Friday, May 13, 2011

One of the first Weeks Families in Amercia

This is a long post but I think it's worth it if you have any interest in one of the first Weeks in America. This information comes from a book titled;

The Ancestors and descendants of Charles E. Smith and Nora Arminda (McPherren) Smith with Ancestor Families of:
Smith, Griffin, McPherren, and Weeks”

By Lynnette Roberts

The book can be read on line at the LDS Family History Archives

I think the author does a great job describing the origin of the Weeks name and early Weeks family American history.

Weeks Name Origin:
Most researches of the Weeks surname in America attribute the name to that of English origin.  Though other Weeks lineages, with various spellings, can be traced to other countries on the European continent, our line of Weeks ancestors near certainly came from England. Early in the 1600's the English started settling the eastern areas of the United States, and most particularly the area of modern day eastern Virginia. Our earliest confirmed Weeks ancestor, Joseph Weeks, is thought to have been born about 1670 in Westmoreland County, Virginia. The wife of Joseph Weeks was born in England.

It is believed the name Weeks first reached England following the Norman Conquest of 1066.  However the name Weeks derives from the Old English Saxon word wic, which means dwelling place, or someone who lives in an outlying settlement. ' Generally it is thought that most of the early Weeks settlers in colonial America came from the southern areas of England, notably Cornwall, Devonshire and Sussex.

The spelling of the name Weeks can vary to up to sixty different ways! Lack of education in medieval times was one reason for the various spellings, plus the fact that the English language only became standardized in the last few centuries. Obviously personal preference also attributed to each family of Weeks settling on a way to spell the name. Even when the Weeks name appeared in America, personal preference and lack of education played a part in how the name was spelled. Some of the more common spellings for Weeks found researching this book are: Weekes, Wykes, Wyck, Wicks, Weykes.

The Many Early Weeks Families in America:

Researching the Weeks names in 1600 and 1700 America can be a daunting undertaking, given the xtremely common name and numerous spellings variations. Add to the fact that in genealogy, researchers well know that first names are routinely repeated through generations and extended descendants thereof. It is not uncommon for one sibling to name his/her children the same names as his/her sibling did. Thus cousins have similar first names. Also common is the reality that many related family members tended to settle in the same areas. So, for example, it was found that there were about five inter-related men, of the about the same age, named Benjamin Weeks all from one general area. Another complexity to the mix is that in most eastern states, there are very sketchy records.

Most records were lost in either in the Revolutionary War or the Civil War. Other records were lost to fires common in the times. Such being said, this author has done much personal research and has also taken the liberty of carefully studying years of work by other seasoned Weeks genealogical researchers. It has been thus concluded that putting much additional effort into tracing our particular line of Weeks beyond that of Joseph Weeks (born about 1670) is near futile at this time, even though there is speculation about his further lineage. Also, even though this author concedes a possible few minor errors in trying to decided "which Weeks are ours" from the few records still available, the over all analysis does give a clear picture of just where our Weeks lineage came from and many factual details about the generations of the family.

Generally, most Weeks researchers believe that about seven different Weeks lineages first came from England in the early 1600's, of which some may have been related. The three main areas Weeks people settled were: Massachusetts, Maryland, and Virginia. In Virginia, here again Weeks researchers find much confusion in that there were many related and unrelated Weeks lineages. Since  House of and Genealogical Outline of the Cram. Walker, and Weeks Families. Boston: 1934.

Our Weeks Ancestors in America:

As stated, our first known Weeks ancestor has been documented back to Joseph Weeks who was born about 1670 in Westmoreland County, VA. Various documents indicate that our lineage stayed in the Westmoreland Co. VA area until about 1751-52, when further descendants then spread a bit to the northwest, to the neighboring counties of King George, Fauquier and Culpeper. Just before 1800 we can trace our Weeks folks south to Burke Co., GA. Eventually our Weeks linage continued migrating west, as the modern day map below shows. (Keep in mind there were no states or state boundarie in the 1600's and early 1700's, only boundaries for the 13 original colonies. Virginia and North Carolina, for example, stretched to the Mississippi River: Also, modern West Virginia was part of Virginia until 1863.)

Migration of our Weeks Family - From about 1670 to 1870
1 - Westmoreland Co. (Northern Neck area) VA
2 - Culpeper County, VA
3 - Burke and Jefferson County areas, GA
4 - Franklin County, TN
5 - Choctaw County, MS
6 - Copiah County, MS

With a better understanding of the origins of our Weeks family and where they migrated throughout the south, it is now time to continue on to the Statistical information on our Weeks lineage. After reviewing the actual names and dates of the various Weeks through the generations, a biography of each major ancestors of each generation is presented. Here in these biographies will be found details of each direct relative who migrated to the areas shown in the preceding map. Keep in mind that our final descendant of the Weeks lineage, Arminda Frances Weeks, married Jesse Workman McPherren. Their daughter was Nora McPherren/Smith one of the main subjects of this book.  Discovering our Weeks lineage will reveal people of prominence and poverty, but always patriotism.

1 comment:

SPIBob said...

Regarding the Book by Lynette Roberts a contact of mine suggested I post these comments about her book.

"The wife of Joseph Weeks was from England". Joseph had two wives: Sarah Blagdon and Mary Pope and to my knowledge there is no proof as to the origins of either.

"Joseph Weeks born 1670" Though I don't know when or where Joseph was born it is more probable that he was b. closer to 1680. He was first recorded in public record in 1799 and his first child supposedly was born ca. 1704 which would make him 34/5 when the child was born.

"First Weeks Settlers". George Weeks was most probably b. in Woodbury, Parish, Devon ca. 1620 and his father was named William. He had siblings Agnes and John. His wife Jane Clapp was prob. b. in Salcombe Regis but they lived in Beer/Seaton prior to coming to MA.