View Full Version : 17th century emigration records

11-09-2005, 12:22 PM
I am trying fo locate where the registers for 17th century English subjects emigrating to the North American colonies such as Virginia. I have a male ancester who appears on the Virginia colonial records in 1650. I have no clue as to when he arrived here or from where.
I would appreciate any assistance you might have for me.
From the "show-me" state across the pond.

11-09-2005, 1:31 PM
I am trying fo locate where the registers for 17th century English subjects emigrating to the North American colonies such as Virginia. I have a male ancester who appears on the Virginia colonial records in 1650.
There aren't as such, registers of emigration. Finding information may be a lengthy process and may involve trawling several sources.

There is a web-site for passenger lists, I don't know how extensive it is, or the sources it uses, but you might have a look

If he was not a free emigrant, you should try a large library to find P W Coldham's books on bonded passengers.


11-09-2005, 1:32 PM
part 2....

Look at The National Archives (TNA) web-site
and click on 'E' and then 'Emigrants'

TNA has some records of emgration to the various colonies in document class E157 for the period 1634-9.

Did he come from a family with wealth and land? Maybe there is a will, or prior to emigration there was a transfer of land? If the land was held direct from the Crown (called tenure in chief), then to dispose of the land would need approval of the Crown which was given as something known as a 'licence to alienate'. If any of his family who held land by tenure in chief, died before 1660; then there would have been an Inquisition Post Mortem. Records are again at TNA.


11-09-2005, 1:35 PM
part 3.......

Do you have any idea what part of the country he came from?

Does your chap, by any chance have an unusual surname? A few surnames can be connected with a specific area or parish.

Did he emigrate as a single, or married man? Do you know if he was a soldier or sailor?


Chasing Caseys
11-09-2005, 1:43 PM
Hello Nancy
If you havent already found this site it may be of some help :)
http://ajax.lva.lib.va.us/F/?func=file&file_name=find-b-clas27&local_base=CLAS27...............i also see Ancestry has records for a fee !

11-06-2006, 8:20 AM
Dear Genenutt;

You said: "17th century emigration records

I am trying fo locate where the registers for 17th century English subjects emigrating to the North American colonies such as Virginia."

Try this link. It's free and every time I go back to it there is something new.



I understand your frustration, one of my biggest blocks is in the mid-west. But take heart, more records are making it to the www everyday. I'll see what more I can find.


05-07-2006, 1:12 AM

Speaking from a research point of view, one generally should always check New England records even if their ancestor shows up in other parts of the U.S. early in the "great migration", as there is a reasonably good chance that they arrived in New England before heading out to another destination. Not always, but often enough to warrant a check of New England records. This is especially true during the 17th and 18th centuries.

If your ancestor spent any amount of time in Massachusetts, there's probably a record on him/her. Massachusetts kept excellent records. From wills, deeds, births, deaths, marriages, correspondence, baptisms, and family bibles, if your ancestor did anything in Mass., there's a record somewhere.

From 1830 on, New York kept excellent records on port arrivals. The overwhelming majority of post-1820 immigrants from the British Isles arrived in New York City.

I have many early North American records, especially those of New England and New York, including early migration records and Loyalist records, as well as many historical registers.

If anyone needs to find an American ancestor, I'd be happy to see if they can found amongst my records. Simply provide as much information as you have on the person and/or their family and I'll see if I have any records/info about them.



Kathryn Norman
18-07-2006, 10:16 PM
Dear Deb:
We have been unable to find my ancestor, John Normans' record of immigration to the "Colonies". It is "said" that he departed Cornwall "about 1750" with seven brothers, two whose names were William and Oliver...(don't know the others for certain.) He is said to have first landed in Albany, N.Y.Do you have any suggestions as to where I could search for a record of immigration? I searched your suggested websites but could find nothing. We don't belong to the family of Richard Norman who emmigrated in the 1600s and went to Mass. We also don't belong to the Virginia Normans or Southern Normans....(our DNA doesn't match.) So, Deb, if you have any further suggestions I would be grateful. I also searched on Ancestry. I wish I had more concrete information to give you .....but I don't. To confuse matters I recently read that New Jersey was known, in the 1700s as "New Albania"!!! Could that have been construed as Albany? John and his brothers ended up in New Jersey. Thank you!
Kathryn E. Norman

