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Generation One

All things have their place, knew we how to place them
—George Herbert  

Yorkshire update, September 2005

Strong circumstantial and now corroborative evidence strongly suggest that the immediate ancestors of our New Jersey Cliffords were from a parish in Yorkshire County, England, where some of our Cliffords lived from about the last decade of the 17th Century to at least 1734.

Initial sources
An International Genealogical Index (IGI) item of the Family History Library of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints submitted by Doris P. Armstrong, 3060 Connor Street, Salt Lake City, Utah, date not known (submission numbers AF92-101061/62), lists a James Clifford and four of his children, who turned out to be the four youngest children. The item lists their baptism dates and location as Pickhill-W-Roxby, Yorks, England. Doris Armstrong did not indicate a connection between her record and our New Jersey Cliffords, nor for that matter a connection with any family. In a 2005 email to me, Shelley D. McBride~Lynch listed her ancestors in alphabetical order; and in a 2005 email to William Marquis, forwarded to me, she listed the same four children of James Clifford, specific birth dates (should be baptism dates), and same location (Pickhill-W-Roxby, Yorks, England). Although Shelley D. McBride~Lynch did not give a source, she did indicate a connection with the New Jersey Cliffords. These items were the basis of my investigation.

Subsequently I found that the sources of the Doris Armstrong and Shelley D. McBride~Lynch items were the parish records of Pickhill cum Roxby, Yorkshire, North Riding (more about the location later).

Our Clifford family appears under IGI batch number P010921. I have been told the prefix ‘P’ signifies that “the Controlled Extraction Programme unit of the LDS Church had extracted the parish data from the published parish registers and not from the originals.” A professional Yorkshire genealogist examined the original published records of these Cliffords and reported the Clifford IGI item was truncated from the full transcription of the original. The full transcription of the original records give more information. For example, the original register also lists the two oldest children, information on marriages and burials, and the specific location of our Cliffords as Ainderby Quernhow, North Yorkshire (there is also a village called Ainderby Steeple). Ainderby Quernhow rarely appears even on detailed online maps of North Yorkshire. Ainderby Quernhow is located near the River Swale, 6 miles from Thirsk and 8 miles from Ripon. The largest town in the area is Northallerton. As one would suspect from the place names, the area had old Viking settlements.

During the entire period covered by the Roxby parish records (1567-1812), our Clifford family was the only Cliffords appearing in published records of this parish. Here is the complete transcription of the Cliffords, as they appeared in the original registry:

20 Feb 1696, William son of James Cllifort [sic] of Aynderby.
10 Jan 1698, John son of James Clifford of Aynderby.
09 Apr 1701, James son of James Clifford of Ainderby.
12 Mar 1706, Anne Dau. of James Clifford of Aynderby.
21 Sep 1712, George son of James Cliffard [sic] of Ainderby.
15 Jan 1714, Mary dau. of James Clifford of Ainderby.
15 Sept. 1732, Anne Bawel dau of Stephen Bawel, Roxby Parish, page 44.

17 Jul 1731, Stephen Bavil and Mary Clifford.
16 Aug 1734, George Clifford and Elizabeth Bowman.

21 Jul 1733, Anne Clifford of Aynderby.

The family therefore would be as follows:
James and wife, probably Anne [–?–], lived in Ainderby Quernhow, Pickhill cum Roxby Parish, North Yorkshire Riding, Yorkshire, England, at least between 1696 and 1714. No dates or locations of births for James or wife. James’s wife was probably the Anne Clifford buried 21 July 1733. But this Anne could have been James’s daughter Anne. Note that daughter Mary, who married Stephen Bavil, named her firstborn child Anne. Some of the family lived in the parish as late as 1734.

