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Ancestry of Robert Adams

January 14, 2010

This is the ancestry of Robert Adams of Newbury according to the Essex Antiquarian and a Xeroxed article* which appears to be taken from a library as it has a call number of ADAMS, 4432.152. It could possibly be a National Archives call number. The author is Mrs. Lydia Adams-Williams of Washington, D.C.  She claims it is a true and authentic history of the Adams family.

1. Sir John Ap Adam of Beaverston and Tidenham. Lord Ap Adam, by writ, who was led to Parliament by Edward, Baron of the Realm, 1296-1307. He came out of the marches or borders of Wales into Devonshire. Lords of the Marches were noblemen who in the early days in (has)led and secured the Marches of Wales and Scotland, ruling as independent Kings with their private laws.
Married Elizabeth de Gournai who was related to all the ruling houses of Europe.
Sir John Ap Adam’s estates were large, not only in his own right, but he received valuable estates from his wife. Their stories are found in many books on (Heraldry) and peerages. He was engaged in the Scottish wars. There remains to this day a beautiful stained glass window in his memory in the Church in Tidenham, with his name, coat-of-arms and the date in the upper part. His coat-of-arms is ducal coronet, a demi. This means that on a silver background was a red cross which extended from the top to the bottom and each side, and on this cross were 5 golden stars. The crest as given in…Chaim’s Crests was the head and principal part of the body of a lion…pant guardant, that is, erect and right paw raised and full faced…the upper part of a Gothic window in Tidenham Church, near Chebstow, the name of Lord Ap Adam, 1318, and “arms argent on a cross, gules, fuve mullets Or” are still to be found, beautifully executed in stained glass of great thickness and in perfect preservation. This church, still in a good state of preservation originally stood within the boundary of Wales, but at a later period the boundary line was changed, and it now stands on English soil.
Children of Sir John Ap Adam and Elizabeth de Gournai were:
a. Sir Thomas Ap Adam who married and had issue
b. Sir John (2) Ap Adam
c. William Ap Adam who married and had issue
d. Sir Roger Ap Adam of Lancashire
2. Sir John Ap Adam, Knight (and heir to his father) Son:
3. William Ap Adam (married and had issue) Son:
4. Sir John Ap Adam (married and had issue) Son:
5. Thomas Ap Adam (Sir, Knight) who married Lady Jane Inge, daughter and heiress of Sir John Inge. Son:
6. Sir John Ap Adam, Knight, who married Lady Millicent, daughter of Sir Mathew Bessylls, Knight Son:
7.** Sir John Ap Adam, name changed to Adams, (the prefix “ap” dropped and “s” added instead) married Clara, daughter and co-heir of Roger Powell. Son:
8. Roger Adams married Jane, daughter of Mr. Elliot. Son:
9. Thomas Adams married Maria, daughter of Mr. Upton. Son:
10. John Adams married Jane Benneleigh (Renneigh) Son:
11. John Adams married Catherine, daughter of Mr. Stebbing. Children:
a. Nicholas who married and had issue:
b. John
c. George who married and had issue:
12. John Adams who married Margaret, daughter and heiress of Mr. Squier
13. Richard Adams (b- Abt 1530) married Margaret Armager. This Richard had two sons, Robert and William. William married _____ Barrington and had two children, Sir Thomas and Henry, who came to New England in 1634 and settled in Braintree, becoming the ancestors of the Presidents.
14. Robert Adams married Elizabeth Shirland (Sharlon)
15. Robert Adams married Eleanor Wilmot and came to New England and settled in Ipswich in 1635, Salem 1638-9, and removed to Newbury in 1640.

The important facts and all dates in the above outline are taken from printed works. Much information was derived from Henry Whittemore’s book, The History of the Adams Family, published by William McDonald, NY 1893. The Book of Dignities, compiled by Joseph Hayden; and The History and Survey of London, by William Maitland, London, 1756.


Following is an abstract of the will of Robert Adams, Emigrant of Newbury and cousin of Henry Adams, ancestor of the Presidents, as extracted from the Essex Antiquarian, Vol. II, No. 2, dated Salem, MA, February 1898:

To be buried according to the disposing of executors. Loving wife Sarah*** confirmed in the agreement I made with her before marriage and having allowed her the annuity belonging to her by the will of her former husband which she had reserved to her own proper use, I do allow it to her and her right not to be questioned; also I give her my great chest and the highest chair in the room wherein we live, both of which she is to restore again at her death, or if she shall marry again, also all the money I leave, and not to be accountable to any [one] to live and dwell in the house, enjoying the parlor for one year. To eldest son, John Adams (beside what has been give him). L29 to be paid by executor within 12 months. To son Isaac Adams, L5 by the year [b]ring life in good merchantable pay, [my] English corn, pork, and beef and such be also my wearing clothes and the…in the north garret and all the furniture belonging to it, and the…brass pot and pot hooks an…rty to make use of said garret during life, unless he marry, then he shall leave it. To son Jacob Adams, the house he lives in and the land adjoining to it as now fenced in, also all the meadow in the neck on the south side of Newbury River. To daughter Hannah Adams, L29 within a year. To Hannah and her child, the bed and furniture to it in the parlor and the larger brass pot, and the chest and the chair which is formerly mentioned when returned…to have said legacy when full 18 years of age or to be married. To daughter Elizabeth, wife of Edward Phelps, one cow. To daughter Joanna, wife of Lancelot Granger, one cow. To daughter Mary, wife of Jeremiah Goodrich, one cow. To the three sons of my son Abraham, viz., Robert, Abraham and Isaac, each a…, and to the two elder, a sword, all the rest of effects to son Abraham…ns. lands after his death to go the to the oldest son, Robert, also the great kettle, tables, a…s [andirons] and spit…[…] him and his son Robert to…executors of will. Son Abraham will have full power to act alone as…[he sees fit?] till his son Robert be of age…hought [appoint?] Robert Adams my heir after his father. Mary, wife of son Abraham, not to be debarred any…if left a widow. Further to…drawer my pewter…and pewter bowl; to Mary, daughter…n [of son?] Abraham, my box with…y and six diaper napkins. Robert, son of Abraham, came into assession by reversion of my lands, a small five to either of his two brothers now in being, viz: Abraham…Isaac, L20 apiece. Loving friends, Mr. John Woodbridge and Mr. Nicholas Noyes, both of Newbury, to be overseers of this my will and I give them two of the best wet…to either of them,…ne

