April 2011 James G. Ferris



(Geoffrey) tradition has it was born in LEICESTERSHIRE, England about 1610 and came to America about 1634. [Professional research was accomplished in England, hired by Chaplain Ferris and several associates in an effort to find out something about Jeffrey in the 1970s. Chaplain Ferris felt that the search was in depth and thorough, but the results were nil. The Parish records of the Leicestershire area did not show the surname Ferris, in any of its various spellings, so there is no documentation to prove his birth place, birth date or when he came to America . The first documentation of Jeffrey occurs when he was made a freeman.] [ The New York Times of June 1937 in an article about the 300th Anniversary of Greenwich CT, states that Greenwich was named after the English hometown of Jeffrey Ferris. (?)] He was made a freeman at Boston, May 6, 1635; removed to Wethersfield, Connecticut (owned 45 acres which he sold to John Deming) (another source says 13 acres and 54 acres); and from there to Stamford, Connecticut, in 1640/1 where he was among the first settlers of that town. He is on the list of those who paid for the survey, and received ten acres at the first assignment of land (in the Stamford records, Ferris is recorded as Firries, but there are numerous other examples of misspelled words; I don’t think spelling was their strong suit back then). Jeffrey was included on a list of pioneers living at Stamford at the end of 1642 as Jeffry Ferris. He later, settled within the bounds of present Town of Greenwich and in 1656 was one of the eleven Greenwich men who peti­tioned to be accepted under the New Haven jurisdiction, where he died May 31, 1666.

From The First Three Hundred Years^ For some eight years previous to 1664, Greenwich had been under the “watch-care” of Stamford and the spiritual leadership of the Reverend John Bishop. The church there, according to Historian Trumbull, was one of the fifteen churches established by that time in Connecticut. On February 5, 1664 seven men met to consider the best way to apportion the land in Greenwich. This was probably one of their first town meetings and it was recorded that the “common lands” were to be divided “by the Rule of proportion, according to each man’s estate and bee visable,” and that they “shall constantly endeavor to maintaine and too uphold the ministrie amongst us.” The Proprietors signed their names as “Jeffre Ferris, Senre; Joshua Knapp, Senre; Joseph Ferris; Jonathan Reynolds, Angell Heusted, John Mead, Senre; and John Hobbe.”

The name of Jeffrey’s first wife and mother of his known children remains unknown. Much research has been done and speculation abounds, but the actual documentation, such as the page of the Stamford Town Records, which contains her death record, is worn away. What is legible is her death date of May 31, 1658. On the tombstone her name has weathered away leaving only ‘Mary —–ne’. There are some that think her maiden name was Browne, Thorne, or Bowne; a case can be made for each because of connections with those families and Jeffrey, but no proof exists. Several sources, to include Family Tree Maker, list Judy Burns and/or Ann Milton or Anne Howard (see information later on in this paper re Anne Howard) – as best as I can determine, there is no documentation for these names. In this compilation, she remains unknown .

From Savage-Collins Origins & Descendants 1630-1960 by R. Thomas Collins, Jr. – Jeffrey married Mary in England. With their first child, Jeffrey and Mary Ferris came to New England in 1634, with Jeffrey being made a freeman in Watertown the following year. He soon moved to Wethersfield, where he stayed for four years.

He married second, at Stamford, in May 1661, Susannah (Norman) (AFN: FPHQ-6H) Lock­wood, widow of Sergeant Robert Lockwood [dau of Richard]. She was born 1612, in England and died December 23, 1661 at Greenwich. [Susannah’s maiden name has also been identified as St. John, Sension, Bulkeley or Lockmann.] Jeffrey’s marriage contract with Susannah, dated May 28, 1661, pledges certain legacies to the children of Robert Lockwood-deceased, and mortgages his Greenwich lands and “housings”. (Jim – a prenuptial agreement in 1661?)

Jeffrey, married 3d, in 1662 at Stamford, Judith (Feake) Palmer, widow of Lieutenant William Palmer, (not Henry as found in some sources to include Ye Historie of Ye Greenwich ) afterwards the wife of John Bowers. Judith (Judah) was born circa 1621, London, England and died in 1667/8, Yarmouth MA [place of death is probably Greenwich]- she was the dau of James & Audrey (Crompton) Feake, of London. Judith was also niece of Robert Feake, credited as one of the founders of Greenwich. Soon after Jeffrey’s death, she married John Bowers (SeeGenealogies of Long Island Families )

Jeffrey’s will found on the probate records at Fairfield, is dated January 6, 1664/5. He wills to the four boys he brought up (“four bois which I brought up”), meaning Judith’s four youngest sons (birth dates John-1650/1, James-1652/3, William-1654/5, and Joseph-1656/7) from her marriage to William Palmer, ten pounds ster­ling a piece, if they live with any of his children until they are eighteen years old, the money then to be put out for them un­til they are twenty years of age. His will names also his wife “Judah”, meaning Judith, son James, son Jonathan Lockwood, and Mary (Ferris) Lockwood, son Peter’s three children, and son Joseph’s two. Judith, his widow, receipts for her widow’s portion, March 6, 1667.

