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Ancestry of Edward Bezer    

By:  Darrell McGowen

       (rev. Jan. 22, 2008)

 

 

Background 

 

In the early 1680s three Bezer brothers from Wiltshire, England, became original or early land patentees in Pennsylvania.  William Penn, the Proprietor of Pennsylvania, selected John Bezer, the eldest of the brothers as one of his Commissioners.1/  William Bezer, the youngest of the three brothers is my ancestor.

 

Edward Bezer, the father of the three Bezer brothers, was born about 1595 at Bradford On Avon, Wiltshire, England.2/  At his death in 1664, he was married to Jean (NN).3/  The evidence is compelling that Edward Bezer is the father of John Bezer, b. abt 1641, Edward Bezer, b. abt 1643 and William Bezer, b. abt 1650.  The brothers are hereafter collectively referred to as the "three Bezer brothers"; and, with their two sisters, as the "five Bezer siblings."  The two sisters were Frances Bezer, b. abt 1645 and Elizabeth Bezer, b. abt 1647.4/  The author of the instant research note hereafter distinguishes between Edward, the father, and Edward, the son, by use of the designations "Sr." and "Jr." even though such designations are not used in pertinent reference material.

 

There are many web-based genealogies extending Edward Bezer Sr.'s ancestry back into the 1500s and earlier.  This is usually accomplished by attributing to Edward Bezer Sr. dates and family members associated with Edward Bourchier, the 4th Earl of Bath, thereby implicitly making Edward Bezer Sr. the 4th Earl of Bath.  Still other genealogies position Edward Bezer Sr. as the son of Edward Bourchier, 4th Earl of Bath.  Both classes of Bourchier connections, and the real ancestry of Edward Bezer Sr., are discussed here.

 

 

Section 1: Is Edward Bezer Sr. the same person as Edward Bourchier, 4th Earl of Bath? Or, stated differently, is Edward Bourchier, 4th Earl of Bath, the father of the three Bezer brothers?

 

The Northsea Genealogy is one of many genealogies that positions Edward Bezer Sr. as the same person who occupies the position of 4th Earl of Bath, thereby implicitly or expressly making the Earl the father of the three Bezer brothers and their two sisters.  Following are pertinent parts of the Northsea Genealogy:5/

 

"27136. Edward Beezer, born Abt. 1575 in Bath, Somersetshire, England; died March 02, 1635/36 in Tawstock, Devonshire, England. He was the son of 54272. William Bourchier and 54273. Elizabeth Russell. He married 27137. Dorothy St. John July 14, 1623 in Halstead, Essex, England.

"27137. Dorothy St. John, born Abt. 1594 in Essex, England; died August 20, 1632. She was the daughter of 54274. Oliver Saint John and 54275. Dorothy Read.

 

"Notes for Edward Beezer:

Also Burcher

 

"More About Edward Beezer:

Fact 1: March 01, 1589/90, Christening at Halstead, Essex, England

 

"Children of Edward Beezer and Dorothy St. John are:

   "i.   John Bezer, born in Bishop Canning, Wiltshire, England; died July 27, 1668 in Chichester, Chester/Deleware, PA; married Susanna Withers Abt. 1650 in Chichester, Chester/Deleware, PA; died Unknown.

 

"Notes for John Bezer:

also Bouchier

 

   "ii.   Francis Bezer, born in Marlborough, Wiltshire, England; died Unknown; married Edward Brown January 25, 1666/67 in Bishop Canning, Wiltshire, England; died Unknown.

   "iii.   Elizabeth Bezer, born in Bishop Canning, Wiltshire, England; died Unknown; married John Mason May 09, 1682 in Bishop Canning, Wiltshire, England; died Unknown.

   "iv.   Edward Bezer, born in Rowde, Wiltshire, England; died 1688 in Chichester, Chester/Deleware, PA; married Ann Fry August 28, 1664 in Wiltshire, England; died Unknown.

   "v.   William Bezer, born Abt. 1595 in Bishop Canning, Wiltshire, England; died Abt. 1682 in Bishop Canning, Wiltshire, England; married Sarah Coole Abt. 1676 in Bishop Canning, Wiltshire, England."

 

*                      *                      *                      *

 

Exclusive of the five named children, the above quoted material clearly describes the spouse, dates, and parents associated exclusively with Edward Bourchier, 4th Earl of Bath. The genealogy goes on to identify the three Bezer brothers and their two sisters as the children of Edward Beezer and Dorothy St. John.  It also shows that Edward Beezer married Dorothy St. John on 14 Jul 1623.  Other genealogists report that it was Edward Bourchier, 4th Earl of Bath, who married Dorothy St. John on 14 Jul 1623.6/  Clearly, the Northsea Genealogy implicitly identifies Edward Bezer as Edward Bourchier, 4th Earl of Bath.

