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Recent review has uncovered an important historical paper on the start of the use of Surnames.

There is an article available on the internet about the Origin of Surnames by the Normans who invaded England in 1066. The article comes from the English National Archives at:

The essence of this article is that when William the Conquer overran England, he had the intent to capture the land possession mechanism for all of England out to the end of time. To document this possession he etched it into history with the Doomesday Book, where each parcel of land in England was recorded as belonging to an individual's line forever. To do this he had to have a way to go beyond the previously used FIRST NAME as one's personal ID. A number of devices had arisen to do better than Samuel (blacksmith) of Riverside or the French device “de” meaning “of Samuel” such as “de Riverside.”

As an example, the new names were then like James Carter, where Carter was now a continuing "surname," the name of James domain..  His son who inherited  father James Carter-I 's property was sometimes James Carter-II and so on. Naming the lesser sons became a problem, as they had no part in the property. Additionally there was a “seal” attached to that individual and only used by him or his successor, which took the form of a banner or emblem.

The article linked above discusses the many problems which came from this scheme. If the eldest son was also named James, he had to wait until his father's death to be called James Carter. Therefore, a son often had two names, one being the name he used in the interim.  That sort of gets messy in Genealogy, but Carter was the surname which was to extend to the end of time. One practice was to use Fitz to stand for "son of” and a succeeding son would be James FitzCarter in our example, thus tending to corrupt the surname, but not the genetics.

Another scheme used in Denmark was to add the suffix "son" to the father's name, resulting in a name like Ericson. In Scotland the Mac prefix was used resulting in MacDonald for the son of Donald, and in Wales an Ap or Ab prefix was used as ApJames as a preface as O' was used in O'Reiley, became the son of Reiley.

Genealogy as we use it, takes care of this name convention. We have long since given up the estate going just to the eldest son automatically but as listed in a Will or other conveyance documents such as a Trust. Nevertheless based on the information available, the origination of the surname can be ascribed to the Normans from about 1120.

"Generally, it is agreed and conceded that the organization of the surname, as we know it today, can be ascribed to the Norman race about 1120. The inspiration for this monumental event was not a whimsical cultural or spiritual happening, is was an economic necessity. And if you're going to consider "surnames" THIS IS WHERE IT ALL BEGAN throughout most of Europe. This is not an attempt to justify, excuse, criticize, praise or condemn the Norman race. It is a study of surname origins.

The Normans were primarily of Viking origin, descended from Duke Rollo and his Viking pirates, Rollo being a one time Jarl or Earl of Orkney who had been kicked out of northern Norway by the King. Rollo landed in northern France and claimed a chunk. From the mid 10th century, this new and ambitious race ravaged all Europe down to the tip of Sicily, quickly. thoroughly and effectively, despite (or because of) having been converted to Christianity. The powerful land hungry Normans spread themselves thinly but with great determination and ruthlessness. This was a feudal society. Family possessions, land acquisitions, required and acquired an urgently needed identity tag for posterity, a little more sophisticated than Tyson the Terrible, an actual Norman name of great renown, as we shall see. Heritable family ownership and dynasty continuity was paramount, and became the prime motivation for the surname, a tag which followed its own set of crude rules from its inception, and the protocols changed, became more refined, adapted on the fly. These emerging social, quasi legal rules were vital to domain ownership in this exploding feudal empire."

It is interesting to note that in the early records of England, in the year of 1189 A.D., Helm in a name is found in a law suite: Wilhelmus De La Helm versus Alexander De La Helm. This is England's oldest legal record.

The true origin of the name isn't clear, but Helm is said to be Norman in the beginning. 123 years after the battle of Hastings, England in which William Duke of Normandy conquered England, the Helm in a name first appeared in that legal record.

Other early known uses of the name are Agness Helm who paid taxes in Essex, England in 1263 AD,. Henry De Helm was the Governor of Worcester College in 1478, and probably the earliest known records of the Lancashire Helme family is that of John Helme who was the priest of the Goosnargh Church in 1478, and Thomas Helme lived at Goosnargh about 1500.

Here, some early records are: John Helin at Jamestown, VA, in 1623, Jan Helmsz at Albany, NY in 1642, Samuel Helms in West NJ in 1643, John and Thomas Helme from Barbados in 1679, and Christopher Helme/Elme in 1686.

(That 1263 usage of the French "de la" meant "of the," leading to an assumption that the "Helm" in that instance was a place or occupation such as in the military, rather than a true surname. )


The HELMS who settled in Anson County, North Carolina, about 1750 used the HELMS spelling. However, their records do not universally stick to that spelling as often the name is found without the "s" and with an "e" or "es" at the end, and a variety of Hellum(s), Hellem(s), or Hallam(s) spellings occurred. In England and sometimes here, the name occurs without the leading "H" as Elmes or Elam, with variations. In early Virginia, a NELMS spelling occurs perhaps from a slurred oral name exchange for John Elmes as Johnelmes, becoming John Nelms, to an untrained ear. In Dutch areas of NJ, NY, and PA., the Dutch equivalent HELLING occurs and has been archived as Helm, Helme, or Helms in many records and indexes. Many of these spellings occur today with long, consistent pedigrees.

As will be discussed later, the Swedes, when they came to their own colony on the Delaware River, often did not have surnames as we universally do today. One family, that of Captain Israel Akesson, alias HELM, is a good example. His Swedish second name, Akesson, came from his Father's first name which was Ake, as he was Ake's son. The English, when they took over, required a last name. Somehow, Israel Akesson became Israel HELM. Each of the several hundred other Swedes had a new second name applied by various processes. The COOK name occurred because the original cook on the voyage died en route and another took his place. He was asked his last name and he had none, so they asked him what he did and he said: "I cooks". Voila, we had the name, Cook--COCK, in the original Swedish pronunciation. .

Another artifact affecting the HELMS search is the English writing habit with the quill pen where they wrote an "e" which is much like our cursive lower case "o", where the little pigtail at the top of the "o" is the real "e". So, many records for HOLMES actually belong to a Helms of some sort. The reverse is not usually true. Perhaps, because the Holmes name has an "e" and an "o", a reader or transcriber could see how that writer wrote both "e's" and "o's". Because of the problem, some writers wrote an "o" as a complete, isolated circle. What this means to us is that one must find additional proof documents if he wants to say that a particular person is a HELMS, not a HOLMES.

An example of such writing is found in, example of "E's" and "O's", from the records of Northampton County, VA.

In Germany, both HELMS and HELM spellings occur, with HELMS predominating in northern Germany and HELM along the Rhine River from where some Helm settlers did come. The reference is a book by David A. Helm, "HELMS of Germany and Pennsylvania", 1992, Timbercreek Ltd., Miami, Ohio. That book documents three such German immigrants who came here in about 1750. The name is used as part of some German names such as Helmholtz. It is said that the "s" ending when first used signified "son of". In Holland, the Helling spelling had various endings such as s, z, and x signifying relationships. It is said the the use of the word HELM first occurred among the Jutes in Jutland, a part of Denmark. The Jutes were among the invaders who overran England from France in about 1060. It is also said that the word derives from a soldier's headgear or "helmet" and a Helm or Helmo was one who wore a helmet-a soldier; and, HELMER was a helmet maker. It is also said that the crusaders were sometimes called "Helmos" much like we use the term "G. I." to signify a soldier in the US army. We have not explored the Scandinavian countries for evidences of early Helms there. For instance, Israel Helm of the Swedish Colony on the Delaware came from Sweden, and we know that the name is spelled Hjelm in Scandinavia. An Island and a place and bay in Sjaelland, Denmark are called Hjelm. For a map of that area Click Here .

The point of this is that the HELMS name is not limited to a single country. Thus it is, the HELMS search is touching upon several countries, as developed later. At this point, we do not have a section on Denmark or other Scandinavian possibilities. One story is that there was a Danish king or important person with a name like Helm, and some Danish places or land features with the name.

However William Helms, our Helms archivist has added the following:

The helmet derivation is true, of course - but, the word and its derivation are much older than that.

At the dawning of the first "language" which the "wordologists" say came from the first humans to change from cave dwellers (hunter-gatherers) to agricultural peoples. Their language is, per these experts, the base for all subsequent languages. These people are labeled "Danubians" as they grew around the present river Danube. Having abandoned caves, homes, they developed a structure formed by bending trees together, banding them at the tops and filling in with branches,etc. Very similar to our American Indians' Teepee except that it had an arched or dome shape. My Architecture books show this form but dismiss it as "primitive" and not a "style". BOY, do I disagree. Later examples show that the form developed into the same structure but with the trees cut off and imbedded in the ground in a circle. The covering became limbs and twigs daubed with mud. Later history says that the Romans developed the arch - WRONG.!! Later forms of the structure were made by the same method but in an elongated rectangular form.

This structure was known as a Helm. That these people had the word helm in their language is now known, but we don't know what the original word meant possibly a tree - or maybe a tree suited for building a helm. Witness our modern English word - Elm. This structure - and its name - survived into the early English culture - although, then described as a "rude shelter for cattle". When soldiers first used leather helmets (lederhelm) as a protection in battle, they were called "Helm". It took the French to give us our modern word -

Helmet - i.e.: helmette (little helm). Modern helmets are steel (stahlhelm).

