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Table of Contents
The Surveyors
JTR's Colorful Families: GENN
Joanne's Genn Research Notes

The Genn Family
of Canada
A family history researched and compiled by David Genn and his cousins




1 Origins

2 Anjou, France

3 Yorkshire, England

4 Virginia, British America

5 Maryland, British America

6 Falmouth, Cornwall, England

7 Pernambuco, Brazil

8 Liverpool, Lancashire, England

9 Canada

Chapter 3 - Yorkshire - 1323-1683

A family history researched and compiled by David Genn and his cousins. If you wish to contact us regarding this story or any other family connection that we may be heir to, please write to:
David Genn, 7894 East Glen Place, Sooke, BC, Canada V9Z 0J8
Phone:  250-642-3750
Email: davgenn(at)


A disclosure is made in the book, Old Falmouth, written by Susan E. Gay (1903), that one William Genn:

"came to Falmouth from America in the latter part of the eighteenth century, his family, of Yorkshire descent, having emigrated from that county at the time of the Mayflower expedition, and in connection with it."

It is from this William Genn that we have traced our direct lineage. Susan Elizabeth Gay was editor of The Registry of Baptisms, Marriages and Burials, Parish of Falmouth, Cornwall, 1663

There is other evidence to support Susan Gay's statement. The author of this paper recalls being told by his grandfather, Reginald Genn, that "the Genns came to America on the Mayflower". While no Genns appear on the passenger list of the Mayflower 1620 crossing, nor does the name appear in the early records of Plymouth Colony, Reginald Genn's comment does lend credibility, in a general way, to Susan Gay's revelation regarding our early roots in America. Reginald Genn probably wouldn't have read Susan Gay's book, but would have got the story from his own parents. In addition, we note that the Genn cottage in Falmouth, built in the late 1800's has a stained glass window decorating its entranceway. The design includes a sailing ship with the word "Mayflower" on its fore

In the next chapter, we encounter a James Genn in Virginia sometime after 1662, followed by Thomas Genn, Mary Genn and a second James Genn in 1705. Mary is the wife of the first James Genn and we assume that Thomas and the second James are their sons. Thomas and James may have been born in Virginia. Thomas Genn is the direct ancestor of the Canadian Genns.

While the spelling of family names, as we have shown, can be less than a matter of fact, the study of "given names" and groups of given names can provide solid evidence on which to build a case. One can almost depend on two things during this period. The first born son generally got his fathers given name. Certain given names were popular in certain areas. Our search has focused on the names Thomas and James.

In Lincolnshire, the parish of Bassingham records the births of brothers Thomas Gen 1602, and James Gen 1603. They would appear to have been born too soon to arrive in Virginia after 1662.

In Cambridgeshire, Soham produced 25 Thomas Genns between 1572 and 1699, no James. From our Genn cousin in Australia, we also learned that a Genn worked on the stained glass windows during the construction of the cathedral at Ely, Cambridgeshire, in the early 1200's. Ely is five miles north

The commonality of James Genns and Thomas Genns in the parishes of southern Yorkshire and the sequence of James Genns from 1544 to 1683 in the villages of Longley, Wooldale, Totties, Holmfirth and Scole, in the adjoining parishes of Kirkburton and Almondbury leads one to the conclusion that the search is focused on the right territory.

Our story about the Genns in southern Yorkshire evolves around the numerous references in the commercial, church and courthouse records of the time.

The following documentation covering activities involving early Genns in southern Yorkshire was provided by Dr. G. Redmonds of Yorkshire, historian, author, and researcher of English names.

Dr. Redmonds identified his sources as follows:

YD - Yorkshire Deeds VIII
MBCh - Monk Bretton Chartulary
WCR - Wakefield Court Rolls
WYR - Will in York Registry
SR - Subsidy Roll
DP - Dartmouth Papers

1323 - Quitclaim by Sybil Witric of her right in lands, etc., which she claimed in right of dower from Robert Gene of Wath. [YD]

1360 - Grant by William de Melton beside Wath, of an annual rent from tennants in Brampton beside Wath, held by Robert Gene, etc. [MBCh]

1379 - Poll Tax
Barnsley: Robert Gene (butcher) and Avicia his wife, 6d.
Richard Gene and wife, 4d.
Worsborough: Thomas Genne (tailor), Margareta, wife, 6d.
Royston: Robert Genour? 4d.
Ardsley: Agnes Gine? 4d.

