Thomas Bliss
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Thomas Bliss (bef. 1595 - 1651)

Thomas Bliss
Born before in Englandmap
Son of [father unknown] and [mother unknown]
[sibling(s) unknown]
Husband of — married 14 Apr 1616 in Gloucester, Gloucestershire, Englandmap
Husband of — married 18 Oct 1621 in St. Nicholas Church, Gloucester, Englandmap
Descendants descendants
Died after age 56 in Hartford, Connecticutmap
Profile last modified | Created 5 Aug 2009
This page has been accessed 14,601 times.
The Puritan Great Migration.
Thomas Bliss migrated to New England during the Puritan Great Migration (1620-1640).
Join: Puritan Great Migration Project
Discuss: pgm



NOTE: The several Thomas Bliss' of New England have had their vital records, family relationships and biographical facts mixed and matched in a Gordian knot by those who were less than attentive to details as they imported unevaluated and unsourced data including fanciful pedigrees into their family trees. In brief, we are dealing with three or possibly four individuals of the name Thomas Bliss:
  1. Thomas Bliss (called Sr) b. before 1595 a founder of Hartford, wife Margaret Hullings (and the subject of this profile)
  2. Thomas Bliss b. about 1618 of Saybrook and Norwich son of #1, wife Elizabeth Birchard who may or may not be the Thomas Bliss, called Jr. in early Hartford records and counted as a founder.
  3. Thomas Bliss of Rehoboth, Mass. Wife Dorothy Wheatlie, father: John.


See the end of the biography for common errors and earlier notions that have since been disproved.


In editing the biographies of the several Thomas Bliss' I (djt) have elected to treat Thomas Jr. of Hartford as the same person as Thomas Bliss of Saybrook and Norwich.

Thomas Bliss was a founder of Hartford,[1] he is called "Sr" in town records. Barbour, basing his work on Bliss' Genealogy[2] mingles the lives of Thomas Bliss of Hartford and Thomas Bliss of Rehoboth and treats Thomas Bliss, Jr. as his son.


In Hale, House and Related Families[3] Jacobus analyzes the available information and concludes that Thomas was born between 1590 and 1595, location in England unknown but possibly Painswick, Gloucestershire. Hyde[4] adds Rodborough, where Thomas was married and eldest son Nathaniel was christened as a possibility. Parents are unknown.


He arrived at Massachusetts after the 1637 baptism of son Samuel, but was present in Hartford prior to 1640.[5][6]


Thomas Bliss married Margaret Snowe, as his first wife, 14 April 1616 at St. John the Baptist Parish, Gloucester, England.[6][7] Margaret was buried 4 June 1621 at St. Nicholas Parish, Gloucester.[8] They had three children.[6]
Married October 18, 1621 in St. Nicholas Church Gloucester England Margaret Hulings, b. August 9, 1601 in Rodborough Gloucestershire England, d. August 28, 1684 in Springfield, Mass. daughter of John Hulings and Margaret [?Lawrence].[9][10]


Thomas' public life in Hartford was fairly uneventful.[11][12][13]

Both Thomas Bliss Sr. and Thomas Bliss Jr. are on an early list of inhabitants granted lots by the towns courtesy, with liberty to fetch wood and keep swine or cows by proportion on the common.[11][13] This early list gives them status as Founders of Hartford, with their names on the Founder's Monument.

As of Feb 1639 Thomas owned several lots in Hartford. He owned his house lot, with house, yards or gardens about 2 rods; a parcel of upland about two acres and two rods; about two acres he bought from Thomas Bliss Jr.; a five acre piece of upland, part from Thomas Bliss Jr and part from the town that was John Sables; and another two rods that had also been granted to John Sabells; nineteen acres near the Wethersfield border; six acres on the Great River that he bought of Thomas Bliss jr; 25 acres that belonged to Thomas jr.[11][13]

Sept 1639 Thomas was behind paying his town rates, 5s.[13]