 

In light of the foregoing, we will examine the possibility that Edward Bezer Sr. was the 4th Earl of Bath; and, that the three Bezer brothers and their two sisters were born to the 4th Earl of Bath and his spouse, Dorothy St. John (or possibly to the Earl and another women). 

 

Let us look first at the only birth information given for the children in the Northsea Genealogy - - i.e., "William Bezer, born Abt. 1595 in Bishop Canning, Wiltshire, England."  This is obviously not possible in that the same genealogy shows William's purported mother to have been born about 1594.  Assume that this is merely an error and that there is no reliable birth information for the five Bezer children.  The Inquisitiones Post Mortem 7/ for Wiltshire reveal that when Edward Bourchier, 4th Earl of Bath, died on 2 Mar 1636/7, he was survived by only three children and they were all female ages 7, 10 and 12 years of age.  In addition, the Earl had one son, John, who died as an infant.8/  If this is correct, and I believe that it is, the Northsea Genealogy is in error.  Consequently, except for a couple of remote possibilities, Edward Beezer/Bezer could not have been the same person as the Edward Bourchier, 4th Earl of Bath; and, the 4th Earl of Bath could not have been the father of five children bearing the same given names as Edward Bezer Sr.'s five children.  In the interest of foreclosing other possible scenarios in which the 4th Earl of Bath might be argued to have fathered the five Bezer children, further analysis might helpful.

 

First, the foregoing rebuttal does not foreclose the possible argument that the 4th Earl of Bath had five illegitimate children, all with the surname of Bezer or Beezer.  Since the five Bezer siblings were born after the Earl's death in 1636/7, the possibility that they were his illegitimate offspring is foreclosed.  If we have the wrong birth years for the five Bezer siblings, and they were in fact born prior to 1636/7, then the possibility that they were all illegitimate offspring of Earl would need to receive more consideration.  During this period (i.e., 1500-1600), it was not unusual for some of the English upper class to have mistresses and illegitimate children.  However, there is no historical record or notice, of which I am aware, which suggests that the 4th Earl of Bath engaged in such a practice.  Without some evidence, the mere possibility that an event occurred is insufficient to establish that it in fact occurred.  It is therefore concluded that the five Bezer siblings were not the illegitimate offspring of the 4th Earl of Bath, and this is the case whether the Earl is called Edward Beezer or Edward Bourchier. 

 

Parenthetically, it is also highly unlikely that Edward Bezer Sr. and his five children were descended from one of the Earl's brothers, as the Earl's brothers appear to have died as infants or never married.9/

 

Second, since the 4th Earl of Bath's wife, Dorothy St. John, predeceased him, it might be speculated that he could have re-married and had children, possibly the five Bezer siblings.  At some point after Dorothy's death in 1632, and prior to his own death in 1636, Edward Bourchier, 4th Earl of Bath, did in fact marry one Anne Lovett.10/  However, it is unlikely that between 1632 and 1637 that he had either the vigor or the time to father the five children surnamed Bezer.  Moreover, as noted above, the children were all born after the Earl's death in 1636/37.  Thus, the five Bezer siblings could not have been born to the Earl after Dorothy's St. John's death in 1632.

 

Third, it might be argued that the Earl could have entered into a child producing relationship prior to his marriage to Dorothy St. John.  While there is no evidence that the 4th Earl of Bath was married prior to 14 Jul 1623, at which time he married Dorothy St. John, such is always a possibility.  However, it is almost certain that such union, whether licit or illicit, did not produce the five Bezer siblings.  All of the Bezer siblings are believed to have been born after 1640.11/  For example, William Bezer was under the age of 21 as of the date of Edward Bezer Sr.'s 1664 Will.12/  This places his birth year sometime after 1642, which is at least 6 years after the death of Edward Bourchier, 4th Earl of Bath.  From this, it is fair to conclude that William was definitely not born to the Earl; and, it is highly unlikely that his four siblings were so born.

 

More about the Will of Edward Bezer, Sr. - - the Will reveals the following:13/  Edward died on 7 Sep 1664; his Will is dated 3 Sep 1664; and, the Will was probated 9 Nov 1664.  The Will refutes any assumption or speculation that Edward Sr. was married to Dorothy St. John or that he was the 4th Earl of Bath.  Specifically, the Will mentions his wife Jean and the five Bezer siblings, namely: sons John, Edward and William, and daughter's Frances and Elizabeth.  The Will, and the death of Edward Bezer Sr. coming more than 25 years after the death of Edward Bourchier, 4th Earl of Bath, establishes beyond question that Edward Bezer was not the same person as Edward Bourchier, 4th Earl of Bath; and, that the 4th Earl of Bath was not the father of the five Bezer siblings.  The abundant historical record, as reflected in many old peerage publications, does not support the Northsea Genealogy inference that Edward Bourchier (called Edward Beezer) and Dorothy St. John had five children with the same names as the five Bezer siblings.  Indeed, except for a daughter named Elizabeth, none of the Bourchier/St. John children bore the given names of the five Bezer siblings.