1391 - 1400 Thomas Genne, chaplain, of York. [YD]

1413 - Roger Genne, witness to a Worsborough charter. [MBCh]

1432 - Roger Genne (Worsborough) and his wife Matilda, who was daughter of John Elmehyrst of Elmhirst. [MBCh]

1455 - Roger Genn surrendered a messuage to the use of Nicholas Worteley, esq., at Worsborough court. [MBCh]

1464 - Whereas William Gen granted to John Cresacre lands in Worsboroughdale, descended to him by heriditary right after the death of Roger Gen, ... I, Thomas Gen, brother and heir of William Gen confirm the title, etc. [MBCh]

1467 - John Gen, witness to a Worsborough deed. [MBCh]

1468 - John Genne, tenant of a messuage in West Bretton, rental. [YD]

1468 - John Gen fined at the manor court of Kirkburton for illegal baking of bread. [WCR]

1474 - Release by Richard Keresford and Richard Symmes of Barnsley to John Genne of Worsborough. [MBCh]

1480 - James Walker, the constable of Thurstonland, presented John Storthes for non-attendance at Kirkburton court and Thomas Genn for the sale of illegally brewed ale. [WCR]

1484 - Grant by John Storthes to Thomas, his brother of Lumhouse in Thurstonland, and a meadow, in the tenure of Thomas Genne. [YD]

1485 - Grant by Ralph Dodworth to Richard Keresforth and others, of lands in Shelley (adjoining Thurstonland) in the tenure of Thomas Genne. Witness, Richard Symmes of Barnsley. [YD]

1494 - Thomas Gen in a case against Richard Clayton. [WCR]

1495 - Joan Genne of Barnsley (will). [WYR]

1498 - Thomas Gen (of Thurstonland) listed as a tennant of lands on the Kayes' estate. [DP]

1500 - Release by Gerard Gen, son and heir of John Gen, late of Barnsley, and Margaret, his wife, a daughter and co

The Genns continued to reside in Worsborough and Barnsley and the surname was known there until recently (about 1970). Genn House and Genn Lane in Worsborough mark the site of the family home.

A few references illustrate this continuity:

1546 - John Genne of Barnsley, shoemaker. [WYR]

1575 - Margery Genne of Ouslethwaite Hall, Worsborough. [WYR]

1595 - Roger Genne of Ouslethwaite Hall, Worsborough. [WYR]

However, the migration northwards into Kirkburton parish, evidenced from about 1468, was a significant one:

1524 - Thomas Genne of Holmfirth paid 12 pence on goods valued at 40 shillings. [SR]

1545 - John Genn of Holmfirth taxed on property valued at 13 pounds. [SR]

James Genn of Holmsfirth taxed on property valued at 3 pounds. [SR]

Richard Genn of Kirkburton taxed on property valued at 1 pound. [SR]

1551 - Richard Genne of Kirkburton. [WYR]

The wills of Holmfirth Genns show they lived in Fulstone / Wooldale:

1566 - John Genne of Fulstone (Hullock). [WYR]

1581 - James Genne of Wooldale (Longley), clothier. [WYR]
There are many sources available to trace the history of the Genns in the Holmfirth area. The Genns are referred to very frequently in the court rolls.

1584/5 - Richard Genn of Wooldale, Thomas Genne of Longley.

Also in the Almondbury parish register, although it seems clear from this source that the references are to Genns in the Kirkburton part of Holmfirth.

Recorded are marriages of:

  • 1561 - Thomas Genne
  • 1572 - John Genne
  • 1619 - Edward Genne

There are more wills:

  • 1587 - Richard Gen of Longley
  • 1590 - Katherin Gen of Longley, widow.
  • 1602 - Thomas Genne of Longley, husbandman.

Other sources include:

1641 - Protestation, Wooldale: James Genn, Henry Genn, Thomas Genn, James Genn.

1664/5 - Hearth Tax, Wooldale: James Gen, Henry Gen, Thomas Gen.

1664/5 - Thomas Genn of Scholes surrendered property to Henry Genn of Totties. [WCR]

- James Genn, Sr., a customary tennant. [WCR]

- Lease to James Genne, yeoman of Arunden, 21 years. [WCR]

Note that in 1641 there are two James Genns, presumably father and son. By 1664 there is one James Gen and in a subsequent entry, identified as James Genn, Sr. What happened to James Genn, Jr.? Is he the one that arrived in Virginia about 1662?

