Essex Witty / Wittey update.

For those who are tracing their Yorkshire ancestors with a surname beginning with the letters 'S' through 'Z'
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Essex Witty / Wittey update.

Post by witteyjb » Fri Nov 16, 2012 4:55 pm

First of all I want to answer Ians question. Can I give details to support my family connection to Middleton on the Wold.
1. My perceived connection, 1730 / 1761, is incorrect! Further more I would like to apologies for raising hopes of a breaking thru the Brick wall that is 1730 Robert Witty. It was a claim of desperation & frustration.

However there are several connections to Hull / Yorkshire which occur earlier, 1600 thru 1700. I'm still working on this & may not be able to provide evidence before end 2013. (2014, Connection was around 1606 in Middleton, not in Hull) I'm still working on the proof! Its in the National Archive in Kew!

My current work indicates Witty presence in 41 British counties & Northern Europe. Further more my earlier work needs to be re-translated as my Witty history has matured county by county, century by century. To say these county families are NOT related does not take into account our Witty families long history. 3 of my grand parents have genealogy that disappear before or around 1850, my Wittey / Witty family name goes back to European mythology. Richard Wagner even put our family name in his "Ring cycle". No I can't prove it! In fact I can't prove any thing beyond 1440 thanks to Henry's dissolution of the Monasteries 1540 - 1543, except in rare exceptions; I.E Middleton on the Wold (1475) & Hutton, Essex (1440).

My current work shows clearly the Witty family appears at a county level as : -
1. Source counties individual count, around 1540 AD : Yorkshire (The largest with 1516 individuals); County Wexford (Ireland) 800, Essex & LONDON, 600 individuals; Devon (250); Lincoln (69); Dorset (35) ; Cornwall (25), Hertfordshire (49) : To mention a few. ((The Source counties idea, as they appeared to me in 2011, needed re-interpretation. I saw them as the counties with the largest Witty presence 1540 thru 1600. Turns out the important UK early source counties were Yorkshire, Devon, Dorset, Berwick, Worcestershire & Wexford, Ireland. March 2015.))

2. Seed counties; come in 3 periods. 1603, 1625 & 1664. Only 1664 is partially studied & includes : Berkshire, Bedfordshire; Surrey; Buckinghamshire; Somerset. Again this work is provisional & will be completed in 2013! (This study is still a puzzle, Feb 2015, there are many stories here & I haven't identified many of them). ((The 3 dates mentioned appear to coincide with the 3 main plague years but that line of investigation proved only partially fruitful. I'm now focused on the court case that destroyed our family wealth; 6 October 1641. The court case or the event / threat leading to that case caused some parts of the family to scatter! Its a work in progress & the solution will have to wait until I can get to the National Archive in Kew)).

May 31 2015. This time period (1604 thru 1642) is a water shed in the Witty history (In my opinion). In the Years 1620 thru 1640, 60,000 Englishmen left England. 20,000 went to New England, 40,000 disappeared. Some went to Ireland while the others went to Europe. Some of those 40,000 were Wittys & may be the modern Witty / Wittey sources in Holland, Finland, Belgium, Germany, Sweden & SPAIN with the Y & EY ending to the European Witty / Wittey name. (Under study).

14 June 2015. The above Witty European country placings & the Witty / Wittey County scattering that occurred 1606 thru 1642 suggests to me, at this time, 5 things : -
1. The " Free monetary gift ((Illegal tax)) demanded by Charles Stuart in 1627 was not paid" by our Wittys (either on principal or due to lack of funds), subsequently resulting in imprisonment, land seizure or if poor enough, press ganged into the "Free volunteer English army or navy". This "Pressed voluntary army" was then dispatched to fight in the European 40 Years war (1618 - 1659).
**The Internet has it recorded as the 30 Year war & the 10 year Franco Spanish war. In Europe its considered to last 40 Years & is known as the 40 years war. Spain was the enemy from 1618 thru 1659 & had been a thorn in Northern European side since before the 80 years civil war in Holland abt 60 years earlier.**.
English Army involvement in European battles occurred in 2 periods. 1. 1619 thru 1622, under James Stuart. 2. 1624 thru 1628 with minor involvement until 1630, under James until he died, March 1625, continued under his son Charles Stuart until one defeat after another, lack of funds, to pay the army & huge pressure from his catholic wife, French catholic father in-law (Louis 13th of France) . The catholic Western Emperor (Spanish Emperor) & his brother the Hapsburg Eastern Emperor, in Vienna, persuaded him to with draw English support for the Calvinist & pilgrim armies in the field.

