Saturday, January 25, 2014


Fellow geneablogger Amy Johnson Crow of No Story Too Small has issued the 52
Ancestors in 52 Weeks Challenge. Basically, we have to post something every week
on a different ancestor, whether a story, picture, or research problem.  This week's
subject is my 9x great grandfather Thomas Boyden. The Boydens are one of the lines
I haven't done too much research on compared to what I've done on some of my other
lines, and i haven;t found much about Thomas so far. Most of what I know comes from
the NEHGS publication The Great Migration, p366-368 in images posted on But when I reread it I realized something I hadn't noticed before.
And just now, after Googling his name, I discovered an amazing coincidence from
my college days.

Thomas Boyden sailed from Ipswich England at age aboard  21 in April, 1634 on the ship
Francis. That would put his birth year as around 1613. There seems to be a theory that
he lived for a time in Scituate here south of Boston but there is mo concrete evidence
of that. What is known is that a Thomas Boyden married a woman named Frances (last name unknown) in Boston sometime around 1639. They then took up living in Boston
for the next eighteen years, where Thomas was listed as a planter. I assume this means
he was a farmer, and it seems so strange to me here in the 21st century that at one time people had farms within the Boston city limits.

Thomas and Frances had five children together, the oldest of whom, Thomas Jr., is my
8x great grandfather. Then Frances died in Boston on 17 Mar 1657/8. Thomas then
remarried on 3Nov 1658, and here is where  I wasn't paying attention the first time I
read the Great Migration entry for Thomas Boyden. The woman he married was Hannah
(Phillips)Morse, the widow of Joseph Morse. Joseph and Hannah are my 10x great grandparents. So my 9x great grandfather Thomas had married my 10x great grandmother!

Sometime shortly after their marriage Thomas and Hannah moved to Medfield, Ma. and
sold their house and land in Boston  on Sudbury Lane to Simeon Lynde. Hannah died in 1676 and Thomas sometime after 15April 1678 when he is recorded as coontributing
one bushel of wheat to help rebuild Harvard College.

Oh, and that coincidence from my college days? Well, I graduated from Bridgewater
State College in Bridgewater, Ma. in 1970. One of the buildings on campus is Boyden Hall, the main administration building built back in 1929. It's named after Albert G Boyden, another descendant of Thomas Boyden. For four years I took courses in a building named after my distant cousin, and never realized it until earlier this evening!


Unknown said...

Your latest find is one of the reasons genealogy is so much fun. :-)

The Art of Genealogy said...

Thomas Boyden from Ipswich is also my 9th great grandfather, and his son Thomas is my 8th great grandfather. I did not know about Albert Boyden or the building named after him. Thanks for the interesting post!

Suzanne Hall Eaton said...

This 52 ancestors is a great idea. I got overwhelmed with my blog The Hunt For Henrietta a few years ago and just stopped it. I write another blog but not about genealogy, which is so much fun to write about. But I always felt like I needed to add more detail and the stories grew too cumbersome and time consuming to write. With this suggestion I think I have guidelines that will reign me in! I will give it a try. Thanks along the idea. I may start with my earliest West ancestor in your honor!

L.E. Dunn said...

Glad you're enjoying a new blog, Susanne .. but loved The Hunt for Henrietta, and am trying to reach you again .. four years after (2012) e-mail contact by way of your aol e-address. Sent something (2016), but an aol "status" check shows sub... as "currently unavailable." I'm still at led48, fyi .. still happily an "ex" of Locke descendant. Have a book published at amazon's create space, with link you could try, to see how that ancestry research turned out!!
Pretended my kids' 8 great-great-grandmothers were visiting, to tell their tales. One of the ladies is Alice Louvinia McDonough (Mrs. Daniel Malancton) Locke. She's my narrator; a neighbor of Susan Dunn's in Littleton (Carolyn Furbush Webster), who knew and loved Alice, helped bring her to life for me. The ladies all were waiting to hear a female voice in the White House; ergo, the title is Nine for Hillary: A 2016 Union of American Ancestors. Hope to hear from you, Sue!!

Alice (Boyden, Redmond) said...

Hi, Thomas Boyden is my 10th great grandfather. Here's some info on him and circumstances of his passage and settling in the Mass Bay Colony:

The East Anglia region had been the economic power house of England but it was hard hit by an economic depression in the first half of the 1600s. Perhaps not coincidentally, the Puritan movement developed deep roots in East Anglia and its bordering counties. Dedham, Essex, for example, was considered a "hot bed" of Puritan agitation. The Church of England eventually tired of this and helped drive the militants to the new world.

Thomas came from Dry Drayton, Cambridgeshire, England. His father, grandfather, and great-grandfather (1515-1540 I think) all came from the Ipswich area. Thomas embarked for New England in the ship "Francis" from Ipswich, Suffolk County, England, in April 1634, having taken the oath of allegiance and supremacy before His Majesty's officers according to the order of the Lords of his Privy Council. He was then 21 years of age, as stated in the list of passengers." [from Thomas Boyden and His Descendants, by Wallace C. Boyden et al., Boston 1901, privately printed]

During the year following his arrival in the new world, Thomas Boyden was in the employ of William Gilson, a large landowner of Scituate, Mass, which was a part of the Plymouth colony.

In 1637 Thomas Sr. married Frances Jean (Say), born in England 1613.

Later he resided in Watertown and in 1650 was a resident of Boston, in which city the death of his wife Frances occurred on March 17, 1658. He afterward married Hannah (Phillips) (1617-1676), widow of Joseph Morse of Boston. Hannah and J Morse had married 1638, and he died 1654. Hannah brought 8 children from her previous marriage: Samuel 1639, Hannah 1641, Sarah 1643, Dorcas 1645, Elizabeth 1647, Joseph 1649, Jeremiah 1651, plus another who probably died in infancy.

Later Thomas is mentioned in early records as a resident of Medfield, Norfolk Cty, living on Pound street in a house originally belonging to the Morse heirs. His second wife, Hannah, passed away in Medfield Oct 3, 1676, but there is no record found concerning the death of Mr. Boyden. Date of death uncertain: 1678 or 1682 (from the History of Norfolk County, Massachusetts, 1622-1918)

Medfield town records show that in 1678 Thomas subscribed "one bushel of wheat to the new brick college" (Harvard), joining many other citizens contributing similar commodities.

I attended that beneficiary school many years later and just learned of "college corn", which local towns contributed in lieu of funds.

There are many other Boydens of significant note. Seth Boyden was a friend of Thomas Edison and an important inventor on his own. His brother Uriah was an engineer. Others were prominent educators, Revolutionary and Civil War soldiers, Groton selectmen, and lots of Harvard grads.
---Alice, granddaughter of William George Boyden and Emma (Bonia) Boyden