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Conklin Families of America

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Surname/tag: Conklin
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This is a discussion area to record up to date research into the origins of the early Conklin emigrants to America in the mid 1600s.

Contents

Introduction

There are three individual Conklins who form the roots of many Conklin families in America:

These people appear in numerous contradictory and largely unsupported online trees that show various heritages for them. As of today (April 2020) on wikitree:

  • John of Long Island is shown as being born in Kingswinford, Worcestershire.There is a note in his profile concerning him previously being linked as the son of a William Conklin and Ruth Hedges. There is another note that says " There is no documentation known for the parents of John and Ananias Conklin. It is not known if they were brothers or cousins but DNA testing in 2001 confirms they were related." The notes about the DNA tests originally came from Lawrence H Conklin - this may be Lawrence Henry Conklin (1933-2016) but his close relatives are not currently active on wikitree to confirm or refute this.
  • Ananias is shown as being born in Kingswinford. There is a note in his profile that he was probably the brother of John (of Long Island). There is also a note in his profile concerning him previously being linked as the son of William Conklin and Ruth Hedges.
  • William Conklin and Ruth Hedges do exist as a married couple, but a century later than the birth of Ananias. Them being the head of this family is a leftover from old IGI entries, has been discredited by FamilySearch and removed as such from wikitree.
  • John of Rye is shown as being born in Nottingham, England, son of Ananias (but with an uncertain tag)

Historical Context

John and Ananias are both well documented figures of historic significance. They were principal players in establishing glass making in New England in the late 1630s. Both have associations with Nottinghamshire, England and both are recorded as being glassmakers there. Glassworks were established in Nuthall, Nottinghamshire circa 1617 and experienced craftsman were brought to the area from the West Midlands in order to do this.

Ananias was described as being "of Kingswinford" (Worcestershire) at his marriage in Nottingham in 1630. John Conklin "glassmaker of Nuthall" stood as bondsman at that marriage. The first children of Ananias were baptised in Old Swinford in the 1630s, so Ananias had returned to the West Midlands soon after his marriage.

John Conklin (of Long Island) married in Nottingham in 1625 and had children in the parish of Nuthall up to circa 1636.

Jacob Conklin was baptised in Abbots Bromley, son of John Conckclaine, glassman 1609/10. Jacob Conklin was a glassmaker and lived in the village of Awsworth (in the parish of Nuthall). He died there in 1640.

The surname of Conklin is not known in Nottinghamshire outside of this small family group. There are more Conklins in the early parish registers in the West Midlands, particularly in Old Swinford (adjacent village to King's Swinford) and a few earlier mentions in Staffordshire.

John (of Rye) is again a well documented person in early America. It is widely taken for granted that because of his approximate age and location he "must" be the son either of John or Ananias of Long Island.

No evidence supporting the birth dates or locations of any of the three key emigrants has yet been found.

DNA evidence

There are currently two Conklin profiles on wikitree that have associated yDNA tags. Terrence Conklin is of the line of Ananias (more precisely he is of the line of John of Rye who is said to be the son of Ananias) and Jack Conklin who traces his ancestry back to John of Long Island.

If the view that John and Ananias were brothers and that John of Rye was son of Ananias is correct, then these two donors should be a very close match, but they are not even of the same haplogroup. If they had a common paternal ancestor then that person lived tens of thousands of years ago.

So something is wrong with the ancestral trees of these people.

Fortunately the results of the DNA study mentioned in the profile of John of Long Island have been published in an excellent paper by Honor Conklin written in 2011 [1].

These results have since been added to and published without analysis by the Conklin yDNA group at Family Tree DNA [2].

A more detailed analysis of these results is given below, but the headline summary is:

  1. Ananias and John (of Long Island) are extremely closely related. They may be either brothers or close cousins, it is not possible to distinguish the relationship they are so close.
  2. John (of Rye) is not biologically related to either Ananias or John (of Long Island). If they shared a common paternal ancestor it was thousands of years in the past.
  3. Jack Conklin is not the biological descendant of John of Long Island. This could be because of adoption, infidelity or simply a mistake in the tree, but it is certain.

Comparison of ySTR results for Conklin groups

DNA ySTR results for Conklin

The table above shows the modal results of 37 markers for groupings of the descendants of Ananias, John of Long Island, John of Rye and, for completion, Jack Conklin.

The results for Ananias have been arbtrarily taken as the baseline and difference from that baseline are highlit in orange.

It is quite obvious that there are no differences at this level between Ananias and John of Long Island, they match each other on all 37 out of 37 markers. The match is actually better than this as one of the descendants of Ananias has tested at 67 markers as has one of the descendants of John. They match each other on 66 out of 67 markers. That John and Ananias are very closely related is indisputable based on this evidence.

It does not mean that they were brothers, it means precisely that they were very closely related.

On the other hand the mass of orange in the line of John of Rye demonstrates that that line is not even remotely related to that of the Long Island Conklins. Numerically, the modal values for John of Rye match Ananias on only 22 of the 37 markers at a genetic distance of 19. Those numbers mean they were not related to each other in a genalogically meaningful timeframe.