Known children of James and probably Anne [—?—] (all apparently born in Ainderby Quernhow):

1. William Clifford; baptized 20 February 1696.
2. John Clifford; baptized 10 January 1698.
3. James Clifford; baptized 9 April 1701 [remainder of information for James (#3) from Generations One and Two]; died circa January 1782 in New Jersey; married [–?–]. Known children: (a) George Clifford (#10); (b) Charles Clifford (#11); (c) James Clifford (#12) (possibly he was the firstborn child); (d) Edward Clifford (#13); (e) Ann Clifford (Martin) (#14); (f) John Clifford (#15); and (g) Elizabeth Clifford (Little/Lytle) (#16). See Generations Two and Three for details. Note that some reports of our New Jersey Cliffords, especially Ancestry World Tree entries, list Prudence White as the wife of this James Clifford. This is not correct. The James Clifford whose wife was Prudence White was James Clifford (#7), son of George Clifford (#2).
4. Anne Clifford; baptized 12 March 1706. Possibly she was the Anne Clifford buried 21 July 1733, although I feel this Anne was probably the wife of James, the father.
5. George Clifford; (#2), baptized 21 September 1712; married (first), 16 August 1734, Elizabeth Bowman in Ainderby Quernhow; [remainder of information for George (#2) from Generations One and Two]; married (second) Mary [–?–] (re George’s 1757 New Jersey will). George died November or December 1757 in New Jersey. Known children: (a) Ann Clifford (Beavers) (#4), born circa 1735 (probably by first wife Elizabeth and probably in Yorkshire, England); (b) John Clifford (#5), born 1743 in New Jersey; (his mother could have been either Elizabeth or Mary; I would guess by Mary; note the 8 years difference between first child Ann and second child John); (c) Mary Clifford (Maxwell) (#6); (d) James Clifford (#7); (e) Margaret Clifford (#8); and (f) Sarah Clifford (Sellers) (#9). See Generations Two and Three for details. Since George married in England in 1734, and the first records that I have of him in New Jersey were in 1738, this gives a good indication of when he (and possibly his brother James) came to North America.
6. Mary Clifford; baptized 15 January 1714; married, 17 July 1731, Stephen Bavil in Ainderby Quernhow. First living child was Anne Bavil, baptized 15 September 1732, “dau of Stephen Bawel;” from Pickhill cum Roxby Parish registry, page 44.

Besides new information on our Cliffords being from Yorkshire, England, the parish records support the hypothesis that George (#2) and James (#3) (their identification numbers should be reversed) were indeed brothers instead of father and son (see “Justification for the alternate genealogy at the end of Generation Two”). Since James (born 1701) was 11 years older than his brother George, one wonders where James and family were before the first known records of him in New Jersey in the 1750s.

Timeline perspective for the first 15 years of the eighteenth century: John Dryden, English playwright and poet, died in May 1700. In April 1705, Queen Anne of England knighted Isaac Newton. On 17 January 1706, Benjamin Franklin was born in Boston. In May 1707, Scotland was united with England and Wales, forming Great Britain. In England in 1712, Richard Cromwell, died. In August 1714, Queen Anne of Britain died and was succeeded by George Louis of Hanover, being crowned King George I. The following year, 1715, Louis XIV (the "Sun King") of France died.

For my direct ancestors: James (#NN), James (#3), Charles (#11), Charles (#53), James (#251), Hugh (#718), and Ralph Clifford (#1346), I present events (timelines) for the times in question. see Timelines in the References section

What about the immediate ancestors of the Ainderby Quernhow Cliffords.
One would suspect our Roxby James Clifford moved into the Ainderby area from another region of Yorkshire County, probably a nearby region. I examined parish records of each of the Yorkshire parish registries published online by There were 96 registries published, ranging in dates from the early 1500s to the mid- to late-1800s. Cliffords, variously spelled, were found in 16 registries. Only six had more than two Cliffords. Besides Roxby, only three parishes appeared to have Clifford families. Myton-upon-Swale had 22 entries and Kirby Hill had 41 entries. These two North Yorkshire parishes are close together, each about 15 miles from the Ainderby area of Roxby, in North Yorkshire. However, Cliffords were not in Myton-upon-Swale until the 1700s; and most names and dates for Kirby Hill (the founder appeared to be a Thomas Clifford), did not fit effectively with the Roxby Cliffords; and there were no James Cliffords.

The other parish with Clifford records indicating a family was Rillington in East Yorkshire (it borders on North Yorkshire), about 30 miles east of Pickhill cum Roxby Parish. Rillington stood out as the most likely candidate, indeed the Clifford names were strikingly similar and the dates meshed well with those of Roxby. As found for Pickhill cum Roxby, there was only one Clifford family in Rillington during the time of the published records, 1567-1812. I believe our Roxby James Clifford was of this family.