 

 

Section 2: Is Edward Bourchier, 4th Earl of Bath, the father of Edward Bezer, Sr.?

 

The foregoing discussion does not entirely put to rest the potential for a Bourchier connection.  Many genealogies, rather than showing Edward Bezer Sr. as Edward Bourchier, 4th Earl of Bath, show him as a son of the Earl.  The oldest and most prominent web-based genealogy taking this position is entitled "Breshears Descendants."14/  This web page appears to be related to a web page entitled "Deep Roots & Tangled Branches" and to the sub-page entitled "Descendants of 'John Bourchier' The Earl of Bath."15/ 

 

Notwithstanding the inherent "red-flags" and cautionary language used in "Breshears Descendants" and related web pages, dozens of individuals trying to trace the ancestry of Edward Bezer Sr. seem to have simply accepted the conclusion that Edward Bezer Sr. is descended from Edward Bourchier, 4th Earl of Bath.16/  Indeed, my own RootsWeb genealogy numbers among the many genealogies in which this conclusion is adopted.  However, it has always been my intention, as I am sure it has with many others, to eventually attempt to verify the accuracy of the purported family relationship between the Bourchier and Bezer families.  Indeed, on 17 Sep 2005, I posted the following Query on the RootsWeb Message Board voicing doubt that the Wiltshire Bezers were descended from the Bourchier Earls of Bath:17/ 

 

"Surnames: BEZER, BURCHER, BOURCHIER

 

"I have traced my Wiltshire ancestry back as far as Edward BEZER, b. abt 1600 at Bishops Canning in Wiltshire, d. 8 Sep 1664, Marlborough (?), Wiltshire. He married Jean or Jane LAWRENCE (LORANC), from Bishops Canning, Wiltshire, on 7 Apr 1654 and may have been previously married to Mary OSBORNE, m. 21 Nov 1631, Alderton, Wiltshire. At the moment I am searching for the father of Edward.

"I am aware that several web published genealogies, based on circumstantial evidence, point to Edward BOURCHIER (BURCHER / BEZER), 4th Earl of Bath, and Dorothy ST. JOHN as Edward BEZER'S parents. While some of these secondary source author's are very persuasive in their analysis and conclusions, I am troubled by the fact that historical records (namely peerage publications) show that the 4th Earl of Bath had only one son who died in infancy and three daughters who were co-heirs to his estate.

"Other web-based genealogies point to William BOURCHIER, 3rd Earl of Bath, and his wife Elizabeth RUSSELL as the parents of Edward BEZER (spouse Jean or Jane LAWRENCE). Again, I have trouble accepting this as it appears that William BOURCHIER, 3rd Earl of Bath, had only two sons, one being Edward BOURCHIER, 4th Earl of Bath (discussed above). The other son was Ricus BOURCHIER, Lord Fitzwarren, who does not appear to have had children.

"Has anyone addressed the above issues or otherwise been able to document the ancestry of Edward BEZER (spouse Jean or Jane LAWRENCE)?"

 

*                      *                      *                      *

 

As of January, 2008, there were no replies received to the above query, except for one reply from a researcher in New Zealand.  This researcher voiced essentially the same concerns as voiced in the above referenced RootsWeb Message Board Query.

 

The Query provides a springboard for further discussion of the question of whether or not Edward Bezer Sr. was descended from Edward Bourchier, 4th Earl of Bath - - perhaps through a mother other than Dorothy St. John.

 

As noted in the discussion of the Northsea Genealogy, Section 1, above, the possibility that Edward Bezer Sr. was the son of the 4th Earl of Bath and Dorothy St. John is foreclosed by the fact that they only had one son and that son died in infancy.  However, other possibilities might exist and are postulated next in the form of questions.

 

First, was Edward Bezer Sr. born to the 4th Earl of Bath after the death of Dorothy St. John in 1632?  The Earl did marry again after the death of his wife Dorothy in 1632.  The second marriage was to Anne Lovett, date unknown.18/  However, the marriage would have been sometime between 1632, when Dorothy St. John died, and 1636, when the Earl died.  Research has revealed no children from the union of the Earl and Anne Lovett.  Thomas Christopher Banks, a leading peerage scholar and author notes that Edward Bourchier, the 4th Earl of Bath, married secondly to Anne Lovett,  ". . . by whom it does not appear he had any children."19/

 

Nevertheless, it is possible that the Earl and Anne Lovett had a son and that that son was Edward Bezer, Sr.; however, this possibility is almost nil.  We know from the Will of Edward Bezer Sr. that as of 1664, William Bezer, the youngest of the three Bezer sons, had not yet reached the age of 21.  A calculation based on this information places his birth year sometime after 1643.  We also know from the Will that sons John and Edward were at least 21 years of age in 1664, which means they would have been born in 1643 or before.  Assume they were twins and both were born in 1642 or earlier; assume that Edward Bourchier married Anne Lovett in 1632, the same year that Dorothy, his first wife died, and that a son was born the following year, 1633.  The son (supposedly Edward Bezer, Sr.) would have only been 10 years old when his own sons, John and Edward, were born in 1642.  From this it is concluded that between the years 1632 and 1636, any son born to Edward Bourchier, 4th Earl of Bath, and Anne Lovett (or any other women), could not have been Edward Bezer, Sr.

