniel as the son of Mrs. Elizabeth Palmer.  I searched for any other Nathaniels that would have been Nathaniel son of Daniel Browning and was able to rule the other, a Nathaniel Browning who was a Northamptonshire Chandler.  Circumstantially, in light of the long written tradition (which I tend to find believable, since calling someone the son of an unknown Mrs. Elizabeth Palmer is different than someone having an exalted, Gustave Anjou-esque royal pedigree) and religious considerations, this line makes a lot of sense.  Nathaniel Browning's wife, Sarah Freeborn, had strong Quaker roots, which would also circumstantially fit Nathaniel's placement as son of Daniel Browning and Elizabeth Furness-the Blennerhassett family and many of its collaterals were involved with Quakerism as well as had ties to Quaker Brownings.  (See  Daniel Gurney's "The Record of the House of Gournay.")  In addition, Sarah (Freeborn) Browning's family almost definitely came from Maldon-"The Great Migration Begins" lists this as fact. It lends definite credence to the Maldon Brownings as opposed to any of the others.

The only other possible parentage I've seen put forth for Nathaniel Browning came from Burke's, making him the son of John Browning and Christian Webb. This seems incredibly unlikely and, if memory serves, no sources were offered. Many pedigrees made it into earlier editions of "Burke's Landed Gentry" and John Browning and Christian have three children assigned them in the Visitations back in England: Mary, wife of John Smith (genealogist/historian of the Berkeley family), John, husband of Joan Tovey, and Ursula, wife of Stephen Fowler. Visitation pedigrees by no means always included all children; however, the names of this family don't mesh with the descendants of Nathaniel Browning. Ursula, for example, was a popular name in John and Christian (Webb) Browning's descendants. This family's ancestry can be seen here.  I have not been able to find any evidence that there is any truth to this parentage.

The royal antecedents of the family can easily be traced from Rebecca (Blennerhassett).  Bill Jehan has chronicled extremely detailed and well documented research on his "Blennerhassett Family Tree" website.  Rebecca's baptism record is on FamilySearch, and her father William's will (he d. 1598) (NCC Will Register Adams 49) mentions (I believe Jehan first chronicled this, but I had a computer crash and lost some research) his son Furness.  The Complete Peerage Website also chronicles this family: http://www.thepeerage.com/p27899.htm#i278981.

Finally, before showing the Henry II descent (which was largely found courtesy of a Gen-Medival post "Royal Descent for Francis Foxcroft of Massachusetts" by ravinmaven2001 and Leo van de Pas's website, Genealogics, who sources the individual lines, often to the work of Douglas Richardson and "The Complete Peerage") I have come across the work of two other researchers online that I had not seen before diving headfirst into the Daniel Browning wild guess theory.  They had come to the same conclusion I had, so the Browning/Furness lineage was independently deduced by three researchers, for what that's worth. =)  I have elaborated on sourcing for post-1500 individuals on WikiTree.  If you would like to see them, please search for Browning-7 and you can check the profiles for his ancestors to see what I've added.  Thank you all for bearing with this long, meandering post (and I sincerely apologize for any typos!!!) - K  

(I'm using '=' in the chart for both marriages and extramarital relationships, e.g. Henry II and Ida de Tosny.)

Henry II, King of England=Ida de Tosny

William Longespee, 3rd Earl of Salisbury=Ela FitzPatrick

William Longespee=Idonea de Camville

Ida Longespee=Walter FitzRobert, Lord of Dunmow

Ela FitzWalter=William de Odingsells

Ida de Odingsells=Roger de Herdeburgh

Ela de Herdeburgh=William Le Botiler

Ankaret Le Botiler=John Le Strange, 2nd Lord Strange

Eleanor Le Strange=Reginald Grey de Ruthyn

Reginald Grey, 3rd Lord Grey de Ruthyn=Joan Astley

Elizabeth Grey=Sir William Calthorpe

Amy Calthorpe=William Gurney

William Gurney=Anne Heydon

Amy Gurney=George Sybsaye

Alice Sybsay=William Blennerhassett

Rebecca Blennerhassett=Rev. Ralph Furness/Furnys

Elizabeth Furness=Daniel Browning

Nathaniel Browning=Sarah Freeborn

WikiTree profile: Nathaniel Browning
in The Tree House by K. Anonymous G2G6 Pilot (124k points)
retagged by Ellen Smith
Do you have a transcript of the will of Daniel Browning?
I am 90% through with the transcription and will post it on Daniel's page in the next day or so.
Following- Nathaniel Browning is a 10th GGF.

3 Answers

+7 votes
Nathaniel Browning named his son William, and Daniel Browning's father and grandfather were both named William.  As Daniel died before son Nathaniel was born, and as Daniel's father was still living, young Nathaniel could well have been raised by his grandfather William.