The Rillington family consisted of William and Mary (Hurd) Clifford (married 27 April 1676) and children: (1) William Clifford, born 1678; (2) George Clifford; born 1680; (3) John Clifford, born 1682; (4) Thomas Clifford, born 1686; and (5) Mary Clifford, born 1690. But where was our James Clifford? If the Cliffords held to the custom of naming the first two sons after the fathers of the parents, I would have predicted our Roxby James Clifford would have been the first or second born son of William and Mary (Hurd) Clifford. (William’s father was James Clifford of Brompton, North Yorkshire.)

Although none of the Rillington children was listed in the parish records as James, I believe this was our Clifford family. Possibly James’s baptism record is missing or it was never reported. Constructing events that took place over 300 years ago can be difficult, and researchers have even skipped a generation or two, and still maintain their records are valid for the time period. Parish records are far from complete, their indexing is not complete, transcribing these early records (many are in Latin) are fraught with problems, and there are few probate records for that period. However, without stronger circumstantial evidence or a semblance of corroborative evidence, I feel it futile to spend more time on this Rillington Clifford family at this time. Hopefully, though, someone will eventually prove or reject the thesis that the Rillington family was that of our Roxby James Clifford, who would have been the firstborn child of William and Mary (Hurd) Clifford.

A final point for the Rillington Cliffords, especially interesting for royalty enthusiasts, has to do with the ancestors of William Clifford’s wife, Mary Hurd. Tim Owston has traced Mary Hurd’s ancestry back to King Edward III of England. Tim Owston reports on this in detail in King to farmer. Prince John of Gaunt to Farmer John Clifford. There is also information in his web site “Royal ancestors—from an English perspective” Mary (Hurd) Clifford’s descent from King Edward III also shows a distant relationship with the Pons (or Norman) Cliffords by way of Catherine Clifford who married Ralph Greystock. Catherine was a daughter of Roger, 5th Lord Clifford (1333-1389) and Maud (de Beauchamp) Clifford of Broughham Castle, Westmoreland County, England.

Here are sources that I viewed or had viewed: Indices for all Yorkshire Parish Records; individual parish records for the 16 parishes containing Cliffords; Boyd Marriage Index; British Isles-Vital Records; Yorkshire Pedigrees in the Harleian Society, Volumes 94-96; and British Origins (online), which includes indices to marriage licence allegations, will records, apprenticeship records, court depositions, and burial records.


1. UNKNOWN CLIFFORD.1 I know of no authentic information on the progenitors of our New Jersey Cliffords of North America. Family legend has our Cliffords from England. There are several possibilities as to how the Cliffords came to be in New Jersey in the 1700's. One, entirely speculative, is that they might have moved down from New England, where there have been Cliffords since at least the mid seventeenth century.1 They could have moved directly from New England to New Jersey or by way of perhaps Long Island, New York (see below). For more information on New England Cliffords, see end note #1. According to one researcher,2 family legend has our Clifford ancestors coming to North America with William Penn in the 1680s.3 But as yet I know of no documentation for this. Thomas Clifford (died 1737) and Sarah (Cowgill) Clifford (1694-1724) were early Philadelphia Quakers, and they had a large number of descendants;4 but I know of no evidence that these Philadelphia Quaker Cliffords were related to our Cliffords. Information on other earlier Cliffords of Philadelphia might be more instructive. W. W. Hinshaw's Encyclopedia of American Quaker Genealogy, page 442, mentions a Thomas Clifford, died 1695, and [wife?] Ann Clifford, died 1702. According to a 4 August email from Hank Stuebing, Thomas and Ann Clifford were not listed as being Friends, and there is no additional information on them, although perhaps they were the parents of the Quaker Thomas Clifford who died in 1737. For more information on the Philadelphia Cliffords, see Appendix 1.