 

Second, was Edward Bezer Sr. born to Edward Bourchier, 4th Earl of Bath, prior to the Earl's marriage to Dorothy St. John in 1623?  From the 1664 Will information of Edward Bezer, Sr.; plus the assumption that his sons John and Edward were born as late as 1642; plus the assumption that Edward Bezer Sr. would have been at least 20 years of age when the first of these two sons was born - - it is calculated that Edward Bezer Sr. would have been born no later than 1622.

 

Based on the foregoing assumptions and calculations, it is possible that Edward Bourchier, 4th Earl of Bath, could have fathered a son (i.e., Edward Bezer, Sr.) prior to his marriage with Dorothy St. John in 1623.

 

It appears that Edward Bourchier was probably in his thirties at the time of his marriage to Dorothy St. John in 1623. Research does not reveal an exact birth year for the 4th Earl of Bath.  However, he was made a "knight of the bath" in 1610.20/  This suggests that as of 1610 he was a young man and that he was probably born between 1590 and 1595.  And finally, there are peerage publications reporting that the Earl was baptized on 1 Mar 1590, at Tawstock.21/ 

 

The chronology provides a window of opportunity for a child producing relationship prior to 1623.  However, a mere possibility of fatherhood is not sufficient to support a conclusion that the possibility ripened to the point of actuality.

 

There is a strong inference that Dorothy St. John was Edward Bourchier's first wife.22/  This leaves open the possibility that an illegitimate son preceded Edward Bourchier's marriage to Dorothy St. John.  Those who feel strongly that Edward Bezer Sr. is descended from Edward Bourchier, 4th Earl of Bath, are left with this narrow possibility for research.  However, I believe this possibility is effectively negated in Section 4, infra.

 

 

Section 3: Are the Bezers of Wiltshire a branch of the English noble family Bourchier?

 

Those who conclude that families bearing the name Bezer are descendants of one or more of the English noble families bearing the name Bourchier base there conclusion almost solely on the notion that over time and through phonetic evolution, the name "Bourchier" became "Bezer."  The best example of the name spelling rationale used to connect these two families is found in Descendants of Edward Burcher or Bezer Earl of Bath, Second Generation,23/ wherein the author writes:

 

"I have circumstantial ties only at this point, to the Bourchiers family however in doing Brashear, Bashaw, Basham, BEZER, Jones and other collaterals who came to Virginia as descendants of John and Ciciley (D'Aubeney) Bourchier (abt 1622-1623), I am convenced it has to be the same family. The Quaker spelling of "Bressie and Bezer" are distinct fomilies from Angelican spellings (Variatins of Bourchier) and French Hugeunot (Brassiur) branches of the same family. The Bezers of Wiltshire, who were with William Penn in Chester Co., PA abt 1698 seems to be our lineage." [The quoted material is verbatim and without correction for grammatical or typographical errors.]

 

The name spelling rationale, as to how the name "Bourchier" might have come to be spelled "Bezer", is highly subjective.  This would not matter if it could be demonstrated in a less subjective manner as to precisely when and how the Bezer family ties into the Bourchier family.  Attempts to do this by showing that Edward Bezer Sr. was the 4th Earl of Bath (see Section 1, supra); or, that Edward Bezer Sr. was a son of the 4th Earl of Bath (see Section 2, supra), simply fail to meet any evidentiary standard whatsoever.  In short, except for the theory that the spelling of "Bourchier" evolved into "Bezer," there is no basis for connecting the Edward Bezer Sr. family to the Bourchier family. 

 

This note is intended to apply chiefly to Edward Bezer Sr., and to his three sons who settled in Pennsylvania.  It specifically does not address the Bezer/Bourchier families who settled elsewhere.

 

The remaining question is:  From whom did Edward Bezer Sr. descend, if not from the Bourchier family?

 

 

Section 4: Potential Ancestors of Edward Bezer, Sr.

