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The Seven Alexander Brothers Theory

The Seven Alexander Brothers Theory

Posted: 1341530859000
Classification: Query
Surnames: Alexander, Maxwell
Many Alexander researchers believe that 7 brothers (and two sisters) came to Virginia/Maryland from Ireland in the 1660s. Some settled in Somerset County MD.

It has been stated variously that their father was the Rev. James Andrew Alexander (1620 ? Ireland - 1704 ?), or it was William Alexander (c.1614-20 Ireland - ?), either of which may have married Mary Maxwell.

Has any researcher out there come up with definitive answers to the various theories? I would appreciate any leads for finding the correct set of information. Thank you ahead of time for any response. Stephanie

Re: The Seven Alexander Brothers Theory

Posted: 1341587928000
Classification: Query
Surnames: Alexander, McLaughlin, Hill
Hi Stephanie,
DNA connects me to this line of Alexanders (7 brothers,etc) but I have not been able to get back further than James Alfred Alexander b. 1801 in NC. That's 140 year leap. LOL Do you have descendants that cover that period?

Re: The Seven Alexander Brothers Theory

Posted: 1341606013000
Classification: Query
Surnames: Alexander
Hi. Thanks for the quick reply. I am doing Alexander research for a relative by marriage - hope she will want to use the DNA testing also. Here is the line of descent that is proven by family records and other sources:

Louie Conor Alexander (1920 TX) - Charles Henry Alexander (1890 TX) - Charles Henry Alexander (1859 TX) - James Sidney Alexander (1811 NC) - Benjamin Alexander (1792 NC)

After this, it is a bit more sketchy, but probably is like this: Moses Alexander (c. 1740 NC) - Andrew Alexander (1697 MD) - Samuel Alexander (1657 Ireland - one of the brothers?) - William or James (?)

If any of this fits in with you, let's stay in touch. Let me know if you want more details also. Look forward to hearing from you. Stephanie

Re: The Seven Alexander Brothers Theory

Posted: 1341617918000
Classification: Query
A woman named Helen Smith, a well known Alexander family researcher, has been to England, visiting The grave of the reverend James Alexander and his wife, Mary Maxwell. They died childless. As for the 7 brothers and 2 sisters, they probably all related but its not known if they were all brothers and sisters. I am descended from Francis Alexander, born 1654 in Rahoe county Donegal Northern Ireland. He was one of this group living in Maryland, and was the son of William Alexander who was the son of John Alexander and thats as far as I could trace. They were lowland scots who transplanted to Northern Ireland for the cheap land and this group gave rise to the name "scots Irish" Good luck with your family history

Re: The Seven Alexander Brothers Theory

Posted: 1341690339000
Classification: Query
This particular line doesn't work with my known dates but the father of James Alfred Alexander b 1801 could be a sibling of yours. This father is my brick wall....
Thanks. Let's keep in touch.

Re: The Seven Alexander Brothers Theory

Posted: 1341761217000
Classification: Query
Surnames: Alexander
Do you more information on the Alexanders living in Maryland. I'm stuck at John Y. Alexander, b. 1807 in PA, probably Franklin County. I have a book about Hezekiah Alexander and many of his family settled in Maryland, first then migrated to Franklin County, PA and many went south to North Carolina.
I'm trying to figure out if this is my family.
Thanks for your help.

Re: The Seven Alexander Brothers Theory

Posted: 1344523036000
Classification: Query
Hi, I may have responded to you but a researcher on here, Helen Smith has done extensive research on the Alexanders including visiting the Rev. James Alexander's grave. He married Mary Maxwell, and they never had children. I believe I am descended from the Alexanders who came to Md from Northern Ireland. William would be my direct ancestor. These Alexanders were among the first to be called Scots-irish

Re: The Seven Alexander Brothers Theory

Posted: 1356531116000
Classification: Query
Surnames: Alexander, Polk, Pollock, Ewing, Porter
I'm not related to the Alexander surname but I've been tracking some of this surname as well as the Ewings, Porters, Polks, Pollocks, and a few other connecting families from their first arrival in America prior to 1700 in an effort to study migration patterns of my own Polk ancestors.

