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The exact English origins of George Bartlett

Information send by Gary Bartlett 14 June 2018

The exact English origins of George Bartlett are as yet unknown.

The earliest known record of George on this side of the Atlantic is in the first court record from "Guilford Plantation", dated 14 August 1645, wherein he is listed as a witness in the court proceedings, per Genealogies of Connecticut Families, from the New England Historical & Genealogical Register, selected and introduced by Gary Boyd Roberts, Genealogical Publishing Co., Baltimore, 1983, p 102.

Many internet sites give a birth year for George of 1630, but for George to have been a witness in the Guilford court in 1645, he must first have already attained the age of majority – 21 years under English Common Law. This means that the latest possible birth year for George would be 1624 or before.

It is known that several young men who were either attached to existing households in some capacity or who were not yet of legal age, were among the original settlers at Guilford, although not signers of the Guilford Plantation Covenant, which heads of households signed aboard ship in route to America during the summer of 1639. (In many New England Puritan communities, stray bachelors and maidens were prohibited from living alone, and were assigned to live under the discipline of existing households).
George Bartlett may very likely have fit into this category, as he did not marry until 11 years after the founding of the settlement, and since he gradually passed through positions of increasing responsibility in local government.
One would presume George Bartlett to have been one of the Guilford founders, owing to the central location of his homelot. His name was tenth in the Guilford "Book of Terriers" (i.e. a survey of landed property), with a homelot of 4 ½ acres (GCF p 102). The site was situated on the southwest corner of Guilford Green. It is logical to assume that during the first decade or so of the settlement, all those individuals having homelots in the center of the village were members of the original 1639 group, with the community expanding outward from the geographic core as later settlers arrived or children of the original settlers grew to adulthood.
Frankly, if George Bartlett were not part of the original 1639 Guilford group – for instance, if he came to Guilford directly from England or from elsewhere in New England at a later date as some researchers suggest – it is impossible to believe that he would have been assigned a homelot with frontage on Guilford Green, as that land would already have been taken by the first settlers, and would not have been available to late arrivals. Moreover, Puritan immigration into New England virtually stopped after 1640 due to the English Civil War, so it is doubtful that George Bartlett arrived after that.
Moreover if the supposition is correct that George Bartlett was part of the 1639 group and he was allotted his homelot in the first division of land at Guilford Plantation, which would appear to be the case, it argues for an even earlier birth year for George than 1624.

Once again, for George Bartlett to own land, he would have been required to attain the age of majority of 21 years. The records of the first allotments of land are no longer existent, and may have been destroyed in a house fire, per the History of Guilford & Madison, Connecticut, by Bernard Christian Steiner, reissued by The Guilford Free Library, Guilford, CT, 1975, p 31. The Whitfield Congregation arrived first in New Haven, where they remained temporarily until the land for what became Guilford village could be purchased from the local Native Americans. The final land transaction was finalized in 02 February of 1641-2, per HGM p 33. Assuming that George Bartlett was at least 21 years old by that time, it pushes his birth year back to – maybe – 1620. From a tactical standpoint therefore, as far as genealogical research into George Bartlett’s English origins is concerned, it would make sense to look for his birth record in an English parish in Kent, Sussex, or Surrey in a range of – say – 1618-1624.


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