Britton Research from

Bailey-Britton History and Genealogy.

By T. H. Bailey, Kingsport, Tennessee, 1962.

Comments by DLH

Thomas Bailey had a lot of research performed in both America and England to prepare this thorough and invaluable volume. Unfortunately, some of the assumptions made from the research miss the mark, and often by quite a bit. In general, there is no arguing with the wealth of records he and his researchers have found, which for the Britton section of the book examined records in NY, PA, NJ, VA, NC and TN and looked for all variations of the spelling of Britton. Unfortunately some data resources were overlooked, or simply not available in this pre-internet time -- such as court records or personal letters. And the assumptions made were not always documented as such, but reported as facts. So while the research is excellent, the results are quite uneven, at least so far as the Britton line is concerned; I am not at all interested in the Bailey line.

I do want to also state that Thomas Bailey was working in a vaccuum. As he states in his introduction, he did not know the names of any of his grandparents; he had no family stories to rely on.

inside plates: p.1, p.2, p.3
title page
Introduction: p.I, p.II, p.III, p.IV, p.V, p.VI
(pages 1-324 cover Biblical History and the Bailey side of Thomas Bailey's family -- origin of name, coat of arms, Bernard Castle, Bailey's in England, History of American Settlements, Southeastern Virginia Baileys, Virginia-North Carolina-Tennesse records, Bailey genealogy -- see index p.455, p.456, p.457, p.458 for an overview of these pages which are not available on this website.)
Britton name: p.325, p.326
Brittons in England: p.327, p.328, p.329, p.330, p.331, p.332 -- mostly this is a listing of all ancient Britton records located in England.
English ancestors: p.333, p.334, p.335, p.336, p.337, p.338, p.339

starts with the 1680 will of Richard Britten, Vicor of Bisley, but assumes that a 1641 will for a Richard Britten of Radstock is his father. Richard Sr mentions daughter Joan and sons Richard and Charles and an unnamed wife -- Richard Jr mentions sisters Jane and Abigail and brothers Nathaniel (of NY) and Cananiel. I do not believe these are father and son as the children do not match -- Richard, Joan and Charles versus Richard, Jane, Abigail, Nathaniel and Cananiel. The book states "there is little doubt that from the two foregoing wills that the first Richard was the father of the second." -- in fact, I believe there is little doubt that they could not be father and son. Furthermore, no other Britton researcher has so claimed. Howev er, it is known from other records that Richard Jr's father was indeed named Richard; just not this Richard of Radstock (he was from Batcombe according to the Alumni Oxeniensis of 1635?). However, it should be pointed out that research of these ancient records is difficult, errors are bound to crop into any assumptions made from old research, and that these errors do not invalidate the entire work but just one small portion.
• Richard Britton Sr's wife: is listed as Chirstian, possibly Christian Reymes, based solely on a Norfolk marriage record for Richard Byttren and Christian Reymes on Jan 26 1606. I, DLH, think that this is not a match based on the name and place (Byttren is not a usual variation of Britton/Brittain).

English wills: p.340, p.341, p.342, p.343, p.344, p.345
Britton heraldry: p.346
Stillwell Genealogy: p.347, p.348, p.349, p.350, p.351, p.352
Nathaniel Britton Genealogy: p.353, p.354
William Britton Genealogy: p.355, p.356, p.357, p.358, p.359, p.360, p.361

Bailey mentions immigrant Nathaniel, the brother of Richard and Cananuiel, but does not list him as the ancestor of his line. Instead he assumes that William Britton, also of Staten Island and concurrent with Nathaniel, is a brother, and believes his line descends from William. This is not in agreement with an 1822 letter written by his great-grandfather Joseph Britton which specifically mentions the ancestry as follows: Nathaniel-Nathaniel-Abraham-Joseph-Joseph instead of Bailey's assertion of William-John-John-William-Joseph-Joseph.
• it has never been confirmed that William was a brother to Nathaniel, Richard and Cananuiel -- and never explained why he would have been left out of his brother Richard's will. I personally think it more likely that William is a cousin to Nathaniel, and Richard Britton Sr had at least one brother who had a son named William.
• the assumed descent from the two Johns and William appear to be a leap of faith based just on the accumulation of all the records of an area (e.g., Philadelphia) and assuming they all belong to a single family -- see below for more specific information.
• Note that the 1822 letter was written by Thomas Bailey's ancestor, 140 years prior to his research.

New Jersey wills: p.362, p.363, p.364, p.365
New Jersey deeds: p.366, p.367
New Jersey marriages: p.368
New Jersey deeds: p.369
New Jersey patriots: p.370
John Britton will (Bucks County, PA): p.371, p.372
John Britton Genealogy: p.373, p.374, p.375, p.376, p.377, p.378

John Britton of Bucks was not a part of Thomas Bailey's Britton ancestry. The 1822 letter of his grandfather/great-grandfather asserts that the Ancestry is: Nathaniel-Nathaniel-Abraham-Joseph and not William-John-John-William-Joseph. Note that Nathaniel Jr was 63 upon the birth of his last child Abraham, and without this letter, Abraham would likely have been ascribed to another family -- it is not a surprise that Thomas Bailey has an extra generation in the ancestry.

