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Understanding Adventurers of Purse and Person: The Stephens Family of James City, VA

Understanding Adventurers of Purse and Person

Prepared under the auspices of the Order of First Families of Virginia to commemorate the 400th anniversary of the founding of Jamestown (2007), the Fourth Edition of Adventurers of Purse and Person extends the lines of descent of the founding families documented in previous editions from four generations to six, bringing most families down to the Revolutionary or early Federal periods. The Fourth Edition represents the culmination of more than twenty-five years of research by the widely respected Virginia genealogist John Frederick Dorman. The purpose of the work is to establish descents of the approximately 150 individuals who can be identified as (1) Adventurers of Purse (i.e. stockholders in the Virginia Company of London who either came to Virginia in the period 1607-1625 and had descendants, or who did not come to Virginia during that period but whose grandchildren were resident there); or (2) Adventurers of Person, 1607-1625 (i.e., immigrants to Virginia who left descendants). Store –

Adventurers of Purse and Person Virginia 1607-1624/25. Fourth Edition. Volume Three, Families R-Z

The foundation of the Adventurers of Purse and Person is the famous “Muster” of 1624-25, which is essentially a census taken by the Royal Commission which succeeded the Virginia Company to determine the extent and composition of the Jamestown settlements. In the Muster, which is reproduced in entirety in Volume One, the name of each colonist appears with the location of his home and the number in his family, together with information about his stock of food, his supply of arms and ammunition, his boats, houses, and livestock. In all, about 1,200 persons are named in the Muster, of whom approximately 150 are shown in this work to have left descendants to the sixth generation.

So that our readers might better understand what  they could glean about an ancestor who was living in Virginia at the time of the “Muster,” we are reprinting Mr. Dorman’s treatment of one of the families found in Volume of the series.  The 17th-century families covered in Volume Three are: Reynolds, Robins, Rolfe, Rookings, Royall, St. Leger, Salter-Weld, Savage, Scarburgh, Sharp, Sharp-Baugh, Sheppey, Slaughter, Smith (Arthur),  Smith (Richard), Smith (Roger), Southey-Harmar-Littleton, Spencer, Stephens,  Strachey, Swann, Tatum, Taylor-Cary, Thorowgood, Tooke, Townshend, Trussell, Utie,  Utie-Bennett, Vassall, Waters, West, West (Anthony), Whiting, Wilkins, Williams, Willoughby, Wood, Woodhouse, Woodliffe, Woodson, Woodward, Wroughton, Wyatt, Yeardley, and Zouche. While the 46 genealogies in Volume Three vary widely in their length, the average article is about twenty-four pages. Following is the genealogy of the family of Richard Stephens, one of the shorter essays in Volume Three, along with a transcription of the actual page of the “Muster” of 1624-25 on which Stephens’ name appears.