It is, however, principally in the Kirkburton parish registers that the best genealogical evidence survives and the Wooldale family can be traced from 1540 to 1688 when Henry Gen of Totties was buried. The register makes several references to Henry Genn, Thomas Genn and James Genn.

Henry Genn is on record as having three children, three of them having died as infants, as follows:

  • Henry, baptised, 10 April 1664, buried, 23 November 1667.
  • Elizabeth, bap., 21 October 1666, buried, 19 November 1667.
  • Martha, baptised, 14 March 1668/9, buried, 16 September 1669
  • Ann, baptised, 23 October 1670.

Henry Genn was buried 5 February 1687/8. He is described by Morehouse, History of Kirkburton, as a `Yeoman' and a member of the Quaker group at Wooldale. Neverthless, his children were baptised at the Church and he was buried at the Church.

Thomas Genn had a daughter Martha baptised in 1645 and a son Christopher buried in 1666.

There are several James Genns. One was a Churchwarden in 1635. He may be the one buried in 1644. If the Genns were actually Quakers at that time, additional information may be found in Quaker records.

It was in the Longley branch that the Christian name James was used:

1544/5 - James Gen, a son baptised 7 March, buried 15 March

1545 - James Genne, a son Richard baptised 28 March.

1581 - James Genn buried 3 April.

1615-16 - James Genne, churchwarden.

1634-35 - James Genne, churchwarden. This man referred to in other sources.

1639, 1647 - James Genne, constable of Holmfirth. [WCR]
Also referred to in the diary of Adam Eyre.

1640 - Anthony Charlesworth released a dwelling house in Scholes to James Genn. [WCR]

1644 - James Genn of Longley, wife buried, 16 February.

1667 - James Genn of Longley buried at chappell, 4 October.

1671 - James, son of James Gen, buried 7 March.

1680 - Anne, the wife of James Genne, buried 20 September.

1683 - James Genn of Longley was buried, 13 July.

No further references to the Longley Genns and the name extinct locally from 1688 with the burial of Henry Gen of Totties. Longley is a farm in the township of Wooldale, in the parish of Kirkburton. It is still operating as a major producer of dairy products. This is the end of Dr. George Redmonds contribution to our study.

The International genealogical Index (I.G.I.) lists three events that may relate to the foregoing:

Gen (M), christened, 7 Mar 1544, Kirkburton, YKS
Father: Jacobi Gen.

Agnes Genne (F), christened, 2 Nov 1567, Bradfield, YKS
Father: James Genne

Jacobus Genne (M), christened, 23 Apr 1592, YKS
Father: Johis. Genne

The first one is, no doubt, the James Gen listed with the Longley events. Jacobi, Jacobus are Norman French equivalents of James.

Worsborough, Yorkshire, located some ten miles north of Sheffield has several historic landmarks that impact on our story. These include Houndhill, Genn Lane, The Genn House, Ouslethwaite Hall, St.Mary's Parish Church.

Houndhill is built on a mediaeval site. It is the historic home of the Elmhirst family and at present the residence of Alfred Octavius Elmhirst (born 1901). There has been a close association and several marriages between the Genns and the Elmhirsts, spanning seven centuries. The earliest part of the present house is the timber framed east wing which is dated 1566 on the south gable with the initials R.E., which stands for Roger Elmhirst. Beside the house is the remains of the old wool mill which had been built from stone from an old monastery.

The house was fortified early in the Civil Wars as the occupants were Loyalists. However, the house was plundered, the property confiscated and the books and papers taken away by the Parliamentarians. Following a petition to the House of Parliament, the confiscated items were returned to the Elmhirst family. To maintain this close association with the Elmhirsts, the Genns would also have to have been Loyalists. An investigation of migration patterns from England to British America disclosed that there was a considerable migration of Loyalists (Cavaliers) to Virginia after 1645.

When Alfred Elmhirst learned that our name was Genn, he greeted us with, "a relative!". The Elmhirsts and the Genns have maintained a kinship into modern times. Alfred Elmhirsts son is Timothy Genn Elmhirst, born 1955.

