Was Henry Wood son of John Wood, leather seller?

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On NaN undefined NaN Sean Wood wrote on Wood-31:

I'm a direct decedent of Henry Atwood/Wood. I would really like to prove he is the son of John Atwood AKA "The Leather Seller". My father has tested on FamilyTreeDNA and has done a Y-DNA test. All of our matches we can Identify, they point to Henry except one who points to Stephen. According to Elijah Francis John's son's Harmon and John were baptized in St. Martins. He stated there was no doubt that Stephen was their brother and little doubt of Henry. In hopes of proving the relation genetically I've created a new project at https://www.familytreedna.com/groups/atwoodsof-sanderstead-court/activity-feed I'm sure there is all sorts of red tape in Exhuming my ancestors for genetic testing so I I'm relying on this to perhaps do the job. I would encourage all other descendants with an unbroken line to take a Y-DNA test and join the project.

WikiTree profile: Henry Wood
in Genealogy Help by Jillaine Smith G2G6 Pilot (758k points)

1 Answer

+3 votes
Best answer
I didn't look too hard at this, but:

John "the Leather Seller" is reported to have baptised son Harmon 3 Oct. 1613 and John 24 Dec. 1614 at St. Martin's in London. FindMyPast shows transcriptions of these baptisms at Westminster, but the transcription does not indicate the father's name. The children's names are Harmon Atwood and John Atwood.

Alicia Crane Williams says only that Elijah Francis Atwood provided no evidence of the parental links that he claimed. He did provide some vital records, so what is missing is really the proper correlation that this and that records refering to "John Atwood" are referring to the same person.

ACW does note that it is possible John Atwood the Leather Seller was father to Harmon, and notes Pope's Pioneers as the reference. If this is credible, and if there is a credible case to be made that this Harmon was the same baptized at Westminster in 1614, then it seems clear that at least he had a brother John.

But there would be a lot to prove here:
* Harmon who appeared in Boston can be reasonably attributed the baptismal record at Westminster
* John of Plymouth was brother of Harmon. For this, Elijah Francis Atwood cites a 1631 lawsuit where John sued his brother Harmon. Some effort should be made to track this down.
* Even then, the connection of John of Plymouth as brother to Henry and Stephen is based tenuously on coincidence of land and freeman records for timing and proximity, as well as family lore. It is not an unreasonable deduction, but it makes it even more important to shore up the first two bullet points.

Y-DNA would not help determine if Henry, Stephen, John, and Harmon were brothers versus, say, cousins or some other sort of kin. But it would be very useful if it could show that Harmon was related to one of the others, since that seems to be the weakest link. Are there Harmon descendants who have tested the Y-chromosome?
by Barry Smith G2G6 Pilot (136k points)
selected by Richard Devlin
In reply  to the Lawsuit record, as I understand it, John the Leather Seller was the one who filed against his brother Harmon, not the Leather Seller's suspected children John and Harmon.

As for the land, my mother was telling me the properties were side by side which would certainly lend to the idea they were brothers or cousins.

I have been in contact with a potential Atwood cousin who's tree comes down from the Leather Seller's Harmon. There are some gaps in sourcing we are working on and we are also in progress of trying to find some male cousins who would be willing to test from that line as well.

I have corresponded with ACW about her work and she reiterated to me that she came to the conclusion that while the connection was undocumented it was not unlikely. She also said that she had not worked on my tree since her publication so any documents that have come to light since the late 90's may help further support a relation.  A lot has become available online over the last 20 years that she may not have had access to then.
Barry, I would also like to note on the Y-DNA testing, while the older tests may not have been as fine tuned FamilyTree's Big Y 700 shows some real promise of moving the technology forward.  It's my hope and belief that in time and with enough people testing we will be able to make these precise genetic connections.
Sean do you have BigY 700 results for the Henry-Stephen match?
At this time no. The project is still new and I currently only have my father's Ydna test uploaded.  The match between Henry and Stephen is on my fathers Y-Match and the owner of the account has been unresponsive. I've had a few people join the project but none with a direct Y connection.  I imagine it will take years to build a large enough sampling to start seeing conclusive evidence.  My father's uncle mentioned a willingness to test as well.  Henry would be his 7th Great Grandfather. I should really jump on it too since he may not be around much longer.

Ah, I know all about unresponsiveness.  I'm sometimes baffled why people would spend the money for a DNA test and then not respond to requests about it.

Are you coordinating with the larger Wood DNA Study? Looks like your family is group 13. Maybe the coordinator would be interested in having a co-admin?

Even though you wouldn't be able to currently determine brother or cousin relationship, just showing that the three (or even two) Woods of Plymouth share a common male ancestor is a significant piece of evidence and should be documented. 

If you can get the Stephen descendant or a John descendant to join the study, you have some comparison results within your study (or maybe you could work with the Wood Study) to document it on the Results Tab on the FTDNA project page.  You might be interested in this thread here that discusses citing/publishing DNA results and gives some examples.  

As far as Elijah Francis Wood's work...Barry calls out the thing that struck me most in reading it.  Its like so many other "English origins" sections of genealogies of that time.  It contains some facts and documentation, but doesn't actually give a connection to the New England immigrant.  Out of all the Woods/Atwood families in England, how did he choose that one?  I would think if he had a solid reason he would have included it.  The unfortunate consequence is that effort gets focused on one family trying to prove/disprove, rather than a broader search among all possible families.  Kind of like the cops focusing in on one suspect and just trying to build a case...and the guilty man can be overlooked.

The only guess I have to EFW's approach is that he assumed a relationship between Mr. John Atwood, asst to the gov, and John Wood.  Mr. Atwood was from London, so he started there.  Based on the Plymouth records, I think the evidence points to them NOT being related, so this would not be the best way to start a search. I did add to Henry's profile some of the clues from Leyden that Alicia Crane William's included in her article that might be useful if you're interested in pursuing other lines of research.

Caveat: I did not carefully read all of EFW's publications ( I understand there are additional articles in the Boston Transcript), so maybe I missed something.

M Cole,

You may find this an interesting read.  The below link is a book written by Charles Atwood, Son of E.F. Atwood. His Introduction explains some of the missing sources in E.F Atwood's book.


EFA actually lists his sources, but doesn't necessarily link them to specific facts.  The sources are important, but the real question here is what do these sources/facts tell us?  Is there a source/fact in that introduction that answers the question, "How do we know the Woods of Plymouth are connected to the Atwoods of St. Martin's of London?"

Edit to add:  Or even "Why should we suspect, that these are the same family?"

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