Four Basic Claims of the Family Origin of Henry “Kinne”
ca. 1624 - ca.
of Salem, Massachusetts
Georgia Kinney Bopp
Revised 12 July 2007
About the spelling of Henry’s surname
Keny and Keney are frequent
variations used in early records associated with Henry; those records include
more than a dozen different spelling variations (see Henry’s Timeline).
Although there is no evidence that “Kinne” was used in his lifetime,
it is used below because that variation is in the title of a popular “Kinne”
genealogy by Robertson (1947).
Citations for published
genealogies mentioned below can be found at Publications.
Many undocumented genealogies associated with Henry “Kinne”
who lived in early Salem, Massachusetts, include statements about his
birth and family origins. However, there
is no documented evidence of Henry’s
full birth or baptism date, or the locales of his birth or baptism, or the
names of his parents or other ancestors, or of any siblings. To date, the
earliest known published genealogy is Emerson Kinney’s 1881 booklet. This contains four basic claims regarding Henry’s origin that are
repeated in later genealogies often with variations or embellishments - none of
which provide documentation. There is
evidence to support only one of the four claims - the approximate 1624 year of
Henry’s birth. The other three claims appear to be the result of inexperienced
researchers (who may have been duped by fraudulent researchers) who
incorporated a few historical facts into tales of Henry’s origin. Unfortunately, these tales continue to
persist and are rediscovered and repeated by family researchers who accept them
The four basic claims of Henry’s family origin are:
(1) Henry was born about 1624 – there is
evidence to support this.
(2) Henry had a knighted ancestor –
there is no evidence.
(3) Henry had a connection to Norfolk, England
- there is no evidence.
(4) Henry immigrated to Massachusetts
via Holland –
there is no evidence.
Note: All documented information can be found at Henry’s Timeline.
Henry Was Born About 1624.
The 1624 estimate can be derived from a 1679 court record
identifying him as "Henery Kenny, aged about fifty-five years . . . .” who
testified he was a soldier under Major Sedgwick 25 years earlier.
There is no other
documented evidence of Henry’s birth.
Various genealogies provide birth, and/or baptism, date variations –
often with specific details – but with no documentation.
Henry Had A Knighted Ancestor.
There is no known documented evidence of any ancestor of Henry. Many genealogies report a Sir Thomas and/or
various other knighted “Kinne” males in the lineage of Henry. The only known
“Sir” [“Kinne” knight] with ANY variation of the surname is a Sir Thomas Cheyne
[pronounced chain-ee], Lord Warden of the Cinque Ports,
1536-1558. There is no evidence of any connection between Henry and that Sir
Third Claim: Henry Had A Connection To Norfolk, England.
Based on the known immigration history of early Massachusetts
settlers, it is highly likely that Henry was of English origin but there
is no known documented evidence of
Henry prior to his first appearance in the Massachusetts records. There
is a town and port in the English county
of Norfolk, known as Lynn
(Kings/King’s Lynn, Bishop's Lynn, Lynn Regis) and there was a documented John
Kynne, Mayor of Kings Lynn in 1562 and again 1572 (he died that year). He is often reported as an ancestor of Henry
and King’s Lynn and/or Norfolk are frequently
reported as the birth locale of Henry but
there is no evidence of any
connection between Henry and that John Kynne and/or between Henry and Norfolk. It is possible there is a connection
between Henry and the Kynne of Norfolk but no evidence has been found. At least one erroneous genealogy states
Thomas of Lynne was knighted in 1618 but contemporary researchers have been
assured by British historians that no such event took place. It is documented that some of the early
immigrants to Massachusetts included persons
connections, but there is no known “Kinne” in those records.
Henry Immigrated To Massachusetts Via Holland.
There is no known documented evidence of
Henry prior to his first entry in the Massachusetts
records. It is documented that many
of the “pilgrims” who settled in Plymouth, Massachusetts, were families who had fled to
Leyden/Leiden, Holland, from England (including Norfolk),
before coming to America. There is no known “Kinne” in those
records. Leyden/Leiden (and/or Holland) appears as a birth or baptism locale of Henry in
several genealogies but there is no
evidence of any connection between Henry and Holland. An oft repeated immigration tale is that
Henry came to America
in 1635 with Vincent Potter on the ship "Elizabeth and Ann." Henry
does not appear on any known passenger list. There is evidence that Vyncent/Vincent Potter,
who was on that ship, placed a “Henry Kenninge” as an apprentice in 1639. Assumptions that Henry arrived with Potter in
1635 have been reported as fact.
Faulty and/or Fraudulent Research
Faulty and/or fraudulent research associated with Henry’s
origins appears in almost all known genealogies. It is not known who first speculated and/or
fabricated false information (who created it vs. who merely passed on erroneous
information found elsewhere). There is
no direct evidence that a Henry descendant hired a fraudulent researcher;
however there are parallels between some of the Henry genealogies and those of
persons who were duped during the late 1800’s and early 1900’s when many
affluent Americans seeking impressive genealogical connections were the victims
of fraud. The best known example is that
of researcher Gustave Anjou
who is now known to have been “a forger of genealogical records that have been
passed on for years to unwary clients and then through researchers who
believed, or wanted to believe, they had a true lineage. They in turn
republished the material in their own works and the cycle continues even
today.” Features of a typical fraudulent
pedigree include “connections far beyond” anything produced by others,
geographical leaps, citations to some existing documents, and invented
documents without citation.
Below are examples of erroneous/fraudulent information in of
some of the many Henry genealogies.
“. . . we are able in the light of reliable records, to follow Henry Kinne,
born in 1624, from Holland
to Salem, Mass.,
. . . .
It is believed that he was born in Norfolk,
England, where his father,
Sir Thomas Kinne, lived, having been knighted by the government for some signal
service rendered it; and that following the tide of emigration through Holland. . . . “ Emerson Kinne (1881).
Various unpublished papers and/or letters of Edward Randolph
Kinney (ERK) of Denver,
written ca. 1935-1944, claim that Henry recorded his lineage in a family bible
and “by this simple act we who live today and the generation yet to come have
an authentic record of the family back to September 28, AD. 1066”. ERK states Henry connects to “John de Keene,
Baron/Lord of Somerset
County listed in the
Doomsday Book”. In one of his
papers/letters, ERK states that the bible was destroyed in a fire. Elsewhere he states that his uncle offered
someone $5000 for the Bible in the early 1900's and that [the uncle or ERK had]
traced the bible to a family in New Preston, CT, but the owner refused to let
him see it.
Details such as “Henry was born July 8, 1623 in King's Lynn,
and baptized May 3, 1624 in Lyden, Holland" appear in many genealogies and
appear to be a combination of (1)
fraudulent dates linked to (2) the known approximate 1624 birth year, and (3)
the unconnected fact that a surnamed Kynne once lived in King’s Lynn, Norfolk,
England, and (4) the unconnected fact that some English born settlers lived in
Leiden, Holland, before coming to Massachusetts. One example of these dates appears in
Ancestry material presented as a direct quote from Henry of
“ye olde England”
appear in Mabel Gould Demers Hinckley (1969) and an extended version appears in
Basil Kinney (1992) said to be from an alleged 1684 deposition. Both the Hinckley and Kinney versions include detailed names,
dates, and locales with no citations for which no evidence is known and much of
which has been completely disproved including the statement that the alleged
ancestor Thomas of Lynne was knighted in 1618.
More information about the above and other Henry genealogies
can be found in Publications.
Details regarding all known documented Henry information can
be found at Henry’s Timeline.
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