2. There were at least 2 Witty family groups pressed & fined! The Scottish Mid Lothian Wittys & The Yorkshire Wittys. The Mid Lothian Wittys have not yet been studied; sadly the Scottish records are poor & are a future study for 2016.

3. There was a Truly volunteer force fighting in Europe, fighting for Calvinist / Lutheran protestant causes (The protestants were being slaughtered all over the catholic dominated Europe & very HIGH feeling in Britain was with the protestants.
Hence a truly English volunteer armys in (1) Sweden & Finland. (2) Belgium, Holland & Germany; Were formed. Some volunteers, I speculate, were Wittys.
The Spanish Witty Source could be Wittys that settled there at the end of the 40 Years war; where the last 10 years of the war were fought.

4. The interesting possibility of Witty soldiers returning to Britain after involvement ,1622 & 28 - 30, landing in the South East of England, meeting a local girl & settling down paints a picture of Wittys appearing, as they do, out of the blue forming (Seeding) about 6 or 7 Southern counties. This is in sharp contrast to my earlier speculation "They fled Yorkshire"! Either idea looks right & if evidence is found it will be a mixed bag which will surprise us, I'm sure.

5. The other idea worth note is the challenge to our assumption about the Wittys being Catholic! I'm sure some were but a significant number appear to be Calvinists / pilgrims. An interesting speculation regarding the Witteys spelled with an ey. Could the E stand for Evangulum or Evengelish. One certainly finds Witteys in strong (protected) Calvinist towns at this time, 1620 thru 1719.

The above 5 points are speculative & I welcome evidence or challenge! Any one have any proof one way or another?

Another interesting by product of the county search has been the connection to the Witty's of other family branches; the White's & the Withies.
In Yorkshire the White break from the Witty's before 1550 while in Essex the break is before 1600. This connection is a study in its self due to the White family size, 4000 in Essex alone. Way beyond my remaining time! ( The White / Witty break occurred in the UK very early before the 5th & 8th century depending on Witty source, In Europe the break was possibly earlier)!
The Withies are found as early as 1500 & they appear to be yet another Witty spelling aberration!
Withies & Wittys appear to be living together in some counties while in other counties they do not appear to be related? I am including them in my study but they appear to connect to us (generally speaking) before 1540. (( In 37 counties they seem unrelated. In 2 they look suspiciously like Witty family. In only 2 county do they connect; Worcestershire & London.))

For the passed 2 years (2010 & 2011) ; White & Withies; I ignored because I didn't want the work. But having connected them, at least provisionally, I can no longer leave them out of my program. (31 May 2015) This study slowed my Wittey search considerably, however it does fit into our very early history. This week I started a new study which may connect us genetically to the Whites & give us a view of our family over 1700 years passed. Another study showing promise takes us back 900 years! I'm excited!

Then there is the question of the Australian & North America Witty / Wittey's. They are next after Yorkshire! First things first! (Of 13 known Australian Immigrant Witteys 9 are directly related to me, one is an Irish Wittey, one a Prussian German Wittey, one a Yorkshire Witty and and lastly an 1810 non traced Witty)!
Last edited by witteyjb on Sun Jun 21, 2015 11:00 pm, edited 8 times in total.
john barker wittey

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Post by G.P.Steer » Sat Dec 15, 2012 6:07 pm