 

There lived in Wiltshire in the late 1500s and early 1600s a Richard Beaser, yeoman, who had a son, named Edward.  Since Edward Bezer Sr. was probably born in the late 1500s, 24/ it might reasonably be inferred that Richard Beaser was the father of Edward Bezer, Sr.  The names Beaser and Bezer are phonetically identical, thus one does not have to stretch the imagination to connect the two names.  Richard Beaser appears in at least three historical documents, namely, a document containing abstracts of inquisitions post mortem in the early 1600s; a document entitled the Last Will and Testament of Richard Beaser, dated 12 Jul 1633; and, a document entitled Last Will and Testament of William Beaser.  These documents are summarized, as follows:

 

(1).  Richard Beaser - - Abstracts of Wiltshire Inquisitiones Post Mortem show that prior to 1611 he owned, controlled, or possessed the rights to several properties in and around Haselbury, Box and Waddeswicke, in Wiltshire.25/ 

 

(2).  Richard Beaser, yeoman - - South Wraxall, Bradford on Avon, Wiltshire. Will dated 12 Jul 1633 26/  (dates of death and probate not indicated), names five minor sons and daughters and one adult son, as follows: 

-- Katherine, daughter;

-- Richard, son;

-- Thomas, son;

-- Alice, daughter;

-- Mary, daughter; and,

-- Edward, adult son. 

 

After specific bequests to the five minor children, the Will provides that the balance of the estate ". . . not given nor bequeathed I give and bequeath unto Edward my sonne . . . "  The testator also names his son Edward as the ". . . whole & sole executor . . ." of the Will.

 

(3).  Research of Edward Bezer Sr.’s ancestry (i.e., father) is complicated by the fact that there existed at about the same time and place still another possible ancestor, to wit:

 

William Beaser, yeoman - - Cumberwell, Bradford on Avon, Wiltshire. Will dated 1629 (dates of death and probate are not indicated, but context suggests about 1633)27/ names his children, as follows:

-- William, son;

-- John, son;

-- Joane Lewis, daughter;

-- Mary Ald[illegible], daughter; and

-- Edward Beaser, son.

 

The Will also references "Kinsman, Richard Beaser." This may be in reference the same Richard Beaser as discussed in (1) and (2), above.

 

*                      *                      *                      *

      

Is the Father of Edward Bezer Sr., Richard Beaser or William Beaser?  The Richard Beazer referenced in (2), above, is a very good prospect to be Edward Bezer Sr.'s father.  Richard Beaser's 1633 Will names a son, Edward, as the executor of the Will.  The will identifies five other children and notes that they are not of age; presumably, they were under the age of 21 years.  From this we can infer that the Edward named in the Richard Beaser Will was at least 21 years of age in 1633.  Information from the Will is consistent with the Edward Beaser named therein being Edward Bezer Sr. 

 

Likewise, the information contained in the Will of the above mentioned, William Beaser, is also consistent with the Edward Beaser named therein being Edward Bezer Sr.  This Edward was also named executor of his father's Will.  The fact that he was named executor of his father's Will suggests that this Edward Beaser was at least 21 years of age in 1629.  All the other children named in the will were adults and some were married.  The fact that the Will is dated in 1629 and the fact that all the siblings named therein were adults and of age, provides a basis for concluding that the Edward named in 1629 Will of William Beaser was probably older than the Edward named in the 1633 Will of Richard Beaser. This may be significant because it appears that the five Bezer siblings mentioned at the top of this note were born after 1640.  These facts would tend to support a very weak inference that the Edward Beaser mentioned in the 1633 Will of Richard Beaser, is more likely to be the father of the five Bezer siblings than is the older Edward Beaser mentioned in the 1629 Will of William Beaser.

 

However, there are more circumstances which strongly suggest that it is the older Edward Beaser, named in the Will of William Beaser, who is in fact Edward Bezer Sr.  William Beaser's 1629 Will documents the fact that he had three sons and that these sons were named William, John and Edward.  Likewise, Edward Bezer Sr.'s 1664 Will documents the fact that he too had three sons and they were also named William, John and Edward.  This could be a coincidence.  However, this writer views it as circumstantial evidence that Edward Bezer Sr. was the son of the William Beaser, the William Beaser who executed the 1629 Will.

 

Edward, the son of William Beaser, is described in the Administration bond inventory index for Wiltshire as being of the yeoman class.28/  This is not inconsistent with him being Edward Bezer Sr. who has been described as the "mason of Marlborough."29/

 

In the 15- and 1600s the term yeoman had come to describe, among other things, a person who farmed his own land and/or owned, controlled or possessed land farmed or used by others.  Thus, the Edward [Bezer Sr.] named in the 1629 Will of William Beaser was probably familiar with land ownership and management.

 

Likewise, Edward Bezer Sr.'s adult sons were probably of the yeoman class, even though they might have been in trades not associated with farming or land ownership.  John the eldest son, while being of the yeoman class, was a maltster by trade, a trade that is very much involved in agriculture.  Indeed, it has been written that when he came to Pennsylvania in 1681, ". . . [John Bezer] could look back over more than a quarter of a century as an accomplished 'public Friend' (Quaker minister) and a successful yeoman whose Wiltshire acres had yielded a successful living [italics added] despite his many distraints.  He had subscribed with alacrity to the purchase of 1000 acres offered by Penn in his new Province."30/  Thus, William Penn's selection of Edward Bezer Sr.'s eldest son, John Bezer, to be one of his Commissioners in the new province of Pennslyvania is not at all surprising.

