John Jenney
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John Jenney (1571 - 1643)

John Jenney aka Jenny, Jenne
Born in Norwich, Norfolk, Englandmap
Son of [father unknown] and [mother unknown]
[sibling(s) unknown]
Husband of — married 14 Nov 1614 in Leyden, South Holland, Netherlandsmap
Descendants descendants
Died at about age 72 in Plymouth, Plymouth Colonymap
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The Puritan Great Migration.
John Jenney migrated to New England during the Puritan Great Migration (1621-1640). (See Great Migration Begins, by R. C. Anderson, Vol. 2, p. 1089)
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Disputed Parents

Claims have been made that John was the son of Henry Jenney and Mary Smythe but this couple's son John stayed in the village of Great Cressingham (not far from Norwhich, England) where he had a family.[1]

Another theory, put forth by Matthew Hovious (see below), is that John Jenney was the posthumous son of Christopher Jenney by Avis Homberston. But the chronological details suggest this is impossible. (See attached g2g discussion.)

Hovious Theory

John Jenney's marriage record indicates he was from Norwich, England, and the following summary is quoted from Hovious's 2008 article in The Genealogist:

"In summary, the documents mentioned so far indicate that a man named John Jenney, probably the son of a Mrs. Avis Jenney, lived in the Lakenham area of Norwich, where he operated a mill until around 1600. This information clearly suggests a connection with John Jenney who arrived in Leiden after 1600, stated that he was from Norwich, and settled later in Plymouth, where he named his farm Lakenham and operated a mill. I believe that the first solid proof of the Norwich origins of John Jenney of Plymouth has now been found."[2]

Hovious refers to a 1588 subsidy list for Lakenham, an outlying neighborhood of Norwich, which "shows that John Jenney was taxed on L5 in goods, the precise amount that Avis Jenney, who previously had no taxable goods, inherited from Francis Southwell.... On 17 July 1591, John Jenney also paid tax on 100s in land, the precise amount once owned by Avis Jenney."[2] This land could have been the house in which Avis lived as a widow. "The only real estate that was left to Avis free and clear was the house in an unnamed location where Christopher [Jenney, the executor of the will of Avis's deceased husband by the same name] was apparently paying a man or woman named Bardwell to raise Avis's children by her first marriage. It is certainly possible that this house could have been in Norfolk rather than in the vicinity of Dunwich..."[2]

It appears that Avis gave her bit of land and personal property to young John Jenney in the 1580s as she moved to London with her elder sons (by her first marriage to Thomas Crathorne), where she died in 1597.[2]

This article, after much discussion of further evidence, summarizes the argument for the parents of John Jenney being Christopher Jenney and Avis Homberston:

Summary of Hovious's Argument for John Jenney's Parentage
"The documents presented in the first part of this article raise the question, 'Why Lakenham?' To be more precise, what member of the East Anglian Jenney family would have any reason to settle in this out-of-the-way suburb of Norwich? I believe that the business connections, family ties, property dispositions, chronology, and relative rarity of the name Avis, all of which have been discussed in the second part of this article, suggest that the answer may be 'a son of Christopher Jenney of Dunwich.' The foregoing certainly suggests that despite their gentry origins any children of Christopher Jenney of Dunwich may well have begun life with means modest enough that they would be more likely to be found operating a village mill than in the manorial dwellings of the squirearchy. The chronology of events described above, and the multiple business and social ties between individual Jenneys, Godsalves, Spanys, and Homberstons all argue in favor of John Jenney of Lakenham being a son of the only Jenney known to have had business dealings with the Godsalve family, an association with the Spany family, and a wife who belonged to the Homberston family of Norwich. That said, the argument that John Jenney of Lakenham is the son of Christopher Jenney of Dunwich also rests partly on the relative rarity of the name Avis. My comprehensive search of parish records, wills, and indentures related to the Jenney family revealed no other woman of that name married to any Jenney in East Anglia during the 1500s. For Avis Jenney of Bracondale not to be the same woman as Avis Jenney of Dunwich, it will be necessary for two women named Avis to have married two men surnamed Jenney, the first couple apparently leaving no marriage record, wills, or documentary evidence of themselves before 1576.
"So, was John Jenney, the miller of Lakenham, a posthumous son of Christopher Jenney of Dunwich, and by extension a great-grandson of the formidable Sir Edmund Jenney, Sheriff of Suffolk? Given the spotty record-keeping at Lakenham, the loss of most Dunwich registers to the sea, and the partial or total destruction of relevant parish records in other known Jenney home places such as East Walton and East Dereham, direct evidence of John's birth may never be found. At the moment, a circumstantial case can be made based on two sets of facts. Firstly, Christopher Jenney married the widow Avis (Homberston) Crathorne in 1568 and died in 1570, leaving her exposed financially, though clearly believing that her presenting him with an heir was still a biological possibility; and little of his estate was in fact specifically left to her, save a house and some lands in an unnamed location. His property was occupied by his testamentary executor in 1573, and his widow petitioned for administration of the remainder of the estate at Norwich Consistory Court, which record places her in Norwich on 18 June 1574. Secondly, less than two years later a Mrs. Avis Jenney who had not previously appeared in Lakenham records is found in the records of that area of Norwich, and she appears to have had a son named John, who can first reliably to be shown to be of age by a 1588 list of able-bodied men, in which case he may have been born in 1570/71....I myself, once having determined that this Lakenham/Dunwich connection, however surprising, seemed the most plausible explanation of John's origins, have played devil's advocate against it on more than one occasion, and yet always find myself coming back to the Homberston family links to both areas, the chronology between the departure of an Avis Jenney from her dead husband's lands in Dunwich and the appearance of an Avis Jenney in a suburb of Norwich, and the seemingly inescapable connection between the John Jenneys of the two Lakenhams, that of Norwich and that of the Plymouth colony."[3]