The following is taken from "History of Worsbrough" by J. E. Wilkinson. "Leaving Houndhill and proceeding up Genn Lane, (where an explosion of fire damp occurred in a coal pit in 1755, and three lives were lost,) a pleasant road which is overhung by shady trees, and whose hedgerows, in the summer season, present a fine array of wild flowers which revel there in wild luxuriance, we soon reach Genn House."

The Genn House is described as "An old but substantial farmhouse, from which an ancient and influential Worsborough family named Genne most probably took their name, or gave their name to it, for, at a very early period, we find the Gennes living in this immediate part of the township. As early as 1320 Roger Genne, of Ouslethwaite, married Maud (or Matilda), daughter and heir of John de Elmhirst. John was the son of Robert de Elmhirst (1300 to 1350 approx.) who lived as a serf on the land which his descendants still own. His descendants first became copyholders and then freeholders, purchasing the land where their ancestors toiled. The marriage between Roger Genne and Maud Elmhirst resulted in the sheriff imposing a heavy fine on Roger Genne. Roger was a Freeman and had married beneath his station.

In the 1500's a Roger (or Robert) Genne, of Ouslethwaite, married a Margary Elmhirst and two generations later, a Roger Genne of Ouslethwaite married, 19 April 1603, Margaret Elmhirst, daughter of Roger Elmhirst.

In 1476, Richard Kerresforth and Richard Symmes, of Barnsley, granted to John Genne, of Worsborough, and John Calthorne, of the same place, "all those lands, meadows, tenements, woods, pastures, rents, and services which they heretofore had of the gift of Richard Wylde, in Monk Bretton, to have and to hold the same to the aforesaid John Genne and John Calthorne for ever. Given at Monk Bretton, 20th October 14th Edward IV (1475)." The name of Genne frequently occurs in Worsborough from a very early period up to the middle of the 17th century, when it appears to be lost.

In 1638, Genn House, or Genn Farm, was purchased by Richard Elmhirst, as he says, in his instructions, "in Mr. Genne's name and his own." It, however, came wholly in to the hands of Richard Elmhirst about the middle of the 17th century. On the farm buildings adjoining the road is the date 1659, which would, no doubt, be the date of their erection.

The Elmhirsts lived here in the latter part of the 17th century; and Elizabeth, the only daughter and heiress of Richard Elmhirst, of Houndhill (who had cut off the entails of his estates), before her marriage with John Copley, of Nether Hall, Doncaster, made over this and the hereditary estate of the family at Elmhirst to her uncle, Dr. William Elmhirst.

The Houndhill estate, which had been in the possession of the family for many generations, went into the Copley family, in whose possession it remained until a few years ago, when it was purchased by F. W. T. V. Wentworth, Esq., of Wentworth Castle.

Dr. William Elmhirst, the uncle of Elizabeth, (the only surviving child and heiress of Richard Elmhirst,) took the degree of MD at the University of Oxford in 1670, and was learned in his profession. He lived at Houndhill and in his later years rebuilt Genn House, to which place he removed and followed his profession till his death in 1715, dying unmarried at the age of 71 years.

He was succeeded by his nephew and heir

This gentleman was a member of the medical profession, and had an extensive practice, being much esteemed by his patients and friends. He purchased, in 1769, Ouslethwaite, the estate of Mr. Hammersley, who had inherited it from the family of Archdale, who had succeeded the Gennes, which latter family had been its possessor for centuries. Dr. William Elmhirst was killed by a fall from his horse, in 1773, near the Hangman

In 1840 was perpetrated at Elmhirst one of the most atrocious and deliberate murders that are to be found in the annals of this locality. A quiet, sober, and inoffensive farmer, named George Blackburn, was then occupant of the farmhouse at Elmhirst. About seven o'clock on Monday evening, October 5th, he was returning from Barnsley, after collecting sundry sums of money which were due to him for milk and other matters, as was his custom.

After separating with a friend at the gate, on the turn

These events caused a great sensation in the district, and in fact throughout the West Riding, and the coroner's inquiry, which took place, was attended by the magistrates and principal persons in the district. Four notorious persons were committed for trial on the charge of wilful murder, but three of them acquitted at the assizes, whilst the fourth, whose name was John Mitchell, was sentenced to death, but afterwards, received a commutation of the sentence to transportation for life.