Tradition invests the immigration of this family to this country with the lines of romantic adventure. The ancestress, who was also high born, followed her lover out into this western world to share with him here the fortunes, which English aris­tocracy would not allow. (Genealogical and Family History of Western New York by W.R. Cutter (Vol.III, page 1096) states “Tradition tells us that his first wife was of noble birth, marrying against the wishes of her family.”) [ Jim – there is no documenta­tion to back this up.]

The name Ferris is from LEICESTERSHIRE, House of Feriers, Farers, Fereis, Ferrerr, Ferreis, Ferrers or Ferris, the first member of which (in England) was from Henry de Feriers (Ferrers) (see separate paper on Henry de Ferrers), son of Guelchelme (Guillaume) (William) de Feriers, Master of the Horse (Jim ‑ thus the horse shoes on the coat of arms) (most sources say Master of the House, though) of the Duke of Normandy, to whom William the Conqueror gave large grants of land in the three shires of Staf­ford, Derby, and Leicester. It is said that Guelchelme de Feriers took an ac­tive part in the Battle of Hastings (1066), having in­vaded England with the Conqueror. From Guelchelme de Feriers and Wil­liam de Ferers, Earl of Derby, descends the Ferrers of Groby, who bore for their paternal coat of arms gu seven mascles or, a can­ton erm, while their Westchester descendants carried gu a fluer de lis or a canton erm with a crescent for the difference, or multum in florius arte , freely translated is “much in the flowery arts”, indicating that the family was distinguished for its love of horticulture. There are a couple of variations of the Ferris Coat of Arms as shown. [Jim – several folks have tied Jeffrey into this group of people. I am not aware of any documentation for this very large leap!]

In 2002, Alice Wexler, went to England and visited the Records Office in Leicester. She did find the record of one Sir John Ferreis, a knight in 1621 married Mary Ratcliffe, in Donington. (Leicestershire Marriage Bonds, Vol. 39, p. 147). Her remarks were: “What this said to me is that there were Ferrises (spelled Ferrars or Ferrers or in this case Ferreis, though I think that’s a misprint of Ferrars) in Leicestershire in the 1600s, so couldn’t Jeffrey have originated there as well”? I thank Alice for her research and at least finding a documented possibility of Jeffrey’s origins.

Born to Jeffrey Ferris and his first wife were:


This sequence, by birth, is from Ye Historie of Ye Town of Greenwich. A Ferris Genealogy by Chaplain James S. Ferris shows a different birth sequence. I have elected to stay with the original sequence because of the amount of renumbering I would have to do. I do consider the work done by Chaplain Ferris to be valid and will annotate where there is a difference.

See ( ) on following pages for more information.

*The compiler’s branch (Knox County, Illinois) of the tree.

Recommended reading : ^ The First Three Hundred Years The History of the First Congregational Church of Greenwich, Connecticut edited by Elizabeth W. Clarke 1967

From Greenwich Old & New : Chapter ‑ Story of One Pioneer.

In spite of the important part that Daniel Patrick played in the founding of Greenwich, it was men like Jeffrey Ferris and An­gell Husted who actually made this settlement. They were the men who remained permanently, and raised large families, which con­tinued to live here for generations, forming the background of the town. So, to use Jeffrey Ferris as an example we must go back a few years to the settlement of Watertown just outside of Boston.

Along with a great number of restless, energetic Englishmen who left their homes for various reasons, Jeffrey Ferris came to American in 1634. Born in Leichestershire, England, in 1610, he was twenty‑four when he came to Watertown. Over six feet tall, with blue eyes and red hair, he was a typical middle class Englishman, God‑fearing, respectable, industrious and as later events proved, a good businessman. He was enough of a Puritan to be eligible as a citizen of Watertown, for his name was regis­tered as a freeman of Boston in 1635. At that time church member­ship was the essential requirement for citizenship. This en­titled him to be called Goodman Ferris.

From a number of small clues, it may be assumed that Jeffrey Ferris was not a rigid Puritan. He may have come to America for freedom of worship, but undoubtedly there were other more practi­cal reasons as well. Goodman Ferris wanted land of his own, but he also wanted the rights of a free landowner. There was plenty of land around Boston, but little freedom. Not to repeat the well-known story of how the citizens of Newtown, Watertown, and Dorchester separated from Boston and migrated to Connecticut, enough of this history must be told to explain how and why Jef­frey Ferris finally came to Greenwich.

