Published on: 3 Dec 2014
Updated: 22 Nov 2016
Descendant and Researcher:
Terrance Anderson Filter – email@example.com – Direct Descendant
Scottish POW Y-DNA Study:
Group 2-A, Haplogroup R-M269→R-DF21 (possibly Early Irish/Scottish?)
First Generation in the New World
1. WILLIAM¹ ANDERSON, was presumably born in Scotland about 1623.
Founding member of the Scots’ Charitable Society in 1657.
Children of William and Unknown (_____) Anderson:
2. GEORGE² ANDERSON,
2. ISAAC² ANDERSON,
2. WILLIAM² ANDERSON,
Written and submitted by Terry Filter:
My ancestor/Scottish war prisoner is William Anderson, who assuming I am correct would be my 8th great grandfather…I’ll tell the story backwards from my discovery of him first and then tell you what I know about the Scottish family as I have been able to ascertain thus far.
Another family researcher had with only a few bare patches traced my (mother’s) line to an Isaac Anderson in New York around 1700 where the search went cold. There was no record of from whence he came to be running a market sloop on Long Island Sound from the farms of Connecticut to the piers of old New York.Baird’s history of Rye New York details Isaacs landholdings in that area at that time and also that he had been permitted to build a mill on the Byram River where his land was. There was also the fact that the area where his land was had been called Saw Pit Landing at that time and the suspicion that the mill was a saw mill. Family lore had been that Isa was Scottish but there was no record of an Isaac Anderson born in Scotland in the right time frame that I could find…I however discovered that there were references just prior to 1700 in the records of the Reformed Dutch Church to an Isaacq Andrieszen, an apparently “Dutchified” version of the name…and not only that but records of also a Willem Andrieszen, puzzlingly once marrying a widow who if her deceased husband is any indication must have been quite old, and once not that distant in time baptizing a new born child with a different woman…I wondered if there were two William Andersons in addition to the Isaac Anderson, if I supposed that the Dutchified names might really be English…the 1703 New york census confirmed that there were indeed two William Andersons so the search for a connection to Isaac was on…The Historical Society of Westchester County (contemporary suburban NYC) had one of the few copies of a document called “Colonial Families of the Phillipsburg Plantation” which turned out to reveal that Grenville MacKenzie, the professional genealogist who wrote the document, had discovered a senior William Anderson who had settled in the area with at least two sons, William and Isaac. Thus it was back to the Dutch church records….a marriage was recorded, as previously noted, between a William Anderson (noted to have been “from Scotland” in the record) and a woman called the widow, Elizabeth Harriton, of Anglican cleric Josias Clark. Josias Clark was the Cambridge educated son of Sabbath Clark of Chester England who would have been born around 1623; hence, if his widow were even close to the same age then probably so was her new husband, hence the senior William Anderson. It should be noted that the historical record shows that Anglican services were conducted in New York in the English Fort New York and that Josias Clark was the minister there for a couple years (1684-1686), although Clark had lived for a time in Boston, Massachussetts. (As an historical note, Josias Clark’s younger brother Daniel was among the early founders of Connecticut.) This is the appropriate time to mention that the senior William Anderson had been among the founders of lthe Scots Charitable Society of Boston that had been founded to benefit the Scots Prisoners of War in 1657. The records of that society indicate that Josias Clark became a member of that society. The newly married senior William Anderson was called “from Scotland” in the Dutch record. So I had an elderly Scottish William Anderson, possibly born circa 1623 (since young men don’t usually marry older women even in the colonies) the origins of whom were mysterious. There was no record of such a person arriving in the colonies as a passenger, but there was on the John and Sara going to Boston on that voyage we know so well now. Thus it was to the records of the digital archive of Scotlands People to seek a William Anderson, possibly born circa 1623. There was such a man born in 1623 in Aberdeenshire to a George Anderson. I noticed that since we were looking for a royalist and that there were several Gordons aboard the John and Sara; why not google Gordon and Anderson 1600’s to see what comes up…what came up eventually was reference to a William Anderson who was the Sheriff Clerk of Aberdeenshire under the Marquis of Huntly from 1597 -1631….Also I discovered that there existed and available via google a complete transcript of the records of the Sheriff’s court which was replete with references to Andersons including to the family of the Sheriff Clerk William Anderson. Specifically, there was reference to the Sheriff Clerks eldest son, who was named George and who was granted his father’s office as an inheritance. This George was a lawyer who was referenced in the History of the Society of Advocates of Aberdeen as was his father the Sheriff Clerk. Of course, also of interest was the fact that the Marquis of Huntly was the champion of the royalist cause in Scotland. The circumstantial evidence was piling up that the new york William Anderson might well be the Scottish prisoner of War in Massachussetts. But why no George Anderson in New york if the usual naming rules were supposed…there should be a son of the senior William named George. Going back to the Dutch church records, a previously overlooked reference to Joris Andrieszen was noted (Joris being the Dutch version of George), and that was a reference to a marriage at about the same time as the senior William’s marriage to the widow. and just previous to Isaac and William’s baptisms several years later of their children. An examination of what was known of the marriages of the junior William Anderson and Isaac Anderson (as their names became in the Dutch records as time went on, and no longer Andrieszen) revealed connections to Massachussetts. For example, Isaac married the granddaughter of Nathaniel Woodward of Massachussetts, Prudence (who was called Prudens Woedert in the Dutch records). In other words, references to all four Andrieszens start showing up at about the same time in New York and they all have Massachussetts connections. Further searching turned up in New York references to the senior William, the prisoner of war, and sons William and Isaac. The senior William became the Treasurer of New York during the term of Mayor Peartree (1702-1706) and during the colonial governorship of Lord Cornbury (whose father had been a familiar of the Marquis of Huntly) and died in office according to the minutes of the New York Town Council. Isaac obtained contracts from the town council to build a “great bridge” in the area of the piers. The junior William became first a constable and then the Sheriff of New York, and ultimately married the daughter of a former Mayor (Nicholas DeMeyer) and wealthy real estate magnate. Isaac retired on the considerable real estate he bought on the New York Connecticut border, a border (the Byram river on both sides of which Isaac had land) which had been established by his wife Prudence’s surveyor grandfather. Both Williams and Isaac show up in a history of the Trinity Episcopal church of New York as donors to the construction in 1698, and in the case of the younger William as a long time member of the vestry.
