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Research Notes

The is no direct contemporary evidence as to the English or Welsh origins of the New England immigrants Miles Morgan of Springfield, Robert Morgan of Salem, and James Morgan of Roxbury, Massachusetts and New London, Connecticut. In 1902, Appleton Morgan published his History of the Family of Morgan which has been widely followed in subsequent works and on the internet. The analysis below will show that Appleton Morgan was wrong about the English or Welsh origins of all of the early Morgan immigrants to New England, and what would be even worse, that his work may be a case of intentional genealogical fraud.

Early Claimed Origins of Miles and James Morgan

Claims of "family tradition" are almost invariably wrong when it comes to the origins of early New England immigrants. These traditions are usually too far removed from any original source to actually have been transmitted over the decades and centuries. However, in this case, several early writers and descendants did provide clues to their origins which may have a hint of truth to them. These clues are not contemporary, but:
Titus Morgan
Titus Morgan (1776-1811) writing in 1809:[1]
"Miles Morgan, from whom the family of that name in Massachusetts is descended, was a native of Great Britain,* but in regard to the particular town in which he first saw the light, or what was the condition, or occupation of the family to which he belonged, no account has been transmitted to us, either by himself or his immediate descendants. ... He however resided several years in the city of Bristol, from whence he with two brothers who were older than himself, sailed for New England, and arrived at Boston in April, 1636."
The writings of Titus Morgan are not readily available but were published by Nathaniel Morgan in an appendix to his work in 1869. To the above, Nathaniel Morgan added in a footnote as a correction:
"* Error - He was born in Wales at or near Llandaff, Glamorgan Co."
Nathaniel Morgan
Nathaniel Harris Morgan (1805-1881) elsewhere in his 1869 work expanded on his beliefs on the origins of Miles and James Morgan:
"James Morgan the common ancestor of a numerous family now scattered widely over nearly or quite, every state and territory of the United States, was born in Wales, in 1607, but in what precise locality our honest progenitor first saw the light is uncertain, though probably in Llandaff, Glamorgan Co. The family appears to have removed from Llandaff to Bristol, Eng. on the opposite side of Bristol Channel, a short time at least, perhaps a few years, prior to 1636. The name of his father is unknown, but there is some traditionary evidence that it was William.* That year, 1636, in the month of March, he and two younger brothers, John and Miles, sailed from Bristol and arrived at Boston, Mass. in April following."[2]
"Miles Morgan, the youngest brother, born in 1615, on his arrival at Boston, or soon after, joined a party of emigrants, mostly from Roxbury, of whom Col. Wm. Pyncheon was at the head, and founded the settlement of Springfield, Mass."[3]
"There is a tradition that this William2 [b.1693] used to say that his father, John [b.1645, s. of James], had a very old little book, in which was written the name of “William Morgan, of Llandaff,” (Wales,) and dated before A.D. 1609, who he said was the father of our first James, the emigrant."[4]
Capt. Joseph Waters
Capt. Joseph Waters (1756-1833) is an interesting third early source comes from someone who was not a descendant of either James or Miles. However, his mother was a Gilbert being a descendant of Humphrey Gilbert - could Prudence Gilbert, wife of Miles, be related to Humphrey? A memorandum found among the paper of Joseph Waters (1758-1833) states:
"John, Joseph and Miles Morgan saild from Bristol, England & arrived at Boston, N.E. April 1636. They resided at Roxbury a short time. Joseph went to Plymouth Colony & after removed to Connecticut. John, the eldest brother, disgusted at the bigotry, superstition, & persecutions then so prevalent in Massachusetts that he went to Virginia and there settled. Miles the youngest joined Wm Pincheon Esqr in his enterprize to Springfield. Morgan married Prudence Gilbert of Beverly. This family of Gilberts were passengers in the vessel with Morgan and there formed acquaintance."[5][6]