Dear Mr Wittey, I find your research interesting but wonder if you have considered the possibility that in different parts of the country - Devon, Oxford, Essex, Yorkshire, for example - there is a different origin for each of the Witty families there who later all spelt their names Witty? I myself am a linguist and have followed the developmental changes of English from Anglo-Saxon to Medieval English in England, and have noted that in the historical records up and down the country there are individuals who, in more recent times, spell the name Witty, but who go back to families with different spellings and origins. For example, in early English a look out post was a "wythye" and there are references to "John atte wythye" meaning John who lived at the look out post. A twisted bend in the river was a "withy" and so anyone living there got his name from that, while John ate Wytheg was a dweller near a willow tree and John de la withye was a dweller by a white enclosure. Other early forms include: Wittie, meaning wise or sagacious, while whyeye was a pale-eyed man.It all depends on the pronunciation at the time the documents were written.With time, as people shifted their way of speaking (particularly in the 16th century)names often changed slightly, and much depended on the clerics who recorded the events in church records. My own research into the medieval period shows that the ancestors of the Yorkshire Wittys were probably "de Whytaye" - I have seen several manuscripts - I draw this conclusion as in the 1560s the family - by this time called Wittie - was holding the same land in the same village as the Whytayes 200 years previously. There are some recent genealogy research books published in the last 10 years which suggest that all people with the same name are not necessarily related, and I can only say that this seems to be the case according to my own thirty years of research.
Good luck, Mr Wittey, in your task of finding who`s who and who is really connected.

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Post by witteyjb » Fri Jan 11, 2013 9:01 pm

Thank you for your response. Yes, I accept your point! The Witty’s in different counties are different family sources in 1500. How ever they may be related from an earlier time in the ancient territory / empire of the Fryslan; according to the Venerable Bede, who wrote about ad 700.

Thank you for your advice & your exciting mention of the De Whytaye in 1360! Please tell me where I can find these references to 1360 De Whytaye as I have NO Witty connections between 1097 & 1440. I would be excited to add them to my program.

Most of my current county work with my direct family has occurred in Stepney, London near or on the river Thames. All the above spelling errors, you mention, occur on a regular basis from about 1540 thru to modern times. You can find my name spelled 3 different ways in documents written by educated secretaries & clerks; they add an “h” or leave off an “e”, or “t”, or worse.
In several UK records I have found the children & parents spelled differently but having the same mother & father living in the same town christened at the same church. As a result I feel I have my direct line down relatively accurately from 1605 thru 2013. Earlier back to 1440 is still speculative because the records are in Latin however I feel 99% sure a connection is there. I still have too many wills & records to translate & my Latin is “0”!(The evidence to support this Essex 1440 claim is in the National Archive, Holborn).

Some Wittes / Wittys are immigrants from Europe. Austria, Czechoslovakia, Holland, Germany, Ireland, Italy & all countries in between.

Which leads to the question: if the Witty name comes from Medieval Anglo-Saxon why does the name occur all over Europe from the Arctic circle to the shores of the Mediterranean & from Britain east to Russia?

Interestingly the name changes spelling from language to language just as it did in Britain between 600 & 1300. Some Witty names remain as they were originally spelled & is consistent in large living Witty population areas of Europe; Germany, Holland, Norway & Sweden, Belgium, Finland & Spain.

( I finally translated the Finish / Swedish Witty records. Both countries have living Witty & Witte families. Over 116 families live near Stockholm, Sweden. 27 families live in Helsinki, Finland. The Witty & Witte spellings are current!

Most interesting was the "W" in Witty; as there are few or no words in both the Swedish & Finish language which begin with "W". In other words these living 143 families are immigrants from a very early time. Fryslan is the only country that fits the bill with 137 of these families, the UK is a possible source for the remaining 6 families. My money is they are all originally from Fryslan however they may have emigrated via another European country.

The other important point is Aland (part of Finland) is an Island, in the Baltic, between both Swedish & Finland Witty / Witte sources. The place were Bede claimed our family was originally living, around 200 AD! Wittys are living to the direct West, East & South of "Asgarda", Aland. The town of Asgarda is still there on the map, in Northern Aland!

