Sunday, February 8, 2009

Researching in England

Researching in England

On occasion, I get a query about doing research in England.

As with any research trip, you get more out of traveling if you are well prepared before your trip. To get the most out of a research trip, you should know what you are looking for, and know where to find it.

If you are researching in the UK, there is a web site that can help you plan your trip:

In addition to tips on working from home, they include information on "How To" get organized, where you can find local and National Centers, Record Offices, Family History Societies, Parish Registers, Census Returns, Wills, scheduled talks, Calendar of Events, addresses, and local hotels.

For example, if you wanted to research Bristol, go to the section on "Record Centres" select "Record Offices," then "Gloucestershire." Scroll down and you will find the Bristol Record Office, with street address, opening hours, Bristol Record Office Online Catalogue, information about copying materials, web site for the office, the nearby University (library), and where to find bed & breakfast accommodations.

Very nice.

Some of the categories that you can find at this site:

"Organize yourself"

- Courses

- Family History Fairs

- Genealogy talks

- Planning for Archive visits

- Document Photography

"Local Centres"

- Record Offices

- local study centres

- LDS centres

- family history societies

- local history societies

"Sources of information"

- General Register of Births, Marriages, and Deaths

- Census returns

- International Genealogical Index (IGI)

- National Burial index

- Parish Registers

- Wills and Other Probate Documents

"Researching from Home"

- Internet Sources

- Subscription sites

- CD Publications

- Microfilm & Microfiche

- Books

- Copy Documents

Plus information about National and International Centers of information.

If you want to plan a trip for research in the UK, this is a web site that could be helpful.

Saturday, February 7, 2009

HAM Counties of Origin in North Carolina video

I have posted a You Tube video of the
Counties of origin of the HAM surname in North Carolina prior to 1830. From the book "A Short History of the HAM Surname in Virginia & NC."

It gives a quick overview of the migration pattern for the HAM surname in North Carolina prior to 1830. Lists names of first inhabitants with the surname HAM(M) by County.

As with the video on Virginia
origins, I had to make a judgment call on which person to list and a few adjustments were made in order for the video to make better sense. Sometimes only the last name is mentioned, or the full name is mentioned in a document without any indication if the person actually lived there. In one case, a person is named, but the next year, three people were named as living in the County. Judgment call to include all three (1790 Franklin County). Richard HAM and wife Diana are mentioned in Granville, Bute, and Warren Counties. Should help to distinguish from the Richard HAM of Wayne County. As with (Old) Rhappahannock County in Virginia, Bute and Dobbs Counties were abolished.

A judgment call was made to to include them for this video.
So, unlike the Virginia video, I attempted to include the now extinct counties of Bute and Dobbs.

The timeline on these extinct counties looks something like this:

------->1764-------> 1779

Granville -->> Bute County -->> Warren & Franklin Counties


Dobbs -->> Dobbs & Wayne -->> Wayne, Glasgow & Lenoir -->> Wayne, Greene & Lenoir


3.5 minutes, 5 MB

Music by Ilya Gordon, "The GetAway" & "Winterfell"

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Thursday, February 5, 2009

Parish Registers on line

Parish Registers on line

from the Internet Archive web site

Here's a genealogy related internet web site that is a thrill to see:

Internet Archive

They have an ongoing project to reproduce parish registers that have been long out of print.
Some of these can be purchased on CDROM from Broderbund, some can be found in our book, "A Short History of the HAM Surname in Virginia & NC."

They offer a small collection of Parish Registers, and is by no means complete.
But, if you'd like to have a copy of the Register in PDF format, or if you'd just like to search it in full text on line, you can do it at this site. (Nice!)

A short list of some of the titles:

Cornwall Parish Registers - (England) full text from the Phillimore Book, first published in 1905

Kent - Parish Register of St. Mary Chislet in England

Lancashire Parish Register #1 - from the Lancashire Parish Register Society

Middlesex - Parish Register of St. George, Hanover Square by John Henry Chapman, 1886

Middlesex - Parish Register of St. James Clarkenwell (part 1) by Robert Hovenden, Harleian Society, 1891

Middlesex - Parish Register of St. James Clarkenwell (part 2) by Robert Hovenden, Harleian Society, 1891

Register of St. Philip's Parish Charles Town, South Carolina, 1720-1758 by Alexander Samuel Salley (1904)

There are a number of parish registers located at this site. The list includes England, Ireland, Scotland, South Carolina, and Virginia. You can do a search for "parish register" among "All Media Types" to find a more complete list.