John Jenney in Lakenham (Norwich), co. Norfolk[2]

John Jenny, in Plymouth Colony, received a grant of land in March 1637/8. "The record states that 'one hundred and fifty acres of lands are graunted unto Mr. John Jenney, lying on the east side of the Six Mile be called by the name of Lakenhame.' Lakenham was and is a part of the English city of Norwich, the city already given by John as his place of origin in his 1614 marriage record." (Hovious, p. 6)

  • "In 1576 a citywide subsidy was raised in Norwich, and in the section for 'Brakendell cum Carrow' we find a woman named Avis Jenney, who paid 13s. 4d. in tax on land valued at 100s. (or £5). Bracondale... was the hamlet immediately adjacent to Lakenham and part of the same ward of Norwich." (Hovious, pp. 7-8.)
  • "Avis Jenney appears there [Bracondale] again in a subsidy taken the following year, though her net worth is given as £5 1s. 3d. At Easter 1578, she is listed again in Bracondale, paying 1 s. 8d. in tax on an even £5 in lands; no taxable value is assigned to any household goods she may have had." (Hovious, p. 8)
  • "The next, and final, known mention of Avis Jenney in Norwich, occurs in the four-page-long will of Francis Southwell, Esq., made out on 6 October 1581.... by far the wealthiest man in the surrounding area.... In one of only two bequests made outside his immediate family, Southwell gave 'unto Mrs. Jenney fyve poundes to be paid her owte of suche howshold stuffe as remais at Norwiche or Lakenham." (Hovious, p. 8)
  • "The same year that Francis Southwell made his will, a combined muster roll and view of arms was taken in the city. The heading is dated 23 June 1581. Under the section dealing with Lakenham, we find the following entry: "Cn. John Jenne myller a Bille [shaft with hooked cutting edge and spike at end] and Sallet [light helmet]." (Hovious, pp. 8-9) Hovious later cautions: "The 1581 assessment of arms and list of able-bodied men is not definitive as a tool for determining the possible birth date of John of Lakenham, because it merges three lists having uncertain dates, and it is not clear which date pertains to John. (Hovious, pp. 11-12; in his footnote to this he mentions the "arbitrary arrangement" of the "undated and disorganized papers among these records"; "the dates ascribed to them later are, in at least some cases, provably wrong."
  • "The next surviving records date to 1588, and in Lakenham the list shows that John Jenney was taxed on £5 in goods, the precise amount that Avis Jenney, who previously had no taxable goods, inherited from Francis Southwell. That same year John Jenney is listed in an assessment of arms made on 20 July 1588 as the owner of a calyver [light musket]. "(Hovious, p. 9)
  • "In September 1589/90, John Jenney is listed as the city's constable for Lakenham, apparently a substitute for someone else unable to complete his appointment." (Hovious, p. 9)
  • "John appears again armed with a calyver in lists made in 1591."
  • "On 17 July 1591, John Jenney also paid tax on 100s in land, the precise amount once owned by Avis Jenney." (Hovious, p. 9)
  • "He posted £10 in recognizances when appearing before the court [of Quarter Sessions] on an unspecified matter on 29 March 1592 and was bound to appear at the next session. In fact he did not appear at the session held on 11 July 1592 but did on 25 September of that year, when it is recorded that 'Johanes Jenny de Lakenham myler' appeared to ask that his indictment be quashed. No mention of John was made in any subsequent Quarter Sessions records..." (Hovious, p. 9)
  • "On 1 February 1594/5... Jenney is listed again with one corslet on the arms list, and he also appears on a separate list of able-bodied men aged 16 to 60 taken on 10 August of that year." (Hovious, p. 10)
  • "At the June 1595 view of arms he presented a corslet." (Hovious, p. 10)
  • He was taxed on 20s of land in Lakenham in 1596, 1597, 1598 and 1599. (Hovious, p. 10)
  • "The record made on 10 November 1599... is the last documented reference to John Jenney in the Lakenham area." (Hovious, p. 11)