At this time Boston was controlled by a few rigid Puritans who had organized a theocratic and completely undemocratic form of government. The citizens of the three settlements around Bos­ton were not allowed to govern themselves independently, nor were they even fairly represented in Boston although they were sub­ject to taxation. The rules and regulations regarding personal conduct were unbelievably strict. It was not only irregular characters like John Underhill and Daniel Patrick who were punished for minor crimes. Many very respectable law abiding citizens were fined or put in the stocks for trivial offenses.

Men like Jeffrey Ferris who had broken home ties and sailed across the ocean to a wilderness for the sake of freedom were not likely to submit to such a situation. At the same time glowing statements were coming to Boston concerning the fertile meadows and rich valley land along the Connecticut River. A separation from Boston and migration to Connecticut was inevitable, and in the company of a number of families from Watertown, Jeffrey Fer­ris acquired four acres of land and built a house. Evidently he planned to stay and settle down but within four years he was moving again.

So far Jeffrey Ferris had made two moves toward freedom, but from the point of view of freedom Wethersfield proved a disap­pointment. Worse that than, there was no peace because of several strong minded ministers who were all trying to rule the small settlement at once. There were infinite quarrels and dis­putes over religion, politics, and the distribution of land. Be­cause of these unsatisfactory conditions at Wethersfield, Jeffrey came to Greenwich. Land, always land, was what he wanted more than anything, so this time, quite on his own, he negotiated a purchase with the Indians here.

July 18, 1640, is the commonly accepted date for the found­ing of Greenwich because the Indian deed was signed on that day. Al­though historians are literally quite accurate when they assert that the settlement was established after the purchase, there are, nevertheless, a number of reasons for assuming that a few pioneers came here before July 1640.

As an addition to the purchase of Daniel Patrick and Robert Feaks, it is noted that “Keofram hath soulde all his Right in ye above sd necks unto Jeffre Ferris.” This notation suggests that Goodman Ferris was here transacting a deal with the Indian Chief Keofferam before the coming of Daniel Patrick and Robert Feaks. When signing his mark, Sachem Keofferam made the picture of a blockhouse with a projection or lookout box. In front and be­hind the house he drew lines, which may have been an indication of plowed ground.

Indian signatures were really picture writing, and the marks usually depicted something significant in relation to the docu­ment, which was signed. Such being the case, it is quite likely that there actually was a blockhouse on this land bought by Jef­frey, and of course this house was his home. If so, it must have been built before July 1640.

If we assume that Jeffrey was one of the first landowners, it is possible to go a step further and attribute the naming of Greenwich to this particular founder, who was born in LEICESTERSHIRE, England. About 1590 in England, there was an adventurer named Richard Ferris who served as messenger in ordinary at the court of Queen Elizabeth. At this time the Earl of Leicester was the Queen’s favorite, so it is more than likely that this member of the Ferris family from LEICESTERSHIRE received an appointment through his influence. [Jim – recently, some Genealogical organizations have made the leap and proclaimed that Richard was the father of Jeffrey – this proclama­tion has been further spread as gospel by numerous individuals.Until I am aware of documentation to this fact, I will not make this jump. In this document, Jeffrey’s father is still unknown.]

The favorite summer residence of Queen Elizabeth was at Greenwich where her yacht lay alongside the wharf in front of the palace. As a member of the court, Richard Ferris must have visited there frequently. In this way, Jeffrey Ferris, as a son or nephew (?), might have become very fond of the village of Green­wich and when he came to New England he followed the custom of other emigrants by naming the town after that place in England to which he was most attached.

Jeffrey Ferris was married three times. His second wife was Susannah Lockwood, widow of Robert Lockwood, so from the very beginning of Greenwich history these two families were united. It is said that 10,000 of their descendants can be traced and many of them still live in Greenwich today.

Angell Husted is another founder of Greenwich whose family still lives there. Robert Husted, his father, owned land in both Stamford and Greenwich and was a witness to the purchase of Patrick and Feaks. Angell Husted was a special witness to the purchase made by Jeffrey Ferris, and it is claimed by the Husted family that he was here as early as 1638.

It would be impossible to name all the families who came to Greenwich over the period of the next twenty or thirty years but it is interesting to notice that a majority of them came here by the way of Watertown and Wethersfield just as Goodman Ferris did. Some of these families settled for a time in Fairfield where Jef­frey Ferris also lived for a few years because, as a loyal Englishman, he resented the Dutch jurisdiction, which Daniel Patrick had forced upon Greenwich.

The Indians ‑ Undoubtedly the dangerous situation due to the Indians was another reason why Jeffrey Ferris left Greenwich for several years. Almost at once the Indians became the most dif­ficult problem with which the first settlers had to contend. There were numerous raids as well as individual attacks on help­less families.