The only complaint that I could possibly have is that you have to contend with the typographical errors. The typing is usually pretty good, but at times it can throw you off.

Having many of these in our book, it is nice to have a personal PDF copy of these registers on my PC.

To post comments, click on the title and scroll to the bottom.

Monday, February 2, 2009

HAM African American Origins in Virginia

HAM(M) Surname
African American Origins in Virginia

James Ham of Ashe County once told me that he once heard of African Americans carrying the name "Ham."

He looked at me as if he was surprised, as if he never heard of that. Well, yes, Jim they do exist. African American HAM's are out there somewhere. I suspect many of them now live near the larger cities in northern US.

I have to admit, when I started research on my ancestors, I was disillusioned by the Television series "Roots."
I thought I'd ve sure to find my plantation owning ancestor being cruel to their slaves. After all, I was researching my line in the south.

The reality is, I found plantation owners were few and far between, and certainly not in my direct line. I was not finding those slaves. No Kunte Kinte, no cracker jack slave master. No drama. The main thing I found in my line was mountain men, and a Church. The Church seemed to have some importance to them.

What was I doing wrong?

Nothing. Turns out that our research showed most HAM folks could not afford slaves. I was certainly not seeing many slaves among mountain men. But, we did find those slaves among other HAM lines. And yes, there was cruelty. As you will see below, a negro named Jack had an severe experience in the public Court of Amelia County.

I have seen a transcript that reported my William HAM owned a female slave in 1860.
I thought perhaps owned for less than 10 years to take care of an elderly couple. However, the actual image of the 1860 Census shows no slaves for the couple. The Census indicated by a mark in one column that his wife could not read. So, perhaps there could have been an error in transcription.

In my search for my own ancestors, I was hearing those (supposedly shameful) reports that some of my ancestors most likely deserted during the Civil War. Well, O.K., I can understand deserting when one lone deaf and dumb male is left out of the war to handle the farming for five other families whose males were off fighting for the cause. But, if you don't own slaves to start with, and when you get news that your first cousin dies, your step brother is maimed, and your father has passed away, then sure, I suppose I'd want to leave and tend to my father's funeral as well. But, that's another story.

African American ancestry is not something I concentrated on in the book. There were just not that many slaves to be found, in comparison with the rest of the material. But, you can glean some evidence for African American origins from a review of our volume on Virginia. For example, Geneva had researched Amelia County, and found an interesting story there.

Upon gaining their freedom, slaves would usually take on the last name of their owners. I suppose that was simply because they needed a last name. (While they were slaves, they only had first names in almost all cases.)

With the advent of President Obama, I am hoping that we might begin to see more African American participants in the HAM DNA Project.

Anyways, I tooks a quick survey of a timeline on African Americans in Virginia. We have detailed records from over 22 Virginia Counties in volume #2, and only about 9 of these Counties report African slaves in those early years. (Sorry, at the moment I don't recall exactly how many Counties we researched in Virginia and have in our book.)

More details on these entries that can be found in volume 2 of "A Short History of the HAM Surname in Virginia & NC."

African Americans associated with the HAM surname:

