Origins of the U.S. EVERETTS – A Preliminary Analysis
Background and Identified Family Lines
Most sources agree that the geographical origin of the earliest Everett families who arrived in the United States was in Great Britain. Specific Everett individuals can be identified in immigration and ships’ passenger records with the earliest arriving in1620 in New England and 1630 in Virginia (See our webpage on The Earliest Everett Arrivals.) However, there has been very little research to describe or confirm the exact regions and/or counties within Great Britain from which the Everetts came.
The well-known work by Edward Franklin Everett, published in 1902, on Richard Everett of Dedham Massachusetts (1) indicated that he had arrived by 1636 and perhaps settled first in Watertown before Dedham. However it reported no other direct evidence of his British origins other than the suggestion that he was related to the "Everard family of County Essex." Another interesting book, published in 1911 by Eleanor Davis Crosby, One Line of Descendants From Dolar Davis and Richard Everett (2), reported this interesting conversation between: “Dr. C.C. Everett, Dean of the Divinity School at Harvard University, Dr. (Edward Everett ) Hale, and myself (Edward F. Everett) frequently talked of our ancestor Richard Everett, and questioned as to his birthplace in England. Dr. Everett believed that he was born in Dedham, England, which opinion has been adopted in the Everett Genealogy. The first positive record we have of Richard Everett is at Agawam, now Springfield, on July 15, 1636, when he witnessed a deed from the Indians transferring land to William Pynchon and others (pp.42-43).”
Our DNA Project now has evidence of two distinct family lines with an early progenitor: One for the Richard described above, and another for a Richard Everett who was in Jamaica, Long Island, New York by the mid-1600s. (See data on the DNA Chart.)
Elton Everitt, in his book The Everitt Orchard (3) traced his earliest British ancestor to a John Everett/Evered who sailed on the ship the James of London from Southampton on April 5, 1635 and arrived in Boston on June 3, 1635. He suggested (with the help of a genealogist who conducted this research for him) that this John Everett was born in 1597 at St. Botolph Bishopgate, London because there is a record of one of his two sons having been born there. Unfortunately there was no evidence presented regarding this John’s origins or whether he would have been linked to other Everett families who migrated southward and westward from Virginia. He did trace two individuals, of whom he believed were John’s grandsons, Phillip and Joseph Everett, from early Maryland records into Kent County, Maryland by 1651. He traced their descendents’ migrations southwestwardly western Virginia and Tennessee into Mississippi. DNA evidence (Elton is a participant in our DNA Project) lends some credibility to these New England origins since he is in a DNA profile cluster with other Everetts whose origins are identified as ranging broadly from New York, Pennsylvania, Maryland, Georgia and Canada.
Milton D. Everett, who traced his family in his book A History of the Orange Hill, Florida Everett Family (4), identified his earliest British ancestors as William Charles and Annie Everett who arrived from England in Virginia in 1635. Unfortunately he does not cite a source for these two individuals but reported that “They debarked at the mouth of the James River, and loaded onto a barge, the Paul Jones." He traces their descendants southward through Virginia, eastern North Carolina, Georgia, and finally into Washington County, Florida by 1828. However, the ancestors that the author identified were identified elsewhere [See the book by Robert L. Everett, The Everetts of Martin County, North Carolina (5)] as part of the large Martin County, North Carolina Everett line. Recent DNA evidence places the potential descendents of these “Orange Hill Everetts” as clearly related to the other eastern North Carolina family line of Nathaniel Everett. (We will update these links as additional DNA evidence is available.)
An Analysis of the Surname Geographical Concentrations and Various Spellings Most direct sources of arrivals and ships’ passenger lists may site the British port from which they departed but they do not often identify the passenger’s hometown. However, H.B. Guppy’s (1968) study of the geographical origins of family names in Great Britain (6) used specific early British records to identify the incidence of certain family names in British counties. For the Everetts (and associated spellings), he reported that the surname appeared most frequently in the following counties: Norfolk, Suffolk, Wiltshire, Lincolnshire, Cambridge, and Essex. This is the area roughly northeast of London referred to as East Anglia.
In an effort to discover further patterns of the possible geographical origins of Everetts in Great Britain, the LDS’ International Genealogical Index’s (7) data on early marriages were analyzed. The data in the following Tables were based on the earliest 200 Everett/Evered/Everard marriages recorded in Great Britain between 1542 and 1685, and their counties-of-origin.