These above Wittys give credence (in my opinion) to Bedes claim the York / Middleton on the Wold Witty are from Aland! My estimate on the date of their arrival in Yorkshire would be between 543 & 640 AD. ) (17 March 2015)

Did you know the original Saxon Language has not completely died out! It’s still spoken in isolated country districts in what is now Holland & NW Germany. The language is spoken on a coastal strip starting about 100 miles north of Amsterdam & stretches to the Danish boarder. I investigated in Leuwarden, last May (2012) & discovered the name Witte is pronounced exactly as it is to day, in the UK, Witty! The name Witte is pronounced differently in every other modern European language! This might not seem important but if the Witty name doesn’t exist outside of the UK it paints the UK as a sole origin from the Anglo-saxon times. As I said it’s not a UK only name; it’s Europe wide & the origin appears to be Fryslan; A land area on the North sea coast that is now known as Holland & Germany.

There should be Wittys in Denmark (they surround Denmark in every direction), however only the earliest Witte / Witta spelling was found there! Denmark was the only country in Northern Europe to support the Eastern Emperor with military involvement during the European 40 years war! No English Wittys fought there; other European armies took them out of the fight!
Could this suggest my speculation above is correct? After all Denmark was a wonderful country to flee too!

If the Witty families do connect they do so long before 1500 AD, I would guess that connection would occur around 250 AD when the Witty name first appears; although even then the then Witty community consisted of many families which shared connections from a much earlier time. A guess on my part would be about 475 BC & possibly even earlier to the early European population known to have lived in this area of Europe as early as 1500 BC; known as the “Mound People”. Note all reference to the Witte name does not appear before 336 AD; according to “The Venerable Bede”! (Assuming “The Bede” can spell??)

I’m happy to connect my family from 1440 through 2013; it wasn't easy! This story is a work in progress & is still incomplete. The county / European study has already changed my understanding of the Wittey / Witty family history; it turned out to be a great surprise and continues to surprise me.
Thank you again for your response; I enjoyed it!
Last edited by witteyjb on Sun Jun 14, 2015 7:09 pm, edited 6 times in total.
john barker wittey

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Post by brianmulhall » Mon Jan 28, 2013 7:52 pm

I can only add a little to Graham Steer's contribution. Recently I have looked at old newspaper reports about Wittys in Hull and the surrounding area - and very interesting they are! Although some who share the name have clear and traceable links to the family in and around Middleton others have no obvious connection. If the entirely plausible migration of different branches of the family around the East Riding is so difficult to establish I can only wish John Barker Witty good luck in his far more ambitious project.

Brian Mulhall

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Re: Essex Witty / Wittey update.

Post by witteyjb » Thu Feb 19, 2015 2:09 am

18 February 2015.
Thank you for your response. You are right I do need a lot of luck to connect various Witty families.
The Witty family is a migrating family. They started in North Holland & North West Germany and migrated all over Europe. This process never ended it continues to this day.
The British Isles was just one country into which the Wittys migrated. The latest one found was an 1867 Otto Wittey, from Prussia Germany, immigrating to Hampstead, London, in 1911.

Wittys migrated all over England from Worcestershire, Lancashire, Norfolk, Dorset, Somerset, Ireland, North Germany (Prussia) & (Hanover), Middle Germany (Mainz), Surrey, Cambridgeshire, Glamorgan, Hampshire & Yorkshire, too London; plus many other counties. This migration is clear from records 1600 thru 1800 until the steam Trains & Steam boats made the movement around the country head spinning. One generation of one family moved from Ilford to Leyton on to Woking, Buckinghamshire & retired in in the Lake district. Since 1974 Jumbo jets have sped up the emigration process & now Wittys are moving all over the world.

The process is also true in reverse. I.E Middleton on the Wold Wittys moved to London, 2 or 3 generations later a family member moves back to Yorkshire!

One very interesting pattern found was when a family member moved from one county to another; When one or more Grand children failed at lives game they moved back to the Grand parents in the former county. This pattern occurs over & over again.

