Family Re-Membering

I recently came into possession of this gem –

“Washburn Family Foundations in Normandy, England, and America”






I found this at Abe Books dot Com, a great place online to find old books. Some books there are precious and expensive, but others, although still being precious, are quite affordable, as this one was to me.

You can really knock yourself out tracing your family tree back through the ages. Trying to make all the dates match and the birth dates, death dates, names of children, names of various wives, etc., can make you turn prematurely white – or can make your already nearly-white hair go completely so!

I overdid it the other day looking for my ancestors on my mother’s father’s side. I had already traced my mother’s family on her mother’s side before this, but really only went back to the 1500s in England for those Ingersoll members of the clan.

These Washburns/Washbournes, etc., just seemed to go on forever… changing over to French names after a while and then to Norwegians. When I started finding relatives who just went by one name, like “Ivar,” “Magnus,” and “Olaf” – well I only continued a little further and then stopped at “Heytir Heytsson,” born 680 in Romsdal, Norway. It’s hard for me to comprehend a family being tallied along all those years and miles that far – one thousand three hundred thirty four years! I will give to you what I have but will omit the dates and little notes that I’ve included in my own list here. The Washburns – from my Mom back to Heytir Heytsson – for good or bad, for richer or for poorer, in sickness and in health, here they all are, starting from the very oldest, the longest-dead of them all in Norway:

The Washbourne – Washburn Family

Norway, England and America

The Norway Contingent:

1. Heytir Heytsson

b. 680 a.d. in Romsdalen, Rauma, More og Romsdal, Norway

2. Svidri Heytsson

3. Sveide “The Sea-King” Sviadrasson

4. Hingmar (Ivar)

5. Arailt (Harold)

6. Olaf

7. Magnus

8. Ivar

The French Contingent:

(Note: History of the Hauteville family.)

9. Hialti Seigneur de Hauteville

10. Guiscard Seigneur de Hauteville

11. Count Tancred The Viking Seighneur de Hauteville

12. Gerard Tancred Seighneur de Hauteville

13. Rabel Tancred de Hauteville

b. circa 955 in Hauteville-sur-Mer, Manche, Lower Normandy, France

14. Gerald de Tankerville (d’Abitot)

b. circa 990 in Tancarville, Seine-Maritime, Upper Normandy, France

15. Almeric de Abitot

b. 1020 in Normandy, France

16. Urse d’Abitot (or d’Abetot) (1040 – 1108)

And here begins the English contingent:

17. Roger D’Abitot, son of Urse d’Abitot.

18. William de Estham

is believed to have been William son of Ernaldus (aka Urse, see above) who received the fief in Herefordshire

19. Samson was named as son of William (son of Ernaldus)

20. William de Estham, son of Samson,

was said by historian Thos. Habingdon, a friend/neighbor of the family of Washbourne from whom descends the Washburn family of America, to have been Lord of Washbourne in the reign of King Henry II (1154-1189).

21. Sampson De Estham

22. Sir Roger, [1st] Lord of Washbourne

b. ~ 1219 in Little Washbourne, Worcestershire, England. The 1st Sir Roger, Lord of Washbourne is the first known authentic ancestor of this family. He is mentioned in an Inquisition of 1259, concerning William de Stutevil, and in the Subsidy Roll of 1280 he is described as of Little Comberton and of Washbourne, as well as of Stanford. Stanford was on the other side of Worcestershire from Washbourne, about twenty-five miles in direct line. He was living in 1299. Also, “The family of “Washbournes were Lords of Stanford, and that Sir Roger de Washbourne held in Stanford what his father, Sir John de Washbourne, formerly held. Stanford passed to John Solway in his marriage to Isolde Washborne about 1400 A.D.

23. Sir Roger, [2nd] Lord of Washbourne

24. John de Dufford Washbourne

25. Roger De Washbourne

26. John De Washbourne

27. Peter Washbourne

28. John Washbourne

29. Norman Washbourne

30. John Washbourne or Washburn

31. John Washbourne (Wassheburne)

32. John Washbourne

33. John Washburn

34. John Washburn Jr.

John Washburn, a descendant sailed to the Plymouth Colony in Massachusetts in the 17th century. He later married Elizabeth Mitchell who was the granddaughter of Francis Cooke, who sailed to America on the Mayflower.

