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Abraham Shaw (bef. 1585 - aft. 1638)

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Abraham Shaw aka Shawe
Born before in Northowram, Yorkshire, Englandmap
Ancestors ancestors
Brother of [half] and [half]
Husband of — married in Halifax, Yorkshire, Englandmap
Descendants descendants
Died after in Dedham, Massachusettsmap
Shaw-84 created 14 Apr 2010 | Last modified | Last edit: 28 Aug 2017
13:42: Lorraine (Shaw) Anderson edited the Marriage Data for Abraham Shaw. [Thank Lorraine for this]
This page has been accessed 4,561 times.

Categories: Puritan Great Migration | Questionable Gateway Ancestors | Dedham, Massachusetts | Massachusetts Bay Colony | English Immigrants to Massachusetts Bay Colony | Signer of the Dedham Covenant.

The Puritan Great Migration.
Abraham Shaw migrated to New England during the Puritan Great Migration (1620-1640).
Join: Puritan Great Migration Project
Discuss: pgm


Disputed Origins

There is no baptism record in Halifax, Yorkshire, for Abraham Shaw. In the absence of records, multiple hypotheses for his origins were advanced. Pitman found a record in Halifax for the baptism of Abraham, the out-of-wedlock child of Abraham Dobson and Jenet Shaw, on 14 November 1585 in Northowram, Halifax, Yorkshiire, and concluded that this child was the Abraham Shaw who later emigrated to New England (Shaw was his mother's maiden name, not his father's name).[1] However, Abraham Shaw acquired property in Halifax, which would not have been possible if he was born out of wedlock.[2] Bierbrier found that the will of Thomas Shaw Jr, proved in 1600, describes Abraham Shawe as his eldest son, while the nuncupative will of Thomas Shaw's daughter Sarah, created in 1616, includes a legacy for her brother Abraham Shawe.[3] These wills demonstrate that Thomas Shaw did have a son named Abraham and that this son was alive in 1616, when Abraham Shaw was married.[4] Bierbrier treated Abraham as a son of Thomas Shaw and his second wife Elizabeth Longbotham,[5] while other sources have identified Abraham's mother as Agnes Smith. [6]


Abraham Shaw was baptized on 14 November 1585 in Northowram, Halifax, Yorkshire, England.


14 NOV 1585 Northowram, Halifax, Yorkshire, England


Clothier, Indentured Servant, Farmer


Date: 1636
Place: Watertown, Massachusetts Bay Colony[7][8]
Date: 1637
Place: Dedham, Massachusetts Bay Colony[9][10]


Place: Dedham, Massachusetts Bay Colony[11]


Came to Watertown, MA from England in 1636 on the Anne. Became Freeman in 1637.
House burned down in Oct. 1636 and they moved to Dedham.
In Feb. 1637, he was granted 60 acres and the right to build a corn mill, and was one of the men appointed to govern the town. Freeman, 1637; constable, 1638.


Husband: Abraham Shaw
Wife: Bridget Best
24 JUN 1616 Halifax, Yorkshire, England[12][13]


He died at Dedham (Norfolk County), Massachusetts, some time after 10 October 1638, when he sold some land at Dedham, and before 25 March 1639, when town records described him as deceased. In 1639, his administrators sold his estate.[14][15] He is thought to be buried in Old Village Cemetery, Dedham, Norfolk County, Massachusetts. The grave is not marked;[16] the oldest gravestone in the cemetery has a date of 1678.[17]


The following abstract of the last will & testament of Abraham Shawe was published in the New England Historical and Genealogical Register in 1848:[18]

Memorandum that if it please Almyghtye God to take me to his rnercye by death. That it is my minde & will that my estate shal be disposed of as followeth (that is to say) I bequeathe to my sonne John, & Martha Shawe, beinge infants ten pownds betweene them, also betweene the aforesd Martha & Marye I leave as much quicke goods as shal be balance to eight pownds, also to Joseph in some goods twelve pownds as may be thought fitt: furder, that Joseph & John shall have my lott att Dedham equally to be devided between them. Also that all the rest of my estate whatsoever be devided, proportionate, betwene all my childron.
Nicolas Biram
Joseph Shawe.
These psons were ordered to make an Inventorye of the estate by the helpe & advice of Mr. Edward Allen.


  1. Pitman, pages 51-52.
  2. Bierbrier, page 85
  3. Bierbrier, page 86
  4. Bierbrier, page 87.
  5. Bierbrier, page 87
  6. See, for example, Thomas Shaw on Our Royal, Titled, Noble, and Commoner Ancestors & Cousins website.
  7. POPE, CHARLES HENRY. The Pioneers of Massachusetts, A Descriptive List, Drawn from Records of the Colonies, Towns and Churches, and other Contemporaneous Documents. Baltimore, MD: Genealogical Publishing Co., Inc., 1998 pg 410
  8. HOLMES, FRANK R., COMPILER. Directory of the Ancestral Heads of New England Families, 1620-1700. New York, 1923. Reprinted by Genealogical Publishing Co, Baltimore, 1964. pg 214
  9. FARMER, JOHN. A Genealogical Register of the First Settlers of New-England; Containing an Alphabetical List of the Governours, Deputy-Governours, Assistants or Counsellors, and Ministers of the Gospel in the Several Colonies, from 1620 to 1692; Graduates of Harvard College to 1662; Members of the Ancient and Honourable Artillery Company to 1662; Freemen Admitted to the Massachusetts Colony from 1630 to 1662; With Many Other of the Early Inhabitants of New-England pg 261
  10. Gale Research, Passenger and Immigration Lists Index, 1500s-1900s (Provo, UT, USA, The Generations Network, Inc., 2006),, Place: Dedham, Massachusetts; Year: 1637; Page Number: 261. Record for Abraham Shaw.
  11. Massachusetts, Town and Vital Records, 1620-1988 (Provo, UT, USA, Operations, Inc., 2011),, Record for Abraham Shaw.
  12. U.S., New England Marriages Prior to 1700 (Provo, UT, USA, Operations Inc, 2012),, Record for Abraham Shaw.
  13. Torrey, Clarence A. New England Marriages Prior to 1700. Baltimore, MD, USA: Genealogical Publishing Co., 2004. pg 664
  14. Frost, Page 5
  15. Genealogical Dictionary of New England Settlers (Provo, UT, USA, Operations Inc, 1997),, Record for Shaw, Abraham.
  16. Find-A-Grave: Memorial #16195670 Abraham Shaw.
  17. Town of Dedham, Massachusetts. Master Plan Update, Historic & Cultural Resources Element, Draft, 2008. Page 12. Downloaded from on 5 September 2016.
  18. Abstract of the Will of Abraham Shawe. The New England Historical and Genealogical Register (New England Historic Genealogical Society, Boston, MA), Vol. 2, 1848. Vol. 2, p. 180

