“Albion’s Seed”, Y-Chromosome “MRCAs”, and Clues Found in Gloucestershire

In David Hackett Fischer’s seminal work, Albion’s Seed: Four British Folkways in America, Oxford University Press, 1989, p.236. he makes the following observations:

“Virginia’s Great Migration: Regional Origins:

“[A] majority of Virginia’s indentured servants hailed from sixteen counties in the south and west of England – the same area that produced Virginia’s elite. A case in point was the population that settled in Virginia’s Isle of Wight County. A local historian found that ‘early Isle of Wight families seem to have come mostly from the southwest of England, that is the counties of Gloucester, Somerset, Devon, Dorset, Wiltshire and Hampshire . . . their names appear to be more numerous in the west country than in any other part of England . . .

“Another example was the population of Berkeley Hundred in Virginia. Its historian found that ‘the majority . . . whether sponsors, tenants at labor or indentured servants, were . . .  born and bred in Gloucester, where many of them were natives of the Berkeley vale, the Cotswold Edge, or the Winchcombe area”.

WHB – The following excerpt is from BBC History’s THE CIVIL WAR IN THE WEST, Dr John Wroughton, at bbc.co.uk

“The [English Civil] war was over [in 1645], but the cost to ordinary people in human suffering was immeasurable. Bled dry with taxes, they had also endured the compulsory billeting of uncouth troops in their houses, the plundering of their animals, the theft of their food, the disruption of their markets, the vandalisation of their churches and the destruction of their property. The lingering effects of the war were visible wherever you turned.

“One-third of the people in Gloucester were homeless; one-quarter in Bridgwater and two-thirds in Taunton. Hundreds of maimed soldiers and destitute widows submitted petitions to the county quarter sessions in the hope of gaining some relief. Fields lay abandoned; bridges broken down; and road surfaces destroyed.

“In 1646, on the anniversary of the relief of Taunton from siege, George Newton, the minister, looked around him and described in a sermon what he called “her heaps of rubbish, her consumed houses, a multitude of which are raked in their own ashes. Here a poor forsaken chimney and there a little fragment of a wall that have escaped to tell what barbarous and monstrous wretches there have been.”


Note from WHB (3-25-12):

After taking the y-chromosome test and confirming my (long contested) descendency from Julius Saunders, I thought it advisable to find out more about the Most Recent Common Ancestors (MRCAs) of persons  to whom the y-chromosome test suggested that I was related, within the last 21 generations. The surnames were as follows:

9 generations – Cullins, Wilson; 12 generations – Durfey; 15 generations – Kerley; 19 generations – Crump, Marsh, and Burnette; 21 generations – Arnold (2) and Ayers (2). Because I frequently come across tne Crump and Ayers surnames in my ancestral Virginia counties, I began to research them.

Right away, I came across the following ancestry.com query:

“We are researching Crumps from the Gloucestershire area in England, some of the places are Charlton Abotts Winchcombe, Blockley, Brockhampton, Norton, Leckhamption, Charlton Kings, Shurdington[. W]e would like to share the research we have from the Crumps in these areas.” [The query was first posted in 2003, and was edited in 2004.]

A prominent member of one of my ancestral families was rector of a parish church connected with Winchcombe Abbey in Gloucestershire, England. [See John Carter (1470?-1538) Alderton, Gloucestershire, England.]

Information I had gathered from Gloucestershire records provided information on the individuals in Charlton Abbot and elsewhere that lived in lands in which the Carters were lord. [See Miscellaneous Documents from Early 17th Century Gloucestershire.]

Additionally, my GGG Grandmother MARY ANN (POLLY) CARTER JOHNSON was married in Bedford County, Virginia by John Ayers.

A further note. The MRCA is the outside possibility. For example, the Burnette listed as having an MRCA sometime in the past 19 generations is known to me (through comparison of our family trees and through his separate y-chromosome test) to share an MRCA [in fact, JULIUS SAUNDERS] with me five generations back.

Note also that in the town of Westbury-on-Trym, to the North of the seaport town of Bristol in Gloucestershire (mentioned in the Armourer’s documents in 16th Century Gloucestershire, elsewhere on this website) resides the Saunders family.

There appears to be the possibility of a convergence of historical, genealogical and genetic data that might identify Gloucestershire as the ancestral home of the SAUNDERS of Virginia in my direct line.

This entry was posted in GLOUCESTERSHIRE DOCUMENTS. Bookmark the permalink.