35. John Washburn III

36. Samuel Washburn

37. Noah Washburn

38. Eleazar (or Eliezer) Washburn

39. Alden Washbur

40. (John) Alden Washburn

41. Capt. Zadock S. Washburn

42. Albert Z(adock) Washburn

43A. Frederick Washburn (My Grandfather)

43B. Roger Washburn (brother of Frederick above)

44A. Robert Washburn

44B. Janet Washburn (My Mother) b. 1925 d. 2001

Wow, I hope I haven’t messed that up royally. Anyway, it’s still a work in progress. But this is what I’ve uncovered so far.

The thing is, only a few weeks ago, or maybe a few months ago, I didn’t even know the name of my great grandfather – Albert Z. Washburn. Turns out he was a mucky-muck (one of my favorite words!) in the Cities of Boston and West Medford, MA. I wish I could go back and be transformed into a fly on the wall of history and see them going about their daily lives.

Now I’m wondering if all our blogs and journals will keep on in perpetuity so that one day, many decades, many generations from now, someone will find them and read all about our day-to-day lives, our fears, our happinesses, our little lives… and marvel at them, the same way I am marveling at just knowing the simple names of those who went before me.

washburn-zadock-gravestone washburn-eleazar-gravestone

Gravestones of Zadock Washburn (left) and Eleazar Washburn(right)



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Check out my other blog, “From the Hawthorne Tree”

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Pages from the American Notebooks, Nathaniel Hawthorne

Passages from Hawthorne’s English Notebooks

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2003 – Present Archives at Diaryland

2007 – 2009 Archives at WordPress

2009 Archives at JournalScape

2010 Archives at JournalScape

2011 Archives at JournalScape

2012 Archives at JournalScape

2013 Archives at JournalScape

2014 Archives at JournalScape

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10 Responses to Family Re-Membering

  1. AJB says:

    In your posted Pedigree you wrote: And here begins the English contingent:
    17. Roger D’Abitot, son of Urse d’Abitot.
    Yes, Roger d’Abitot was the documented son of Urse.

    18. William de Estham
    is believed to have been William son of Ernaldus (aka Urse, see above) who received the fief in Herefordshire
    19. Samson was named as son of William (son of Ernaldus)
    Yes! Urse (Urso) d’ Abitot was father of Roger but we have no documentation that Roger d’Abitot was father of anyone. He was most certainly not father of the de Esthams and the de Esthams were not the ancestors of any of the de Washbournes of Stanford, Worcestershire.

    Many well-known books and contemporary internet pages, pertaining to the history of the armigerous Washbourne family of Worcestershire, state that these Washbournes were also known as de Estham. Mabel Thacher Rosemary Washburn wrote: “It seems beyond question that our ancestors, soon to be surnamed “de Washbourne” were named also, in this early period, “de Estham”.”

    The purely theoretical and unsubstantiated idea that the Washbournes were Esthams has its origin in the Ernaldus Charter, dated to circa 1145 which states: Ernaldus de Powis dedi concessi Willelmo filio meo terram meam de la hida in feudo in hereditate. Translated: Ernaldus de Powis is giving some of his land to his younger son William de Powis.

    The land given by Ernaldus to his son William was located in La Hida (near Hide Ash, Leominster, Herefordshire) about 15 miles from Estham, the Parish of Estham, Worcestershire.

    William de Powis, son of Ernaldus, was not William de Estham. This conflation can be traced to the book Washburn Family Foundations in Normandy, England and America by Mabel Thacher Rosemary Washburn. On page 39, Mabel tells us that a man named Ernaldus of Powis conveyed land, that he held under Ralf de Toeni, to his younger son, William, with the consent of his eldest son Walter and Walter’s brothers, Roger and Urse. That is all quite true.

    But then Mabel goes off the rails: “The conveyance was made to his son William, called ‘de Estham.'” But the conveyance of land was made to Ernaldus’ son William de Powis, not to the witness William de Estham.
    His testibus … Waltero filio Ernaldi de Powis. Rogero Urso fraters sui (sic).