Have you or others double-checked for other Nathaniel Brownings baptized in England who might have been the same as Nathaniel of Rhode Island?
by J S G2G6 Mach 9 (94.9k points)
Hi John,

Thanks for the response.  I did look into other Nathaniel Brownings and was able to rule out all but one other on the grounds of chronology.  The Massachusetts and More Genealogy Blog [http://massandmoregenealogy.blogspot.com/2017/01/nathaniel-browning-and-sarah-freeborne.html] (citing sources I'd read, including the Rhode Island Genealogical Society) indicates that Nathaniel Browning was buying land in 1645 (at about 19 years of age, this fits with Nathaniel, who inherited money from his father, stepfather, and grandfather.)  The other Nathaniel Browning would be about 14 (so too young to be the correct Nathaniel).  I found a record of a Nathaniel Browning son of Christopher Browning and Susanna of Dorset baptized in 1620.  He had brothers Richard and Walter.  I thought this possibility less likely b/c I never saw the names Christopher, Susanna, Walter, or Richard in Nathaniel of Rhode Island's family, which was replete with Daniels, Samuels, and Williams.  In addition.  There was also an 11-year age difference between a 1620 Nathaniel and Sarah Freeborn, born in 1631.  That doesn't prove anything, but it was a larger age difference than I saw in comparable families (unless a 2nd marriage was involved, but Nathaniel's heirs were all his children by Sarah, the eldest, William, born about 1651).  I forgot to mention that I also reviewed William Browning of Maldon's will (it was made in 1635; he mentions his grandchildren; unfortunately, he passed away at about the same time as their mother).  The only records I haven't looked into, largely due to not having any experience with them, are possible orphan's court records.
You have a good start, and I hope you get a pre-1500 badge soon.

Questions:  How do we know that Rebecca, named as mother-in-law in Daniel Browning's will was the same as Rebecca, daughter of William Blennerhasset?

EDIT:  That Blennerhasset website doesn't show that William and Alice Blennerhasset had a daughter Rebecca.  And that unreliable website, ThePeerage.com, doesn't show the mother of Alice (Sybsey) Blennerhasset.

How do we know that Rebecca Blennerhasset was the daughter of William Blennerhasset's second wife Alice Sybsay?

How do we know who was the mother of Alice Sybsay?  I see that the will of her purported grandmother mentioned a daughter "Sybsay," but I see no source for that otherwise-unnamed daughter having a daughter Alice who married William Blennerhasset.   Is it possible that George Sybsay, father of Alice, had more than one wife?

I am not inclined to see ThePeerage.com as a reliable source -- it is one man's website which contains good stuff and junk mixed in together.

Reginald, 3rd Lord Grey de Ruthyn was the grandfather of my ancestor Philippa (Bonville) Grenville.  I think you're on solid ground with his ancestry.
One more thought -- Nathaniel Browning was a ten-year-old orphan (his maternal grandfather died when he was 13) who ended up in Rhode Island marrying a girl from his hometown.(?)  

Nathaniel Browning presumably came to the New World in the company of a relative or a friend of the family.  Who could that have been?

Thanks so much!  The sources that Bill Jehan used primarily indicated the Visitations-I can't get my message to link to the specific segment of the document, but it's found at http://www.blennerhassettfamilytree.com/pages/BH03_Norfolk_N.pdf (searching for Furness in the document takes you to the right part-I will see if I can get it screenshotted if that is permissible on G2G.)

Mr. Jehan writes, "REBECCA BLENNERHASSETT [VoN/1563 p. 40] records two sisters named Rebecca, one by William Blennerhassett's 1st wife Alice Colby, the other by his 2nd wife Alice Sibley:

it shows one sister m. Robert Bishop & the other sister m. Ralph Furness; 

this is doubtful-the two Rebeccas appear to be identical, she marrying twice..."

I pulled up the Visitation of Norfolk on Google Books and saw that he was correct-there were two Rebeccas listed, but I agree with his finding that they were two people conflated.  

William Blennerhassett and Alice Sybsay were married on January 15, 1552 at Saint Martin at Palace Gate, Norwich, Norfolk, England.  "England Marriages, 1538–1973 ," database, FamilySearch(https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:N2PL-6WY : 10 February 2018), Wm. Blenerhassett and Alice Sibsey, 15 Jan 1552; citing Saint Martin At Palace,Norwich,Norfolk,England, reference , index based upon data collected by the Genealogical Society of Utah, Salt Lake City; FHL microfilm 894,701.  (Alice's name was spelled Sibley, Sybsay, Sibsey, etc.)  I found baptism records for some of William's other children; the only Rebecca baptized was in 1554, after the marriage to Alice Sibsey and well before the marriage to his third wife, Dame Audrey (Hare) Warner in 1569.  

Alice Sybsay is said to be George Sybsay's daughter by Amy Gurney in Lincolnshire Pedigrees.  In Daniel Gurney's "The Record of the House of Gournay" Amy Gurney's daughter Alice is shown as the wife of 'Will. Bleverhasset of Norwich, Gent.'  George Sybsay has never been shown as having more than one wife, and Gurney's documentation that 'Amya Sibsey' was alive in 1547, and that she had been married to George Sybsay since before her mother's 1521 will.

