Chapter I: The Packards in good ‘ole England

This is the 3rd in a series of articles which serializes my family history, which I wrote in November 2017, titled “From Samuel to Cyrus: A fresh look at the History of the Packard Family.” Below is the 1st chapter of that history, with minor corrections as needed.

This was also featured in a previous post on this blog.

As some have said in the past, the “family name Packer may have been Piccard in French and the family may have been part of the Norman invasion of England.” While the idea that the Packards were part of the Norman invasion is just supposition, there is proof that the Packard (called Packer often in numerous documents) family lived in England.
For many years, the Packard family lived in England’s Norfolk and Suffolk Counties. [3]
While the records are spotty, the first we are aware of is Richard Packard, who died, as family lore says, in October 1473, who married a woman named Katherine, living in Earl, a town in Suffolk County. [4] Family stories further highlight a man named Richard Packard, born in 1468 and dying in May 1531. He was, as this story goes, married and reportedly had four children who were named: Thomas (1494-1495), Jane (1496-1497), Margaret (1498-1499), and John (?-1553). Of these children, only one was married and had children of their own: John. Family lore says he was born in 1492, but the British National Archives has one record showing that a man named “Richard Armeiard of Otley” gave land to a number of individuals including “his son, John Packard of Woodbridge [Suffolk]” in May 1581. [5] It seems this Packard, was the same as John, who was mentioned earlier, but it is not sure why his father’s name was “Richard Armeiard” as this could imply he was adopted or that his father had taken
on another name. Family lore also states that this John fellow married a woman named Joan Byrde (1509?-May 10, 1550), with one son: Moses Packard. [6] Reportedly, they had eight children and lived in the house shown on the previous page, which stands somewhere in Suffolk, England.
After Moses reportedly died in 1606, his 26-year-old son, George P., took over his estate. He married Mary Whither (1574-1672), and had seven children: Frances (b. 1601), John (1603-1559), George (1605-1605), Margaret (b. 1610), Samuel (?-1684), Nathan (1614-1614), and Mary (b. 1618). 15 years after his death, in 1623, one of these children, Samuel, would go to the “New World.” [7] Before that would happen, Samuel would move to a new town. He probably wanted to avoid, if Richard Packard, is right, being “landless” and later to take “drastic measures”: to come to a “New World” with his wife, Elizabeth, whom he may have married in 1635, and child, Mary, born in 1637 or 1638.
While the Packards had often lived in Suffolk County, Samuel moved to Norfolk County, which was north of Suffolk, at a date not yet known. While there he met his wife Elizabeth. According to John Speed’s maps of Tudor England, Hingham, where he lived much of his life, was near Wymondham (also called Wimundham or Windham), which would account for the confusion by some genealogists who have written about the Packard family. [8] With winds moving across the countryside with diverse terrain, profuse windmills, and well-watered soil, the area the Packards lived in was very agricultural, with much inland water traffic, few urban centers apart from Norwich, where there was a thriving cloth and other industries. With the delineation of a castle at the location of Hingham, this indicates that a town of some stature was there at the time. The ship that the Packards took to the Americas, the HMS Diligent, left from Suffolk County. Specifically, it left from Ipswitch, described as a place that was
“blessed with commerce and buildings, she worthily have borne the title of a city.”
These aspects undoubtedly add to the Packard family history, although more information is needed. [9] This could prove where Samuel was really born. The same goes for the maiden name of Samuel’s wife, Elizabeth. We know that Elizabeth and Samuel, likely married in 1637 or 1638, had one child in England, who was presumably Mary. They brought her on their voyage across the Atlantic. [10]


[3] Also spelled Picard, Packer or Parker in some records, but Packard is used here to keep consistency with the other parts of the story. Some, such as Harry Ronald Cecora in September 2007 (“The Packard Family Line: Five Hundred Forty Seven Years 1410 to 1957”) even track it far back as 1410. The veracity of their claims cannot be independently verified.

[4] See Burke’s Family Records (Indexed) and Ancestry family trees. More sources are being determined for this family lineage. Records are relatively sketchy.

[5] See page p. 578 of A dictionary of English and Welsh surnames by Ch. W. E. Bardsley; Ancestry family trees; “Grant by Richard Armeiard of Otley [Suffolk], to John Armeiard of Otley his son, John,” May 26, 1481, UK National Archives.

[6] England, Essex Parish Records, 1538-1900. Salt Lake City, Utah. FamilySearch, 2013 ;Lists of Early Chancery Proceedings, Vol. 6, p. 8, Bundle 604, Public Record Office, Lists and Volumes.

[7] Richard G. Packard, “Samuel Packard 1612-1684,” April 13, 2008, accessed August 17, 2017. Sent by Richard to me; Allen, Marion E., ed.. Wills of the Archdeaconry of Suffolk, 1620-1624. Suffolk, England: Boydell, 1989. This source says
“to his wife Mary, all moveables whatever, she paying debts & bringing up children; she be entrix.” The Probate records, 1526-1856 of Englandwhich would “prove” possible parents of Samuel, which could be George Packard (Packerde) and Mary Wither as
one transcription alludes. They same could be said by these wills. Most often cited is film 991989 or “Parish register transcripts, 1541-1837” of Stoneham Aspel (Aspal) or Stonham Aspall, which can be accessedwhen going to a family history center, just as film 991990 relatesto the same or similar records. As I remember reading on one site, this does not prove that Samuel is the son of George and Mary. They could have
been another Packard. Karle S. Packard, in her 1991 article says, “we can now be reasonably sure that our Samuel Packard was the third son of George and Mary (Wyther) Packard, baptized 17 September 1612 in Stonham Aspal, Suffolk, England.” But that is still dealing in assumptions.
[8] John Speed, Britain’s Tudor Maps: County by County(London: British Library, reprint, 2016, originally published in 1988), p. 17, 70-71, 88-89. Hence, he moved from “Old Hingham” to “New Hingham” as noted in the next chapter.
[9] Information could be gathered from the Suffolk Archives, Suffolk Preservation Society, and other sources. Indications now seem to say that Samuel was born in Stonham Aspal, Suffolk, England on Sep. 17 1612.
[10] Some say her name is Elizabeth, but Samuel and Elizabeth did not have a child of that name until 1664, with that date in question. The only person with a date before their arrival was Mary. There is a delayed baptismal certificate noted in one issue of
Packard’s Progress which shows a “Samuel Packard” born in a Hingham church. However, this is indirect evidence as it was created many years after the event occurred. In another issue of Packard’s Progress, Karle Packard admits that
saying that Samuel was born in Stonham Aspal, Suffolk, England is “presumptive” and is only a “probable” conclusion.

3 thoughts on “Chapter I: The Packards in good ‘ole England

  1. Pingback: The UK’s National Archives are ‘packed with Packards’ | Packed with Packards!

  2. My mother was a Packard and we stem from Samuels son and daughter. My moms father is Frances Packard his dad is John and his father is William R buried in Mansfield PA. Who was in the Civil War. His dad is Jeremiah (married Minerva) they are buried in Ohio. and his father is Neamiah who was a drummer in the Revolutionary War who married Mary Moody.
    And William Riley’s wife if Alice Malvine Phillips who’s father’s ancestors married Samuels first daughter, Mary.


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