14 Jul 1997
Early genealogies and printed works contributed many myths, misconceptions and outright "atrocious genealogical blunders" as related to the early Knapp immigrant families. Many of these errors currently referred to in today's jargon as being "Genealogical Viruses," are still being quoted and tend to make one wonder just what is to be believed. Many of us beginning genealogical research at the amateur level, before we are fully aware of what is required to make an acceptable Family Research Project valid, start by copying anything and everything we can get our hands on that applies to what we hope is our family ancestors and history. This includes copying down bad information and broadcasting it further without knowledge that we are doing the same. Result: More compounded problems for those of the future and many incorrect lineages developed.
These examples abound in the Nicholas Knapp Genealogy (1953), by (Dr) A.A. Knapp. Some Dr Knapp alludes to and many have never been corrected except in a sporadic fashion. Some of the instances of these myths and errors are as follows:
1-Nicholas Knapp, was a brother, Cousin, Nephew, Uncle, etc, to William Knopp, Aron Knapp, and Roger Knapp. Not true!! Current research (1995), proves no relationship exists between Nicholas & William Knopp, and that they are of clearly two distinctly different surnames, i.e., Knapp vs Knopp. In so far as Aron and Roger Knapp are concerned, the only relationship that can be stated is they have the same surname as Nicholas, e.g., Knapp. No relationship has ever been proven among any of these early Knapp immigrants and it is at present presumed that they are all of independent Knapp lines, devoid of any connection to one another whatsoever.
2-The Nicholas Knapp Genealogy does not reflect sources for the information contained in the writing except to quote where known a few Wills and Land Records or a miscellaneous record that we of today may probably never see for verification purposes. Many persons are not aware that the composition of the Genealogy was printed "as is" based on information forwarded to Dr Knapp by various and sundry persons who were Knapps by birth or connected in some allied way, generally through marriages. Efforts were made to [attempt] to make sure as much information as possible in the Genealogy was verified, but obviously with a task as monumental as the one Dr Knapp undertook, much was printed "as is", further compounding any errors that the data may have contained without verification. None-the-less, without the works produced by Dr Knapp, it is quite doubtful that many Knapps of today and allied families would have a clue as to the background of the family name. The Nicholas Knapp Genealogy with all its known errors and faults is the most quoted source of information on the surname found in print and appears in amateur as well as professional genealogical writings. The adage to apply when using this genealogy is "Use but verify."
Any attempt on the author’s part to quote a definite source for each entry in the genealogy would in itself encompass many more pages than the current genealogy has. The author clarifies this and states the information contained therein is known to contain error and some error of statement, but none-the-less it is to be used as a basis for one’s further investigation of their family lines.
3-Claims exist that our ancestor Nicholas Knapp, was married first to, Elinor Lockwood, Elinor Disbrowe, and in some writings, Elinor Waterbury. None of these claims HAVE EVER been documented nor will they ever be as they are not within the scope of what the official records that remain extant state. In depth research of this problem as late as Novemeber 1995, has produced what should have been stated from the beginning, and that being "ANCESTRY REMAINS UNDISCOVERED". No record has ever been found that would give even a slight "hint" as to what her surname may have been. She could have just as well be labeled a Smith, Jones or any other surname and always without justification. Conscientious genealogists and descendants of this family should annotate their personal charts and research as "Elinor ?????, ancestry unknown or undiscovered."
4-English ancestries for Nicholas and his first wife, Elinor appear from time to time in writings of a non-professional nature, and are oft quoted in some researchers’ charts as being authentic. Nothing is further from the truth. The earliest claim that any of us who lay claim to the surname KNAPP in any way, can only do so beginning with the extant records of 1630, at Watertown, Massachusetts.
