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Bogus Family Lines: Mrs Anne Dorsey

Coat of arms for the Dorsey Family of Maryland.

The never ending problem of amateur genealogists trying to link their kin back to a royal…this story has been debunked several times. As I have Anne ______ Dorsey as an ancestress who married the immigrant Edward Dorsey of Hockley, I have been studying the lines and claims to Anne’s supposed descent from Lady Margaret Douglas, the daughter of a Queen of Scotland, and niece to King Henry VIII of England. As my site deals with Queen Katherine Parr–sixth and last wife of Henry, Lady Margaret features largely in Parr’s life as Queen. Katherine’s own father, Lord Thomas, was part of her escorts early on. Katherine and Margaret would have known each other from early on, in the 1520s. And when Katherine married King Henry in 1543, Margaret was present. Afterward, Margaret became a chief lady-in-waiting to the Queen.

Lady Margaret was born to the elder sister of Henry, Princess Margaret. Margaret became the Queen of Scots, but would remarry after the death of King James. That’s where Margaret comes from; Archibald Douglas, 6th Earl of Angus. However, through her mother, Queen Margaret, she had a claim to the throne–Henry refused to acknowledge the Scottish line in favor of his younger sister, Princess Mary’s lineage. Even so, Margaret would have been kept under constant scrutiny as a possible heiress one day to the throne. Those who are close to the throne–their recorded history tends to be thorough, especially when it comes to children.

A child with Thomas Howard would have been illegitimate and may have caused Lady Margaret her life for committing treason against the King. Like I said, possible heiresses were closely watched. In fact, due to this secret “engagement” to an uncle of the disgraced Queen Anne (Boleyn) in 1536, a new rule was established–no Royal family member could marry without the permission of the sovereign. This rule would be broken several times after the death of King Henry, especially with Queen Elizabeth’s ladies.

Thomas and Margaret were thrown in the Tower. Henry eventually relented with his niece, but Thomas never saw Margaret again. There is no mention of a pregnancy or a possible child from this match–and seeing how brutal Tudor life was–if there had been a child, it either would have been given away or aborted (after birth). So, even the pregnancy of Margaret could be debated. There are no written statements in the historical account of Margaret which state, perhaps she moved away from court to have the child, and there are no statements from courtiers and the Queens she served that talk of a pregnancy (which was extremely hard to hide). So, the argument for a Robert Howard is BOGUS when you review the historic record of Margaret’s life.

As for the lineage of Mrs. Anne Dorsey, we have yet to learn where she came from and who her parents were. However, we DO have documentation that her daughter by Edward, Sarah, married a Matthew Howard. On FindAGrave, however, we see that this Matthew Howard is linked to the parents Matthew and Anne Hall; the same parents linked to Sarah’s mother, Anne. With this connection, Sarah would be marrying her own uncle! And that consanguinity was not common among courtiers–maybe with the Habsburg dynasty–but not with these immigrants.

Sarah Dorsey and Matthew Howard (Jr) were not related that we know of. In fact, it may well be, as stated in some books, that Matthew’s surname was not Howard, but Hayward. In “The Founders of Anne Arundel and Howard Counties, Maryland” by Joshua Dorsey Warfield, the chapter on the Howard family states:

“An early certificate in the Land Office at Annapolis reads, “Laid out July 3rd 1650 for Matthew Howard on the Severn southside near a creek called Marsh’s beginning at a hollow called Howard’s Hollow and binding on said creek a tract containing 350 acres also another tract running with Howard’s swamp containing 350 acres more.” These surveys of Lloyd were not patented. This record indicates clearly that Matthew Howard came up with Edward Lloyd in 1650. In support of this, the records of Lower Norfolk County Virginia give us the following history of the Howards of Virginia.

