We can't find any sources to prove that Stephen Farr was a son of Thomas Farr of Lynn, MA. or Haynes, Bedford, England. It appears that Thomas Farr of Lynn was really Thomas Farrar of Lynn and Salem. Reports from both ¹Robert Charles Anderson (see report below) and Dr. Arlene Eakle, state that Thomas Farr of Lynn did not exist but Thomas Farrar did. Any reference to Thomas Farr of Lynn is really Thomas Farrer.
The ²DNA that descends from this Stephen matches the DNA that descends from Thomas Farr(b. abt 1637 Lidlington, Bedford, England) down to our English DNA participant who now lives in Belgium. This, along with other records, proves that Stephen is Thomas' brother and both are sons of William. Stephen disappears from the English records and is the only Stephen that can't be accounted for. This is the Stephen that shows up in Concord, MA., and is why he shows in the parish records as a son to William but not mentioned in William's will. The DNA results between our Farrs and our English cousin are as follows:
#14723(David Jackson Farr)-----13 23 14 10 11 12 12 12 12 14 13 30 18 9 10 11 11 24 15 19 29 15 16 17 17 11 10 19 23 17 15 17 17 36 38 12 12
#15659(Steven Timothy Farr)----13 23 14 11 11 12 12 12 12 14 13 30 18 9 10 11 11 24 15 19 29 15 16 17 17 11 10 19 23 17 15 17 17 36 38 13 12
The above results show a two-marker one-step mutation. The following two paragraphs from FamilyTreeDNA's website explain why this is not a problem:
When you compare a 12 Marker result to another 12 marker result of someone with the SAME surname, and the results match 12/12, there is a 99% probability that you two are related within the time frame included in the MRCA tables. If the match is 11/12, there's still a high probability that you are related IF the 11/12 match is within the same surname. If you compare a 25 Marker result to another 25 marker result for the SAME surname, and the results match 24/25, then there is also a 99% confidence that the two individuals are related…and at a much closer time interval than with the 12 marker test. If you compare a 37 Marker result to another 37 marker result for the SAME surname, and the results match 35/37, then there is also a 99% confidence that the two individuals are related…and at a much closer time interval than with the 12 or 25 marker test.
Our bodies work as copy machines when it comes to the Y-DNA. You can have a copy machine doing 1,000 copies without a problem, and then, the 1,001 copy may have an "o" that looks more like an "e". And when we use this copy to make additional ones, all the new ones will now have an "e" instead of an "o". This is a simple way to explain how mutations occur in our Y-DNA when it's transferred (copied) from father to son. Mutations don't happen frequently, on the contrary, very seldom, but they can happen randomly in time, which means that I could be one mutation off from my father. That is why all those matches or close matches on 12 markers will, in most cases, go away when they happen between different surnames and when we increase the number of markers that are compared with more mutations showing up. This means farther back in time to when the common ancestor lived.
I was searching the 'New England Historic Genealogical Societies' online archives and ran across the New England Friends Cemetery Inscriptions. As I began to search the different Friends cemeteries I noticed more Farrs than I expected. When I finished the search I had found 35 Farrs whom had been buried during the 19th century in Quaker cemeteries.
I then decided to do more searching for available friend records in the SLC FHL and could only find records from the late 1700's to the 1900's. I then contacted the Archivist of Friend records at the Rhode Island Historical Library by email and asked if they knew if any Quaker records existed for the mid to late 17th century and early to mid 18th century for the state of Massachusetts. A few days later I received an email from Marnie Miller-Gutsell who is the archivist over the Friend's records. She informed me that the Massachusetts Friend records where all on file at the Rhode Island Historical Library with the exception of a few western Massachusetts Friend records that are housed at a university in Pennsylvania and a few in New York.
For years Maybeth Reimann urged me to check the Quaker records for Farrs but I couldn't find the records for the years needed to check on Thomas and Stephen Farr. It didn't occur to me that the records would be in Rhode Island instead of Massachusetts. I was very surprised when Marnie wrote back and said that the records were in RI. not MA.
