The surname Marston is understood to be a locational surname - adopted as a surname by men living in a village or place known as Marston [or Root Name]. There are a number of places scattered around England that are known by the name Marston. Thus it's expected in the "beginning" of surnames that a number of unrelated men [and related men] who lived or had lived in a place named Marston [or Root Name] adopted Marston or an equivalent as their surname. As with other surnames, not every man with this surname is related to others of the name and Y-DNA has demonstrated this. The root of the name Marston has been traced to the old English "Mersc" [Marsh] and "Tun" [enclosure or settlement] - a town near the marsh or Marsh Town.
Thomas Marston, the immigrant ancestor of this Marston Family appears in the records of Lancaster County Virginia in 1666 as a headright. Unlike New England where often families immigrated from England, single persons often composed the Virginia immigrants. Of a sample of servants arriving in Lancaster County, Virginia between 1662 and 1680, 45 per cent were single and under sixteen. The males outnumbered the females 3:1 - both contracted and free. Thomas Marston also lived in Gloucester Co. and Middlesex Co. Va, where he died in 1704. Like a great many of the residents of this area at that time, he is presumed to have immigrated from England. The majority of the settlers immigrating to the Chesapeake in 1641-1675 came from two regions in England. Before 1650 a majority came from a 60 mile radius of London (excluding East Anglia). After 1650 they came primarily from within a 60 mile radius of Bristol England. The Marston surname appears in the English records back to the 13th century or before. The precise residence of Thomas Marston in England has not been determined. The IGI contains the christenings of many individuals named Thomas Marston that were born throughout England. One of these [or none of these] could have been the Thomas Marston of Middlesex Co. Va. It is also not known whether Thomas was related to one or more of the other Marston Families, who also settled early in Virginia. Neither has research revealed the exact English origin of the other Marston Virginia Families.
The earliest known Marston in Virginia was a Francis Marsten who came to Virginia in 1635 at the age of 19. He sailed from London aboard the Constance Clement Campion. In 1637 a William Marsten [or Marshen] was a headright of Mathew Edlow. One Thomas Marston patented land in 1660 in James City Co. on the Chickahominy River. He married Sarah Dibdall. Elizabeth Marston [born 25 Nov1672 in Henrico Co. Va.], daughter of a Thomas Marston [1682 Justice of Henrico] and Elizabeth Marvell, married Thomas Green. In 1676 some participants in Bacon's Rebellion gave bond to a Thomas Marston. William Marston was a resident of James City Co. in 1692 and was sheriff there in 1702. William married Frances Benskin, daughter of Henry Benskin. Descendants of Allen Marston, who lived in James City County are given in MARSTONS OF VIRGINIA 1637-1985.
Another Marston Family settled in the early 1600s in New England. No link has been found between the New England and the early Virginia Marstons. Y-DNA studies thus far has shown them not to be related. The Great Migration of 1629-1641 to New England largely came from the East Anglia region of England in contrast with the migration to Virginia and the Chesapeake from the South of England. Not only were the geographic origins different for the early New Englanders and Virginians but there were also differences in religion and customs. [For an in-depth study see Albion's Seed, Four British Folkways in America by David Hackett Fischer].
This is a photo of the Lower Chapel (now Lower United Methodist Church) which was taken on our visit 7 June 1994. This building was built in 1717 on the same site of an earlier church which was built as early as 1650. This was the church of John Marston and his father, Thomas Marston of Middlesex County Virginia. In 1681 Thomas Marston bought a farm that was located near the lower chapel.
Marstons United Kingdom
Marston Book [includes index]
Richard Marston has traced his New England Marston roots back into England centuries before their immigration to America. He has considerable genealogy and other materials at his superb web site, Marston Manor which he has maintained for years. Dick is also the Project Administrator for the MARSTON DNA study.
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This page was last updated 10 Jan 13
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