Monday, August 8, 2011

When We Were English, Part XXIV

Back to England for More Research!
by Glenn N. Holliman

As I have written in earlier posts, in the spring of 2010, my wife and I did considerable research on the Holyman family in the Tring, Hertfordshire and Cuddington, Buckinghamshire areas of England.  The two villages are approximately a dozen or so miles apart, and in the 15th to 17th Centuries contained families named Holliman (Hollyman, etc.)

A highway leads from Cuddington, Buckinghamshire through the English countryside.  The Rt. Rev. John Holyman and other Holymans were born in Buckingham, Bedfordshire and Hertfordshire in the 1400s and 1500s.  More and more evidence suggests these persons are the ancestors of the Virginia Hollimans of the 17th Century.

As described several of these Holymans became prominent; one The Rt. Rev. John Holyman (1495 – 1558) was the Roman Catholic Bishop of Bristol, England and was caught up in the English Counter Reformation.  Another Holyman, Ezekiel, a great nephew of Bishop Holyman, ironically helped found the Baptist Church in Rhode Island.

Additional research by cousins in the States in 2010 revealed parish records of St. Mary’s in Bedford, Bedfordshire, England that registered a Holliman family that in the early 1600s gave birth to children named, among others, Christopher (b 1618)  and Judith ( b 1621)).  Two persons with these names migrated to Jamestown, Virginia in 1650. 

Judith disappears to history (probably married to one of the surplus males in the colony) and Christopher to marry, have six children and prosper financially.  He left a plantation of 1,020 acres at his death in 1691, and is credited with being the founder of all the Hollimans and various spellings in the now United States. 

And So to Bedfordshire
So in the spring of 2011, my wife and I sailed to England to research further the Holliman family (with its various spellings). In addition to American cousins doing considerable research, we have been assisted by a family researcher in Bedfordshire, one Peter Smith, seen below in the photo with the author in May 2011.  We are reviewing materials over lunch at the Swan Hotel in Bedford, Bedfordshire, north of London.

In May 2011, two couples met at the historic Swan Hotel in Bedford, Bedfordshire, England to review genealogical materials pertinent to the Holyman family.  John Bunyan, author of Pilgrim's Progress, lunched here in the middle 1600s.  Left to right are Maureen Smith, Barbara Holliman, my wife, Peter Smith, a family historian and member of the local genealogical society, and yours truly.  One can observe that not all family history research and sharing occurs in a musty archives.  More of that later.

Peter had not found (nor did I) Holymans in Bedford before the 1609 marriage of Thomas Holyman, and the subsequent birth of his children.  Peter, in his research, however, had found a John Holman born 1560 in Woburn, Bedfordshire, approximately 15 miles south of Bedford and 15 miles north of Tring, Hertfordshire.  This John married early – 1575, but no wife is named.

While young, it may have been a required marriage as one Thomas Holiman was born in Woburn in 1576.  Two other children are recorded of that marriage – Robert, b 1581 and Joan, 1586, both born in Woburn.    Hmmm…..interesting.  Could this Thomas be Christopher Holyman, Sr.’s father?  Some believe this Woburn, Bedfordshire Thomas is an ancestor of ours.

Next posting in Woburn, Bedfordshire....

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