I sent information on Thomas Farr's alleged family and information on Stephen Farr and his children in the mail to Marnie. The following is her response back to me shortly after she received my mailing:
Marnie Miller-Gutsell, Archivist
New England Yearly Meeting Archives
Rhode Island Historical Library
121 Hope Street
Providence, RI 02906
I received your family information today, and did a preliminary search. I'm sorry to tell you that there wasn't a single Farr/Farre in the Quaker records of the Salem/Lynn/Boston area during the time period you are interested in. Those were the only active Quaker worshipping groups anywhere in that vicinity at that time. Even if there were some small worshipping groups in Stow or Billerica, two other locations you mentioned, they would still have connected with the main groups nearer the coast.
To tell the truth, when I saw that Stephen was a veteran of King Phillip's War, I wasn't really surprised not to find him. Quakers were (and often still are) pretty strict pacifists, and there are many records of their paying large fines or having property confiscated for refusing to train with the militia. Men who did train or serve could be "disowned" by their Meeting for doing so. If Stephen had become a "convinced" Friend after the war, he or his children would still have shown up in the record.
Sorry to report such disappointing news. Best of luck in finding the Farrs elsewhere.
Note: Stephen was a soldier in King Phillip's War and was present when his commander, Capt. Nathaniel Davenport was slain, April 21, 1676.
The following was taken from the NEHGR Vol. 151, Jan, p. 59, 1997 and is why we can't find vitals on some of Stephen's children:
UNRECORDED EARLY BIRTHS
IN BILLERICA, MASSACHUSETTS:
BACON, FARR, BROWN, AND HINDES
Melinde Lutz Sanborn
Most genealogists are only too familiar with frustrations caused by records that are inadequate because of such hazards as illiteracy, court house fires, water damage, and occasional theft. Negligence was often a factor as well, as shown by the following communication from a frustrated registrar in 1686. The document was unearthed recently among Middlesex County Court Files.
Billerica decembr 15, 1686
Capt Hammond, sr I received yours, dated Novembr 6th wherein you are pleased to signify to my self, ye Honrd County Court appointing myselfe to take the account of births & deaths in our Towne, sr, I have here enclosed a list of all that I have heard in our Towne, since my last returne, with a penny a name, according to former customes, but I have not sent ye shilling over pluss, for my purpose is not to hold ye Service any longer; if I may obtaine that favour of ye Honrd Court, & therefore do intreat your self to motion it to ye Court to appoint another. I have served in ye place about twenty year and have returned many a name, & money with them, that I never got a penny for. here is six names in this returne, that none take care of to pay for, in deed ye law made is strikt enought, if p[er]sons would regard it, or that there were a way found to execute it for my owne [blot] I am weary of running after many p[er]sons, & minding them of ye law, unless [blot] would reguard what ye law is. Sr. I will only mention ye names of 3 or 4, which have bin often spoken to, as Michail Bacon, Steven Farre, John Browne has had 2 children since he came into this Towne, & has given account of none. John Hindes, was married 4 year since, often Called upon, but to no purpose, & now is removed to lankastere. So, if men may be p[er]suaded to attend ye law in these respects, I shall be willing to do any service in this kind, w[he]n called to it, but to have so much labour to looke after these things & nothing but ill will for my paines, this I am weary of Pray P[ar]rdon my boldness with yr selfe, I humbly request ye Honrd Court to appoint another in my stead
Sr, I remaine yor Humble, servt, Jonathan Danforth, Senr.
Note by Tim Farr: Stephen Farr and Michael Bacon in another Billerica town record (FHL film #901876) were warned to show at a town meeting in 1681 and they attended. Also in the records p. 247 a Job Caine was warned by the selectmen not to entertain Stephen Farr upon his farm, so as to bring him in as an inhabitant amongst us without ye consent of ye town.
I believe that Stephen was a Puritan because of the following record from the NEHGR Vol. 136, p. 45:
George Farley was active in town affairs: in March 1659/60, he served on the Grand Jury (ibid., 59); also in 1660 he was a corporal in the train band, a group formed to train and protect the town. On 14 August 1675, in a period of frequent Indian attack, his house was selected as a garrison in time of extremity. He was also on the march which took the life of his son Timothy at Brookfield, Massachusetts, 1675.