 

From the foregoing, it is concluded that it is more likely than not that Edward, son of William, is the same person as Edward Bezer, Sr.  It is also concluded that Edward Bezer Sr.'s father is William Beaser, not Edward Bourchier, 4th Earl of Bath, or William Bourchier, 3rd Earl of Bath.  Thus far, I have found no evidence that the Bezer, Beezer, Beaser or Beacer family is blood related to any of the Bourchier families.  However, much work remains to be done to extend the Bezer ancestry back beyond William Bezer, the testator of the 1629 Will.  In addition, evidence of a more definitive nature would help to assure that Edward Bezer Sr. is in fact the son of the William Beaser who executed the 1629 Will.  In this regard, note should be taken of an IGI Individual Record 31/ that also shows William Beaser to be the father of Edward Beaser.  This record provides leads such as a specific place and date for the christening of Edward.

 

William Beaser, Testator of the 1629 Will and the Father of Edward Bezer Sr.  The evidence of William Beaser's parentage is scant and is in need further research.  At this time, the only evidence of parentage is found in the form of an IGI Individual Record.32/  This record shows that William Beaser was born about 1568, Bradford On Avon, Wiltshire, England to George Besar and Mrs. Alice Besar, and that he died 12 May 1632.  It is very likely that this is the same William Beaser who executed the 1629 Will, discussed earlier.

 

 

Section 5: Identity of the Mother of the Five Bezer Siblings.

 

First, an Edward Beaser married Mary Osborne, 21 Nov 1631, in Wiltshire.33/  This could be Edward Bezer Sr., i.e., the Edward Beaser named as a son and executor of 1629 Will of William Beaser; or, it could be the Edward Beaser named in the 1633 Will of Richard Beaser.  In any event, it is unlikely that Mary Osborne is the mother of the five Bezer siblings.  There is a gap of more than 9 years between her marriage in 1631 to an Edward Beaser and the births of the five Bezer siblings starting in about 1640.  While this does not preclude the possibility that Mary Osborne is the mother of the five Bezer siblings, in does tend to mitigate such likelihood.  Additionally, as noted below, there is evidence that the mother of the five Bezer siblings bore the given name of "Jean".

 

Second, an Edward Beezer married Jane Laranc, 7 Apr 1654.34/  Since Edward Bezer Sr.'s five children are all believed to have been born between about 1640 and 1650, it is doubtful that Jane Laranc was the wife of Edward Bezer Sr., or the mother of the five Bezer siblings.  It is unlikely that the birth of the oldest Bezer sibling (i.e., John Bezer) would have preceded the marriage by approximately 14 years.35/   Even the birth of the youngest Bezer sibling (i.e., William Bezer) preceded the marriage by about 4 years.36/

 

The foregoing invites the question: Was Edward Bezer Sr. married to an entirely different woman than Mary Osborne or Jane Laranc?  The historical record reveals that at the time of Edward Bezer Sr.'s death in 1664, he was married to a Jean (NN). We know from this record that William Coole in a letter to his sister, Sarah Coole Bezer, wife of William Bezer, states that Sarah's mother-in-law, Jean Lawrence, "being a widdow also" sends her love.37/  As the name "Lawrence" is the surname of her second husband, this reference to Jean Lawrence sheds no light on her maiden surname; however, this correspondence constitutes evidence that Edward Bezer Sr. was married to Jean (NN), the mother of their youngest son William, the husband of Sarah Coole.

 

In the absence of evidence to the contrary, it is concluded that the Bezer siblings did not issue from 1654 marriage between "Edward Beezer" and "Jane Laranc".  Future research will have to be undertaken to determine the maiden surname of Jean (NN), as well as her ancestry. 

 

As to the identity of the mother of the five Bezer siblings, reference is made to a Pedigree Resource File, Individual Record, which reports the mother of John Beaser, the oldest of the five Bezer siblings, to be Mrs. Grace Beaser, wife of Edward Beaser.38/  This is inconsistent with Jean (NN) being the mother of all five of the Bezer siblings.  In sorting this out it should be remembered that there were two different Edward Bezers in the same geographical area at about the same time.  Obviously, additional research is needed in order to determine the identity of the mother, or mothers, of the five Bezer siblings.

 

 

Section 6: Identity of the Father of William Beaser, Testator of the 1629 Will

 

It is this writer's thesis that William Beaser is the father of Edward Bezer Sr. and the grandfather of the five Bezer siblings, i.e., John, Edward, William, Frances, and Elizabeth.  Identification of William Beaser's father will take us back to the early 1500s.  There is one source that reports the names of William's parents to be George and Alice Besar.39/  This information should be verified with the best evidence available, which is probably church records for the Wiltshire parish encompassing Bradford On Avon.  Again, it should be borne in mind that there were at least two Bezer families in the same area at the same time.  This serves to make difficult research even more difficult.

