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From my book "Line of Descent of George Roger Gilbert"


The following comes from an Ormsby genealogy found in the New York State Library.

Ormsby - Ormsbee Family
by Albert Pierce
New York State Library H292.2 Qo7247p6

"The following was sent to me by Mr. Arthur E. Ormsbee of Grand Rapid, Mich. Taken from The London, England Genealogist, an issue prior to 1905.

Ormesby Ormsby Ormsbee

An old tradition, dating back before the year 1050, says that the first original ancestor of the Ormesby-Ormsby-Ormsbee was Orm, so called because he came from a "Place of Elms" (Etymology Dictionary by William Arthur, M.D.) "Orm was the old Scandanavian word for Elm or Elm Tree, or Elm Trees. Bey, By, Bye were places, any places where people resided."

The original Orm lived in the Scandanavian Peninsula. He was a Lord. (Lord meant, not nobility but a person who owned or who controlled large tracts of land). Orm did. In that section, and during those times a rich man might have as many wives as his possessions might support. Orm had several and raised a large family of boys. As the boys grew to manhood, Orm followed the custom of those times and gave to each of his male offspring a portion of the land he owned. When the youngest and last son reached manhood there was no more land, so this latest son was required to seek and forge for himself.

He joined a Viking crew under the leadership of an old experienced Viking, who during about the middle of the eighth century plundered the coast of Scotland in one of those "Long Ships" or "Rowing Galleries" popular at that time among Vikings and Pirate Sea Kings.

On one of his excursions to Scotland, the Scots were better prepared and came out upon the sea to give battle. The Scots were getting the best of the fight when the old Viking called his crew together, asked them to fight harder, and promised to make that particular one the ruler of captured territory who should be the first to set his foot on Scottish soil.

During the fight which ensued Young Orm had his leg severed just above the knee by the broad sword of the Scots. He tied it up. The Viking won, and as they neared the Scottish soil Young Orm suddenly arose, picked up his severed leg and threw it overboard onto the land and claimed the reward as being the first to put his foot on Scottish soil.

He finally recovered from his wound and the Viking kept his word making Young Orm the ruler of the captured territory.

The termination "Bye" meaning a place or settlement was added later, undoubtedly from the colony over which Orm was made ruler.

Many generations passed during which there was continual conflict between the Ormesbys and the King of England. The king's troops could not subdue the Ormesbys and the Ormesbys could not conquer England. At the time of the conflict with England which terminated in the complete subjection of Scotland, The Ormesbys had become a powerful clan and England offered a baronage to the then Ormesby leader if he would renounce his allegence to Scotland and to his Clan and move himself and his personal family to Lincolnshire.

Ormesby did so renounce his Clan and allegience to Scottland and moved to Lincolnshire.

Those who remained in Scotland fought until they could carry on the war no longer. A part of them submitted to English rule and remained in Scotland where the family still exists in large numbers. The greater part, however, refused to submit and emigrated to Ireland (Northeast) where they are still a numerous people. Others moved to various sections, probably changing names according to the customs of the times.

The Ormesbys of Lincolnshire eventually became a massive family, and in the middle of the eleventh century, in a war with France, in which William the Conquerer played such an important part, the then, Baron Ormesby captured the daughter of a French Nobleman and held her for high ransom. The Baron's son, whose name was William, in defiance to his father's project fell in love with the supposedly beautiful girl; helped her to escape, and went with her back to the Northerly part of France known as Normandy. Here, because of his heroic act, he became a hero to the Norman people. William the Conqueror then took him into the army and after the subjection of England in 1050 dispelled the leading Baron of the Ormesbys and in his place established the Young William, giving him the title of William de Ormesby, Knight. Many of the Ormesbys, byes, bye, bees of today claim descent from this character, meaning, or should mean no doubt, to the clan of people whom he headed.

The story of Orm and the Viking expedition has come down from the time recording began, and is supposed to account for the tradition regarding the severed leg used in the Ormsby Coat-of-Arms.

More of the story accounts for the way the historic William de Ormesby, Knight, of whom so many descendants are proud, came into being. "


From: "Colonial Families in America" Vol. 4 Page 163-179

Ormsby is a combination of the old Scandanavian personal ( as distinguished from family) name " ORM", and the Danish word "BY" or "BYE" meaning "Town". Its originial signification, therefore, was "ORM'S Town" or possibly Estate. The Village of Ormsby in North Riding of Yorkshire, England is one surviving example of its original use as a place name. As a patronymic, Ormsby belongs to that large class derived from geographic locations.