Kathryn Norman
18-07-2006, 10:35 PM
Just want to make a note that I looked into Geoffers' suggestion for the National Archives which mentioned New York, and East & West New Jersey. It looks quite complicated to get the information but a "thank you" to Geoffers who always is such a great help. Now I have to figure the "rules" on retrieving this information! Thank you all!
Kathryn E. Norman

22-07-2006, 5:13 AM
Hi, Kathyrn. I'm sorry, but have been away. I will do some searching tomorrow (Saturday) evening. Will get back do you on Sunday.



22-07-2006, 6:52 PM
Hi, Kathyrn.

I may have some exciting news for you. Please keep in mind that this is unverified and very preliminary information. Also, I have a few issues with the information. Nevertheless, it's a good starting point.

According to the Norman families stories and written by Terry Headley,
the Normans were the fourth family to establish themselves in Milton,
New Jersey. They came from Cornwall, England.

John Peter Norman immigrated to the United States and settled in Albany, NY. From Albany, he came to Sparta, New Jersey with seven of his brothers, one of whom was William Norman. John and William built and operated a forge on the outlet of Morris Pond, located on Sparta Mountain, Sparta, New Jersey.
Other notes:

John Peter Norman came from Cornwall, England about 1740-1750. He first
settled in Albany, NY in Orange County. After that he relocated to
Warwick, NY in Orange County where he opened an iron and forge shop and
farmed. In 1777 he enlisted in the New York State Militia for the Revolutionary War and was commissioned as a Captain in the Orange County New York Regiment.

The issues I have are with some of the seemingly inaccurate early locations.
Albany, NY has never been in Orange County, NY. The city of Albany and its home county of Albany was one of the original counties of New York State. Orange County was also an original county in NYS, and is located about 120 miles south of Albany County. If there was ever a town called "Albany" in Orange County, NY, I couldn't find it.

However, John Norman's town of Warwick, Orange County, NY is on the New Jersey border. There is also city name Orange in New Jersey. Sheesh! -- Couldn't these people come up with original names for new towns and cities so it wouldn't be confusing? :-)

22-07-2006, 6:54 PM
Anyhow, it seems that John Norman was a prolific fellow and had 13 children. Apparently, his wife's name was Rachel, but her surname seems to be unknown. Again, these are unverified records:

1. Oliver: 8 Nov 1763 in Orange County, NY.
2. John: 8 Dec 1765 in Orange County, NY.
3. Sarah: 7 Oct 1767 in Orange County, NY.
4. William L.: 31 Mar 1770 in Orange County, NY.
5. David: 17 Aug 1772 in Orange County, NY.
6. Samuel: 29 Jan 1773 in Orange County, NY.
7. Mary: 11 Nov 1775 in Orange County, NY.
8. Peter: 4 Apr 1778 in Orange County, NY.
9. Abigail: 24 Nov 1780 in Orange County, NY.
10. Elizabeth 5 Dec 1782 in Orange County, NY.
11. Rachel 22 Feb 1784 in Orange County, NY.
12. Charles 20 Jun 1787 in Sparta, NJ.
13. James 20 May 1789 in Little Russia, Sussex County, Sparta, New Jersey.

As you can see, there must be a mistake between child 5 (David) and child 6 (Samuel), as the time between birthdates is highly unlikely.

It was speculated that some of John Norman's brothers also served in the Revolutionary War and may not have returned from the war. That is rumor and requires further verification.

Anyhow, I will look up any possible Revolutionary War Pension Records that may exist for them. If John Norman or one of his surviving dependents applied for his pension, we should be able to get some additional information. I'll also check on pensions for any of his brothers.