His name appears frequently in the selectmen's records. On 22 November 1674 he was chosen surveyor of highways, and 11 August 1682, he was elected a tithing man for the ensuing year with the following families under his care: John Lame, Steven Far, Nathaniel Hill, Sq. Hill, Jno Hill, Isaac Sternes, Mr. Whiting, Henry Jeffs (sic), John Sternes, Samuel Farley (his son), Widdow French (sic), Wm Chamberlain, John Chamberlain, John Shed, and Dan'l Shed, Sr. (sic). The tithing men were each responsible for ten families, supervising their moral behavior and church attendance. He is mentioned on several other occasions in various town matters.
George Farley was a Baptist, and as such his church activities are of interest. He was on the committee to build a church and provide for a minister at Billerica, 10th of 6th mo 1658 (Hazen, History of Billerica, 153), yet he was frequently at variance with the views of the church. The Puritans, who had left England to escape the restrictions of the established church, reversed positions and cast the Baptists into the role of dissident in the new colony. The principal Baptist belief was freedom of religion, and, therefore, the Puritan insistence on infant baptism was particularly offensive to them (Francis H. Russell, “A Cobbler at His Bench: John Russell of Woburn,” Register, 133 :125-133). They frequently turned their backs during baptism or walked out. Samuel Farley, son of George, was fined for eating and drinking in church, probably more an indication of his defiance than a reflection of his boorishness (Superior Court records no. 1689, 131-133).
The following is a research report by ¹Robert Charles Anderson for the ³Winslow Farr Sr. Family Org., 1996:
THOMAS AND STEPHEN FARR
1) PASSENGER LISTS
Attempts have been made to find Thomas or Stephen Farr in passenger lists, but the only Farr entries mentioned in the research files are Edward Farr and Barnabas Farr. Edward is listed on a 1635 ship to St. Kitt's. There is no evidence that this man ever came to New England, and examples of passengers on these ships bound for the Caribbean later coming to New England are vanishingly few. Barnabas Farr, who sailed on the James in 1635 with Rev. Richard Mather, is in all New England records Barnabas Fawer, a different surname.
Thomas and Stephen Farr do not appear in surviving passenger lists, and the prospects of finding more lists for the appropriate period are quite slim. Further research in this class of records at this time should not be conducted.
2) THOMAS FARR
The existence of Thomas Farr depends on the existence of records which show that such a man was in New England in the middle of the seventeenth century. The next thing to do is examine each of the records supposed to apply to this man.
a) The Holmes-Corey researchers stated that a record of Thomas Far had been found in Boston in 1645, but did not provide a citation for this record. A Thomas Farrar of Boston, husbandman, son of Thomas Farrar of Burnley, Lancashire, in 1645 gave a power of attorney to his brother Henry Farrar. if this is the record referred to by Holmes-Corey, then it has nothing to do with a supposed Thomas Farr. The Farr and Farrar names are quite distinct, although, as we shall see, they can be confused by misunderstandings of written versions of the name.
b) In 1654 Daniel King of Lynn sold to “Thomas Farr” of Lynn several sizeable parcels of land in Lynn [Essex Deeds 1:30]. This record is certainly the basis for much of the belief in the existence of Thomas Farr, and of his possible connection with George Farr of Lynn. I believe, however, that the grantee in this deed was Thomas Farrar of Lynn, a person who certainly did exist.. The version of these deeds which we now consult is a nineteenth-century transcript, the original of which is no longer available. Many seventeenth-century scribes would write “Farr-ar” by converting the last two letters into a flourish, so it might look to a person unfamiliar with the older scripts as “Farr” with a fancy termination. It should be possible to resolve this point by examining the later land transactions of Thomas Farrar of Lynn, to see if any of the parcels purchased from Daniel King appear in his hands.
c) Suffolk Court Files Case #24440 involves Thomas Powers and Thomas Farr-who are both of age, but the deposition is not dated. However, two of the principal players in the deposition are Ebenezer Parkhurst and his wife Mary, a couple who were not known to have married before 1695, and so the deposition must have been made no earlier than this date, and probably some years later. The deponent would therefore be the Thomas Farr born about 1688, son of Stephen Farr.
d) The supposed Thomas Farr- is given sons John, Thomas and Jonathan, in addition to Stephen. John is said to be of Lynn, but this must be John, son of George Farr-of Lynn, as evidenced by John's probate of 1672. I find no evidence for the existence of Thomas and Jonathan Farr, supposed sons of the supposed Thomas.