John Jenney in Leiden and Plymouth Colony[4],[5],[6]

"The first reference to a John Jenney in Dutch records of the Leiden pilgrims seems to be his having served as a witness to the marriage of Robert Peck and Jennie Marit in November 1609, John Jenney himself, it will be remembered, married Sarah Carey in the Dutch city of Leiden on the first day of November 1614. Crucially, the 1614 record identifies him asa "Jongman" [i.e., single man] from Norwich. Little is known of John's life in the Netherlands. He seems to have worked as a brewer's apprentice, according to his marriage record and his contemporary, Edward Winslow, who would eventually witness John Jenney's will.... Winslow wrote that 'as for the Dutch, it was usual for our members that understood the language and lived in or occasionally came over to Leiden to [take communion] with them, as one John Jenny, a Brewster [i.e., brewer], long did.'"[7]

He emigrated in 1623 in the Little James, settling in Plymouth. He was a brewer and miller (but apparently not a very good one). [PCR 1:118, 2:76] He also served as a translator for Dutch immigrants.

He married in Leiden 1 Nov 1614 Sarah Carey, of Monk's Soham, Suffolk [Leiden 135]; she died at Plymouth between 18 August 1655 (codicil to will) and 5 Mar 1665/6 (probate of will).

For trading with the Indians, against the law, John Jenney was presented at Court, on January 6, 1636/7, in the following manner:

"Whereas John Jenney Thomas Willett and George Watson did, contrary to the auncient lawes of this colony, trade wth the Indians for corne, and therby boththe quantitie of corne & the value thereof was forfaited to the collony, and that there upon the corne so traded contrary to law was seized to the use of the collony, and that afterwards, by a publicke order made in Court, it was referred to the bench, the said bench doth now order, that thone (the one) halfe of the said corne, and the forfaiture besides, shalbe freely given to them againe, and thother (the other) halfe of the corne shalbe delivered to the Treasurer for the use of the collony, to be disposed as the bench shall think fit." [8]

He died in Plymouth between 28 December 1643 (date of will) and 25 May 1644 (date of inventory). [9]

The name Jenne changed to Jenney somewhere in the time between father and son. Documentation has been found for both father and John that show both spellings of the last name. It appears that he adopted the spelling "Jenney" around the time he was first elected Assistant to the Governor.

Public Service[4][10]

Date: AFT 1633
Place: Plymouth, Plymouth Co., MA
Note: Plymouth Assistant, 1637, 1638,1639, 1640
Deputy for Plymouth to General Court, 1 June 1641
Committee to assess colony, 2 January 1633/4; 2 March 1635/6
Committee to lay out highways, 1 October 1634
Committee to control wages & prices, 5 January 1635/6
Committee on reuniting Plymouth and Duxbury, 14 March 1635/6
Committee on revising laws, 4 October 1636
Committee to apportion haygrounds, 20 March 1636/7
Committee to survey meadows, 5 May 1640
Committee on providing soldiers against the Indians, 27 September 1642
Plymouth Colony list of men able to bear arms, 1643


  1. Samuel, b Leiden abt 1616, apprenticed 4 years 1633; m1 aft 1637 Susanna Wood [NEHGR 69:188-89; TAG 35:70-72]; m2 by 1657 Anne Lettice... [MD 14:64, citing PCPR 4:2:11]
  2. child, bur Leiden 1618 [Dexter 619]
  3. Abigail, b abt 1621; m in Plymouth 28 Apr 1644 Henry Wood [PCR 2:79]
  4. Son, b 1623 aboard Little James; d bef 1627
  5. Sarah, b abt 1625; m Plymouth 29 May 1646 Thomas Pope [PCR 2:98]
  6. John, b by 1627; named in father's but not mother's will; no further record [i.e., likely died btw 1643 and 1655]
  7. Susanna, b abt 1634; m by 1654 Benjamin Bartlett, son of Robert Bartlett
"At just the time John Jenney died [1644], a great exodus from Plymouth to points southward was setting in "by reason of the straitness and barrenness of the place" [1], and John's son Samuel, then about twenty-eight years old, joined in the migration, going to Portsmouth, where he bought land of Thomas Hazard [2], married a daughter of John Wood [3], and on July 10, 1648, together with his father-in-law, was admitted of Portsmouth [4]."[11]

