To understand the people you need to know who they are, identifying each one specifically. It is not useful to generalize. Once we know who they are, we can ask questions. Did they emigrate or were they absentee landowners? Were they largely Quakers? How did they make their living? Where were they from? This study is similar to other research that studied individual people, such as ship passengers (Marion Balderston), passengers on the Welcome (George McCracken), early residents of Philadelphia (Hannah Benner Roach), the Swedes along the Delaware (Peter Stebbins Craig), participants in early courts (Jack Marietta), the lawmakers of Pennsylvania (edited by Craig Horle and Marianne Wokeck). 1 Much of their work has been helpful in the process of identifying the people on Holme’s map.
Richard S. Dunn and Mary Maples Dunn published a list of the people in the third volume of the Papers of William Penn. They were missing a few such as Thomas Dungan, Edward Jones, and Joseph Milner. Otherwise their list was very thorough, including a location key for each name. 2
The first step in identifying the people was to match the names as spelled on the map with people or families known at the time. In most cases this was straightforward. Many of the names on the map were spelled like their modern equivalents, exactly or with minor changes such as Sweeft to Swift or Kerk to Kirk. Other names could be recognized with more substantial change, such as Banbrig to Bainbridge or Brainton to Brinton. These had to be verified with records to make sure that they were spelling variants instead of distinct names. In some cases apparent variants were actually different families. Hort is not the same as Hart. Blunston is not the same as Blinston.
The early population was not a large one, but in many cases two apparently unrelated people shared the same last name, for example Samuel Allen and Nathaniel Allen, William Bennet and Edmund Bennet, the various Colletts. 3 Sometimes only the last name was placed on the map, but the fact that they are placed in a particular location provides a powerful clue to which person was meant. Families usually emigrated together, settled near each other, and sometimes associated in land dealings. An interesting exception was the two men named Thomas Cross, settled in different counties. Their relationship is clear since the son (a carpenter of Chester County) died first and the father (a wheelwright of Philadelphia County) administered his estate. 4
Some names on the map needed to be deciphered. The English engraver probably introduced some errors when reading Holme’s manuscript: for example “Woolinne” for Woolman, “Braber Eli”, for Elizabeth Barber, “Sardarlan” for Sandelands, “Jo Nowell” for John Worrall, “Bowger” for “Bowyer”, “Darte” for “Darke”. In other cases the odd spelling reflects how the name was pronounced: Haukis for Hawkins, Brumadgam for Birmingham, Hurst for Hayhurst and Frist for Forest. Philip Theodore Lehnmann, Penn’s private secretary, wrote his name as “Philip Th Lehnman”. The middle Th was often misread and his name appears on the map as Thlehnman and Taluman. There are a few errors that were probably Holme’s such as “Mouns Toker” for Mouns Stake, the Swede. 5.
The process of identifying the names was a lengthy one, requiring a search of many types of records. As more records were found the biography of each person sharpened and became more detailed. The goal was to find the key facts of origin, emigration, occupation, religion, and death. This meant finding one or more records of the person’s activity: typically emigration, marriage, death, land transaction, church membership, or court appearance. The sources included published records such as Quaker meeting minutes, land deeds, tax records, probate and more. Some genealogical research was also used, published or available online. This varies in quality, ranging from Gilbert Cope’s professional work to web pages with no evidence cited. These sources were not used unless there was evidence of careful research, typically by citing sources, preferably primary records.
Next: Using church records
- See Walter Sheppard, Passengers and Ships prior to 1684; George McCracken, The Welcome Claimants; Hannah B. Roach, Early Philadelphians; Peter Stebbins Craig, 1671 Census of the Delaware and 1693 Census of Swedes on the Delaware; Jack Marietta & G. S. Rowe, Troubled Experiment; Craig Horle and Marianne Wokeck, editors, Lawmaking and Legislators, especially volume 1. ↩
- One name that should not have been on their list was that of “N Von” in Kingsessing. This was a misreading of the last name of the Swede Jonas Nelson. ↩
- Other family names with unrelated branches include Atkinson, Bailey, Baker, Barnes, Bond, Brown, Buckley, Carter, Chamberlain, Clayton, Cook, Cox, Ellet, Ellis, Gibbons, Hall, Harding, Harrison, Hastings, Howell, Hudson, Johnson, Jones, King, Lloyd, Marsh, Martin, Mason, Moore, Noble, Palmer, Pickering, Potter, Powell, Richards, Roberts, Robinson, Simcock, Smith, Sneed, Swift, Taylor, Turner, Wheeler, Wood, Worrall. ↩
- Perhaps as carpenters they did not wish to compete with each other. ↩
- As will be discussed later, a few names were not identified and may represent errors by either Holme or the engraver ↩