From "The History of Worsbrough" we also learned that: The following are inhabitants, or owners of land, in Worsbrough at the several periods named:

1342, 1369, 1384, Robert de Elmhyrst, Richd. de Elmhyrst, Roger Genne, Wm. de Elmhyrst, Maude Genne.

1464, 1467, Roger Genne, William Genne, Thos. Genne.

1567, Roger Genne, Roger Elmhirst.

1605, Robert Elmhirst (Houndhill), Roger Genne (Ouslethwaite), Rich. Elmhurst (Houndhill)

The following is an extract from a court proceeding of 23 May 1684 relating to the ownership of Genn House:

Elizabeth Elmhirst, spinster, sister and heir of Joshua Elmhirst of Houndhill, deceased, had surrendered out of court on 3 December 1683, all the messuages ...(list of properties)...and a messuage called Genn House with closes called le Ing, Pingle, Nar Hud Royd and an adjoining cottage called Gens Lath to the use of William Elmhirst and his male heirs lawfully begotten, ...

Ouslethwaite Hall is a short distance from Genn House on the opposite side of the road. It is a solidly built "double pile" house of about 1760 with an east wing and other additions of the late 18th century or early 19th century. Only one original window survives, in the centre of the east elevation, and gives an idea of the original appearance. The first Mr. Elmhirst of Ouslethwaite was articled to a Mr. West of Cawthorne, a celebrated lawyer in his day. His fellow clerk, George Wood, who later became Sir George Wood, Baron of the Exchequer, and one of the wisest judges of his day.

The Elmhirsts of Worsbrough, by following a particular line, can trace their ancestry to the medieval Kings of England. The accompanying chart shows William the Conqueror, his son, Henry I and his daughter, Gundred. Seven generations later, including Henry II, King John and Henry III, these two lines marry. Successive generations include Lord Talbot, Baron Vaux, Lord Crewe, William Pye of the East India Company and his granddaughter, Anna Francis Walker. Anna Walker married William Elmhirst on 9 March 1825. Their great grandsons were Air Marshall Sir Thomas Walter Elmhirst and Alfred Octavius Elmhirst, owner of Genn House, and father of Timothy Genn Elmhirst. Sir Thomas Elmhirst married on 30 October 1968 to Marian Louisa Ferguson (nee Scott), widow of Col. Andrew Henry Ferguson and grandmother of HRH Sarah Ferguson, Duchess of York.

St.Mary's Parish Church in Worsbrough, Yorkshire dates to pre-Norman times. Germanic settlers (Saxons) had made their way to this area in the 7th and 8th centuries. The name Worsbrough comes from Worce's Burg, a burg being a fortified area. Most of the structure dates from the 14th and 15th century. The magnificent south door is what got our attention. It dates from about 1480 and is formed of oak boards arranged horizontally inside, vertically outside and held together by iron studs. Across the middle of the door, carved in relief, is the following inscription in Gothic lettering:


Genn and Alott were presumably the church wardens of the day and donors of the door.

The name Genn appears many times in Yorkshire court records during the 14th to 18th century .....

PRO Lay Subsidies Poll Tax A' 2 Richard II (1379)

Villata de Barneslay

  • Robertus Gene & Aricia uxr ejus Bocher vid
  • Richardus Gene & Johanna uxr ejus iiijd

Villata de Wyrkesburgh

  • Thomas Genne & Margaret uxr eius (Taylor) vid

3rd May 1400 ... confirming a grant from John son of John de Rockley of Worsborough to Robert Laurence, chaplain, ... of one messuage ... and all the land of the said messuage, called Rosswillande and Sethwetflatt, ... Witnesses, John Fissher, William Johanson, William del Haghe, Thomas Clerkson, Thomas Genne.

Grant by Richard de Oxpryng to John Glwe of Worsbroughdale, ... a messuage called Spynkeshouse, ... Witnesses, Richard del Hill, Roger Genne, Thomas Clerkson, William Robynson, William Jonson, Worsbrough, 8th May 1413.

18 April 1432, At the court of the Prioress of Appleton, held at Worsbrough, Matilda, wife of Roger Genne, daughter of John Elmhyrst, ... claims by hereditary right, a messuage and bovate of land (an oxgang, or as much land as an ox can plow in a year, from 10 to 18 acres), with the appurtances, after the death of William, son of William, son of John Elmehirst, whose blood heir she is, which messuage and bovate of land, ... were granted to ... Matilda. She gave in the name of inheritance, 13s 4d by the pledge of Roger Genne, her husband, and the same gives for the marriage fine of Matilda, 5s.