Thank you for your comments-I should have addressed many of those points in my original post, but it had gotten so long that I probably didn't document as well as I should have.  I think based on the Visitations and other research, it's safe to assume that Rebecca is the daughter of Alice Sibley/Sybsay and the granddaughter of Amy Gurney.  What do you think?  Thanks so much for the input!

Daniel Browning's youngest brother, Malachi, was living in MA in 1647 per his WikiTree entry.  The will of John Palmer, Nathaniel and Samuel's stepfather as shown in Edward Franklin Browning's book contains this section: "And I desire Mr. Davenport, minister, Mr. French, warehouseman in lumber, and Mr. Edward Hopkins, of London, merchant, that they would he pleased (after my wife's decease) to take into their custody my sons-in-law, Samuel and Nathaniel Browning, and to educate and bring them up in the fear of the Lord, and likewise to have within your own custodies, their portions given them of their father for their maintenance and education, which portion of their’s is about 676 pounds, or thereabouts, 300 pounds whereof is in the Chamberlain’s hands, which I received 15 pounds per annum for, and other 376 pounds is in my own hands, whereof I have a bond to Mr. Thomas Frel for 100 pounds of it to be paid to him for them ; all which I desire to be put into their hands for their maintenance."  I had thought Rev. Davenport and Edward Hopkins were the men described here - both were early settlers to North America.  John Palmer's will specifies that his 'sons in law' get their inheritances at 21, not too far off from Nathaniel's age when he was about 19 in Rhode Island.  The Maldon Brownings were both Puritans had connected to many who arrived in America.  I will need to see if I can locate Elizabeth (Furness)(Browning) Palmer's will: she mentions someone named Caldwell/Cardwell Farringdon, whose family also, I believe, came to North America.

Rebecca Blennerhassett is the key problem in this pedigree. 

Robert Bishop, the ecclesiastical lawyer I do not think married either Rebecca Blennerhassett - no mention of a wife in his Cambridge Alumni Entry.  

Their age difference is curious (for either sister). Interestingly, he's missing from the Wikipedia page on the Dean of Arches - his tenure (1570-1573) overlaps with Thomas Yale. (1567-1573).

Isn't it weird she married one of the chief officials of the Church of England and then marry a non-conformist "preacher"? Anyways, since 'Ralph Furnis' will says he had a honorary degree BD from somewhere, it appears he went to Cambridge.  He must have been conformist enough to get a BD. He's not in the clergy database. The record for Mosrton, Norfolk (not Merston) has a big gap 1590-1622. 

On thePeerage - he cites sources and it's the cheapest way to cite Burke's (which isn't right all the time...but isn't one of those e-mails he also cites!). In this case, the citation is Burke's Irish Family Records (1976) p. 135. 

BHO has Merston, Norfolk, & the list of rectors has Ralph there from 1593-1606, when the patron presented a new Rector. Not sure what happened 1606-1639. 

1596 Ralph Furnes, S.T.B. by Nathaniel Bacon, Esq. (STB is apparently Sacrae Theologiae Baccalaureus, I assume the same as BD)

Found him in the clergy database, Furnes, Ralph (1583 - 1603)  This doesn't match the will - this is a strange situation. I suppose he was BD, went non-conformist, and was ejected from his living in 1606 and lived another 30 years as a non-conformist preacher. More likely he died 1603-1606.

Maybe you can copy the pertinent will text and I can research further...

Hi Kirk,

Thanks for your comments-I've not been able to track down what happened to Robert Bishop, and have never seen any documented children he had (Burke's claims there were children, but I don't have access to the one document that might prove that-William Blennerhassett's December 1598 will (NCC Will Register Adams 49.)  I tried to go about getting a copy online, but it's not available.  Another researcher, I believe possibly Bill Jehan, who did see the will, states that the will names Ralph Furness as William's 'son' (son-in-law), and if Rebecca had children by a first husband, maybe they would be mentioned there?)  

Ralph Furness made his will in 1639, calling himself "of Norwich Batchelor of Divinity."  I have been working on transcribing the will-as soon as I finish I will post it.  Matthew Reynolds, in his "Godly Reformers and their Opponents in Early Modern England" chronicles some of Ralph's long career (he was in his eighties when he died, still a clergyman): [https://books.google.com/books?id=WJaMKDJwBY8C&pg=PA192&dq=RALPH+FURNESS+NORWICH&hl=en&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwjg3u_-lIHcAhUPbq0KHd0oDsoQ6AEILDAB#v=onepage&q=RALPH%20FURNESS%20NORWICH&f=false]  In his will, he mentions that his late wife's sister, Audrey Breese, left legacies to the children of his second daughter, Hannah, deceased at the time of the will.  Audrey Blennerhassett was Rebecca's half-sister, daughter of William Blennerhassett and Dame Audrey (Hare)(Warner)(Blennerhassett).  She married Edward Breese (Bressey) on May 13, 1594 at St. James Pockthorpe, Norwich, Norfolk, England according to extracted parish records on FamilySearch.  I've never been able to find out anything about Robert Bishop and his marriage to Rebecca.  I think Burke's indicated a marriage of 1572; he would have passed away before 1593.  I will get to work on getting the will transcribed.
I finally finished transcribing Ralph Furness's will.  I'm a complete novice at transcription, and the [ ] indicates a word/name I was unable to read.  Words in parentheses are words I am fairly, but not completely, certain are correct.  I've added this will to Ralph's WikiTree page and will keep looking at the original to see if I can decipher the unknown words.  Thanks again for your input!