The word continued to mean a covering or shelter despite its use in the military. Witness the poem "Beowulf" The many uses of the word Helm in this poem included mostly the "helmet" reference. However there are the other uses.

i.e.: "Helm Heafonum" - (under heaven's protection).

There is even one reference which appears to be the name of a woman.

Re: Helm, helmsman, etc.on ships. When sailors first dared to navigate beyond shores and not having the stars to use due to fog,etc., they used the Chinese invention - the compass. This was, at first, a magnetic needle or nail imbedded in a cork and floating on water - or suspended on a string. This delicate instrument, and its user, were protected by a structure at the stern. Looking at pictures of old ships showing this structure - lo and behold, it is an arched helm. The "helmsman", probably regarded as a sorcerer, was separate and distinct from the "steersman" who wielded the steering oar. The modern German definition of a helm as the steering rudder (stuerruder) is a misnomer.

Even the Bible gives some clues to the proliferation of the term by Biblical times - and its form. "Bit Omri" is an ancient term meaning "house of Omri" and refers to the Jews - Omri being then the King of Israel. and "Bit", a character in the written alphabet of the time is a perfect "helm". It survives in our modern English alphabet as "A".

Bill could have added that the soldiers in the crusades were called "Helmos" and the original pusher for moving a boat along a shore before oars and sails was a rod called a Helm, probably derived from a limb of an Elm tree. Also the Elm tree has a lot of slender branches which easily made into those huts.

It is important to point out that the word and persons by that name occur in a number of countries and who are not necessarily kin. Of course, here in the American melting pot, we probably have strains from all of them. So, which one are we? People do travel and do migrate, so a Helm from Sweden might well, be a line from a German or Irish soldier sent there in a war. A Helm coming here from Ireland was probably a transplant from
England or Scotland.

Ours is an interesting job of trying to sort out those things.


Previously we had stated: “At this time, war records had not been focused on in our search  because Tilman, George, and Jonathan apparently did not serve in either "the Revolution or the French and Indian wars. The French & Indian War which started in 1754 after they left PA.; they were about 60 years old and their sons too young during the Revolutionary war.”  However, we have now  found evidence of the participation of George Helms in the Revolution,  having been recognized by the DAR as commemorated in a plaque displayed at The Union County Historical Society, located at the old court house in Monroe, NC.

 Union Co. Court House Plaque

Notice also that George Helms’ Son-on Law,  Captain Charles Polk  is also listed, as well as a number of Helms associates in North Carolina, attesting to strong Helms support for the Revolution.
In addition there is tradition that George’s son, John also fought the Tories in Eastern Tennessee.

An isolated Helm's war incident was  a George Helm who was ships carpenter aboard the ship USS Maine  which was blown up in 1898, initiating the outbreak of the Spanish-American War.  Fortunately, George did survive that blast.   We are curious as to which US Helm family  George belonged to.   Anyone having additional information should let us know.


Sara Meyers created a stylized map which shows early Helms property located in now Union county in North Carolina. This map has been redone and is shown below the deed listings for your information.

Recently the Falkenburg Deeds in NC were gathered and are shown as follows:

(In Date order)

1748 Purchase by Henry
Bk. 5, P. 352-35.3,
4 Jul 1759, James Pickett,Jr. to James Pickett, Sr. of Anson Co. for 4,90, 200 acres, part of 500 acre granted to Joseph White 26 Sep.I746 on S. side Pee Dee join John Leeth, conveyed by Joseph White to Henry Falkenburg 2 Apr 1748 and then to said Pickett 28 Oct I755, etc.
Wit; Jesse Summerall, Anthony Hutchins,

1750 Grant to Henry
Bk.3, P.7-8,
6 Dec I762, Tarrance Carrell of Anson & wife Ann to Thomas Tallant of same for L50, land on Pee Dee at mouth of Naked Creek, into & island, 80 acres, granted to Henry Falkenberry 6 Apt I750, etc.
Wit; W.Brown, Eliz. Brown, Geo.Pennington.

1751 Sale
Bk. 6, P. 134-135,
14 Nov I760, Henry Falkenbury of Anson Co. planter, to Jacob Falkenbury son of Isaac Falkenbury, for-L60, 200 acres on So. side Great Pee Dee, granted to John Fitzjarral 30 Sep 1746, 100 acres conveyed from Fitzjarral to Hugh Wilson Jun I750 & conveyed by Fitzjarral & Wilson to Isaac Falkenbury I7 Apr I751, conveyed from Isaac to Henry Falkenbury 25 Apr 1758.
Henry Falkenbury (ti)
Wit; Beniamin Martin, Nicolas Padway, Thomas Benerry.

1754 Grant to Jacob
Bk. 3, P. 37-38,
9 Aug I762, Benjamin Martin of Anson to Wm.Moody of same for-L50, land on N. side Pee Dee granted to Jacob Falkenbery 2 Mar 1754 then sold to James McElroy 27 Apr I757, then to Benj.Martin I0 Jun I758, 150 acres. Benjamin Martin (seal)
Wit: Christopher Hunt, John Long, John Cundall,

1754 Sale
Bk. 5, P. 27I, 20 Dec I756, Jacob Falkenburgh, planter, to Isaac Falkenburgh for-L20, 150 acres granted to Jacob 2 Mar 1754.
Wit; Phillip Howell, Nicholas Broadway, Wm,Howell. Jacob Falkenburgh

1754 Sale
Bk.5_, P.269, 27 Jan I757, Isaac Falkenburgh of Anson Co. planter, to James Muckleroy, Blacksmith, of same, for L32, 10 shillings, 150 acres granted to Jacob Falkenburgh 2 Mar 1754. Isaac Falkenburgh
Wit;Wm.Howell, James Adams, James Muthlk (?)

1759 Sale or gift
Bk.S, P.336, 7 Sep I759, Henry Falkenburg,Sr. of Anson Co. to grandson Henry Falkenburg son of Jacob Falkenbury, for natural loves 134 acres on Smith Creek, S. side Pee Dee River, also an iron gray horse.
Wit; Benjamin Martin, Samuel Berry. Henry Falkenburg

1760 Sale or gift
Bk. 6, P.20, 7 Dec I759, Henry Falkenborough of Anson Co. for natural love & affection to beloved grandson Jacob Falkenborugh, son of Isaac Falkenborough, half of the tract on s. side Pee Dee on both sides of mouth of Little Creek, & one bay mare and a cow.
Wit; Benlamin Martin, Samuel Berry. Henry Falkenborough

1761 Sale
Bk.3, P.4-5, 26 Feb I761, Andrew Falkenberry of Anson to Thomas Dixon of same for L35 land on N. side Jones Creek, 150 acres. Wit; John Hornback, Isaac Falkenberry Andrew Falkenberry (seal),

1763 Witness
Bk,3, P 92, 28 Feb I763, John Hornback of Anson to James Bruce of same for 4 25, 200 acres on N. side Jones Creek join Hopkins Howell & said Hornback Wit-


The first Grant of our George Helms in 1763 was on the N, side of the Pee Dee River-same as the 1754 Grant of Jacob F. From that closeness, I think the idea that Henry F. was the father of George Helms' wife Mary Margaret might be wrong. Jacob F., son of Henry F. seems more likely.
Also there is some genealogy shown in the above deeds which is why I left in the details.


Many writers try to put forward Heraldry items which have been associated with their surnames in various countries.   We are reluctant to do that since it is practically impossible to trace the lineage from an original person who carried such an emblem into battle centuries ago to present individuals.

Nevertheless we are aware of a number of such emblems and show here a set from a variety of countries. To view our collection of shields click here.  The purpose  is to show that the Helm and similar surnames can be found in many countries.   To the best of our knowledge none of these shields have been directly linked to our particular NC Helms. Perhaps, when we get a better understanding of our ancestral past, we can more confidently approach the Heraldry issue.


Early in 1995, a search was begun for the parents of George, Jonathan, and Tilman Helms, the NC Helms "brothers" who migrated to Western NC in the mid 1700's. (The list of brothers or cousins are thought by some to include Jacob and Moses and possibly Isaac Helms. There was a Jacob found in SC in 1763 and Moses was shown by Samuel K. Helm ("The Helms Family of Virginia", Gateway) to have ended up in VA, having had lots in Piscattaway, NJ in New Barbados TWP, and in Winchester, VA, as well as holdings in Bedford County VA., where he settled in 1754).

