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Home: Surnames: Donnell Family Genealogy Forum

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Posted by: Edward Donnell (ID *****4897) Date: May 31, 2004 at 11:03:44
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iN 1988 i WROTE TO THE CHURCH IN BARNSTABLE eNGLAND TO GET A COPY OF OLD CHURCH RECORDS IN THE 1630'S. i EXPLAINED HOW A hENRY dONNELL WAS A MASTER FISHERMAN, A fREEMAN, CAME TO mAINE about 1631. the reply came back, that there was no Donnells or Dunnells in the church records of that time, none at all. and that there where no Donnells in the barnstable area at the present time either, but the name Dunwell was in the old records, and a henry dunwell wa a master fisherman, who under a contract with the kings government, brought fish back from the maine coast (dryed herring) and split the profit over 4 years, to pay off his ship. this was a common practice in england to promote fishing, and cut the gov't in on a lucrative trade. that is why after 1635, Henry Donnell is listed as a Freeman ,(he was no longer in dept to the Government, and could conduct buisness for himself, that is why he is listed a few times each year between 1631-1635 in York maine in the town records as arriving from barnstable, he was plying his trade, catching and drying herring, loading his ship, and going back to england to sell the cargo and pay his bills there, he is listed several times in the church records in barnstable between 1631-1635, but not after 1635. looking at the past from the other side, gives a bigger picture, understanding there way of working and reasons for checking in ( to pay taxes, etc) it falls together more organized. So possible Donnell is not Donnell, that bastion of Irish pedigree, which makes no sense for an irish man to be a master fishernman in england in the volitile 1630's , but he had to be English born, and had to be by law, of English parents (atleast his father) to be in the apprenticeship, to become a master fisherman. It was a program that was well institued in england for hundreds of years, enrolled at the average age of 12, to serve 12 years under a father, uncle of friend, to learn a trade, could not marry until appretisehip completed, and at age 24, was given one of three common options of all trades men, 1. be come a partner, two the other man retires, sells you the buisness and recieves a percentage to live on, or three helps get you set up in your buisness, like voching for credit under the fisherman contacts to purchase ships. apperetly Henry Donnell chose number three. the name Dunwell is common in England in that area back then and now, but Donnelll is not, so draw your own conclusions, remember Henry Donnell could not write, his signature was a capital H with the D formed off the H, (I have many copies of his signature " His Mark".) Dunnelland Dunwell sound pretty much this is my little info on some simple research some years back.

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