70 – Elizabeth Search Redux

In May 2018, Celia Cotton offered to help me reboot my search for Elizabeth Jarvis in England.

At the time, I didn’t know about the DNA match with Louise Longworth. So all Celia had to go on was our “problem statement”.

Our ancestor Elizabeth Jarvis was likely from England, likely a Quaker, and likely immigrated to Pennsylvania around 1682. She had two children. Her husband likely died on the voyage to Pennsylvania or shortly after arrival.

Problem Statement – Elizabeth Jarvis Search

You gotta start somewhere

OK, where? I was searched out.

Celia began to ask questions. Not necessarily questions of me, but questions like “Where were Jarvises found in England?” or “Where was Ruth a popular forename?” “Where did Pennsylvania township names originate in England?”

And for each question Celia would develop an extensive study, with charts, maps, arguments, and conclusions. She made many studies.

Let’s look at a few interesting examples.

Where were Jarvises In England?

Celia mapped the location of Jarvises using wills, birth/marriage/death, Quaker sufferings, etc over various time periods. She made lots of data maps.

Jarvis – Wills, Marriages, BMD, sailing ports – 17th Century – Celia Cotton

Where were Josephs and Ruths?

What about the names Joseph and Ruth? Are they common? Are they Quaker names?

Here the names Ruth and Joseph from the 1881 census are plotted on maps. It certainly shows some overlap of popularity in the North and West Midlands. But it’s 1881, not 1680. Is it relevant? Sure, we’ll consider this in context of all other research.

Where were Quakers?

Where were Quakers in England? What ports did the ships sail from?

Were Pennsylvania townships named after places in England?

Some Pennsylvania townships and settlements were named after places in England. Where are those places?

With these data, Celia has plotted the place names in Chester County, Pennsylvania that are derived from place names in England. For example, settlers in Pennsylvania may have named Chester County after Chester (Cheshire) County in England. It was popular for a settlement to be named after the immigrant’s locality in the old country.

Where are Elizabeth’s neighbors from?

Can we trace the origins of some of Elizabeth’s Pennsylvania neighbors?

Where possible, Celia analyzed where Elizabeth’s Chester County, Pennsylvania neighbors came from in England.

Neighbors of Elizabeth – Origins in England

In one analysis, the results showed a bias for a band of northern counties in England – Lancashire, Cheshire, West Yorkshire, Derbyshire, Berkshire, and Wiltshire.

Who applied for land when Elizabeth did?

Maybe people that applied for land in Pennsylvania at the same time Elizabeth did were with her on the voyage.

Here’s a map of Elizabeth’s land in Middletown Township Pennsylvania. 

Notice that the survey dates for several of the neighbors are in the same date range as Elizabeth’s survey. Oswin Musgrave’s parcel was surveyed on the same day.  So perhaps Musgrave is a contemporary.

Is it Jarvis or Jervis or Gervis or…

We found a variety of spellings – Jarvis, Jervis, Gervis, etc. And they weren’t just spelling anomalies; different spellings were distributed in different counties.

For example, look at the densities in the map below for two of the most prevalent spellings – Jarvis and Jervis.

We’ll learn more about Jarvis name variations in the next post.

Nibbles Extra Credit

Meet Celia Cotton

Hi, Celia. Where do you live?

I live in Leicester with my husband Richard. Leicester is about 100 miles northwest of London.

Where did you grow up?

I grew up in Eastcote, part of John Betjeman’s Metroland, and moved to North Yorkshire – Knaresborough – when I was 9. This has an ancient castle and deep river valley, with many paths, ginnels and tracks: a magical place for a 9-year old to explore.

What were you doing when you were 30?

When I was 30, I was busy working in IT and at weekends helping my husband do up our neglected 1920s house.

We holidayed in Brittany spending a fortnight in gites – simple cottages in rural parts. The kitchen of one had its original mud floor and we watched a procession of ants form between their nest and our jar of marmalade.  We also stayed near Wolfsburg, Germany on a VW Club trip.

What are some of your favorite things?

My favorite things are the countryside: butterflies, birds, plants, animals and walking…

Thanks to my mother and also Flora Thompson, whose Lark Rise I read as a youngster; I have always enjoyed puzzle solving too, so am in my element with family history  

And how about un-favorite things?

I don’t like littering, confrontation, dishonesty, formality, the pollution of the air, countryside, rivers and seas

And you like gardening and nature, right?

Celia Cotton

I like gardening and nature getaways. You’re right!

Also research into people and places, although I will often research from scratch in preference to reading someone else’s research. I like to make the discovery, even if I am not the first to do so.

Also sourdough bread; my ferment dates from mid-2013!

Genetic genealogy is also a growing interest.

What’s you’re favorite restaurant or pub in Leicester?

My favorite local restaurant is Boboli’s because there is a sense of occasion going there coupled with informality – no need to dress up; it’s Italian and the food is good.

How did you become a historian and genealogist?

How I got interested in history and genealogy. I loathed history at school and took studied sciences from the age of 13. I met husband Richard at Leicester University and it is he who got me interested in research.  Roots was published at around this time and saw the setting up of local family history societies and the taking off of genealogical research.

In the mid-1970s we used to hitchhike from Leicester to London to find BMD certificates and look at censuses: hard work and rather protracted.

After graduating we tried to establish a genealogy business from the Tree House, as we called our rented upstairs flat, but it was not viable. We carried on doing research during most of the last 40+ years and I studied for an MA in English Local History in 2012-2014. Flora Thompson sparked my interest in the history of ordinary people although I didn’t realise it at the time.

Thanks Celia.


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