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Home: Surnames: Wester Family Genealogy Forum

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Those Elusive Westrays of VA
Posted by: Kelly S Date: January 28, 2000 at 07:59:57
  of 472

I have gathered numerous records on the Westray family of Isle of Wight County, VA over the past two years. I even took a trip to the courthouse there in 1998 to get more records so I could try to paste together some sort of tree on this family and how they connect to the Westers. Since I have not been able to find anyone around who has a tree on this family for me to compare notes with, I decided to put one together mainly for the purpose of having a place for all us Westray/Wester researchers to put our feet. So, after eating, sleeping and breathing the Westrays for two years and seven month I have a GEDCOM to put out for anyone to see, critique, rebut, agree with or pick apart. This is the only tree I know of that will be out for the Westrays, and hopefully my fellow researchers can help me fill in the gaps, or re-place children with the proper parents, or what have you.
What I have done, in essence, is taken all the records I have in my possession and broken each individual into a generation. I then took will records and placed them into families. Then, guardianship records to reinforce who died young and who died about when. I also looked at who witnessed what records to help with approximate dates of birth, considering a person had to be of age to sign a legal document such as a deed or will. I hope I have done a good job for you all.
The GEDCOM file starts with a William Westray. No, not the one who died in 1664. We all know heís the one we need to get back to, but no one knows how. And, although William of 1664 is not in the GEDCOM I have an explanation for you all as to why, which is what I want to discuss here now.
The William Westray that starts the GEDCOM was born ca. 1655 and died ca 1720 (at least after 1715). This William witnessed documents in Isle of Wight in 1674, 1678, 1686 and 1715. The William that died in 1664 can not be the father of this William. I see at least one, maybe two generations missing between the two. The first William was born ca. 1600 and died in 1664. This younger William, based on the dates he signed the listed documents, was born ca 1650 and died ca. 1720 as I said before. If you assume for a moment that the younger William was exactly 20 years old when he witnessed the document in 1674, he would have been born in 1654, and would have been 61 when he witnessed the last in 1715, dying after 1715 at age 61+. This seems plausible.
However, if you still think that the William who died in 1664 is his father, then William of 1664 would have been 54 when his son came along, and would have died 10 years later. This is not so plausible.
It is my belief that there is one generation missing, perhaps two. A generation that would have been born ca 1620 and died ca 1680. THIS is the generation that I believe fathered the younger William (1654-1720). The man would have been 34 when his son came along and his son would have been 26 when his father died. Right about the age he started witnessing documents in 1674.
I also believe that it was the William of 1664 witnessed the documents in 1647, 1651 and 1652. He could not have witnessed any previous mentioned documents for obvious reasons.
Also, keep in mind that the possible second missing generation may have witnessed the earlier documents that I have attributed to William (1654-1720), say the one ones in 1674, 1678 and 1686 which would mean another generation, born ca 1640 and died ca 1700 would be missing, and that THIS generation fathered William (1654-1720).
Confused yet?

Letís now consider the record of the granted land patent for Richard Westray on 04-10-1606 for lands in Virginia. He had to have come to Virginia on a ship, although I have found no list with this name on it as of yet. He is not listed in the 1607 Colonial Census of Virginia, but a John Westray is. Richard either did not sail, died after landing but before the census in 1607, or died on the ship. In either case, if both of these men were born ca 1580 and died ca 1630 it is possible that one of these two men fathered the William who died in 1664, leaving their son at approximately 34 years of age. I cannot help but wonder the relation between Richard and John. And how John made the census, but Richard did not. The only ideas I have are that they sailed together and they were brothers. Another scenario is that Richard was father to John, and John would be placed in the generation that was born ca 1600 and died ca 1660 along with William, and may be a brother to William of 1664. This possibility would not add another generation, just add John to an already existing generation that I have made.

I have noted in the GEDCOM file all my sources on which I have based these generations. The GEDCOM contains very few actual dates, unless I had a will record. You may also see a child attached to parents who are not named in the will as a son or daughter, but I placed them there based on naming patterns and guardianship records. Everyone has been placed somewhere.

If you are interested in seeing the GEDCOM file and helping me make it more accurate please email me at Also, if you think or have documents supporting the moving of a person from one family to another or just want to tell me your theories on this family email me. Iím open to any suggestions provided they are solid in theory and will not cause any contridictions to what I know to be true of this family.

Thanks for any help and I think if we all pool our resources and scraps of records we can uncover this family and we will all be able to connect our Westers of GA, FL, NC, AL and TN back to the Isle of Wight.


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