Tag Archives: Follansbee

Report to The Follansbee Association. Part I

Report to the Follansbee Association U.S.A.

By Columbus Smith A.D. 1865


               The Report is a mix of fact and fiction. The pedigree for my family line checks out perfect, but the listed coat of arms (a bee hive) and some timing in the sale of the 3 equal parcels of Follonsby Farm does not match historical record. One thing that is only mentioned in this report, and by that as word of mouth, that the Follansbee line in England starts with a Knight in the service of W.m. the Conqueror. While this makes for a great family story, the evidence does not bare this out. Available for anyone to view are historical records from Durham Cathedral that Follansbee Village was previously marsh and forest land that was drawn up to 702 acres and sold to Thorold de London around the 12th century by the Bishop of Durham. There is about a 90 year gap between William the Conq. and Thorold’s purchase.

Referring back to the coat of arms listed in the Report, A hive of Bees for Following bees does not match the history of the name. My prevailing theories on the name come from the original name Folete, Foletebi. If you have read the posts below, you may recall that Thorold’s son Nicolas is the first “de Foletebi” after he inherited the village from his father he was recorded as Nicolas de Foletebi. So, what we seem to have in the Report is a valid set of pedigrees, some scant information on the Follansbee Farms (former Village) in Durham Eng. and some filler information by our investigator.

The first section of the Report is titled “Organization” which comes in two parts, the preamble and the constitution. The preamble begins with its purpose and states a desire for further investigation in England. The Follansbees of America wanted to find and cash in on what they think to be a million dollar estate left in England.


         A general meeting of the Follansbee Family was holden in North Enfield, N. H. on the 8th day of May, 1865, in order to collect information relative to the Follansbee property in England, and to devise means to have a thorough investigation made of their claim to a very largo estate situated in England, said to belong to the Follansbee Family in America. It was thought that no longer delay should be allowed in this matter, but there should now be joint action and the question should be finally settled as to whom the property really belongs, and that steps should at once be taken to recover this immense estate if practicable. The Follansbee Family at this meeting was well represented, and the following Constitution was unanimously adopted:



Whereas, It is believed that there is in England, real and personal property to the amount of one million dollars or more, said to belong to the Follansbee family in America; and, whereas, the next of kin and heirs to this property are said to be in America; now, in order to prosecute that investigation and procure the pedigree of the family in this country, so as to connect them with the deceased who left the Estate, we, the undersigned, do agree to form ourselves into an Association under the following:


 Art. 1. This Society shall be called the Follansbee Association,

Art. 2. C. M. Fisher, (.f London, England, and Columbus Smith, of Salisbury, Vt., are hereby appointed agents for the purpose of investigating the case in America and England, and are requested to make printed reports, from time to time, of their doings to the members of the Association.

Art. 3. C. G. White, of Middlebury, Vt., is hereby empowered to raise two thousand dollars, to cover the necessary expenses of investigating the case in America and England by issuing Scrip, which Scrip are to be the first lien upon the property when recovered.

Art. 4. Every ‘Scrip shall be sold for five dollars. entitling the holder to one hundred dollars out of the first money recovered from said Estate by any member of the Association, and no more scrip shall be sold by said agent than shall be necessary to raise said sum of two thousand dollars and the sum of ten percent shall be deducted by the said agent to remunerate him for selling.

Art. 5. The said Smith and Fisher are to receive the sum of two thousand dollars, (after deducting the ten per cent, from the sale of said Scrip,) and in addition thereto, we agree to pay them ten percent, of all the money or property which they may find due said family, that we, or any of us, or our heirs, executors, administrators or assigns shall ever recover from said property.

Art. 6. We further agree that the said White shall receive ten percent, of all the money or property which may be found due said family that we, or any of us, or our heirs, executors, administrators, or assigns, shall ever recover from said Estate.

Art. 7. No member of this Association shall be liable to pay more than one dollar, as expenses, or compensation, or otherwise, to any person or persons whatever.

Art 8. Any member of the Follansbee Family may become a member of this

Association by paying to C. G. White, agent as aforesaid, and by signing this Constitution, and each member shall be entitled to a printed report of all information gained in the case.

All members of the Follansbee family in America are invited to become members of this Association, and requested to forward their pedigree(so far as they know them) to Columbus Smith, West Salisbury, Vt., or to C. G. White, of :Middlebury, Vt. The following named persons are members of the Follansbee Association, as well as some others who have signed the Constitutions not yet returned.