1822 letter genealogy:
• Nathaniel Britton (born Jan 16 1666) and his (second) wife Elizabeth Garritson had: Abigale (1705 SI), Elizabeth (1706 SI), Alice (1707 SI), Rebecca (1708 SI), John (1711 SI), Samuel (1713 SI), Mary (1715 SI), Sarah (1718 SI), Rachel (1720 SI), William (1722 SI), William (1725 SI) and Abraham (1729 SI).
• Abraham and Rebecah Van Sand had the following children: Mary (1751 NJ), Joseph (1753 Bucks,PA), William (1755 Bucks), Richard (1771 Baltimore,MD), Abraham (1773 Baltimore), Nathaniel (1774 Baltimore), Samuel (1776 Baltimore) and Elizabeth (1778 Baltimore).
• Joseph and Margarethe Jones had: Cornelius (1784 Baltimore), Clartie (1786 Baltimore), Joseph (1788 Washington,TN), Mary (1790 Washington,TN), Rebecah (1791 Washington,TN), Sackett (1793 Washigton,TN), William (1795 Washington,TN), Margarett (1798 Washington,TN), Abraham (1800 Washington,TN) David Dungan (1802 Washington,TN) girl (1806-1806), Ann Gay (1806 Washington,TN) and Nathaniel Van Sand (1809 Washington,TN).
• There can no doubt that the Joseph Britton pension paper that states that he was born in PA, raised in MD and moved from Baltimore,MD to Washington,TN in 1786 is a match to the 1822 letter and is the ancestor of Thomas Bailey. How sad that Thomas Bailey did not find the relative that had this letter when he started his diligent research; it would have made his Britton research so much easier.

1790 census: p.379

Bailey makes assumptions from small pieces of information, such as assuming that Joseph Britton had two sons Jesse and Joseph Jr based solely on the 1790 census data -- Jesse's 1790 census entry is adjacent to that of Joseph Britton Jr and within a page or two of that of Joseph Sr.'s so "it appears that Joseph Jr. and Jesse were sons of Joe, Sr" (p.378). While I do concur, it is by also examining military records in PA and VA for Jesse and Joseph Jr, and by examining the death records for Joseph Sr in VA.

Furthermore, it should be noted that families moved a lot, and sometimes even back and forth several times within the same decade. For example, Jesse Britton has records in both PA and VA throughout the 1780s; although it was a 200 mile trip, it appears he and his family made the VA-PA trip several times, once upon the sudden death of his brother-in-law Robert Gibson in 1787. Thus, it should be noted that using geography can also be problematic.

1779-1787 Pennsylvania tax lists: p.380
Pennsylvania marriages: p.381, p.382
Pennsylvania wills: p.383, p.384, p.385, p.386
Genealogical Society of Pennsylvania records: p.387
Brittons at Valley Forge: p.388, p.389, p.390
Maryland wills: p.391
Maryland records: p.392, p.393, p.394, p.395, p.396, p.397, p.398, p.399
Maryland wills: p.400
William Britton: p.401, p.402

The William Britton mentioned in John Britton's 1770 (proved 1785) will is assumed to be the second eldest son, born ~1720. This is consistent with what virtually all genealogists think, and there is no knowledge of what became of this William who would have been ~50 when his father's will was written. It would appear that Thomas Bailey just assumed that records found in Philadelphia belonged to this William Britton whose genealogy he has as follows:
William Britton married Mary Runkin/Rankin in 1746 in Philadelphia; they moved to Baltimore,MD in the 1750s and and had the following children: (a href=401.jpg>page 401)
1. Abraham born ~1747 probably in Philadelphia -- moved to Sullivan,TN with brother Joseph, had 4 sons. 2. Nicholas born ~1759 in Philadelphia -- no records past Revolutionary War (Ensign with MD line)
3. Richard -- died 2/11/1818 Baltimore. Married Temperance Tolbott; unknown children (a href=402.jpg>page 402)
4. Joseph born 1753 in Philadelphia (his pension paper says he was born in PA and raised in MD)
5. William died in Washington,TN
6. John -- returned of troops in Annapolis in 1781. 1826 Baltimore will. wife Mary and four daughters.
7. may be other children
• It appears that there was no a priori reason to think that Joseph's father was a William. Starting from the pension record, Thomas Bailey knew that Joseph was born in PA ~1753 and soon thereafter moved to MD, and after that moved to TN. The "match" of William being Joseph's father was simply based on MD records accumulated, and ascribing them all to a single family. The "match" of William being John's son was simply based on PA records accumulated. It is possible that the Philadelphia records for William Britton do in fact belong to John's son William as he is known to be alive in 1770 when the will was written and no other records have been found in neighboring Bucks County.
NOTE: according to the 1822 letter, Joseph was born in 1753 in Bucks,PA to Abraham Britton and Rebecah Van Sand

Maryland Wills: p.403
Virginia records: p.404, p.405, p.406
Tennessee records: p.407
North Carolina records: p.408, p.409, p.410
South Carolina-North Carolina records: p.411
Tennessee-North Carolina records: p.412, p.413, p.414
(pages 415-454 include information specific to the Tennessee Brittons -- Sullivan County records, Greene County records, Roane County records, Hawkins County records, Joseph Britton of Washington and Hawkins Counties (pension papers and genealogy), also not included on this website)
Index: p.455, p.456, p.457, p.458
Sources: p.459

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A HUGE thank-you to Britton descendant Mary Gibson who forwarded a copy of this 1822 letter to me in September, 2014. While there were genealogists that did have the names of most of the latter children of Nathaniel Britton and Elizabeth Garretson, this letter is the only source of the actual birthdates, and the only source that the youngest child was Abraham (other have him listed as Richard). This letter provides confirmation of a vital part of the Britton tree.