Will of Raph Furnis (obtained via Access2Archives), PROB 11/181/600,  [http://discovery.nationalarchives.gov.uk/details/r/D852255]

In the name of God Amen I Raph Furnis of the city of Norwich Batchellor of Divinity being of perfect memory thanks be to God doe make my last will and testament this sixteenth day of September Anno Dom. 1639 in manner and form following Ffirst I (comend) my soule into the handes of Jesus Christ my only Saviour and Redeemer And for my bodie yf I dye in (Boarstreet?) I desire that it may be buried under the (communion) table where Mr. (Aldham's) body was buried and [][]unto my wyfe's grave or otherwise in the parrish [] I shall depart this life [][] att the [] of the executor of this my will and testament (hereinafter) named And for my worldly goods and effects I doe dispose of it as follows.  Ffirst I doe give and bequeath unto James Hill the sonne of my daughter Hanna Hill late of Norwich deceased and late wife unto William Hill of the same [] nowe living the summe of one hundred pounds of lawfull English money the greatest part being the legacy of Audrey Breese my late wife's sister [] to the said James Hill and William Hill his brother and (Rebecca)(&)[] Hill their sisters deceased.  Att the payment whereof in acquittance generall is to be given unto my executor under the hand and seale of the said James Hill.  Item I give unto him the said James Hill [][]silver [] two silver spoones left with me for William Hill his brother by his father William Hill aforesaid to be delivered unto him at the age of [] and twenty yeares.  Item I give unto Samuell Browning my daughter Elizabeth's eldest sonne one featherbed boulster pillow and two pillowboards with the blankets uppon my bedd and all [] and [] I [][] I give unto him my little silver (salt?).  Item I give unto Nathaniell Browning his brother one featherbed boulster pillows, and two pillowboards with two blankets and the yellow (&)[]and one pairs of [].  Also I give unto him (three) silver spoones.  All (these) guifts bequeathed to his two brothers and to be delivered unto him at the [](ages?) of two and twenty years.  And yf either of them depart this life before their [](several?) ages of two and twenty years Then my will and mynde is that his guifts shall (remayne) to his surviving brother.  And if it shall happen that they both depart this life before their several ages of two and twenty years aforesaid then their said gifte to [] unto John Palmer the (sonne?)[]of my said daughter Elizabeth deceased.  Item I give and bequeath unto the said John Palmer one hundred sixtie and sixe pounds of lawful English money to be payed unto him at St. Michael the archangell in the yeare of our Lord God one thousand six hundred fyftie and [] said some shalbe then due and payable from one Mark Skelton of the cittie of Norwich [] as by [] Indenture bearing date the nyne and twentieth day of September Anno (Dm) one thousand six hundred sixtie eight [][][].  And yif default of payment be made at the said tyme of the said one hundred sixtie and sixe poundes then my will and mind is that he the said John Palmer shall have and (enjoy) to him and his heires forever the (said)(houses) and yards with []expressed in the forenamed Indenture.  And if he depart this life without issue then I give the same to Samuell and Nathaniell Browning to be equally divided.  Item I give and bequeath him more my ffyrd best featherbed boulster and two blankets and pillows and two pillowboards with (the) gold tapistry (coverlett), more I give unto him the great silver (salt) my silver [] and fortie poundes of lawfull English money.  All which said legacies to him bequeathed to be given and payed unto him at the age of two and twenty yeares by my executors hereafter mentioned and they to [] the benefitt of all his said guifts for his education untill he shall [] unto his said age of two and twentie yeares  Item I give unto Anne (Fixe?) the daughter of William (Fixe?) of Norwich [] fortie shillings of lawfull English money  Item I give and bequeath unto Margaret Ffurnis my brother's daughter and now my servant the some of fiftie pounds of lawfull English money to be paid unto her within one yeare next after my decease Also I give unto her one ffetherbed the[] but [] one boulster two of my old blankets and pillows and pillowboard two pairs of ordinary sheets my iron (pott) and one skillet two pewter platters, fyve pewter dishes two []two [] half a dozen of [] napkins one paire of [] yrons one (fire?) pann and [] two [](a) little silver spoon with a knobb on the end of it two silver cupps one table in my study with the [] upon it to be all delivered her within one month next after my decease  And whatsoever [] of my goods my executor shall [][]for a (poore) housekeeper Item I give unto my brother Robert Ffurnis fyve poundes of lawfull English money to be payed within one yeare next after my decease uppon condition that yt be payed unto John Ffurnis his sonne dwelling in Yorke to be given to his ffather according to his [], and what remains after his [] himself to enjoy  Item I give and bequeath unto (Ezra)(Barwick)late my clarke the some of ffortie shillings of lawfull English money  Item I give unto the wife of Thomas (Thorne) sometyme my servant twenty shillings of lawfull English money Item I give unto Joan Faring the wife of Ambrose Faring the some of fortie shillings of lawfull English money Item I give unto the parish of St. John's of [] in the citty of Norwich fyve poundes of lawfull English money for (afforde) to buy [] at the left hand yearly for the benefitt of the poore of the same parrish at the direction of the churchwardens and overseers of the same parrish for the tyme being Item my will and mind is that if James Hill the sonne of William Hill be deceased then the said hundred pounds and (his)(other) legacies before monsoned to be given to the sayd John Palmer my grandchild  All the residue of my goods chattles and [] unbequeathed my debts being payd and discharged together with the charges of my funerall I give and bequeath to Mark Skelton and Richard Simpson [] I make and ordain executors of this my last will and testament  And they to [][] poundes of lawfull money of England upon my funerall.  In witness whereof I have published and declared this to be my last will & testament and [] hereunto sett my hand and seale unto this two (severall)(sheete) of paper in the presence of (us) By me Raph Ffurnis Memorandum that the words [][][][], one and twenty foure and twenty and three and fortie lynes in the first sheete were [] out before the sealing hereof witness Robert Broome Mary Broome and (Mr.) William Banker.