JAMES MORGAN (4 of I above) sailed from Bristol, in the ship Mary, with a kinsman, Robert Morgan (see line of ROBERT, post.), in the summer of the year 1636, and landed in Boston, Massachusetts Bay.[7]
Robert Morgan (3 of XVI. p. 20 above), sailed for Plymouth, Mass., in the ship Fortune, arriving there in 1621...removed to Salem in what is now Beverley...Married Margaret Norman.[8]

Appleton Morgan

The widely known and copied work on the origins of James and Miles Morgan is Appleton Morgan's History of the Family of Morgan published in 1902. As it will turn out, Appleton Morgan's conclusions are wrong on every count, and is a possible case of genealogical fraud. This work cannot be used in anyway for the early origins of Morgan families.
Miles Morgan
Appleton Morgan states that Miles Morgan was the son of William Morgan of Y Dderw and his wife Elizabeth Morgan.[9]
This is incorrect, and simply not possible. William Morgan matriculated to the Middle Temple on 17 April 1616 at which time he would have been about 16 years old, and he was called to the bar in 1623.[10][11] He was in an extended relationship (married?) first with Sybil Wayte by 19 Nov. 1624.[10][12] He married Elizabeth Morgan, youngest daughter of William Morgan of Tredegar, after 26 March 1633.[10][13] His only known son and heir, and only son named in his will, was William Morgan who left no heirs, and the estates William Morgan of Y Dderw were eventually inherited by his daughter Blanche.[14] Also, William Morgan was a wealthy lawyer and landholder and a member of parliament from 1640 to 1649, King’s attorney, recorder of Brecon, etc. His monumental inscription in Brecon church “"Here lyeth the body of William Morgan, Esq., king's attorney of South Wales and recorder of this borrough, who married Elizabeth, daughter of William Morgan, of Tredegar, and had issue William, Elizabeth, Mary Ann.”[15] William Morgan did not have a son Miles. He married Elizabeth Morgan long after Miles Morgan of Springfield would have been born.
James Morgan
Appleton Morgan makes James Morgan to be the son of William Morgan of Llavanbon.[16]
This is incorrect and simply not possible. The pedigree is a jumbled mess with almost nothing correct in it. Every single "son" of William Morgan as given by Appleton is actually a lineal descendant. It is as if he got a pedigree of William Morgan, and misinterpreted every successive generation as being a child of William Morgan. Most importantly, William Morgan of Llavanbon was not born in 1571 as stated by Appleton Morgan, but rather died in 1693; William Morgan is decades off to be the father of James Morgan. As will be discussed below, this may be a case of intentional fraud. Exactly where Appleton Morgan got his information on William Morgan of Llavanbon, the errors which were made, and the case for fraud will be discussed below.

Richard Morgan

Appleton Morgan makes Richard Morgan of Salem to be a son of Thomas Morgan of Llanrhumny.[17]
Thomas Morgan of Llanrhumny had a son Robert however, there is absolutely no evidence that he was the immigrant. It is more likely that Robert is the son of Bennett Morgan who was a passenger on the Fortune in 1621 who was a resident of St. James, Clerkenwell, London.