Signed and dated the 7th of March 1688,

Robert Adams

*A copy of this article is in possession of Gareldine A. Adams
***Robert’s second wife, Sarah (Glover) Short

9 Comments leave one →
  1. William Covington permalink
    August 5, 2010 11:14 am

    I am most interested as to the sources you used to trace your descent from Lord John Ap Adam. Would you contact me? William Covington in the UK.

  2. October 22, 2010 8:10 am

    It has been brought to my attention by Mr. Covington that the link between the American lineage of Robert & Henry Adams to the English lineage of John Ap Adam is in debate based on research documented the following sources.

    For our consideration:

    “Henry Adams of Somersetshire, England and Braintree, Mass.: His English Ancestry and Some of His Descendants” [New York, 1927], by Josiah Gardner Bartlett [click for library availability]

    “Ancestors and Descendants of Jeremiah Adams, 1794-1883, of Salisbury, Connecticut, Sullivan County, New York, Harbor Creek, Pennsylvania and Vermilion, Ohio” by Enid Eleanor Adams (1974), p. 652 [click for library availability]

    These books are available in a few American libraries, including one in my area. I am planning to review these sources soon, after which I will post a follow-up here.

    • Terry Jenkins permalink
      March 29, 2014 2:52 pm

      Just stumbled upon your blog today while searching the internet for ancestors. What a treat it is! Did you ever review those books above, and if so, what were your conclusions as to whether the connection is true or false? I am a descendent of Joanna Adams, daughter of Robert Adams and Eleanor Wilmot, m. Lancelot Granger.

  3. Dale Greenwood permalink
    October 13, 2014 9:56 am

    I am glad I am not the only one confused, I have read several books by Enid Eleanor Adams, I Smith Adams, Andrew N Adams, the article disputing the welsh pedigree by a Mr Chester. My connection is Robert Adams’ son Jacob. I would be curious as well.

  4. William Covington permalink
    June 26, 2018 12:34 am

    The ‘Ap Adam’ genealogy offered by the author on this website is total nonsense. The author in point 7 ( see above ) claims a Sir John Ap Adam changed the surname to ‘Adams’ – it is an absurd claim. The ‘Ap Adam’ line failed in the male line in 1424 leaving females of the ‘Ap Adam’ line who married into the Huntley family. There is no record of any of the Huntley line changing the Huntley surname to Adams and migrating to America.

    • August 13, 2018 10:33 am

      Thank you, William. I did notate the dispute on this point in my comment from 2010 above, which included your references. This blog does not claim to be definitive, it is merely the documentation of author Geraldine Adams’ work, which was based on materials available at that time. Having passed away in 2007, not all sources and points of contact available today were at her disposal during her 40 years of research. New data is welcome, will be reviewed, and if warranted (as in this case) included in future book editions.

  5. William Covington permalink
    August 13, 2018 11:13 am

    Should you wish to research further with regard to the ‘AP ADAM’ family line the BADHAM society based in the UK has a superb online resource. As for the author of the Ap Adam genealogy on this website – I have never met the author and I make no criticism with reference to the author’s genuine desire to present the reader with available ‘Ap Adam’ research extant during the author’s lifetime. The genealogy of British aristocracy has been corrupted by unscrupulous individuals who concoct pedigrees for payment, and corrupted by amateur historians who have no individual integrity with regard to historical research. False genealogies are perpetuated in popular genealogical books and unless a researcher has access to primary resources the first recourse is to rely on available books which contain many false genealogical pedigrees. If you wish to know more concerning the history of the Ap Adam family you can contact me via my email. Thank you.

    • August 13, 2018 4:00 pm

      Thank you, William. I agree it’s a very important point, which is why I resist Geni & The only thing you can truly rely on is the paper trail. People’s memories, lore and intentions get too fuzzy. I believe that at the time, Geraldine was merely interested in how far she could follow written sources. We are completely aware that the coat of arms belongs only to the person it was bestowed upon, and goes no further. And yet, the symbolism and motto have been with us so long as to brand itself onto the hearts and lives of several generations. Any possible benefit of manipulating connections to “Ap Adams” never occurred to us.

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