4 March 1646, Thomas Blisse was fined 2s for not training.[12]


February 1650/51


Bliss, Thomas, Hartford. Invt. ₤86-12-08. Taken I4 February, 1650, by Nathaniel Ward, Joseph Mygatt. Nuncupative Will. Testimony of John Pinchon & Hen: Smith gives property to his wife. Mary Parsons, a daughter, of Springfield, doth Testify to the same.
”Court Record, Page 17 – 20 February, 1650-1: Adms. to the Relict, She to keep the whole Estate in her Hands for her Use and the Education of the Children during her life, then to be divided among the Children, viz: to Lawrence, to ]ohn, to Samuel, to Hester, to Elizabeth, to Hannah, and to Sarah Bliss.”[14][15]


Children listed following generally Jacobus,[16] The first three Thomas, Ann and Sarah by first wife Margaret Snowe, the remainder by Margaret Hulins.[6]
  1. Thomas Blisse, was baptized 23 Jan 1617/8 at St. John the Baptist.[6][17] d. at Norwich, Conn., 15 Apr. 1688; m. at Saybrook, Conn., 30 Oct. 1644, Elizabeth [?Birchard][18], b. [say 1622], d. at Norwich, 28 Feb. 1699/1700.
  2. Sarah Blisse, baptized 23 April 1620 at St. Nicholas,[6][19] Presumably died young since a second Sarah was born later to Thomas 2nd wife.
  3. Anna or Ann, was born about 1620 or 1621[6]; d. at Saybrook, Conn., 20 Nov. 1685; m. at Saybrook, 29 Apr. 1642, Robert Chapman[20], b. abt. 1617, d. at Saybrook, 13 Oct. 1687 ae. 70. Note that the order of Ann and Sarah is uncertain.
  4. Nathaniel, bp. December 28, 1622[21]; d,. at Springfield, Mass., 18 Nov. 1654; m. at Springfield, 20 Nov. 1646, Catherine Chapin[22], probably b. at Berry Pomeroy, Devon, in 1626, d. at Springfield, 4 Feb. 1712, dau. of Dea. Samuel and Cicely (Penny) Chapin. She m. (2) 30 June 1655, Thomas Gilbert, who d. at Springfield, 5 June 1662, and (3) 28 Dec. 1664, Samuel Marshfield who d. 8 May 1692.
  5. Mary; b. [say 1626]; d. at Springfield, 29 Jan. 1712; m. at Hartford, 26 Nov. 1646, Cornet Joseph Parsons[23], b. 1617-18, d. at Springficld, 9 Oct. 1683.
  6. Lawrence, b. [say 1628]; d. at Springfield, in 1676; m. at Springfield, 25 Oct. 1654, Lydia Wright[24], b. abt. 1633, d. at Springficld, 13 Feb. 1698/9, dau. of Dea. Samuel and Margaret (Stratton) Wright. She m. (2) 3l Oct. 1678, John Norton, who d. 24 Aug. 1687; (3) 27 Jan. 1687/8, John Lamb, who d. 28 Sept. 1690; and (4) 1 Mar. 1691/2, Quartermaster George Colton, who d. 17 Dec. 1699. "at night.”
  7. Hannah, b. [say 1633]; d. at Springfield, 25 Jan. 1660/l, never married.
  8. John, b. [say 1635]; d. at Springfield, 20 Sept. 1702; m. at Springfield, 7 Oct. 1667, Patience Burt[25], b. at Springfield, 18 Aug. 1645, d. there 2 Oct. 1732, dau. of Henry and Ulalia (March) Burt.
  9. Samuel, bpt. 4 Feb 1637 at St. Mary de Crypt in Gloucester;[6][26] d. at Springfield, 23 Mar. 1720; m. at Springfield, 10 Nov. 1665, Mary Leonard[27], b. at; Springfield, 14 Sept. 1647, d. there 1 Jan. 1723/4, dau. of John and Sarah (Heath) Leonard.
  10. Sarah, b. [say 1638]; d. at Springfield, 27 Sept. 1705; m.(1) at Springfield, 20 July 1659, John Scott[28], who d. 2 Jan. 1689/90; m. (2) 16 Nov. 1690, Samuel Terry[29].
  11. Hester (twin), b. abt. 1640; d. at Springfield, 12 June 1683; m. at Springfield, 26 Dec. 1661. Edward Foster[30], who d. 22 Feb. 1719/20. He m. (2) 17 Jan. 1683/4 Sarah (Marshfield) Miller, who d. 9 Mar. 1708/9, widow of Thomas Miller.
  12. Elizabeth (twin), b. abt. 1640; d. before 1684; m. at Springfield, 15 Feb. 1669/70, as his second wife, Sergt. Miles Morgan[31], b. abt. 1615, d. at Springfield, 28 May 1699.

