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February 7th, 2007


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11:59 pm - my illustrious New England ancestry
The surname Noyes comes from the French village Noyers and with it, a noble family who went by the surname De Noyers. The family split apart during the Hundred Years' War. Those family members who sided with the English eventually left France for England, changing their surname to "de Noyes", which eventually became just Noyes.

In 1634, two brothers, Nicholas and James Noyes, of Cholderton, Wiltshire, England, embarked from Southampton on the ship Mary and John bound for the Massachusetts Bay Colony. They landed at Nantasket (present-day Hull, Massachusetts) in May of that year. From there they moved to Ipswich and, in the spring of 1635, travelled a little bit further up the North Shore to help settle the town of Neweberry (now known as Newbury Old Town.) Tradition has it that Nicholas was the first to disembark when they landed on the north shore of the Parker River, near the present-day Route 1A bridge between Rowley and Newbury Old Town. (Apparently there is a marker near there commemorating the landing; some day I shall have to go out and see if I can find it.)

In 1637, Nicholas Noyes walked from Newbury to Cambridge to take the Freeman's Oath, thereby becoming a full citizen of the colony. He then exercised his new rights as a citizen to vote for Governor John Winthrop, first governor of the Massachusetts Bay Colony, in what was one of Winthrop's many re-elections.

Nicholas' wife, Mary, was brought before the court in 1652 in violation of the Sumptuary Law of 1651, an Elizabethan mandate which restricted the "sumptuousness of dress" -- obstensibly to ensure that private fortunes were not squandered on frivolous goods, but more importantly to reassert and reinforce the class differences that society considered so vitally important in maintaining the status quo. (Translation: If you were poor, you were forbidden to look as if you were rich.) Mary stood accused of wearing a silk hood and scarf, but was acquitted on proof that her husband was worth at least £200.

Nicholas was a hardy and busy fellow: he managed the town of Newbury's move from the banks of the Parker River to a site up north closer to the Merrimac (where it still stands today), he was sworn clerk of the Newbury market, built the first schoolhouse, served as the Commissioner to End Small Causes (basically a local justice) as well as deputy to the General Court. He died at the ripe old age of 86 with a legacy, his son wrote, "...of children, grandchildren and great grandchildren above one hundred."

Of his thirteen named children, nine lived well into their sixties, with three living into their eighties. Only one (or two) died in infancy. The first was named and lived to be almost two; records show an fourteenth unnamed child born in 1667, but with no further mentions. Presumably this child died before it could be baptized -- you'll often find family plots in the older New England cemetaries with small headstones marked simply "SON" or "DAUGHTER".

His most famous child was his son, the Reverend Nicholas Noyes. This Nicholas graduated from Harvard in 1667, became minister of Salem in 1682, and played quite an active role in the prosecution of those accused during the Salem Witchcraft Trials. On July 19, 1692, five women were hanged in Salem; one of them, Sarah Good, not only refused to confess, but also refused to pray for the forgiveness of the accusers. When the Reverend Noyes implored her to confess, saying he knew she was a witch, Sarah replied "I am no more a witch than you are a wizard, and if you take away my life, God will give you blood to drink."

Although Rev. Noyes would later recant, repent and regret his participation in the persecutions, he died in 1717 of a massive hemmorhage -- choking, legend has it, on his own blood.

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From:juldea
Date:February 8th, 2007 06:32 am (UTC)
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My last name means either "pig keeper" or "one with some characteristics of a pig" in Welsh.

Your ancestry is cooler-sounding. Oink.
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From:babs_the_nymph
Date:February 8th, 2007 07:12 am (UTC)
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That is some cool history. I wish I knew that much about my lineage.
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From:ron_newman
Date:February 8th, 2007 11:36 am (UTC)
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I'm impressed that someone walked all the way from Newbury to Cambridge just to register to vote.
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From:derspatchel
Date:February 8th, 2007 01:25 pm (UTC)
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He was not alone on his trek. Seven other townmembers walked with him, all to take the oath and vote. Even so, Nicholas was a hardy fellow; he managed the town of Newbury's move from the banks of the Parker River to a site up north closer to the Merrimac (where it still stands today), he was sworn clerk of the Newbury market, built the first schoolhouse, served as the Commissioner to End Small Causes (basically a local justice) as well as deputy to the General Court. He died at the ripe old age of 86 with a legacy, his son wrote, "...of children, grandchildren and great grandchildren above one hundred."

Of his thirteen named children, nine lived well into their sixties, with three living into their eighties. Only one (or two) died in infancy. The first was named and lived to be almost two; records show an fourteenth unnamed child born in 1667, but with no further mentions. Presumably this child died before it could be baptized -- you'll often find family plots in the older New England cemetaries with small headstones marked simply "SON" or "DAUGHTER".