First slaves to appear

1751 Estate of John LUCAS includes 3 slaves in Orange County, VA. Attending are Samuel HAM and William HAM
1760 Thomas HAMM estate divdes up his slaves in Caroline County, VA
1765 William DULANY to William HUME transaction of 2 slaves in Culpeper County, VA
1766 Thomas HAM witness to the will of Richard JONES, mentions negro woman Nancy in Amelia County, VA
1775 George HAM gives one negro boy named Lott to Dudley JOLLY in Amelia County, VA
1782 George HAM owns 2 blacks on the Enumerations in Amelia County, VA
1782 Mary HAM owns 4 blacks on the Enumerations in Amelia County, VA
1782 William HAM owns 5 blacks on the Enumerations in Amelia County, VA
1783 Stephen HAMM owns 3 blacks on the Enumerations for Amherst County, VA
1787 Mary HAM 6 blacks on the Enumerations in Amelia County, VA
1787 William HAM 4 blacks on the Enumerations in Amelia County, VA
1787 Stephen HAMM owns 6 blacks on the Enumerations for Amherst County, VA
1787 William HAM 1 black on the Enumerations in Madison County, VA
1790 George HAM and David ALLIN report stolen property in Amelia County, VA.
Missing include sheets, one tablecloth, shirts, and overalls.
A negro named Jack (property of William EGGLESTON) pleads not guilty, but is found guilty and burnt in the hand as he stands
at the bar.
1796 Samuel HAM has 1 negro on the Tax Lists for Greenbrier County, VA (now WV)
1800 John HAMM has one slave in Amelia County, VA
1800 William HAMM has one slave in Amelia County, VA
1800 William HAMM has one slave in Amherst County, VA
1804 William HAM will frees his slaves in Amelia County, VA. These freed slaves become successful landowners and slave owners themselves.
1810 Elijah HAM owns 5 slaves on the census for Albemarle County, VA
1810 James HAMM owns 1 slave on the census for Amelia County, VA
1810 Stephen HAM names slaves in his will in Amherst County, VA
1810 John HAM owns 3 slaves on the census for Amelia County, VA
1810 Stephen HAMM owns 16 slaves on the census for Amelia County, VA
1819 Joseph HAM names negro woman Leah in his will in Orange Co., VA
1833 Negro Ham is on the List of "Free Negroes" in King and Queen County, VA
King and Queen County 1833 lists "Free Negroes" Patty HAM, Henry HAM, Penelope HAM, Agnes HAM, Shadrack HAM, Roberta HAM, Randal HAM, Dandridge HAM, and Davy HAM
1835 Samuel HAM estate lists 12 slaves in Orange County, VA
1856 Stuther HAM loans slaves to his mother in Albemarle County, VA
1860 Betsy HAM is a free woman of color in Amelia County, VA

Counties listed above, from volume #2:

01 Orange County beginning in 1751.
02 Caroline County beginning in 1760.
03 Culpeper County, this is for the HUME surname, beginning in 1765.
04 Amelia County beginning in 1766 with the JONES family.
05 Amherst County beginning in 1783.
06 Madison County beginning in 1787.
07 Greenbrier County (now WV) beginning in 1796
08 Albemarle County beginning in 1810.
09 King and Queen County beginning in 1833.


Sunday, February 1, 2009

1637 John HAM of Bristol

1637 John HAM of Bristol

Bristol ties? HAM genealogists have been asking this question for the last 40 years.

The problem started in 1969 with the popular genealogy book "Historical Southern Families" by Mrs. John Bennett Boddie (Genealogical Publishing Company, Baltimore). She miss-identifies the wife of Jerome HAM of Virginia, and makes mention of Jerome HAM of Bristol. HAM Genealogists consistently tie the two together as one man since then.

"Historical Southern Families" has been a very popular book, selling thousands of copies. So, the miss-information has now spread widely and amateur genealogists stubbornly resist the facts. And, I have tried to lay out the facts in "A Short History of the HAM Surname in Virginia & NC."

The confusion is only heightened when Beverly Fleet's "Virginia Colonial Abstracts" mentions "Hierome" HAM in Charles City County in 1655. And the list of errors goes on and on....

If you look at the genealogy trees on, you'd think 97% of genealogists have figured it out by now. Unfortunately, now hundreds of HAM family trees are based upon miss-information.

For those who are following the saga, let me add a document indexed at the Library of Virginia, which is not in any HAM genealogy book to date. This document relates to the sale of tobacco in Virginia by a John HAM of Bristol, England (published 1641).

To see the record, follow these instructions:

Search the Colonial Records Project at:

Basic search:
Words to search: HAM Bristol

Fields to search:
Words Anywhere

Words Adjacent? No

(if you have Pop-Up Stopper software installed, you will need to disable it to enable this search.)

- Click on the number "1" to view the transcript record.
Va. Colonial Records Survey Report No. SR 10962

Microfilm Reel No. Not Filmed, but there is a typed abstract on file with the Virginia Colonial Records Project
A copy of the original can probably be obtained from the Bristol Public Record Office.