The Family in England

The Ormsby Family in England is an ancient one. When Duke William invaded England, there was living in Lincolnshire, a Sir Richard de Ormsby who with other members of his family became a supporter of the Conqueror. After the subjugation of the country had been completed, the new King rewarded the Ormsby Family for faithful service by bestorwing upon it estates in Lincolnshire and a Coat-of -Arms (as granted by William the Conqueror).


Arms; Gules, a bend between six crosses crosslet, fitchie, Or.
Crest; A dexter armed arm embowed, the hand grasping a leg, in armor, couped above the knee, all proper.
Motto; Fortis qui Prudens. (Bravery with Prudence)

Sir Oswald de Ormsby, eldest son of Sir Richard, became head of the family and founded the Priory of Ormsby, in the reign of Henry Second. The name has been perpetuated in the Parish of Ormsby, and North Ormsby, Lincolnshire.

During the centuries succeding the Conquest, the Ormsby Family held many manors and thru the deeds of various representatives, obtained frequent and praiseworthy mention in the annals of England and Scotland. In Great Britain, the name is usually written Ormesby, but in America the common spelling is Ormsby or Ormsbee.

The Family in America

Richard Ormesby (Ormsby) founder of the family in America, was born in England but nothing is know of his ancestoral line or early life there. He evidently came to New England toward the beginning of the Puritan migration for he was on record as a resident of Saco, Maine in 1640, and probably had arrived there several years earlier. He removed to Salisbury, Mass. about 1645 as a "Planter" of the town, and stayed until 1648 when he settled in the adjacent Town of Haverhill, Mass. In 1649, he became a "Freeman" of the Colony. He finally settled at Rehoboth, Mass. and died there in 1664.

From the foregoing there seems to have been 3 basic migrations of the family "Ormsby" (including all spellings) regardless of the more or less fictional incidents involved.

They were originally from the Scandinavian Peninsula.
1st. Through some means they were in Scotland.

2nd. The Scotish Clan split, part going to England where they remained for many generations, in Lincolnshire and are still there.

A-1. Richard

Born about 1602, probably in Lincolnshire, England. He is recorded at Saco, Maine (in Mass. Colony) in 1639 where his first wife died. He probably had been here some years before. About 1640, he md. 2d. , s widow, Sarah Wanton, who may have been an Upham.

Richard moved from Saco, Me. to Haverhil, Mass., then to Salisbury, and finally settled in Rehoboth, Mass. where he died on June 10, 1664.


B-1. Joane - b. ca. 1623 in England by 1st wife Êd. between 1647 and 1680 m. before 1645, John Smith of Saco, Me. (see D-5)
B-2 John - b. about 1641 at Saco, Me.
B-3 Thomas - b. Nov. 11, 1645 (Salisbury VR say, "11 day, 9th month, 1645" O.S.
B-4 Jacob - b. 6 day, 1st mo., 1647 (Salisbury VR)


Junkins Genealogy by Harry Alexander Davis
Colonial Families in America
Court records and deed of York, Me.
History of York, Me.
Wanton Family by Barlett (1878)
Paul Family by Paul (1914)
Topographical Dictionary of 1885 English Emigrants to New England 1620-1650 by Banks. Also see Bank's mms. in Library of Congress.
N.(ew) E.(ngland) H.(istorical) & G.(enealogical )R.(ecord) Vol. 6 p. 186 Probate records of Rehoboth, Mass. "Richard Ormesby's Inventory presented 3d. day, 5th month 1664 amounted to 45 pounds, 14 shillings, 6 pence"

Note: It is thought by some that Richard came to America with a brother Jonathan, but the only record of a Jonathan, of the proper time, is in Rehoboth VR, of deaths, of a Jonathan who died in 1662.

Notes about Richard Martin

At the Rhode Island Historical Society Library at Providence, in D.A.R. record books of Vital Statistics complied by various Chapters, by years;

In Vol. for year 1956 p. 72 "Abstracts of Wills and Probates of Pawtucket, R. I. from Vols. 1-2 p. 120"

Probate of Will:
Name; Richard Martin of Rehoboth, Colony of new Plimout
Date; June 2, 1686 Probated; May 7, 1695
Wife; None mentioned
Sons; Richard Martin, Jr.; John Martin; Francis Martin.
Grandsons; John Martin (Richard's oldest son)
John Ormsby (Grace's eldest son)
Daughters; Grace Ormsby, Annis Chaffee
Executor; John Martin assisted by Deacon Samuel Newman, and Wm. Carpenter.

From the same reference p. 119

Inventory of estate
Name; Richard Martin
Date; May 7, 1695 entered; May 9, 1695
Son; John Martin
Sister; (means sister of John) Annis Chaffee

From: The Martin Genealogy by Henry J. Martin (1880) Chapter V.

