Where did the Whitman Name come from?
I recently received info on our family name, which said “after studying the ancient manuscripts, historians discovered the Whitman surname to be of Anglo-Saxon origin. The Domesday Book, compiled in 1086 for William I of England (William the Conqueror), revealed the first recorded instance of the Whitman surname in Peebleshire where they had been seated from ancient times. The name appeared in the Domesday Book was Witmar.”
However, after searching web sites and reviewing posted family histories I am not able to find any connection to Witmar and believe that the family name was a nickname for Robert de Beaumont, Earl of Leicester “Blanchmains” or Wyghtmains”. He was descended from Roger de Beaumont from Normandy.
Starting at John Whitman of Weymouth lets work back as far as we can. The connection from Whitman to Weightman is very clearly seen in the two family Coat of Arms.
Nova Scotia Whitman From Farnam’s Book Weightman Family
Born ~ 1602 Holt, Norfolk County, England
Died ~ 13 Nov 1692 Weymouth, Mass
Married ~ 26 Oct 1625 – 28
Ruth (Prudence) Alcock, (daughter of Henry Awlcock and Sarah Church
Born ~ 1605 Berkley, Bristol
Died ~ 17 Aug 1662
Children ~ 1. Thomas ~ Born: 1629 England ~ Died 17 Nov 1712 (Age 83)
~ Married ~ Abigail Byraham ~Bridgewater, Plymouth, Mass
2. John ~ Born 1630 England Died: 1 Feb1713
~ Married 1 ~ 19 Dec 1662 ~ Ruth Reed (she died soon after)
~ Married 2 ~ Abigail Hollis
2. Sarah ~ Born 1633 England ~ Died 11 Jun1718 ~ Hull, Plymouth
~ Married about 1653 ~ Abraham Jones
5. Mary ~ Born 1634 England ~ Died 10 Jul 1716
~ Married 22 Nov 1656 ~ John Pratt
6. Elizabeth ~ Born abt 1636 England ~ Died 2 Feb 1719/20
~ Married May 1657 ~ Joseph Green
7. Hannah ~ Born 24 Aug 1641 Weymouth ~ Died before1685
~ Married 19 Sep 1660 ~ Stephen French
8. Rev. Zacharia
9. Abiah ~ Born 1646 Weymouth ~ Died 28 Jan 1727/8
~ Married ~ Mary Ford
9. Judith ~ Born 1654 England ~ Died after 1711
~ Married 1674 ~ Philip King
The following information outlining the line from Abijah Whitman to Thomas Weightman has been compiled from several web sites but mainly from the Long Island Geneaology site listing the Descendants and Ancestors of Walt Whitman. This info can be foud at:
Born ~ 9 May 1560 Holt, Norfolk County, England
Died ~ 4 Jan 1625/6
Married ~ Holt
Born ~ 1565 England
Died ~13 Jul 1626
1. George ~ Born 1581/1609 ~ Died 1648
~ Married Sarah ______
2. Ralph ~ Born 1589 ~ Died before 15 Aug 1640
3. William ~ Born 1591 ~ Died before 7 Dec 1640
4. Elizabeth ~ Born 11 Jul 1592 ~ Died 1623/1686
~ Married 7 Sep 1618 Henry Alcock Jr
5. Zechariah ~ Born 1595 ~ Died 25 Apr 1663 Milford, Ct
Married ~ Sarah Briscoe
(He came with his brother Robert on 19 Sep 1635 on the True Love from London. The Passenger List for the True Love Sep 1635 list him as roll #22 age 40, roll #23 is Sarah age 25 and #24 is Zechariah age 2, Mass. Robert Whiteman was Roll # 20 and age 17. John is not listed as a passenger so he must have come at another time. His estate was willed to his nephew Zachariah, son of John. – Source of this is from the Winthrop Society at the following web site http://www.winthropsociety.org/shipndx6.htm )
~ Children of Zacariah
1. Joseph ~ Born about 1640
Married Sarah Ketcham, Daughter of Edward Ketcham and Sarah Salmon
2. Zachariaha ~ Born About 1633 ~ Died about 1641
4. Robert ~ Born About 1615 ~ Died about 1616
Born ~ About 1520 Albury, Hertfordshire
Married ~ about 1529 (1551-1583)
Bridget Kellend (daughter of RALPH KELLEND)
Born ~ 1525 Norfolk (This may have been the connection that took the family to Holt)
Died ~ 1567 – 1612
3. George ~ Born 3 Mar 1560/1
3. Thomas ~ Born 14 Apr 1562
4. Stephen ~ Born 10 Feb 1562
5. Elizabeth ~ Born 7 Dec 1563
6. Edward ~ Born 11 Mar 1564/5 ~ Died After 23 Jul 1638
Born ~ about 1463 Lye, England
Died ~ Before 13 May 1549
Married ~ 1511 ~ Alice Axtell ~ Born 1462 ~ Died 1522
Daughter of Thomas Axtell and Joan Gould
Children ~ 1. Alice ~
2. Mary ~
3. Jone ~
4. Thomas ~
5. Eleanore ~
6. Agnes ~
7. Francis ~ Born ______ ~ Leardon, Herts
8. William ~ Born ______ ~ Aldeburie, Herts
9. Edward ~ Born about 1520 ~ Albury, Herts