Possible case of Intentional Fraud
Appleton Morgan identified the father of James Morgan as William Morgan of Llanvabon. A careful check of the Appleton Morgan's pedigree of William Morgan reveals that he was working from and copying "GLAMORGAN PEDIGREES. MISCELLANEOUS. MORGAN OF CILFYNYDD." published in the Cardiff and Merthyr Guardian Gazette in 1865.[18][19][20] Below is a side-by-side comparison of "Glamorgan Pedigrees" to Appleton Morgan's pedigree which demonstrates he clearly had and was using the Cardiff and Methyr Gazette article. Disturbingly, there are some small changes which suggest that Appleton Morgan's pedigree is fraudulent.
Comparison of "Glamorgan Pedigrees" to Appleton Morgan's Pedigree for James Morgan
II. – EVAN Morgan [I,1?], of Eglwysilan, party to deeds in 1663, and 23 May, 1685, with his son Thomas. Md Friswyth, and had – 1, son; 2, son; 3, Joshua Morgan, md Catherine –; 4, Thomas; 5, a daughter, md Edward Jenkins, of Llandough, by Cowbridge.Evan [I,1] married Mary Friswyth, and had six children.
III. – THOMAS Morgan [II,4], of Cilfynydd and Bredwenarth, two contiguous places in Eglwysilan. The family seem to have been old owners of the former, and early tenants of the latter, under Lewis, of Van, until its purchase by this Thomas, when they seemed to have moved thither. The trustees under whom Mr. Lewis sold were John Hanbury, of London, and Peniston Lamb, of Lincoln’s Inn. The deed of sale bears on the seal ‘sable on a fess argent, between 3 cinque ports or? 2 mullets?’ A Thomas Morgan was buried at Eglwysilan, 12 Feb., 1753 (by the parish register, but the family papers assert this Thomas’s will to be dated 23rd Jan., 1715, and his death 1716.) He [Thomas son of Evan] md Anne Watkins, d of Evan Richards, of Llandifodwg [Glynogwr]. Died a widow, 14 March, 1747, aet. 87, buried at Llandough; 2, Watkin, born 1692. Purchased Bredwenarth from his eldest brother Thomas [III,1], and left it to his brother James [III,3]. He [Watkin] died, s.p. 20 May, 1738, aet. 46; 3, James Morgan, born 1701, Rector of Llanvihangel, Flimston, and Llanilid. He had Bredwenarth from his brother Watkin [III,2], and on his death, 30 Jan., 1763, bequeathed it to his sisters; 4, William Morgan, of Caerphilly, father of WilliamMorgan, gent., named in a deed of 1732 as under 17 years. He [William jr] died 20 Feb., 1751, aet. 23: buried at Llandough; 5, Joyce, born 1688. Will dated 3rd April, 1771, in which she names John Morgan, of Monmouth, and Thomas, ‘son of my kinsman, Thomas Morgan,’ late of Cilfynydd, and now of Aberthin. She died 1 Sept., 1774, aet. 86; 6, Jenet Morgan, born 1694, the last surviving sister, in whom Bredwenarth vested. She left it to Ann, her niece. She died 13 June, 1779, aet. 85; 7, Ann, born 1697, died 31 Oct., 1773, aet. 76; buried at Llandough; 9 [8], Mury [Mary], born 1700. Will dated 4 Nov., 1774 Names her nephew, James Morgan, of Llandaff, and Thomas, of [Bedwas] Monmouth, and Thomas’s daughter, Elizabeth. Appleton Morgan skips this generation to hide relationships and dates.
IV. – THOMAS Morgan [III,1], of Bedwas, co. Mon., after of Eglwysilan, and then of Monmouth, and so described in the will of Jenet Morgan in 1779. He sold Bredwenarth to his brother Watkin, while the elder branch retained Cilyfynydd [Cilfynydd], and the younger settled at Llandsugh [Llandough]. He md Mary, named in a post nuptial settlement in 1716, and died 27 March, 1761. They had – 1, Thomas Morgan, ob. s.p. 2, John. 3, Mary. 4, Margaret.THOMAS MORGAN, of Bedwas, County Monmouth, after of Eglwysilan, and then of Monmouth, and so described in the will of Janet Morgan, in 1779. He sold Bredwenarth to his brother Watkin, while the elder branch retained Cilfynydd, and the younger settled at Llandough. He married Mary, named in a post-nuptial settlement in 1716, and died 27th March in 1761. They had: 1. Thomas Morgan. 2. John. 3. Mary. 4. Margaret.