There were three Howards or Haywards among the English members of the Virginia Companies, records Alexander Brown in his First Republic. They were Master John, Rev John, and Sir John Howard, Knight. They contributed in all 112 and 12s. Master John, the historian, was born in Suffolk in 1560, was DCL of Cambridge pleader in ecclesiastical courts was knighted 1619, and an MP in 1621, married Jane Pascal, died in London 1627. His “Life of Edward VI” was published after his death. Rev John Howard was reported in Stiths “History of Virginia” as John Howard, Clerk. He subscribed 37. He was the author of “Strong Helper” in 1614. Sir John Howard subscribed 75. He was the second son of Sir Rowland by his second wife Catherine Smythe. He was knighted at Windsor July 23rd, 1609, was High Sheriff of Kent in 1642. In 1622, a John Howard who had come with Edward Bennett’s first company in 1621 was killed by the Indian massacre of 1622. His plantation formed the border line of the Isle of Wight, Virginia. From some of these Howards members of the Virginia Company descended Matthew Howard a close friend, relative, and neighbor of Edward and Cornelius Lloyd in Virginia; and with the former came to Maryland. Matthew Howard was in Virginia in 1635, as shown by a court record in which he had a suit with Mr Evans. In 1645, he was the executor of the will of Richard Hall, a merchant of Virginia, who in 1610 was one of the Grocers Court of England which contributed 100 toward the plantation in Virginia. Colonel Cornelius Lloyd was a witness to Richard Hall’s will in 1645. The testator’s property was left to Ann, Elizabeth, John, Samuel, Matthew, and Cornelius Howard; children of Matthew and Ann Howard. Philip Howard, the youngest son of Matthew and Ann was evidently not born in 1645 for his name was not included in the list of legatees. But, in 1659, Commander Edward Lloyd surveyed for him after the death of Matthew, the Severn tract of Howard stone, for Philip Howard, Orphan. In 1662, the sons of Matthew Howard came up to the Severn and seated themselves near their father’s surveys. John Samuel and Cornelius Howard all transported a number of settlers and received grants for the same, upon the Severn. They located, adjoining each other, near Round Bay. In 1661, Henry Catlin, one of Edward Lloyd’s commissioners, also of the Nansemond Church, assigned his survey to Matthew Howard Jr., who resurveyed the same with Hopkins Plantation, added into Howard’s Inheritance. In 1662, the five brothers, John, Samuel, Matthew, Cornelius, and Philip had nine hundred acres granted them as brothers.”

With that, we have a considerable amount of possible fathers to Matthew Howard. Do we know which one was his? Still working on it…

The Lives of my Ancestors

Whilst researching a branch of my family I came across an interesting connection relating to my 11x great grandparents Thomas Burlingham (1563 – 1650) and Elizabeth Howard (1579 – 1620) both of Norfolk, England. Many researchers have incorrect dates for this couple which would make them about aged four when they started a family lol. (putting those silly mistakes to the side) the biggest issue with this couple is research that was made in the 1700’s, of which a line of descent made Elizabeth Howard the granddaughter of a Robert Howard of Syon House, London (1537 – 1598). It is claimed that this Robert Howard who married a Phillipa Buxton was the illegitimate son of Lord Thomas Howard (1511 – 1537) and Lady Margaret Douglas, Princess and Countess Lennox, who married in secret in 1536 against the wishes of King Henry VIII. This part of the story is correct, the…

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About tudorqueen6 (140 Articles)
Meg McGath is the author behind the articles on tudorqueen6; she has been studying the history and genealogy of the Parr family since 2007. Now, a decade later, she is still writing about her favorite Tudor queen, Kateryn Parr. Meg studied Women's Studies with an emphasis on English Women's History at the University of Maryland. One of her goals is to end the myth that Kateryn Parr was nothing more than a nursemaid to the aging King Henry VIII. "It simply isn't true, she did so much more for the Royal Family and her country," says Meg. And, of course, to educate Tudor enthusiasts on the prestigious lineage and connections of the Parr family. "Kateryn was related to everyone at court by blood or marriage. She was a descendant of the Beaufort line of John of Gaunt, son of Edward III, and Katherine Swynford. She shared this line with two of her husbands, Lord Latimer and the King," Meg states. A book is always her end game with Parr, but Meg has yet to put all the information together and send it to a publisher. "I've been told by many, including Professors, that I am a good writer..." says Meg. "The book, would focus on the generations before the Queen and how the Parr family became courtiers and relatives of The Crown."

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