Tuesday, November 24, 2015


The subject for Week 47 of the 2015 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks Challenge is my immigrant
ancestor and 9x great grandfather William Learned. William is one of my ancestors for whom
I've found quite a bit, including an entry in The Great Migration Begins and this long biographical sketch from one of William Richard Cutter's books:

(1)William Learned was born as early as 1590, and died in Woburn, Massachusetts. March 1, 1646. He was in Massachusetts as early as 1632, and possibly as early as 1630. The records of Charlestown show that he was admitted as an inhabitant there and had a planting lot in 1630. But as these records were made many years afterwards,-the time is somewhat uncertain. The admission of himself and wife to what is now the First Church of Charlestown was the first recorded, December 6, 1632. In this record his wife's name is spelled Gooithe, and is presumed to mean Judith, though some authorities claim it is derived from the Saxon word Goditha. It is possible that William Learned resided for a short time in Ware, England, and it is known that he resided in the parish of Bermondsey, Surrey, from 1612 to 1625. In the latter year his third child was buried there. His eldest child, Sarah, may have been the Sarah Learned, baptized September 30, 1604, at Ware, though records made in Massachusetts indicate that she was born about 1607. Such discrepancy as this is not uncommon, and it may easily be supposable that the baptism at Ware applies to William Learned's daughter. His other children baptized at Bermondsey were: Bertha, October 29. 1612; Mary, September 15, 1615; Abigail, September 30, 1618; Elizabeth, March 25, 1621; and Isaac, mentioned below. William Learned was an inhabitant of Charlestown in 1633-35-36, and received a share of marsh land there February 11. 1637. The record of various parcels granted him makes it appear that he had more than seventy-two acres. He was made a freeman, May 14, 1634, and was subsequently selectman. February 13, 1636, he was made a member of a committee to stint the common lands, and he was on various committees to lay out lots and bounds. Being a friend of Wheelwright, he signed a remonstrance against the treatment of that worthy, and was subsequently compelled by the church to renounce such action. He was on a committee to settle with the school master in 1638, and on February 26, of that year, was made a member of a committee to "consider of some things tending toward a body of laws." He was among those who attended the first meeting for the organization of the town of Woburn, December 18, 1614, and was one of the signers of the town orders of that time. The clerks record of the transaction spells his name Lernedt. He was one of the seven to form the first church of Woburn, which was gathered, August 14, 1642. On November 24 of that year he gave up his lot for the use of the town, and received subsequent grants, including seventy-two acres laid out to his son Isaac, in recompense for abandoning his first lot. On April 13, 1643, ne was elected constable and selectman, and was again chosen to the same offices, February 9, 1645, and died just before the succeeding election. The office of constable was an important one at that time, as the collection of taxes was made by that officer. His widow appears in subsequent records as Sarah or Jane. The inventory of her estate made in November, 1661, amounted to forty-one pounds, eighteen shillings and eleven pence.
Genealogical and Personal Memoirs Relating to the Families of the State of Massachusetts, Volume 4 Lewis historical publishing Company, 1910, NY, NY

I've had no luck finding a probate file and seen no mention of one either. I'll have to look for
land sale records. But what I have found already shows William Learned to have been a prominent
citizen of Charlestown and then Woburn.

1 comment:

Celia Lewis said...

Lots of great information here, Bill. Now if only one knew the correct names of his wife - or wives! I could assume very messy initial letter and twirly ending of words for Sarah/Jane to be confused. But Goditha? or variations? Definitely a different woman. Maybe other church records will clarify who's who. Cheers!