Since the 1600's, the Whitman family tree has branched and grown from
its earliest roots in England.. Beginning in America with the arrival of
Zachariah, Elizabeth, Valentine and John Whitman at the first settlements of
The family grew and flourished along the eastern seaboard in
New York, Rhode Island, Connecticutt, and Pennsylvania. Whitman pioneers blazed
westward with Marcus Whitman; Planter John "Deacon" Whitman sailed
from Boston in 1761 to populate the shores of Nova Scotia.
Wherever they settled, they brought a tradition of reverence and faith and
hard work. They were blessed and persecuted, and their descendants have
multiplied and prospered.
EARLY WHITMANS IN AMERICA:
In the New England colonies, there was a Robert Whitman who settled at
Ipswich... He was possibly a brother, some other relation, or perhaps no
relation to John Whitman of Weymouth. However, Robert Whitman did arrive in
America at about the same time at the same place and settled nearby in the same
colony. Charles Henry Farnam, who wrote an extensive genealogical study on John
Whitman of Weymouth in 1889 through Yale University, states that this Robert
Whitman was an illiterate while members of the John Whitman family were well
educated. Just this fact makes it doubtful that Robert was of the immediate
family. (Robert Whitman arrived in America on the ship "Albion" which was
smallpox infested. Could it be that he was illiterate as a result of this
Additionally, there is no lingering trace of any children or estates
left by Robert Whitman, though there are conveyances on record to and from him
and his wife Susan. In 1679 Robert Whitman was listed as a proprietor of the
community land at Ipswich, and his name appears there on various documents.
There was another man named Francis Whitman who was a shipwright of Boston, who
died in 1708 at the age of 50. He may have been Robert Whitman's son. He was
not related to John Whitman of Weymouth, according to Farnam. His children were
Francis, Mary and Sarah. His wife Mary outlived him and owned land on Essex
Street in Boston in 1718. Francis, the son of this Francis Whitman, is also
listed as being a shipwright, and was Captain of the Ancient and Honorable
Artillery Company in Boston in 1755. It is believed that the Elizabeth Whitman
who made her will in Boston in 1760 was the widow of Francis Whitman (2). In
her will, she mentions her son Francis (3), who was possibly the only child of
Francis Whitman (2). Farnam's study believes that the descendants of Frances
Whitman ended with this son.
In Providence, Rhode Island, there is mentioned a Valentine Whitman... Ancient
documents named him as an interpreter to the Indians. It is not surely known
what ever became of him or his posterity. Some Whitman families of Providence
are not related to him, though in Warwick, Rhode Island, there are families
probably descended from him. I have been in contact with descendants of
Valentine WIGHTMAN, which is another spelling of the Whitman name in many old
documents. On my main Whitmania website, there is an article concerning the Valentine Whitman family lines
and links to them (Whitman/Wightman Family in America) in the Whitman Genealogy section.
I have just received some copies of a farm lease from 1781 which was signed
by Valentine Wightman in Bristol, Massachusetts. This leads me to believe there
is much more information to be learned about this branch!
John, Zechariah, Robert and Valentine are (according to Farnam,1889) the only
Whitmans who came from Europe to New England. Because they emigrated at about
the same time, I believe it is entirely possible they were at least relatives
of some sort. John and Zechariah are known to have been brothers, but what
relation any other Whitman arrivals on American soil during this period of time
may have been is not known. It would seem if there was a close relation, it
would have been documented within the many personal and official papers left by
John and Zechariah, as was the case of John and Zachariah's apparent sister,
Farnam does not mention Elizabeth, perhaps because she is not a male Whitman,
and so neither her marriage in England to Thomas Streame in England nor her
marriage in Weymouth to General John Otis produced male Whitmans. Her son John
Streame was, however, mentioned in Zachariah Whitman's will in 1666. It is
reported that the marriage record of Elizabeth Whitman and Thomas Streame
mention that her father's name was Richard Whitman. The descendants of
Valentine Whitman say that this Richard was the father of Valentine, so perhaps
Elizabeth was a cousin brought to New England. Many persons claim to be
descendants of Joseph Whitman who was puportedly an estranged son of Zechariah
Whitman (and that's why he was not mentioned in his father's will... or perhaps
because he set out westward early in life he received his portion of his
father's estate early..?) These are points still open to research.
According to Charles Farnam, "It is therefore believed that most every
Whitman family originating in the United States from the New England area of
this period is descended from the relatives of John Whitman of Weymouth."
The descendants of Valentine beg to differ! Some points, I suppose, we will
never know, because history has closed its arms over the facts and shrouded
them forever within the cloak of mystery.
I have a belief that with improved research and communication that is available
today (compared to the limited re sources of Farnam's time) we may find
the"American" Whitmans to be descended from many other relatives of
John Whitman as well.
My interest in tracing the family tree began as I was going through the old
photographs left in my grandfather's trunk.
Aubrey S. Whitman was a fifth generation descendant of John "Deacon"
Whitman. John "Deacon" left New England and sailed to Annapolis,
NovaScotia, in 1761 on the "Charming Molly" to settle his land grant
there. John died shortly after his arrival, but his wife Mercy and their eleven
children continued the endeavor, becoming the origin of the many Whitman and
related families living in Nova Scotia today.
My grandfather Aubrey descended through the lines of John "Deacon's"
son, Jacob Whitman, and was born in Canso in 1888. Aubrey died before I was
born. He was a professional photographer and left us an enduring treasure of
time and history in his photographs. If not for his photographic records, the
key to my Whitman origins may have been lost.
I had a difficult time researching the standard genealogy books in search of my
grandfather's links, but with the help of many Rootswebbers became enlightened
to the resources which helped me to finally connect Aubrey to the family of
John "Deacon" Whitman. Had I not done this research, the inaccurate
and incomplete records available would have made it even more difficult for
future generations to find the path to their Whitman and connect to this rich
heritage full of persons from so many walks of life: privileged gentry,
politicians, devout missionaries, ministers, merchants, teachers,
soldiers,businessmen, pioneers, doctors, inventors, farmers, writers, sea
captains, fishermen and cobblers.
This tree encompasses many of the families mentioned above and then reaches
back into the times of the royal families.
I take those connections with a grain of salt... !
Hopefully, I have pruned out the personal information of any living persons
who might be included as a descendant. I will be updating it again soon, upon
adding more individuals to the various branches. Hopefully, the availability of
this online Whitman resource will encourage other Whitman descendants to
contribute to this store of information. To date, my research has opened up a
new world of communication with cousins all related through the Whitman lines.
This is a wonderful thing!
The tree was compiled from various sources of information and I do not
represent that it is *entirely* correct, as it is a compilation of many sources
of information, and it covers hundreds of years of information. Besides the
Charles Farnam book, I have attempted to utilize historically concurring
sources when possible. Much information was contributed by various family
members and their personal research. If you are researching your family, please
be sure to document and make notes on your sources... if you are
Whitman-related, please help me to share the information at this website. I
will post any lines that are documented.
If you should find errors in this tree please notify me and I will work to
research and correct them. My aim is to have as much correct Whitman
information online in one place as possible, and I welcome and will post your
contributions to this effort.