Born ~ About 1425 Burbage, Leicester, England
Died ~ 1466-1516
~ Married ~ Mary Reynolds
Born ~ about 1400
Died ~ 1407 - 1509
Married ~ 1431-1465 Scianeley Woodan (Daughter of Thomas Woodan)
Children ~ 1. William ~ Born 1421-1465 Wykin, England
Born ~ about 1380 Burbage near Hinckley
Died ~ 1404 – 1471
Children ~ 1. Richard
The following information from William Wightman to Roger de Beaumont is taken mostly from the Weightman Family web sit at
The Wightman Family has a long history of family associations. Extensive research has been done in the past, several books have been written, and more recently many web sites have been established. One of our goals, as an international organization, is to bring together all of these sources and make this information more easily available to all who are interested.
Born ~ About 1330
Married ~ Agnes ________
Born ~ About 1297 Leicestershire, England
Born ~ before 1135 Leicester, Leicestershire, Eng
Died ~ 31 Aug 1190 Durazzo/Duras, Greece
Married ~ about 1155
Petronella de Grantmesnil ~ Born 1149 ~ Died 1 Apr 1212
Children ~ 1. Guileran ~ Died after 1189
2. Robert ~ 4th Earl of Leicester and Steward of England
Died ~ Oct 1204
Robert (surnamed FitzParnel from his mother), 4th Earl of Leicester, succeeded his father in Messina in 1191, being invested by King Richard with the cincture of a sword. After which, while his master was detained in captivity by the emperor, the King of France having invaded Normandy, and taken divers places, this earl coming to Roan, excited the inhabitants to so vigorous a defense, that the French monarch was obliged to retreat. Furthermore, it is related of him, that making a pilgrimage into the Holy Land, he there unhorsed and slew the Soldan in a tournament, when returning into England, he died in 1204, and was buried at the abbey of Leicester. He had married Laureeta, daughter of William de Braose, Lord Braose, of Brember, but having no issue, the Earldom of Leicester became extinct, while his great inheritance devolved upon his two sisters as co-heirs.
3. Roger ~ Chancelor of Scotland
Roger, the second son of "Wytmains", became Bishop of St. Andrew's, in Scotland. William, the third and youngest son (said to have been a leper), founded the Hospital of St. Leonard's, in Leicester, and was ancestor of the great family of the Dukes of Hamilton, in Scotland.
4. William de Bellomont ~ Born 1142
Founder of the hospital of St. Leonards, at Leicester
5. Amicie/Amice ~ Born _____ ~ Died ~ 3 Sep 1215
Married ~ Simon D’Evereux, Comte do Evereau
Buried ~ Hautebruyere
6. Margaret ~ Born 1155 ~ Died Feb 1235
7. Pernelle ~
The WHITMAN, WHITEMAN, WEIGHTMAN and WIGHTMAN names are said to have come from Robert de Beaumont III, 3rd Earl of Leicester, who was nicknamed "WYGHTMAINS." Accounts differ as to where this nickname came from; one says it was because "he had the most beautifully shaped white hands," but another says that he contracted leprosy in the crusades, which turned his hands white. He died in Duras, Greece in 1190 while in the crusades. His descendant, Thomas Whiteman de Beaumont ~ b. abt. 1297 in Leicestershire, England, had a son named William Wightman ~ b. abt. 1330 who married Agnes _?_
Robert III, 3rd Earl of Leicester, as before stated, was surnamed "Blanchmains", or "Wytmains". Adhering to Prince Henry, in the 19th year of King Henry II., in his 1173 rebellion, incurred the high displeasure of that monarch. The king commanding that his town of Leicester should be laid to waste, it was besieged, and the greater part burnt; the inhabitants having permission for 300 pounds to move whither they pleased. He was received however, in royal favor four years afterwards (1177), and had restoration of all his lands and castles, save the castle of Montsorel, in the co. of Leicester, and Pacey in Normandy. But surviving King Henry, he stood in such favor with Richard I., that those castles were likewise restored to him, and he was appointed to carry one of the swords of state at that monarch's coronation. He married Petronella Grantmesnil, daughter of Hugh de Grantmesnil, with whom he had the whole honor of Hinkley, and Stewardship of England.