On this evidence I see no reason to believe that Thomas Farr ever existed. If I have overlooked any records thought to prove the presence of a Thomas Farr in early New England, I would be glad to examine them.
3) STEPHEN FARR
Stephen Farr first appears in New England records in 1674 when he married in Concord. Since we have eliminated Thomas Far as his possible father, we are left with little else in New England. The only earlier Farr family is that of George Farr of Lynn. From the probate records relating to George Farr and his son John, it is clear that Stephen was not a son of George. Given his marriage date and his participation in King Philip's War, Stephen cannot have been born much later than 1650; but, inasmuch as those sons of George Farr who did marry were married much later than 1650, Stephen Farr also cannot have been a grandson of George Farr.
The conclusion from all this is that Stephen Farr was born in England, of unknown parents, probably in the 1640s.
From the above arguments, we conclude that Stephen Farr came to New England as a single man, which will not make finding him in England an easy prospect. Only two lines of research suggest themselves:
a) Since we first find Stephen Farr in Concord, he may have been related in some manner to a Concord family, or possibly came with a Concord family as a servant. All records for Stephen Farr should be examined to determine if he had any frequent associations with families in Concord.
b) Search English records systematically for any Stephen Farr- born in England in the right time period, without any preconceptions about the names of his parents. This approach can be combined with the first suggested avenue of research, should anything suggestive appear from those efforts.
In this regard I would note that previous research has turned up one possibility that is at least worth pursuing - the Stephen Farr baptized at Lidlington, Bedfordshire, on 29 December 1640, son of William Farr. The baptismal date is a little early, but not terribly so, and many early Concord residents were from Bedfordshire. This may turn out to be a false lead, but I believe that your search for the origin of Stephen Farr will run along these lines - searching English records for a likely Stephen Farr, and then examining each candidate to see whether he can be eliminated, or whether any supporting evidence can be found.
I would be willing to make myself available to the Farr-Family Organization, at no further charge, in two specific areas. First, if I have failed to address any record which purports to prove the existence of a Thomas Farr in New England prior to the appearance of Stephen Farr, I would be glad to study it and give an opinion on its evidentiary value. Second, if some other researcher finds in England a Stephen Farr who appears to be a strong candidate for identification as the immigrant, I would be glad to examine the records and express an opinion.
Nearly twenty years ago I was involved in a study of early examples of familial amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS or Lou Gehrig's disease). One of the earliest cases described was that of a Farr family of Vermont. Enclosed are two articles in medical journals which describe the disease as it appeared in this branch of the Farr family, and also a few Farr vital records which I extracted from the Vermont vital records which apply to this branch of the family. ALS usually strikes a person in the fifth decade of life, and in more than eighty percent of cases leads to death within five years. Nineteenth-century medicine had not yet classified neurological degenerative diseases in the way we do now, so when one sees records in which a person is dying in his or her forties or fifties, with the cause of death listed as paralysis or palsy or some similar designation, a diagnosis of ALS or something similar may be in order. I hope this information is of some use and interest to the members of the Farr family organization..
Robert Charles Anderson
27 March 1996
¹Robert Charles Anderson is the over the New England Great Migration Project.
²Farr Surname DNA results can be found online at: www.dustyhills.net/FarrDNATestResults.htm
³The Winslow Farr Sr. Family organization can be contacted through their website at: www.winslowfarr.org/index.htm
Notes about Stephen from Famous and Infamous Farr Family:
Stephen Farr was a soldier of King Philip's War, serving under Capt. Nathaniel Davenport in the Narragansett Campaign of 1675. This group of foot soldiers attacked the Narragansett Indian fort at Kingston, Rhode Island and attempted to wipe out the Narragansett Indian tribe in a battle known as “The Great Swamp Fight” The Narragansett Indians were believed to be allies with the Wampanoag Indians under King Philip's leadership who had attacked many Engliah settlements and killed a great many English settlers and their families. It was a very sad time in New England history when cultures in conflict were part of everyday life.