There appear to have been rather distinct geographical
patterns of the spelling of Evered, Everard and Everett by regions (See Tables 1
& 3). For example, during this period in Essex County there were a total of 43
Evered/Everett marriages recorded and 77% (33) used the spelling Evered. In
London, during this period, there were a total of 26 Evered/Everett marriages
recorded and 77% (20) used the spelling Everett. This suggests that the spelling
used by specific families may have been based, at least in part, on regional
factors. However, it is interesting that in both of these examples 33% of the
families spelled their names in the alternate manner to the prevalent spelling
for their county. This may suggest a more specific usage of a certain spelling
intended to differentiate distinctly different family lines. Of course, the
distinctions between these two spellings may also be more casual and represent
simply the recorder’s version of the spelling. (We often find in U.S. records
the casual interchange of "itt", "ett", “ette” and “et”. This probably occurred
due to the subject’s illiteracy – and use of their "mark" – and the reliance on
the recorder for the spelling. Occasionally we do find in U.S. records specific
spelling patterns that may follow in a family for a couple of generations or
that persist in a certain geographical areas.)
The other interesting trend to note with regard to the early UK surname spellings was that records from the 1500s indicated that the predominant spelling was Evered (57%) (See Table 2). However, this pattern changed dramatically for the period between 1600 and 1650 where the spelling of Everett increased to a 63% use, with the spelling of Evered dropping to just 37%. The overall usage trend appears to show that the Everett spelling gradually replaced that of Evered in some geographical areas. Based on these overall data, the shift in spelling usage was from 57% Evered before 1600 to 64% Everett from1600 to1685. The continued use of the Evered/Everard spelling by several family lines continues in the UK. Data from our DNA Project has identified one distinct Evered line occurring in the Bristol, Somerset area in southwest England to perhaps several distinct family lines in London and East Anglia. Our Project also has identified an Everhard family line from London that is genetically tied to the Evereds.
The eight counties and major city with the greatest concentration of Evered/Everett marriages (using both spellings) for the period of the 1500s to 1685 were as follows (See tables below):
The greatest concentration of Everett marriages during the entire period occurred in the following city and counties:
The greatest concentration of Evered marriages for the entire period was as follows:
These patterns were consistent throughout the three time periods analyzed. When we orient these findings to the actual geographical location of these counties in the UK the pattern that emerges is quite striking in that they occur in a clear regional cluster in the area called East Anglia. The patterns from this analysis are quite similar to the family concentrations reported by Guppy (above) with the exception that Guppy included the county of Wiltshire. In the IGI data there were only 4 Everett/Evered marriages reported during this period in Wiltshire. The fact that the primary concentration of Everett/Evered families lies almost exclusively in this East Anglia region, and that this is derived from records back as far as 1542, appears to be a promising indicator that one day we may be able to pinpoint more accurately the specific origins in the UK of our US Everett ancestors. Several groups of researchers are working now, based on our DNA Project, to link our US family lines with a family line and specific geographical location in the UK. For example, in the family line of Nathaniel Everett from 1700 in eastern North Carolina, based on the DNA data, we have identified a closely linked volunteer whose family origin goes back to the early 1700s in Suffolk, UK. The close DNA link may suggest that the origin of this North Caroline family line was perhaps several centuries earlier in that area of the UK.
The reader may wish to go to the UK Surname Profiler website: www.spatial-literacy.org/UCLnames . This uses UK census data from 1881 and 1998, and displays colored maps of the geographical concentrations of surnames. You will need to enter each specific surname, e.g. Evered vs. Everard vs. Everett, to get differing displays. By switching between the 1881 and 1998 maps one can see the relative migrations of the surname, if any.
1 Everett, Edward Franklin (1902). Descendants of Richard Everett of Dedham, Mass. Boston: Privately published (distributed by Higginson Book Company, Salem, MA).
2 Crosby, Eleanor Davis (1911). One Line of Descendants from Dolar Davis and Richard Everett. Boston, MA: Press of George H. Ellis Co.
3 Everitt, Edward Elton (1977). The Everitt Orchard. Forest, MS: Privately published.
4 Everett, Milton D. (1992). A History of the Orange Hill, Florida Everett Family. Wausau, FL: Privately published.
5. Everett, Robert L. (2000). The Everetts of Martin County, North Carolina. Privately published.
6 Guppy, H.B. (1968). Homes Of Family Names in Great Britain. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing Co.
7 The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (1980/1994). The International Genealogical Index 3.06 –British Isles. Salt Lake City, UT: LDS.