He was in the Crusade and is said to have there contracted leprosy, and by some to this is ascribed the surname "Wytmains". He died and was buried at Duras, in Greece, in 1190, leaving three sons (Robert, Roger and William), and two daughters (Amicia and Margaret).
Born ~ 1104
Died ~ 5 Apr 1168
Married 1 ~ Godehilde de Toeni ~ No Children ~ separated 1090
Married 2. ~ Lady Elizabeth
Married 3. ~ After 1120 Amicia de Gael/Waer/Ware
Children ~ 1. Marguerite/Margaret ~ Born 1125 ~ Died after 1185
2. Hawise ~ Born 1134 Died 24 Apr 1197
3. Sir Robert ~ Born 1135 ~ Died 1190
3rd Earl of Leicester
4. Isabele ~ Died after 1188
Robert, 2nd Earl of
was surnamed "Bossu". Adhering to King Henry I. upon all occasions,
was with that monarch at his decease in 1135, and he afterwards as staunchly supported
the interests of his grandson, Henry II., upon whose accession to the throne,
he was constituted Justice of England. He married (1) Godehilde, daughter of
Raoul de Toeni II., who bore him no children, and from whom he was separated by
1090. When between fifty or sixty years of age, he married (2) Lady Elizabeth,
according to Crispin and Macary, and she, being young, was won over by William
de Warren II., Earl of Warren and Surrey, so that she finally deserted him.
Another source, Wurts, has him marrying (2) Amicia Waer (Ware).
daughter of Ralph de Waer (Ware), Earl of Norfolk, by whom he had a son and two
daughters as follows:
Born ~ 1040 - 50
Died ~ 5 JUN 1118 Leicestershire, England
Burial ~ Chapter House, Preaux
Married 1 ~ 1096 Isabel de Vermandois (de Crepi) ~ Born 1085 ~ Died 1131
Children ~ 1. Elizabeth ~ Born 1106
Married 1 ~ Gilbert de Clare / Gilbert Strongbow, Earl of Pembroke
Married 2 ~ Herve de Montmorency
She was also mistress of King Henry I
2. Aubreye ~ Born 1100
3. Emma Bellomont ~ born 1102
4. Galeran/Waleran ~ Born 1104 ~ Died 9 Apr 1166
Twin with Robert he became Earl of Mellent
6. Hugo “Pauper” Hugh ~ Born 1106
~ obtained the Earldom of Bedford from King Stephen, with the daughter of Milo de Beauchamp, upon the expulsion of the said Milo. Being a person remiss and negligent himself he fell from the dignity of an earl to the state of a knight; and in the end to miserable poverty.
7. Amicade/Alberee ~ Born 1112 ~ Married Hugh de Novo Castello
8. Matilda/Maud ~ Born 1114 ~ Married William Lovell
9. Mabel ~ Born 1116
10. Adeline ~ Born 1124 ~Married Hugh de Montfort
11. Agnes ~
Robert de Bellomont was the first Earl of Leicester after the Conquest. However, was not so made until the time of Henry I. He was of kindred to the Conqueror who held him in high esteem, as a person who through his gallant conduct in the battle of Hastings, had greatly contributed to the success of that memorable day.