Without getting into the details (which I haven't studied), I would like to suggest the possibility that Bill Jehan was correct in his conclusion that there were two daughters named Rebecca Blannerhasset,   

People are inclined to presuppose that such a conclusion has to be wrong -- nobody would give the same name to two separate children!

However, there are multiple examples of exactly that happening.  Sometimes the two same-named children have different mothers, and the elder child is much older than the younger.  In other cases, it seems that the parents wanted to ensure that the name of a respected relative was continued, so they double-named as "insurance."

A few examples: John Fauntleroy named two sons Moore -- his wife's aunt married a man named Nicholas Moore, who may have been a family benefactor.  The profiles for this family need a lot of work, but relevant sources are available.  One of the Moore Fauntleroys emigrated to Virginia, and the other stayed in England.

Another example is Richard Fortescue, who named two sons John (the name of his father).  The relevant page of the Fortescue genealogy is here: https://archive.org/stream/worksofsirjohnfo02fort#page/369/mode/2up

So... Regarding one or two Rebeccas, I'd like to suggest finding all the documentation possible regarding her/their two husbands and children, and try to establish a timeline.  One check, if enough information is available, on the range of birth years for Rebecca's children.  

I've reworked the chart I prepared (incorporating some more details)-I tried to post it but it disappeared (I think I may have deleted my own post, but am going to wait a little while before posting again since it could just be so long that it's taking time to show up).  Here is what I've found re: Rebecca: (she was alive when her son-in-law Daniel made his will in July 1625 but had passed away by the time her husband, Ralph, made his will in 1639; I believe she is the Rebecca baptized in 1554).

"Item I give unto my ffather Will Browning and to my mother Dorothy Browning and to my ffather in law Ralph Ffurness and mother Rebecca Ffurness to each of them five pounds..." (Source: Will-Danyell Browning or Browninge. PROB 11/148/430.)

Ralph Furness mentions the following in his own will:  “Ffirst I doe give and bequeath unto James Hill the sonne of my daughter Hanna Hill late of Norwich deceased and late wife unto William Hill of the same [] nowe living the summe of one hundred pounds of lawfull English money the greatest part being the legacy of Audrey Breese my late wife's sister [] to the said James Hill and William Hill his brother and (Rebecca)(&)[] Hill their sisters deceased.” (Source: Will-Ralph Furness)  Audrey Breese is well documented as being Audrey Blennerhassett, the daughter of William Blennerhassett and his third wife, Dame Audrey (Hare)(Warner) Blennerhassett.

I have only been able to find the baptism record of one Rebecca Blennerhassett (as opposed to the two alleged in some visitations).  This Rebecca would be the daughter of William and his second wife, Alice Sybsay, as opposed to his first wife, Anne Colby.  The Visitations state the first Rebecca was the daughter of Anne Colby and the second of Alice Sybsay and married Robert Bishop.  Bill Jehan’s thought that they are the same person (married first Robert Bishop and then Rev. Ralph Furness) makes sense due to the fact that, barring some mention in William Blennerhassett’s will) Ralph and Elizabeth’s only known children (I have been unable to locate any others in baptism records) Elizabeth and Hannah, weren’t born until 1593 and 1595, respectively.  Rebecca would have been 39 at Elizabeth’s birth and 41 at Hannah’s; if they were children by a second marriage, this would make more sense.  Interestingly, if she *was* the Rebecca daughter of Anne Colby, she would have multiple descents from Edward I through her mother, Alice Brewse.  I’ll post Alice Colby’s lineage here when I re-post my update post assuming it isn't still pending.  I think it still seems more likely that William had only one daughter named Rebecca and she was the daughter of his second wife, not his first.