    … Villelmo de Estham Sansone filio eius.
    Translated: Among the witnesses are the eldest son of Ernaldus, Walter, and Walter’s brothers Roger and Urse. Notice how clearly the Charter tells us that these are the children of Ernaldus, the eldest son and his two brothers. Four other witnesses are then listed before we come to William of Estham and his son Samson. Unlike the actual children of Ernald, this William is not so identified. He and his son are just two more witnesses. At this time period, where your name appeared in the witness list indicated how important you were. If William of Estham had also been a son of Ernaldus, he would have been listed right next to the other brothers Roger and Urse…but he wasn’t; he falls four names down in the witness list.
    Some Washbourne researchers have assumed that because Samson of the Ernaldus charter and Sampson of Little Washbourne (documented in the ‘The Red Book of Worcester’) were contemporaries, that they must also be one and the same man; therefore Sampson of Little Washbourne was the Samson of the Ernaldus Charter and hence an Estham. The discovery of a passage in Regesta Anglo-Normannorum, 1066-1154, Vol.III, revealed that the father of Samson of Little Washbourne was not named William, rather he was a man named Godard. Therefore, Sampson of Little Washbourne was not the son of William de Estham.

    This conflation of beneficiary and witness, while in error, is one thing, but Mabel goes further. On page 28, she declares, without a shred of primary evidence, that Ernald de Powis was actually “Roger, son of Urse [d’Abitot]” in disguise! Wonderful story! But, there is absolutely no evidence at all that Ernaldus de Powis was also Roger d’Abitot. In fact, there is evidence that he was not.

    Because Mabel decided, all by herself, that Ernaldus was Roger d’Abitot and father of William de Estham and because we have the Washbourne names William, Samson, Roger (all common Norman names not unique to Washbournes) Mabel waves her magic wand and the Esthams become the Washbournes. But it is not true at all. Samson was the son of Godard. Case Closed.



  2. Anonymous says:

    Below, please find documentation for the first three generations holding land at Little Washbourne, Bredon, Oswaldslow Hundred, Worcestershire. Their names were Godard, Samson and William.

    Dated c. 1137-1139 Regista regum Anglo-Normannorum: Concedo et confirmo donationem Godardi et Samsonis filii ijus de decima de Wassebryna
    I grant and confirm the gift of Godard and Samson, his son, concerning the tithes of Little Washbourne.

    1163 Feoda William de Bello Campo (Beauchamp)
    …Wasseburne III h g et Samson de eo Samson is holding three hides in Little Washbourne of William de Beauchamp.

    1182 Liber Rubeus Bredon, Little Washbourne: …Willelmus filius Sampson in Wasseburne iii hidas geldant William the son of Samson is holding 3 hides in Little Washbourne.

    While these men were not yet using the surname de Washbourne, extensive, documented research into generations of land holdings strongly suggests that these men were the ancestors of the Armigerous de Washbourne family later seated at Stanford on Teme, Orleton and Wichenford.

    Nothing in the primary records suggests that these men were directly linked to anyone called ‘de Estham’ or d’Abitot. All of this is a fantasy first published in the 1953 book Washburn Family Foundations in Normandy, England and America by Mabel Thacher Rosemary Washburn. Mabel indulges in pure speculation with zero reference back to the primary records – i.e actual factual history. William the son of Samson appears to have been the father of the first recorded person to use the Washbourne surname. He was a Knight and Coroner of Worcestershire and his name was William de Washbourne. He died shortly before 1238/9. His son William held the Washbourne lands in Stanford on Teme and Orleton; William’s son Roger is the Sir Roger you have listed as #22 above. Roger was NOT a son of Samson de Estham, he was son and heir of the William de Washbourne of Stanford who died just prior to 1255. Court records prove this beyond a shadow of a doubt. Sir Roger was the father of his heir Sir John of Stanford (sometimes called de Defford). Sir John was the father of his 1st heir Sir Roger. Sir Roger’s son and heir John died sp and the fee reverted back to John’s uncle Peter. So your list should read as follows: 1. Godard 2. Samson 3. William 4. William de Washbourne Knight and Coroner of Worcestershire dead before 1238/9 5. William de Washbourne of Stanford 6. Roger de Washbourne of Stanford 7. John de Washbourne (This John’s first son and heir Roger’s first son and heir John died s.p. so the Washbourne line does not descend from him but rather from #8 his uncle Peter. 8. Peter de Washbourne 9. John de Washbourne 10. Norman de Washbourne 11. John de Washbourne died 1517 12. John de Washbourne died 1546 in Bengeworth, Worcestershire. Please see the next message box for a discussion of whether or not John of Bengeworth was the true son of John de Washbourne d. 1517. This lineage of 12 generations is the true lineage of the Washbournes of Worcestershire based upon a close study of the primary records, to date. I hope that you will consider changing your web site to reflect the true facts and not fantasies. ajb


