upload image

Lunsford Pedigree

Privacy Level: Open (White)
Date: [unknown] [unknown]
Location: Englandmap
Surname/tag: Lunsford
Profile manager: Virgil Owens private message [send private message]
This page has been accessed 162 times.

Discussion of the Lunsford pedigree growing out of the 1634 Visitation to Sussex.


This pedigree appears to be a significant expansion of the Lunsford pedigree from the 1619 visit to Warwickshire. An exact copy of the 1619 pedigree was included in the folio for the 1634 Visitation to Sussex. There were several follow up visits to Sussex in subsequent years and the 1619 pedigree was probably expanded in those follow up visits.

The expansion backwards in time covered the period from John and Thomazin Lunsford back to the time of King Edward the Confessor. The expansion forward in time covered the period from John Lunsford ( ) up until well into the 17th-century.

The original 1619 pedigree appears to be accurate but the expanded pedigree should be used with caution because there are known errors and omissions and some of the supporting documents are forgeries.

For the last 400 years, biographers have relied on some of the erroneous parts of this pedigree for their information. Therefore, one cannot rely on Lunsford sources such as The Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, Magna Carta Ancestry, and Royal Ancestry without independent verification.

The original pedigree is archived at the College of Arms, in London and a printed transcription from 1836 is in an online book. [1]

There are slight differences between the original document and the transcription but Nichols faithfully notes where the transcription varies from the original. For instance, he omitted some branches for ancestors and descendants who did not have a Lunsford surname. He indicated such omissions with a small “crow’s foot” symbol.

According to Nichols, a 17th-century copy is in the British Museum under a Latin title. Both copies are reportedly the same except for some added notes.

The pedigree in the British Museum is M.S. harl. 5800 307 b. 314[1] [2] under the title of: Pedigree and Family of the Ancient and Distinguished Lunsford de Lunsford Family of Sussex which flourished from the time of Edward the Confessor up to these 1659 collections (English translation from the original Latin)

From a note in the handwriting of John Gibbon, Blewmantle, we know of another 17th-century copy that he reported seeing in Virginia sometime between 1657 and 1660 but that copy has since disappeared. (More about Gibson later)

The pedigree in the College of Arms with its accompanying documentary proofs was entered with approval of the Kings of Arms at the College of Arms by memorandum of George Owen, York Herald, dated 1 Dec 1648. Owen attested that it agreed with the deeds and evidence presented. The same memorandum bearing the same date is in the file for the 1634 Visitation to Sussex.[1]

The pedigree is written partly in Latin and partly in English; sometimes switching languages in mid-sentence.. Some of the supporting documents are “notably” forgeries because they were written in a script not consistent with the time period.[1] It is suspected there may have been other forgeries.[1] The known errors and omissions are listed below:

Note: The Latin word “miles” has been appended to men throughout this pedigree. In medieval times, this denoted that the man was a knight but in later times, it simply meant that he was a soldier but not necessarily a knight. One cannot draw any conclusion about a man’s knighthood status from the word “miles” in this pedigree.
Note: Customarily, pedigrees are drawn with sons and daughters of the same generation all on the same line with sons at the left starting with the eldest then followed by Daughters, in birth order. This pedigree does not follow this convention. Thus, one cannot draw any conclusion about birth order from a child’s position in this pedigree.
Note: This pedigree arbitrarily switches between the Latin form of names and the English form of names. And, writers of the age used creative spellings, unique to each individual, instead of the fixed-dictionary based spelling that we use today. Thus, one cannot draw any conclusion about the correct spelling of names from this pedigree.
Forged Proof - Ingelramus (Ingram?) de Lundresford, shown as the progenitor of this Lunsford line, and his son, Aelricus, and his grandson, Johannes, are all supported by documents that Nichols claimed were “palpably forged.”
Please see Nicols,[1] page 177.
Error - Moyses Lunsford is shown as the son of Sir John Lunsford and his first wife, Barbara Lewknor.
This is highly unlikely because Barbara Lewknor died before 1577 and Moyses was baptized 24 Jan 1584[3] well into Sir John’s second marriage and seven or more years after Barbara’s death.
Error - Thomas Lunsford is shown as the son of Sir John Lunsford and his first wife, Barbara Lewknor.
This is impossible because Barbara Lewknor died before 1577 and Thomas was born in 1586[3] well into Sir John’s second marriage and nine or more years after Barbara’s death. In Plantagenet Ancestry, Faris tells us that Thomas was born to Sir John’s second wife[4] (Anne Apsley) and this is corroborated by DNA analysis–descendants of Thomas have segments of Apsley DNA but not a trace of Lewknor DNA. In 1613, the Archbishop of Canterbury referred to Thomas as “Thomas Lunsford, Esq. his (John’s) eldest son and heir apparent.” see Nichols[1] page 156 Actually, there were older sons but they had all died before 1613.
Omission - John Lunsford baptized 26 Apr 1579, buried 2 May 1579, son of Sir John Lunsford and Anne Apsley.[3]
Omission - John Lunsford baptized 15 Dec 1583 son of Sir John Lunsford and Anne Apsley.[3] Second son of the same name–the first died about a week after birth.
Error - This pedigree places Sir Thomas Lunsford in the position of the fourth son.
This is in error because a parish register records his birth in 1604, which is less than one year after the marriage of his parents and several years before the birth of any of his brothers.
Error - Sir Thomas Lunsford is shown as having died in 1691 with a will dated 4 Jan 1688 and proved 16 Jun 1691 by Lady Elizabeth Lunsford.
This is impossible because Sir Thomas was already dead by 1653[5] and the court settlement of his estate (in 1670) proves there was no will.
The will and date of death in the pedigree are for a different Thomas Lunsford, a man some believe to be the illegitimate son of Sir Thomas. This man’s will was proved by his wife, Elizabeth. The real Lady Elizabeth Lunsford, widow of Sir Thomas, married Major Robert Smith in 1654 and is believed to have gone by the name Elizabeth Smith the rest of her life. She, apparently, remained in Virginia until her death there about 1698.
Omission - The given name of the father of the first wife of Sir Thomas Lunsford.
Omission - The name of the first wife of Sir Thomas Lunsford
Omission - The name of the son of Sir Thomas Lunsford by his first wife.
Omission - William Lunsford, Esquire, son of Sir Thomas Lunsford and his second wife, Katherine Neville.
Please see http://www.genealogybyvirgil.com for evidence and sources about this son.