John de Elmehirst had yssue, the said Mawde, married to Roger Genne, of Ouslethwaite, which Mawd (yt seemes) dyed without issue; William de Elmehirst, youngest son of Robert had yssue, William de Elmehirst, of Barnsley, a priest, and vicar of Bolton on Dearne, which he resigned, AD 1401. He dyed without yssue, and his lands were claimed by Maud Genne, his aunt, the sister of his father, as heir, as just stated.

At the Court of Worsbrough, held there on Monday after the Feast of Exaltation of the Holy Cross, 34 Henry VI (1455), Roger Genne by John Wygfall and Peter (or Robert) Fyssher tenants of base tenure, sworn, surrendered a messuage with the appurtances, late in the tenure of the same Roger, into the hands of the Lady Prioress of Appleton to the use of Nicholas Wortelay, esq. which messuage ... was granted to the said Nicholas ... yearly rent of 15s 7d and he gives the lady for fine and entry 6s 7d and did fealty and was admitted tennant.

At a court of Joan Ryther, Prioress of Appleton, held at Worsborough on Monday before the feast of Saints Simon and Jude, 37 Henry VI (1458) ... Nicholas Worteley, Esq. by Robert Fyssher, reeve and a tenant, ... surrendered ... a messuage ... to the use of William Gen and his heirs ... William ... took the messuage... yearly rent of 15s 7d and he gives the lady a fine for entry and did fealty and was admitted tennant.

At a court of Joan Ryther, Prioress of Appleton, held at Worsborough on Thursday after Martinmass, 38 Henry VI (1459), William Genne, by John Gen, ... surrendered ... a messuage ... to the use of John Gresacre.

Wath, 21 May, 4 Edward IV (1464), Thomas Gen, brother and heir of William Gen, greeting. ... William by a certain charter granted to John Cresacre, all of the lands, tenements, meadows, pastures and woods ... descended to him by hereditary right after the death of Roger Gen lately deceased in Darley Cliff, in Worsbroughdale, ... and John Cresacre, by his deed to John Frankish, all the lands, etc. I, Thomas Gen, have ratified and confirmed the estate, title and possession of John Frankish ... and have released and quitclaimed forever to him, ...

1467, Release and quitclaim by William Gilberthorpe of Worsbrough to Robert Elison and Robert Cawood of ... that messuage built ... in Wigefall ... Witnesses, John Scalehouse, chaplain, William Hill, John Gen and John Allott (see St.Mary's Church).

1474, Release by Richard Keresford and Richard Symmes of Barnsley to John Genne of Worsbrough and John Calthorne.

Release and quitclaim by John Genne and John Calthorne to Richard Ledes, prior, etc.

1500, Release and quitclaim by Gerard Gen, son and heir of John Gen, late of Barnsley, and Margaret his wife.

1507, Grant by John Genne and Margaret his wife, one of the daughters and heir of Edward Holdam, etc.

1512, Release and quitclaim mentions John Gen and Margaret, his wife.

1524, Surrender and admittance, manor of Worsbrough. At a court of Anne Langton, Prioress of Nun Appleton, Laurence Ashton came in person and took of the lady, one messuage and all the lands and tenements of base tenure then in the occupation and tenure of John Malynson and then formerly of Robert Gen ... In the reign of Stephen (1135

2nd October 1525, Worsbrough, confirming a grant from William Rockley of Billingsley, to Laurence Ashton, of ... his lands and tenements, ... late in the tenure of Robert Gen, ...

Monk Breton, 24 November 17 Henry VIII (1525), Release and quitclaim by Margaret Smyth, widow of Richard Smyth of Kirk Sandal, formerly wife of John Glewe, to William, Prior of
Monk Bretton, ... all of her right, title, claim, etc., of the same property in Worsbrough ... Witnesses, John Pek, esq., Ralph Barneby, esq., Thomas Genne, gentleman.