John Jenny's Will & Testament & Inventory[12],[13],[14],[15]

The last Will and Testament of John Jenney of Plymouth gent lately Deceased exhibited to the genrall Court the fift of June in the xxth yeare of the now Raigne of our Sovraigne Lord Charles Kinge of England &c.
I John Jenney of New Plymouth in New England being sick and weake in body but through Gods speciall goodnes in pfect memorie Do thinke meete to settle that estate the Lord in mercy hath bestowed on me according as I conceive hee requireth at my hands. And therefore Do ordaine this my last will and testament. And therefore haveing bequeathed my soule to God that gave it and my body to the earth whereof it is
I do give unto my eldest Sonne Samuell Jenney a Double porcon of all those lands I stand possessed of or have right unto wthin the Goverment of new Plymouth my will being pformed
next of all I give unto Sarah my loveing wyfe whom I ordaine my Executrix my Dwelling house and Mille adjacent together wth all the lands thereunto belonging, my will being that shee freely and fully enjoy it together wth all other my moveables goods and chattells so long as God shalbe pleased to continue her life except such as I shall after Dispose of or shee shall willingly and freely part wth to any our children according to my will and Desire
Alsoe whereas Abigaile my eldest Daughter had somewhat given her by her grandmother and Henry Wood of Plymouth aforesaid is a suter to her in way of marriage my will is that if shee the said Abigaile will Dwell ye full yeare wth mr Charles Chauncey of Scittuate before her marriage (pvided he be willing to entertaine her) that then my said Daughter Abigall have two of my cowes and my full consent to marry wth the said Henry Wood And in case mr Chauncey be against it then I would have her dwell wth mrs Winslowe of Careswell the said terme of one yeare ffurther
as I have given to my eldest sonn Samuell a double porcon of all my lands whatsoever after the death of his said mother so also I give him a Double porcon of my whole estate wth the rest of my children vizt John[,] Abigall[,] Sarah and Susann[,]
My will being that after the death-of my said wyfe my house and mill and other my lands and goods be sold or valued to the utmost they are worth and that the estate be equally Distributed amongst my said children Samuell[,] John[,] Abigall[,] Sarah and Susan as followeth: Samuell to have a double peon and the rest of them eich a single & equall porcon of the same Last of all I do ordaine my worthy frends mr Wm Bradford now Goveror of Plymoth and mr Thomas Prence of the same the Ovrseers of this my last will and testament and Dv give eich of them a paire of gloves of five shillings price And in witnes that this is my Will I have hereunto sett my hand & seale the xxviiith of December Anno Dm 1643.

Witnesses hereunto John Jenney (seale); Edward Winslowe; Thomas Willett; William Paddy.

