DNA of Simon Janes of Broomfield (1698 – 1780)

Simon Janes (1698 – 1780), is my 6x great-grandfather and for about 10 years I have never been able to research this line any further back. Simon spent most of his adult life in Broomfield, Essex, England and first appears in the parish records 7th April 1732, with the baptism of his first known child. A daughter named Mary. I suspect that Mary was born the day before and it wasn’t entirely a time of joy as his wife, also called Mary died during childbirth. She was buried in Broomfield on the 9th April.

I have no information regarding this marriage and I’m sure the union took place either in London or perhaps even America.

Simon re-married shortly afterwards on the 18th October 1734, in the parish of Broomfield. His 2nd wife Sarah Crow was born in Boreham, Essex in 1707. The couple had three children.

Simon Janes, born November 1734

Jonathan James Janes, born May 1739

Ann Janes, born March 1742

The Janes family is an area of my tree that I have devoted a lot of time researching, and I have recorded most of Simon’s descendants.

One of my biggest problems with the Janes family, was the lack of people born with this surname in Essex during the years 1630 – 1730, a gap of 100 years.

I was aware of William Janes, Sadler of Chelmsford who died in 1705, and there was a very small branch in Kelvedon, Essex in the 1670’s, headed by a family member who went by the name of Benjamin Janes.

One of my biggest clues to the origins of this family existed with my knowledge of Abel Janes who was born in Chelmsford, Essex in 1585, he was married to Hannah Bascom and were known to have had one child, William Janes (1610 – 1690). William married twice, firstly to a Mary Hewes and secondly to another Hannah Bascom, (a cousin).

a book has been published on this branch of the family and relates to William Janes and his emigration to America and his descendants.

For years I considered the possibility that Abel had another child, who possibly stayed in England and through that connection my own branch descended, Chelmsford and Broomfield are within walking distance of each other and so the connection was always there, I just had to find the records and put the pieces together.

I never found them, 100 years of records missing for this family.

Then earlier this year, I tested my father’s DNA, and more recently myself too.

From those tests, we matched with eight researchers that all seemed to share William Janes (1610 – 1690), as a common ancestor. Although a few of the trees had only been part researched.

I was more than sure now that Abel Janes was indeed my ancestor, but still I was missing those all important British records.

So I started looking more closely at the American records and the descendants of William Janes. I found common names in their trees that matched with my English branches, the names Jonathan and Simon appear in both of our trees.

So could Simon Janes have been born in America!?

I had a big clue, his year of birth; 1698 based on his age at death. He was 82 years old when he died in 1780.

I found only one baptism in America for this year, in the parish of Northampton, Massachusetts. The problem was the record, it was illegible and the modern transcription only included the surname. I did a search of online trees that included Janes families living in Northampton and found that no one had this mystery baptism included in their trees and only two branches of Janes were recorded as living there, they were brothers Samuel and Benjamin Janes.

Samuel Janes was the only one who had children baptised.

Samuel Janes, born September 1693

Jonathan Janes, born January 1696

Obadiah Janes, born April 1697

Ebenezer Janes, born May 1701

Sarah Janes, born May 1703.

Then we have this missing illegible baptism recorded in 1698.

Could this be my Simon Janes, it looked highly possible, especially as the year of birth matched and one of Simon’s sons was named Jonathan plus I had a good amount of Janes DNA matching.

I decided to look for any matching DNA for Samuel’s wife, Sarah Hinsdale. I found lots for her parents and again for their parents and further in time still. I was beginning to build up a bigger picture with DNA that matched most of the ancestors of both Samuel and Sarah.

Below shows a snapshot of my tree including DNA matches so far found for this branch.


My next step was to at least find some primary sources that would place Simon in America.

Then I suddenly came across three passenger records, one record of travel was for a Simon Jones in 1742, another record of travel was for a Simon Jonas in 1776 and the last record of travel is undated but took place sometime between 1700 – 1799, for a Simon Jennes and the travel document included the name Samuel.

Although the surname is incorrect, the dates are very important. 1742 was the year that Simon’s last child was born and 1776 was the year that Simon’s american brothers died, one of these brothers was Samuel Janes.

So why would Simon move to England, and when did it happen!?

I don’t have the full answers to this, but what I do know, is that he was orphaned in 1704, aged 6, when his parents and 3 of his siblings were killed by native americans. Simon would have been the youngest of the 3 surviving children.

I would imagine he was taken in by a family member, possibly even his kinsman, William Janes, Sadler of Chelmsford, Essex, England. There is no baptism in England for this William and it’s highly possible that he too came from America.

Sadly William died in 1705, if Simon was living with him, then he would have been orphaned once more.

This is where the parish of Broomfield comes in, the parish records include references to children taken in through charity. Including one baby found abandoned on the road side, she was named Charity Broomfield.

However this part of the story played out, how american born Simon Janes returned to his families native town of Chelmsford, Essex is pure guess-work and it’s easy to romanticise the story, it maybe that he inherited property from William the Sadler, who died without issue.

Either way Simon lived out the remainder of his life in Broomfield, Essex, England and his descendants spread out across the county of Essex into London and Surrey and some across the Atlantic Ocean to both Canada and America once more.

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