The Daughters of the American Revolution (DAR) have some dif­ferent dates on Jeffrey above. They show he married 1st Susannah Lockwood, who died in 1660; and then married Mathais St. John who died in 1669. The DAR also state that Jeffrey was a representa­tive of the General Court, 1667, an original proprietor; yet above, it states he died in 1666; so there is conflicting infor­mation, but I guess that is to be expected.

From The Winthrop Woman – extracted

When on the morning of the purchase Elizabeth explained this to Daniel, he laughed, saying ‘So be it then! We’ll sign this on the confounded rock, if you and your squaw’re so set on it. I’m not the rascal to gainsay two determined women. What do we say, men? He turned to the five other English­men who stood by his hut door and were to act as witnesses. These were Jeffrey Ferris, a lean taciturn farmer of thirty, with a crest of auburn hair near as red as Patrick=s. Ferris had decided to establish himself in Rippowam, or Stamford, five miles away since that tract had just been bought by the New Haven Colony, but Ferris had already wintered on land west of Totomack cove and wished also to retain this small portion of Greenwich.

….. Jeffrey Ferris said nothing, because he never spoke idly and was in a hurry to finish these negotiations and get back to his patch of corn, which was ready for picking.

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From Monakewego to Greenwich Point

The Siwanoy Indians used it as a fishing camp and called it Monakewego – shining sands. Purchased by Daniel Patrick and Robert and Elizabeth Feake in 1640 (along with the rest of what is now Old Greenwich), it became known as Elizabeth’s Neck. Jeffrey Ferris bought the land in 1730 (incorrect) and it remained in the Ferris family for more than 150 years. But in 1884, this beautiful spot so close to New York City caught the eye of wealthy banker J. Kennedy Tod. Buying parcels through various agents, Tod acquired the Ferris property over the next three years and began the process that eventually turned the “shining sands” into “Tod’s Point.” Tod’s vision for the waterfront estate he called Innis Arden was bold. Joining two small islands with fill, he built a tide-control gate and created a lake from a tidal marsh. Next came a road around the lake and a causeway to provide access to the mainland. A stone mansion, boat house, guest cottage and other buildings were erected; a barn housed cows and sheep grazed on the nine-hole golf course. For some years the Point’s sandy beach and golf course were open to Old Greenwich neighbors and guests staying at the local inns, but Tod eventually believed his hospitality was abused and the Point was closed to all but invited guests. Tod died in 1925, his widow in 1939, and Tod’s Point became the property of the Presbyterian Hospital of New York. The RTM adopted a resolution in 1940 that the town acquire the Point – and the beach was leased for town use from 1942 to 1945. It took five years to overcome strong opposition to the purchase from some town residents and to negotiate the price. Finally, on December 13, 1944 (according to RTM records), “The Trustees of Presbyterian Hospital voted to accept $550,000 for 148.5 acres including Great and Pelican Islands. We have assured the citizens of Greenwich that it is our intention and desire that the use of Tod’s Point should be along dignified lines without undesirable concessions or other features which would be unattractive or objectionable to the general neighborhood or to those making use of the property for bathing and wholesome recreation.” Town records show that in July, 1943, 17,704 persons came to Greenwich Point; by July of 1944, that figure was 71,830. In 1946 the still-impressive stone house was converted by its future occupants) into family apartments for returning WWII vets. But by 1960 the building had deteriorated and needed extensive repairs to bring it up to safety codes. Again amidst controversy, Tod’s grand mansion was razed in 1961. Many of the original buildings remain: the Queen Anne Building houses lockers and marine biology classes; the Chimes Building is used by the Old Greenwich Yacht Club’s Community Sailing program and provides storage lockers for sailors; the Cowbarn and former stables serve as storage and work areas for the park staff. The gates that once marked the entrance to Tod’s estate can be seen on the grounds at the Innis Arden Club in Old Greenwich.

From Volume 1, Ferris Genealogy , by James S. Ferris


Fairfield, Conn. Probate Book from 1665 to 1675 Page 20

I, Jeffery Ferris, being now at this time through the mercy of God in indifferent health and good memory thanks be to the Lord that giveth it to me, do make this as my last will and testimony in brief considering age; I knowing not whether the Lord may take me away with sudden death…

ITEM I give unto my wife that now is; all the estate that she can make appear that she brought with her; also;

ITEM I give also to her four children that is to say, those four boys, which I brought up

and kept forty pounds, that is to say ten pounds apiece; that if they stay and live with any of my children until they be of the age of eighteen years; then it shall be put out for them and for their use until they are twenty years of age; and then to receive it into their possession; further in case that my wife that now is shall see cause to remain a widow after my decease; for so long as she so remaineth I give for her use five acres of land that is now in till the one half in my home lot and the other half at the marsh or neck; also I give her free for her and hers one of my allotments that is on Mihernoes Neck that is now fenced in; also that she sees cause I will that she shall live in one part of my now dwelling house so long as she shall remain a widow; also I give her two of my Pewter Platters one great and one small.