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No known carriers of Abraham's Y-chromosome or his mother's mitochondrial DNA have taken yDNA or mtDNA tests.

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On 26 Feb 2017 at 19:35 GMT Ellen Smith wrote:

Let's discuss the birth/baptism data in this profile and the mother connected to this profile. In the Disputed Origins section that I added last summer, I documented that the 14 Nov 1585 baptism is for an out-of-wedlock child who has been convincingly indicated not to be this man. That baptism record is NOT for a son of Thomas Shaw, who is now identified here as the father. I've not seen "The English Ancestry of Abraham Shaw of Dedham, Massachusetts (1590-1638)" in The Genealogist. Does it change conclusions about his parents?

Also, the only source for the mother now on this profile (Agnes Smith) seems to be an unsourced entry on the Our Royal, Titled, Noble, and Commoner Ancestors & Cousins website. Is there other support for this mother? Or should she be replaced with Elizabeth Longbotham?

Added: The webpage states that the article in The Genealogist cites additional records and supports the earlier work by Bierbrier that I cited. This webpage gives Abraham a birthdate of 2 Jan 1590 and identifies his mother as Elizabeth Longbotham.

On 17 Feb 2017 at 15:05 GMT Darrell Parker wrote:

Alternate dates from merge

Born 25 Aug 1585

Died 25 Mar 1639

On 7 Feb 2017 at 06:42 GMT Darrell Parker wrote:

Can we merge the John Shaw's?

On 5 Jun 2016 at 20:11 GMT Robin Lee wrote:

Please add your sources for the parents on this profile. Per, these are incorrect parents.

On 3 Oct 2015 at 05:25 GMT Kitty (Cooper) Smith wrote:

It seems unlikely that there were three sons named John Shaw, two of them living at the same time. I am guessing that the one be 1600 dc 1694 is misplaced.

On 28 Aug 2015 at 18:50 GMT Ellen Smith wrote:

Cara Johnson followed up on my profile page. Here's the substance of the messages:

1. Responding to your email from a non-Wiki person in re: Abraham Shaw. I have his father as THOMAS, MOTHER Elizabeth L. Longbotham, m. to Elizabeth Best, dau. of Henry and Grace Boithes. Lots more on Best and Boithes antecedents, nothing on Shaw or Longbotham.

2, There seems to be some mixup about what children this couple had. The link your correspondent gave shows that Thos. had two marriages and that Abraham is not the son of E. Longbotham. She is shown in one place with a son, John and on Wiki w/both Abraham and a Mary. I have a Susannah b. 1617. Guess it is back to researching more...

On 28 Aug 2015 at 13:25 GMT Ellen Smith wrote:

I received the following private message from a person who apparently isn't a registered user here:

"There seems to be something that needs confirming with the parents of Abraham Shaw who married Bridget Best. The below link site says his parents were Thomas Shaw and Agnes Smith, instead of Thomas Shaw and Elizabeth Longbottom. There appears a generation is missing from Thomas and son Thomas and Abraham Shaw here. Any comment ? Also, Elizabeth's last name is spelled different. This site I've been told is a pretty good sourced site is Royal Ancestry. "

I don't have any information on this, so I post it here for the attention of profile managers and others. I believe the cited website is a good source only when it names a solid source. No source is cited on the record for Abraham Shaw.

On 24 Dec 2013 at 12:30 GMT Eugene Quigley wrote:

The photo is a cemetery photo and not a gravestine image. It reads: The Burial Place

This portion set apart in 1636. Enlarged in 1638. It was the only burial place for nearly a century. Here were buried Allin Adams Belcher Dexter and Haven ministers of the church and Alleyne Lusher Dwight and Fisher with other founders of the town.

I have attempted to contact the Find a Grave contributor and asked if the info is from a gravestone transcription or other source. I will follow up if and when he responds.

On 24 Dec 2013 at 03:31 GMT Merilyn (Marsh) Pedrick wrote:

Abraham Shaw is my ancestor too, but I have different birth and death dates for him, which I found in the Massachusetts Find a Grave Index, which states that he was born 2 Jan 1590 and died 25 Mar 1639. He was buried at Dedham. The index has a photo of his plaque, but it's too small for me to read. Can anyone with better eyesight read it please?

Abraham is 14 degrees from Kevin Bacon, 20 degrees from Robynne Lozier, 12 degrees from Pocahontas Rolfe and 16 degrees from Queen Elizabeth II Windsor on our single family tree. Login to find your connection.

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