  3. AJB says:

    Please see my recent post at the link below. Mabel T.R. Washburn’s book was incorrect. Sampson/Samson of Little Washbourne’s father was not William de Estham. He was a man named Godard. We cannot use the Ernaldus Charter to prove descent from Urse d’Abitot.!topic/soc.genealogy.medieval/HY3NymFfchQ


  4. Eric Mayer says:

    This is amazing! All the way back to 680! Cripes, that is only shortly after the death of Byzantine emperor Justinian. I suspect the fact that the family had some very prominent members helped insofar as peasants and farmers etc might not be recorded. (My family probably)

    Digital stuff and the Internet theoretically could last forever but as a practical matter probably will vanish far more quickly then paper records what with the speed of technological change. I can’t even read my own floppy disks from twenty years ago.


  5. Bex says:

    Gee, sorry Christos! I didn’t pick my ancestors! Maybe my branch of the de Hautvilles wasn’t the same one that robbed you! I only hope so.

    I looked this up, and discovered all this:

    History of the Hauteville Family

    I must say that my list does correspond to a lot of what’s on this page. That really gets me going! Thanks Christos!


    • AJB says:

      How do we know that Peter de Washbourne was the brother of the Roger II and not the son of Roger II’s second son named John? We know this because of the following court case:

      1368 • Washbourne, Worcester, England
      De Banco Hillary 42 Ed III Wygorn – John son of Peter de Wasseburne, sued Katrine, formerly wife of John, son of Roger de Wasseburne, for the Manor of Wasseburne.

      (Plea Rolls Worcestershire, De Banco, Hillary. 42 Ed. 3 m. 50 dorso.) “…John son of Peter de Wasseburne…claims against Katherine (Katrine) who was the wife of John, son of Roger de Wasseburne, the manor of Wasseburne Militis…because John [husband of Katherine] died without an heir himself, the fee reverted to Peter his Uncle and Heir to wit as the brother of Roger the father of the aforesaid John, son of Roger. And from Peter the fee descended to this John the son of Peter who now claims as son and heir.”

      John de Washbourne (de Defford) son of Roger I has a son and heir also named Roger or Roger II in the pedigree. This Roger II’s son and heir was named John. This John married Katherine (Katrine) but died before he had any children. In this 1368 court case, John’s widow Katherine/Katrine is suing Peter de Washbourne’s son John for the manor of Little Washbourne. The court records describe Peter as John’s uncle and so the brother of Roger II and NOT Roger II’s second son named John. False pedigrees appear to have been made up, even appearing in the later Visitations, in order to create a stronger male line of descent for the fees of the Washbourne manors which, as we see in this court case, were subject to constant legal challenge. But, Peter was Roger II’s brother not his grandson.

      Roger I was the father of John. John was the father of Roger II and Peter. Roger II’s line died out and so the fees of the manors reverted back up the line to Peter, Roger II’s brother. Peter then has John, seen above suing Katrine for Washbourne, and John has Norman. ajb


      • AJB says:

        Sorry, I wrote: “In this 1368 court case, John’s widow Katherine/Katrine is suing Peter de Washbourne’s son John for the manor of Little Washbourne. in this court case,” In this case, it is actually John who is suing Katrine.


  6. Christos G. Makrypoulias says:

    So, you are a descendant of the Hauteville family, whose member Robert Guiscard robbed us (i.e. the Byzantines) of S. Italy in the late eleventh century! Interesting!


  7. Bex, This is really some project you have undertaken. I am really very surprised you can go as far back as you have. I did not know records were kept so very long ago. I guess I never gave it much thought.

    Of course thanks for sharing and keeping us updated. It is fascinating!


  8. sandy freel says:

    WOW….even the tombstones you have to show us…thanks for all the hard work you did to put this together for us to view.


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