Inventory of John Jenney[16]
A true Inventory of all the goods chattells and cattells wch were mr John Jenneys lately Deceased taken and appnse by Willm Paddy and Nathaniell Sowther the xxvth Day of May Anno Dm 1644 £ s d [reformatted for easier reading]
  • Inpris two cowes 10 06 08
  • It one three yeres old heiffer 04 13 04
  • It iiii ewe sheepe 06 00 00
  • It one ewe sheepe 01 00 00
  • It three weather sheepe 02 05 00
  • It 1 cow calfe 00 12 00
  • It three oxen 19 00 00
43 17 00
In the chamber ovr the parlor
  • It 1 little feather bed & two boulsters 01 00 00
  • It 1 pillow 00 02 06
  • It 2 blanketts 00 10 00
  • It 1 pere of old sheets 00 05 00
  • It 1 old chest 00 02 00
  • It 1 new sheete 00 06 00
  • It 5 fine old sheets 01 05 00
  • It 5 paire of old sheets at 5s 4d 01 06 08
  • It 8 pillow beers at 20d 00 13 04
  • It i halfsheete & a peece of old linnen cloth 00 03 00
  • It 1 table cloth 00 04 00
  • It 9 old napkins at 4d 00 03 00
  • It a little towell & old linnens 00 02 00
  • It 1 old trunck 00 00 08
  • It a baskett wth Dressed hemp in it 00 02 06
  • It xlb of feathers 00 06 08
06 12 04
In the Parlor
  • It vi sett cusheons 00 10 00
  • It a feather bed and furniture to yt 3 old blanketts i old greene rugg & curtaine 3 10 0
  • It an old warmeing pann 00 02 06
  • It a chest 00 02 00
  • It 9 napkins at 6d 00 04 06
  • It 4 fine old napkins 00 02 00
  • It 1 long towell 00 01 08
  • It 2 Diap cloths 00 01 04
  • It 8 course napkins 00 03 04
  • It old linnen table cloths 00 04 00
  • It 1 seeled chest 00 06 08
  • It a short carpett 00 03 00
  • It a carpett 00 06 08
  • It his wearing apparell 03 00 00
  • It 5 yards cotton Darnix 5s a black hatt 12s 00 17 00
  • It a chaire table 42 & a featherbed tick 26 01 00 00
  • It 2 beere barrells & other lumber 00 04 00
  • It 3 silver spoones 00 15 00
08 04 08
[fol. 51]
In the Dwelling house
  • It i smale globe 00 02 06
  • It Cartwright on the Rehemist testament 00 08 00
  • It mr Downams workes 00 08 00
  • It i old bible 00 01 00
  • It other old bookes 00 04 00
  • It a kneadeing trough & cover 00 08 00
  • It 2 joyne stooles 1 forrne and a chaire 00 07 06
  • It i spinninge wheele 00 04 00
  • It 3 old peecs a pistoll & a paire of bandeliers 01 10 00
  • It 3 salts & 2 smale pewter cupps 00 03 00
  • It 2 quart potts & a pint pott 00 06 04
  • It x peecs of pewter 32l & 3 porringers 01 15 04
  • It x peecs more of pewter 24l 01 04 00
  • It 3 smale latten pans 00 01 06
  • It i larg latten pan 00 01 00
  • It a pewter bottle 00 00 02
  • It 3 smaler kettles 00 11 00
  • It a bras cover 00 00 03
  • It a smale bras pann 00 12 00
  • It 2 larg bras kettle 22l at 26 01 08 00
  • It i copper kettle 22l at 01 01 00
10 16 07
  • It i larg copper kettle 01 05 00
  • It i frying pann 00 02 00
  • It a skimmer and an old bras ladle 00 00 08
  • It a bras candlestick 00 01 06
  • It a bras posnett 00 02 00
  • It a larg iron pott 00 10 00
  • It 4 other iron potts broken & maymed & a posnet 00 16 00
  • It 1 iron kettle 00 05 00
  • It a fire shovell & a paire of tonges 00 02 00
  • It 3 paire of pott hooks 00 02 00
  • It 2 paire of pott hangers 00 05 00
  • It for trees payles & other lumber 00 05 00
  • It a black bill 00 01 08
03 17 10
In the Dary house.
  • It 8 earthen panns & potts & tubbs 00 05 00
  • It 3 trees & a kimnell 00 02 06
  • It an earthen bason 00 00 02
  • It a churne 00 02 00
  • It a cheese presse 00 02 06
00 12 02
In the chamber over the house.
*It two bed steads 00 12 00
  • It a feather bed & boulster & two pillowes 02 00 00
  • It i old rugg and a blankett 00 06 00
  • It i paire of sheets 00 07 00
  • It i smale seacanvas feather bed & boulster wth cotton 00 12 06
  • It iiii old blanketts 00 12 00
  • It 2 pillowes & pillow beers 00 07 00
  • It i joyned table 00 12 00
  • It i longe wheele 00 04 00
  • It 2 old axes 00 02 00
  • It 1 smal adds & other old iron 00 07 00
  • It 2 old netts 00 05 00
  • It an old cartrope 00 02 00
  • It 2 jarrs tubs & old baskets & lumber 00 05 00
  • It a paire of steeleyards 00 06 08
  • It 18 bushells of wheate 03 12 00
  • It vi bushells of barley 01 04 00
11 16 02
Without Doores.
  • It 3 yeokes 00 07 06
  • It a paire teases for a single oxe 00 02 06
  • It i old Harrow 00 01 06
  • It i old weane and wheeles 04 00 00
  • It 2 cheanes & a broken one 00 14 00
  • It i old plow an ovrworne coulter & share & hooke 00 09 00
  • It a broken sith a clevis pin & old saw & a yeoke & fork 00 01 00
  • It i boate vi£ xs whereof she* hath a third pte 02 03 04
  • It ii bushells & a peck of wheate. 00 09 00
  • It iii bushells & a half of barley 00 14 00
  • It 5 pecks of peas 00 05 00
  • It i bushell of oates 00 02 00
  • It to receive for the salt panns 08 06 08
  • It 5 sides at tanning 04 10 00
22 05 06
Sum totall 108£ . 03s . 03d .