I got started with this project because I suspected many traveled together and were either related or at least knew each other. I've accumulated quite a bit of information on various Alexander families from documented resources such as land, church, county histories and censuses and would be happy to look through what I've got for anyone searching for someone in particular.

From what I've documented, the earliest Alexanders, prior to 1700, came to the Eastern shore and settled in Somerset and Talbot Co, MD, and Cecil Co., DE and some of the same generation moved on from there to Virginia and North Carolina, and later generations moved west to other states.

The best advice I can give beginning researchers for ANY surname for the most productive results is to 'start at the end instead of the beginning'. What I mean by that, is start with yourself and move back through time to the earliest immigrants.

One of the most useful tools I've found also happens to be absolutely FREE, and free is always good.:)
(A volunteer of my local family history shared this advice with me.) Most public libraries subscribe to a genealogy program called 'Heritage Quest'. And with just a library card from your local library, you can use your member number to access the Heritage Quest program from your own home any time of day or night. What you will find in the Heritage Quest program is every census for every state, which you can even print off and its all free. So, call your local library and ask if they subscribe to Heritage Quest and if they DO, go get a library card! I have to admit this is the only time I ever went to my local library 8 years ago. Once you have your library card, go home and get on your library's website and use your library card number to access their Heritage Quest database.

From yourself, your parents, grandparents and great grandparents, which you should have local resources to, then jump to those census records through Heritage Quest and trace them. When they disappear from one county, broaden your search in the census records to other counties and then other states.

A word of caution.. Keep in mind that census records often have incorrect spellings of names because the census taker would often write down the name the way he heard it and in earlier censuses it was often a child that answered the questions while their parents were away working. How many kids even today would accurately know where their parents were born? The value of censuses is finding the names of additional family members. Any other information found on a census should be considered merely a clue for you to check out yourself for accuracy.

From census records, then go online and research the county history for where your earliest proven (by census)ancestor lived to learn when that county was formed and from what other counties. This is extremely important! This will give you other counties from which to search for information.

As an example, my earliest proven ancestor was a James Pollock whose Will was probated in 1773, on which he states he was a resident of Hopewell Twp., Cumberland County, PA.

A quick read of the Cumberland County History reveals that Cumberland Co. PA was formed from Lancaster County in 1751 and Lancaster Co. was formed from Chester Co., which was where I found his Last Will and Testament filed (in Chester County). I STILL don't understand why it was filed in Chester County since he died in Cumberland, but that's neither here nor there. The important thing is that I would never have found that Will if I had not read the history of the county and its formation as well as the township formation dates and know what other counties to check. From county histories, you can then go to state land records, which most are online and free to search, as well as church records. A wealth of information can be found in local historical and genealogy societies in the county of your earliest ancestor that you've proven from other records already mentioned. If you don't live there yourself, I've found that most of these organizations are run by dedicated volunteers. For a nominal research fee or the cost of joining (often times around $15-20.), they are more than happy to help you in your research.

I would caution you NOT to rely on other published family histories on the internet as gospel. Many of the older published family histories have been found to contain numerous errors in them by modern day researchers and DNA evidence. With all due respect, they did the best they could with what resources they had available to them at the time. In this day and age with original records, or at least transcriptions of them, available with a click of a mouse, we have no excuse to merely copy someone else's work that may very well have errors in it. What we leave behind will be taken as gospel and this is how errors in our family tree get passed down.
Regarding early Alexanders in Pennsylvania. Search online for the 'History of Mifflin County, Pennsylvania', (even if you don't think your ancestor lived here). There are listed in this county history many of the early Alexanders to PA.

In this history is mentioned one of the first Alexanders to locate in this area of PA, namely James Alexander (1726-1791), who was the son of John James Alexander (1700-1777) and Margaret Glasson (1700-1777), natives of County Armagh, Ireland. Many of their children are mentioned as well as where they settled. Although the information of these Alexanders is mentioned in the Mifflin County History of PA, a quick search for the 'history of the formation of Mifflin County, PA' reveals that this area was considered Cumberland County at the time of their first land purchases. If I had not learned when the counties of PA were formed, I would not have known where to look for records. At least this line of Alexanders appears to have first settled in Cecil County, Delaware in the 1730's. For more information about this line of Alexanders, check the 'Abstracts of Cecil County Land Records 1734-1753'.