Unfortunately, being away, I missed the opportunity to renew my membership to those records. I renewed Friday evening, but it seems that re-activiation is not immediate. :-)

Kathryn Norman
23-07-2006, 8:56 PM
Dear Debbie:

Thank you for all that information. You've done so much work and taken so much time that I'm embarrassed to tell you that the family has done much of that work. The whole genealogy of our John in America has been kept up......our problem is looking backward to how he got here....the ship he came on with his brothers....the actual parish he was born in in Cornwall...we haven't been able to find his birth records or his brothers in Cornwall however we did find a Norman family in Padstow with our name pattern...but their records seem to stop at 1674...and John was born abt. 1737.

William Mecabe, our cousin, was commissioned by the government to write a book on the history of the Normans in New Jersey. I had been in touch with Bill in the 60s'....but more has been found. I have a copy of Bills' book. I am out of Johns' youngest child, James.

John was a Captain in the Sterling Company in Warwick, N.Y. He married in Orange County in 1762 to a Rachel-------( it just has her last name as Norman on the record.) Yes, he was prolific...the Normans always had large families. A couple of his sons, Oliver and Peter had 16 each! My own father came from a family of 9.( His mother died young!)

One of the cousins recently found a record of land deeds of 1774 (before the Rev.War) which listed much acreage purchased by Oliver and William Norman (his brothers) in Sparta. William was a Cpl. killed in the war. I don't know what happened to Oliver. At this time John was in Warwick, N.Y., just over the N.J. border but in 1782 he was found in Sparta, New Jersey. His last 5 children were born in Sparta, New Jersey. He apparently joined his brothers and built the forge. Sparta and Milton was the "seat" of the Norman clan.

As far as Albany, N.Y. goes....I haven't been able to find any of our Normans there at that time. I looked at all the Church records and couldn't find John...though the Normans were religious (Protestants).If he did land in Albany, N.Y. he gradually migrated South to Warwick,then Sparta, N.J.. That was my question...where could they have landed? Which Port? Where did they embark? Apparently Cornwall...but could it have been Plymouth? I understand that part of Plymouth was ,at that time, Cornwall...or did they embark at Padstow...where they had passengers on log ships going to Canada? If the Padstow Normans are ours (and we think they possibly are)...there were mariners in the family (John Norman the elder b.abt. 1580 and his son John,b. 1600) did they have connections to a private ship? Where else in Cornwall was there an embarkation point at that tiy Oliver and William Norman (his brothers) in Sparta. William was a Cpl. killed in the war. I don't know what happened to Oliver. At this time John was in Warwick, N.Y., just over the N.J. border but in 1782 he was found in Sparta, New Jersey. His last 5 children were born in Sparta, New Jersey. He apparently joined his brothers and built the forge. Sparta and Milton was the "seat" of the Norman clan.

There is an Orange County, N.Y. (where Warwick is) and an Orange, New Jersey which is much further South.

One of the names which seems to be important in our family is the given name of Oliver. It was in every generation of the Padstow Normans and was prolific in ours. At that time Oliver was not a very popular first name. The Padstow family had it as well as a Norman family from Kent...and there was an Oliver Norman in Parracombe, Devon in 1545. These were the only Oliver Normans I found at that time. The other given names were popular...especially John and William!! Hundreds!

So, Debbie, this is my brick wall! I don't know if there's any help for my search but all suggestions are very welcomed and I can't thank you enough for the work you have done on my behalf! I'm grateful for your time and good-heartedness!!

Kathryn Norman
23-07-2006, 9:28 PM
Sorry for the mess-up on my message.....I tried to edit it but it seemed to get even more confusing.....hope you can understand it!

24-07-2006, 1:58 AM
Ah, Kathryn, now I understand. And your message was fine.

I couldn't find your ancestors in the on line passenger lists. But there are a few more resources to check.

I will see if we can find more info about their journey. The difficulty is that, although very early arrivals (1620 to roughly 1700) are well documented, it wasn't until much later that passenger lists were required by law.

Since we were actually a British Colony when your ancestors arrived, I would imagine that formal records weren't considered necessary, as they were British subjects traveling from one British location to another British location, technically speaking.

It's serendipitous that I live only a few short miles from Albany where the State Archives are housed, so it would be fun to take a day off from work and hang out there. First, though, I will spend a couple of evenings checking records in the Albany libraries and see what they have available.

