Notes concerning the possible relationship between
John W. Nanney of Brunswick County, Virginia and
Samuel Nanny (son of immigrants Robert & Katherine Wheelright Nanny).
By Dennis J Yancey - firstname.lastname@example.org
For decades - those compiling genealogies
and family trees of the early Nanneys of America - have reported one John Nanney
of early Virginia as being a grandson of one immigrant Robert Nanny
- who settled in Masschusetts after coming from London. John is claimed to
have been a grandson via Robert's son Samuel Nanny. Many reports claim
this Samuel Nanney was married to an Indian girl.
Over the past decade I have looked at this claim on and off - and looked for the evidence of it.
Ultimately my feelings and research have come to the point that I no longer believe this claim.
I believe that if it was true - years of research by many would have at least pointed to some vestiges of evidence.
I find none.
<click here to see the family genealogical data for John & Robert & Samuel Nanney>
What follows are various notes on the matter:
Note that to have been a son of Samuel Nanney - John would have had to have been born before 1690 - when Samuel died. Also note that John himself died in 1789 - he would have had to be over 100 years old at the time (very unlikely for the time period as well as the specific family). Also make note that his children were born somewhere around the 1740's and 50's (and NOT around 1710 which you would expect if he was born about 1689). This seems like pretty clear evidence that John was most likely born about 1720 or so. There is not even any extant evidence that Samuel even had a wife or children.
Though I have yet to obtain a transcription
of her will - the 1716 will of Katherine Nanney (later Naylor) is said to
indicate that she had no living heirs.
[2014 - I now have a transcript of her will - - click here]
Note that the names of Robert, Katherine, Samuel are names that do not even appear in the family of John Nanney of Brunswick County, VA.
Note that after decades of people researching the Nanney family - not a single document of any kind has been found to document or even support the claim of the Samuel Nanney - John Nanney connection. Yes it is that clear hard proof (original primary records) may have been lost - but can anyone even provide circumstantial evidence? Even if things like a bible record or a marriage record had been lost - why cant we at least find some early family document that at least alludes to this connection? Why is it that this connection only pops up among compiled Nanney record of the mid to late 1900's?
Note that in recent decades with the power of searching through thousand of digitized books and resources with tools like Google, New Family Search and many other databases - mind boggling powerful resources not available to earlier researchers - we STILL can't find any evidence of this purported connection.
Another Item: Various researchers show John's middle name as Wyatt. I sure would be interested to see where that came from. All documents I know just say John.
My thoughts: Some researcher of the mid 1900's - over zealous to make connections to the early documented Robert Nanny of Massachusetts and into the Nanney family of Wales - made either educated guesses - or even possibly downright falsities - about the connection of John Nanney and Samuel Nanney. Establishing such things as the approximate birth date of John as 1789 so it would be before the death date of Samuel of 1790. Also establishing the story of the marriage of Samuel to an Indian - to account for the fact that no marriage record for Samuel exists. Once it had been put in print in various genealogical reports - people just passed it on to more current generations - even though facts to back it up cannot be found..
IF you ask me - this connection is HIGHLY
improbable. And in my humble opinion family should discontinue passing on
this information unless at least some circumstantial can be found to support it.
Can anyone provide us with even ONE piece of information from the era of
Samuel & John Nanney that supports this claim?
Some researchers have also shown this John as a son of a Hugh Nanney and others as a Thomas Nanney. But again nothing seems to substantiate these claims and they appear to be nothing more than educated guesses.