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Henry Sinclair of Virginia 1700's
I realize most of you are well beyond me in Sinclair research. I, too, have reached the truly difficult periods of ancestry on many of my own lines. But in the interest of my children, I have turned my attention to my husband's lines as well.
The oldest documented ancestor I find is Henry James (or James Henry?) Sinclair, b. c172x Scotland (presumably), d. c1790 Isle of Wight, VA. The family legend goes that as a young boy, his maternal grandfather essentially kidnapped the lad, and put him in the care of a young female (a relative?), who was sailing to the US to meet her fiancee. At the docks, she supposedly abandoned the young Henry, having no interest in raising him. To continue the legend, the ship's captain took pity on the boy, for whom he had developed a fondness during the journey, and raised him as his own. OK - that's all the bedtime story I'll bore you with. There are variations of the story in the family, but this is essentially the legend.
What IS known, is that this Henry married a Martha Brock or Brough (who died in 1839 and is buried in Sherwood cemetery in Gloucester, VA), and had children Thomas, John, and Margaret, all born in the 1750's.
My husband's ancestor, John (b. 1755, d. c. 1820, md. Anne Elizabeth Wilson 1774 and then Mary Mackie Ianson 1791), was known as Captain John, and had quite a reputation as basically a pirate turned privateer in Virginia during the American Revolution.
John and Mary Mackie Ianson had a son Jefferson Bonaparte Sinclair (b. c 1800, d. 1863 Gloucester, VA, md. Georgiana Wray 1823), and they had son Fayette Sinclair (b. 1827 in Elizabeth City County, VA, d. Oct 1902 Cottage Home, Elizabeth City County, VA, md. Mary Eliza Allen Oct. 1851).
Clearly there are more children in each of these three generations, and my data is quite complete thanks in large part to Jefferson Sinclair Selden, Jr.'s work "The Sinclair Family of Virginia", 1964.
What wasn't known to him, nor to anyone, is the ancestry of Henry Sinclair. Theoretically, according to family legend, he was a second son to the then current or ascending Earl of Caithness [ I know, I know - please don't remind me how unlikely it is :) ]. I have researched the published lineage of the Earls and can find no Henry James nor James Henry offspring.
Recently, I found a site which is basically a site dedicated to Parsons family research, but with a great deal of Sinclair data as well. This site suggests that Henry, father of Captain John, was in fact the son of Donald Sinclair and a Jean Hamilton; Donald being the son of David Sinclair of Broynach and Janet Ewing; David being the brother of John, the 8th Earl of Caithness.
I do, in fact, easily locate this Donald. But I find no mention anywhere of the wife Jean Hamilton (if she WAS as wife), and no mention anywhere of Henry James/James Henry Sinclair. I have emailed the webmaster of the site for assistance contacting the researcher who would have submitted the data to his website. FYI, this is the URL for the site:
http://members.frys.com/~parsons/d0012/g0000090.html#I17009 . He was kind enough to reply, and tells me that this data was obtained from H.S. Cumming's book :"Descendants of George Sinclair, 4th Earl of Caithness, for Ten Generations". I do not have access to this book, but a kind soul on another site has offered to investigate for me, as she apparently does have access and some degree of source material as well. But at this point, in order to maintain momentum, I'm willing to assume that the material is, in fact, found in this text.
I have accessed ScotsOrigin and find in Dunbar a James Sinclair, b. Feb 1729, but the son of Daniel Sinclair and Jean Hamilton. Now perhaps Daniel & Donald are one and the same. But even if they are, how was the connection made that THIS James/Henry is the same Henry who was the father of Captain John?
Does this sound remotely familiar to anyone? Is anyone researching this Virginia family?
Again, I appreciate your patience in this lengthy post. I do recognize that this is very current data for this august group, but I appreciate any assistance in moving forward.