Will be in touch later in the week.

Kathryn Norman
24-07-2006, 10:48 PM
Thank you so much, Debbie! I appreciate it....by the way...as far as the Malitia records go the National Archives in Washington told me that the State has the records....but it seems there was a fire in Warwick, but there is supposed to be copies in Albany. But my cousin did get into the DAR through the records of our John in the History books, etc, and she was the first to do so. I don't know about pensions...but Johns' firstborne son ,Oliver, was said to have a "military grant " for land on Jersey Ridge, in Muskingum, Ohio....Hopewell Township. He was too young for the Rev. War (13) when it started...but it may have been the War of 1812 or he could have joined in the Rev. War later. Bill Mecabe said that the relative who told him this had seen the actual Military grant.
When I think of our ancestor, Rachel ,raising all those children while there was a war going on in the town of Warwick, N.Y. and never losing any...I consider the courage of these women left at home to be monumental! The suffering was so great in this area...with the Malitia having rags for shoes,almost no food , and Tories going into the homes and murdering...even Col. Hathorn, himself, tried to offer his resignation...but it was refused. Tough times to live through!
Thanks again, Debbie. I look forward to hearing from you!

27-07-2006, 5:00 AM
Kathryn, you're right about tough times. I know that I can't imagine being left with so many children when my husband went off to war -- managing the home and the husband's work too. Phew!

Whenever I'm tempted to complain about some minor inconvenience, I stop and think about how easy we have it compared to our ancestors.

As far as a young one going to war -- my 6th great grandfather joined the Continental troops from Massachusetts at the ripe old age of 15. He was at several battles. It was a fairly common phenomenon, even up to through the 2nd half of the 1800s. Actually, you even hear about young men who lied about their ages to join the military in WWI and WWII. But they were probably much less selective -- and much less strict -- about age requirements back in the 1700s. :-)

I spent a couple of hours at a library tonight and was going through the indexes of various records for the entire Albany area, encompassing the years 1624 thru 1898. Grantors, grantees, mortgages, and court records. I could not find too many Normans, and none that fit yours.

Then I happened to think that your John Norman was a child when he came here. Now that I'm posting this reply, I can't see the earlier posts. I'll go back and reread when finished. But let's just check a few facts. Please fill in any information that won't be found above.

John was born around 1743 in Cornwall and arrived here about 1750, give or take a few years. Therefore, he would have been traveling with his parents. What were their names? (Again, don't answer if you supplied that info earlier.)

We know that John was in Orange County, NY by 1762 because that is when and where he married Rachel. That makes him less than 20 years old when he left Albany, so it's no surprise that there are no land records for him. I did find some Albany records for an Elizabeth Norman -- she granted property to another female Norman -- but I didn't know if she was related. [Continued on next post]

27-07-2006, 6:11 AM
The library also had many volumes devoted to passenger lists. As we previously discussed, there were no regulations back then that required ships to keep passenger lists. If they did keep lists, they may have only recorded the name of the head of the family. If the given name of John's father was also "John" then I didn't find him. If the name is different then I can go back and look again. I wanted to check out more of the collection anyway, and this would be a great opportunity to do so.

My subscription has finally been renewed and I looked to see if I could find a Revolutionary War pension claim for John, his brothers, or any of his sons. There was no luck there, but that only means that no one applied for the pensions.

I will spend the next 7-10 days checking out libraries. If that fails, I'll go to the State archives. But I have learned that it's best to have as much background information as possible before going there. They have wonderful records and collections but, when you are well-prepared with background information, the search can be more specific and ambiguities can be easily eliminated, which leaves you more time to search for additional information in other collections.