ITEM I give unto my son James Ferris twenty pounds, that is to say besides his cattle that

now is; also beside the quarter part of those which I gave between my son Juda and James and Jonathan Lockwood that is to say Juda’s running remote in the woods; also I give unto my son James my great copper kettle and also my bed that standeth in the low room of my house, that is to say that bed with all the furniture which my wife and myself commonly lodged on, also I give unto my son James that bed with the furniture that commonly James lay on in the other fore room of my now dwelling house; I give also unto my son James Ferris all my carts and plows and all materials thereunto belonging; also I give unto James my Iron Pot and three Pewter platters…

ITEM Also I give unto my daughter Mary Lockwood that now is twenty pounds besides the quarter part of my before mentioned Juda’s I gave to her husband Jonathah Lockwood; also

ITEM I give unto my son Peter Ferris his three children one mare colt that shall run in stock, to be equal proportion between the three children; also

ITEM I give unto my son Joseph’s two children one mare colt to run for stock for them and for their use and portion;

ITEM Farther my will is that what more of my estate shall be found after those above-mentioned legacies paid, shall be equally divided amongst all my children;

ITEM Further it is my will that in case God should choose to give my wife a child born of her body whilst she remains my wife, that is to say whilst I live or that I leave her with child when I die, that then I give unto that child male or female the other half of my farm that I now possess — with the right and privileges thereunto belonging; further it is my will that this child shall have a young mare also; which I give it by, this, my will; but in case this child should die before it hath any issue, then this my gift to return to the rest of the estate as before mentioned; Further it is my will and I do depute my loving friend John Holly now in Stanford and my son Peter Ferris as my overseers to see this my will performed according to this just expression and intent of this my writing: In witness that this is my free will and act I set to my hand

This is the mark of


WITNESS Phillip Minthorn

March 9th 1667 I Juda Bowers lately Widow Ferris sometimes wife to Jeffery Ferris do

hereby acknowledge I have received in full satisfaction what was given me by my husbands will, and I do hereby fully acquit and discharge for me and mine forever

WITNESS Rich; Lane or Lorn

Johnathan Sellick

Juda Bowers Mark

March 9th 1667 This will on the other side written was presented to be approved by the parties concerned in the distribution of the order of the will and in witness hereunto we do mutually agree to subscribe our names with our own hands.

March 13th 1667 We whose names are underwritten do own and approve this will within written to be the will of Jeffery Ferris deceased.

Witness our hands Juda Bowers

The mark of lately wife of Jeffery Ferris

In presence of Joseph Ferris

Joshuah Knapp James Ferris

Joseph Gurnsee or


Inventory of the estate of Jeffery Ferris dec: taken and approved by

Joseph Mead

Angell Husted

John Holly appointed thereunto (and under oath) by Mr. Lanes

present on the 24th 25th 26th and 27th Nov: 1666

Note: This was not copied from the original but rather from a copy that is in loose material in a vertical file on Ferris Genealogy in the Genealogy Room of the N.Y. Public Library.

Freeman’s Oath – taken by Jeffrey Ferris, May 6, 1635.

I, ________, being, by the Almighty’s most wise disposition, become a member of this body, consisting of the Governor, Deputy Governor, Assistants and a commonalty of the Massachusetts in New England, do freely and sincerely acknowledge that I am justly and lawfully subject to the government of the same, and do accordingly submit my person and estate to be protected, ordered, and governed by the laws and constitutions thereof, and do faithfully promise to be from time to time obedient and conformable thereunto, and to the authority of the said Governor and Assistants and their successors, and to all such laws, orders, sentences, and decrees as shall be lawfully made and published by them or their successors; and I will always endeavor (as in duty I am bound) to advance the peace and welfare of this body or commonwealth to my utmost skill and ability; and I will, to my best power and means, seek to divert and prevent whatsoever may tend to the ruin or damage thereof, or of any the said Governor, Deputy Governor, or Assistants, or any of them or their successors, and will give speedy notice to them, or some of them, of any sedition, violence, treachery, or other hurt or evil which I shall know, hear, or vehemently suspect to be plotted or intended against the said commonwealth, or the said government established; and I will not at any time suffer or give consent to any counsel or attempt that shall be done, given, or attempted for the impeachment of the said government, or making any change alteration of the same, contrary to the laws and ordinances thereof, but shall do my utmost endeavor to discover, oppose, and hinder all and every such counsel and attempt. So help me God.

