Monday, May 18, 2015

A State of Confusion: My Battle with the St.John Family

I have neglected one of my ancestral families for awhile in the posts. The reason is a state of confusion over the origins of that family - the St. Johns.

It rings a bit of my battle with my Crail family. With crucial information missing on James B. Crail Jr. and Mary A. Jones and inconsistencies in details supplied by some Crail researchers, I haven't been able to fully accept the Crail line.

There are basically two schools of thought on the origins of the St. John family. One has the family originating in Wales. The other offers an origin in the Spanish Netherlands [modern day Antwerp, Belgium]. Both are heavily documented. The question is - Which one is correct?

First, the basic background on the immigrant ancestor, Matthias St. John/Sension. Matthias was born in London in 1601. He married Mary Tinker in New Windsor, Berkshire, England in 1627. Matthias, Mary and their three children sailed for America in late 1633 or early 1634. They settled in Dorchester, Massachusetts Bay Colony. Matthias died in Norwalk, Fairfield, Connecticut in 1669. The St. Johns had spent time residing in Windsor, Wethersfield and Hartford as well.

The St. John surname itself added to the mystery. Sension, Sention, Senchon, Sentyon and St. John were all used in records generated on the family. "Sin-jun" is a rough approximation of the English pronunciation. [Sinclair, for example, is a variation of St. Clair.]

It was a periodical article that ignited a renewed interest in the St. Johns. (to be continued)

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