Archive:The Descendants of John Whitney, page 9

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The Descendants of John Whitney, Who Came from London, England, to Watertown, Massachusetts, in 1635, by Frederick Clifton Pierce (Chicago: 1895)

Transcribed by the Whitney Research Group, 1999.


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WHITNEY GENEALOGY. 9

AUTHOR'S PREFACE. ----------- As a descendant of the WHITNEY family on both my paternal and maternal sides, I take pleasure in presenting to the numerous members of the family in this country, this volume, the work of several years of extensive correspondence and compilation. Having had considerable experience in works of similar charac- ter, and being of a genealogical turn of mind, the work has been one of pleasure.It is extremely doubtful if many other families in America can boast of such a large number of descendants, from one emigrant, as this one. Other persons have tried to compile genealogy of the descendants of John WHITNEY of Watertown, Mass., 1685 but not until now has it been done in such an extensive and thorough manner. The works of Henry Austin WHITNEY of Boston, Rev Frederick WHITNEY of Brighton, Dr. Henry BOND of Watertown,and William Lebbeus WHITNEY of Pottsville, Pa., are well known, but in these, no attempt was made at a complete pedigree. In a few instances replies have not been received from blanks sent out, and this is my exc- use for not having a full record of these branches. The matter has been arranged in the style adopted by the New England Historic - Society in the publication of their Register. The arrangement is unquestionably the simplest, and is therefore the most comprehensive. A number of abbreviations will be found in the book, of which the following are explanations: ne., aged; abt., about; dau., daughter; dec'd., deceased; res., resided. resides, or residence; w., wife; wid., widow or widower; yr., year; n. f. k., nothing further known; s.p., sine prole (without issue). There are a number of other abbrevi- ations of such common use that the meaning will be obvious. A name in parenthesis thus, Anna Whitney, daughter of Nathaniel and Mary (Pierce) Whitney, indicates the maiden name of the mother. An ingerrogation mark implies doubt or want of abso- lute certainty.The birthplaces of the children are not always given, but they can be ascertained by reference to the residence of the parents, which is given in all cases. In the earlier records of New England quite often the date of the year appears 1752-3 that is two dates. In computing time, the solar year is reckoned 265 1/2 days, [sic] but this is too much by eleven minutes and a fraction. If this excess be neglected, in the course of centuries the 1st of January would fall back toward midsummer. In 1582, the time of Pope Gregory XIII., it was found that the vernai equinox, which in A.D. 325 happened on the 21st of March , actually occured on the 10th of March. For the purpose of rectifying the calendar , the pope ordered that ten days be dropped for that year. This was called " New Style" , and the former calendar," Old Style." The new calendar was soon adopted by all Catholic countries, but in Eng- land and her colonies it was disregarded till 1752, when the error of the old calendar amounted to eleven days, and by an Act of Parliament they were dropped from Sep- tember of that year. If the year began the 1st of January, the date would be Febru- ary 9, 1684; If the year began the 1st of January, the date would be February 9,1685, and changed to New Style by addition of eleven days, would be February 16, 1685. It is singular how the different names have been obtained. In the name of Shakespeare's birthplace we have a memento of three different eras of English his- tory, viz., the periods of the occupancy by the old Britons, the Romans, and the Saxons. Strat is an abbreviation of strata (street), the name by which the great Roman roads were known. Ford tells us that one of these roads crossed a stream, and Avon is the name which the old Britons, or Celts, gave to the streams. The word len, leah, or leigh, signifying a partially wooded field, served as the ending for many surnames, such as Horsley, Cowley, Ashley, Oakley, Lindley, and Berkley or Birch- ley. Hay, or haw, means a hedge, and this has given us Hayes, Haynes, Haley, Hay- wood, Hawes, Haworth, Hawthorn, Haughten or Houghton. Occupations, too , have afforded an endless array of surnames. This method was used by the Romans in such names as Fabricus (smith), Pictor (painter), Agricola (farmer). In England a skillful hunter would adopt that as his surname, and equally so with the carpenter, joiner, sawyer, baker, or butcher. Personal traits, and complexion, too, gave rise to 2

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