Last Sunday, 4 Dec 2022, we had our first public annual meeting since officially incorporating as a 501(c)3 not-for-profit educational corporation. We had a nice little turn out and made a few decisions to help use move forward in the coming years. All votes were offered for discussion and voted upon by raised hand or “yeah/nay” – and all decisions were unanimous.
- Future annual meetings will be held the 1st Sunday of May of each year via Zoom
- Elections for the following year will be held for all roles at the annual meeting, terms are 1 year.
- All officers were reelected until the next annual meeting with one addition:
- Dale Sheldon, President and Genealogist
- Kelly Wheaton, Secretary
- Sue Sheldon, Treasurer
- George Sheldon (also appointed Webmaster), Christina Becher, and Carol Horton, as Directors at Large
- Our official address will be changing from the home of our President to the home of our Secretary. This is due to my upcoming move from California to New York, in order to keep our registration in California.
Some exciting updated statistics on the organization!
- We have 338 members on our Facebook group, 60 users on the website, and 36 signed up for the mailing list.
- There are 4400 individuals in our database tree, the majority are sourced. All carry the surname Sheldon, or are the parents, spouse, or child of someone with the surname Sheldon.
- DNA: The Sheldon yDNA study at ftDNA has 233 members, which has shown the following Sheldon surname groups:
- Group A: The Godfrey line of Maine (now including the “Richard” line), and the John of Providence line along with five Sheldon families that trace to northern England and centered around Bakewell, Derby. It is believed this group takes their surname from the small village of Sheldon near Bakewell.
- Group B: The two very large Isaac of Northampton and John of Kingston lines. It is now believed that these two men were brothers, both sons of Isaac Sheldon of Windsor, Connecticut. This DNA study has confirmed a solid yDNA signature dating back to at least 1629/30 (the approximate years of birth for brothers Isaac and John). So far we have not made a match to any family in England, but it is believed this family originates in the Warwickshire area with their origin being the small town of Sheldon that has since been incorporated into the city of Birmingham. Sheldon Hall still exists there as a restaurant, popular among the locals.
- Group C: There are seven unrelated Staffordshire/Warwickshire lines, these also appear to take their name from the same village in Birmingham. Some are confirmed to be NPE’s (non-paternal events) while others may be the same or independent adoptions from the same location. None of these have been a match to the large Group B.
- Non-tester family groups: We have also identified and documented a number of more modern Sheldon families. As we know the point at which these families adopted the Sheldon surname, there has not been a need for yDNA testing. These include at least one African-American family who adopted the name in the 1880’s and several Germanic and/or Jewish families that adopted the name upon immigration or during WW1 in order to sound more Anglo-American.
We have also made a couple of very important early Sheldon discoveries this past year.
The First: A work in progress for several years, we have come to the tentative conclusion that Isaac of Northampton, Massachusetts (born c1629), and John of Kingston, Rhode Island (born c1630), were brothers and the sons of Isaac of Windsor, Connecticut. It was previously assumed that the earlier Isaac didn’t exist, that a land record for him dated to 1640 was an error. However, after further detailed analysis of this record we believe it does originate to 1640 with later land purchases added in later years. We also have several DNA testers from both sons that show they are a perfect match to each other and that the common ancestors of these various lines would be about the time these two men lived.
The Second: Another extensive work was the “Richard” line. A lengthy blog post has been written detailing our reasons behind our conclusion, but we now believe that the “Richard” progenitor never existed. The two sons in New Jersey that have been attributed to him in the late 18th century were almost certainly the sons of Lemuel Sheldon who died in New Jersey in 1754. This Lemuel was the son of Ephraim Sheldon, famous for his part in the Salem Witch Trials, who was son of William Sheldon who died in Salem in 1691, who was the son of Godfrey Sheldon of Maine. This eliminates the Richard line as an American progenitor and connects them directly to the Godfrey line. Thankfully, this line also has clear documentation to Bakewell, Derby, England.
And finally, goals for the coming year!! (Well, until May).
- To reach 5000 individuals in our database. At the time of our meeting we were at 4400, at the time of this writing we are already over 4700 and well on our way to hitting our goal.
- To further establish the Sheldon Genealogy YouTube channel with sections for Tutorials, Interviews, DNA, and “Sheldons in the Field”
- Our Sunday meetings will be given a theme on the 2nd Sunday of each month.
- To find more DNA matches in modern England, and hopefully a match to the large Group B Sheldons.
- To further pursue the possibility of an archaeological dig of the homestead and potential grave sites of the first John Sheldon of Kingstown, Rhode Island.
For further details and questions, please consider joining one of our weekly meetings!! They are held every Sunday at 12 noon Pacific time. They are very laid back and all are welcome. We try to keep discussion to genealogy or history but does not have to be Sheldon specific, we also help with tips and insight on new lines of research.
Thank you! – Dale L. Sheldon