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I am looking for information on one Nicholas Tobey, Merchant, of Somerset.  His Will was made 1674, and one of the TEST (witnesses) was my ancestor, John Gilbert, who also was a Merchant.  Were these two just in the same line of work, or were they relatives?

This Will shows up in the Maryland Calendar of Wills, which means that some of Nicholas Tobey's interests were in MD.  John Gilbert's land-holdings in old Baltimore Co MD were vast.  I think he earned much of it by Headrights, receiving fifty acres for each person he transported.  John Gilbert also had interests in Jamaica, so maybe Nicholas Tobey did, also.

Another clue - John Gilbert sold land in 1670 to Abraham Wild, who served as Captain of a ship called Avarilla.  In  December 1695, hearings about this ship were held in the House of Commons - I think some upset investors wanted answers, and right now.

This is basically my first foray into research Across The Pond.  Be good to me!  Pj

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Replies to This Discussion

Hi Pj -

This is not really my field, but a couple of things come to mind, and as I belong to a list that can surmise circumstances from wills, the way they were written etc! - I may be able to put you in contact with one of these persons or if you can copy the will as an attachment I can put it up for our members to look at for you and I can pass on their thoughts, alternatively, you could subscribe (not money) to our list and do it that way which may be easiest?

What is you need to find out? Is it where your family originated from Somerset or what happened in the House of Commons - or both?

Kind Thoughts from Across the Pond in Southampton (Ex Somerset) - Roy
Hello, Roy.
I composed a lovely reply, then this new-fangled contraption ate it, or something. I took up Genealogy ten years ago to teach myself about computers, and now know a fair amount about my ancestry...but still haven't a clue how a computer works.
I am looking for about half a dozen things in this one case. My main questions are:
1) Was John Gilbert from Somerset, or was that his business base?
a). John Gilbert witnessed Nicholas Tobey's Will in 1674. Nicholas Tobey was from Somerset,
but had business ventures in old Baltimore Co. The abstract shows up in the Maryland
Calendar of Wills.
b). Most of my old Baltimore Co ancestors were married to each others' sisters. So, were John
Gilbert and Nichloas Tobey related - by blood, marriage, or money?
2). John Gilbert made a lot of his wealth by transporting people to MD, and collecting Headrights of
fifty acres for each person. Were these people from Somerset?
a). If I compared surnames of some of those so transported, would I find their roots in Somerset?
b). Was Elizabeth Walker, for whom John Gilbert was awarded fifty acres in 1670, the same
Elizabeth who married John Gilbert's son Thomas about 1670?
c). Were the Transportees relatives, convicts, poor people, adventurers, or what?
3). John Gilbert sold 1600 acres in old Baltimore Co MD to one Abraham Wild 1670ish. What was
their connection? Relatives? Business partners? Co-Investors?
a). Abraham Wild was the Captain of the ship, Avarilla. He was also a Merchant.
b). Abraham Wild retired to England, and died before 1701 in Stepney, Middlesex Co.
c). His widow and her new husband, John Silk, sold some 600 acres of Abraham Wild's land
in old Baltimore Co MD in 1701.
4). Does anybody have access to records of the ship, Avarilla?
a). The House of Commons held hearings in December 1695. Transcripts exist, but I do not
have a spare 72 Pounds, or whatever it was, for a yearly membership to the British History
Website I found the info on.
b). Would passenger lists still exist? I suspect some of my ancestors got to MD on the Avarilla.
c). Who were the owners/investors, and what were they upset about?
d). Where were the Avarilla's Ports-of-Call? Did they include Jamaica?
5). Rather than from Somerset, was my John Gilbert from Leeds?
a). yDNA testing on descendents of a Jarvis/Gervaise Gilbert of old Baltimore Co indicate his
origins were from Leeds, from a Michael Gilbert Family. One Rev. Michael Gilbert was
accused of embezzling from his congregation, and was ordered to repay.
b). My Thomas Gilbert, son of John Gilbert, had grandsons named Thomas (of course),
Micheal, and Jarvis, born between 1701 and 1713 in old Baltimore Co MD.
c). The way I read the map, the Somerset area would be a far more convenient shipping point
than would Leeds, so seems like a better business base.
6). Did Abraham Wild's sons return to Maryland, where they still held land?
a). I descend from a guy named John Wild/Wilds, born about 1750 in Somerset County, MD.
b). Somerset Co MD was no doubt named for its counterpart in England.
c). It is located across Chesapeake Bay from St. Mary's Co, where John Gilbert and Nicholas
Tobey also held business interests.
d). Yes, I am missing a couple of generations, but wonder if it would be worth my while to chase
the descendants of Abraham Wild.

I do not have a copy of Nicholas Tobey's Will, but do have access to an abstract. I could type it out (I have not a clue how to scan or attach files - something I still have not taught myself!). So, what List is that you recommend? Pj, about a third the way around the world from you, in beautiful Cheney, WA, USA!
Hi Pj,

I'd love to correspond with you about this group of people! From what I have found, Nicholas Tobey (or Tovey) may have been a neighbor of Henry Ward's and it was probably in old Baltimore County, part of which became Cecil County. I have collected some information on Abraham Wild, I also believe that Henry Ward came from Somerset in England and perhaps in Bristol, which is where Nicholas Tovey/Tobey lived. At least that's where his wife was when he died.

Just this morning, I was following up a potential lead, and ran across the TEST name. Looking forward to sharing information with you!
Hi, Yourself, Ellen! Yes, I would love to discuss stuff directly with you. I have seen your name on the Cecil Co MD site, and could see your are chasing some of the same bunch of suspects. And I got to wondering if your Henry Ward had anything to do with Lawrence Ward, whose widow was the first wife of Nathaniel Utie. Anyway, rather than bore the whole group, do write to me at, and we can discuss Cecil Co MD (I have plenty of other questions there, about Porters and Ewings and Sherrills and...). Pj



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