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Woodbury Research

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John Woodbury, immigrant ancestor
William Woodbury, immigrant ancestor


Bibliographic Notes

See John Woodbury (PGM) References (free space page, 2013-2019)

In their 2021 article about William^1 Woodbury, authors David Curtis Dearborn and John Bradley Arthaud (available for download by subscription at AmericanAncestors) gave a brief outline of core genealogical Woodbury materials. These included,

  • 1887--Robert S. Rantoul, "A Contribution to the History of the Ancient Family of Woodbury."[1] "The article offers little in the way of actual scholarship on the family's English origins, instead dwelling on places in England's West County bearing the name and mentioning .. Woodbury individuals who lived during the middle ages."
  • 1958--Lora Altine Underhill, ed. "Woodbury Genealogy [: Descendants of John and William Woodbury of England and Massachusetts]," five volume typescript.[2] Described by Dearborn and Arthaud (2021) as "the most comprehensive genealogical treatment of the American family." who further write, "it contains little documentation." Volumes 1-3 includes five generations of John^1 Woodbury descendants. Volume 4 includes the descendants of William^1 Woodbury. Volume 5 is an "index to the whole." Note: Volumes 1-3 and the index are available online via the FamilySearch Catalog.
  • 1931--Mary Walton Ferris treated both immigrants in her well documented articles in Dawes-Gates ancestral lines ...[4]
  • 1995--Robert Charles Anderson's article about the immigrant, John Woodbury.[5]
Charles Levi Woodbury Notes (1904)
Frederick Clifton Pierce on Woodbury (1898)

Birth and Parentage

His father is seen, especially in online user-contributed sites, as John Woodbury, sometimes as born Burlescombe, Devon, England (Geni, 2020; Geneanet, 2005), and sometimes as Somersetshire (Wert, 2011). The elder John is generally reported born 1543 (FT PID GZPT-LWB, 2021; WikiTree Woodbury-209), with his death sometimes reported as 1629 (FT PID GZPT-LWB, 2021), but also as 1641 (Geni, 2020).

These profiles are generally unsourced or lack historical references that would support links from the immigrants, John and William, to a father, John, of either Burlescombe, Devon or Somerset, England. There was a John Woodberye Senior early of Burlescombe (entries naming him appear in the parish records), but there is also a will, dated and proved 1634, of a man by that name. The will (abstract) provided for bequests to both his son, John Woodberrye and his daughter, Florence Woodberrie.[6]



Anderson (1995).[7] John Woodbury (most certainly from the South Petherton part of Somersetshire) immigrated in 1624 (to Cape Ann); returned to England 1627 for purposes related to colonization, returning in 1628.

Anderson (2015).[8] William Woodbury (Misterton and South Petherton, Somersetshire) immigrated in 1636.

Spear (c1985).[9] John Woodbury first immigrated 1624 on the Zouch Phenix to Cape Ann. His wife and/or family did not accompany him. John returned to England in 1627 and came again in 1628, aboard the Abigail, to Salem, with son Humphrey. (Notes that William was thought to have accompanied him, but given the English records concerning William, this would not be the case). Notes on the brothers include summaries of the research by Robin Bush [?Robin Bush],

William--records at South Petherton and Misterton ("just south of Crewkerne"). Includes note, "No Woodbury tenants were found in the Crewkerne (and Misterton) survey of 1597, cites "DD/PT, S/1515, box 1."
John--Bush found promising records (Woodbury-Napper license) referring to Dorchester (Dorset), East Coker, Wells and Hardington (Somersetshire). Additional promising items (Woodbury-Bishop) appear earlier in the West Coker (Somersetshire) Bishop's Transcripts (Woodbury-Bishop, etc.)
"So far, no manorial or other records have been found which would enable the family to be traced further back." (Spear, c1985.)


  1. Robert S. Rantoul, "A Contribution to the History of the Ancient Family of Woodbury," Essex Institute Historical Collections, 24 (1887):1-42; digital images, Hathi Trust.
  2. Lora Altine Underhill, ed. "Woodbury Genealogy [:] Descendants of John and William Woodbury of England and Massachusetts," 5 vols., typescript (1958); copies available from NEHGS, the Library of Congress and Family History Library in Salt Lake City.
  3. Perley Derby, "John Woodbury and Some of His Descendants," Historical Collections of the Essex Institute, 35 (1899):257-272, 36 (1900): 31-38; digital images, Hathi Trust.
  4. Mary Walton Ferris, Dawes-Gates ancestral lines ..., 2 vols. (1931-1943), ]2 (1931):823-826 for John^1 Woodbury, 2 (1931):829-838 (William^1 Woodbury); digital images, Hathi Trust.
  5. Robert Charles Anderson, The Great Migration Begins: Immigrants to New England 1620-1633, Volumes I-III, 3 vols. (1995), 3:2054-2057 (John Woodbury); digital images by subscription, AmericanAncestors.
  6. Charla Woodbury/Woodbury Family Research. See Charla Woodbury, Woodbury Family Research in England: Part I, 11 October 2002, typescript (PDF) 59 pp., Appendix A, for "John Woodberye of Burlescombe 1634"; Wayback Machine.
  7. Robert Charles Anderson, The Great Migration Begins: Immigrants to New England 1620-1633, Volumes I-III, 3 vols. (1995), 2054-2057, in particular, 2054; digital images by subscription, AmericanAncestors.
  8. Robert Charles Anderson, "Focus on the West County," Great Migration Newsletter, multiple vols., 24 (2015):20 digital images by subscription, AmericanAncestors.
  9. Burton W. Spear, Search for the Passengers of the Mary & John (Toledo, Ohio: B W. Spear [?The Mary & John Clearing House], c1985-1990+), multiple vols., 25 (New Ancestral Discoveries-Part 1):79.

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