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Research on the origin of Matthew Stanley (1630-1686)

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Research on the origin of Matthew Stanley (1630-1686)

Postby srstanley12 » Sun Feb 12, 2012 2:14 am

I am researching Matthew Stanley's English origins. He is said to have been about 14 years old when he arrived in New England, possibly as early as 1633-34 and possibly on the Winthrop flagship the Arbella/Arabella, on a subsequent voyage to the 1630 one that brought the Governor Winthrop party originally. Undocumented reports say that the Arbella, sometimes called the Arabella, came from England and picked up passengers in the Netherlands, subsequently arriving in Dorchester, MA. Matthew is said to have married Elizabeth___ in 1642? and produced three children by her: William (b.1643?), Elizabeth (b.1644?) and Samuel (b.1646?) who died as an infant along with his mother. There are no marriage or birth records, but William and Elizabeth are mentioned in Matthew's 1686 will.

The first documented record of Matthew was in Lynn, MA in the Salem Court Records of 1649. He married Ruth Andrews (Step-daughter of John Tarbox of Lynn, MA) in that year and moved to Topsfield, MA around 1659, where he lived until his death. Matthew's sons were named William, Jonathan, Samuel (a second Samuel), Joseph, and Benjamin. His daughters were Elizabeth, Hannah, Sarah, Abigail and Rebecca. Matthew was a yoeman farmer and a weaver by trade and listed as a commoner in the early New England records. He settled in an area where many immigrants from East Anglia came as well as many from the London area.

If the presumed birthdate of 1620 is about right, other Matthew Stanleys listed in the IGI are probably not him:

- Matthew Stanley(b.1603) of St. Andrew's Plymouth,

Devonshire who married Frances Fuge in 1627.

- Matthew, son of John, b. 1608 at St. Dunstan's Stepney;

- Matthew Staueley, b. 1623, son of John, of St. Peter’s, in Briggate, Leeds, Yorkshire

- Matthew, son of George of St. Bride's Fleet St., b. 1638;

One most interesting possibility comes from the 1621 Archdeaconry of Suffolk will of Margery Staneley of Pettistree, Suffolk, the widow of The Rev. Leonard Stanley, the late vicar of that parish who died in 1620. Margery Browne (widow of a Henry Browne) married Leonard Stanley in 1581 in Aldringham, Suffolk. They had two

children, John (b.1582) and a daughter Charitie, both born in Aldringham. Margery mentions three children by her first marriage, Reginald and Emme Browne and Margery Browne Shanke. Margery does not mention her two Stanley children (perhaps they had died) but does leave some funds to her grandson, Matthew Stanley, for when he turns 17, "if he lives." This Matthew must be the

son of John Stanley (sometimes recorded as Staneley or even Staveley). But I have found no further record of John indicating his adult whereabouts or his marriage. This Suffolk connection might be a possible avenue of investigation, but a thorough IGI search has produced no Matthew Stanleys in Suffolk, although there are records of many Stanleys there in the first half of the 17th C. and later. A recent communication indicated that although the town of Pettistree is located in the Archdeaconry of Suffolk, the records for that vicarage were kept in the Diocese of Norfolk! This might be worth further investigation.

One undocumented source (Blake Family Records) says that Matthew was an orphan when he came to New England, as a passenger or perhaps an indentured servant or even a shipmate on the Winthrop flagship Arbella/Arabella, which may have also picked up passengers in the Netherlands, before landing in Dorchester, MA. This source also claims that the orphaned Matthew may have been adopted by the Winthrop family, but this claim is only attributed to “other sources.”

The name of Matthew Stanley’s first son William and two sons named Samuel may indicate family member's names, possibly a Grandfather of this name, but this is not certain. Another undocumented report says he came on the Arbella with a Thomas Stanley, who may have been a brother. There was a port record from London of a Thomas Stansley, age 16, who came to New England around 1635 (not the Thomas of Kent, who was older). A record of the Daggett family history claims that Matthew was an “early settler” on Martha’s Vineyard, but without attribution or source. A deeper look into Daggett or Martha’s Vineyard records might shed some light on this puzzling claim and if substantiated, might lead to some possible association with early Vineyard immigrant families.

No records have shown any connection to the three older Stanley brothers of Kent, Thomas, Timothy, and John (who died en route), who sailed in 1634 and settled in Hartford, Conn. A number of Stanley research sites of claim that Matthew, based on incorrectly merged family records in the International Genealogy Index, allege that Matthew was the grandson of the John Stanley from Kent by his son John, Jr. and Sarah Scott, Matthew being born in 1640. This cannot be the same Matthew married in Lynn, MA in 1649. Nor has any connection been made with Christopher and Susanna Stanley who came to Boston in 1634. Others speculate that Matthew Stanley was a relation of George Stanley, 17th Century immigrant of Beverly, Massachusetts, whose line continued in Maine. No proof of this connection has been produced.

In addition to exploring the possible Suffolk connection, I would like to try to verify if, in fact, the Arbella did make a return voyage to New England in 1633-34. There appears to be no existent passenger record, but there seems to be a reasonable probability that there were subsequent voyages of the Arbella/Arabella, as it was commissioned to carry immigrant passengers to America. Some sources claim that two prominent early New Englanders, Andrew Ward of Suffolk and Deacon Samuel Wright of St. Dunstan's Stepney (London) came on the Arbella/Arabella in 1633/34. No proof has yet been found, from claims made on some Ward and Wright family sites.

I continue to investigate the possible Suffolk connection to Vicar Leonard Staneley (d.1620) and his wife Margery, widow of Henry Brown(e) (she was married to Leonard in 1581 and produced two children, John(athan) (b. 1582 in Aldringham) and Charity (d.1608 in Pettistree). This surname is possibly a variant spelling of Staveley or Staueley, which has caused many similar records to be confused) of Aldringham and Pettistree, as well as a Ripon, Yorkshire connection for Vicar Leonard’s ancestry. One researcher has speculated that Leonard’s father was William, a merchant from Ripon Park, who may have lived in London. Matthew seems to have settled near some Suffolk families in New England and his weaver’s trade might suggest East Anglian heritage, but those hints are largely circumstantial, at best. One old passenger record of 1632, has a John and Mary Stanley, both age 50, returning to “Leyden, to their abode” in the Netherlands. This is the right birth year for Leonard’s son John, but no further connection has been deduced and no records of English settlers in the Netherlands has shown this name, although further research may be possible.

This is the extent of my knowledge and twenty years of speculation. I am most grateful for all the family history partners who have assisted my efforts thus far. I would appreciate any further assistance that would help identify the origin and parentage of Matthew Stanley of Lynn and Topsfield, MA.

Happy Hunting to all, Stephen Stanley
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Joined: Sun Feb 12, 2012 2:06 am

Re: Research on the origin of Matthew Stanley (1630-1686)

Postby jstanley » Mon Oct 07, 2019 1:39 pm

Stephen I appreciate you are researching Matthew's English roots. However, I am still trying to connect Matthew to William Stanley B 1685, Kittery, ME. I am fairly confident William is the son of Matthew's son John, but cannot find anything to prove it yet. I am hopeful you may be able to point me in the right direction to find this data.

Also, why do you and many others say Matthew's son is Jonathan, when Matthew's will clearly lists his son as John? Am I missing something?

Your thoughts and consideration will be much appreciated.

John Stanley (William my 8x grandfather)
Posts: 1
Joined: Mon Oct 07, 2019 1:29 pm

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