[Here I have omitted the names listed for brevity]



           According to the wishes of the Association, I will here give you all the information I have been able to collect from different members of the Follansbee family, and from other sources in America. This report must necessary be very imperfect, not yet having been able to collect much information relative to the case, nor the pedigree of but few branches of this somewhat numerous family. Most members of this family are aware that from the early part of this century, it has been talked of, by members of the Follansbee family, that there was a large property in England which had been left for them, by a Follansbee in England. Mr. Waldo, of Randolph, VT, says: That, as early as 1810, there was great excitement there about the large property coming to Moses Follansbee and his heirs, from England. Wm. P. Wills, of E. Randolph, VT., says: I recollect, about 1807 or 1808, there was great excitement with the people in consequence of information that came from England, to Moses Follansbee, that there was a large property in England that belonged to the Follansbee’s in America; that some of the heirs were offered $1,000 at that time for their claim. Many others, in Randolph and vicinity, recollect the same thing.

 Seth P. Follansbee, of Enfield, says: I distinctly recollect, when a mere boy, of hearing my father, (Joseph Follansbee), tell my mother, that his father, Joseph Follansbee, had received a letter from England, saying there was a large property in England belonging to him and his connection. This was in the year 1809 or 1810.

 I am informed that, as early as 1810, the Follansbee’s sent a Mr. Seabury, from Canaan. N.H., to England, to look after the property that, a short time previous to that, an advertisement appeared in the American papers, calling for the Fallansbees in America, to claim a property in England. I have not been able to get a copy of this advertisement, nor have I been able to learn what was done in England by Mr. Seabury, or whether he ever reported to the claimants.

Next post I will continue with the Report which then begins to be a copy of letters on the investigation into the family tree and the estate in England.

-Joshua Follansbee

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Filed under Estate Records, Follansbee Association, History

Biography: Thomas “The Immigrant” Follansbee (b 1637).


There is conflicting information in various sources on the life of Thomas Follansbee. My plan for this post is to build a short biography from the various sources with a view to eliminate errors and generate additional information from readers who may be able to fill in some blanks.


taken from

     Relating to the Families of Boston and Eastern Massachusetts.  Vol IV published 1908

“(I) Thomas Follansbee, immigrant ancestor, born in Hamsterly, Durham England, about 1640, came to America when a young man and settled at Newbury, Massachusetts, and Portsmouth, New Hampshire. He married first, before 1672, Mary , and second, Sarah , who died probably November 4, 1683, at Newbury, and he married third, April 4, 1713, at Newbury, Jane Mossman, of Boston. He was of Portsmouth in 1665 and 1671 ; of Newbury in 1677 and later. He was the ancestor of all of this name in America, so far as discovered. He was living as late as 1713 and probably in 1721. Children: 1. Rebecca, born about
1660; married November 22, 1677, Thomas Chase (2). 2. Anne, married, November 10, 1684, Moses Chase; she died before 1713. 3. Mary, born about 1667; married December 1, 1686, Robert Pike; second, about 1691, William Hooke. 4. Thomas, born about 1671 ;mentioned below. 5. Francis, born October 22, 1677. 6. Hannah, born April 10, 1680.

Birth and Parentage A.D. 1637

Thomas Follansbee was born on 20 April 1637 in Durham, England. Many family trees at www.ancestry.com list his parents as Henry Follansbie and Jane Gibbon. I have yet to find any real confirmation, their names on any documents, or listed by himself. I leave Henry and Jane as possible but unconfirmed for now. They were not listed anywhere until a few years ago when they started popping up on a family tree or two, it appears the family tree sharing on ancestry.com has propagated to many family histories on the internet and not one of them with any documented proof.

First Marriage- A.D. 1659 (22 yrs old)

There is clear proof for Thomas’ first marriage to Mary Bradford on 25OCT1659 in London. London Metropolitan Archives has a photocopy of the marriage entry at St. Andrew, Holbron. Sounce is London Metropolitan Archives, St Andrew Holborn, Register of marriages, 1559 – 1698, P69/AND2/A/002/MS06668, Item 001. It should be commented that some lists have Thomas marrying three times. Mary, Sarah and Jane. I think there are only two marriages. I think Mary is Sarah. There are only two records to be found, one in England in 1659 and one in America in 1713. On his first wife Mary Sarah or Sarah Mary..whichever.. I believe that his two daughters Mary and Sarah are names after their Mother.


Children-Pre America

Rebecca, b. 1661. Jane b. 1665,  Mary, b.1667 during the trip these girls were quite young 6 years old, 2 years old and an infant. I am still investigating at the time, since I do not have an exact date for the birth of Mary, I suppose she could have been born in the U.S. However I am not inclined to think Sarah travelled from England to Newbury Mass. on a 2 – 4 month sea voyage, but who know.