12 June 1560, The intente meanynge takying uppe & surrenderinge agen of the sayd parcell of landes of the sayd quens magestie Ewast for to buld a Scholehowse in maner & forme abovesayd ys this as hereafter folowyth that ys to saye that the above named Robert Rockelay esquirere, John Walker, Roger Elmhirst, Roger Castleforth, Thomas Slacke, Parcival Addye, John Cawood, Hugh Frannce, Raufe Meddley, John Wigfalle, Roger Genn, Roger Ellyson, & William Crokkes to be tennentes at the lords by copye of Court roll after ye custome of this maner and their heires for ever shall stand & be seased of the sayd pece of land & Scholehouse every parcell thereof with th appertenances to the use upon & behoofe of one Syr William Wooley clercke nowe a Scholemayster & teacher of Schollerers at Worsburg....

1603, 20th March, Roger Genne appears as a trustee to the rather sizable estate of Richard Townend.

21 March 1606/7, The intent ... of this Surrender ys that the above named Robert Rockley, son of Gervase Rockley, Richard Rockley, William Castleforth, Henri Walker, Richard Elmhurst, Rolland Revell, John Cawood, Richard Micklethwaite, Jervase Micklethwaite, Francis Cooke, John Swinden, Robert Ealand, Roger Genn, Robert Allott, William Oxley and William Cudworth ... shall stand and be seized of & in the said parcell of Land ... to the use & behoof of the said schoolmaister of the said schoole ...

12th October 1615, ... Court Roll of the Manor of Worsbrough. ... at the same court there held 21 March 1606/7 by the hands of Robert Elmhirst and Roger Gen, customery tenants of the King, ...

1678 June 22nd, in the 30th year of Charles II. Release and Quit Claim (Engl.) by Robert Spenser of Little Sheffield, husbandmen, and Anne his wife, to John Stones junior of Little Sheffield, yeoman, of a parcel of land or meadow, divided into four closes and containing five acres, 2 roods, 32 perches, called Nether Rusling Park, lying in the lordship of Ecclesall in the parish of Sheffield, near Walch Bridge, between a brook called the Porter Water and a common called Brendcliffe Edge, then being in the occupation of Robert Spenser, and also of a new cottage thereon then in the occupation of John Genn, in consideration of 83 pounds. Witnesses: Stephen Fox, Samuel Shawe, James Hill.

The Worsbrough parish register contains the following entries:


  • 1592, 13th Nov., Francis Robinsonne and Jennet Genne
  • 1603, 29th Sept. Roger Genne and Margrett Elmehirst


  • 1647, 27th March, Roger Genn
  • 1685-6, 14th March, William Genn

In the latter part of the sixteenth century was Worsbrough Grammar School, located in the village of Worsbrough, on the north side of the church. It was erected in the Elizabethan style of architecture and was in high repute as a grammar school, under the superintendence of the lecturers of Worsbrough and other teachers of reputation and attainments, and here the sons of many of the principal gentry in the district received their education. The original list of trustees included Roger Elmhirst (died 1594) and Roger Genne.

Other references to Roger Genn include:

1624 - Genn, Roger, of Worsborough Dale, Yorks., yeoman, age 50. (born 1574)

1635 - Genn, Sarah, wife of Roger Genn, of Worsboroughdale, Yorks, age 50. (born 1585)

Some things that might be noted from the foregoing:

GEN and GENNE appear quite interchangeable. GENN first appears in 1608.

Some of the associated names are seemingly French in origin, including John de Elmhirst.

The given names, WILLIAM, THOMAS, and JOHN are in place in the Yorkshire lineage and these reappear in America. JAMES first appears in Longley in 1544.

The question remains, who is the James Genn that arrived in Virginia after 1660? It is still a matter of guess work. We do know the following:

The descendants of William Genn of Falmouth, Cornwall were of the opinion that they were of Yorkshire descent.

The name James Genn (Gen, Genne) appears in and around Kirkburton, Yorkshire after 1644. In our collection of data, the name appears 24 times between 1644 and 1688.

In 1641 the Protestation record for Wooldale reports James Genn, Henry Genn, Thomas Genn, James Genn. We might assume that the two James' are father and son.

By 1664/5 the Hearth Tax for Wooldale reports one James Gen, also Henry Gen and Thomas Gen. Also in 1664/5 the Wakefield Court Rolls reports James Genn, Sr. as a customary tennant.

It would appear that by 1644/5 James Genn, Jr., now at least 24 years of age, has disappeared. He could be our candidate.

Revised: 01 April 2000

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