+2 votes
Nathaniel Browning is a 10th GGF.
by Ed Trowbridge G2G2 (2.1k points)
+2 votes

Thank you K for sharing this excellent research.  The problem is almost always at the immigrant generation, but I have no problem accepting the immigrant Nathaniel Browning as the son of Daniel Browning & Elizabeth Furness, and a grandson of Ralph Furness and Rebecca Blennerhassett (based on the wills of Daniel Browning, John Palmer and Ralph Furness).

The problem is still going to be with the mother of Rebecca Blennerhassett.  You can’t just dismiss the possibility that William Blennerhassett named 2 daughters Rebecca as this was not uncommon in this time period.  This article: “The Blennerhassetts of Kerry” in Kerry Archaeological Magazine, on page 37 says the daughter Rebecca who married “Ralph Furnes” was a daughter by his first wife Anne Colby.  This article also gives a second daughter Rebecca m. “Bishop” but she is also a daughter by Anne Colby! 

The article gives William Blennerhassett a total of eleven children total with the first nine by Anne Colby and two by Alice Sibly (Elizabeth mar. W. Enderley and Anne m. William Rainham).  I am not sure this fits with your baptism records so it can perhaps be called into question.  Regardless, we need to have better evidence regarding the maternity Rebecca Blennerhassett.

I have not been able to find a full view of this article online and had to piece it together from google snippet views.  It appears to be a continuation of a series of articles: “The Career of Harman Blennerhassett (pp. 16-41)” Kerry Archaeological Magazine Vol. 4, No. 17, Oct., 1916; “The Career of Harman Blennerhassett (continued) (pp. 75-93)” Kerry Archaeological Magazine Vol. 4, No. 18, Apr., 1917; “John Blennerhassett (pp. 191-195)” Kerry Archaeological Magazine Vol. 4, No. 19, Oct., 1917.

by Joe Cochoit G2G6 Pilot (205k points)
Just thinking out loud...

I had forgotten how early the marriage date was for William Blennerhassett and Alice Sibsey - 15 January 1552.  

Where does the 1549 marriage date of William to Alice Colby come from?  She certainly didn't have 9 children from 1549 to 1552.

Hi Joe, 

Thanks for the comment.  Here is what I've found re: Rebecca: (she was alive when her son-in-law Daniel made his will in July 1625 but had passed away by the time her husband, Ralph, made his will in 1639; I believe she is the Rebecca baptized in 1554).

"Item I give unto my ffather Will Browning and to my mother Dorothy Browning and to my ffather in law Ralph Ffurness and mother Rebecca Ffurness to each of them five pounds..." (Source: Will-Danyell Browning or Browninge. PROB 11/148/430.)

Ralph Furness mentions the following in his own will:  “Ffirst I doe give and bequeath unto James Hill the sonne of my daughter Hanna Hill late of Norwich deceased and late wife unto William Hill of the same [] nowe living the summe of one hundred pounds of lawfull English money the greatest part being the legacy of Audrey Breese my late wife's sister [] to the said James Hill and William Hill his brother and (Rebecca)(&)[] Hill their sisters deceased.” (Source: Will-Ralph Furness)  Audrey Breese is well documented as being Audrey Blennerhassett, the daughter of William Blennerhassett and his third wife, Dame Audrey (Hare)(Warner) Blennerhassett.

I have only been able to find the baptism record of one Rebecca Blennerhassett (as opposed to the two alleged in some visitations).  This Rebecca would be the daughter of William and his second wife, Alice Sybsay, as opposed to his first wife, Anne Colby.  The Visitations state the first Rebecca was the daughter of Anne Colby and the second of Alice Sybsay and married Robert Bishop.  Bill Jehan’s thought that they are the same person (married first Robert Bishop and then Rev. Ralph Furness) makes sense due to the fact that, (barring some mention in William Blennerhassett’s will, which isn't on A2A and I can't access at present) Ralph and Elizabeth’s only known children (I have been unable to locate any others in baptism records), Elizabeth and Hannah, weren’t born until 1593 and 1595, respectively. Rebecca would have been 39 at Elizabeth’s birth and 41 at Hannah’s; if they were children by a second marriage, this would make more sense.  

