George Woolsey

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ChartsAncestors of Dora Myrtle Woolsey
George Woolsey, whose ancestry is unknown (or not traced here), was born at Langhale-cum-Kirstead, Great Yarmouth, Norfolk, England, about 1584.1 He died at Rotterdam, Holland, in 1629.2

George married Frances Roberts, whose ancestry is unknown (or not traced here), say 1610.1

He and three other Woolseys appear as apprentices in Great Yarmouth:
1596 Edward Woolsey, app. of John Harris, draper.
1604 Robert Woolsey, app. of John Thrower.
1604 George Woolsey, app. of Nicholas Cuttinge, grocer.
1610 Philip, appr. of George Woolsey, grocer.

There may be no relationship but it is possible that these are all brothers, though Philip Woolsey may be a nephew of George Woolsey. George Woolsey's record is interesting in that he was apprenticed in 1604 and apparently served his term of seven years by 1610 when he is listed as a "Grocer" taking on his own apprentice at that time.3

Shortly after his son George was born, George moved his family to Rotterdam, Holland where, in the notarial records of A. Wagensfeld, he was mentioned as "Jores Woolsey, tobacconist," 21 Oct 1623. He was dead by 1630, when an inventory of his estate was entered in the records of the Orphan's Court of Rotterdam. From this it appears that his widow, "ffranchina Robberts," had married Robert Hunt, merchant, and that he left minor children of whom Hugo Pieters, English minister, and Jan Landerts, merchant, were appointed guardians."4

There are several volumes of Wagensfeld's notary records on film at the FHL, but so far, I have not been able to recognize the notary record reported by Delafield, nor the inventory. If the date of the notary record is correct, it should be found in one of these volumes of Wagensfeld's records:
Wills          FHL Film #120112
Deeds & Leases     FHL Film #120115
Bonds          FHL Film #120117
Proxies          FHL Film #120119
Attestations          FHL Film #120123
Acts          FHL Film #120126

Research by J. W. Woolsey reveals several of these records which he (or someone else) translated, and they have been located in the FHL films as cited:5

1. A death record for George Woolsey during the week of 21-28 October 1629:6,5
Mr. Wolse in de Hooftsteeg over de lastdrager

Mr. Wolse living in the Hooftsteeg over the porter

2. Guardianship for the children. Contrast this with the second guardian given by Delafield, and note also that it makes no reference to Frances' second marriage to Robert Hunt:7,5
Mr. Hugo Pieterse Engelsch predicant binnen dese
stede ende Johan Sanders, engelsch coopman, beyde
wonende binneh dezer stede zynde (byd) testament ende
uttierste willen van Sir Joris Wolsey, engels coopman
binnen deze stede sa. Ged. Gepasseart voor Philipa
Versins, Nortaris, publt ende getuighen dat den
mortel 1629, gestelt synde voorerstaande syne kinderen
daer moeder of is Franchina Robbrechtsdr bebben
ophanden hier ter          compareen ende van woorden
van     gedean ende behoeven
                    op de XVIII December 1630

Mr. Hugo Piertersz, an English minister in this town and Johan Sanders, English merchant, both living within this town by the last will and testament of Sir Joris Wolsey, English merchant living in this town, written by Philips Versins, Notaris with witnesses, that after his death in 1629, will take his children which have been handed over by their mother Franchina Robbechtsdr. They have accepted this responsibility.
                    18 December 1630

The guardianship record references a last will and testament of Joris Wolsey written by Philips Versins, notary. This is possibly the record in Testamenten, 322:139, FHL Film #0428843.8,9

Also, one of the appointed guardians, is actually Rev. Hugh Peter, a Great Migration immigrant to New England, in 1635, and ordained as pastor at Salem, Massachusetts in 1636. This may be a possible clue to George Woolsey's own immigration. Rev. Peter returned to England in 1641 to negotiate with Parliament over the colony charter, but was then caught up in the English Civil War, played a leading role in the trial of Charles I, and was eventually executed as a regicide in 1660 after the restoration.10 Anderson recommends a very detailed biography for the best information on Peter: Raymond Phineas Stearns, Strenuous Puritan: Hugh Peter, 1598-1660 (Urbana, Illinois, 1954).