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First Congregational Church, Greenwich CT

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The First Congregational Church of Greenwich, 108 Sound Beach Ave, Old Greenwich CT

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Courtesy of Jeffrey Ferris (2006)

Mary Elizabeth (Ferris) (Litton) Gray has provided a theory on Jeffrey’s father. Since there is no documentation for such, I have included here as such, a theory. I asked Mary for her references and her response is provided below.


Why do I Think Richard is Jeffrey Ferris’ father, I have lots of circumstantial evidence websites. I also have put together a scenario that makes some sense to me. Jeffrey, Jeffery or Geoffrey Ferris or Ferrer(s) the spelling is a big hurdle. I have not yet found his name listed on the passenger list of any of the pre-1635 ships. This leads me to side with the assumption that he just eased in with friends under either a no name registration as the last minute or no last name. The name is a big deal – I think this was his way to break away from his staunch catholic past and work into a puritan plan. In 1629, a puritan preacher came to Tamworth where his grandfather Humphrey had the castle. Jeff’s father “Richard” wasn’t going to inherit much $ since he was the second son. (there was also a daughter) Around 1633 the castle and Tamworth were in an upheaval, Humphrey died, Uncle John took over and the upcoming civil war was starting to brew. Cromwell and gang eventually claimed it in 1643 so Jeff was lucky he left.

So, this was not a nice time to be hanging around that area. If I was Jeff I’d change, my name, ask dad for a 20, and get on the next boat out of town too. Notice that once he got here, he was always looking for new land opportunities (which he did not have in England) and places where he could exercise control over his environment. (PS-names in this family are very repetitive – Jeffrey, Jeffery is not a usual name. Besides like Geoffrey Chaucer, Geoff is the more likely spelling for that time.

From Professor Conrad Plaut (2005):

I am a descendent of Ruth Ferris and Samuel Peck (Peck is my middle name), grandson of William Peck, one of the founders of New Haven. After 6 generations of Pecks, my great grandmother Gertrude Peck married a mathematics professor, Robert F. Smith. Their daughter, Helen Peck, married Byron Webb, and their child, Marian, is my mother. After a few hours of work I managed to trace Anne Howard back to John Neville and Maud Percy (this is in the document I mentioned), through Percy to Fitzalan and back through various lines all the way back to Charlemagne, who is therefore our direct ancestor. I also managed to find another line that goes back to the de Ferrers family, which Jeffery Ferris is believed to have come from. So even if Jeffery was not, we are still descendents from the early de Ferrers, and if Jefferey was then he and Anne were distant cousins.

Although I haven’t checked for a direct link myself, I did find the statement that John Neville is an ancestor of all sovereigns of England subsequent to Edward IV, which would make them our cousins–albeit very distant. I guess the only advantage of being descended from royalty is that it makes (at least some of one’s) genealogy a lot easier!

In the end my wife drew up the tree on paper (how old-fashioned!) and so I can’t e-mail it (my daughter is doing a family history project for school). At any rate it is fun (for me at least) to wander around in some of these sites to trace parentage. Whether or not you have the goal of tying yourself to royalty, you actually are tied–being a direct descendent of at least 10 kings (8 English, including William the Conquerer) and three emperors of the Holy Roman Empire, including Charlemagne. My wife, who as far as we can tell is descended from mere commoners in Germany and Norway, says she read that nearly anyone with any British ancestors is descended from Charlemagne. I don’t know whether this is true, but it is interesting to see the actual path(s). Given your last name you might be interested in the site Geoffrey Ferrers, who became Jeffrey Ferris, is near the bottom of the page (you can search on his first name) and from there you can follow the branches up the tree. When you get to Ann Hastings follow the Hastings line up to Margeret De Champagne, whose father was a disinherited “imbicile” grandchild of William the Conquerer. A more “distinguished” route to “cousin Will” may be found through Anne Howard and her Dacre ancestors, branching off at Elizabeth Greystroke to Lady Elizabeth Grey. It is easier to see how to get there through, where you can enter a name and display a pedigree tree going back up to 8 generations at a time. However, this site doesn’t include the Ferrers line beyond Sir John Ferrers and Dorothy Harper.

Another person has Anne Howard (1614-1658), wife of Jeffrey, daughter of Sir Thomas Howard, 21 st Earl of Arundel. 

