It looks like Solomon Holman is our ancestor and my great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-grandfather. The evidence is not ideal, but here is where we are . . .
We have been able to document back to Charles Holman for a long time: https://jillholman.com/genealogy/holman-timeline-for-four-generations/
But then we had a brick wall for decades.
Then a few years ago, I noticed that cousins were starting to claim Solomon Holman, born in 1671, as our ancestor, but they didn’t seem to have much evidence.
In the Holmans in America book, we can trace down from Solomon Holman to Abel Holman. (Also, be sure to check out the pictures of the Holman farm in West Newbury MA on page 2 and the pictures of the gravestones on page 4.)
The tricky bit is connecting Charles to Abel. We cannot find a birth record for Charles, nor his brother James, and the census only named head of household back then. To make matters worse, Abel died young, at 40.
One clue is his wife Louise, who married Silas Baldwin after Abel died. Then a Baldwin ends up with Charles’ brother James in Kossuth, Iowa in the 1870 census. Technically, it says a male, aged 75, who was born in Vermont. Was this Louise and they made a mistake in the census or another Baldwin? Silas did have a brother named Lewis, though the dates don’t quite match up there either.
Next, note that the Abel linked to Charles at Findagrave appears to be wrong: https://www.findagrave.com/memorial/66277843/charles-thomas-holman
Yes, to to make this even more complicated, there were two Abel Holmans born in 1791!
- One Abel was born to Samuel and Sarah in VT. He married Nancy and then later Electa. He lived for many years in New York and died in 1861. He did not have a son named Charles, nor James. Learn about him over here.
- Our Abel is the one born to Francis and Sarah in MA. He ended up in VT. There is a probate record for him in 1832.
One more thing you might notice if you trace through the Holmans in America book: Francis Holman married Sarah Holman. Yes, her name was Holman before she married a Holman and they were first cousins. I could not get the software to cooperate, but in this chart, there should be a line from Sarah to her parents, Solomon and Sarah, and then there should be a line from Solomon to John and Judith:
One last bit of evidence – recently, I connected with a distant cousin where we were the only Y-DNA match at the 111 marker level . She feels confident she can trace back to Solomon Holman with many generations in the Holmans in America book.
Combining the DNA results with the clues from paper research, it seems likely that Solomon Holman is our ancestor.
P.S. Check out two versions of Solomon’s origin story:
1 – The Holman family migrated from Wales to the Bermuda Islands between 1670 and 1690. It included three sons, born in Wales. Two of the sons, Solomon and John, were seized by a press-gang and brought to Newburyport. There they succeeded in escaping from the British ship.
John, the younger, settled in North Carolina. Solomon settled in Newbury ; married a Miss Mary Barton of Old York. (Benedict)
2 – Solomon Holman, was one of the early settlers in the west parish of Newbury. He was born in England, served seven years on board of a man of war, ran away in Bermuda, when sent after milk, secreted himself in the barn till the vessel sailed, and lived by milking the cows. He was discovered by the owner of the barn, who befriended him, and gave him employment. He afterward married his employer’s daughter Mary, came to Newbury, built him a barn, and then a log house, on land of which he bought thirteen acres for a fat heifer. The land is now owned by Mr. Jonathan Ilsley, from whom I obtained this account. Mr. Holman died May seventh, 1753, in his eighty-second year. (Coffin)
- Benedict, William Addison, and Hiram A Tracy. History of the town of Sutton, Massachusetts, from 1704 to 1876: including Grafton until 1735; Millbury until 1813; and parts of Northbridge, Upton, and Auburn. (Worcester, Mass: Sanford & Company, 1878)
- Coffin, Joshua. A sketch of the history of Newbury, Newburyport, and West Newbury, from 1635 to 1845. (Boston: S.G. Drake, 1845)
- Learn more about Y-DNA testing here