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The Four Basic Claims of the Family Origin of Henry “Kinne”
ca. 1624 - ca. 1710
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 without question.

 

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.

 

First Claim:  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.
http://etext.lib.virginia.edu/salem/witchcraft/Essex/vol7/images/essex310.html

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. 

 

Second Claim:  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 Thomas.
http://www.sheppey.free-online.co.uk/history/cheyne/essay.html

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 with Norfolk connections, but there is no known “Kinne” in those records.

 

Fourth Claim:  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.

http://personal.linkline.com/xymox/fraud/fraud223.htm

 

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 Robertson (1947).

 

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.

 

The url of the web page you are reading now is:
http://freepages.genealogy.rootsweb.com/~gkbopp/HENRY/FamilyOrigin.htm
This is a“tiny” link to this same page:

http://tinyurl.com/2vb4hp

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