Did our Cliffords come to New Jersey from Delaware? Charles D. Clifford (#1981) (Fort Mitchell, Kentucky-see "Dedication" and "Acknowledgments") feels that a Delaware George Clifford is a candidate for the progenitor of our New Jersey Cliffords. Two Clifford brothers, Thomas and George, were in Delaware in the late 1600s. There are several land warranties in the name of Thomas; one was on the west side of Delaware Bay and north side of St. Jones Creek; one was a Kent County Court grant for 300 acres, and there were surveys in Thomas's name for tracts called Skipton and Abidime. In 1693, Thomas Clifford was assessed six shillings in Little Creek Hundred, Delaware, and George Clifford was assessed six shillings in Dover Hundred, Delaware.5 When Thomas wrote his will in 1698 he mentioned wife Elizabeth, sons Thomas and John, daughters Elizabeth and Mary and brother George. Probably Thomas died shortly after making his will.6 But what happened to brother George? Did he have a family? He apparently was the George Clifford of a 1682 Kent County warrant.7 Could he have moved to New Jersey? A Gedcom report8 gives the descent of Thomas and Elizabeth (Wilson) Clifford's son Thomas Clifford, who was born 4 September 1685 in Kent County, Delaware, died April 1747 in Kent County, Delaware; married Ester Coudrat; children were Ann Clifford (she married Abram Vanhoy-their descent is the main subject of the Gedcom), John Clifford, Peter Clifford, Mary Clifford, Elizabeth Clifford, and Esther Clifford.[BUT SEE YORKSHIRE UPDATE, SEPTEMBER 2005, AT BEGINING OF GENERATION ONE.]

Perhaps our Cliffords came to New Jersey from Long Island, New York. The early records of our Cliffords in New Jersey are those of George Clifford (#2) in Hopewell Township (now Mercer County) in the 1730s. At that time Hopewell was part of old Hunterdon County. According to Pioneers of Old Hopewell:9 "Nearly all the earliest pioneers of old Hopewell of 1700 to 1720 came from Long Island and at about the same time; and the friends whom they left behind, said they had gone 'away over in the Jarseys.' …" Some of these families were the Armitages, Moores, Lannings , and Howells. Apparently most settled in the Trenton-Pennington area of Hopewell Township. Most apparently came from Newtown (now Elmhurst), in present-day Queens County, Long Island, New York. Christopher Howell, a progenitor of the Howells of the Trenton/Ewing area of New Jersey, was reported coming from Southhampton;10 this is in the eastern part of Long Island, located in present-day Suffolk County.

A name that keeps surfacing as the most likely immediate English progenitors of our North American ancestors is the Chudleigh Cliffords of England, perhaps in part due to this family being prominent. [BUT SEE YORKSHIRE UPDATE, SEPTEMBER 2005, AT BEGINING OF GENERATION ONE.To retain the end note sequence will retain this paragraph.] Much information is available for this family. Chudleigh is a name of a parish located at Ugbrook, (Devon), England. The most illustrious of the Chudleigh Cliffords might have been Thomas Lord Treasurer Clifford, born 1 August 1630, died 17 October 1673.11 This cavalier Clifford was one of the original members of Charles II's CABAL, a sometimes maligned ruling body of five members-the name represents the first letter of the surnames of the five principal ministers, circa 1669, of Charles II: Clifford, Arlington, Buckingham, Ashley and Louderdale. Their religious and even political beliefs might have differed, but they were united by a belief in toleration.12

Map 1. Hunterdon County, New Jersey, showing some of the locations mentioned in the text.

View of the Frenchtown Bridge at Frenchtown, Kingwood Township, Hunterdon County, New Jersey, taken from the Pennsylvania side of the Delaware River. Courtesy of Jane (Hunter) Hodgson  

Map 2. Hunterdon County, New Jersey, townships, 2002

About Hunterdon County, New Jersey

A drive in western New Jersey from Trenton (Mercer County) north to Buttzville (Warren County) on Route 31 would probably put one in the heart of where most of our early New Jersey Cliffords and their descendants were located. Driving north, this area includes Mercer County, Hunterdon County, Warren (old Sussex) County, and then to the east, the Easton area of Northampton County, Pennsylvania (Map 1). (Easton, Pennsylvania, is just across the Delaware River from Phillipsburg, Warren County, New Jersey, see Map 5.)

Hunterdon County is bordered on the north by Warren County and Morris County; on the east by Somerset County; and on the south by Mercer County. Its western border is the Delaware River which separates Bucks County, Pennsylvania, and a small part of Northampton County, Pennsylvania, from Hunterdon County.