Interestingly, if Rebecca was the daughter of Anne Colby, she would have multiple descents from Edward I through Anne's mother, Alice Brewse.  I think it still seems more likely that William had only one daughter named Rebecca and she was the daughter of his second wife, not his first.  I will try to see if I can find more once I'm done transcribing Daniel Browning's will.  The only other thing that gave me pause re: this line is that (and I posted a thread about this on G2G yesterday) Nathaniel Browning would have purchased his house in Rhode Island several months before his twentieth birthday (for the cost of 3 pounds).  Now, this Nathaniel would have had more than enough money, inheriting several hundred pounds from his father (will to be posted) and additional money from his stepfather and grandfather.  His mother also instructed Mrs. and Mrs. Cardwell Farrington to withdraw her sons' money in 1635 to help with their upkeep.  I had wondered how many people encountered situations of teenagers buying land-the website Bob's Genealogy Filing Cabinet has a page for "Legal Age" (<!--[endif]-->http://www.genfiles.com/articles/legal-age/) and the author, Robert W. Baird, indicates that it was possible for someone under 21 to buy land.  How common that was, I have no idea.  Will post more when I am finished with the will transcription.

Here is one of Anne Colby's lines of descent from King Edward I:

Edward I, King of England=Eleanor of Castile

Joan of England=Gilbert de Clare, Earl of Gloucester and Clare

Eleanor de Clare=Hugh le Despenser

Sir Edward le Despenser=Anne de Ferrers

Sir Edward le Despenser=Elizabeth de Burghersh

Anne le Despenser=Sir Hugh Hastings

Sir Edward Hastings=Muriel Dinham

Margaret Hastings=Sir Gilbert Debenham

Elizabeth Debenham=Sir Thomas Brewse (this generation and above are all sourced to van de Pas, Leo.  Genealogics.

John Brewse=NN (Sources: Hervey, William.  “The Visitations of Suffolk Made By Hervey Clarenceux, 1561, Cooke, Clarenceux 1577, AND Raven, Richmond Herald, 1612, WITH NOTES AND AN APPENDIX OF OF ADDITIONAL Suffolk Pedigrees.”  Crisp, Frederick A.  Fragmentata Genealogica, Volume 8.  The East Anglian; OR, Notes and Queries ON SUBJECTS CONNECTED WITH THE COUNTIES OF SUFFOLK, CAMBRIDGE, ESSEX & NORFOLK.  Volume III.  Ed. White, C. H. Evelyn. 

Alice Brewse=John Colby of Brundish (Sources: Hervey, William.  The Visitations of Suffolk Made By Hervey Clarenceux, 1561, Cooke, Clarenceux 1577, AND Raven, Richmond Herald, 1612, WITH NOTES AND AN APPENDIX OF OF ADDITIONAL Suffolk Pedigrees.  Crisp, Frederick A.  Fragmentata Genealogica, Volume 8.  The East Anglian; OR, Notes and Queries ON SUBJECTS CONNECTED WITH THE COUNTIES OF SUFFOLK, CAMBRIDGE, ESSEX & NORFOLK.  Volume III.  Ed. White, C. H. Evelyn. 

Anne Colby=William Blennerhassett (Hervey, William.  “The Visitations of Suffolk Made By Hervey Clarenceux, 1561, Cooke, Clarenceux 1577, AND Raven, Richmond Herald, 1612, WITH NOTES AND AN APPENDIX OF OF ADDITIONAL Suffolk Pedigrees.” https://books.google.com/books?id=EycAAAAAQAAJ&pg=PA127&dq=john+colby+of+brundish&hl=en&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwiC9O_45I7cAhVBaq0KHWSbAoMQ6AEILTAB#v=onepage&q=john%20colby%20of%20brundish&f=false.)

Bill Jehan noticed that, too-he indicates that Anne Colby and William Blennerhassett could have married before 1645.  The Papers of Nathaniel Bacon of Stiffkey: 1566-1577 Volume I Ed. by A. Hassell Smith indicates as much.  I haven't been able to acquire this source yet.

I understand that changing the maternity to Anne Colby is not breaking a line but actually “improving” it (to use the terminology of Gary Boyd Roberts).  So, I am not trying to take away a royal ancestry (which is what I am usually doing), but just making sure we get it right.

The fact that you haven’t found a baptism to someone born c1550 is almost meaningless.  You are at the very edge of when it is even possible to expect to find such a record.  It would be meaningful if the 2nd Rebecca was the only missing baptism record. 

But I am playing devil’s advocate here.  I think the Visitation and the pedigree I gave you are both clearly wrong in how they assign the children of William Blennerhassett.  As you have been suggesting, the dates we do have clearly suggest a different construction for the family:

William Blennerhassett (c1525-1598) m. Anne Colby by 1549

  1. - Thomas Blennerhassett 1 August 1549
  2. - Edward Blennerhassett born say 1550 (matriculated Camb. 1565)
  3. - John b. 24 December 1551

William Blennerhassett m. Alice Sybsay on January 15, 1552.