3. Woolsey also refers to an index of deaths of Rotterdam, showing "4 August 1652: Woolsij, Fransijntje from Draaiibrug." The index page Woolsey had photocopied has not been located, but the actual death record has been found in the records of the Orphan's Court, reporting the same information.11,5

Records of the Dutch Reformed Church, Rotterdam, Zuid Holland, Netherland (from Arie Noot) show:12
" 'A coffin of 6 guilders for Fransijntije Woolsij, widow, from of the dreijbreg next to the kamerbewaerder in street.' The dreijbreg or draij brugge as it is spelled out on the city map of 1599 (nr 24) is a bridge that can be lifted to allow ships to pass (a drawbridge). The meaning of the word Kamerbewaarder is not clear. It indicates "room custodian" but does not explain whether this is referring to the location in the street or to the location within the house where she died, nor what is meant, in this case by that title." [perhaps it indicates her occupation, housekeeper, and that she was earning her own living]


Frances Roberts b. say 1590, d. 4 Aug 1652
  • John Woolsey13,1 b. 27 Oct 1611
  • Robert Woolsey14,1 b. 13 Mar 1613/14
  • George Woolsey+15,1 b. 15 May 1616, d. 17 Aug 1698
This person was last edited on22 Feb 2020


  1. [S817] Wilford Whitaker and Carolyn Woolsey Wilkerson, Woolsey Genealogy Website, online Hereinafter cited as Whitaker and Wilkerson, Woolsey Genealogy.
  2. [S1764] Nola Duffy, Woolsey in "General Electric Network for Information Exchange", listserve message to Genealogy Roundtable, 26 Dec 1990. Hereinafter cited as GENIE.
  3. [S839] , A Calendar of the Freemen of Great Yarmouth, 1429-1800 (Norwich, England: Norwich Archaeological Society, 1910), 49,52,57, further cited as Great Yarmouth Freemen.
  4. [S823] John Ross Delafield, Delafield: The Family History, two vols. (New York?: p.p., 1945), 645, further cited as Delafield, Delafield.
  5. [S811] James W. Woolsey, The Wolsey-Woolsey Family of America, two parts, (Kansas City, Missouri: Heart of America Genealogical Society, 1981), microform copy: FHL Film/Fiche #1276468, Family History Library, Salt Lake City, Utah, 1:2, further cited as Woolsey, Wolsey-Woolsey Family.
  6. [S1773] The Hague, Weesakten [of Rotterdam], [Orphan's Court Records], Overlijden (Deaths), 269:134, FHL Film #0487829, further cited as Weesakten of Rotterdam.
  7. [S1773] Weesakten of Rotterdam, Voogdij (Guardianship), 548:705, FHL Film #0487829.
  8. [S811] Woolsey, Wolsey-Woolsey Family, 1:2-3.
  9. [S1773] Weesakten of Rotterdam, Testamenten (Testaments), 322:139, FHL Film #0487843.
  10. [S1788] Sir Leslie Stephen and Sir Sidney Lee, editors, The Dictionary of National Biography From the Earliest Times to 1900 (22 vols., 1885-1901; reprint, New York: Oxford University Press, 1993), 15:955-963, further cited as Stephen and Lee, DNB.
  11. [S1773] Weesakten of Rotterdam, Overlijden (Deaths), 269:148, FHL Film #0487829.
  12. [S817] Whitaker and Wilkerson, Woolsey Genealogy, online,
  13. [S822] Yarmouth, Norfolk, England, Parish Registers, 1558-1901, St. Nicholas' Church, 27 Oct 1611, FHL microfilm 1526327, item 16, further cited as St Nicholas' Parish Registers.
  14. [S822] St Nicholas' Parish Registers, 13 Mar 1614; FHL #1526327, item 16.
  15. [S822] St Nicholas' Parish Registers, 15 May 1616; FHL #1526327, item 16.