Donnell Family Genealogy Forum
IN 1986 I wrote a letter to the Vicarage of a church in Barnstable England. the reson being, while researching "Henry Donnell" all the records in the York area give several dates for his arrival all between 1631-35. and two different wives francis gooch and francis reeding during the same time period also. I decided to check where he originated from and trace the history that way, and that cleared up many things. first off the name is not Donnell or Dunnell, it was Dunwell, there where no Dunnells or Donnells in Barnstable in the 1630s, reason being Donnell is an Irish name ( Oniel and O donnell the two oldest irish names). but there where several Dunwells, and one Henry Dunwell, master fisherman, who was born in 1608, and like most other master fisherman, at age 24, after serving his 12 years in apprentiship he was entitled to won his own boat and business. an intyeresting thing at the same time in england was a deal the crown had with masterfishermen, it went like this: you where provided with a 90 foot fishing boat, and you went to the colonies, caught fish, hung it out on stages to dry and then loaded your boat, and ailed back, this took about 4 to 6 months on average perload (dry time big factor , not in winter) when arrived in England the fish was sold to wholesalers, who by law and under contract gave i/s the profit to the masterfisherman and the other half to the crown to bmake a payment on the boat, the plan was to take 4 to 5 years on average to pay off, after that, when all was paid, the master fisherman was then a "FREEMAN" no loner in dept for his business to the crown or anyone. that is why he is listed several times "after" 1635 as Henry Donnell a "FREEMAN" (that has nothing to do with the masons or slavery). but not mentioned with theis titiel jprior to 1635 in any document exiting, and there are several. also the reason why it is confusing in to figure out when he first came is becasue genealogist and family historians have forgotten how things worked on the other side back then, every time he sailed and arrived in the colonies he had to register at the local magistarates, and when he arrived back in England he did the same, that is why there are records that people say it is confusing becuase he is listed in 1631,32,34, 35. likewise in barnstable in the old church legers there is Henry Dunwell listed several times in the same years! there where also gooches in the ame church records, but no reedings. I find no records ,except online that mention any francis reedng, and I've scoured books (old ones) for years in York co and other maine archives and no francis reeding mentioned, I almost think this is a mix-up of names, like I said on in recent records do the two names appear together. there was a Henry Donnell who went to Va, sailed on the Bonventure, and I think people are also mixing ther two, which is so easy to do with such scant records. I have no despre to change my name to Dunwell, but I sttrongly believe that wa the real name of the decendents of the illiterate Henry Dunnell, who signed his name with HD as his mark, his son, semi educated was a judge of sorts in York Maine, and only writes of his father in his own advanced years, and his spelling in many court papers changed year to year, which was a trend of sorts back then by the so called educated and affulent here are some I have in copies of court records Donnele, Donnel,dunnel,dunnell,dunnelle,duniel,dunnul. I think they where not saying Dawn nell, but Dunn el, and Dunwell is a not to far from that. also no Irish born, or of irish parents could enter the apprenticship system, so even itf the family does go back to ireland, it wa prior to Henry farther, and more than likely grandfather even.
nuff said, and you got to take all family histories with often many grains of salt and different points of views.
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