Thomas King 1748-1831 – a brick wall

Thomas was my fifth great grandfather and is currently a brick wall. I know quite a lot about his immediate family but very little about his ancestors, except for an intriguing YDNA match; although more about that later.

Thomas married his wife Elizabeth Brown (1748-1808), by license, in Howden, East Riding of Yorkshire, on 15 October 1780. They were both described as from the parish of Howden and their witnesses were William Stainforth and Thomas Tyas. In their marriage record Thomas was described as a husbandman and Elizabeth a spinster. Unfortunately, no ages were provided for either of them. Thomas and Elizabeth had five children; the following chart shows their children and grandchildren.

Descendant chart for Thomas King

Although Thomas was described as a husbandman in some records, in others he was a labourer. A memorial of an indenture in the East Riding of Yorkshire register of deeds dated 8 October 1821, named Thomas as the second party to it. The first party was John Pevison of Howden, gentleman and the third James Bullas of Howden, gentleman. It was witnessed by John Pevison the younger and Edward Pevison. Although its not clear what the indenture was for, three properties are mentioned in the memorial:

  • Messuage in Briggate (later Bridgegate) occupied by Sarah Darley.
  • Messuage divided into two tenements in Briggate occupied by Thomas King and Moses Jewitt (probably my sixth great grandfather rather than his son).
  • Two cottages in Briggate occupied by Joseph Moore and Alexander Hilson.
OS Yorkshire 237 date 1853

Thomas was buried in St Peter’s churchyard, Howden on 17 August 1831. (Marked on the above map with a black circle and Bridgegate is the street running alongside the north west corner of the church.) His age was given as 83, hence an approximate birth date of 1748. No confirmed baptism has been found for Thomas, either in Howden, or within the local area.

Thomas left a will dated 16 August 1823 where he set out bequests to various family members, including his son Thomas, Robert Berry the husband of his daughter Susan and Robert Moore the husband of his daughter Mary. Although he apparently left various properties to a number of people, for example, the dwelling house in Bridgegate, Howden occupied by Fanny (Hannah) Jewitt to his son Thomas, it seems that on his death the value of his assets was less than £5. This suggests that Thomas had experienced a change of fortune between when his will was written in 1823 and his death in 1831. Interestingly, it was his grandson Thomas (1813-1882) who, was transported to Van Diemens Land (Tasmania). He had been convicted on 15 October 1833 for stealing chickens; it wasn’t his first offence, hence his sentence of transportation.

YDNA match – so turning now to YDNA and the contact from an American family historian who is descended from the Scottish family, Kilgour/Kilgore, from Markinch in Fife. One of my male relatives tested his YDNA (111 markers) with FamilyTreeDNA. There were a number of matches in his list which looked interesting, although only some of them had provided information about their earliest known ancestors. Based on the results it seems possible that Thomas King was descended from the Kilgour/Kilgore family from Fife in Scotland. This result was also reflected in the “Little Scots Cluster” DNA project at FamilyTreeDNA.

A further YDNA test, the Big500, was also undertaken, resulting in four possible matches with the BigYblock tree. These all seem to link back to a potential common ancestor, Joseph Killgore 1701-1764. The American family historian had carried out a huge amount of research into the Kilgour/Kilgore family, tracing them back to a number of different ancestors, including clergymen, and a place in Fife called Kilgour, near Falkland. The following map shows the location of Kilgour to the west of Falkland in Fife.

OS Fife Sheet 16 date 1856

One Catholic priest was Sir Thomas Kilgour, who served King James V of Scotland at his Falkland Palace in the 16th century. He was named as the chaplain of St Thomas at Falkland in 1528 and known to have returned to Kilgour church in 1567. The American historian was directly descended from Joseph Killgore (1701-1764) who was born in Markinch, Fife, to father John Kilgour and mother Helen Litster. They are mentioned as returning to the established church in the Kirk Session records of 1702. Joseph arrived in the USA in 1718 and eventually landed at Merrymeeting Bay in Maine. A number of other members of the wider Kilgour/Kilgore family also emigrated to the USA.

Unfortunately, I’ve not been able to establish a link between Thomas King and the Kilgour/Kilgore family. It is likely that we share a common ancestor sometime in the mid-17th century, but a paper trail has not yet been established. I was interested to note that there were Kilgour/Kilgore family members living in Yorkshire in the 18th century, some of whom can be traced back to Fife in Scotland. A possible hypothesis is that Thomas King was related to them in some way.

I am interested in knowing more about Thomas and his ancestors. Do contact me if you have any further information which you are willing to share with me.

Note: the maps used in this blog have been reproduced with the permission of the National Library of Scotland under the following creative commons licence and sourced from the NLS maps site


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Census records.  : accessed January 2022.

Cupar. : accessed January 2022.

Falkland.  : accessed January 2022.  

FamilyTreeDNA. : accessed January 2022.

Howden. : accessed January 2022.

Howdenshire History. accessed January 2022.

Markinch. : accessed January 2022.

OS maps. : accessed January 2022.