Trying to Find John
June 2014 — 2015 — 2016 — January 28, 2017
We searched various Parish records throughout Suffolk, Norfolk and neighbouring Counties and did not find John. We followed up leads in Essex and Kent Counties with special attention to all the Parish records of Colchester, where two sisters of Elizabeth Cole found husbands and still no evidence of our John.
After this exhaustive search, the conclusion was to focus our attention on the USA.
Additional research was done in the USA, wherein we looked at transcripts of court records where John appeared either as a witness or as one of the main characters, and there was no indication of where he was from in England. In some situations, John had to give his age and even that did not reveal a consistent birth year.
Our current thinking is that we should use DNA to narrow down an area in England.
November, 2012 – January 9, 2013 – May 15, 2013
We now have the Will of James Fuller, written 21 May 1618 and proved in 1622, in Bury St. Edmunds, Suffolk. This Will confirms some facts and creates some questions. We have not yet linked James Fuller to John of Newton.
- He leaves money to his son ‘John’.
- He leaves money to his daughter ‘Marie Smythe’ married to Robert Smythe.
- He leaves his house on Barbors Street (was renamed to Lady Street), Lavenham, Suffolk to his a grandson ‘John Mascall’, (after he becomes 23 years old).
- He leaves his title estate (land and houses) and interest in Shropham, Norfolk to his grandchild ‘John Fuller’ of Colchester. Essex.
- The Will then stipulates that his grandchild John Fuller, (named in #4) must pay out of his inheritance 20 pounds to his brother ‘John’ and 10 pounds to his sister Suzan, within one month of his (James) decease.
- The Will then states “….I give and bequeath unto the said John Fuller my grandchild, (named in #4) whom I do ordain and make sole Executor to this my last Will and testament hoping and not doubting that he will perform the contents of the Will”
- “I ordain and make Samewell Colman, my friend, Supervisor of this my last Will and Testament.”
- The Will confirms that James had a son ‘John’.
- We find that grandson John Fuller (#4) lives in Colchester, Essex and must be 23 years or older to be named executor.
- Grandson John Fuller has a brother named John (not that uncommon to have two sons with the same name).
- In #6 James names “said John Fuller (#4) my grandchild”, the Executor.
- We find out that James has an estate in Shropham, Norfolk.
- Further research found that the Parish records for Shropham were lost in a fire.
- During our 2013 tour of the main Gildhall in Lavenham, I mentioned to the lady in the museum that I had a Will dated 1618, that bequeathed his house on Barbors Street, and that I could not find that street in town. Later during our tour, the lady raced up stairs and was very excited to tell me that her research had found that there was a Barbors Street in 1618, and that it had been renamed to Lady Street, likely due to a second “Gildhall of our Lady” that was on that street.
- We continue the search.
November 24, 2012
We followed up on some old family research that indicates our John Fuller (b. 1611) was the son of John Fuller born Lavenham, Suffolk, who was the son of James Fuller.
We contacted the Suffolk County office in Bury St. Edmunds who found a John Fuller baptized 4 Jan., 1562 in Lavenham who was the son of James Fuller.
The Lavenham Parish Records showed that James Fuller had the following children:
- John Fuller bap. 4 January 1562, Lived
- Anne Fuller bap. 13 Aug 1564, buried 15 Oct 1564
- Robert Fuller bap. 29 Sept 1566, buried 15 Oct 1566
- James Fuller bap. 7 Dec 1567, buried 20 Dec 1567
- Marie Fuller bap. 21 Dec 1569, Lived
NOTE: There is an interesting note in this parish book:
“Untyl this yere of owr Lord god 1571, The yere in this boke hath always beginne the first of January & now the beginninge of the yere is contynued & kept from the 25th of March.”
The Lavenham Parish Records also revealed that John Fuller [b. 1562] married Anne Gates, 15 Sept. 1594 and their son Edward was bap. 19 Oct. 1595. Anne Gates was bap. 5 April 1573 in Lavenham, the daughter of Edward Gates. It was common at the time for a new mother to travel home to have their first child. Also James’ daughter Marie married Edward Willchyne, Oct. 5, 1598 (note that she is named as married to Robert Smythe when James’ Will was written in 1618); as well they found the burial of “the wife of James Fuller” in 1614 and that James was buried May 17, 1622.
A further search of the Lavenham Parish Records found:
1. There are no burial records for John [bap.1562] or for his wife Anne [b. 1573], an indication that they may have moved from the Parish.
2. No other children were found for John Fuller and Anne Gates, which also indicates that they may have moved from Lavenham after Edward was born.
3. No Marriage record was found for John Fuller (b. 1611) and Elizabeth Cole from Lavenham. We are continuing to search in this area.