Note: Moses Helm arrival in America is documented in Cecil Co. MD Land records where it is shown he came from Ireland with a Thomas Helm before 1740.
Abstract of Cecil County, MD Land Records, 1673-1751, by June D Brown Family Line Pub.
P. 402 Power of Attorney. Ann Drennan of Dunogore, County Antrim widow, appoints as her attorney William Linn of Baskinridge, NJ, weaver, to recover debts due the account of her husband Gilbert Drennan, late of Cecil, Co., deceased, schoolmaster. Ann Drennan alias McMurtry of Donegore made oath she was married to the within named Gilbert Drennan for about 20 years preceding April 1729 when he transported himself to America and that she had been informed her husband had lately died in Cecil Co. and that William Foster of said place had obtained letters of administration to the effects of her husband without her approbation or consent. She desires that his assets and effects be deposited in the custody of said William Linn for her use. Made and attested to 24 Jul 1798 in Belfast by Margotson Saunders. Wit: Moses Helm, Thomas Helm. Ackn: in Cecil Co. 6 Jan 1740 by Thomas Helm who was present in Belfast, Ireland and saw Ann Drennan sign and seal this power of attorney. JP: Wm. Rumsey. Rec: 24 Jan 1740. Wm. Knight, Clerk.

Christopher Helme had earlier settled in MA/NH in 1632, and later in RI, but does not seem to trace to the NC Helms brothers. He was of the William Elme/Helme family of Lincolnshire, England.

George W. Helme, builder of the Snuff Factory at Helmetta, NJ has been connected to Christopher's line by Don Strahle of Canada. A review of information on Georg Helm of Winchester is that a loom was in his will. That raises a possible connection with Moses Helm (Hellim) , who was listed as a weaver in his Piscattaway Deed. There were commercial dealings of Moses and Georg. The weaver status possibly leads to Leyden, Holland, the refuge place of the Puritans. Hellinck, a Leyden family taught the Puritans the weaving trade. Might not that lead to Moses and others, including the Georg Helm in Winchester? A possible lead of Georg to the German family in Arlenbach, Germany, identified in David Helm's book (who were also weavers) is possible. The Helms there were tied into the Swiss and some people believe Georg Helm's wife was Swiss.

Leads exist to a William Helm at Rockhill in 1790, a German settlement in upper Bucks County, PA. A farm of a Thomas Helms (later found to be Dutch, Helling) was identified with pre-Monroe County, Lower Smithfield TWP, no longer in existence, but now Hamilton or Stroud TWP in Monroe County, PA. (Alternatively, the location may have been Smithfield in present-day Williams TWP in Bucks County, then, perhaps, considered Warwick TWP.) John and Thomas were located earlier in Darby TWP by Cordes. The Helms may have been associated with the establishment of the system of roads for PA Northern Frontier Colonial Forts which were built in the 1740's. The forts themselves were listed as being built in the 1750's in the time of the French and Indian War, which formally started in 1756. From Passenger lists, Thomas and John are thought to have come from Barbados where they were militia officers. There was a Thomas in Ann Arundel County, MD in 1708. The family of a Major Thomas Helme has been traced to Barbados, and subsequent generations found there - some of which are known to have come here. This situation has been searched by John Medford in Barbados, who was being supported by Gerald and William Helms, co-authors of “Helms Descendants 1720-1991”, Gregath, 1991, and the writer. Several Helmes families were there in the 1600's and some Helms were there after that. A key informational milepost there is the 1715 census. Medford said that no Helmes were found there after that census. Recently new information became available from Susan Grimshaw who has searched the Helmes in Barbados. This information may tie the Barbados Helmes to Gillingham, Dorset County, England. That is being researched. Susan Grimshaw went to Dorset and the results are given in the English section. Mrs. Ann Tilman had a girl of 15 with her when she married David Carmichael in 1716-a daughter, or sister perhaps, possibly a Tilman. In 1717 there was a birth recorded for Thomas, born to John and Anne Helms. Maybe that girl with Mrs. Tilman was Anne that's a potential connection or a close call in any event. A bride of 17 would not be unusual. Of course, we would need to get that John and Thomas to the States. See Barbados birth records for other Helms, some born as late as Mary b. 1730.

More recently, our interest has been drawn to the Helms found in Albany, New York in the mid 1660's to about 1720. There will be discussed later.

Context of the Overall Search

The context of this search was to start with the book, "Helms Descendants (1720-1991" by Gerald Helms, William Helms, and Sara Myers which sets up the scenario that the NC Helms brothers, descendants from that 1720 beginning are well searched and listed, but that their parents and the source of their wives were undefined; but, the parents possibly were Isaac (?) Helms and a Miss Tilghman. John Helme of the Maryland Colony has also been mentioned as a possible father.  And, there was another possibility that their father was Thomas Helms, an early neighbor in NC. Thomas Helms had a place in NC directly next to that of Tilman Helms in old Anson County. We do not have a deed for Thomas Helms' NC place, but there is a record of his place being sold later with a reference to Thomas as a previous owner. We do not think Thomas was the Helms Brothers' father we seek. There were very few Thomases in the Helms descendants and all three brothers had sons named John which is a more likely father's first name.

Because of Tilman Helms first name, and the Tilman linkage which Gerald Helms had proposed in his books, a concerted effort has been made to learn as much about the Tilman and Tilghman lines as possible - not so much to publish information on them as to try to determine if such an alliance may have occurred. In this, we have focused on those circumstances where Tilman and Helms were located together. As for the Tillman/Tilghman name, "English records point out that the King of Kent surrounded himself with a chosen war band of companions known as "thegns" who were rewarded for their services by gifts from the public land. Their distinction rested, not on hereditary rank, but on service rendered to the King, and they at last became a nobility which superseded the" "eoris" of the original English Constitution. The "thegnmen" became great officers of the State." Fortunately, a great deal of information exists for the Tilmans. But, despite a lot of work on it, we have not found any timely Tillman/Helms marriage. However, the following are some ‘close encounters’ which we have found:

1)In 1704, William Helme and George Tillman were found as neighbors on Black Water Creek, Pr. Georges Co, Va. George sold some of his property to William when he left that county and went to Brunswick Co, VA. We have a transcript of George’s 1756 will in Brunswick (CLICK HERE TO VIEW). Since there is no mention of any Helmes, it is concluded that there was no intermarriage. We do not have William Helme’s continuation. However, Gideon Tillman (1681-1720), a descendant of the immigrant, Christopher Tillman (1529-1619), initially lived not far away in James City County. Gideon had two daughters Elinor and Elizabeth born 1689 and 1694 respectively, who were about the right age to have been the Helms mother. I had thought the younger Elizabeth was the best one for us to track. No marriage has been found for either. More recently we have found marriages for Elinor. Eleanor Tillman, daughter of Gideon (2) and Ester (Holland) Tilghman, was born in Somerset County, Maryland. She married about 1777 first to Robert Love of Norfolk, Virginia, and secondly to Mr. Childers of Edenton, North Carolina. Issue by the first marriage: John, born 1778. Thus, Elizabeth is the sole possible marriage partner for our Helmssire, as we had thought all along. In 1720, Gideon’s wife and daughters are listed as inheritants of Gideon’s home place in Somerset Co, MD. To review Gideon’s 1720 will transcription (CLICK HERE TO VIEW). (The will does not necessarily place the daughters in Somerset Co., at the father’s death in 1720. The earliest property transaction for Gideon in Somerset Co was in connection with ‘Pools Hope’ in 1677; so, presumably Elizabeth was born in Somerset Co.

It would be very helpful if we could find wills for Gideon’s wife and/or the daughters. We postulate the Helms father’s marriage in about 1725.

It may be significant that the Polk/Pollocks, some descendents of whom later settled in NC and intermarried with the Helms and other allied families, had also settled in Somerset Co, about 1687. The Polk path to NC led thru Carlisle, Pennsylvania and the Conococheague valley near the Hagerstown area of western PA/MD, where there were also some Shelbys who were later in NC.

The Polk's were said to have been brought to MD from Ireland in a ship mastered by Samuel Tilghman. One wonders how many other people -perhaps even the Helms, may have been similarly transported by Samuel Tilghman. To read more about Samuel Tilghman (CLICK HERE TO VIEW).

2) Also, there was a John Tillman in Gideon’s line who had a son Tobias. John’s wife apparently died at Tobias’ birth in Orange Co, NC in 1751. (That birth had been previously wrongly placed in Orange Co., Va.) In any event, John and Tobias were in the Carolinas until after the revolution, when they migrated together to Ohio/Indiana. John never remarried. Perhaps Gideon’s daughter, Elizabeth had married a Helms and they were similarly migrants who ultimately ended up in the Carolinas- possibly even following the general path of the Polk's. Other Tillman's from Christopher’s line also migrated into NC. Some were in Anson Co. We have recently found a Wm Craig in that path, too, near Carlisle, PA, in one of the places licensed by Blunston. We are unable to account for the Helms in the 50 years time from the parents birth in about 1700 until the Helms boys were in NC in about 1750. Where were they? Here? Ireland? Germany? England? Scotland? Etc??? We now think the boys marriages were in NC.

3) Also, it was learned that a John Helme was a survivor of the Indian attacks in the James City, Va. area in the census of survivors taken in 1724. John was listed on both sides of the James River and the South- side listing placed him and a wife and small child, living with another family there. (That John was likely b. about 1700.)

There was also a John Elmes in Norfolk in 1625, and a Mathias Elmes in Norfolk in 1680.

Elmes should often be read as Helmes. A number of Elmes were in the Caribbean.