Nathaniel Sowther William Paddy.

[fol. 52]
Debts oweing by the Testator.
  • It To Samuell Chaundler 05 10 00
  • It To mr Paddy 04 00 00
  • It To Thom Pope 00 07 00
  • It To John Barnes 03 00 00
  • It To John Yeonge 01 02 00
  • It To Richard m: Chanceys man 00 04 00

* Sic.

Research Notes

Related Lines[17]

"The Jenney family of Plymouth in its second and third generations had close relations with Rhode Island; but, perhaps largely because of distorted spellings of the name, the relationship seems not to have been discovered by family historians. Gene, Jene, Geine, Gennie, Gennings, Jeninges, are only a few of name spellings found in Rhode Island records. Savage thought the Samuel who appeared in Portsmouth "perhaps" a brother of Thomas Jennings of that town. Austin enters Samuel and Samuel's son Job both as sons of the said Thomas; and Samuel's daughter "Susannah Ginney" he misreads as Susannah Grimes."
Those who are keeping a list of corrections for Austin's book should:
On p. 114 cancel the names of Samuel and Job as sons of Thomas Jennings.
On p. 400 change Susannah Grimes to Susannah Jenney or Ginney.

Prospective Magna Carta Ancestry

Wikitree's Magna Carta Project has identified a likely but unproven descent from Magna Carta surety baron William de Huntingfield to John Jenney.

There are two weak links in this lineage. First of all is the parentage of John Jenney himself. Circumstantial evidence indicates that he was the post-humous son (that is, born after his father died) of Christopher Jenney of Dunwich, Suffolk (a town that got eaten up by the sea) by Christopher's second wife Avis, who relocated to the Lakenham neighborhood of Norwich, where John Jenney became a miller before leaving England. [This is discussed at length in Matthew Hovious's "Norwich Revisited: The Origin of John Jenney, Plymouth Colonist," in The Genealogist, vol. 22, no. 1 (Spring 2008).]

The second weak link is the mother of Nicholas Wychingham, the great-grandfather of John Jenney's presumed great-grandmother Katherine (Boys) Jenney. Nicholas was the son of William Wychingham by his wife Margaret. Margaret appears to have been the daughter of Sir John de Brewes, who in his 1370 will bequeathed a silver cup to "the lady Margaret, wife of Sir William de Wychingham."

Sir John de Brewes's descent from William de Huntingfield is covered in Douglas Richardson's Magna Carta Ancestry and Royal Ancestry.

Research Notes

Although the John Jenney house was recognized for years, the treasures hidden within, had long been forgotten until 1969. It was then that Warren Miliken and his wife Alice bought the John Jenney house. During some renovations Warren uncovered curious timbers, trading beads and children’s hand prints in the 17th century horsehair plaster walls.and and eventually proved to be those same timbers from the 1622 fort, used in the 1675 watch house and later given to Samuel Jenney to add a dwelling onto the counting house in 1679. With the help of dutch reconstructionist architect Ret. B. Offringa and many years of research the design of the original fort could be determined. The surviving corresponding timbers were identified in the back addition on John Jenney’s house. These are now clearly seen and labeled in the lower level of the home. The recreation of what the original fort looked like can be seen downstairs in the Samuel Jenney addition as well. Along with the timbers and drawings of the original fort, one can still see the 1623 malting floor and kiln and if you have a good sense of smell perhaps a remnant scent of John Jenney’s beer, from the first microbrewery in America.


