Although some folks have made efforts to connect our particular branch of the Paxson/Paxton family to every medieval Englishman with a similar name back to the Norman conquest, I am not convinced that the direct line can be proved, although some relationship is likely. However, new multi-disciplinary surname studies are beginning to trace the origin of individual surnames in England. The work involves historical and etymological research, with geographical surveys, combined with DNA analysis. In time it may be possible to locate the first person, presumably a male, who was called Paxson or Paxton and passed the surname on to his sons and grandsonsor at least the specific location where he lived, as the stabilization of surnames often took several generations.
In the absence of new surname research, a number of family historians (and I have been among those guilty) picked up on the work by Gilbert Copewho carefully noted that this was only an assumption. Cope's work was then copied by Warren Ely and Arthur E. Bye, but somewhere along the line the caveat was dropped and it became assumed that our poor, Quaker immigrant Paxsons in Marsh Gibbon were of course descended directly from the more wealthy Paxtons in nearby towns of Buckinghamshire.
Stewart Baldwin, an associate professor of mathematics at Auburn University at the time, published "The Paxson Brothers of Pennsylvania: A Reassessment of the Evidence," in the National Genealogical Society Quarterly, Vol. 83, no. 1 (1995), pages 39-43. I am persuaded that he has shown that these earlier generations cannot be accepted without further proof. He suggested that there are some additional wills that Bye did not transcribe, and Baldwin had not yet seen. Is there a reader out there who can help?
For those who enjoy maps, there is an 1847 map of Buckingham Hundred, on which can be found the villages of Barton Hartshorn, Biddlesden, Gawcott, Marsh Gibbon, Padbury, and other places that would have been familiar to at least some of our ancestors.
Consistent spelling was not considered necessary before the late eighteenth century, and surname spelling wasn't finally stabilized until the nineteenth century. So the spelling of almost any family name will have considerable variations. See the note on the spelling of Paxson.
Only Proved English Generation before Emigration
JamesA Paxton, and Jane CLERK were married 16 August 1640 in Marsh Gibbon, Buckinghamshire. He was buried at St. Mary's church in Marsh Gibbon 18 April 1662. Jane was buried there as a widow 15 August 1670. That is the only proved information we have about them; it is taken from the Marsh Gibbon parish register. There is no mention of their parents, and James and Jane left no wills.
James and Jane (Clerk) Paxton had seven children recorded in the register of St. Mary's Church in Marsh Gibbon, plus one son who was not recorded there.i. Ellen1, bapt. 27 Apr. 1641 in St. Mary's Church, Marsh Gibbon, Buckinghamshire.
1 iii. Henry, bapt. 11 Jan. 1646/7; emigrated to Penna. in 1682.
2 iv. William. bapt. 21 Dec. 1648; emigrated to Penna. in 1682.
3 v. James, emigrated to Penna. in 1682. His name was not included in the parish register.
To see information on the three Paxson sons/brothers who became Friends and emigrated to Pennsylvania in 1682, and their descendants, click here.
To see an explanation of the numbering system used in these web pages, click here.
To see graphics connected directly or indirectly with the Paxson/Paxton family in England, click here.
See other scenes from England that various branches of the family would have known. (Still under construction.)
For an index of Collateral Lines, click here.
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