Double Proof: The Farr Family DNA Project http://www.arleneeakle.com/wordpress/2006/08/14/double-proof-the-farr-family-dna-project/
Many genealogists in the past believed Stephen Farr, who married Mary Taylor 24 May 1674 in Concord MA, had to be the son of a Farr who lived in Massachusetts or possibly Maine. Rev. Charles N. Sinnett, in his The Farr Genealogy (filmed by the Genealogical Society of UT in 1951) proposed Thomas Far of Lynn MA as the ancestor. There was a George Farr of first Boston and then of Lynn; he was also a candidate. Thomas Farr of Lynn turned out to be named Farrar with ties to Lancashire, England and George left a will naming his children and Stephen was not one of them.
The Farr Family Organization wrestled with the problem of their origins for decades. Finally in 2003, Tim Farr, a computer-savvy descendant, with the blessing and financial support of the family organization, launched a DNA Farr Surname Project. Two cousins were tapped to be tested first. They matched exactly with 12 markers, then 25 markers, and today with 37 markers. (There is now a 59 marker test!) Other male descendants were invited to participate and some asked to be included. A total of eleven descendants matched exactly.
Another male descendant, living in Belgium, contacted the family–he was born in Bedfordshire, England, where there were pockets of Farrs going back as far as the records themselves. And there was a Stephen Farr christened 1640 in Lidlington, Bedfordshire. He had already been highlighted as a good prospect for origins.
When (Belgium) Farr was tested, 35 of 37 markers matched exactly. The markers that matched indicated a probability of 99% relationship, and the 2 mutations indicated a different generation for the most recent common ancestor.
What makes the Farr DNA Surname Project unique? First, a computer database of English wills for the Farr surname was professionally created and circulated to family members on CD. Family members, with professional oversight, translated and transcribed the wills for analysis. This CD of wills was completed before the results of many of the tests were in.
Then, Tim with the aid of his sister Karen, added all the parish register entries for the Farr surname to an excel spreadsheet for comparison and careful analysis–so that every possible candidate for Stephen Farr’s parents and siblings could be identified and accounted for. These were added to the CD. At present more than 25,000 Farrs from records all over England are on this CD available from the family organization (see contact information below).
As the test results were coming in, each and every key lineage was also proven and documented with a clear paper trail–linking each generation from the dna match all the way back, son to father to grandfather and so on.
Stay tuned for the next episode, 21 August, 2006: I will show you why it is essential to check all the places where the ancestors resided for evidence. Some ancestors provided information beyond our wildest thoughts.
What makes a project like this possible?
1. The International Genealogical Index compiled by the LDS Church principally from parish registers. Bedfordshire was microfilmed early and all parishes are included in the database. Where there is a question of reading or interpretation, original registers are available on microfilm to check. The project had a few entries to be checked against the originals.
2. Computer software to speed the collection of data into spreadsheets: where the IGI batches are arranged alphabetically by location; and LDS Companion 2.12 from Archer Software. These remarkable tools enable you to convert parish register entries for your surname of interest in to comparable charts for analysis.
3. Dedicated, computer-savvy, personnel willing to spend the hundreds of hours needed. Few organizations can afford to use professionals for such a study. This massive effort includes the volunteers who in-put the data in the IGI, the dedicated genealogists who created the index utility for the batch numbers, Ancestry.com who ensured that freepages at rootsweb survived as a free site, and others who were unpaid participants willing to donate their time and energy to achieve success. And we all are indebted to the LDS Church whose foresight and financial resources have acquired the record sources on microfilm in sufficient quantity and completeness to ensure success.
4. Male descendants willing to have the DNA testing done through a reputable and careful lab. The Farr Project was powered by Family Tree DNA of Houston TX Other labs are available, descriptions can be found on the internet. Down-line research may be necessary to locate living male descendants. And only male descendants carry the Y-Chromosome dna (in spite of claims made on the internet). Each and every male carries a copy of the dna of his male ancestors. “There is no need to dig up dead bodies” for tests, Tim says.
Add to your summer reading:
Stephen Farr of Concord < Massachusetts b. 1640: His Family, Descendants, and Probable English Origins (A DNA Study) written by Timothy M. Farr, 2006. Available for $34.00 from Winslow Farr, S., Family Organization, 26561 Campesino, Mission Viejo CA 92691. CD also available, $5.00.