A few interesting quotes extracted from the 'History of Cecil County' are in reference specifically to the early Alexanders and the reason they fled from Scotland to Ireland:

"The Alexanders, and probably most of the other original settlers of New Munster and the parts of Pennsylvania and Delaware contiguous to it, were Scotch Irish..." Pg 138

"They were called Scotch Irish simply because they were the descendants of Scots who had taken up their residence in the North of Ireland." pg 140

"The wretched policy of the House of Stewart, which had an unlimited capacity for tyranny and oppression, soon drove these people to seek asylum in the wilderness of America." Pg 140

Hope this gives you a few leads for finding your ancestors.

Becki(Polk) Pavlik

Re: The Seven Alexander Brothers Theory

Posted: 1356554103000
Classification: Query
Thank you for sharing this information but one correction to your research. Cecil Co. is in MD and not in DE. They had a lot of connections to New Castle, DE because they were close to Elkton, Cecil Co., MD.

Re: The Seven Alexander Brothers Theory

Posted: 1356564515000
Classification: Query
Actually, there is a Cecil County, MD and a Cecil Co., DE but I was mistaken when I said the Alexanders settled in Cecil Co., DE. I meant Maryland.

An interesting article about one Alexander in particular can be found by searching online Wikopedia for 'Alexanders in Cecil County, Maryland'. Here is a bit of abstract from the article:

Robert Alexander (Maryland)

Robert Alexander was born on his family's estate at Head of Elk in Cecil Co., MD about 1740. Educated to the law and admitted to the bar, he practiced in Baltimore.... From 1774-1776 he attended the Annapolis Convention as a representative of Baltimore Co. He also represented Baltimore in the state's Committee of Safety.
On December 9, 1775 the Convention named Alexander one of their delegates to the Continental Congress. He attended sessions starting in January 1776, and on January 16 the Congress added him to their Secret Committee. Then in April he was added to the Marine Committee.... After the promulgation of the Declaration of Independence, he sailed for England with other Baltimore loyalists. When the British moved north towards Philadelphia he accompanied them, and was never to return. By the summer of 1778, when Howe abandoned the occupation of Philadelphia, Alexander fled to the Royal Navy, and made his way to London in 1782.
In 1780, the State of Maryland judged Alexander guilty of high treason, and seized most of his property. His estate became the town Elkton, Maryland, although the wife he had abandoned was allowed to keep the main house that his father had built in 1735. The house still stands, and is located at 323 Hermitage Drive in Elkton. Alexander died in exile in London, England on November 20, 1805.

But going back to the earliest 'documented' record I've found (so far) of any Alexanders in America, would be a John Alexander, who, according to some family trees on died in 1677 and had at least three sons; John, Robert and Phillip. I have not verified this information)

Robert Alexander, (the oldest son and heir of John Alexander mentioned above) lived in Stafford Co., VA, and was married to Priscilla Frances Ashton. He died prior to 1 June 1704 and had at least one son, Robert Alexander, who had a son named Charles Alexander.

I've compiled a few notes regarding this line of Alexanders from information that I found in 'Maryland's Heraldic Families'. (MY notes are in parenthesis):

John Alexander (Sr.) was born in Glasgow, Scotland and died in Virginia. Married 1st to ----- (Catherine) Graham, daughter of John Graham. Married 2nd to Mrs. Tabitha Smart. Immigrated to America in 1659 in the company of Littleton Scarburgh and (sister) Tabitha Smart, children of Col. Edmond Scarburgh (who obtained a grant of 1500 acres in Northampton Co., VA on March 24, 1659).

In 1664, this John ALEXANDER, obtained a grant for 1450 acres formerly granted to John Bagnall and John Walter. In 1664, John ALEXANDER Sr. also patented land in Westmoreland County on Atoppin Creek. Children: (Capt.) John Alexander Jr., who married ---- Pitzhugh, dau. of Philip Pitzhugh and died without issue; Charles; a daughter unnamed that married Thomas Pearson; Robert born 1704 who married Priscilla Francis Ashton, dau. of John Ashton; and Philip born 1705 (Stafford Co., VA), who married Sarah Ashton, another dau. of John Ashton.

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