From my 2013 post above, I was sure my family was a London Witty family, they fit so well! But when I tried to connect with 100% certainty the evidence was missing. As a result I spent a year finding minute evidence on site. Thus I proved we were not London Witteys at all; Although one found 90% of my family were living in or near London. Turns out my entire family left Cambridgeshire about 1770. Only the aged remained another 20 years.
Finally I broke through the brick wall which had confused my family since 1937.
You were right it wasn't easy!

When I started this search I was looking from Essex where we had lived since 1783. Now its clear having found the next link but finding it confounded 8 individual family members, mainly because there is so much work to be done connecting thousands of Wittey / Witty / Wittie / Whittey / Whitty family members who were all family, brothers , sisters, cousins etc.

Am I saying ALL Wittys come from a single source? NO! I have found 5 different sources each occurring at places where 4 other different sources are already present! This occurs at a time period before Genealogical records exist & indeed we are in the time of ancient European mythology! But that's a different story & it fits together beautifully.

I hope you find this edifying. It was a lot of work but I enjoyed it!
Thanks again for your input I enjoyed that too!
By the way I really enjoyed your posts & your Witty family work! Thank you!
john barker wittey

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Re: Essex Witty / Wittey update.

Post by G.P.Steer » Thu Dec 24, 2015 6:58 pm

John, I am very interested in the theory that your line of descent is through a William Witty of Cambridge. May I ask what evidence you have for the Witty of Cambridge being from Yorkshire as the two places are rather far apart? I am dubious as to your William being the son of Philip of Middleton as I believe he stayed in Middleton and was buried there. He did not leave a Will but Letters of Administration were granted on his estate in 1613 and so that puts his death in 1613. His elder brother John had died in 1609 leaving a long Will and his younger brother Thomas was buried in 1617 at Middleton. William`s mother Ann who left a Will in 1588 mentioning only two children of William, a son Christopher and daughter Joan. It does not sound like the same William who was in Cambridge.
William was the second son of his parents and farmed in Middleton, so I am not really sure why he would appear in Cambridge which was principally a university town. I have seen many Yorkshire records including Inquisitions regarding a family dispute about land - court cases in 1631,1637 and 1656 - but nowhere is there mention of William being in Cambridge.
I hope you can let me know your source of information as I might have missed something in the Archives, and I`d be very grateful to you for any pointers you had to the link between Middleton and Cambridge.
Wishing you the compliments of the Season,

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Re: Essex Witty / Wittey update.

Post by witteyjb » Fri Dec 25, 2015 4:24 am

I just sent a reply to your excellent post above & the Driffield program ate it!
So here's attempt 2!

Wishing you & our post readers all the compliments of the Christmas Celebration.

The evidence to support my claim was based on 6 pieces of evidence : -
1. Both Williams had the same name.
2. Both Williams married an "Ann".
3. Both had brothers "john".
4. Both brothers John were elder Brothers.
5. Both Johns married "Janes".
6. Both John & William had 2 families, one in Middleton the other in Cambridgeshire! I was content with (6) because having two families at the same time was very fashionable in James Stuarts England, 1604 thru 1625. So I sat back & searched & waited for evidence! None came!!!!!
Six months ago I realized all the evidence must be 100% true! Thus I became very dissatisfied with (6) & therefore I had 2 different Williams & families! Not one as I had previously thought. I must say it looked good 2 years ago but not today.
Now I'm looking earlier around 1560 for the connection.

You ask about the distance between the Yorkshire line & my Cambridgeshire line!

Well its not as far as you think! Just 15 miles between the two family branches.

My line lived in Ely (15 miles north of Cambridge) between 1617 & 1800.
Yorkshire Witty 1558 John Witty / Wyttye / Witte (Spelling changed depending on records read) & Wife Mary Newlove had farms all over Yorkshire, Cambridgeshire & possibly other counties (I had & still do suspect a farm in West Essex belonged to a Yorkshire Witty family) In Cambridgeshire I counted 3 possibly 4 farms, one south of Cambridge, another to the east of Cambridge; but most importantly a farm 3 miles from Peterborough just 15 miles north of Ely & my lot!
That close farm at Peterborough was inherited by 1601 Richard Witty / Wyttye who left it to his sons 1628 Francis, 1632 William, 1636 Ralph & 1638 John Witty. (1601 Richard was Middleton Yorkshire 1558 John Wittys son)!

