The Kelsey Kindred

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The Kelsey Kindred Genealogy and How it All Began


An Association of Descendants of WILLIAM KELSEY, a Puritan Ancestor

The Kindred was organized September 13, 1928, it has published 7 genealogy volumes containing family histories of the descendants of William Kelsey. The genealogy volumes were financed by dues, donations, large gifts and loans from Kindred members.  Our association has over 58,000 descendants, all serial numbered and indexed on computer; and, more data arrives each week.  Unfortunately, there are many, many lines of descent that are incomplete or still unknown.  The Kindred, presently, has well over 600 active members and receiving new applications weekly.

The Ancestor - WILLIAM KELSEY, the first of the Kelsey name in America, was born in 1600, Chelmsford, Essex County, England.  He was the son of George Kelsey Jr. and Elizabeth Hammond and had 2 brothers: John and Henry. (Williams’ wife or wives have not been verified);

William Kelsey was one of the original "Braintree Company" followers of the Reverend Thomas Hooker, who came to America and they were the first settlers of "New Towne" (now Cambridge) Massachusetts in 1632.  Reverend Hooker joined them the following year.

In June of 1636, Mr. Hooker and Mr. Stone, with more than 50 families of the "first church" (Mr. Hooker's) removed to Connecticut. There, in the valley of the same name, they established "New Towne" which was changed to "Hartford" on February 21, 1637.  Among these followers was: William Kelsey.

Coming to "Hartford" with the Hooker Company, William Kelsey was one of the "original proprietors" and, as such, his name appears on the "Founders Monument" in the "ancient burying ground" of the First Congregational Church of Hartford, CT, presently known as "Center Church".  His name is also found on the "Adventurers Boulder" located at City Hall, Hartford, CT.

In March 1663, William Kelsey and 26 others migrated to the "Hammonasset Plantation" and founded the Town of "Kenilworth", later changed to "Killingworth".  In 1838, the town was separated into North and South parts.  The South part called "Clinton" and the North, "Killingworth".

The Descendants - William Kelsey had 9 children:

Mark, Hester, Priscilla, Mary, John, Abigail, Stephen, Daniel, and William Jr.

Mark Kelsey lived in Windsor, CT and Wethersfield,CT.  He first married Rebecca Hoskins, second Mrs. Abigail Atwood.  Rebecca was the daughter of John Hoskins and his wife, Ann Filer.  John Hoskins came to New England on the "Mary & John" in 1630.  Mark and Rebecca had 8 or more children.

Hester Kelsey was born in Hartford, CT and lived and died in Windsor, CT.  She married first, James Eggleston Sr.  They had 10 children. She married second, James Eno Sr.  They had 1 child.  She married third, John Williams, Sr.  There were no known children born to the third marriage.  Early records show Hester as the first female child born in Hartford, CT.

Priscilla Kelsey lived and died in Windsor, CT.  She married Cornelius Gillette.  They had 9 children.

Mary Kelsey lived and died in Windsor, CT.  She married Jonathan Gillette (brother of Cornelius Gillette).  They had 10 children.

John Kelsey removed to Killingworth, CT with his father, William Kelsey, at the age of 27.  He married Hannah Disborough 2 years later in Hartford, CT.  They had 9 children.  John and his father are noted as two of the first settlers of Kenilworth, CT.

Abigail Kelsey also accompanied her father, William Kelsey, to Killingworth, CT at the age of 18.  She married Lieutenant John Hull.  They had 4 children.

Stephen Kelsey lived and died in Hartford, CT.  He married Hannah Ingersoll.  They had 10 children.

Daniel Kelsey also removed to Killingworth, CT with his father, William Kelsey, at the age of 13.  He married first Mary Stevens.  They had 5 children.  He married second, Jane Chalker.  They had 5 children.

William Kelsey Jr. was born 23 Mar 1654. It is supposed that he died young, before the family removed to Killingworth, CT.

The Kelsey Kindred Genealogy, How it All Began

By 1890, Leroy Huron Kelsey of St. Joseph, MO had had some success on gathering data on his branch in Kentucky.  In 2 or 3 years several more Kelsey’s in Denver, Chicago, New York, and Connecticut had pooled findings in the keeping of Horatio Nelson Kelsey in Chicago.  A slow but steady flow of information was encouraging the task to embrace all William Kelsey descendants in America.

In October 1908, Mr. Edward A. Claypool, a professional genealogist, was engaged by Horatio N. Kelsey.  He started immediately to send out blanks seeking information to some 1200 suspected descendants, which by 1914 had increased to about 2500.  Mr. Claypool died in July 1916, but in little less than eight years his work had generated a formidable amount of family data and, equally important, had alerted at least a dozen more descendants of William #1, who enjoyed the ancestor hobby.  Our project was wounded, but not fatally!

On December 16, 1916, Horatio Nelson Kelsey, who by now had moved to New York City, joined with Professor Francis Willy Kelsey #3643 of Ann Arbor, MI (an internationally known Archaeologist and Egyptologist) and David Stone Kelsey #7004 of Connecticut to arrange for continued work on our genealogy by Miss Azalea Clizbee, a reputable genealogist.

Expense money was a major problem but the work survived another 10 years. With added problems caused by WWI, our family history was laid aside until 1927, when Joseph Jonathan Kelsey #3805 and Earl Leland Kelsey, both of Connecticut, picked up the torch sparked by the prospect of a formal organization which would be called The Kelsey Kindred.

During the summer of 1926, Joseph J. Kelsey of Clinton, CT, who began collecting data about the same time Mr. Claypool died, met by chance in the Town Clerk's office in Killingworth, CT with Mr. Earl Leland Kelsey of Torrington, CT, who had been more or less interested in his ancestors since boyhood.  They discussed the possibility of the printing of a Kelsey Genealogy book.  At another chance meeting of these two Kelseys in July 1927, this time in the Office of the Town Clerk of Clinton, CT.  It was agreed that something should be done towards publishing the book, holding a reunion and other matters related thereto, but nothing definite was decided upon.  However, Earl L. Kelsey was not surprised when about 2 months later he received a circular signed by Joseph J. Kelsey as chairman of the "Kelsey Genealogy Committee", asking for contributions to help finish the work.  He replied and received notification that he was to act as secretary of this committee and to secure the services of Horatio N. Kelsey as treasurer.  Horatio consented to act in this capacity. Then came the slow procedure of securing a new mailing list.  So, a larger committee was formed.  All known descendants of William Kelsey and through the efforts of this committee, Volume I was published and the 1st Annual Reunion and Business Meeting was held September 15, 1928 in Clinton, CT.



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