V. JOHN Morgan [IV,2], called of Cowbridge in his sister’s will, was dead 1775. He md Cecil Williams of the Breach, Llysworney. They had – 1, William. 2, Watkiu [Watkin], died 20th Oct., 1793. 3, Jonathan. 4, Ann, who inherited Brodwenarth [Bredwenarth] under her aunt’s will. Died 9 July, 1822, aet 77. Bd Llandough. She md John Bassett of Bonvileston, and had Thomas Bassett. 5, Mary Morgan.JOHN MORGAN, called of Cowbridge in his sister’s will died in 1775. He married Cecil Williams, of the Beach, Llysworney. They had: 1. William. 2. Watkin, died 20 October, 1793. 3. Jonathan. 4. Ann, who inherited Bredwenarth under her aunt’s will. (died 9th July, 1822, aged 77. Buried at Llandough. She married John Basset, of Bonvileston and had Thomas Basset.) 5. Mary Morgan.
VI. JONATHAN Morgan [V,3], D.D., rector of Hedley, co Surrey. Presented 29 Nov., 1791, resigned 1818. Md Elizabeth, eld d of Richard Durnford of Woodmanstone, co Surrey, and had – 1, William. 2, Ann Morgan, md her cousin Thomas, sou [son] of John Bassett and Ann Morgan, and who was of Bonvileston and Bredwenarth. They had issue Richard Bassett and others.JONATHAN MORGAN, D.D., rector of Hedley, County Surrey. Presented 29th Nov., 1791, resigned 1818; married Elizabeth, eldest daughter of Richard Dunford, of Woodmanstone, County Surrey, and had: 1. William. 2. Ann Morgan married her cousin Thomas, son of John Basset and Ann Morgan, who was of Bonvileston and Bredwenarth. Issue: Richard Basset, of Bonvileston, and others.
So, Appleton Morgan was clearly using and copying from "Glamorgan Pedigrees," but now let's look at generation 1.
I. – WILLIAM Morgan, of Llanvabon, dead in 1693, when he is described as late of Eglwysilan. He hadI. WILLIAM MORGAN, of Llanvabon, born 1571 (his will describes him as late of Eglwysilian). He bore arms, Cilfynydd, (see page 11). Issue: 1. Evan. 2. Thomas. 3. John. 4. James. 5. Watkin. 6. Johnathan. 7. William. Of the above, Evan [I,1] married Mary Friswyth, and had six children.
  1. Appleton Morgan directly quotes the 1865 Cardiff and Methyr Gazette article, and therefore had a copy of the entire text.
  2. He omits to report that William of Llanvabon was “dead in 1693,” and instead says he was born in 1571.
  3. All of the given names he reports as sons of William Morgan of Llanvabon are in the Gazette text, but James is not in the portions Appleton reproduces.
  4. By omitting the lengthy section on Thomas Morgan (son of Evan) Appleton skips an entire generation and obscures the relationship between the two brothers Watkin (b.1692) and James (b.1701), both of whom were great-grandsons of William of Llanvabon.
  5. This same suppressed generation also shows that Watkin became a family name when William’s grandson Thomas Morgan married Ann Watkins, probably circa 1685.
  6. All of these observations show that Appleton projected later family names back into the first generation, about which he probably knew nothing other than what the Gazette article contained.
  7. By changing the dates of William Morgan of Llanvabon from "dead in 1693" to "born in 1571", and by inserting the name James as a child of William when the name occurs nowhere else in the original pedigree and all the other names do occur, it is probable that Appleton Morgan intentionally forged and invented the Welsh origins of James Morgan.