Richard Martin died Mar. 2, 1694. Quotes form his will;

"Item; It is my will that my grandson, John Ormsby, my daughter Elanor's son, shall posess and enjoy and improve my lands on the North of the Town of Rehoboth, divided and undivided, until my grandchildren in Old England come over to make use of them, and if, they never come over ----- the said John Ormsby to have and enjoy them for ever."

Note here that the genealogist uses the name Elanor for Richard Martin's daughter, but at the probate proceedings the name Grace is used, as it is in other records, so I have no doubt that the wife of John Ormsby was GRACE.

B -2 John Son of Richard (A-1) and Sarah (Wanton) Ormesby
b. about 1641 at Saco, Me.
d. Mar. 10, 1717/18 at Rehoboth, Mass. (Reh. VR)
m. Jan. 5, 1664, GRACE MARTIN, dau. of Richard Martin (REH. VR) (see note below)

Children: all born at Rehoboth, Mass.

C-1. Sarah b. Sept. 14, 1665
C-2. John b. Apr. 12, 1667
C-3 Elizabeth b. Oct. 3, 1668 d. Nov. 22, 1668
C-4. Grace b. Nov. 27,1669
C-5. Mary b. Oct. 22, 1671 d. Dec. 25, 1671
C-6. Joshua b. Dec. 9, 1672
C-7. Elizabeth b. Nov. 27, 1674
C-8. Mary b. Apr. 4, 1677
C-9. Jonathan b. Aug. 26, 1678
C-10. Martha b. May 7, 1680
C-11. Jacob b. Mar. 16,1682
C-12. Joseph b. July 8, 1684

Colonial Families in America p. 163
Rehoboth Vital Records

From: Genealogical Dictionary of New England by Savage Vol. 3. p. 316 " John Ormsby was a proprietor at Rehoboth in 1668. He was one of Gallup's Company in 1690 in Phip's "expedition against Quebec."From: Plymouth Scrapbook pps. 75-76-117
June 2, 1669, he gave bond as administrator of an estate
April, 1669, he inventoried the estate of F. Stevens
He was a witness on the bond of Richard Bowen, Jr. of Rehoboth.
His signature on all these documents is spelled Ormsby.
From: History of Rehoboth by Tilton (1918) p. 57

In a list of persons sharing in land given by Quit Claim deed from King Phillip, May 26, 1668, among others were; Ormsby; John, Thomas, Jacob. (all sons of Richard)

From: History of Rehoboth, Mass. by Tilton (1918) p. 92

In a list of inhabitants and proprietors who shared in lands given to the Town of Rehoboth, by Quit Claim deed Feb. 7, 1689, by William Bradford and recorded Apr. 21, 1735, among others were; Ormsby; John, Thomas, and Mary, Jacob Ormsby's daughter. (Jacob had d. 1677)

From: N.E.H.G.R. Vol. 7 p. 178

Inventory of the estate of Francis Stevens of Rehoboth was made April 1st, 1669 by Wm. Carpenter and John Ormsby.

C-9 Jonathan Son of John (B-2) and Grace (Martin) Ormsby.
b. Aug. 20, 1678 at Rehoboth, Mass.
m. June 8, 1703 MERCY ABBE in Windham, Ct. (Windham Co. , CT. VR) ÊShe d. Feb. 12, 1741/2 Dau. of Samuel (2), ; John (1) Abbe (Reh. VR)
Children: From Windham Co., Ct. VR and Rehoboth, Mass. VR.
D-13. Ichabod b. Apr. 15, 1704
D-14. Jonathan B. May 1, 1705
D-15. Sarah b. July 29, 1707 Êm. July 11, 1728 Abraham Bliss ÊHe b. Oct. 28, 1695 at Rehoboth
D-16. Jacob b. Feb. 24, 1710/11
D-17. Mercy b. Aug. 28, 1713
d. Feb. 4. 1741/2
D-18. Abigail b. Dec. 6, 1715
d. 1720
D-19 Mary b. Feb. 1, 1717
m. Nov. 22, 1739 Joseph Parker of Mansfield, Ct.
D-20. Abigail b. Oct. 19, 1722

see references to G & H item 11833 under Joseph (C-12)

Rehoboth Vital Records show the marriage of a Jonathan Ormsbee on Jan. 20, 1742/3 to Martha Hammon. I believe this was Jonathan( C-9) ( note his wife had died Feb. 12, 1741/2), and Martha was the widow of William Hammon, who had died Jan. 1729. William Hammon had md. Martha Redaway Aug. 16, 1711. She was b. July 26, 1687, dau. of John and Mary Redaway.