Kathryn Norman
28-07-2006, 12:38 AM
Dear Debbie:
Thank you for the time and effort you spent looking. I believe the Elizabeth Norman you found was of the Marbelhead, Mass. family.
LDS says that John Norman was born abt. 1737 which would make him a bit older. The Headleys of Milton, N.J. knew the family (also we married into them), and according to them there were 7 Norman brothers who came from Cornwall. No mention of parents...I assumed they either had died or stayed behind with the daughters....( I'm only assuming there were females because the Normans usually had "half & half".)
I'm not at all sure that Johns' fathers name was John (LDS says so...but I tend to doubt it.) Johns' firstborne was named Oliver...and the Cornish usually named their firstborne son after the husbands'father...(not written in stone of course!) But we have land records from 1774 which names one of Johns' brothers as Oliver...(he may have been the firstborne of Johns' father & mother...thus the eldest brother to John.
I wouldn't look for John under the name John Peter Norman. I believe that was a mistake one of our cousins made. There was a John Peter Norman but a couple of generations later. Besides he gave no middle names to their children...( the names were written in their Bible.)
Ancestry had a John Norman in the Colonial Land Papers Extract, as purchasing land in New York in 1764 & 1767....but I haven't been able to hunt these papers down. I tried. Perhaps they have a copy in Albany. Then again, this may not be our John....but he was in Orange, New York, at that time. The pages were listed in the 400s'.
I wish I had more information, Debbie....but the early part of the familys' emmigration from England and first years in America are cloudy.
Just another thought...I believe our Normans moved to Cornwall from somewhere else...most Norman families did. John came with a French clock and French ruler saying it was "from the old country." Mystery. Perhaps his mother was French.
Thanks again, Debbie! I hope I answered a couple of questions for you.

13-08-2006, 3:19 AM
Hello, Kathryn.

This is just a note to let you know that I haven't forgotten you. We've been looking in various libraries for records of John Norman and family. We haven't found anything yet, but the libraries are closed on Sundays and only open for a few hours on Saturday during the summer, so we only have a mere few hours per week to do research. After the first Monday in September they will keep longer hours and will be open on Sundays.

I will visit more libraries this week. I haven't been to the state archives nor to the county hall of records yet, as they are only open Monday through Friday, 9:00 am to 5:00 pm, and I have been unable to get a day away from work to do that.

It's important to let you know that the search has been ongoing. Hopefully there will be some progress soon.

Thank you for your patience.


Kathryn Norman
13-08-2006, 8:06 PM
Dear Deb:
Thank you so much for your continual interest in helping me in this brick wall! I thought that you were doing something and would eventually contact me. I have faith! I'm still researching Cornwall for a trace of them and recently found a John Norman in the town next to Padstow who had a store with a Hicks. He had to have been born around 1800 because he was half owner of the store in 1840. The name of the store was Hicks and Norman. I later found that the Normans' first name was John....well, of course, it isn't OUR John but it could be one of the Padstow Normans who moved to Wadebridge (in the same area.) So, this John could possible be a cousin...as John, William & Oliver were constant names in our and the Padstow Norman families. Anything is possible!
Thanks again Deb! I'm patient.....I don't want to impose too much on your time.

06-01-2008, 12:14 PM
Hello Kathryn,

I bet you thought I forgot about you. Not so. :-)

Every now and then I go looking for your Normans. There hasn't been much luck in looking for your particular line, but at least I should present the following info:

Source: Passenger and Immigration Lists Index - edited by P William Filby with Mary K Meyer.

Each year another volume or two is published as a supplement.

================================================== ============

Supp Name (age/n.a).; destination, arrival yr Source

1985 John Norman n.a.; Maryland, n.d. 4510 p260 Land Notes, 1634-1655 (1913)

1986 Peter Norman n.a.; America, 1739 1217.3 p109 Coldham: Bonded Passengers to America

1987 John Norman n.a.; Maryland, 1722 1217.2 p209 Coldham: Bonded Passengers to America

1987 William Norman n.a.; Maryland, 1744 1217.2 p198 Coldham: Bonded Passengers to America

1987 Wm Norman n.a.: Maryland, 1743 3700 p117 Kaminkow and Kaminkow - Original Lists of Emigrants in Bondage from London to the American Colonies, 1717-1724

