Saturday, April 11, 2015

How Do You Spell That? - 52 Ancestors #15

This week's optional prompt for the 52 ancestors in 52 weeks challenge is to write about an ancestor who one would imagine got asked frequently to spell his or her name or to choose and ancestor with an unusual name that makes researching challenging. Well, my tree certainly has no shortage of odd names and I've already written about a few of them. Most of the time, I find an unusual name makes researching easier. Much easier to find Abishag, Hazelelponi, Balthasar, or Theophilus than trying to sort out all the John Smiths in the colonies. My favorite odd surname is Gawkroger.

So who to write about...unfortunately unless they got into trouble with the law, the females are hard to find much that is interesting beyond their names: Coddeth, Goodith, Urith, Welthian, Wybra, and Wilmot.

How about immigrant Kenelm Winslow? He came from a family of early immigrants to Plymouth. His parents were Edward & Magdalen (Oliver) Winslow. His brothers included two Pilgrims, Edward, and Gilbert. Nice ordinary names. There were two other brothers, Josiah, and John. So where did the name Kenelm come from? Various baby-naming sites say the name is a combination of old English words meaning "bold or keen" and "helmet", an odd combination of words in my opinion. Saint Kenelm (or Cynehelm) was mentioned in The Canterbury Tales,  and the name was popular in medieval times.

Kenelm came from Droitwich, Worcestershire, England to Plymouth and moved to Marshfield by 1643. There is no immigration record for him, but he is listed in 1633 with his brother, Josiah and it is assumed that he arrived in 1631 since that is the date of Josiah's arrival.

Kenelm worked as a joiner and although there are no proven pieces of his furniture surviving today, there are a number of pieces from the period that give an idea of the work he would have done.

Joined chest, probably Marshfield, Ma., 1630-1700. Red oak, pine, iron handles.
H. 33-1/8, W. 44, D. 21-1/8 in.
Lent by Licut Henry Lee Watson. Courtesy of the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston.

Wainscot chair, Plymouth or Marshfield, Ma, ca. 1630-1645.
Red oak. H. 41-1/2, W. 24, D. 16-1/2 in. Gift of Abby Frothingham Winslow, 1882.
Courtesy of Pilgrim Hall Museum, Plymouth, Ma. PHM 944. Photography by J. David Bohl.

Table with drawer, probably Marshfield, Ma, 1650-1700. Oak, ash and white pine.
H. 23, W. of frame 34-3/4, D. of frame 18 in.
Courtesy of the National Museum of American History,
Smithsonian Institution, Behring Center, Washington, D.C.

In June 1635, Kenelm married Ellen (Newton) Adams, widow of John Adams. She lived to the age of 83 and was buried in Marshfield on December 5, 1681. 

He had a couple of run-ins with the law. In 1645, he was briefly jailed for fined 10 pounds. However, he quickly dropped his complaint involving his case against John Mynard. The next year, he was sued by Roger Chandler. It sounds like the Winslow family had hired Chandler's daughter but refused to return her clothes when her father refused to give his consent to her working for the Winslows. At the same time as the case involving Roger Chandler, Kenelm Winslow was ordered back to jail "for opprobrious words against the church of Marshfield, saying they were all liars, &c." and then refusing to provide sureties that it would not occur again.

The final two decades of his life were lived without any incidents that made the record books. Kenelm was buried at Salem on September 13, 1681.

Children of Kenelm & Ellen (Newton) (Adams) Winslow


  1. Kenelm was born about 1635 and married twice. His first wife was Mercy Worden and his second wife was Damaris Eames. 
  2. Ellen was born about 1636 and married Samuel Baker on December 20, 1656 in Marshfield. 
  3. Nathaniel was born about 1639 and married Faith Miller on August 3, 1664 in Marshfield.
  4. Job was born about 1641 and married Ruth (__)
Kenelm & Ellen (Newton) (Adams) Winslow
Nathaniel & Faith (Miller) Winslow
Nathaniel & Lydia (Snow) Winslow
Nathaniel & Thankful (Winslow) Keene - Cousins, see below
Snow & Rebecca (Burbank) Keene
John & Hannah (Keene) Cox
Timothy & Eunice (Rand) Cox
John Henry & Christiana (Cox) Cotton
Francis Llewellyn & Lizzie (Philbrick) Cotton
Ray Everett & Annie Florilla (Gibbs) Cotton
Fern Lyndell Cotton - my grandmother


Kenelm & Ellen (Newton) (Adams) Winslow
Samuel & Ellen (Winslow) Baker
Josiah & Lydia (Baker) Keene
Nathaniel & Thankful (Winslow) Keene



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