Author/Depository: Public Record Office Class: E 134 17 Charles I, Mich 29.

Title LinkExchequer King’s Remembrancer. Depositions taken by Commission
Publication 1641 Gen. note Exchequer King’s Remembrancer. Depositions taken by Commission. vol. II, p. 517

Ham, John -- testimony by -- 1641, SR 10962, p. 2.
dated Sep 27, 1641

Depositions taken at Bristol, Sep 27, 1641

Sep 27, 1641

John HAM testimony: Some tobacco was landed Legally, having a warrant from the Lord Treasurer, but some was not.

Deposition, n.d.:

John HAM testimony: Tobacco was put in warehouses.


note: - It appears that the Lord Treasurer issued Treasury Warrants in about 1637 for the importation of tobacco into Bristol ports on board some ships
such as the Lilley and the James. However, no warrant was issued for the ships Welcomb and Prudence. So, in 1641 (about three years later), a Commission was formed to investigate and impose custom rates and duties upon the tobacco that was imported without a warrant from the customs house. These ships were sailing from Virginia and the West Indies.

The question is interesting is because there are several HAM's in both the areas of Bristol and Virginia at the time.

Jerome HAM of Bristol was Merchant and Town Clerk of Bristol from 1581 to 1621. That would be a 40 year career. As Town Clerk, his signature is
on numerous records, and his name is sometimes written as "Hierome HAM."

He marries the widow of John OLIVER in 1598/99. His wife Elizabeth HAM dies in 1619. No children bearing the HAM surname are mentioned in her will. Jerome HAM probably died some years prior to 1638. To my knowledge, his will has not yet been located.

Joseph HAM immigrates to Virginia in about 1621 at the age of 16. Indentured servant to Lt. Albiano Lupo. Settles on the New Posquoson.

In 1635, William HAM of Maine and New Hampshire arrives at the Richmond Isles on the ship named Speedwell. He is originally contracted to fish.

Joseph HAM of the New Posquoson dies in York County, Virginia on March 3, 1638. He had immigrated to Virginia in about 1621 at the age of 16,
and left no known children bearing the HAM surname.

From 1637 to 1641, this deposition at Bristol indicates that a John HAM of Bristol was importing tobacco from Virginia to Bristol from about 1637 to 1641.

In 1653, John HAM gentleman of Bristol files will. He mentions a son John HAM and three daughters, Penelope, Mary, and Anna. He dies in about 1654.

Jerome HAM of York County has not been found in records from Virginia until 1652. And, "Hierome HAM" is mentioned in Charles City County
records in 1655. It would appear that both the Jerome HAM of Bristol and the Jerome HAM of Virginia both went by the name of "Hierome HAM."

Very curious. The York County Jerome HAM is mentioned in Lower Norfolk County, Virginia as "Jeremy HAM," to note the difference in
pronunciation. He dies in 1659, leaving one son, Jerome HAM, Jr.

John HAM immigrates to Virginia in 1658. We may never know if he participated in the estate settlement on Jerome HAM because Jamestown
records were destroyed by fire in 1699.
George HAM immigrates to Maryland in 1660.

Rosse HAMM, apprenticed in Bristol, England is bound for 4 years as an indentured servant to John BEARE in Virginia in 1662.

John HAM of New Hampshire arrives in Dover, New Hampshire in 1665.

Thomas HAMMS, apprenticed in Bristol, England is bound for 4 years as an indentured servant to Edward POORE in Virginia in 1667.

Elijah HAM, of Albemarle County, VA purchases 132 acres of land from James HARTFORD of Bristol, Kingdom of Great Britain in 1810.

It has not yet been determined if these early immigrants are related in any way. The John HAM importing tobacco to Bristol in 1637 could be either the John HAM who dies in Bristol in 1653, or his son John HAM.

There are two items that we have been trying to address in order to help straighten out the miss-information. One is we give the details regarding the correct information in our book, "A Short History of the HAM Surname in Virginia & NC." The second is we are seeking participants in the HAM DNA Project which is helping to resolve this Bristol question, among other things.

At last count, over 700 family trees have bad information about Jerome HAM.
Let's hope that we don't have to wait another 40 years to clean this up.

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