Monday, November 16, 2009

jumpin' Jehosaphat

I'm still having fun going through the family genealogy. One of the most interesting aspects has been reading all the (exotic to us now) names. Thanks to the Internet Archive, Google Books and some enterprising 19th century genealogists who published books on a few branches of our tree, I have been able to, with confirmation, trace us back to circa 1589.

Not bad, huh? I'm more interested in the actual stories and personalities than the "how far back can she go" aspect to this hunt. From A history of the Starr family of New England, from the ancestor, Dr. Comfort Starr of Ashford, County of Kent, England, who emigrated to Boston, Mass., in 1635 ; ... (1879):
JEHOSAPHAT STARR, brother of Dr. Comfort, left a will, dated Feb. 2. 1659. recorded in Canterbury, Eng., in which he says: " I give my wife Mary all my lands, barns, etc., situate in the Parish of Willesburough in Kent, now in the occupation of Edward Watson, also 32 acres of land in Ashford in the occupation of John King, also 32 acres of land in the Parish of Ruckinge near Romney Marshes, and after her death to go to my dear brother Comfort Starr of Boston, and after his death to be equally divided between Samuel, Comfort, Elizabeth, Benjamin. Jehosaphat, John [probably Josiah], and William, children of Thomas Starr, and Elizabeth, Judith, and Liddia, children of John Starr." Also legacies " to John, Elizabeth Ferniside, Mary Maynard, and Comfort of Carlisle, Eng., sons and daugluers of Comfort Starr, and his grandchild Symon Eire &c." "To my brother Joyfull Starr all my land at Appledore." Also bequests "to my sister Constant, the wife of John Morley of New England, to my sister Suretrust, the wife of Faithfull Rouse of Charlestown in New England, to my three servants, &c."
Comfort Starr is a common name in this branch, dating from 16th century England through 19th century New England. I also find interesting the mixture of biblical names such as Jehosaphat, mixed with names that express virtues, such as Comfort, Constant, Faithfull and Suretrust. It is also not always immediately obvious whether the person is male of female. I also love the line in Jehosaphat Starr's legacy, "all my land at Appledore." Somehow modern legal documents are not quite so poetic.

Of all the biblical names that you could give a male child - Samuel, Joseph, Mark - why Jehosaphat? And what about that phrase, "jumping Jehosaphat"? World Wide Words has an explanation. King of Judah Jehosaphat has also turned up in art:

I'm on a personal and intellectual journey, one thing leading to another...I'll keep you posted on who or what next strikes my fancy...


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