Nearly 400 years later, the proud hardy Noyes stock lives on; I once walked from Newbury Street to Cambridge, a distance of a few blocks longer than 364 1/4 Smoots (plus one ear.)
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From:ron_newman
Date:February 8th, 2007 12:00 pm (UTC)
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by the way, there's a Jesse Noyes who writes for the Herald. Any known relation to you?
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From:derspatchel
Date:February 8th, 2007 01:28 pm (UTC)
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Not directly (I'm the only Noyes of my immediate family's generation) but I am sure if I trace down the family tree far enough, I'll find the branch that leads to his side.
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From:antikythera
Date:February 8th, 2007 12:34 pm (UTC)
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My Italian family's last name (my grandmother's maiden name) means 'the Syrian', so at some point we had an ancestor from the Middle East.

I don't know if we have anyone really interesting or notorious back there, though.
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From:campion7
Date:February 8th, 2007 02:01 pm (UTC)
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Heh! My surname means "keeper of the stables."

Translation: Shit shoveler. :)

Yours definitely sounds a lot cooler. (Note to self: Research the Stabler family line relating to the midwest railroads.)
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From:fancycwabs
Date:February 8th, 2007 02:13 pm (UTC)
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And here I thought Noyes was an English coinage meaning "indecisive."
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From:derspatchel
Date:February 8th, 2007 03:20 pm (UTC)
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I have mentioned my nickname at work is "No-Yes", haven't I? It's a necessary evil as we've got several R-names all working in close proximity to each other.

I'm waiting for them to start cutting my paychecks under that moniker.
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From:derspatchel
Date:February 8th, 2007 03:39 pm (UTC)
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An opera singer in your lineage? I never would've guessed. ;)

Not sure what precipitated the split. In fact, I'm not sure which village named Noyers in France is my ancestral village, but I'm reasonably sure it's an ancient town in the Yonne département of Bourgogne, founded just around the time the Romans smacked the Gauls around a bit (Asterix must've been busy elsewhere.) It's now known as Noyers-sur-Serein and features a beautiful medieval castle, apparently.

Had the town been down in the southwestern tip of France, it would've been under English occupation before the Hundred Years' War and would have made explaining the split possibly easier.

Noyer, as a verb, means "to drown." Not very pleasant; however, noyer as a noun means "walnut tree." Sounds like something a village would be named after.
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From:antiquated_tory
Date:February 8th, 2007 02:16 pm (UTC)
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That's pretty cool! You're an actual old New England blue blood, like Lovecraft, but without the unfortunate racial views.
You're now one of 2 people I know with dead interesting family histories...
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From:limax
Date:February 8th, 2007 02:16 pm (UTC)
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Wow. Thanks for the look into your heritage.

BTW... my surname means 'Son of John'... how exciting is that?
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From:ckd
Date:February 8th, 2007 03:11 pm (UTC)
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Bring in de Noyes! Bring in da Funk!
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From:ron_newman
Date:February 9th, 2007 12:05 am (UTC)
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and just two stops from Davis!
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From:sanspoof
Date:February 8th, 2007 04:13 pm (UTC)
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Heyspatch, totally off the topic, but you're on the b0st0n community and all, right? Would it be weird if I posted the open flash job thingy on there?
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From:derspatchel
Date:February 8th, 2007 04:40 pm (UTC)
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Well, it may help; a lot of people read b0st0n, presumably including Flash gurus seeking a spot of work. I can't guarantee an entirely snark-free thread below the ad, but I would expect interested people to ask about rates and whatnot.
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From:allicat42
Date:February 8th, 2007 05:38 pm (UTC)
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Some 3-4 years ago, I stumbled on the right link - a gencircles.com thing done by a 4th cousin (while randomly inputting names off a family reunion history into Google) and found out I was related to William Brewster of the Mayflower. Which also makes me something like 5th cousin 6 times removed to Zachary Taylor.

Ever since I read this post some few hours ago, I've been searching again. I have a 7th cousin once removed with the same first name with me, but her grandfather's email doesn't work no more. So I'm about to email a different 7th cousin.
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From:allicat42
Date:February 8th, 2007 05:40 pm (UTC)
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Strike that - it was someone else's email that didn't work. Off to email that 6th cousin once removed. Or try to anyway.
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From:ron_newman
Date:February 8th, 2007 06:21 pm (UTC)
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I wonder at what point the pronunciation was shifted from (presumably) N'WAH to NOISE.
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From:derspatchel
Date:February 8th, 2007 07:13 pm (UTC)
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Most likely once it was Anglicized. There was also a surname etymology site which told me Noyes could have very well been a corruption of "Noe's", Noe itself being a corruption of Noah. I could see the two pronunciations and spellings getting together and coming up with the noisy homonym.

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