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Another theory:

Thanks, Jim for getting back to me as soon as you did. Here is the twist in the Jeffrey Ferris Deal. I will give you my back ground, My grand Mother is Jessie Ferris, who’s father was William Ferris who’s father was Frank Ferris then who’s father was “somebody” or it was the actual “Jeffery Ferris” at that point. Now here is the Kicker! We have Siwanoy Indian in our blood line due to Jeffery Ferris. I’m told he either had an affair with an Indian Woman or he married an Indian woman. That’s the unclear part in our family. But at the end of the day, there is an Indian blood line connected to the Ferris name. The Ferris Family that I’m related to has been here in Greenwich forever! There is a book which you probably already have. It’s called Images of America “Greenwich” by William J. Clark. If you go to page 94 you will see the Ferris stables which was my Grandmothers grand Parents stables. I’m sorry if I’m not clear but this gets confusing for me. I’m so interested in finding out the mystery. I could be opening up Pandora’s Box but I guess it would be fun doing it. Tell me what I think!

Another theory, from – documentation?

Thomas Howard, 21st Earl of Arundel, 4th Earl of Surrey and 1st Earl of Norfolk

7 July 1585 – 4 October 1646 ) was a prominent English courtier during the reigns of King James I and King Charles I , but he made his name as an art collector rather than as a politician. When he died he possessed 700 paintings, along with large collections of sculpture, books, prints, drawings, and antique jewellery. His collection of marble carvings, known as theArundelian Marbles , was left to the University of Oxford . He is sometimes referred as the 2nd Earl of Arundel; it depends on whether one views the earldom obtained by his father as a new creation or not. He was also 2nd or 4th Earl of Surrey, and later, he was created 1st Earl of Norfolk. Arundel was born in relative penury, his aristocratic family having fallen into disgrace towards the end of the reign of Queen Elizabeth I . He was the son of Philip Howard, 20th Earl of Arundel and Anne Dacre, daughter and co-heiress of Thomas Dacre, 4th Baron Dacre of Gilsland . He never knew his father, who was imprisoned before Arundel was born. Arundel’s great-uncles returned the family to favour after James I ascended the throne, and Arundel was restored to his titles and some of his estates in 1604. Other parts of the family lands ended up with his great-uncles. The next year he married Lady Alatheia (or Alethea) Talbot , a daughter ofGilbert Talbot, 7th Earl of Shrewsbury , and a granddaughter of Bess of Hardwick . She would inherit a vast estate in Nottinghamshire Yorkshire , and Derbyshire , including Sheffield , which has been the principal part of the family fortune ever since. Even with this large income, Arundel’s collecting and building activities would lead him heavily into debt. During the reign of Charles I, Arundel served several times as special envoy to some of the great courts of Europe. These trips encouraged his interest in art collecting. In 1642 he accompanied Princess Mary for her marriage to William II of Orange . With the troubles that would lead to the Civil War brewing, he decided not to return to England, and instead settled into a villa near Padua , in Italy. He died there in 1646, and was succeeded as Earl by his eldest son Henry Frederick Howard, 22nd Earl of Arundel who was the ancestor of the Dukes of Norfolk and Baron Mowbray . His youngest son  William Howard, 1st Viscount Stafford -the ancestor of what was first the Earl of Stafford and later Baron Stafford . He had a daughter named Mary Anne Howard who may have rankle her family by marrying Jeffrey Ferris of Leicestershire and the family probably disowned her when she and her husband went to America sometimes in the early 1630s, where she lived out in the Connecticut colony until her death. She and Jeffrey Ferris had five children, all born in the new world. Arundel had petitioned the king for restoration of the ancestral Dukedom of Norfolk . While the restoration was not to occur until the time of his grandson, he was created Earl of Norfolk in 1644, which at least ensured the title would stay with his family. Arundel also got Parliament to entail his earldoms to the descendants of the 4th Duke of Norfolk.

As a Collector and Art Patron

Arundel commissioned portraits of himself or his family by contemporary masters such as Daniel Mytens Peter Paul Rubens Jan Lievens , and Anthony Van Dyck . He acquired other paintings by Hans Holbein Adam Elsheimer , Mytens, Rubens, and Honthorst. He collected drawings byLeonardo da Vinci , the two Holbeins Raphael Parmigiano Wenceslaus Hollar , and Dürer . Many of these are now at the Royal Library at Windsor Castle or at Chatsworth . He had a large collection of antique sculpture, the Arundel Marbles mostly Roman, but including some he had excavated in the Greek world, which was then the most important in England, and was later bequeathed to Oxford University. It is now in the Ashmolean Museum . The architect Inigo Jones  accompanied Arundel on one of his trips to Italy. It was there that he saw the work of Palladiowhich was to become so influential to Jones’s later career. Amongst his circle of scholarly and literary friends were James Ussher and Sir William Harvey .