4) Remembering that the wife of Jonathan Helms was a Smith, it may be significant that there were Smiths and a Smith Fort in the general area of James City colony. There was a Smith Fort on the south side of the James River. Genealogies for those Smiths exist in the Philadelphia Library, but have not yet been reviewed.

5) In Maryland, we have found several Helmes and Elmes who would have had close encounters with Tillman's/Tilghman's. However, we have not found any intermarriage there. It is not unusual to find children named for prominent people, so Tilman’s name could have been from that idea. We have not been able to close-out the Helmes or Elmes we have found, so they may have left that area.

6) In Delaware, there is data for a John Elmes who may have been timely.

7) Quite far away in Germany, we have found a Tilmanni Helms and Tilmanni families in Mayen, near Koblenz, Germany. They were Catholic. We have also found a number of Tilmans in Pa., who apparently were of German rather than English origin. We have that area in Germany under study by Elfriede Wilde. Her study is incomplete because of her husband's severe illness and death.  However she has obtained substantial information for not only Tilmanni Helmes, but also has found Tilmanni surnames in that area near Koblenz.  Click here to view a summary of the results so far.

Each of those opportunities are being scrutinized in our studies, but not necessarily in that order. Most have been discussed before in various sections. We do not intend to publish any general Tilghman or Tillman genealogy listings unless we do find a definite connection and need to develop a line of assent. Next we, discuss Thomas.

Now, we have found a Thomas Helms in Hunterdon County, NJ, who is supposed to have come there from North Carolina - sort of reverse migration. There were 17 mentions of a Thomas Helms in the Minutes of the Common Pleas Court beginning in 1755, and ending in 1767. Some of the items relate to the efforts by Thomas to collect debts due him.

In "The Early Germans in New Jersey", there is a reference to "Helms Mill", at Hackettstown in 1764. That place was also called New Germantown. That was a German Mennonite (Baptist) settlement. In the chapter on "New Germantown", the lot north of and adjacent to the church contained nearly an acre. On the opposite side of the Fox Hill road, now Main street, there was a school house on the second lot. There was apparently no house on the lot south of this one, belonging to Thomas Holm (Helm?). The next lot, which was built upon, probably belonged to John Carlisle, no doubt the brother of Robert, of Chester, Morris County.

To view a map of the area CLICK HERE. That river forms the boundary of Hunterdon and present day Warren Counties. The Mill shown is in Present-day Washington TWP, Hunterdon County, NJ. For a short distance, Rte 46 is labeled "Mill". (I presume Mill St. or Rd.) An indenture, dated May 22, 1773 shows that Helms Mill was bankrupt and the land was conveyed to Edward Dunlop by the Sheriff of Morris County, NJ. CLICK HERE to view the indenture.

Thomas Helms administrative documents are listed in New Jersey Wills and Inventories and a list of can be viewed, CLICK HERE.

There is a newspaper article in the "New Jersey Archives" Series 1 Volume #26 page 426. The name here is spelled Thomas Helms from Sussex County, so I would guess they are the same person. This article comes from the Pennsylvania Journal Number 1377, April 27 1769.

"THOMAS HELMS, a prisoner confined to the gaol of the said county of Sussex, by his petition to the justices of the supreme court of judicature for the province aforesaid, hath prayed for the benefit of the late insolvent act of the governor, council and general assembly of the said province, passed at Perth-Amboy in the eighth year of his present Majesty's reign, entitled, An act for the relief of insolvent debtors, and hath in open court taken the oath prescribed by the said act before the Hon Frederick Smyth, Esq; chief justice, and John Berrien, Esq; third justice of the said province. Notice is therefore hereby given to all the creditors of the said Thomas Helms, to appear before the justice aforesaid, at the city of Burlington, on Thursday, the eleventh day of May next, at ten of the clock in the forenoon of the same day, and shew cause, if any they have, why the said Thomas Helms should not be discharged, agreeable to the directions of the said act." -- The Pennsylvania Journal, No. 1377, April 27, 1769.

We have found additional later information on a Thomas Helms in Morris and Sussex counties, and an admin. of his intestate affairs in 1772 in Sussex Co. where James Helms was his bondsman. Note that a James Helm was on the 1821 NJ Wills list, in Sommerset Co.

Don Strahle who wrote the Book On the "Descendants of Christopher Helme" of RI. , indicates that Thomas was not likely a descendant of that Christopher Helme, and was not related to the G. W. Helme of Helmetta, NJ. However he listed a note, (50), "Message from Leonard Aronson", compiler on the Fido Genealogy Forum, January 17,1996, who mentions the "graves of a Christopher "Helm" and related family member(s) in the Basking Ridge Presbyterian Churchyard in Sommerset County, New Jersey. No relationship is known for them.

Possibly, significantly, there is a nearby Bethlehem Township in Hunterdon County, NJ. Thus, it is possible that this Thomas may help validate the story of the NC Helms brothers coming from Bethlehem by Wagon. And, it is another possible "connection" of the Helms brothers and the Germans, and Baptists.

The 1755 initial date is roughly compatible.

However, we have found another Bethlehem near Albany, NY which is another possible Bethlehem to start to NC from . That will be discussed later. It is close to timely Helms and Falkenburgs we have found there. And the likely Falkenburg path to Carolina can now be traced parallel with ours to NC. The Falkenburg data in Cecil Co., MD needs to be factored into that path someway.

Earlier, Virginia Cordes had found John and Thomas Helms on the 1715 Darby, PA "Taxables" list. In addition, there was a presently discounted possibility that the brothers Helms had either a Swedish background and descended from the early Swede, Captain Israel (Akeson) alias, Helm, who lived in Eastern PA and Western NJ, dying in NJ in 1701/2, as documented in Peter Craig's book, "The 1693 Census of the Swedes on the Delaware", or they may have had a German Helm background. There were a few Germans in the early Colonial time period and, of course, a flood later in the latter half of the 1700's. The earliest German Helm emigrant listed by David A. Helm was Johan Frederick Helm in 1766. Also, Johan Jacob Helm is listed as being in Philadelphia in 1752. The Gerald Helms work is augmented by the Samuel K. Helm book, "The Helm Family of Virginia", and the David A. Helm book, "Helms of Germany and Pennsylvania". These books enable the broadening of the genealogical data to more of the strands of the Helm (s) families in America. Links are being sought through the migrations of the early Palatines who first went to England in abt. 1709 and were dispersed from there, some going to NY, some to MD, the Carolinas, and VA. Some near-neighbors of the Helms in NC were German and the Preslar/Pressley and Hargate families have been shown to be Palatines. Others there may have been too.

Later, in Part 2 we list places where the Falkenburgs have been found. Our interest is in the several Falkenburg brothers who interacted with the Helms in NC and probably in VA. George Helms wife was a Falkenburg. It is shown later that they were probably in the group of Germans called the "Palatines". In addition, there was the Preslar Palatine family which was here and there where intermarriages with the Helms in NC. Ed Dunn has gathered an extensive genealogy of the Preslar/Pressleys which is given in the linked file, Use your web browser's "back button" to return to this site.

However, there is some data concerning Pressleys in England prior to the coming of the Palatines. That data, shown below, gives the wills of Gilbert Pressley and Henry Prestley, in 1616, and 1618, respectively. Those early 1600 wills were before the times of the Palatine immigrants, who came after about 1709.


AD 1612 - 1619

From the Yorkshire Archeological Society, founded in 1863 and incorporated 1893 Record Series Vol. XXVIII for the year 1900 Printed for the Society, 1900, Workshop of Robert White & Co.

Deceased: PRESLEY, GIlbert

Date of Probate: 10 Oct 1616

Date of Will: 19 Mar 1615

Registered: Worksopp, Notts, Walker

Deceased: PRESTLEY, Henry

Date of Probate: Mar 1619

Date of Will: 9 Mar 1618

Registered: Anley Toppe in Eland

Occupation: Clothier

Also, we have found some Pressleys here who were not likely of direct German origin. Therefore, it is likely that some Pressleys here were of English origin. We have not fully accounted for that dual situation.

For additional reading on the Pressley/Presley subject CLICK HERE.

Susan Grimshaw has written that three Presley brothers sailed to the US on board the "Good Intent" and arrived in South Carolina in December. One of them, Andrew Pressley, settled in North Carolina in 1745.

There was also a Colonial Dutch Helm, Peter Helm who added an "s" to his name.  Some familiarity with these early Helm/Helms/Helme references is assumed in this piece.

There may have been Helms in the 33,000 Palatines who responded to Queen Anne's call to those "poor Protestant Palatines" to seek haven in England.  That possibility is being searched.  This is lent credulence, since it has been found that Preslar and Hargate families whose descendants married Helms descendants were such Palatines.  Hargate's who were also there are similarly being searched.  Samuel K Helm(s) had placed a Simon Helmer in Long Island, NY, making pitch for the English.  The Palatines did that. Queen Anne's call was supplemented in about the same time by active recruitment by the Welsh in Germany of settlers for SC. Promises of very cheap land were made.

