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Alexander Whitaker (1585 - bef. 1617)

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Rev Alexander Whitaker
Born in Cambridge, Cambridgeshire, Englandmap
Ancestors ancestors
Died before in James River, Virginiamap
Profile last modified 13 Oct 2019 | Created 11 Jan 2015 | Last significant change: 13 Oct 2019
12:45: Michael Cayley edited the Biography for Alexander Whitaker (1585-bef.1617). [Thank Michael for this | 1 thank-you received]
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Alexander Whitaker is a descendant of Magna Carta Surety Baron Robert de Ros.
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Alexander Whitaker is Notable.

Alexander Whitaker was the son of William Whitaker and Susan Culverwell.[1] He was half-brother of Jabez Whitaker, another Gateway ancestor.[2]

He was born at Cambridge in 1585.[2][3] He was at Eton College in 1598.[4][5] and then went to Trinity College, Cambridge in 1602.[5][6] After graduating, he became a clergyman in the North of England.[6]

In 1611 he went to Virginia, where he was appointed a minister at Henrico on the James River. Initially the agreement was that he would serve three years in Virginia.[3] He acquainted himself with the beliefs of the local Indian population and, in a lengthy letter published in 1613 as a pamphlet, Good Newes from Virginia, stated that they had known the God of the Jews and Christians in the past and retained "many footsteps of Gods image".[5] The pamphlet (some 45 pages) may be the first publication written entirely in North America.[2]

He is best known for the conversion of Pocahontas.[2][5]

A little before 4 April 1617 he drowned while crossing the James River.[2][6]

Research Notes

It is possible to find pages on the web where his birthplace is given as in Lancashire (where his father was born), without a source being given. These include his entry on the Find a Grave website.[7] This is almost certainly wrong. Those more reliable sources, like Magna Carta Ancestry[2], which give a birthplace say it was Cambridge, where his father was a don and siblings were born.


  1. His mother's 1st cousin had been married to Thomas Smith, the Treasurer of Virginia (de-facto Governor) in the Company era.
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 2.4 2.5 Douglas Richardson. Magna Carta Ancestry: A Study in Colonial and Medieval Families, 4 vols, ed. Kimball G. Everingham, 2nd edition (Salt Lake City: the author, 2011), volume IV, page 332 WHITAKER 14.ii
  3. 3.0 3.1 Porter, Harry Culverwell. Alexander Whitaker: Cambridge Apostle to Virginia, The William and Mary Quarterly, Vol. 14, No. 3 (July 1957), pp. 317-343
  4. Berkshire, Eton College Register, 1441-1698, FindMyPast
  5. 5.0 5.1 5.2 5.3 Oxford Dictionary of National Biography: Whitaker, Alexander
  6. 6.0 6.1 6.2 J A Venn, J A. Alumni Cantabigienses, Cambridge University Press 1922-1954, Cambridge Alumni Database
  7. [FindAGrave]
  • Richardson, Douglas. Magna Carta Ancestry: A Study in Colonial and Medieval Families, 4 vols, ed. Kimball G. Everingham. 2nd edition. Salt Lake City: the author, 2011. See also WikiTree's source page for Magna Carta Ancestry.
  • Kupperman, Karen Ordahl . '‘Whitaker, Alexander (1585–1617)’', Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, Oxford University Press, 2004, viewable online via some libraries
  • Porter, Harry Culverwell. Alexander Whitaker: Cambridge Apostle to Virginia, The William and Mary Quarterly, Vol. 14, No. 3 (July 1957), pp. 317-343 - viewable at JSTOR, (free) account signup required
  • Wikipedia: Alexander Whitaker


Whitaker-1842 was created by Graham Whitaker through the import of Whitakers-other.ged on Jan 9, 2015

Magna Carta Project

Magna Carta trail
Alexander Whitaker is listed in Magna Carta Ancestry as a Gateway Ancestor, a descendant of Magna Carta Surety Baron Robert de Ros.
This profile has been developed in accordance with the standards of the Magna Carta project (by Gateway Guardian Michael Cayley) as part of the trail between Gateway Ancestors Jabez Whitaker and Alexander Whitaker and Magna Carta Surety Baron Robert de Ros. The trail was reviewed and approved by Gordon Warder Jr in October 2019. See Base Camp for more information about Magna Carta trails.
Douglas Richardson, Magna Carta Ancestry: A Study in Colonial and Medieval Families, Royal Ancestry series, 2nd edition, 4 vols., ed. Kimball G. Everingham (Salt Lake City, Utah: the author, 2011), Vol I, pp xxiii-xxix
Magna Carta Trail
  1. Jabez Whitaker, and Alexander Whitaker, sons of William Whitaker
  2. William Whitaker, son of Elizabeth Nowell
  3. Elizabeth Nowell, daughter of John Nowell
  4. John Nowell, son of Grace Towneley
  5. Grace Towneley, daughter of Isabel Sherburne
  6. Isabel Sherburne, daughter of Richard Sherburne
  7. Richard Sherburne, son of Richard Sherburne
  8. Richard Sherburne, son of Margaret de Sherborne
  9. Margaret de Sherburne, daughter of Alice Plumpton
  10. Alice Plumpton, daughter of William de Plumpton
  11. William de Plumpton, son of Lucy de Ros
  12. Lucy de Ros, daughter of William de Ros
  13. William de Ros, son of William de Ros
  14. William de Ros, son of Surety Baron Robert de Ros
  15. Robert de Ros

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On 12 Sep 2019 at 15:46 GMT Michael Cayley wrote:

On 11 Feb 2018 at 03:22 GMT Anonymous (Holland) Carroll wrote:

Douglas Richardson. Royal Ancestry: A Study in Colonial and Medieval Families, 5 vols, ed. Kimball G. Everingham (Salt Lake City: the author, 2013), volume V, page 360 WHITAKER 18i.

Child or [Dr.] William Whitaker, by Susan Culverwell:

i. [Rev.] Alexander Whitaker, of Blackfriars, London, Anglican clergyman, born at Cambridge in 1585. He immigrated to Virginia in 1611, where he settled in Henrico County. He was drowned accidentally in the James River shortly before 4 August 1617. He left a will dated 16 Feb. 1611[/12], proved 4 August 1617.
  • Douglas Richardson used this source with volume V. page 360, as one of his sources for [Rev.] Alexander Whitaker:

Roberts "Royal Descents of 600 Immigrants" (2004): 416-421.

Page 417, image 529:

16. William Whitaker, master of St. John's College, Cambridge = ____ Culverwell
17. Alexander Whitaker (c. 1585-1616/7) of Va., Anglican clergyman, d. unm.
17. Jabez Whitaker of Va. = Mary Bourchier of Va., ARD, SETH.

Thank you!

On 9 Oct 2017 at 14:57 GMT C. Mackinnon wrote:

ODNB Holme, Lancashire

Alexander is 21 degrees from Cari Starosta, 16 degrees from Marie-Antoinette d'Autriche and 9 degrees from Henry VIII of England on our single family tree. Login to find your connection.