Another theory:

I’m an Underhill descendant of Jeffrey Ferris, through his granddaughter, Mary Ferris (daughter of John Ferris) who married Nathaniel Underhill. I have a working theory about the origin of Jeffrey Ferris’ first wife, Mary. It may be plausible, it may be not. 
Here goes nothing… 
Through researching the prosecution of the Protestants (Puritans) in England, the growing tension between them and the English Catholics which eventually led to the feuds throughout the English countryside and which such a cause sparked the English Civil Wars, I do believed that the first wife of Jeffrey Ferris may have been Mary Anne Howard, the daughter of a powerful Catholic family, the Howards – namely her father being the 21st Earl of Arundel, Thomas Howard, a wealthy art collector who was married to a daughter of a more powerfully family, the Talbots (the Earl of Shrewsbury Gilbert Talbot), also Catholic. 
The key parts of the Earl of Shrewsbury Talbot are the counties (the shires) he was responsible for: Nottinghamshire, Yorkshire, and Derbyshire. Leicestershire is surrounded by these shires. The ancestors of Jeffrey Ferris are known to come from Derbyshire. 
Jeffrey Ferris was supposedly born in the area of Leicestershire or in the proximity of the shire. His father, Richard, came from Warwickshire. Understand that some gentry commoners often moved from place to place wherever there were opportunities or better living conditions (money, job, avoiding conflict or kick out of a shire). 
It may be likely that Mary Anne may have opposed the Catholics’ treatments of the Puritans. Her family was from Arundel, near Norfolk and her father often traveled to collect artworks around England, Scotland, Ireland and Europe. It would be reasonable that he would take his family with him, likely to visit her mother’s side of the family up north in England. 
It may be likely that Mary Anne (or Mary or Anne) met Jeffrey Ferris and could have a relationship with him. It may have gotten her father upset because he would prefers his Catholic daughter would marry a Catholic. In those days, a marriage between a Catholic and a Protestant was frowned on or unacceptable, depending on which family in England. Being a Catholic in the 17th century England was supremely important, even while the tension of religious persecution was simmering against the Puritans. Perhaps there was a strong objection to her marriage to Jeffrey Ferris that the father may have decided to disown her from the family, whether by his own writ or by word. I would say that Mary must have been a “rebel” in the family, a naive sympathizer of the Puritans (not a slam, just the way she was perceived as in that time) and did really liked Jeffrey that enough to marry him. 
Maybe that’s why her gravestone doesn’t show her full original name and simply named as “Mary ….ne” as in Mary Anne? 
Who know? What do you think? 
The only way we could find out is DNA sample test to see if the DNA match with that of the English Howard family. 
Much regards, 
Rob Underhill

Hi, Jim

The “documentation” came from the sources from Last year, when I started doing research on my family history with, the name of Richard Ferris popped up “automatically” while adding the names of parents to Jeffrey Ferris. At first, I didn’t really pay attention to it and didn’t get back to the Ferris ancestors for awhile. Only for the past few months, I’ve been delving into the roots of the Ferris leading up to the de Ferrers, through careful analysis, logical but presumptive deductions and educated guesses (by looking at the corresponding timelines and relations between ancestors) with genealogical sources from other websites.

I’m not completely solid with Richard being Jeffrey’s father but would not rule that out until more proven evidences are hopefully forthcoming in the near future. At this point, I’m sticking with Richard being his father for the time being. I have no idea who was Jeffrey’s actual mother. Previously, it was Ann St. John.

Families do moved about from place to place and settled in those times for a variety of reasons: job opportunities, farming and living conditions, religious, political or family persecution, economic hardship, debt or other reasons we don’t fully know.

To understand families’ histories and roots, we must understand the history of the region and the country of which the families came or settled from, especially in the light of known political, religious, economic and social circumstances of history. These factors can drive or influence the movement of families or individuals coming from that families. Such in case with Captain John Underhill, whose father and his family were forced to exile to Holland from England to escape religious persecution.

Looking at the history and description of Jeffrey Ferris, being a tall man with red hair and blue eyes. Jim, that is a great description, an important clue to a possible nobility and royal ancestry. Most known royal and noble male figures were described as tall men, with red or blond-reddish hair, with blue, green or blue-green eyes (in some cases, brown or hazel eyes). For example, Henry VIII, King of England, as a young man, was tall and had auburn-red hair, with a stylish reddish beard. In those times, young women of all kind usually fall for men who were like Jeffrey Ferris, a tall man with red hair and blue eyes, especially this particular type of men were appealing to women, which they usually associated, under presumption or by knowledge, with these men being of “blue-blooded” ancestry.

In England, when you’re looking at the shires (counties), you would realize how close each shire is to others. It’s not a big country and the distance between the shires aren’t that lengthy, but if you walk on foot in your own paces, the distance seem like long. It’s all in the perception, you know? There are many villages and townships in between. Perhaps old or forgotten documentations can be founded in these places.

Here’s the PDF of the ancestors of Jeffrey Ferris. In this case, Richard Ferris is, as it would seem to me, descended from William de Ferrers, the 5th Baron of Groby (1373 to 1445).

Kind regards,



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