Major streams (other than the Delaware River) are the Musconetcong River, which separates Hunterdon from Warren County to the north; and the South Branch of the Raritan River, which flows south through the county before turning east and eventually emptying into Raritan Bay in the Atlantic Ocean. There are no large natural lakes in Hunterdon County, but there are two large present-day artificial bodies of standing water: the Spruce Run Reservoir (Union Township) and to its east the Round Valley Reservoir (Clinton Township). The land north of Flemington is generally more hilly than that south of Flemington. For Bethlehem Township (including present-day Union Township), the topography has been described as "surface mountainous on the north,  elsewhere hilly; soil is clay, red shale and loam with a vein of limestone on the cast foot of the Musconetcong mountain; drained chiefly by Albertson's brook, a tributary of Spruce run, and some small tributaries of Musconetcong creek."13

Prior to mainly Dutch and English settlements in the seventeenth century, the land was the home of the Delawares, also called Lenni-Lenape. Hunterdon County was named for General Robert Hunter, the Governor-General of New York and the Jersey provinces in 1714, when Hunterdon County was established, being set off at that time from Burlington County. At that time, Hunterdon County included most of present-day Morris, Warren, Sussex and Mercer counties. In 1739, part of Hunterdon County was set off as Morris County, and in 1753 Sussex County was set off from Morris County. In 1824 Warren County was set off from Sussex County. In 1838, Mercer County was set off from parts of Hunterdon (including Hopewell Township), Burlington, Middlesex and Somerset Counties.

During the Revolutionary War, Hunterdon County was probably the most densely populated county in what was to become New Jersey. There were no major battles fought in Hunterdon County during the War, but one account has Hunterdon County contributing more troops than any other New Jersey county.

Early township origins are uncertain. Three early townships were Hopewell Township, Old Amwell Township and Bethlehem Township.14 Hopewell Township's origin is uncertain; it was probably contemporary with Old Amwell Township, which was formed in 1709 (before Hunterdon County was established). Pertinent to our ancestors, Hopewell Township was set off as part of Mercer County in 1838. Delaware Township was established from Old Amwell in 1838; Raritan Township in 1838 and East and West Amwell Townships in 1846. Lebanon Township was established from Old Amwell, but the date is not certain. Clinton Township was set off from Lebanon Township in 1841 (Map 2)

The other early township was Bethlehem Township, which existed by 1730. Pertinent to our ancestors, Kingwood Township was established from Bethlehem by circa 1749. Alexandria Township was formed from Bethlehem in 1765 by Royal Charter and incorporated in 1778. Union Township (including Pattenburg) was set off from Bethlehem Township in February 1853.

The 1790, 1800, 1810 and 1820 federal censuses for New Jersey were lost for all counties except the 1800 Cumberland County federal census.

Present-day Hunterdon County has a land area of about 430 square miles, and in the year 2000 a population of 129,989 (circa 284 persons per square mile). The median household money income in 1997 was estimated at $72,398;15 this is one of the highest household incomes in the state-indeed in the United States-only surpassed in New Jersey in 1997 by neighboring Somerset County. Originally, the county seat was Trenton, but was moved to Flemington in 1785. Present address (2001) of the County Courthouse is 71 Main Street, Flemington, New Jersey 08822-1412. Flemington was on the world stage in the early 1930s, being the site of the Richard Bruno Hauptmann trial. In February 1935, the Flemington jury found Hauptmann guilty of the 1932 kidnapping and murder of Charles and Anne Lindbergh's child.

Known children of unknown Clifford and wife (not necessarily in order of birth-probably James was older than George, but since George died first, I will list George as the first child):

+ 2 i. George2 Clifford; born probably no later than circa 1715 [now known to be baptized 21 September 1712]; died November or December 1757; married Mary [-?-].
+ 3 ii. James Clifford; born probably no later than circa 1710 [now known to be baptized 9 April 1701—since James was older than George, their identification numbers should be reverserd]; died circa January 1782; married, but name of wife or wives not known.

View of Delaware River in the area of Washington's famous crossing of the Delaware River, from present-day Upper Makefield Township, Bucks County, Pennsylvania, to Hopewell Township, Mercer County, New Jersey, on Christmas Day, 1776. Courtesy of Jane (Hunter) Hodgson

Map 3. Mercer County, New Jersey Townships, 2002

Charts, Maps and Documents
Major Locations
Ralph Z. Clifford Chart
Generation One
Generation Two
Generation Three
Generation Four
Generation Five
Generation Six
Generation Seven
Hugh F. Clifford
End Notes

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Copyright © Canada, by Hugh F. Clifford

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