  1. See the discussion at the beginning of this G2G thread.
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 2.4 Matthew Hovious, "Norwich Revisited: The Origin of John Jenney, Plymouth Colonist," in The Genealogist, vol. 22, no. 1 (Spring 2008), pp 5-23
  3. Hovius, p. 11. One potential problem with this is that apparently in 1581, the year that Avis Jenney received a legacy worth L5, there was a "John Jenne, myller" on a muster roll. However, as Hovious writes: "The 1581 assessment of arms and list of able-bodied men is not definitive as a tool for determining the possible birth date of John of Lakenham, because it merges three lists having uncertain dates, and it is not clear which date pertains to John. (Hovious, pp. 11-12; in his footnote to this he mentions the "arbitrary arrangement" of the "undated and disorganized papers among these records"; "the dates ascribed to them later are, in at least some cases, provably wrong." Hovious goes on to refer to "the undated muster list found in Case 13a/4, p. 145, on which John Jenney is listed with 1 calyver. Someone, perhaps during microfilming, has penciled in the date "1580" at the top. But John's companions on this list include Roger Godsalve, gent.... [who] was aged 'twenty years four weeks and four days' when his father died on 12 Aug. 1588. In that case he would not have appeared on a list actually taken in 1580. In any event Roger Godsalve never appears in any subsidies or other records from Lakenham before 1591, which is probably closer to the actual date of this list.")
  4. 4.0 4.1 Robert Charles Anderson, Great Migration Begins, Boston, MA: NEHGS 1995, pp 1089-1093 AmericanAncestors (subscription); Anderson placed his references in [brackets]
  5. James Savage, Dictionary of the First Settlers of New England, Place: Publisher (Year), v.2, p.546
  6. Judith Jenney Gurney, Jenney Book - John Jenney of Plymouth and his Descendants, Baltimore, MD: Gateway Press, Inc. (1988), pp.1-20
  7. Hovious, p. 5
  8. Plymouth colony records, Court Orders, vol. 1: 50; also Plymouth Colony Records, Laws, 1623-28: pt. 1: 25, 26
  9. Meredith B Colket, Founders of Early American Families - Emigrants from Europe 1607-1657, Cleveland, OH: General Court of the Order of Founders and Patriots of America (1975), p.161
  10. Nathaniel B. Shurtleff & David Pulsifer, Records of the Colony of New Plymouth in New England, Boston, MA: 1855-1861, pp. 1:48, 79, 116, 140; 2:16; 1:26, 38; 1:31; 1: 36; 1:39; 1:41; 1:44; 1:55; 1:162; 2:45; 8:188
  11. Judith Jenney Gurney, Jenney Book - John Jenney of Plymouth and his Descendants, Baltimore, MD: Gateway Press, Inc. (1988), pp.1-20
  12. Mayflower Descendant, 8:171-172, citing Plymouth Colony Probate Records 2:1:18-21, fol. 50, 1644; entered by Brian McCullough; see also Plymouth Colony Wills and Inventories. 171
  13. Mayflower Descendant, vol. 6, pp. 169-74
  14. Nathaniel B. Shurtleff & David Pulsifer, Records of the Colony of New Plymouth in New England, Boston, MA: 1855-1861, vol. 2, pp. 38-39, 57; vol 7, pp 33-34
  15. Plymouth Colony Probate Records, vol. 1, p. 50. (FamilySearch image ( : 5 March 2023), image 60 of 616.)
  16. "Massachusetts, Plymouth County, Probate Records, 1633-1967," images, FamilySearch (  : 5 March 2023), Wills 1633-1686 vol 1-4 > image 61 of 616; State Archives, Boston. Page 51-52
  17. Judith Jenney Gurney, Jenney Book - John Jenney of Plymouth and his Descendants, Baltimore, MD: Gateway Press, Inc. (1988), pp.1-20

See also:

  • ___, Colonial Records of Rhode Island, 1:300.
  • ___, The Mayflower Descendant, 10:71-72.
  • ___, NEHGR, 69:188-9.
  • ___, Plymouth Colony Deeds, vol. 1: 5,13.)
  • ___, Plymouth Colony Records, Court Orders, vol. 1: 24, 16, 21, 40, 56, 50; vol. 2: 26, 31
  • ___, Plymouth Colony Records, Laws, 1623-28, pt. 1: 26
  • ___, Portsmouth Early Records, pp. 37-38.
  • ___, Portsmouth [RI] Deeds, 1:48.
  • ___, Town Records of Plymouth, 1889, vol. 1: 11, 15, 167, 168
  • Baylies, New Plymouth, 2:250.
  • Bertha W. Clark, "Jenney of Plymouth and Rhode Island," in The American Genealogist, 35(Apr 1959):70-72
  • Davis, Landmarks of Plymouth, 1889: 251
  • Dexter, England and Holland of the Pilgrims, 1904 or 1905: pp. 506, 552, 608, 619, 623, 648, 649.
  • Nathaniel Morton, New-England's Memorial, Plymouth, MA: Author (1826)
  • Winslow, Hypocrisie unmasked, London, 1646, p 95, 509, 510.
  • Lora Altine Woodbury Underhill, Descendants of Edward Small of New England, Boston, MA: Houghton Mifflin Co. (1934)
  • Alexander Young, Chronicles of the Pilgrim Fathers of the Colony of Plymouth, Baltimore, MD:
    • Author?, Edward Small and his Descendants, Vol, I, John Jenney Section, Cambridge, The Riverside Press, 1910, p. 488-522
  • The Blue Laws (Case, Tiffany & Co., Hartford, 1838) Page 43 1636: "It is concluded upon by the Court, that Mr. John Jenney shall have liberty to erect a milne for grinding and beating of corne upon the brooke of Plymouth,..."
  • Jenney History
  • Mayflower Descendant
  • The Plimoth Grist Mill
  • Lots of information, but his only cites are:
  • Plimoth Plantation. A Genealogical Profile of John Jenny says that John described himself as coming from from Norwich, but no more.
  • Jenney House Prime Photo
  • Find A Grave: Memorial #203952104
  • The Anne and the Little James (Wikipedia)