Bill Helms of SC has provided family tradition which indicates that George and Tilman Helms gave the land for the original High Hill Baptist Church located off old US 601 north of Monroe. Their arrival in NC is set at about 1749.

The origins of the church are discussed in an article in the Charlotte Observer of 11 Sep 1971. The High Hill church began as early as 1774, but was not formally organized until 1784. "The group traces its beginnings to a Baptist Church from Wales that moved, Pastor and all, to Delaware and set in motion a chain of church foundations."

From, 'A History of the Baptist Church in South Carolina': "In 1738, thirty of the Welsh settlers constituted a Baptist Church, at first called Pee Dee, but later called Welsh Neck. The group to which these Pennsylvania Welsh belonged had begun its organized religious life in 1701 as they were leaving Wales. They planted their church on the Welsh tract in Pennsylvania (later Delaware) and of this body, the Welsh Neck church was an arm. ... the members had been dismissed before coming to SC. Minutes show ... [surnames] Morgan, James, Evan, Miles, Harry, Rowel, Barrow, Money, Wilds, Jenkins, et al. [but no Helms]." First meeting house constructed in 1744.

The Raeburns Creek Church, 1767, has a note as follows: Phillip Sherrill had a survey on Big Branch and Schoolhouse Branch of Helms Creek of Raeburns Creek in 1768. Later data says that a Helms conducted the survey.

These dates fit well with the idea that "our" Helms may have been in SC ca: 1767 for survey work. If they had a residence or a camp on the creek during this work, it may explain the name "Helms Creek". Returning to NC ca: 1774, they may have helped the establishment of the High Hill Church. Nothing firm about all this, but the names and dates are interesting.

We have not filled in that South Carolina chapter of Helms history, nor determined how it may have affected their lives and relationships. Additional information is needed.

Our most recent finding is that the creek was Hellums Creek. See the map in part 7, "Other Helm/Helms" subsection, South Carolina Hellums

Thus, it is likely that the surveyor was a Hellums rather than a North Carolina Helms. Although, we are looking into the idea that both of these groups stemmed from the same origin. We are hoping for a DNA test of the Hellums to compare with our NC HELMS DNA data

Search for the Distaff Side

Gerald Helms' book shows the names for the wives of the Helms brothers - Rachel Craig, Mary Margaret Fortenbury, and Elizabeth Smith (?), but the marriage details are not confirmed.  The prevalence of descendants named Sarah, Elizabeth and Mary suggests that the mother's name may have been one of those. I suppose, because of the name Tilman , some think the mother was a Tilman/Tilghman.  In the English naming practices of the period, the first child would have been named for the grandfather.  A third son would have been named for the mother's father.  That would seem to mean that Tilman/Tilghman was the third son, contrary to the order in Gerald's book.

At issue is the assumption that the NC Helms brothers were married in the Pa/NJ area in the 1740's.  There is the possibility that the marriages did not occur until later in NC.  As evidence of this the delay of the births of children for 8-12 years, in the late 1750's and 1760's".  [Just recently we have learned that the County records for Gloucester Co., NJ were burned in 1745, which means that any tracks we may have found for any of our Helms line or their marriage partners may have been lost.  The 1700-1748 time period is critical to our work there.  We need to find a workaround for that period of time.   The records kept by the Duke of York in the NY colony may be useful. Those are sometimes referred to as the "Fugitive Records"-that is records kept in another place.]

This search included the NC Helms brothers wives' families as well as the Tilman/Tilghman - and the Helm(s) of course.  All of these families were woven into the early fabric of the American Colonies. The search for the parents was focused on about 1690 +/-, and for their wives about 1715 /-.  Oddly, the SC Mag. of Ancestral Research showed a marriage of a George Helm to Anne McCullock July 18, 1738.  A trace of McCullocks showed SC land warrants for Alexander, Elizabeth, Jane, Janet, Jean, and John McCullock in 1763.

Later the family Jamison, from the wife of Moses Helm was added to the list of families being searched for, since it developed that the paths of Moses and other Helms may have crossed at Piscattaway, NJ, and Bethlehem, PA. Extensive Jamison families were found at the Neshamminy Presbyterian Church in Warwick TWP, near Jamison, PA. Harold Polk supplied a manuscript by Sara Ewing Myers which shows Fortenboroughs, Smiths and Craigs in the NC area in the right times. I will include more comments on this and a listing of the various deeds and other information which Sara developed. At issue, is the assumption that the NC Helms brothers were married in the Pa/NJ area in the 1740's. There is the possibility that the marriages did not occur until later in NC. As evidence of that is the births of their children 8-12 years, in the late 1750's and 1760's. That would tend to support marriages in NC about that time. Smiths were everywhere, and the others have been found in NC itself, on a timely basis. Recently Harold Polk has developed information that the Falkenbury family was indeed identified with the Early Swedish colony on the Delaware. He is mentioned as being an Indian interpreter at Little Egg Harbor, NJ, but was from the Swedish colony. Dr. Peter Craig indicated the family was from Holstein, Germany.

Recently we have found records for a Thomas Helms in Hunterdon County, NJ. Some think he may have been the Thomas Helms who was neighbor to Tilman Helms in NC about 1750 and that he left there and went to NJ. We are working on that Thomas. We do know that he died in NJ.

A Thomas Helms was an early neighbor of the Helms brothers in Old Anson County NC, up to about 1750, when he disappeared from there. We have only recently discovered a Thomas Helms in Hunterdon Co., NJ who was said to have come to NJ in the 1760's from NC in a reverse migration mode. We are intently interested in that Thomas. In addition, the name, Thomas Helms, is a name we have found in numerous places in our searches. A file on those numerous Thomases, including this new Thomas Helms of NJ is given here. (Link it here.) Work on the NJ Thomas is ongoing.
For a study on several Thomas Helm(s)(e)(Es) CLICK HERE.

Also, recently it has been learned from Sid Aronson that there was a Falkenburg place midway between Edinburg and Woodstock Va.  To view a graphic showing the location, CLICK HERE.  Also Falkenburg was involved with a survey of a new road in that area.  In about 1995, Aronson provided a reference for that survey, where T. K. Cartmell's history "Shenandoah Valley Pioneers and their Descendants" shows that in February 1744 in Frederick County, VA, plans are being reviewed for the construction of a new road: "have laid off the road from John Funks mill back of George Helm's and from thence to Cedar Creek Ford & Robert McKays, thence Georgories' Ford upon the river".  Falkenburgs and others did that survey. Since the Helms in North Carolina were known as "chainers", it is possible that they assisted in that road survey, especially our George Helms. We have focussed a recent effort on the situation described in the Survey.

If the order of places in that article is correct we expect to find a place for George Helm(s) between Funk's Mill and a ford crossing Cedar Creek, probably about where the present Valley Road, US Route 11, presently crosses. We have located Funk's Mill Road, SH 601, South of Strasburg, Virginia, and we have now found that Funk's Mill was on Tumbling Run near Fisher's Hill, and that a cemetery is located there with three unmarked graves which may be John Funk family graves.

Thus, the area where George Helm(s)'s place was probably located is shown in this figure CLICK HERE .  The figure shows the main  features, chiefly:  Funks Mill Road, and Cedar Creek which formed the boundary between Frederick and Shenandoah Counties when Shenandoah County was split off of Frederick County, in 1772.  (Frederick County had been set up in 1738.)  Thus, the Cedar Creek ford was thereabouts.

We have also found the home of Robert McKay, Jr. near Cedarville, Va. Robert McKay Sr. had two places on the South Fork of the Shenandoah River, which do not figure in this. The McKay place mentioned in the survey is assumed to have been Robert McKay , Jr's place. Thus, we now have the major points of the survey defined. There is a Historical Marker at Robert, Jr's place. We have a picture of that old house.

Taking the points mentioned in the survey as nodes, George Helm's place was the first turning point and was probably at the intersection of Funk's Road and US 11 , which approximates the old Philadelphia Pike, the wagon road through the Valley of Virginia. We are searching for some kind of land holding for George Helm near that intersection. Some think that George might have rented a place there beside the wagon Road.

We do know that Joseph Helm of the Leonard Helm line had a 100 a. place there which he bought from John Funk, (who had a mill near by). Thus, there is a potential link of Joseph and George Helm. Joseph Helm went from there to SC with a Tidwell. Who was his neighbor in SC.

If this is truly a "connection" of Falkenburys and Helms, it is the first connection of any of the primary families prior to their being together in NC.

Now we have additional data which may permit our Helms- Falkenburg path to be further placed to Albany NY and thence probably to Holstein which was then In Denmark. That will be discussed later.

We have gathered all the early Falkenburg Data we can find which shows the dates and places where they have been found. It is given in table Falkenburgs 1300-1863

Using this table one can somewhat trace their path in the colonies. Coincidences of Helms dates and places are significant.

We have found that their DNA pattern matches Helms well enough to think they emerged from a common genetic background-presently thought to have been in Denmark. To view this table click here

Other George Helms in that general area:

Just up the road, in Frederick County, VA, there were two other Georg(e) Helm(s). One was clearly a German or Swiss who owned a downtown lot and Colonial store. He had a loom and left it and half his town lot to his son, who was also George Helm, (Jr.). I think it unlikely that the George Helm place on the new road belonged to either that father or son. Details of those two George Helms can be found in Conkwright's Manuscript.

