HomeNewsVisiting the Land of Colonial Emigrant Ancestor: Thomas Royston (1610-1699) Get hold...

Visiting the Land of Colonial Emigrant Ancestor: Thomas Royston (1610-1699) Get hold of US

Have you ever had the prospect to face on the bottom that your colonial emigrant ancestor might have additionally traversed? Tracing a household line to the unique emigrant throughout Colonial America will be one of the vital troublesome analysis duties. Report loss, poor report preserving, and other people of the identical title are all challenges that, with some ancestors, make it inconceivable to make a optimistic identification. For my Royston line, the distinctive surname, unique Virginia land grants, and a surviving parish sacristy e book mix to permit Royston researchers to connect with Thomas Royston of England. A latest journey to Gloucester County, Virginia, discovered me standing on land that might have been a part of the 1000’s of acres granted to Thomas. On this article, I’ll share what I’ve gleaned from the data and the historical past of this early colonial ancestor.

Virginia Colonial Historical past

First, what was the background behind the monumental activity of settling the New World? Spain and France had already begun sending settlers to North America, and King James 1 was focused on the advantages that come from colonization as nicely. The land was wealthy with pure assets and if populated, may present a marketplace for English items. With inhabitants density changing into an issue in England’s largest cities, sending colonists to America would remedy that concern as nicely.

King James 1 entered right into a partnership with the London Firm to determine the colony, and in 1607, the primary ships landed at Jamestown. By 1618, the London Firm had discovered a option to fund itself and provided land to settlers by the headright system.

“For the aim of stimulating immigration and the settlement of the Colony the London Firm ordained that any one who paid his personal option to Virginia needs to be assigned 50 acres of land for his personal private journey and if he transported at his personal value a number of individuals he ought to, for every particular person whose passage he paid, be awarded fifty acres of land.”

Thomas Royston would profit from this regulation, as did many different Virginia settlers. Within the 1676 map of Virginia and Maryland proven beneath, Gloucester County is proven simply above the Chesapeake Bay on the Virginia facet, to the correct of the York River.

A Map of Virginia and Maryland

Virginia Land Grants

Thomas Royston obtained six separate land grants from 1662-1693 totaling roughly 17,097 acres of land. Some grants got to a couple of man, so Thomas’s personal land holdings would have been much less. He’s listed as transporting himself, in addition to many others, within the 1669 grant and once more in 1673, main one to imagine that he made the journey from Virginia to England at the least twice after his preliminary immigration.

18 March 1662 Gloucester 270 acres, transported six individuals

2 Feb 1667 Gloucester 608 acres, transported twelve individuals

12 Oct 1669 Gloucester 1000 acres to Thomas Buckner and Thomas Royston, transported twenty individuals

2 Could 1671 Rappahannock, 2000 acres

19 Sep 1671 Rappahannock, 3553 acres to John Buckner, Robert Bryan, and Thomas Royston  

25 Feb 1673 New Kent, 10,050 acres to Lt Col. John Smith, John Buckner, Phill. Lightfoot, Thomas Royston, and John Lewis transported 201 individuals

29 Apr 1693 Gloucester 1616 acres

1662 Land Grant, Thomas Royston, Gloucester County, Virginia

Nathan Bacon’s Riot

Nathaniel Bacon’s Rebellion passed off in Virginia from 1675-1676. Indian uprisings and the colonists’ subsequent actions precipitated an uproar. Lots of the plantation house owners fought with Bacon in opposition to the Indians with out the English governor’s consent, the English Governor being very involved with preserving peace with the Indians. The colonists suffered a lot throughout this time, each from concern of the Indians and concern of reprisal from the English authorities for his or her actions. Thomas Royston, together with Richard Whitehead, Edmond Gwynne, and Dr. Cumes, is listed as having suffered from plundering and imprisonment throughout this time interval.

When Thomas Royston initially emigrated to Virginia is unsure at this level. As a result of he’s not listed within the 1662 land grant as an individual being transported, it appears probably that he was already within the colony of Virginia. A Thomas Royston is listed as a passenger on 1 August 1635, age 25.

Theis beneath written names are to be transported to Virginea imbarqued within the Elizabeth de Lo (London) Christopher Brown Grasp examined by the Minister of Gravesend touching their conformities to the order and self-discipline of the Church of England the boys have taken Oaths of Allege & Supremace.


Whether or not this Thomas Royston is identical man who obtained the land grants has but to be proved. If it had been the identical man, Thomas would have labored for 27 years earlier than he had acquired sufficient wealth to pay for the transport of a number of individuals. He would have been 52 years previous and continued transporting individuals till 1693, the date of his final land grant.

Thomas Royston is listed quite a few instances within the Sacristy Guide of Petsworth Parish, Gloucester County, Virginia, from 1677 to 1698, his demise presumably occurring about 1699. If he is identical Thomas Royston who emigrated in 1635, this may put him at roughly age 90 when he died.

Visiting the Land

Though I haven’t mapped the deeds granted to Thomas Royston so I may stand on his land, I did go to Gloucester County, Virginia, the place his unique land was granted. The world was closely forested in areas that hadn’t been cleared for planting. I think about when he first considered the land, it was laborious to think about how a lot he had acquired. The land was handed down by the Royston household, and his son, John Royston, additionally has varied data additionally exhibiting his involvement in Petsworth Parish as a vestryman and paying taxes on the Gloucester and Essex County land.

The unique Petsworth Church now not stands, however a memorial on FindaGrave features a picture of the location of the Poplar Spring Church. The signal reads:

Poplar Spring Church

That is the location of Poplar Spring Church of Petwsworth Parish. In 1694, previous Petsworth Church was deserted in favor of this church. It was thought-about the best church of colonial Viringia. In 1678, the followers of Bacon, the insurgent, interred right here a casket purported to include his stays however in actuality full of stones. The physique was buried secretly.


Researching Thomas Royston and his posterity was one among my earliest analysis tasks and concerned becoming a member of a Y-DNA Royston surname mission which proved my Royston’s line connection to this Thomas Royston. Years after the unique Y-DNA testing with Sorenson Labs, I recreated the kits and the tasks. Learn extra at Recreating a Y-DNA Surname Mission at

Returning to this analysis, I discovered that most of the unique books I used on the Household Search Library at the moment are digitized, and the Library of Virginia has pictures of the unique land grants. It actually is a superb time to analysis our ancestors!


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