Monday, December 10, 2012

The Perfect Picture

The family tree is massive and I try each morning to add a bit by taking families as far as the records go.  Today I was in Surrey, England near London. 

The line of the Learned (Larned) family includes John and wife, Sarah and his father Robert (b 1540); and Thomas Gillman Jr. and wife, Hannah with Thomas Gillman Sr (b 1550) and his wife Ann Farwell. All of them are from the same village.  Curious, I looked up Bermondsey, Surry, England.

On the south bank of the Thames, at the time John Larned was born (1555) Bermondsey was a lovely, up-scale rural suburb of London – sort of a Winter Park to Orlando or La Jolla to San Diego.  And we can see them was they were on a festive day when the citizens turned out in their finest to party in the street – captured in a painting by Joris Hoefnagel called “Fete at Bermondsey” c 1569 (thank you Wikipedia!). Our Learneds and Gillmans could be in this group! You can see London across the river in the background.

Joris Hoefnagel, Fete at Bermondsey c 1569                                                                
In 1590 John and Sarah had a son, William, who fell in love with Godethe (aka Judith) Gillman. They married in 1606 at St Olave. [“This is how Wikipedia describes the area: Other ecclesiastical properties stood nearby at Tooley (a corruption of "St Olave's") Street, located in the Archbishop of Canterbury's manor of Southwark, where wealthy citizens and clerics had their houses, including the priors of Lewes and St Augustine's, Canterbury, and the abbot of Battle.”] 

In 1630 William and Sarah Learned bravely took their children, Sarah, Bethia, Abigail, Elizabeth and Isaac and sailed for America landing in Charlestown, Massachusetts.  Elizabeth Learned married another English immigrant John Hall from Coventry, Warwickshire. They were our immigrant great grandparents through my father, who lived in a suburb of Orlando not very different from Bermondsey. I wouldn’t be surprised if the Gillman’s and Leared’s were merchants, which it was Grandpa Shaffer’s nature to be.


  1. We are related to Martha Learned who married Lt Joseph Stone. They had three children, and one of them was our great great grandfather. They lived in North Oxford Mass. Martha was descended from Jeremiah Learned, who served in the American Revolution. I am very glad to find material on Bermondsey. Thank you , Sarah H. Gordon

  2. Hi Sarah,
    You’ve inspired me to get back to work on my blog. Thank you for taking the time to read and comment on my Bermondsey entry. I wasn’t familiar with Martha Learned and Joseph Stone or Jeremiah Learned so I did some tracking and found that William Learned b 1590 is my 11th great grandfather and Martha’s 3rd great grandfather. She is descended from William’s son, Isaac b 1624. Our family is descended from Isaac’s sister Elizabeth b 1621. For you and me – William is our closest shared ancestor. It’s always great to find a cousin. I can imagine that Elizabeth and Isaac, the last two children born to William and close in age, were close in shared experiences and were friends. Elizabeth married John Hall, Jr. and at that point we lost the Learned name. Sandy


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