5-No marriage date has ever been found for Nicholas and Elinor, however based on the birth of their first child, Jonathan, their estimated date of marriage was probably 1629/30, in England and is quoted as such in many current writings, though some seem to believe they married at Watertown, MA. Since the first 2 pages of the Watertown Books are forever lost, there is no way that an investigation can be made to ascertain the fact one way or the other. In these cases one must take an estimated view of when the action may have occurred, but bear in mind that the actual date may be anywhere from 3-5 years earlier, than the estimated date reflected. That is the best any of us can do in the absence of an official record.
6-There are two questionable entries that remain to be solved in the make-up of the family of Nicholas and Elinor. The first is the marriage of their daughter, Hannah, who is presently stated to have married Zerubabel Hoyt in 1673. No record has been found to document this claim, though it is found in abundance and being quoted in many charts. In 1995, it was simply found that Hannah was born 3-6-1643, Watertown, Middlesex Co, MA, and no further information known about her after her father's Will of 15 Apr 1670, at which time she was a single women. The second entry is the date and place of birth cited for their son, Moses Knapp. Currently he is reflected as the youngest son and the 8th child born to Nicholas and Elinor, and born probably at Wethersfield, Hartford Co, CT. Again no documentation appears that will support the conclusion. Considering the English tradition of willing or passing their lands, fathers generally willed their home lot and other belongings to the eldest son living. This being the case where Moses Knapp is concerned, it would appear that Moses was the eldest son and was probably born ca1630 or before at Watertown, MA or possibly even in England. There are many dates ranging from 1630 to 1645 cited as birthdates for Moses, and the oft quoted is the spurious LDS-IGI, where it is stated he was born 5 Aug 1645. The point is stated only that there is still another avenue to explore as relates to these two children of Nicholas and Elinor.
7-Early writings reflect that Nicholas Knapp is a descendant of "Sir Roger de Knapp", supposedly Knighted by King Henry VIII at a Tournament in 1530. All such statements are fictional at best and are the product of an unscrupulous English genealogist, attempting to satisfy the ambitions of some American client. There are no official documents to be found to prove such claims, as there was NO tournament held at Suffolk or Essex Counties in England during the period so claimed. Further there are no records that reflect the name of Roger Knapp, in either of those counties at any time.
8-The Knapp Family Crest - The current Family Crest is an emblem that may be used by current day Knapp's if they so desire, but must do so with the knowledge that it bears no entitlement to heraldry, and may display it as they wish with this thought in mind. All grantees of this Crest are deceased with no known descendant living, who would be entitled to its use.
9-There DEFINITELY is no connection of any sort to the oft claimed ancestry of Nicholas Knapp and that being that John Knapp and Martha Blois were his parents. As previously stated no supporting evidence has ever been found to establish an ancestry of ANY VALIDITY for Nicholas or his wives!!!!!
10-There are previous thoughts that Nicholas Knapp was probably the Nicholas Knapp of Wells-by-the-Sea, Co Norfolk, England and that he married one Susan Mitterson. While this connection would seem highly probable and does fall within the time-frame of our immigrant ancestor, it has been proven that this connection is invalid as the Nicholas Knapp of Wells-by-the-Sea, that married Susan Mitterson is accounted for and was living in Co Norfolk, England well past our immigrant’s known residence in America!!
11-Probably the most current and reliable source of information
relating to Nicholas and family are the condensed bibliographic sketches
on families who arrived in America between 1620-1633, and is entitled "The
Great Migration Begins: Immigrants to New England 1620-1633 (1995 - in
3 Volumes), by Robert Charles Anderson, F.A.S.G.. Articles relating to
the ancestry of William KNOPP [not Knapp], also appear in these volumes
and in earlier articles which establish William Knopp's ancestry, etc,
etc., including that of his first wife, Judith Tue. These articles give
sufficient extant source references to prove and disprove the many myths
and statements found in early day writings and should be adhered to by
conscientious Knapp Family Researchers.