  1. - Elizabeth Blennerhassett bp. 22 October 1553
  2. - Rebecca Blennerhassett bp. 3 October 1554
  3. - Daniel b. say 1555 (m. 1577)
  4. - Ursula Blennerhassett bp. 12 April 1557
  5. - Frances Blennerhassett bp. 1 September 1563
  6. - Susan dsp
  7. - Joan d.s.p.
  8. - Jeremy m. Margaret Lee
  9. - Mary Blennerhassett
  10. - Anne Blennerhassett m. William Rainham

William Blennerhassett m. Audrey Hare on 1 Jul 1569

  1. - Audrey Blennerhassett m. Edmund Breeze

 

Ralph Furness, b. c1553 (said to be aged 83 in 1636) m. Rebecca Blennerhassett

  1. - Elizabeth Furniss 1593-1635
  2. - Hannah Furniss b. 1595

Since, the Visitation record can be easily shown to be flawed in multiple areas, I agree that the best interpretation of the data is that Ralph Furness m. the Rebecca baptized in 1554, daughter of Alice Sybsay.

 

I appreciate all the constructive criticism and feedback-I'd much rather have a devil's advocate than not.  Thanks for laying out the children of William Blennerhassett-it's very easy to follow that way.  I had thought the Alice Sybsay vs. Anne Colby in large part due to the fact that some researchers have seen William Blennerhassett's will (NCC Will Register Adams 49); the Peerage.com indicated that Rebecca Blennerhassett had children by both Robert Bishop and Ralph Furness, so I'd wondered if William mentioned any Bishop children.  The chronology seemed to make more sense with Alice as the mother as well.

Re: playing devil's advocate, the only other thing that gave me pause re: this line is that (and I posted a thread about this on G2G yesterday) Nathaniel Browning would have purchased his house in Rhode Island several months before his twentieth birthday (for the cost of 3 pounds).  Now, this Nathaniel would have had more than enough money, inheriting several hundred pounds from his father (will to be posted) and additional money from his stepfather and grandfather.  His mother also instructed Mrs. and Mrs. Cardwell Farrington to withdraw her sons' money in 1635 to help with their upkeep.  I had wondered how many people encountered situations of teenagers buying land-the website Bob's Genealogy Filing Cabinet has a page for "Legal Age" (<!--[endif]-->http://www.genfiles.com/articles/legal-age/) and the author, Robert W. Baird, indicates that it was possible for someone under 21 to buy land.  How common that was, I have no idea-do you have any thoughts??  I finally got Daniel Browning's will transcribed and it is now on his page.  Thanks!

I did have some thoughts, but I was distracted trying to track down dates.  It gave me pause also.  Having someone under age 21 involved in any legal transaction was extremely unusual.  So unusual that it is right to question whether it is possible that the person buying land could possibly be the same person born in 1626.

I’m sure there are exceptions to this but I would have a hard time finding examples.  My thought is, I want to evaluate the original record. The link you gave is of course to a blog, which isn’t close enough to the primary source.  As far as I can tell, references to this transaction originate with Austin, John Osborne. Genealogical Dictionary of Rhode Island (1887): page 167.  Are we able to confirm the date of the transaction is correct?  Are the names of the people correct? Was the transaction done with the consent of a guardian?  Why would an Englishman sell land to another Englishman using wampum?  Was this common?  Are there any other records for him between 1645 and 1650?

My feeling is still that given the names England and in New England, given the religious history of the family, and given the direct connection to Davenport and Hopkins, it is almost certainly the same person.

Even if everything checks out and the conclusion is a 19 year old purchased land, I think we just have to call this an extremely rare exception to the rule that you had to be 21yo to purchase land.

I'm going to keep looking around and see if some repository like ancestry might have a copy of the original transaction.  I suppose it's always possible that he lied about his age (I'd assume he would have known it due to the inheritance money)-he wouldn't exactly have had a birth certificate to prove anything.
Will: of William Blennerhassett, of the City of Norwich, Esquire
''Norfolk Archaeology'', vol. VII (Norwich, 1872): pages 87-92.
Made 5 Decmeber 1598; codicile 7 December 1598 proved 22 December 1598.
Summary:
my sonne in law Raphe ffurness (a minister)
daughter Rebecka ffurness and Children
Eldest son Edward Blennerhassett and Susane his wife
Ralph Blennerhassett, son of Edward and Susan, and everyone of the other sons of Edward and Susan
Edward (under age 21), son of my son Thomas Blennerhassett
Susan, daughter of Edward and Susan
Margaret, daughter of my son Jeremy Blennerhassett
Margaret and Mary (under age 18), the two daughters of my son Thomas
my grandson John Busshop (under age 24)
Frances Blennerhassett (under age 21), daughter of my son Daniel Blennerhassett
Edward Breese my son in law
Ralph Furness and Edward Breese to be executors
Frances my daughter ffuller
Hannah and Elizabeth Furness, my son Ralph Furness' daughters
Henry Hobart my cousin
Margaret Hayset, my son Jeremey's daughter
Fabulous!!  Thank you!

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