It turns out that after the survey in 1744, Georg Helms, Sr. did own another place in that area, because George Helm was shown, in book of State Land Office; Northern Neck Book L page 100, May 16, 1762, to have been deeded a lot in Stephens Burgh (Presently Stephens City), Frederick County, by Lewis Stephens and wife, Mary. Georg Helm, Sr. died in 1769, at which time George Jr. was under 21 so neither father nor son owned any property other than the downtown Winchester lot in 1744.

So, we still have reason to think that our George Helms, eventual son-in-law of one of the Falkenburgs, did have a place on that 1744 survey route.

We have a picture of the gravestone of Georg Helm which shows the lettering in  Germanic Language. The gravestone of that particular Georg Helm was found and is shown in the following figure, CLICK HERE to view the tombstone. We know a great deal about this particular Georg Helm, Sr. and his son George, except where Georg, Sr. originated.  We do not connect him with the NC Helms. Conkwright had linked him with Leonard which I think is not correct.

So, we still have reason to think that our George Helms, eventual son_in_law of one of the Falkenburgs, did have a place on that 1744 Falkenburg survey route.

We have a small piece of data on another Geoge Helm in jail in Delaware in 1733.  It is interesting from three points  of view: First, it may be somewhat timely relative to the NC Helms brother,  George Helms, and second, it lists him as an Irishman which distinguishes him from the German, GEORG HELM we have been studying in Winchester,  VA, and third, it might give a reason why our  George Helms in NC seemed to have been hiding something.   We have not seen the full text so we don't know why he was in jail, or any other particulars.
The data comes from: PA Colonial Records 1600-1800's, "Abstracts from "The Americam Weekly Mercury" pa 65, for 9/13/1733. It reads:
"HELM, George, Irishman - escaped from the goal of Dover, Kent Co., Del."
"We need to know more about it.

A review of the more complete record suggests that George may have owed someone something, as a 5 pound reward was posted by Thomas Tarrant. It also provided more on George. He had a ruddy, pocked coplexion , and a blemish on his right eye and was of small statue. The colonies had extradition procedures as well as debtor's prison.


The exclusion of George Helm, supposed son of Meredith and Ann Helm, of Leonard's line requires more discussion. According to the available data on him, he was only 19 in 1744, so was too young to own land. I should say that "supposed" and approximate birth dates are both not proven; so it may not be reasonable to exclude him as the George Helm mentioned in the survey. If possible, we need to establish the birth dates. The coincidence of finding information on a George Helm and a Falkenburg(sp) in the same area, is compelling. (One must realize that the spelling of both names is not certain.) However, both Joseph Helm of the Leonard line and a Tidwell identified later with Joseph Helm in SC had land deeds from Jacob Funk in the Strasburg area. That is a close encounter and is compelling, also.

An issue is who was Georg Helm, of the town lot in Winchester, VA, and where did he come from? I don't think he was of the Leonard Helm line. The Helm's at Airlenbach near Heidelburg, Germany had married into the Swiss and there is some reason to believe that Dorothea was Swiss, and they were into textiles as was George. So I personally think Georg, Sr. came directly from Germany. Cronkwright did show that George was about the same generation as Meredith and Ann Helm's children, but, that does not in itself prove very much.

To view a diagram of the Odwenwald families studied by David Helm, note Airlenbach, CLICK HERE

For more on Tidwell CLICK HERE.

A map in the Frederick County, VA, Court House shows a plot of the Carter Grant of 50212 acres made in the year 1740. This map shows property belonging to William TIDWELL located on the west side of the Shenandoah River just south of Ashby's Gap, through the Blue Ridge Mountains. The road from Washington to Winchester, VA, now passes through this gap and crosses the Shenandoah just north of the site of William TIDWELL's property. The map also shows the name of neighbors as HELM, John ROUT and Samuel EARLE. A house belonging to Lord Fairfax was located just across the river. It appears that this Helm was Joseph, son of Leonard, the immigrant. This property may well have been the last property owned by Richard TIDWELL (II) and inherited by William TIDWELL after his father's death in 1739 or 1740. The proximity to Lord Fairfax's property also supports the idea of some connection between Richard TIDWELL (II) and the proprietors of the Northern Neck.

In early 1743, William TIDWELL was appointed overseer of a stretch of road that passed nearby. In 1744, he bought 100 acres from JACOB FUNK, who ran a mill nearby. That 100 a. would be near Strasburg where a Joseph Helm, son of Leonard, also bought 200 acres from Funk in July 13, 1744 (Fred Co. Deed Bk. 1 pa 112-113), per Conkwright and, where the Falkenburg, et al survey went behind the place of George Helm. Feb 1744. There is no present known record of a George Helm there then. George Helm, Jr. son of the Winchester Merchant was too young to have owned such a place, as he was less than 21 at the time of his father's death. Similarly, George, the unproven (supposed) son of Meredith and Ann Helm who was born about 1725 would have been only 19 when the Falkenburg survey was made. So, we are still looking for a specific George Helm to be there. I think the fact that George Helms in NC was the son-in-law of one of the Falkenburgs in NC, later, is compelling reason to expect that our North Carolina George Helms was probably there. Conkwright goes on to say that the Tidwells moved into South Carolina after the French and Indian War. "The first record of TIDWELLS in South Carolina is a grant of 100 acres of land to Richard TIDWELL (III) which was surveyed on April 7, 1763. The land was located on Wateree Creek in Fairfield County, South Carolina. The survey shows that the land lay next to property owned by JOSEPH HELMS. The association of Richard TIDWELL and JOSEPH HELMS had already lasted over thirty years, and had survived the moved from Virginia to South Carolina. This relationship is certainly interesting as this is a long time for a famial relationship.

The commonly held belief is that Joseph's Helms' daughter Rachel married Richard TIDWELL. Their son Edmund lived next to Joseph Helms in South Carolina in 1790.

From another source I have the following: "In 1705 the town of Kinsale was established on land owned by Richard Tidwell." Kinsale advertises it as the oldest incorporated town on the Virginia side of the Potomac. In 1790 William Tidwell, lived in Wilkes County, Georgia. He was a Tory, and on 1 August 1783, William Tidwell, setting forth the extreme hardship endured by himself and his family, having his land and other property sold under the Act of Sequestration, with his old age and infirmities, and large family of small children and praying that the said property be ordered to be restored to him, he be allowed to reside thereon. The Committee are of the opinion that the prayer thereof ought to be granted." (by Maudie Fudge Tyler, Lafayette County (MS) Heritage).

Because the English family John and Thomas Helme were supposed to have settled in MD, this search started in MD with a visit to the Hagerstown Library in Washington County, since there is a Tilghmanton near there and since the 1750 Wagon Road South from Philadelphia, Lancaster, and York, PA went through Hagerstown and crossed the Potomac at Williamsport, on the way to the Shanandoah Valley, and further South to the Carolinas. For a map showing the Wagon Road CLICK HERE to see this graphic.   Notes on Harrisburg, PA which was an alternate place to cross the Susquehanna River was founded in 1710 by John Harris.  In 1753 John Harris, Jr. established a ferry across the river.  The town was initially called Harris Ferry; however the ferry was not in use in time for the Helms brothers to use in 1748-49.  Therefore, they most probably crossed at York, PA.  An alternate path is from a Potomac crossing at Williamsport and a path through more central Virginia, rather than the Shanandoah valley.  Some evidence points to Orange County VA as a place where some people of interest were.  That might support the route on the East side of the mountains.  If they went directly from Eastern MD to the Great Wagon Road trail in the western part of the colony, they would have gone via Braddocks road to Hagerstown, crossed the Potomac at Williamsport, and on down the trail.  From there they could have gone through the Shanandoah valley and crossed the mountains at either the James River gap or at the Roanoke River gap.

The reason the settlers went through the western frontier regions of the colonies was that they would have had to cross the larger coastal rivers on the East coast.  There was a ferry near Glascow, VA to cross the James River, and the Roanoke River at Roanoke, VA was not large in the right season.