SOURCE: The Winthrop Fleet of 1630 (Reprint 1976-Genealogical Publishing Company), by Charles Edward Banks
Early research found that among the passengers that came to America in 1630, Nicholas Knapp and William Knopp, were in evidence. The immigrants came to America in 1630. The Admiral ["Arbella"-formerly the "Eagle"] of the Fleet left the waters of the Castle of Yarmouth "On Thursday, April 8, at six in the morning, weighing anchor and setting sail, followed by her three consorts in scattered formation" [The Winthrop Fleet of 1630 (Reprint 1976), by Charles E Banks, :37) NOTE: Keep in mind this is in reference only to the "Arbella," as there were other ships underway when the "Arbella" set sail. The April 6 entry refers to the boarding of the "Arbella" by Captain Milbourne, of Yarmouth Castle, "a grave, comely gentleman, and of great age"[Ibid, :36]. Fortunately for the purposes of our list of immigrant passengers, there exists a list of seventy names of those who came with the Fleet; a rough list prepared by John Winthrop, and is found entered in a "flyleaf" disconnected from the main text of the original Winthrop Fleet Journal. It was from this list that ancestors Nicholas Knapp and William Knopp, with wives and children were identified. Although it does not depict the name of the ship on which these ancestors were passengers, we can be reasonably assured they were passengers aboard the "Arbella", the Winthrop Fleet Flagship. It is also recognized, that they could have been passengers on any of the other ships in the Fleet that are known to have carried passengers, as well. As stated in the source [Ibid, :53], QUOTE; "As there is no known list of emigrants who came with the Winthrop Fleet, so there is none for those who came in particular ships....". The Fleet consisted of eleven ships as follows:
+1-"Arbella" - Admiral
#2-Talbot - Vice Admiral
#7-William & Francis
+=Carried Passengers #=Carried Freight & Livestock
NOTE: While the ship "Mary & John" sailed concurrently with the Winthrop Fleet, and with the same destination, it had no defined connection with the Winthrop Fleet, contary to some writings that make reference to that ship as being the twelfth in the Fleet.
Isaac Johnson, although not a participant, records that some of them "had their speach strangled from the depth of their inward dolor with heartbreaking sobs....adding many drops of salt liquor to the ebbing ocean." He could not refrain from adding that some of the idlers on the dock expressed the opinion that the participants in this emigration were "cract-braines." [Ibid, :36 - Footnote 3].
The Master of the "Arbella" who successfully led the great flotilla to its destination, was Captain Peter Milbourne, a resident of London, England. It is thought that Captain Milbourne came from the Parish of St Katherine-by-the-Tower, London, but beyond this little information about him or his family is known. We do not know whether he or his vessel ever returned to America, nor do we have any knowledge of his later career.
After nearly sixteen years residence at Watertown, Middlesex Co, Massachusetts, on 6 May 1646, Nicholas Knapp among others, sold his land and privileges and removed possibly to Wethersfield, Hartford Co, Connecticut. Whether he resided at that place is unknown, as his name has not been found in records extant there. Some believe he may have spent a couple of years there before removing to possibly Greenwich, Connecticut, and then to Stamford, where he remained until his death in April 1670. Some writings declare that Nicholas also resided for a time at Rye, Westchester Co, New York [then Connecticut], though like the records at Wethersfield, Connecticut, his name is not in evidence there. It is believed he may have owned some land there, but did not actually reside at that place.
The surname KNAPP has been found in England since the 5th century, in various forms of spelling. It has been claimed that it is of Saxon origin, though proof for the thought is lacking. While it is common in all Teutonic countries, it is just as probable that it is of Anglican origin. It is also, possible that the name did not have a common origin for all families that bear it. There are many variations to be found, some families not adhering to any particular form, while others were quite persistent in doing so, even though the liberty in that matter was practiced more so then than now. The earliest known individual mention of the name is found in "Routuli Curioe Regis", I139. It identifies as an individual "Petrus Knape - 1198". From that point on the name is found frequently in the English records. The most common form of spellings found in America were "Knapp" and Knap", though other forms of spelling are found in early records as Nap, Napp, Knopp, Knape, et al. The most common form of the spelling, and predominately throughout our American history, is "Knap" and "Knapp", the latter spelling being used following the Revolutionary War and is the current accepted spelling today. In this writing the current spelling "Knapp" is used for clarity and continuity, rather than in all the variety of spellings of the name found during my research.