Disputed Information

  • Mother of Children: Disputes over whether Thomas had one wife or two and questions of which children if any belong to a first wife are now solved by finding a record of his first wife and her burial.
  • There is no known family relationship between Thomas of Hartford and Thomas of Rehoboth as reported by John Homer Bliss in his 1881 Genealogy of the Bliss family in America, from about the year 1550-1880. [32] This was reviewed by Donald Lines Jacobus in 1951[33] and found to be without any basis in fact. However, descendants generally accept that they were cousins of uncertain degree.[34]
  • The father of Thomas Bliss was not Thomas of Belstone. He did not come from Belstone Park In the Genealogy of the Bliss family in America[35] J H Bliss included two chapters on the family of immigrants Thomas and George Bliss. Whose alleged father was Thomas of Belstone Park. English research published by Charles Arthur Hoppin in The Bliss Book: a romantic history of the Bliss family... found that Thomas and George were sons of John of Preston Parva.[36] John Homer Bliss published a correction, which unfortunately, is not in every copy. The version on Ancestry does not have the correction. The version at has the replacement pages. It also has the replaced pages with X drawn on them, so we can compare.
  • Thomas of Hartford, was not the man from Daventry / Preston Parva, son of John. Hoppin also made errors. He jumped to the conclusion that the Thomas of Preston Parva was Thomas of Hartford. Jacobus notes: “There is evidence of only one Thomas Bliss born about 1590, belonging to the Daventry and Preston Capes family, and he was of John; common sense makes this Thomas the one who married Dorothy Wheatley in 1614 and who was most certainly the emigrant to Rehoboth, Massachusetts. As for Thomas Bliss of Hartford, Conn., there is not the slightest evidence or even reason to believe that he belongs to the Daventry of Preston Capes family.”[37]
  • Thomas of Hartford was from Gloucestershire. Newer research has located family members and the marriage of Thomas to Margaret Hulins in Gloucestershire.[two TAG Articles]
  • Margaret Lawrence was a made up person. Given name Margaret is known from the will of Thomas of Hartford. Lawrence was an assumption because they named a son Lawrence, but this was a common enough given name.