  1. Miles Morgan - The English or Welsh origins of Miles Morgan are unknown. He absolutely cannot be the son of William Morgan of Y Dderw and his wife Elizabeth Morgan as claimed by Appleton Morgan.
  2. James Morgan - The English or Welsh origins of James Morgan are unknown. He absolutely cannot be the son of William Morgan of Llanvabon as claimed by Appleton Morgan. Some questionable changes in dates and names make this a possible case of intentional fraud.


  1. Morgan, Nathaniel Harris. Morgan Genealogy: A History of James Morgan, of New London, Conn. (Press of Case, Lockwood & Brainard, 1869): pages 227-246, see 233.
  2. Morgan, Nathaniel. Morgan Genealogy (1869): page 17.
  3. Morgan, Nathaniel. Morgan Genealogy (1869): page 17.
  4. Morgan, Nathaniel. Morgan Genealogy (1869): page 33.
  5. "NEHGR, vol. 30 (1876): page 108.
  6. Phillips Library at the Peabody Essex Museum. Collections: Waters Family Papers, 1682-1910.
  7. Appleton Morgan. History of the Family of Morgan. (1902): page 102.
  8. Appleton Morgan. History of the Family of Morgan. (1902): page 134, page 137.
  9. Appleton Morgan. History of the Family of Morgan. (1902): page 16, page 40, page 47.
  10. 10.0 10.1 10.2 History of Parliament Online. Biography of MORGAN, William (c.1600-1649), of Y Dderw, Llyswen, Brec. and the Middle Temple, London.
  11. Hopwood. Middle Temple Records: 1603-1649. (1904): page 604, page 682.
  12. Sybil Wayte of London sued William Morgan to prove her claim they married in 1624 and had children including one son. William Morgan denied the claim they were married though admitted he lived with Sybil and acknowledged one illegitimate daughter. These suits continued from the 1620s until long after his death.
  13. This date appears to be the date of a marriage agreement, though I haven't yet found the document. Multiple sources agree to this date though.
  14. Blanche may actually have been a granddaughter of William Morgan (daughter of son William). Sources are conflicting and the abstract of William's will leaves both interpretations as an option.
  15. Poole. Illustrated History and Biography of Brecknockshire. (1886): page 45.
  16. Appleton Morgan. History of the Family of Morgan. (1902): pages 100-101.
  17. Appleton Morgan. History of the Family of Morgan. (1902): pages 20.
  18. Credit for this observation goes to Bricoleur14 who first noticed the similarities and subsequent problems.
  19. Appleton Morgan. History of the Family of Morgan. (1902): pages 100-101.
  20. The Cardiff and Merthyr Guardian, Glamorgan Monmouth and Brecon Gazette, (Friday 18 August 1865): page 8; available at https://newspapers.library.wales/view/3094619/3094627
  • Morgan, Nathaniel Harris. Morgan Genealogy: A History of James Morgan, of New London, Conn. (Press of Case, Lockwood & Brainard, 1869): 227-246, see 233.
  • New England Historical and Genealogical Register, vol. 30 no. 1 (January 1876): page 108. "Morgan: Memorandum found among the papers of the late Capt. Joseph Waters born 1758 died 1833," by H.F. Water.

There are two apparent problems in the ancestry of Elizabeth Newdigate, wife of William Poyntz and the daughter of Thomas Newdigate of Wivelsfield, Sussex, England.

Problem 1: Her mother is usually said to be Katherine Hampden, daughter of John Hampden and Elizabeth Savage, and the widow of Henry Ferrers. However, the will of her father includes bequests to ‘George Vavyser’ and ‘Thomas Vavisor’ who he identifies as "my late wife’s brothers." So, should the first wife of Thomas Newdigate actually be Unknown Vavasour? Problem 2: The mother of Thomas Newdigate is said to be Isabel Hampden, daughter of Thomas Hampden; however, the will of Thomas Hampden gives no daughter Isabel. Also, this makes both his wife and mother a Hampden. His wife is a great-granddaughter of Thomas Hampden (d. 1485) by Margery Popham; while his mother is said to be a daughter of the same Thomas Hampden (d. 1485).

Miscellanea Genealogica et Heraldica, vol 1. (1886): https://archive.org/details/miscellaneagenea01howa/page/n65/mode/1up pages 250-251. National Archives, Kew: https://discovery.nationalarchives.gov.uk/details/r/D979353 PROB 11/43/13. Prerogative Court of Canterbury Wills, 1384-1858. (Ancestry.com online database). Will of Thome Newdegate, 1559. https://tinyurl.com/y7v7nult Image 24 of 966. Richardson. Royal Ancestry. (2013): vol. 3 page 197.

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