 

 

Conclusion

 

There is sufficient evidence to conclude that (1) Edward Bezer Sr. was not the same person as Edward Bourchier, 4th Earl of Bath; (2) Edward Bezer Sr. was not descended from Edward Bourchier, 4th Earl of Bath, or from his brothers; and, (3) Edward Bezer Sr. was the father of the five Bezer siblings, John, Edward, William, Frances and Elizabeth.

 

There is inconclusive evidence that (1) Edward Bezer Sr.'s father was William Beaser; and, (2) William Beaser's father was George Besar.  While the evidence is far from conclusive, unless and until further evidence is found these individuals will be included in my family tree with appropriate caveats; or, with source cites which on their face flag the tenuous nature of the supporting evidence.

 

         

* Many of the books, journals and magazines cited herein can be accessed online at Google Books.

________________________

1/   See generally, Winfield S. Weer and Aubrey H. Baldwin, "John Bezer a Commissioner of William Penn," The Pennsylvania Genealogical Magazine (Philadelphia Pa., 1982), vol. 32, No. 4, p. 283 et seq.

2/   See FamilySearch, IGI Individual Record (LDS, 2008), at <http://www.familysearch.org/> (search= Edward Beaser, 1595) (christened 22 May 1595, Bradford On Avon, Wiltshire, England).

3/   The Pennsylvania Genealogical Magazine, supra note 1, at p. 286.

4/   The Pennsylvania Genealogical Magazine, supra note 1, at p. 286 (identifies the five Bezer siblings from the 1664 Will if Edward Bezer).

5/   Northsea Genealogy <http://familytreemaker.genealogy.com/users/n/o/r/Steven-G-Northsea/GENE5-0075.html#CHILD17236485>; see also, thePeerage.com, at <http://www.thepeerage.com/p18505.htm#i185045> (shows William Bourchier as son of Edward Bourchier, 4th Earl of Bath, and  shows William married to Sarah Coole); Heycuz, The Games of Lifes, at  <http://www.heycuz.net/FAMTREE/WC54/WC54_466.HTM> (Shows Edward Bezer as son of William Bourchier and Elizabeth Russell; names Jean (Jane?) Lawrence as Edward's wife; and, correctly shows the five Bezer siblings as Edward and Jean's children.)

6/   Elizabethan Peerage, at <http://www.tudorplace.com.ar/BOURCHIER1.htm>.

7/   G. S. Fry and A. Fry, Abstracts of Wiltshire Inquisitiones Post Mortem, Returned Into the Court of Chancery in the Reign of King Charles the First (London, 1893), at p. 263. 

8/   Sir T. C. Banks, The Dormant and Extinct Baronage of England (London, 1808), Vol. II, p. 219; The Yorkshire Archaelogical and Topographical Journal (Bradbury, Agnew & Co., London, 1886), Vol. 9, p. 259 (died without male issue). 

9/   The Complete Peerage of England, Scotland, Ireland, Great Britain and the United Kingdom (Geo. Bell & Sons, London, 1890, Vol. III, p. 378 (brother John, bap. 21 Nov 1585, bur. 12 Mar 1586/7; brother Robert,  bap. 3 Mar 1587, bur. 27 May 1588; and brother/sister Frances, never married).  See also, Sir T. C. Banks, Baronia Anglica Concentrata (London 1844), Vol. I, p. 215.

10/   The Dormant and Extinct Baronage of England, supra note 8, at p. 219 (second marriage was to Anne Lovett); see also, Elizabethan Peerage, supra note 6. 

11/   The Pennsylvania Genealogical Magazine, supra note 1, at p. 286.

12/   The Pennsylvania Genealogical Magazine, supra note 1, at p. 286.

13/   The Pennsylvania Genealogical Magazine, supra note 1, at p. 286 (Will abstract); see also, Wiltshire Notes & Queries (1908), Vol. 5, Ch. 6, p. 224 (shows death date of “1664-7-8,” which converts to 8 Sep 1664), online at <http://www.wiltshire.gov.uk/community/textimagebook_search.php>.

14/   Breshears Descendants, <http://freepages.genealogy.rootsweb.com/~irhpmuh/pafg01.htm>.

15/   "Descendants of  'John Bourchier' The Earl of Bath", at <http://www.angelfire.com/ut/humceltic/Breashear.html> . 

16/   See e.g., Family Trees, RootsWeb's WorldConnect Project Global Search (search= "Edward Burcher" or "Edward Bezer.") at, <http://wc.rootsweb.com/cgi-bin/igm.cgi>.

17/   RootsWeb Message Board, <http://archiver.rootsweb.com/th/read/ENG-WILTSHIRE/2005-06/1119528239>.