In the ancient districts of East Anglia, Mercia, and Northumbria, we later find that East Anglia was the land of the North Folk and South Folk, which is now known as Norfolk and Suffolk counties in England. Mercia or Middle Anglia became the central shires [counties] of England. Northumbria dominated the northern limits of the domain. These three regions were settled in the 6th century by the Angles. The Saxons settled Sussex and Wessex to the south and the Jutes held Kent in the southeast. All three tribes were of Germanic origin. While this still does not identify the origin of the various Knapp families it does have possible bearing on the traditional thought passed down through time that we of the name are of German stock. In England we know that there were no less that 6-8 family groups bearing the name; all living in different parts of England, and bearing no known relationship with one another. Of these groups it is believed that all were of independent origin.
As most of the early immigrants to America were dissenters from the Church of England, their births, marriages, etc, are not recorded there to any great degree, making it nearly impossible to trace many of them to their particular origin accurately. In general they were a religious people, though independent in thought, who took the Bible as their guide and rule in life, and migrated to escape persecution in England and to worship as they pleased in the "New World".
Prior to 1700, there were three immigrants bearing the surname Knapp, namely NICHOLAS, Aron, and Roger Knapp, followed later by Job Knapp, of Bristol, Massachusetts. As far as is known, none of these immigrant families bears any relationship with one another, though the contrary is found in many printed works of early origin. There remotely may be some relationship, however, to date, nothing has been forthcoming to prove the claim. There are early claims that one William Knapp, immigrant of 1630, was a brother to our Nicholas. Current research disproves this claim and it has been proven that the spelling of his surname is "KNOPP", not KNAPP", and bears no relationship that can be proven through research of extant records, to any other Knapp family, regardless of such claims.
In so far as our immigrant ancestor, Nicholas Knapp, is concerned, many unproven and suggested theories abound surrounding his ancestry, none of which have the slightest "hint" of proof recorded to establish such claims. All claims of a known ancestry for our Nicholas, and his first wife, Elinor, are considered to be "atrocious genealogical blunders," and should be regarded as such by those having this ancestry by surname or through an allied family. As far as is known, a proven ancestry for Nicholas or his first wife, Elinor, has never been found, nor has any record of either been found prior to their arrival in America in 1630. Admittedly, it remains quite possible that their origins were in County Suffolk, England, though proof of this statement is lacking.
As the ancestry of our early Knapp immigrant is highly questionable as found in many writings of today, I have not been able to determine an origin except England for our ancestors, nor to my knowledge has anyone else, with a definable source for making any such claims. Our ancestry begins in 1630, at Watertown, Middlesex Co, Massachusetts. The chance that we will ever discover the ancestry of either Nicholas or Elinor is nil, and if such should ever occur it no doubt will be quite by an accidental find, as the English records that remain extant do not bear the needed fruit to find an ancestry for either of them, and as such, that stands as the "state of the problem today!".
THE KNAPP KNIGHT
Many stories are found in print today that claim "Roger de Knapp" was knighted in 1530, by King Henry VIII, at a Tournament held in Co Suffolk, England, was the ancestor of our Knapp Family. This story in its many forms has been proven false and the story was the product of some fanciful mind. It has not the least foundation in fact, notwithstanding the number of times it is found in print. A search of the records and correspondence with the College of Heraldry officials in London, England, do not agree with any of these writings. The search proved that there was never a Roger de Knapp, knighted by King Henry VII, nor was there any Tournament held in Suffolk in 1530. In fact, they could find no record of a Knapp by the name of Roger living in Suffolk nor in Essex at any time. It is believed that the story first appeared in America and that a high probability exists that it was developed at the invention of some unscrupulous English genealogist, in an attempt to satisfy the ambitions of an American client!