1988 William Norman n.a.; Rappahannock, 1217.9 p54 Coldham: Bonded Passengers to America VA, 1728

1999 John Norman; America, 1725 1220.12 p586 Coldham, P W: The Complete Book of
Emigrants in Bondage 1614-1775

1999 John Norman; Maryland, 1722 1220.12 p586 Coldham, P W: The Complete Book of
Emigrants in Bondage 1614-1775

1999 Peter Norman; America, 1739 1220.12 p586 Coldham, P W: The Complete Book of
Emigrants in Bondage 1614-1775

1999 William Norman; Ruppahannock, VA, 1728 1220.12 p586 Coldham, P W: The Complete Book of
Emigrants in Bondage 1614-1775

2000 John Norman; Died enroute, 1726 1229.10 p29 Coldham, Peter Wilson - The Kings
Passengers to MD & VA

2000 Peter Norman; Maryland, 1739 1229.10 p83 Coldham, Peter Wilson - The Kings
Passengers to MD & VA

2000 William Norman; Maryland, 1744 1229.10 p105 Coldham, Peter Wilson - The Kings
Passengers to MD & VA

2000 William Norman; Virginia, 1728 1229.10 p36 Coldham, Peter Wilson - The Kings
Passengers to MD & VA
================================================== ======
The following variations were searched: Noorman, Noormann, Norman, Normann, Mormen,
Normon, Norrmann.

Keep in mind that one person may have made several trips. Also, sometimes people with a middle name used their middle name as a first name, so it was researched that way too.

In that era it was considered each person's right to spell their name any way they saw fit -- or to change their given names and surnames -- making it difficult to track some people.

From what you've told us here, none of the folks in the above list sound terribly promising, but I'll leave that for you to decide.



Kathryn Norman
03-12-2008, 4:45 AM
Dear Deb:
I'm so sorry I didn't see the work you've done on my Norman Family until recently as I haven't been logging in to the B-G Forums for a couple of years..at least it seems that long.
I hope that you get to see this note....because I do appreciate your efforts on my behalf. I'm afraid my brickwall has discouraged me. I can't find John and his siblings' anywhere . The earliest record of John's whereabouts is in the book "The History of Orange County, New York" where he had been mentioned a couple of times as serving as Captain in the Rev. War.
The names with the places you supplied don't fit, I'm sorry to say. He was supposed to have gone to Albany, N.Y. first....as I had mentioned before, but there's no trace there either. But thank you again. The Padstow Normans are probably ours as they are the only Normans in Cornwall, at that time with our rather large name pattern....but the 70 missing years leave me hanging so I can't prove it....frustrating.
Thanks again, Deb. If I can be any help to you with your family let me know.

24-12-2008, 1:44 AM
Hi ya, Kathryn.

Thank you for your kind words. I know what it's like to get discouraged. It took me more than 2.5 years and many hours of almost constant research to find one missing link in the family. After that I stopped for quite some time. All that intensive research can be downright exhausting! :-)

I look for your Normans whenever I come across a new source of information. I feel very confident that they never made it as far north as Albany.

Just a few months ago I went to Albany's Hall of Records. They kept excellent records on deeds and land grants and estates, for both buyers and sellers. The books, dating as far back as the early 1600s (when it was mostly the Dutch who were here), are readily available to the public, well indexed and cross-referenced, ordered by year and, then, alphabetically by names on the documents.

I spent a good deal of time looking for your Normans. That's not a chore because it's fun to go through old records. There was only one Norman mentioned in any of the records -- I believe we discussed this in an earlier post -- belonging to a woman from a different Norman line.

When the Dutch were here in the 1600s, Albany was known as Fort Orange. In 1664 the Dutch surrendered to the British. When it was turned over to the Brits the city's name was changed to Albany. I think this is where someone conflated the town/city of Orange, NY (where your Normans lived, about 100 or so miles SSW of Albany) with the old name of Albany (known as Fort Orange before 1664/1665).

That, along with a complete lack of records in Albany for your Normans, leads me to believe that they never established any residency in Albany, if they were ever here at all. I don't think they would have had much reason to come this far north, since they settled along the NY/NJ border and later moved to NJ, so it seems they were always well south of Albany.

But, whenever I come across some book or collection of records that might provide a clue, I take a look. Maybe someday we'll solve the mystery.

Happy Holidays!