It was thought that Thomas and John Helme of the Goosnargh English Helme family of Thomas Helme had settled in MD.  Their supposed brothers, Leonard and William, who have been well documented, and their descendants, appear to have settled in VA.  No timely trace of those particular Thomas/John Helme families has been definitely found in Maryland.  However, There was a Thomas Helms in Anne Arundel County in 1708 for whom additional data is being sought, and there was an Inn Keeper, Thomas Helms at Williamsport in 1800.  Conkwright had previously connected that Thomas with Leonard, see page 47r of her manuscript.  There were also Thomas's in the 1790 Census in both York and Washington Counties of PA.  We have no disposition of them.  Maryland did issue papers for settlement in the disputed area in what is now some of York County, PA.  The 1790 Thomas was timely but would have been of a later generation than the father of Tilman Helms.  There were a number of Tilghmans in MD in those times and their genealogies are well developed, such that it was quickly determined that the Tilghman girl in question was not found immediately in MD; although later reading indicated Tilghmans were often listed in both MD/PA, and VA.  Gideon (MD 1682) formerly of Charles City County, VA was timely and had three daughters - although, married to other than Helms.  A granddaughter Elizabeth born 1694 is a possible Helms mother.  There were Smiths, but too numerous to deal with then, and no Craigs or Fortenburys (or similar spellings) were immediately found in Colonial MD.  Thomas Helms in Anne Arundel County requires further search.  Two John Helmes were found in Charles County MD in 1662 to about 1674.  One died in 1664, the other was active here into the 1770's.  A Sarah (Meeks) Helme administered her father's will in Prince Georges County, MD in 1694.  The first John Helme, c. 1662, was indentured to John Meeks. That John could have had a son by his wife, Penelope, before he died, and that son could have married the boss' daughter.

Searching in New York

More recently, we have been studying the early history of Dutch New Sweden Colony as well as the transition in 1664 to the start-up phase of New York as an English Colony to about 1750. That work is reported in other sections and will not be discussed here.


Searching in Pennsylvania

Since it is believed that the Helms may have migrated from Pa to NC together with Welsh people, and since Tilman and George Helms assisted in founding the High Hill Baptist Church in NC, a search of the early Welsh Baptist records has been made, wherein, the Merion records in West Chester and Philadelphia placed a family of Richard A. Tilghman, with 6 children in the Merion Baptist Church "Meeting" about 1700, but later data shows the marriage was in the 1800's.  One Richard Tilghman (1672-1738) is included in available Tilghman genealogies.  His family record needs to be traced thoroughly.  He and Francis Tilghman, (b. 1641) and descendants of Gideon (1681) Tilghman in VA/MD would be the right age.  Bear in mind that the Helms Brothers' parents would have been born about 1690+/-, married in about 1715+/-, and could have been married before emigrating, or could have been born and married here. Therefore, a continuing search has been made for the Tilghmans and Tolands. A progress report is given in the Toland Search Report, click here to access.  We found a Richard A. Tilghman who married Susan Toland , Apr 26, 1860,and they had six children, but he is out of our date range of interest (Added Feb 2003). A Sarah Smith and William Smith were found in Baptist circles in Philadelphia about 1700, and later in the Iron Hill Welsh settlement.  Sarah Smith gave 300 English Pounds for the construction of the First Baptist Church in Philadelphia.  Records of these Smiths are being searched.  The same Smiths were at the Welsh settlement at Iron Hill, DE, which was the jumping off place for Welsh going South.  The Welsh had a contract with the SC colony to settle people in SC.  They recruited heavily and did enable 500 families to migrate to SC.  Probably, anyone going South in those times would have linked up with the Welsh.  One did not go that route alone.

Helmes were associated with Barbados, but the Tilghmans, apparently were not; although, a Mrs. Ann Tilman has been found in Barbados records in the Library of Congress.  She had a girl age 15 with her when she married David Carmichael.  That girl is a possible connection.  If the parent (s) were associated with Barbados, they would not have come directly from England and would not necessarily be on any English passenger lists, since commercial vessels could have been used by them in trade between the Colonies.  The passenger records for Barbados have been largely lost, except for 1679, according to John Medford.  The Mainland Helms are thought to have had Tobacco interests here in PA, MD, and NJ.  There is a Snuff Road near Chadds Ford, Pa. - possibly related to the Helms.  There is also a Helme Snuff Factory at Helmetta, NJ, traceable to the Christopher Helme line of RI.  Also, the Helme family in RI is thought to have been into Barbadian trade, out of the ports of RI.  Trade with Barbados was very important to all of the Colonies.  It was the first port of call for ships from England being the most Easterly Island in the normal South Atlantic trade winds route.  Sands Helme, son of the RI Christopher, died in Surinam, which was ceded to Holland when the fight over NY was settled.  Susan (Helm) Grimshaw has identified a George Helme in London who was in the Brewery business which would logically tie to the Barbados sugar trade.

The logical places for the parents to have met would have been either in England or in NJ/PA.  Tilghman's were not found in NJ, so East PA and Philadelphia, or MD are the most logical places.  People with a spelling of Tilman/Tillman were also found in the PA/NJ/MD/VA area, as well as in Barbados and NC, but none have been connected, thus far.  The best source of Tilghman data found is the extensive genealogies available in MD and PA, as well as from active Tilghman genealogists.  This needs to be studied at greater depth in the PA Historical Library at Philadelphia.  James Tilghman was in the PA Land Office and could have had contact with Helms there, remembering that several were surveyors.  A Helms surveyed the property for an early church in SC.

Immigration of the Tilghmans began about 1641, and several families were present in MD/DE/PA in the 1690 time period, Richard (1672-1738), Gideon (1640-1720), Francis b. 1641, and Isaac, b. 1644).  There was a Ships Captain, Samuel Tilghman who was also of the Tilghman family we are tracing.  His family did not come here. The most likely Tilghman girls have been identified and are under research.

Craigs were present in the Colonies as early as 1684, and were associated with East Allen TWP, PA, near Colonial Frontier Fort Allen.  Craighead, a possible Craig spelling, was a prominent Minister in the Carolinas of Tilman's day, according to Harold Polk.

The Smiths were present at Jamestown, VA Colony in 1607, and later, across the James River at Scotland near Smith's Fort, and in the original Barbados settlement in 1634, in MD in 1638, in Eng. in 1643, in Philadelphia in 1692, and in NC in 1694.  Sara Myers found Smiths in North Carolina.  (Tilman sold land to Jonathan and Irijah Smith in 1835.)  In short, Smiths were everywhere, making a trace very difficult.  Smiths migrated from Scotland, VA to the Neck of the Roanoke River at Scotland Neck, Halifax County, NC in Colonial times.  A related Smith Genealogy is in the Philadelphia Historical Library.  The Falkenbury/Fortenbury family which was represented by kin in the early New Sweden Colony on the Delaware River has been quite elusive, but was found together with other families involved with the NC Helms brothers in several colonies, where Isaac, Henry, and Andrew Falkinbury were found in Anson County, NC in 1763, contemporary with the Helms brothers, whose earliest land record there was George Helms' deed in 1749.  The "berry" ending probably comes from the Swedes pronunciation of "bury".  See also the Wills in the appendix. Dr. Peter Craig indicated that the Falkenburys were from Holstein, Germany.

After a period of time, the Eastern part of Pa had been filled with settlers and the Pennsylvania Proprietors sought a way to expand the settlement westward beyond the Susquehanna River. That task was given to Blunston who obtained the authority to issue what amounted to a promissory license that a proper title would be issued later. We had long wanted to have a listing of those granted such licenses to see if there were Helms among them. We thought that it was possible that the Helms would have been in that group. We finally did obtain a listing which is shown in the linked (Blunston) file click here to view this file. There were no Helms in the list, but there were POLK and SHELBY names, both being allied to the Helms in NC. That file is shown for general interest to other searchers. This is draft material and should be used cautiously.

A review of the listed Blunston Licenses shows a William Craig who should be more carefully searched, because Tilman Helms wife was Rachel Craig.

At the same time Maryland was issueing leases in the same area because of the controversy of boundaries. So, in addition to the Blunston Licenses in PA, there were an indeterminate number from Maryland. We know of one to a John Hallam in 1739:

Property lease agreement: "Adams Meadow".
MSA S1005-23-2972 MdHR 19,999-021-015 Location: 1/8/5/23
Lloyd, Edward, Receiver General, to Hallam, John (BA).1768

Sid Aaronson sent us data of a lease in Conecocheague to John Hallam "State of His Lordships Manor which listed the status of various pieces of land in 1767. It included additional information.

It mentioned John Hallam, date of lease 2/26/1739. Leased to John Hallam 100 acres. Tenant in possession (1767) was Leonard Smith, rent 0-15-0, alien fine I-10-0. Lessee (Hallam) was 65, Mary his wife was 55 and William, his son was 36. It also said "Quere if all alive. Vide Minutes".

At the time of the lease John was about 39 and William was not yet born.

That would put this John Hallams dob at c1702 (age 65 in 1767). The info in the book was very skimpy and it was not clear whether Hallam still resided in the area at that point. He had evidently subleased the land to Leonard Smith.
Although Hallam was designated as the "lessee", I recall that many of the leases granted by Lord Baltimore were leases for life or for periods in excess of 20 years which appears to have been the case here.
In any event we had a John Hallam there in 1739 , married and wth a son.

The probable reason for wondering whether they were alive is that on that frontier, about 1000 settlers had been killed by the Indians in the 1740's.

The two dates are not in conflict as 1768 was the date of the survey assessment by Lord Baltimore. 1739 was the original date of the lease. This simply places John and William in the Conecocheague valley area in 1739. From this, we cannot tell when they left, nor where they went from there. The "Adams Meadow" name would enable us to more precisely locate it. The dates are interesting to us.