KNAPP COAT OF ARMS
Some 6-8 Coats of Arms have been granted in England to persons bearing the name of Knapp, and are found recorded there. The Suffolk Coat of Arms was first granted to Henry Knapp, of Hintelsham, England and later to George Knapp of Tuddenham, and then to Robert Knapp of Needham, probably both descendants of the first mentioned Henry Knapp.
Needless to say, we of today still find those who emphatically lay claim to the 'KNAPP KNIGHT" as a true accounting, yet the College of Heraldry cannot document the claim. A copy of the Crest or Coat of Arms appears in this writing and bears the information about the Coat of Arms. This Crest was prepared for the Knapp Family Association of America in 1940, by Winfield Scott Downs, the former managing Editor of the American Historical Company of New York. For more information about the Knapp Coat of Arms, consult BURKES "General Armory-Visitation of Suffolk, 1577.
This writing embodies the result of investigations and continued research which has been pursued for many years, as a diversion from other labors and by many who despite their modesty, reflected much honor upon the name we bear. I could have extended and elaborated on many items before electing to put this work into writing, and in all probability solved some of the problems that have and remain to perplex me, but I have chosen to present it substantially as I have been able to, based on the research I have made over the years to this point and the materials current at hand.. I have been painstaking in my research and cautious in my statements so that my findings may be relied upon, generally. Any doubts, so far as is known, are so indicated. And now let us begin....
Elinor, first wife of Nicholas Knapp of Watertown, Middlesex Co, Massachusetts and Stamford, CT, has been called "Lockwood", "Disbrow" and at times, "Waterbury", in older genealogies. No known record supports such claims!
Extant records identify her as "Elinor" only, and ancestry unknown. Her origin and ancestry remain unknown, though no doubt her origin was England. Many early publications state she was born at Combs, Co Suffolk, England, though do so without benefit of supporting evidence. At best we can say "she was (of) England."
It is expected that the surname "Lockwood" was assumed as a result of the known relationship between the Knapps and the Lockwoods, at Watertown, Massachusetts. Thus, many believe she was a probable sister of Sergeant Robert and Edmund Lockwood. On 23 Oct 1943, a query appeared in the "Hartford Times", genealogical page, Query, A-2695, authored by Judge H. Stanley Finch, a Surrogate Judge, Stamford, Connecticut, who gave his opinion that Elinor, wife of Nicholas Knapp, was a daughter of Edmund Lockwood (1594-1635) of Combs, Co Suffolk, England, but did so without supporting evidence. While this would seem possible, proof remains lacking. Later research in 1978, and again in 1995, failed to identify that Elinor was of any identifiable surname in the early Colonial Records. At any rate, in today's jargon, the "virus" began to spread. Eventually after having been repeated enough, Pedigree Charts sprung forth claiming her as a daughter of Edmund Lockwood, yet a cited source for the entries remain lacking. Unless an extant document can be produced, to label Elinor with any surname, records should reflect her given name of Elinor, only. To do otherwise would only perpetuate the original "atrocious genealogical blunder"!
As a result of Mr. William Pelham and Mr. Edmund Lockwood paying the fine of Nicholas Knapp in 1630, the assertion was made that Edmund Lockwood was his brother-in-law. Nothing could be further from the truth. Research identifies Mr. William Pelham as the person responsible for Nicholas Knapp, who belonged to his company, and that Mr. Edmund Lockwood was his Deputy, thus the reasons for paying the fine of Nicholas Knapp. Again, the "virus" was perpetuated and became fact without attending proof.