John of Rye was not the son of Ananias of Long Island.

For completeness, and because Jack Conklin has been considerate enough to include his DNA details at wikitree, his comparison with the Ananias mode is a match of 10 out of 37 and a genetic distance of 52. His results also show that he is a different haplogorup (I-M253) compared to these other Conklins (R-M269). With apologies to Mr Conklin, there is either an error in the research into his ancestral line or what is commonly referred to as a NEP event (Not the Expected Parent).

Haplotree of Conklin of Long Island

None of the DNA donors to the two projects from this Conklin family have so far awarded themselves a DNA badge at wikitree, but their Conklin heritage trees are available elsewhere. The figure below shows their relationships and the branch points in their DNA results. The branch points do not indicate with which ancestor the mutation occurred, just on which branch.

Haplotree of Conklin of Long Island

Peleg Conklin is worthy of mention. He is not currently on wikitree but his memorial is posted at Findagrave [3]. His mother was Rebecca Conklin and his father is reputed to have been a close relative. The DNA match confirms that he was, but cannot unfortunately identify just who he was.

Haplotree of Conklin of Rye

This is the equivalent branch tree for John of Rye. It could be much fuller, but not all of the DNA donors have provided enough information to show to which branch they belong and some of their ancestral trees have genealogical brick walls that will require more work to connect to the main tree.

Haplotree of Conklin of Rye

Possible Origins of the Long Island Conklins

No baptism has been found for either John or Ananias. This is not really surprising as the survival rate of parish registers for the early 1600s is not great and this family seems to buck the norm as they moved over greater distances than was common at the time - so it is difficult to nail them down to one particular parish to search. Similarly, no will has been found in which they are named.

On the other hand, their huge DNA match defines them as being close relatives and their dual locations of Nottinghamshire and Worcestershire, coupled with their association with the glass industry and known history of that industry in England, allows at least a working hypothesis to be developed.

The vital events of Conklins recorded in parish registers in the West Midlands have been put together and are now all on wikitree. They are shown in the timeline tree below together with a theory of how John and Ananias may be related.

Conklins in England in 1500s

Glass makers from Lorraine are known to have come to England in the late 1500s. One family of prominent glassmakers (Henzey) are known to have moved to Bagot's Park (Abbots Bromley) in the West Midlands c1585 and then to have moved again to Wollaton (Nuthall) in Nottinghamshire c1617 [4].

Given that John Conklin was a glass maker in Abbots Bromley in 1609 when his son Jacob was baptised there, and that Jacob and John Conklin turn up in Nuthall as glass makers in the 1630s, it seems reasonable to propose that Jacob and John are both the sons of John senior and that John senior moved with the Henzeys from Abbots Bromley to Nottinghamshire.

As far as Ananias is concerned, it is quite possible that he was also the son of John except that his marriage licence states that he was "of Kingswinford" in 1630 when he married Mary Lander in Nottingham. This may seem a minor point, but in 1630 where you were "of" had huge legal significance in terms of establishing rights of residency (and therefore right to poor relief should it ever become necessary). It is also a reason why a local person (John) needed to stand as bondsman for the marriage - basically swearing that that this stranger from another county was of good standing on pain of a substantial fine if he was not.

Ananias also returned to Kingswinford soon after he was married as his daughter Mary was baptised there in 1631.

It would not be unusual if Ananias had been apprenticed (normally at age 14) for 7 years to learn the trade of glassmaking from his uncle who was then in Nottinghamshire. Such apprenticeships within the family were often informal as that avoided registering the apprenticeship and paying tax. He would still not have been allowed to marry until he had finished his apprenticeship at age 21. He would also not have gained official residency in Nottinghamshire, but would have been "of" his home residence - KIngswinford.

Consistent with this theory (and also with the DNA evidence) would be if Ananias was the son of either Francis or George. In the model as proposed either would make him 1st cousin to John and therefor a very close DNA match.


Sources

  1. Two Colonial Conklin Families in America, Honor Conklin, 1911 Pages 45-54 and Figs 7&8
  2. yDNA results for Conklin donors at ftDNA
  3. Monumental Inscription, Find A Grave: Memorial #32573061
  4. Medieval England: A Social History and Archaeology from the Conquest to 1600 AD, Colin Platt, 1978 Page 230




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Comments: 2

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The Conklin Ydna tests have come along way since early 2000s.. We have many males who have tested to the highest levels on Familytreedna. As Derrick points out there is NO DNA connection between Ananias and John of Rye. Take a look at note #2 and you'll see the STR values as well as the different haplogroups. There is a Conklin discussion group https://groups.io/g/CONKLIN

that you can join that has long time Conklin researchers contributing. Michael Gustus (Conklin) Conklin-2140 Haplogroup R-FT127191 descendant of John of Rye

Oh, wow! I am truly impressed by the level of detail and effort to present a historically accurate picture of the Conklin family. I am married into the family, so when my descendants become of age, I will encourage them to have their DNA checked, too.
posted by Janne (Shoults) Gorman