International Haskell Family Society
How it Began
Who am I? This question surfaces at about the age of two and continues to about the age of six or so. This is the inquisitive of inquiring: is this a cousin, which grandparent are you, are you my mothers sister, etc? Answers to the living family circle satisfies that curiosity stage of growing up. From the age of 6 to about 21 plus the heritage questions take a back seat. The forming of friendships outside the family circle are the priority interest. Oh, there are new family members met (babies born and marriages), however the concern is developing friendships that may endure as part of the adult growing up. After age 21 plus (the time varies because today marriage often occurs later in life) interest in family is re-kindled when making out the wedding guest list: how many cousins removed get an invitation? The next stage is around age 40- 50 when health problems may surface and medical history becomes important. Most serious interest about family history and genealogy kicks in on retirement. At that time of life we have some spare time to visit ancestral sites and do research on genealogy.
What follows is a most brief overview of who, what, where and when we Haskells came to be known as Haskells. We hope it generates interest for you to follow - up on questions you may have, lets your grandchildren and children begin to understand who they are and sparks interest in keeping family history alive.
Whence we Came
In the past the family surname was spelt in various ways. Today the most common spellings are Haskell, Haskill, Haskoll and Hascall. “ In 1016 King Cnut chose body guards, his ‘ Housecarles ‘, from the ranks of his most loyal Danish soldiers to defend his new English throne. In 1086 Domesday for Somerset lists under the heading 'Land of the King's Thanes' (the king being Edward the Confessor 1042-1066): In Eastrope/Eastrip (near Bruton on the road to Brewham, ca. 20 miles NW of Shaftesbury) Huscarle holds 1 virgate of land (a variable amount, ca. 60 acres) which he held himself before 1066. Huscarl's holding did not include the Manor. In 1217, his descendant Roger Huscarl and his heirs were granted the Manor. Huscarls then held all of Eastrip until selling it to Bruton Priory in 1392. Just when King Edward bestowed land on Huscarle is not known, but after the Conquest, King William bestowed England's best properties on his followers. In Domesday Studies for Somerset, Vol. I, R. W. Eyton tells us further that: 'Huscarlo, this Thane had in 1066 shared with Aelmar the Manor of Estrate. In 1086 William de Morone had it. Huscarlo was of course a surviving House-Carle of the Saxon dynasty. That he had served in that distinguished force under Harold (at Hastings) is improbable.' Descendants of Huscarl appear in numerous records in Somerset, England until the 14th century. At this time Hascols, Hascals, and Haskolls began to appear at Shaftesbury, Fontmell Magna and Cann, Dorset.
It is apparent that the Haskell family is of ancient origin. When there are family gatherings, physical and personality similarities are readily apparent. Thus, the root of Haskell family beginnings is traced to the west counties of Dorset, Somerset and Wiltshire, Southwest England. The Haskells are one of few families that can pinpoint their origin to a relatively small geographic area. Every year there is a family reunion held at Cranborne about 20 miles south of Salisbury. (A most excellent tracing of the Haskell name is “Haskell - Whence the Name ?“, Trudy Haskell, The Haskell Family Anthology, Vol. I, 2003, pp12 - 20).
First names like William, Roger, Thomas, John and Henry are prevalent within family lines. Haskells in early records really begin to show up in the early 1300s when there is an assessment in the name of deJohne Hockel for Dorset in 1327. 'The first citing of a Haskell's place of residence and his role at the Manor, rather than simply name and tax levied, is in the Shaftesbury Abbey Compotus of 1504. On 1 August Robert Hascoll, (the Manor) Hayward, was keeping geese, farming and paying rent in Fontmell Magna.'
In 1514 the name William Hascall appears when his copy hold (dwelling with outbuildings ) at Fontmell Magna was given to his son "John Hascall alias Hoper". It seems that William inherited the property from Robert and since a dwelling would have devolved to heirs, upon Williams death it went to John. Thus we begin to see the surname transition to present day Haskell, Haskill, etc. It is not the intention here to describe the full tracing of ancestors , but to introduce whence we came and lead you to detailed reports. “Haskells in Early Records“ Win Haskell, The Haskell Family Anthology -- Vol. I, 2003, p25 - 33 is a priority read for a most definitive description of family beginnings. For many present day U.S. Haskell descendents primary interest starts with William (d. May 11, 1630) and his wife Elinor. They had seven known children -- Roger ( b. March 6, 1613 -14), Cicille ( b. June 3, 1616 ), William ( b. November 8, 1618 ), Mark ( b. April 8, 1621), Dorothy ( b. November 16, 1623), Elizabeth (b. April 30, 1629) and Joan ( b. March 1, 1629). It appears that Dorothy and Elizabeth may have died at an early age. On Williams baptism record he is mentioned as “ye sonne of Willm Hascol“ indicating that surname derivatives of Huscal were often used and carry over to today . Cicille married Edward Cobe at Penselwood parish church on July 30, 1637, and remained in England.
In 1635 Roger, William and Joan immigrated to New England and Mark followed later. Cicille elected to remain at Penselwood, Somerset. In 1636 there is record of a land grant being given to Roger in Salem, Massachusetts colony. During her talk at the 2005 IHFS reunion at Cranborne, England on “Movement and Migration in the 1800s with Special Reference to Dorset / Southwest of England “, Jane Ferenzi - Sheppard mentioned that in 1636 , 6,000 settlers from the region immigrated to Massachusetts , USA. The four Haskells mentioned above would likely have been among them.
“While a majority of the U.S. family members today are descendants of the three immigrant brothers, certainly not all descend through these lines”. (see W. A. Haskell, The Haskell Family Anthology -- Vol. I, 2003, p39). There are Canadian Haskells who descended from these first immigrants either before or after the American revolution. Until very recent times family members continued to leave England to settle in either the U.S. or Canada, as well as Australia and New Zealand. Ms Ferenzi - Sheppard noted during her June 18, 2005 talk that in the 1820 - 30s many people went to Canada then to the U.S.; mainly sons of farmers hoping to make it on their own. In 1830 - 60 there was a migration to Jefferson County, New York of some 90 people. In 1840, 40,642 people headed to the U.S.A. “It would be very difficult, then to determine just what percentage of Haskells in the U.S. or Canada can trace their ancestry to William of Charlton Musgrove. It is completely certain however, that, except for Haskells whose ancestors or themselves have adopted the name, all present - day Haskells are cousins. Some more, some less distant .“ (see W.A. Haskell above.)
( note: Among other reports to be priority reading are: Ira J. Haskell, Chronicles of the Haskell Family, 1943, Ellis Printing Co., 296 pages; and Ulysses G. Haskell, A short Account of the Descendents of William Haskell of Gloucester, Mass., 1896, Historical Collections of the Essex Institute. )
All material copyright 2005 - 2013