  1. #S1 Families of Early Hartford, Connecticut
  2. #S7 Genealogy of the Bliss Family in America,
  3. #S3 Hale, House and Related Families
  4. #S2 TAG 60:202
  5. #S3 Hale, House and Related Families
  6. 6.0 6.1 6.2 6.3 6.4 6.5 6.6 6.7 Bennett, Anne Selene. "The First Wife and Older Children of Thomas Bliss of Gloucester, England and Hartford, Connecticut. The American Genealogist Vol 91, No1 January 2019. p. 43-45
  7. Gloucestershire Archives Gloucester, Gloucestershire; Gloucestershire Church of England Parish Registers; Reference Number: P154/9 IN 1/1 Accessed at as Gloucestershire, England, Church of England Baptisms, Marriages and Burials, 1538-1813 image 85 of 134 at Ancestry
  8. Gloucestershire Archives; Reference Number: GDR/V1/134. . Reference Number P154/15 IN 1/1 image 239 of 332
  9. #S2 TAG 52:193-97 and 60:202
  10. #S5 New England Marriages Prior to 1700 pg.78
  11. 11.0 11.1 11.2 Collections of the Connecticut Historical Society Vol. 14 Original Distribution of The Lands in Hartford Among the Settlers 1639. (The Connecticut Historical Society and the Society of Colonial Wars in the State of Connecticut, Hartford 1860) Indexed Thomas Sr., abutter 257, 277, 284; land bought by 258; land bought of 286, 287; land recorded to p. 256; mentioned as proprietor p. 501
  12. 12.0 12.1 Hoadly, Charles J, MA. (editor) Records of the Colony and Plantation of New Haven, From 1638 to 1649. (Hartford: Case, Tiffany and Company, 1857.) p. 147
  13. 13.0 13.1 13.2 13.3 Collections of the Connecticut Historical Society]] Vol. 6 Hartford Town Votes Vol. 1 1635-1716 (The Connecticut Historical Society and the Society of Colonial Wars in the State of Connecticut, Hartford 1897) (p. 8, Sept? 1639 Goodman bles behind of 1 rates allsoe 00 05 0); (pp 63, 64. 16 May 1642 town gave permission to Goodman Blis to use the lot of John Sables that adjoins his); (p. 20 inhabitants granted lots by town’s courtesy (sr and jr)); (p 24. 3 Jan 1639 footnote additions to list of proprietors.); (p. 47, 48. 24 March 1650/1 Thomas blise Jewnier shall have 2 acre near Hucanum pownd. Thomas blise Senier shall have 2 acre near Hucanum pownd.); (p. 50. A list Thomas Blysse Senior 6, Thomas Blysse Junior 4.)
  14. #S4 A Digest of the Early Connecticut Probate Records
  15. Collections of the Connecticut Historical Society]] Vol. 22 Records of the Particular Court of Connecticut 1639-1663 (The Connecticut Historical Society and the Society of Colonial Wars in the State of Connecticut, Hartford 1928) -- pp. 46 suit ___ Blysse; 45 not training fine; 93, 94 estate;
  16. #S3 Hale, House and Related Families
  17. Gloucestershire Archives Reference Number P154/9 IN 1/1 image 50 of 134
  18. #S5 New England Marriages Prior to 1700, pg. 78
  19. Gloucestershire Archives Reference Number: P154/15 IN 1/1 image 118 of 332 @ Ancestry.
  20. #S5 New England Marriages Prior to 1700 pg. 145
  21. #S2 TAG 52:193-97
  22. #S5 New England Marriages Prior to 1700 pg.78
  23. #S5 New England Marriages Prior to 1700 pg. 562
  24. #S5 New England Marriages Prior to 1700 pg. 78
  25. #S5 New England Marriages Prior to 1700 pg.78
  26. Gloucestershire Archives Reference Number GDR/V1/111 image 54 of 559
  27. #S5 New England Marriages Prior to 1700 pg. 78
  28. #S5 New England Marriages Prior to 1700 pg. 656
  29. #S5 New England Marriages Prior to 1700 pg.732
  30. #S5 New England Marriages Prior to 1700 pg. 277
  31. #S5 New England Marriages Prior to 1700 pg. 518
  32. #S7 Genealogy of the Bliss Family in America
  33. #S3 Hale, House and Related Families
  34. #S9 as related by Malcolm Bliss
  35. Bliss, John Homer. Genealogy of the Bliss family in America, from about the year 1550-1880. (Boston, Mass., Printed by the author, 1881)
  36. Hoppin, Charles Arthur. The Bliss book : a romantic history of the Bliss family from the time of its beginning in England, to its advent into America ... (Hartford, Conn. : Priv. print. 1913)
  37. Jacobus, Donald Lines and Edgar Francis Waterman. Hale, House and Related Families Mainly of the Connecticut River Valley. (Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing Co., Inc., 1978.)
  • #S7 Bliss, John Homer. 1881. Genealogy of the Bliss Family in America, Published by the author, Boston, Mass.
  • #S9 Bliss, Aaron Tyler. 1982. Genealogy of the Bliss Family, Midland, Michigan
  • #S2 Hyde, Myrtle Stevens. 1976. Thomas and Margaret Hulins Bliss of Hartford, Connecticut. TAG 52:193-97 and 1984 The Marriage of Thomas Bliss and Margaret Hulins TAG 60:202


This profile was created through the efforts of many people including, but not limited to Rena Donze, Jacky Gamble, Robert Haack, John Hermanson, Merry Kennedy, Terry Kraft, Tayler Mccormick, Brian McCullough, Sheri Minnick, John Putnam, Bryan Sypniewski, Rochelle Tennant, and Daniel Thompson.
See the Change Page for edits by WikiTree contributors.

