Bridging the Atlantic is the goal of many genealogical research projects, including this one. Woe be the person who posts a specious connection to one of the English Ballard families, for out of the wings will come Paul Ballard, the creator of the Ballard Genealogy & Heraldry website. Paul is a fierce protector of the English lines, and rightly so — he is the authority on Ballard Genealogy and Heraldry in England, and he no doubt recognizes that poor research resulted in the many erroneous genealogies that have found their way into print.
Paul does, however, acknowledge one connection, and that is the descent of Charles Ballard Sr of Somerset County, Maryland, whose brother Jarvis names him in records preserved in Boston, Massachusetts. Below is a synthesis of his work with that of John M.Weisner, whose research notes appear on this site under the tab Origins.
This genealogy begins with the dubious pedigree of a Philip Ballard, born c. 1519, of Greenwich, Kent, through his sons resided primarily in Southwell, Nottinghamshire, with some descendants who ended up in London. As we’ve adapted Paul’s research, we have taken a few liberties in its presentation. In the case of wills, court cases and Inquisitions Post Mortem, we have broken up the record into paragraphs for ease of comprehension.
There is no evidence that Charles Ballard of Somerset County, Maryland was related to Thomas Ballard of James City County, Virginia, though they appear to be of the same station and could very well be cousins who probably left England because of the troubles caused by the English Civil War, the horrors of London in the 1660s (plague, the great fire of 1666), and the possibilities posed by settling in the New World. Further research may find a connection, but to date, no proof has been found, but as stated in other pages of this site, family relationships may help puzzle this out. For now we will decline to speculate.
Phillip Ballard of Greenwich, Kent, born c. 1519.
A Herald’s Visitation of Nottinghamshire in the year 1614 was conducted to document amerigerous families and confirm the legitimate use of coats-of-arms. The officials apparently interview Henry Ballard, who supplied them with a family history. The Visitation recorded the following: Phillip Ballard of Greenwich in County Kent married Joane, the daughter of Edward Fitzwilliams. Their son William Ballard of Southwell in Nottinghamshire married Anne, the daughter “of Lunn of Welley” in Nottinghamshire. Henry Ballard, the son of William and Anne, married Elizabeth, the daughter of Thomas Townesend of Testerton in Nottinghamshire (Testerton is actually in the County of Norfolk). Henry and Elizabeth had the following children: Thomas (14 years old in 1614), Catherin, Anne, William, Phillip and Elizabeth. See The Visitations of the County of Nottingham in the Years 1569 and 1614 (Publications of the Harleian Society, Vol. 4, 1871), p. 104.
However, Paul Ballard notes:
There is, as yet, no evidence of Phillip in any State, legal or Church records or any physical artefacts. Any pedigree that links him to the Ballards of Greenwich descended from Gregory Ballard is totally without foundation. Furthermore, despite the assertions of the many treenealogists on Ancestry.com there is not a shred of evidence that either Thomas Ballard of Virginia or the two William Ballards of Massachusetts are descended from this line. He was baptized circa 1519. He married Joane Fitzwilliams circa 1539. (Herald’s Visitation).
The children of Phillip Ballard and Joane Fitzwilliams were:
WILLIAM, born c. 1540, died before 14 September 1605.
Benjamin, born c. 1545. Prerogative Court of Canterbury Wills. Benjamin Ballard was born c. 1545. William Ballard, son of Philip Ballard and Joane Fitzwilliams left property in Southwell to his nephew William Ballard; as a consequence, therefore, he must have had a brother. There is no evidence that this brother was Benjamin, or that Benjamin had a son William, but we reach this conclusion based on the following record: “Benjamin Ballard John Bassett of Fledborowe, Nottinghamshire, esq. owes Benjamin Ballard of Southwell, gent. £2,200 to be paid next feast of Purification.Endorsed memo.: acknowledging this in Chancery on 22 December 1594.” ([Parchment; Latin] Family Archive, 1296-1948 Nottingham University Library).