Search for Early Helm(s)

There were Helms in the American Colonies as early as John Helms in VA Colony in 1607, several Helm(s) families in the Massachusetts Colony in about 1620 (who may have gone with Roger Williams to RI in about 1639), and one Samuel in New Barbados TWP, Bergen Co. - who has now been identified as Dutch Hellings in Dutch Church records, in ENJ in 1643.  A Samuel Helm name occurs, possibly erroneously, in histories of the Brandywine Creek and DE circular border survey in 1701.  Christopher Helme was in MA/NH - then RI, beginning in 1632, and the Swede, Captain Israel Akesson (alias Helm) in Philadelphia/WNJ in 1641.  A Rev. John Helme/Holmes/Helling came to Lower Dublin, PA in 1686 and was related to the Pennypack Baptist Church which met at the Barbados Warehouse, and which was associated with the Welsh Baptist movement South in the 1700's, and where there were also Presbyterians jointly meeting at the Storehouse.  Also, there was a Samuel  in a Brandywine Baptist Church there, possibly Samuel Helm(s).  The Samuel at the Brandywine would probably have been about the right age to be the father.  Rereading the Circular Boundary material suggests that the Samuel may have been a typographical mistake for Israel Helm.  Alternatively, there could be a son of ENJ Samuel Helm/Helling who could be the father.  The relationships with the Helms and Hellings in PA need further study. 

It is not known if the John Helme of the Jamestown, Va colony survived the calamities of that colony.  I had thought that colony was solely English but recently found that there were several Germans and one Pole there.  Their individual names are not known by me.  The early glass and brick making there is attributed to the Germans.  One writer said that there were too many "Gents" there, and too few "workers".  It is not known if the John Helme there was a worker or a gent.  Three Germans and one Pole were there.  The first census taken in VA was in 1623-25 to see who survived the Indian attacks.  This is reported by J. C. Hutton.

The following needs to be dealt with: Gerald's book places Jonathan in the colonies in 1738.  Gerald reported (page 13) a Captain Thomas Helm b. Prince William County, VA, 1731 of unknown parents, who moved to KY.  Gerald also mentions Captain Anselm Helme b. in LI, NY in 1750.  Gerald (page 33) also has Tilman and Isaac Helms coming in 1738.  Presumably these were from different sources, so any or none may be correct; although, it appears from Gerald's book that the Helms may have come in a bunch in about 1738.

A Major Thomas Helme had emigrated in 1675 and a John and a Captain Thomas had emigrated from Barbados in 1679. John Medford has clarified that.  Both Thomas and John were Majors.  Some had thought that Thomas and John went to MD, but that seems to be in error, since there is no record of them in MD and since Ashmede's Del. County History placed John and Thomas Helms in Darby TWP, PA, in 1715.  (But, see the Thomas in Anne Arundel County, MD above.) I think that the Darby TWP Helms are probably the Barbados Helmes. Darby was a junction point for the wagon road West and South from Philadelphia.  My idea is that the Helms wagon train South would have been made up at Darby, even though the NC Helms brothers were said to have started South from Bethlehem, PA.  A wagon train south was a complex undertaking and usually had a large number of people, not a single family group.  It would have been logical for them to have linked up with the Welsh who had gone that trail before in the Welsh promoted settlement in SC.

Moses Helm (Hellim, in his deed) came to NY/NJ in 1738.  A dead letter was forwarded to him at Bethlehem, PA by Ben Franklin in 1754.  He had purchased a lot at Piscattaway, New Barbados TWP, NJ from Mathias Smock, in 1740, and one in Winchester, VA in 1743 and was already settled in Bedford, VA by 1754.  The NC Helms brothers were also said to have left from Bethlehem, PA in about 1747.  [ Rereading old notes, it was found that there was a similar dead-letter to a Christopher Helm which Ben Franklin also forwarded to Bethlehem in 1754. Who was that Christopher?   There is no Christopher associated later with Moses in Bedford Co., Va., but there is with the Leonard Helm line in Frederick Co., Va. This requires attention.  We have not yet discovered just why Ben thought the two Helm's would be in Bethlehem; and, by 1754, Moses was well into building roads in Bedford Co., VA ].  There were also "dead letters" at the Trenton, NJ Post Office September 28, 1754 which simply note: Moses T Helm- Bethlehem and Christopher Helm-Hunterdon Co.The Moses T. Helm may have been to designate Moses and/or Thomas Helm, as it is known that Thomas came with Moses from Belfast before 1740.  We have not otherwise specifically located the Thomas Helm who was with Moses in 1740. Thus there may be confusion in the Helms saga about starting for Carolina from Bethlem, PA, perhaps it was Bethlehem Twp, Hunterdon Co., NJ. We have not otherwise specifically located the Thomas Helm who was with Moses in 1740. Thus there may be confusion in the Helms saga about starting for Carolina from Bethlehem, PA, perhaps it was Bethlehem Twp, Hunterdon Co. NJ. We have recently found a Christopher Helms at Baskin Ridge Presbyterian Church in Somerset Co., NJ. The "T" in Moses name is an unknown factor.

(Gerald page 33, shows Tilman and Isaac having come to America in 1738, same page).  Bethlehem is in a logical path up the Raritan River Valley to Western NJ. Moses is visualized as a possible relay person by this writer.  If one postulates that the Helms were German, a link with Bethlehem would be logical.  If one further postulates that the Helms may have entered at NY with or somehow connected with the Palatines, it might be problematic.  But logical for them to have gone overland to Bethlehem, PA from NY.  Crossing the Delaware was feasible by wagon in the winter.  Some of them went to Cecil County, MD from NY, e.g. Preslar.

According to Sara Myers, the first Helms land grant in NC was to George Helms 11 Oct, 1749.  Perhaps, the Helms were all together at one place in NC, with George, initially.  I have listed the various Helms early NC documents at the end of this.  Jonathan had a grant in 1750 and Tilman had deeds in 1762 on the Pee Dee River tributaries.  Oddly, Tilman, the oldest, was the last to obtain land.  Perhaps, he was initially with the parents.  Maybe all lived with George for some time.  There was a Thomas as neighbor to Tilman, for a while, and one family historian places George as the oldest.  Tilman's name suggests he was the third child.  Perhaps, we do not know all of the children in that first family.

George, Tilman and Jonathan were on the 1763 tax list in Anson County, NC; and, for a while, a Thomas had neighboring land.  There were sales of land among the brothers.  That leaves questions about the two Thomases, their whereabouts and their families, if any.  Major Thomas, who ship passenger lists say went to NY, needs to be located.  Either of the Thomases could have been the father of the NC Helms brothers.  The Thomases would be convenient in view of the Thomas in Anson County, NC; but, there are few Thomases in the descendants of the NC Helms brothers, whereas Tilman, Jonathan, and George had sons named John.  We have not been able to confirm it but the MD genealogist, Peden, had a document which said that a John Helms went south from Md. with a large family.  We have not been able to substantiate that story.

We also have Jonathan Helms/Holmes and Captain William Helm, 1st Battalion of NJ Militia, in the History and Genealogy of Fenwicks Colony in Salem and Cumberland County, NJ in 1738.  Another source places William in Cape May County, NJ.  That Jonathan Holmes/Holmes may be Jonathan Helmes; but, I don't think so.  They do not have to be kin; but they would be contemporary with the NC Helms brothers.

The Jonathan could be the NC Jonathan Helms.  The difference in spelling could be significant.  Captain William Helm of NJ could be German.  There was also a William Helms in Barbados birth records, who is to be further evaluated.  The name William abounds in the Helms male progeny.

One William Helms served from 2nd Lt. to Captain in the American Revolutionary Army; member of the NJ Assembly (1791-92) and US.

I.  Revisions and Additions to PART ONE  Intro and Description of the Overall Effort

During 1998, a more comprehensive search has been made of Helmes records in general, but also including new searches in England and the Caribbean.  The English studies continue to be headed by Susan (Helm) Grimshaw.

A particularly helpful informational source of data is the work of Vere Langford Oliver in the series of "CARIBBEANA" publications in the Barbados Historical Society Journal magazines.  Hardback books exist for this data, and are available on film at the U. S. Library of Congress.  There are a number of Helmes references and references of families into which they were intermarried.  Also, these same families are prominent in American Colonial history.  The most notable Helme records obtained are those of John and Thomas Helme which were discussed elsewhere in the initial write-up but are extended herein, including expanded English Studies by Mrs. Grimshaw in the new Section, See:  PART FIVE




Rev 6, Jul 2001 Added ref to Toland report
Rev 7. Feb 2003 Added statement about Richard A. Tilghman
Rev 8. Jun 2003 Added info on High Hill Baptist Church, and Moses Helm.
Rev 9. Aug 2003 Added info about Presley
Rev 10.Sep 2003 Added Gideon Tilighman will and reference
Rev 11. Sep 16,2003 Added Geoge Helm information
Rev 12. Sep 18, 2003 Added info on Tilmanni Helmes
Rev 13. Apr 19, 2005 Added Rev. War Plaque
Rev 14. May 2, 2006 Added W. Helms name writeup
Rev 15. Revised Falckenburg to table.
Rev 16. Misc additions and corrections