It should also be noted that various unverified and inaccurate additions to the pedigree were made between 1 Dec 1648 and 13 Jun 1691. For instance: The pedigree includes individuals with birth, marriage, and death dates after the date of George Owen’s memorandum attesting to it’s authenticity.

Some of these additions are in the handwriting of John Gibbon, Blue Mantle; so they must have been made after May of 1671 when he became Blew Mantle. Gibbon was unpopular with his coworkers at the College of Arms because of his penchant for adding notes and comments in the margins of works by others. This may have been the reason he was never promoted to Herald.

One such note, in Latin, read:

At in libro Genealogico notato 2 D. 14 37 haec prosapia incipit ab Edwardo Rege Confessore quam vidi etiem in Virginia

Translation: But in the genealogy book 2 D. 14 37 this lineage starts from King Edward the Confessor, which I have also seen in Virginia. From this note, it has been presumed by some that this pedigree was in the possession of and was written by Sir Thomas Lunsford because he is believed to have been the first Lunsford in Virginia. But, Gibbon does not explicitly tell us who drew up the pedigree, when he saw it, or who possessed it.

Gibbon went to Virginia in 1657 and returned to England after the restoration in 1660. So he could not have seen the pedigree in the possession of Sir Thomas who died about four years before Gibbon arrived.

By the time Gibbon arrived there were other Lunsfords living in Virginia. All the known Lunsfords lived in Northumberland County at the time Gibbon was in America but there is no evidence Gibbon visited Northumberland.

Rich Neck, the plantation where Sir Thomas had lived, was abandoned by Lady Lunsford shortly after the death of Sir Thomas. It was abandoned and unoccupied throughout the length of Gibbon’s time in Virginia.

While in Virginia, Gibbon was employed by Richard Lee who had been a friend and neighbor of Sir Thomas. So perhaps Gibbon saw the pedigree in the deserted and abandoned former home of Sir Thomas at Rich Neck.

It’s all but impossible that the pedigree could have been drawn up by Sir Thomas because he could not have predicted the future and would not have made the following mistakes and omissions:

The wrong person was named as his paternal grandmother
There was no given name of his first father-in-law.
There was no name for his first wife.
There was no name for his first son.
There was no mention of William, his son and heir.
The birthday of some of his siblings was shown but not his own.
He would have foretold that he would write a will in 1688 and that it would be probated in 1691. Actually, he died without a will about 1653
He would have foretold who his daughters would marry after his death, when they would marry, and who the children of his daughter, Mary, would be. Of course, it’s impossible that he could have known about events that occurred after his death.


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 1.5 1.6 John Bower Nichols and son; Collectanea topographica et genealogica, Vol. IV. pp. 139-156; London, 1837 ; https://archive.org/details/collectaneatopog04londuoft/page/138/mode/2up
  2. A Catalogue of the Harleian Manuscripts in the British Museum", Vol. III, p. 298; https://archive.org/details/CatalogueOfTheHarleianManuscripts3/page/n307/mode/2up?view=theater
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 3.3 Baptisms
    Moyses Lunsford https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:JQX8-V4H
    Thomas Lunsford https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:JQX8-KHH
    John Lunsford #1 https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:Q2QQ-KQHG
    John Lunsford #2 http://www.sussex-opc.org/index.php?n=Lunsfor*&t=baptism&k=145383&l=102
  4. David Faris; Plantagenet Ancestry of Seventeenth-Century Colonists, page 177; Genealogical Publishing Co., Inc.; 1996
  5. Peter Wilson Coldham, The Complete Book of Emigrants 1607-1660, 1987; p. 269; Genealogical Publishing Co. Inc.; Baltimore, MD, 21202

  • Login to edit this profile and add images.
  • Private Messages: Send a private message to the Profile Manager. (Best when privacy is an issue.)
  • Public Comments: Login to post. (Best for messages specifically directed to those editing this profile. Limit 20 per day.)

Leave a message for others who see this profile.
There are no comments yet.
Login to post a comment.