He was a son of Roger de Bellomont by Adelina (daughter of Waleran, sister and heir to Hugh, Earl of Mellent in Normandy). Robert married Isabel, daughter of Hugh, Earl of Vermandois, and died in the 18th year of the reign of Henry I, leaving 3 sons and at least 4 daughters. Waleran, this eldest son, became Earl of Mellent; Robert (twin with Waleran) became second Earl of Leicester. Hugh, the third son (surnamed "Pauper"), became Earl of Bedford. Of the daughters, Elizabeth married Gilbert Strongbow, Earl of Pembroke, Adeline married Hugh de Montfort, and two others married respectively Hugh de Novo Castello and William Lovell.
Robert (twin with Waleran) were eldest sons of Roger de Beaumont , who was the companion of the Conqueror in 1066, and whom he describes as "a novice in arms." In the British Museum, the name is Robert, though the epithet "le Viel" is not appropriate to his then age. Might not "le Viel" be a clerical error for "de Vielles," the name of Roger's father, which is latinized into "de Vitulis"? Roger de Beaumont would of course have been de Vielles as well as his father. The latinizing of proper names cannot be too much deplored and deprecated.
Roger, Count de Beaumont, it is unanimously recorded that he was the noblest, the wealthiest, and the most valiant seigneur of Normandy, and the greatest and most trusted friend of the Danish family. Son of Humphrey de Vielles, and grandson of Thorold de Pontaudemer, a descendant of the Kings of Denmark, through Bernard the Dane, a companion of the first Norman Conqueror, Duke Rollo, illustrious as was such as origin in the eyes of his countrymen, he considered his alliance with Adelina, Countess of Meulent, sufficiently honorable and important to induce him to adopt the title of her family in preference to that of his own.
This great earl is characterized as "the wisest of all men betwixt this and Jerusalem, in worldly affairs; famous for knowledge, plausible in speech, skillful in craft, discreetly provident, ingeniously subtle, excelling for prudence, profound in council, and of great wisdom." In the latter days of his life he became a monk in the abbey of Preaux, where he died in 1118, and was succeeded in the Earldom of Leicester by his 2nd son, Robert.
Born ~ 1022
Died ~ 29 Nov 1094
Married ~ 1040 Adeliza/Adelina/Adelaide de Meulent/Meullant (Countess)
(daughter and sole heiress of Comte Waeran de Meulant, a great feudal nobleman)
Children ~ 1. Robert
2. Henry ~ 1st Earl of Warwick ~ Born 1045 ~ Died 1119
3. William ~ Born 1047 Neubourg
3. Alberee/Aubreye ~ Born 1049 Neubourg ~ Died 1112
Roger succeeded to his family estates in Normandy especially Beaumont by which name he generally became known. When William the Conquerer invaded England in 1066, Roger furnished sixty vessels for the fleet and was left in charge of the government while William was away on expedition.
The Warwickshire of the Domesday Book reflected the same pattern of most counties. We will review some of the major landholders. The King retained direct control of most of the strategically important holdings and wealthy lands.
His most favoured benefactor was the Count of Meulan (Roger de Beaumont). Roger (sometimes the records in England show him as Robert but this may be a confusion between the son Robert with his father who actually held the lands) de Beaumont was the most powerful seignior in Normandy. His Chief domain in Normandy was Beaumont le Roger. He adopted the title Count of Meulan from Adelina, his wife's family. He received 90 manors in Warwick, Leicester, Wiltshire and Northampton. There is dispute whether he, Roger, was at Hastings, he was old at the time, but he contributed 60 ships to the invasion force. His son Robert represented him at the Battle of Hastings.
By the taking of the Domesday survey, Robert (Roger) de Beaumont, was known as the Count of Meulan, having inherited the title in 1082 on his father's death. He also became a peer of France. He was also known as Roger de Beaumont, or simply Earl Roger, and became the 1st Earl of Warwick, and the Earl of Leicester. In the holdings listed below, Earl Roger, Count Meulan, Robert de Beaumont are one and the same. Initially, although a very powerful magnate, he was only the custodian of the grants made to his father by Duke William until his father's death. By 1082, he had inherited all his father's estates in England and in Normandy. The latter was also Earl of Leicester. Henry de Beaumont, his younger brother, later succeeded to the Earldom of Warwick. Robert(Roger) held a total of 57 manors in Warwick at the Domesday survey. His Chief domain in England was Sturminster Marshal in Dorset. He shared with the King the great power in Warwickshire.
The line from Roger de Beaumont to Bernard “The Dane” was taken from several sites.
