The Sheldon Family Association is deeply indebted to the work done by Reverend Henry O. Sheldon. He was a 19th century Methodist circuit preacher who traveled 3,000 to 4,000 miles on horseback every year in Ohio. In his travels, Rev. Sheldon “collected” the names and family connections of the people he met who shared his Sheldon surname. In organizing the data, it appears that these Sheldons were members of five Sheldon lines that came to this country during colonial times. The progenitors of these lines are:
- Godfrey Sheldon(S0004), ca.1599-1671, settled Saco/Bluepoint/Black Point, Maine. Godfrey’s wife, Alice Frost, and the early grave of a child of this couple are found in Bakewell parish, Derbyshire records (published in a Sheldon Family Association Quarterly). The identity of Godfrey’s father is yet undetermined. Godfrey’s home was a fort during the Indian Wars when he moved to Salem. His son, William, inherited it. We are still seeking Godfrey’s descendant Susannah Sheldon who testified at the Salem Witch Trials and then disappeared from view. See “Sheldons in the Salem Witch Trials“ on the Publications page. Related families: Alger, Frost, Goodale, Giles, and Scarlett.
- Isaac Sheldon(S0005), ca.1629-1708, who came with the Dorchester Group (the town later named Windsor, Connecticut), was believed to be the Isaac Sheldon mentioned in a grandfather’s will, as shown in “The Sheldons of Bakewell, Derbyshire, England, and Isaac Sheldon of New England“, Sheldon Family Associations Publication is a reprint from the New England Historic Genealogical Register, October 1926. However, this is has been disputed due to recent DNA study findings. A professional researcher, hired by a Sheldon descendant, went to England to research Isaac Sheldon. Isaac’s first wife, Mary Woodford, was an ancestress of the late Diana, Princess of Wales. His second wife was Mrs. Mehitable Gunn.
- John Sheldon(S0008), ca. 1630-1708, is found in early records of Providence, Rhode Island. His wife, Joan Vincent, is the daughter of Nicholas Vincent and Fridgeswith Carpenter, of Amesbury, England. Joan is the niece of William Carpenter, an early founder in Providence Records. Fridgeswith inherited the home in England from her brother William.
- John Sheldon(S0013), ca.1628-ca.1679, is found in early records of South Kingstown, Rhode Island. Apparently, he was involved in a drinking party and taken to court. John’s wife Sarah and his son John S0023’s original will, transcriptions, and papers are in the SFA files.
- Richard Sheldon(S0022) Little is known but his name and that he had two sons. The first son was named Thomas, who had 2 sons and four daughters (his wife’s name is unknown). Richard’s other son, Lemuel, married Millicent Brock; they had seven sons (including two sons named Lemuel) and four daughters. Richard may have other descendants as yet unreported as well.
Recent DNA research has shown that within this list of five progenitors, there are two distinct and unrelated Sheldon groups. The Godfrey S0004, John 0008 and Richard 0022 lines are one group and the other is the Isaac S0005 and John S0013 lines are the other group.
Your Sheldon Ancestors
If you have a Sheldon (Shelden) ancestor and would like to find out if your Sheldon (Shelden) line is descended from one of these five colonial Sheldon families, contact our Membership Chair for help to make the connection using our database.
To conduct a search for you, we need a Sheldon (Shelden) name, birth, marriage, or death date. The reason – a search for the name John Sheldon with no additional information returns 409 hits. A name-only search for Isaac Sheldon returns 55 hits, and Mary Sheldon, 658 hits. The more specific your information, the better the search! For search assistance, please contact our Membership Chair at firstname.lastname@example.org
And please don’t forget to contribute your Sheldon (Shelden) family genealogy information to our database, and keep us updated on any changes.