I have found NO definitive connection between my family & the above mentioned Yorkshire / Cambridgeshire-Yorkshire family but it a new area still under study! I believe I'm breaking new ground here! But I live in hope. But certainly the distance question is settled, 15 miles is nothing. Its a walking distance. (I used to walk 15 miles on a London pub crawl on Saturday nights).

In another study I found a 1640 Hellin Wittey, born in Cambridge, Marrying a Robert Binnington in Bainton, Yorkshire, in 1675! As you see The Middleton & Cambridgeshire Witteys knew each other. Binningtons are big in Witty marriages in Yorkshire at this time!!!!!!

Now in other studies I found Yorkshire Wittys moving large distances away from Middleton. For Example the Welsh Wittys are from Middleton as are SOME Lincolnshire, Northumberland & Durham Wittys. A new Irish study suggests the modern Irish Wittys are also related to Middleton Wittys. The arrived there around 1653! (I haven't finished this study but it looks good!)

I think I answered your question.

I think the first one post that was eaten was better, but hey ho!

Thank you for the information in your post above. These Names & dates are the proof we so desperately need to correct errors & break new ground. I'll enter it into my program.

I would like to thank you & Bernard for putting down the corner stone in our family research! With out it we would be in a sorry shape!

I do enjoy your posts, thank you for responding!

Last edited by witteyjb on Fri Dec 25, 2015 5:56 am, edited 1 time in total.
john barker wittey

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Re: Essex Witty / Wittey update.

Post by witteyjb » Fri Dec 25, 2015 5:28 am

Further reading your post I see you mention a will from mother of William (Ann). I assumed you meant 1534 William! Am I wrong here?
Mentioning a son Christopher & daughter Joan!

I haven't seen this will!

The one I have mentions son Philip, John & Richard! Only!

Can you send a copy to me please!

I think you have hit a jewel!

I'm excited!

john barker wittey

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Re: Essex Witty / Wittey update.

Post by venelow » Thu Jan 07, 2016 3:14 am

Hi witteyjb

I am a Newlove researcher and saw your remark about John Witty and Mary Newlove owning farms in Yorkshire and Cambridge.

I am reading that John was born in 1558 but that does not seem correct according to the information I have on John Witty and Mary Newlove.

In case it is a typo, can you clarify the evidence you have for the date (or approximate date) of his birth? Where was your John born, where and when did he die and who were and his parents?

Also what is your evidence that your John born 1558 (if that date is correct) married a Mary who was a Newlove? Do you have a marriage date for John and Mary?

Hope you can help.


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Re: Essex Witty / Wittey update.

Post by brianmulhall » Sun Jan 10, 2016 9:55 pm

Perhaps I can give a partial answer to venelow, for I have some of the evidence that is available. There seem to be many gaps in the Parish Registers, and the only documents I know of are the Administration of John Witty's Estate in 1616 and the Will of Mary Witty, also dated 1616. John's Administration is in Latin, so I have not been able to translate much of it, but it was dated 25 October 1616, states he was of Southburn, and refers to a wife, Mary, and also possible children. Mary was a widow, of Southburn. Her Will was dated 12 February 1616 but, because of the Julian Calendar then in use that was over 4 months after John's death; it was proved about 8 months later, on 20 October 1617, so she must have died sometime within that time. She names her children and also a sister, Elizabeth Newlove, and a brother, Thomas Chapman. I suppose the terms sister and brother could have included in-laws. I believe the dates for place and dates of the births of John and Mary and their marriage are all reasonable guesses, which have been propagated through all the Family Trees published on the web. Likewise, everyone seems to believe Mary was a Newlove before her marriage.

There is a transcript of the Kirkburn Parish Registers and the Bishop's Transcripts which is useful for some of the children of John and Mary, but has gaps where the events above would have been recorded. It was published by the Yorkshire Archaeological Society and I obtained my copy from the East Riding Archives in Beverley.

Brian Mulhall

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