Travel to America A.D. 1667 (30 yrs old)

Recorded in U.S. and Canada, Passenger and Immigration Lists Index, 1500s-1900s, we have Thomas landing in Newbury Massachusetts in 1667.

Children born in America 1668-1677

I think the new home agreed with Thomas. He was quite busy populating the Follansbee name having four more children possibly five if Mary was born in the U.S. These five minions were Anne, B. 1668,  Hanna, b. 1680, Thomas b. 1674, Francis b. 1677

Barbados A.D. 1679 (42 yrs old)

We do have a record for Thomas Ffollinsby at Barbados recorded in the U.S. and Canada, Passenger and Immigration lists index , 1500’s to 1900’s. There is another record for a Folinsby in Barbados. It is a record of burial for an Alice Folinsby wife of Thomas Folinsby at St. Michaels in Barbados. Both the arrival date and burial dates are 1679.  I wonder if this is a family vacation. There are multiple Folinsbys in Barbados at this time. While Alice is recorded as the wife of Thomas, I think it is his sister. Below is a cut and paste from the online publication of The Original Lists of Persons of Quality; Emigrants, Religious Exiles, Political Rebels, Serving Men sold for a term of years, ; Apprentices, Children Stolen, Maidens Pressed, and others who went fro Great Britain to the American Plantations. 1600-1700.



2nd Marriage A.D. 1713 (76 yrs old)

We have paper showing the intended marriage of Thomas to Jane Mosemore (Moseman).



One Last Voyage A.D. 1726 (89 yrs old)

We reach the end for our Immigrant Fore-Father, Thomas Follansbee. I have not found any records that would indicate why he left England. I take the position that it was for Religious Freedom. It would be a safe assumption that Thomas was a Puritan. The American Colonies during this time (and the two that he lived in) were Puritan through and through. The Puritans were champions for their religious freedom but persecuted those who did not agree with them. Quakers, Jews, Catholics and others were run out, hanged, and not tolerated. For Thomas to live, work, and raise a family in Massachusetts and New Hampshire it would be safe to lean heavily towards viewing him as a (non-separatist) Puritan.

He was a joiner (carpenter) <cite reference> and is recorded as working on a local school and church. Little else is known of him. Photography was experimental for another 100 years and would not be “invented” officially until 1839. I have not found any paintings or carving or any other likeness. As far as we know, Thomas Follansbee is the Patriarch of all American Follansbees. If you have any resources to share, please comment below.

-Joshua E. Follansbee

*This will be updated as I progress in researching and verifying dates, names and locations.


Filed under Biography, History, Lineage

Etymology of a Name Pt. 1

In various records of the contemporary name Follansbee are various spellings. Follonsby, Folanceby, Folansbye, Folaunceby, Folesceby, Foletesbi, Foleteby, Folettebi are a few. We have various reasons for this. Phonetics and close dialects are surely large influences. So is the combination of languages and spelling. Latin, Norse, Old English, French and variations of these all play a part in the different spellings of Follingsby.

So far, it appears our name change went something close to this (original to current) in a general overview we see Foletebi, then Follonsby, then Follingsby. Follinsby and Follansbee today are both in use. Follingsby is retained in England and Follansbee appears to be a completely American spelling. Lets take our traveling ancestor Thomas Follansbee as an example:

1. Thomas Follansbee b. 30 Sept 1637. His first marriage on October 25, 1669 is recorded at St Andrew Holborn and has his name spelled what looks like ffollensby.*


2. His travel record at Barbados in 1679 has his name spelled as Ffollinsby, according to Passenger and Immigration Lists Index, 1500s-1900s. Farmington Hills, MI, USA: Gale Research, 2012 page 177.

3. His record of the previous marriage in New England Marriages Prior to 1700. Baltimore, MD, USA: Genealogical Publishing Co., 2004.  list his name as Folinsbee and his son Thomas Jr. b. 1674 as Follingsby.

So in less than 50 years and with the same person (and son) we have 4 different recorded spellings (Hollensby, Ffollinsby, Folinsbee, Follingsby).

5. Then finally, in his last marriage recorded in Town and City Clerks of Massachusetts. Massachusetts Vital and Town Records. Provo, UT: Holbrook Research Institute (Jay and Delene Holbrook).  We have the current spelling of Follansbee, the 5th variation in the same generation.


Well, I guess I tackled various spellings and not the origin of the name. I will have to tackle that one next time and hopefully my ADHD doesn’t kick in again.

-Josh Follansbee

*ffollanby two lower case f’s used for a capital F.


Filed under Etymology, History, Origin