As of this writing , her surname remains unknown. For further discussion on the subject of Elinor, first wife of Nicholas Knapp, consult:
1-The American Genealogist (TAG), 10:45
2-Some Descendants of Edmund Lockwood (1594-1635) of Cambridge, MA and his son, Edmund Lockwood (c1625-1693) of Stamford, CT (1978), by Harriet Woodbury Hodge, C.G., Appendix 5:82
3-The Great Migration Begins Immigrants to New England 1620-1633 (1995), by Robert Charles Anderson, F.A.S.G., II:1136.
EXTRACTS FROM WATERTOWN RECORDS
The following information pertaining to Nicholas Knapp, is extracted from "Watertown Records comprising The First and Second Books of Town Proceedings withe the Land Grants and Possessions also The Proprietors' Book and the First Book and Supplement of Births, Deaths and Marriages", prepared for Publication by the Watertown Historical Society, Watertown, Massachusetts (1894) and are listed here for posterity
LANDS -Grants, Divisions, Allotments, Possessions and Proprietors' Book
[Lands, Grants and Possessions]
1636. July 25. A Grant of the Great Dividends lotted out by the Freemen to all the Townsmen
The Second Division.
17 Nicholas Knap Thirty Acres
1636. February 28. A Grant of the Plowlands at Beverbroke
31 Nicholas Knap Six Acres
Inventories of Grants & Possessions
39 Nicholas Knap Seven Acres [Held by Grant] 1642. M3 D10 [10 Jun]
Lands, Grants & Possessions
Lott I or Division
Nicholas Knop One hundred & seventeen acres - Lot #90
Original Index to First Inventory
Page 25. Nicholas Knap
Lands, Grants & Possessions
1. An Homestall of Sixteen Acres more or less bounded
the Southwest with William Barham; the Northeast with Richard Brown; the
Northwest with Robert Lockwood & the Southeast with Banklane.
2. Two Acres in Pine Marsh bounded the South with the river & the North with John Barnard.
3. One Acre in Pond Meaddow bounded the East & North with John Page & the West with Isaac Sterne.
4. Thirty Acres of upland being a great Division in the 2 Division & the 17 Lott.
5. Six Acres of Plowland in the hither Plaine & the 35 Lott.
6. Seven Acres of Meddow in the remote Meddowes & the 39 Lott.
7. Thirteen Acres of upland beyond the further Plaine & the 59 Lott.
8. A Farme of One Hundred & seventeen Acres of upland in the 3 Division.
[Evidently he sold this acreage before 1644 as it does not appear on the 1644 list]
Births, Marriages and Deaths - First Book
 1631. Jonathan knap the sonn of Nickholas and Elinor
knap buried the 27 of the tenth aged 7 weekes [b. 8 Nov 1631 - d. [buried]
27 Dec 1631]
 1632. Timothy knap the sonn of Nickolas and Elinor knap borne the 14 day of the tenth month [b. 14 Dec 1632]
 1634. Joshua knap the sonn of Nickholas and Elinor knap Borne the 5 day 11 month [b. 5 Jan 1634/35]
 1635. Caleb knapp the son of Nickolas and Elinor knap Borne ye 20d - 11th [b. 20 Jan 1636/37]
 1638. Sary Knap daughter of Nicholas and Elinor Knap borne the 5d - 11th [b. 5 Jan 1638/39]
 1640. Ruth the daughter of Nicholas and Elinor Knapp borne 6 (11) [b. 6 Jan 1640/41]
 1643. Hannah the daughter of Nicholas & Elinor Knap borne 6 (1) [b. 6 Mar 1642/43]
NOTE There is no signature, as far as is known in the Massachusetts Records, of Nicholas Knapp. The only transfers of land registered in his name are where he sold his Watertown Grants in 1646 - two Deeds, copies of which were signed with "A Hand and Seale".
Lands Deeds were only recorded, and the original papers
were returned to the owners, however, these two aforementioned Deeds are
registered in Suffolk County, Massachusetts, Volume 1, page 71.