Tuesday, June 30, 2015

2014: Dutch or Welsh? That was the Question

2014: The goal was to determine the ancestral heritage of immigrant Mathias St. John. An article had appeared in the April NEHGS Register documenting the ancestry of Mathias St. John/Sension as being Dutch [or Belgian], with the surname being Santken. A website under development  proclaimed that Mathias was Welsh. [consultants: Claire Brisson-Banks & John Kitzmiller]

This was my first venture into strictly non-U.S. research at Salt Lake. The material documented in the Santken article was easy to locate. The material, primarily from the Dutch Reformed Church records of London and St. Olave's Silver Street, supported the author's idea that Mathias St. John was the son of Christian/Christopher and the grandson of Mathias. Likewise, the bulk of the material presented supporting the Welsh lineage was accessible. The St. Olave's records were key here as well.

Both lines hinged on the baptismal record of Mathias, the immigrant, at St. Olave's, Silver Street in 1601.

It became clear that two lines were being researched. (1) The Dutch Satken line of Mathias, Chritopher and Mathias. (2) Mathias, Christopher, Thomas and Christopher. The two Christophers had different birth dates, Dutch - about 1575 and Welsh - about 1581.

The key documents missing were probate files for Christopher [Welsh] and the any of the Dutch line.

Also key was the definition of Stranger in London during the 16th and 17th centuries. The Santkens were identified as Strangers in several records. Were the Welsh considered Strangers? Unification had made the Welsh citizens, but it was agued that Christopher considered himself a Norman, thus qualified. The Dutch were clearly Strangers.

My inclination at the end of the week was in support of the Santken article. However, further evidence could sway me to the Welsh.

It was a worthwhile experience, but brutal! :)-

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