This profile is a duplicate of John Jenney and will be merged into it. All prior sources except Anderson's "Great Migration" were unsourced user submissions without value.

He was born Prior to 1589 as Anderson said and more likely around 1571 in the area of Norwich, England. He died 28 Dec 1643 in Plymouth, Plymouth Colony. This bio info will be left behind post-merge.

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Comments: 40

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I note that this profile uses html for the scrolling boxes that is not supposed to be used on WikiTree.
posted by Chase Ashley
It looks like the scrollboxes may have been placed a long time ago. I'm not sure that the format works particularly well to incorporate the information. The will and inventory can be moved to an FSP, which might make a little more room for the other scroll box to be added to Research Notes (or maybe that too is better on an FSP).
posted by M Cole
Jenney-200 and Jenney-2 appear to represent the same person because: Part of PGM unmatched merge cleanup. Jenney-200 profile has been cleansed, ready for merge to Jenney-2.
posted by Brad Stauf
I cleaned out the Jenney-200 profile after researching it, there were no legitimate sources or data other than what is already in Jenney-2 (aside from a note about the first microbrewery in America, whatever...). I unlinked him from Mary "Smythe" as his mother so the unmerged match is ready to be completed by a profile manager or trusted list member of Jenney-200 into Jenney-2.
posted by Brad Stauf
I put more complete notes in the G2G thread as you suggested. But basically, there is absolutely no direct evidence to John Jenny the immigrant to Christopher Jenny. Furthermore, there are chronological problems which make it near impossible for these two men to be the same person.
posted by Joe Cochoit
Joe, almost three years later... I've revisited the G2G discussion thread attached to this profile. You made a strong case for why this John Jenney could not have been son of Christopher and why he could not have been born as early as 1571. I agree and support your conclusions and think we should detach the parents currently attached here.
posted by Jillaine Smith
PS. We need to find a better way than presented here to summarize the argument. Maybe it's: Hovious argued for Christopher and Avis as parents based on.... then, the problems with this argument are.... [Joe's excellent points in g2g]

That would enable is to remove the first long scroll box.

I could live with the second scroll box.

posted by Jillaine Smith
PPS, And we will need to create a profile for the John Jenney of Lakenham who was too old to be the immigrant, and move those parts currently on this bio that refer to him and not the immigrant.
posted by Jillaine Smith
Thank you Brad, Joe, and Jillaine.

I did some research on scroll boxes (g2g & help pages). Scroll Boxes are not recommended, but also not prohibited. So I'm thinking we can use them in a limited number (as Jillaine and Joe mention above.) The PGM project should refrain from using them on profiles unless they are really necessary.

I agree with both of you that the argument is not good that Christopher was the father of John, based on the issues raised by Joe. It is hard for me to believe a recent article in The Genealogist failed to address the multiple chronological problems. Did anyone examine the article itself to see if they were reconciled in some way? And regardless, is there a reason the parents have not yet been detached? I have not looked for the discussions that happened in the Medival Genealogy mailing list or in the PGM Google Group.
posted by Barry Smith
DOesn't look like anything has happened in the last five months, Barry. And the discussion wasn't in the PGM google group but on the g2g forum, attached to this profile (upper right corner on a laptop). Or here's the link:

posted by Jillaine Smith
Joe’s 2018 answer on that post noted that discussion had also been occurring in other forums.
posted by Barry Smith
Ah yes, in the SGM usenet forum. different from google. (unless google has "imported" those old fora...)

I just re-read the g2g thread yet another time, and concur. As you can see there, it got quite heated; this could have contributed to the delay in doing anything about it. The other party is no longer on Wikitree.

I'm going to go ahead and detach the parents.

posted by Jillaine Smith
Parents detached; I'm afraid to touch the narrative though, and would prefer Joe or someone else more familiar with the details to please simplify the disputed origins section of the narrative. Many thanks.
posted by Jillaine Smith

Rejected matches › John Jenney (bef.1627-aft.1643)

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