The Anglican connection is also interesting. The historian who compiled the records of the Aberdeenshire Sheriff’s court suggests explicitly that POW Wm Anderson’s grandfather the sheriff clerk William Anderson, was constantly under suspicion of “papistry” and did some extraordinary things because of it…such as gaining the heritable right to his title for his son George (which never happened as the king was pressured to abolish that privilege) and such as naming curators for his unmarried daughter Helen (one of whom was the estimable Robert Gordon of Straloch) to assure her safety if anything were to happen to him…as it happened, Helen later married the Sheriff Clerk’s successor in office, a Chalmers, after her father died in 1631. One should note that the 2nd Marquis of Huntly under whom the Sheriff Clerk served, had been sent to England to be raised as an Episcopalian as a punishment for his father, the first Marquis, who had been suspected for a time of disloyalty to the crown. Hence, it is quite possible that the “papist” leanings of which the Sheriff Clerk and his family were suspected were really that they were “malignants”, as the Presbytery called Anglican Episcopalians, who were not considered quite reform enough in that they wanted to retain the aristocratic trappings of the Episcopal Bishops (the Episcopacy). It would seem quite possible the Presbytery was correct in their suspicions. Although the Sheriff Clerk William was almost certainly a Protestant, because he was in 1619 the Canonist at Kings College Aberdeen which had been purged of Catholics as early as 1569 when the last Catholic Principal was removed for having “papist” ideas–interestingly, that last Principal was an Alexander Anderson and I suspect the uncle of the Sheriff Clerk; a history of the Scots College in Spain, a Jesuit institution for the promising youth of the Scottish upper crust housed in safely Catholic Spain, lists among the students in the 1630’s several Andersons, one the son of the Chamberlain of the Marquis of Huntly who was named George Anderson, and one the son of the daughter (Elisabeth) of the Sheriff Clerk William Anderson who was married to a Layng, the representative of the Spanish King in Scotland. Finally, it should be noted that the Sheriff Clerk William Anderson almost certainly had a church education, as he wrote portions of the Records of the Sheriff’s Court in Latin. There is a bit known about the Scottish Andersons of which the Sheriff Clerk was part. The Sheriff Clerk was married to a Marjorie Johnston, who was somehow connected to the Caskieben Johnstons of Inverurie, as there were references in the court records to what appears to have been an inheritance of Marjorie, a one third portion of the Standing Stones of Dyce. The Sheriff Clerk makes reference to Sir George Johnston, the brother of John Johnston of that ilk in that reference, which may have been revoking any right to that property he may have had after his wife’s death. I think that the Sheriff Clerk’s wife was of the Crimond or Cayes Mill cadet branches of the Johnstons who were known to be protestant Episcopalians. Davidson’s History of the Garioch notes that Andersons had been “burgage lairds” in Inverurie since the 1400’s and further that in 1600 a Robert Anderson and a William Johnston were both Baillies. The Sheriff Clerk Williams father was named Robert. Notably, the Sheriff Clerk was eulogized in poetry (in Latin) by the poet Arthur Johnston, a Caskieben Johnston and physician to King Charles. Finally, the Anderson’s military connection to the Marquis of Huntly and the Royalist Army of the King, may be referenced in the Acts of the Scots Parliament, in which Andersons in the employ of the Marquis, and in particular his Commisary General who was an Anderson, were blamed for the damage to the livestock and crops of landholders in Aberdeenshire, presumably while gathering provisions for the warring militias of 1643 and 1644 during “the troubles” so vividly portrayed by Spalding in his history. Interestingly, the first names of the Andersons in the record of the Parliament may have been either unknown or were deleted at some later point. There may have been advantages to being friendly with all the literate people who were the keepers of the records.
In brief, while how he got to New York from Massachusetts is still unknown, the evidence is persuasive that the Treasurer of New York was indeed the SPOW William Anderson, and that he had three sons: firstborn George after SPOW William Anderson’s father , second born Isaac (probably after the father of his New England mother who married SPOW William Anderson), and thirdly, another William after SPOW William Anderson, and thus following the naming conventions in Scotland. Any researcher who comes across reference to William Anderson in New England while in pursuit of another SPOW should feel free to shoot me a note!
Hope I haven’t bored too many on this board with this narrative, but I wanted to illustrate how one can credibly piece things together even in the absence of a completely documented record of births and marriages .Good luck to all in construction of their narratives, I for one look forward to reading them! ~Terrance Anderson Filter
I have a complete and fairly well documented genealogy from Isaac Anderson to the present( although as noted above the evidence of Isaac’s origin is persuasively that of the Scottish POW William’s family) and that has some genetic corroboration. A hitherto unknown 4th cousin in St John New Brunswick was discovered to have traced his origins to the same Isaac Anderson in New York. The Family Tree DNA from that male cousin was a close match to that of my maternal uncle. It seems there was a split in the loyalties of the American Andersons at the time of the American Revolution and some emigrated to Canada. My data is in the Family Tree dna database under the name of my maternal uncle Harold Boynton Anderson.