18/   Historical Manuscripts Commission, The Manuscripts of the Earl Cowper, K.G., (London, 1888), Vol. II, pp. 14-15 (letter dated 26 May 1633 referring to the 4th Earl of Bath's declination of the Kings proposal that he marry Dorothy Seymour, one of the Queens Maids of Honour, and voicing the Earl's concern that if he had a son by a second wife, his daughters by his first wife would be left without an estate fitting for them to marry a gentlemen); see also, The Dormant and Extinct Baronage of England, Vol. II, p. 219, note c (the Earl appears to have been married to Anne Lovett prior to Dec 1633 date of letter).

19/   The Dormant and Extinct Baronage of England, supra note 8, at p. 219.

20/   The Dormant and Extinct Baronage of England, supra note 8, at p. 219.

21/   See e.g., Complete Peerage of England, Scotland, Ireland, etc., supra note 9, at p. 378.

22/   See, Historical Manuscripts Commission, supra 18, at pp. 14-15.

23/   Descendants of Edward Burcher or Bezer Earl of Bath, Second Generation, at <http://freepages.genealogy.rootsweb.com/~irhpmuh/pafg02.htm>.

24/   See, IGI Individual Record, supra note 2, at <http://www.familysearch.org/> (search= Edward Beaser, 1595).

25/   Abstracts of Wiltshire Inquisitiones Post Mortem, etc., supra note 7, at pp.7-8.

26/   Wiltshire and Swindon Wills Archive, at <http://history.wiltshire.gov.uk/heritage/wills_search.php> Ref. No. P2/9Reg/10B (search= Beaser, Richard).

27/   Wiltshire and Swindon Wills Archive, at <http://history.wiltshire.gov.uk/heritage/wills_search.php> Ref. No. P2/9Reg/24 (search= Beacer, William) (Surname is spelled "Beacer" in the index, but appears to be "Beaser" in the Will itself.); see also, FamilySearch, IGI Individual Record, at <http://www.familysearch.org/> (search= William Beaser, 1568) (death, 12 May 1632).

28/   Wiltshire and Swindon Wills Archive, at <http://history.wiltshire.gov.uk/heritage/wills_search.php> Ref. No. P2/B/615 (search= Beacer) (identified as "yeoman" in index).

29/   The Pennsylvania Genealogical Magazine, supra note 1, at p. 286 (Edward Bezer's 1664 Will describes him as the "mason of Marlbrough.").

30/   The Pennsylvania Genealogical Magazine, supra note 1, at pp. 287-288; see also, Marion Balderston, William Penn's Twenty-Three Ships, The Pennsylvania Genealogical Magazine (Philadelphia Pa., 1963), Vol. 23, No. 2, pp. 31-32 (lists merchandise shipped to the Virginia colony by John Bezer on the Bristol Factor in 1681and notes that he had been a regular shipper to that colony).

31/   FamilySearch, IGI Individual Record, at <http://www.familysearch.org/> (search= Edward Beaser, 1595) (christened 22 May 1595, Bradford On Avon, Wiltshire, England).

32/   FamilySearch, IGI Individual Record, at <http://www.familysearch.org/> (search= William Besar, 1568) (b. abt 1568, Bradford On Avon, Wiltshire, England to George and Alice Besar, d. 12 May 1632.

33/   Wiltshire Marriages in the Church, Alderton, 1606-1812 (Ancestry.com online) (reports marriage of "Edward Beaser and Mary Osborne").

34/   Wiltshire Marriages in the Church, Marlborough, 1611-1812 (Ancestry.com online))(reports marrige of "Edward Beezer and Jane Laranc").

35/   FamilySearch, Pedigree Resource File, Individual Record, at <http://www.familysearch.org/> (search terms John Beaser, 1640) (christened 23 Oct 1640, Bradford On Avon, Wiltshire, England, son of Edward and Grace Beaser, died Sep 1684).

36/   The Pennsylvania Genealogical Magazine, supra note 1, p. 286 (abstract of Will shows William under 21 years of age in 1664.

37/   The Pennsylvania Genealogical Magazine, supra note 1, p. 287 (citing historical sources); Wiltshire Notes & Queries (1897), Vol. 2, Ch. 9, p. 372 (marriage “1671-4-18—Thomas Lawrence, of Malrboro’, to Jeane Bezer”), online at <http://www.wiltshire.gov.uk/community/textimagebook_search.php>.

38/   Pedigree Resource File, Individual Record, supra note 35. (It is unknown whether a specific data source is disclosed in the LDS FamilySearch, Pedigree Resource File, Compact Disc #37, Pin #125396.)

39/   FamilySearch, IGI Individual Record, at <http://www.familysearch.org/> (search= William Besar, 1568) (b. abt 1568, Bradford On Avon, Wiltshire, England, to George and Alice Besar, d. 12 May 1632).

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Darrell McGowen

DnRMcGowen@gmail.com