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Comments: 62

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Thanks for all your hard work sorting through this -- I'm a direct descendant of Thomas Bliss of Hartford, and have now been able to do some judicious pruning of my family tree.
posted by ES Arenson
Hi Debra Pedigree Resource Files are not reliable sources. Margaret Lawrence was an invention of early genealogists. and could not have died in Springfield in 1621.
posted by Anne B
Margaret /Lawrence/

View Tree Sex Female Birth 1567 Rodborough, Gloucestershire, England Death 6 April 1621 Springfield, Hampden, Massachusetts, United States MARRIAGES (1) Spouse John /Hulings/ Marriage 1588 Rodborough, Gloucestershire, England CITING THIS RECORD "Pedigree Resource File," database, FamilySearch ( : accessed 24 March 2019), entry for Margaret /Lawrence/; "Holmes / Poinsett Family" file (2:2:2:MMDV-B1Z)

posted by [Living Hudnall]
My records show Wheatly-7, Dorothy Wheatly b. 22 Aug 1591in Maide Newton, Dorset Co, England, married Thomas Bliss, 22 Nov 1614 in Daventry, Northampton, England, death before 10 May 10, 1631 as the mother of Nathaniel Bliss as well as 8 siblings. The dates all add up. I think Dorothy got hijacked via a merge.
posted by Richard Draper
Hi Carol for the moment please ignore Margaret Lawrence. She is wrong, and doesn't belong but I don't want to be looking for her profile.

Jacobus grouped the children the first three, Thomas, Ann and Nathaniel being speculative children of a previous wife. Mary he knew was Margarets. A reading of Margaret's will lists children (who were living or had grandchildren) and grandchildren of the entire second set of children. It makes no mention of Thomas, Ann, or Nathaniel. If I didn't have the baptism for Nathaniel, I would assume the three older children were not hers.

Do you have thoughts on what we should do with them? Disconnect from Margaret and assume a first marriage?

posted by Anne B
Oh, BTW, I am a direct descendant of Thomas Sr. and Margaret Hulings through Nathaniel Bliss and Catherine Chapin. I, too, have been trying to wade through the varied Thomas Bliss ancestries. Thank you!
posted by Carol Baldwin PhD RN
Another issue related to Bliss-1 and wife. A Margaret (Lawrence) Bliss is listed as a first wife and Margaret (Hulings) Bliss as a 2nd wife. I believe the first wife listing is part of the conflated and/or misinformation about the Bliss-1 family. Under 'Marriage' in this profile, Margaret is listed as the daughter of John and Margaret (?Lawrence) Bliss. MY ISSUES: first wife listed for Bliss-1 is Lawrence-2851. She is b. 1561 Lancashire, England, d. 1621 Springfield, Mass (?1621) and husbands are Thomas Bliss, Thomas Bliss Sr., and John Huling! 1) Believe Lawrence-2851 should be eliminated as 1st wife of Bliss-1, or gather evidence to confirm; 2) Determine if Lawrence-2851 is wife of John Hulings--need evidence. Who is mother of Thomas Jr. & Ann (b. before 1621)?
posted by Carol Baldwin PhD RN
A question/dilemma regarding marriages and wives of Bliss-1. I know there is conflated information on the various Thomas Bliss profiles. I made a comment yesterday that still needs to be addressed. First, Thomas and Margaret (Hulings) Bliss were married in 1621; however, Thomas Jr. and Ann (Bliss) Chapman were born BEFORE 1621. 1) Were these children born out of wedlock? 2) Is Margaret (Hulings) a 2nd wife? 3) Are we sure about the marriage date for Thomas Sr. and Margaret?
posted by Carol Baldwin PhD RN
Actually the alleged wife Margaret Lawrence, was a figment of someones imagination (from 1881 publ.) and there is no reason to believe that she's his mother in law either. I'm pretty sure the sloppy genealogists when disproved as his wife simply moved her back a generation. I'm working on it but haven't decided if I need to leave two of her or if I can get away with one. She's all over the place. (3 or 4 dups on Wikitree)
posted by Anne B
The wife Margaret Lawrence is actually his mother in law....
posted by Jillaine Smith