More info can be found at
Born ~ 980 Pont Audemer, Normandy, France
Died ~ 28 Sep 1044 Normandy, France
Married ~ Aubreye/Alberee de la Haie
Born ~ 984 Normandy, France
Died ~ 20 Sep 1045
Children ~ 1. Roger
2. Robert ~ Born 1024 ~ Died after 1066 ~ Buried St-Pierre de Preaux
3. Guillaume / William ~ Born 1026
4. Dunelme ~ Born 1028
Humphrey succeded his father as Sire de Ponteaudener and was Seigneur de Veulles, Pre’aux, Toerville, Poneaudorf and Beaumont. About 1050 he founder the Abbey of Pre’Aux in Ponteaudemer, where he was later buried.
Born ~ 949 - 962
Burried ~ Preaux
Married ~ Duvelina / Awelina (Wevia) de Crepon
(The younger sister of the Duchess Gunnora, wife of Duke Richard I.)
Children ~ 1. Humphrey
Touroude’s inheritance was Seigneur de Ponteautorf, Torcy, Torny and became Sire de Ponteaudemer, which was his principal residence and by which name he became known.
Born ~ 928
Married ~ Ertemburge de Brioquebec (Brioquibec)
Children ~ 1. Touroude ~ Born about 949
2. Turchetil ~ Born anout 951
Torf was probably the grandson of a Viking chief of Scandiavia who accompanied Lord Rollo in 900 AD in the Norman Invasion of northern France where he permanently settled, giving it he name of “Normandy”. Torf held numerous lordships in Normandy, with the Seigneur de Torville, Torcy, Torly, Torny and de Ponteautard.
Born ~ 898 - 908
Died ~ 955
Married ~ about 902 Sphreta de Bourgogne (Sprote de Bourgoyne)
Children ~ 1. Torf
Bernard was the most powerful of the feudal nobels of Normandy during the reign of Duke William I and was regent during the minority of Duke Richard I.
There is a detailed pedigree of the Harcourt Family of Normandy in Table XI. in Crispin and Macary, and also pages 14 and 93-94. Refer to Burke, pg. 261-262.
The following material from Crispin and Macary (pg. 14) was derived from G. A. La Roque, "Hist. Geneal. Maison de Harcourt" and other sources:
"Errand de Harcourt. This family is one of the most illustrious in both France and England. Errand is mentioned by La Roque, the French historian of this great house, Pere Anselm, and other genealogists, as the personage referred to by Wace which reads "sire de Herervourt was there also, riding a very swift horse."They are supported in this conclusion by Le Prevost, as he favors Anchetil, the father of Errand, or Robert, his younger brother. The burden of opinion is, however, against this eminent historian. Turquetil, seigneur de Turqueville, and de Tanqueraye, about 1001, appears in several charters concerning the abbeys of Fecamp and Bernay. He was lord of Neufmarche-en-Lions, governor of the boy duke, William, and was treacherously assassinated between 1035 and 1040 by hirelings of Raoul de Gace.
Turquetil was the second son of Torf, the son of Bernard the Dane, which latter was governor and regent of Normandy in 912, from whom descended the sires de Beaumont, comtes de Meulent, the barons of Cacelles and Saint-Pare, the lords of Gournay and Milly, the barons of Neubourg, the vicomtes of Evereux, the Earls of Leicester, and many other noble French and English houses.
Turquetil married Anceline, sister of Toustain, seigneur de Montfort-sur-Risle, and had issue: Anchetil, and Walter de Lescelina who married Beatrice, abbess of Montivilliers, natural daughter of Robert I., Duke of Normandy, as well as Leceline de Turqueville, the wife of William, comte d'Exmes (later(d'Eu), an illegitimate son on the same duke. Anchetil was the first to assume the name of Harcourt from the bourg of Harcourt, near Brionne, and married Eve de Boessey-le-Chapel, by whom he had seven sons and one daughter. The eldest was Errand, who predeceased his father, and was succeeded by Robert as head of the house. Jean, Arnoul, Gervais, Yves, and Renauld were the other sons. Errand de Harcourt commanded the archers of Val de Ruel at the battle of Hastings, but returned to Normandy in 1078 and probably died soon after. His younger brother, Robert, who accompanied him to the conquest, was the ancestor of this distinguished family."