The Tull Family

from Rob Hall


The information below has been provided by ghote Rob Hall. Rob wishes to be clear that this is a work in progress and should be used as a guide or set of clues rather than the definitive statement. If you have questions or information to add, you can reach Rob by email to laien@aol.com.

Among the early immigrants to the Eastern Shore of Virginia were Thomas Tull and Richard Tull. It has been asserted that these two were brothers (perhaps cousins), since they both moved to Somerset County, MD; and they bought property together. It seems likely that they were indeed related to each other, and also to other early immigrants such as William Waters and Charles Hall.

A Biographical Sketch of the Life of John Porter Tull and his Descendents 1792-1946 by James Porter Tull (Hartford, Conn.: Morton B. Hadlock, 1942)
was for many years the only major source for Tull researchers. As the best known source, the information in it spread like wildfire as genealogy became more popular. 

Mr. Tull's book represents a lot of hard work, and is still of great value. The major problem with the information in the book is not the descent forward from the original immigrant; but the Irish connection. I would be the last one to suggest that James P. Tull put anything in his book, other than what he believed to be the truth, or the best guess possible with the information available at the time.

It may be that one of the 19th century "professional genealogists" who managed to find a royal, or Huguenot, etc ancestor for many people supplied this dramatic Irish connection for him. Without verifiable sources, it's anyone's guess.

The following is a summation, which was posted at Rootsweb.com on the Tull Message Board, TULL-D Digest V01 #41. It addresses the problems associated with the Irish theory. The Tull list is administered by Roy Juch whose wife is a Tull descendant. His extensive Tull files, which contain 1000ís of descendants, can be viewed at http://www.juch.net/tull.htm

"James Porter Tull offered no proof to back up his Irish theory. He simply asserted that it reflected, "....the authentic records of Ireland, England and Virginia", but without any indication of where others might look to examine such records. As for the Irish diaspora, he pointed vaguely to "....the highest Irish authorities" who he said claimed that the "Cromwellian devastations" had scattered "the ancient Irish proprietors and their children....from one end of the world to the other".

Dramatic stuff - but well short of the standards of genealogical certitude. Nevertheless, in the absence of other, more soundly based versions of the Tull family background, these brief pages have been accepted by many without challenge to the present day. Part of the appeal of this theory is doubtless that there is just example. It is quite true that there was a Berkshire yeoman named Thomas Tull whose will was indeed recorded there in 1656, who had a son named Thomas ( & another named Richard), and an uncle named John Tull. But there reality ends.

This Thomas Tull who died in 1656 married a Margaret Hedges (d.1663) but he was born (and buried) in Berkshire, not Ireland. Again, both were born and died locally. Thomas was also the grandson of a Richard Tull who died in 1594 and Margaret (or Margery) who died in 1598. Their final resting place is in the Midgham church yard. Further, Thomas's son, Thomas (1620-1674), did not emigrate but in 1640 married an Eleanor Browne (1620-1711). They had three sons, none of whom emigrated and all died in England. Brother Richard 1626-1661 married Elizabeth ( ) - both are buried in Midgham.

In fact, Tulls have lived in Berkshire for over 600 years. One of the earliest references to them was in the Colthrop (Manor) Court Rolls when in 1367 it was noted that, "John Fryday, tithingman, presents (i.e., charges) that William Heyward unlawfully drew blood from John Tull of Midgham..."

In 1990 during his own research into the family's history, Mr. Stanley Tull now of Sarasota, Florida, a descendent of immigrant Thomas through Thomas's son Richard 1670-1710) and grandson Solomon (1697-1773), contracted with one of England's leading genealogical research firms, Achievements Ltd. of Canterbury, for a study of that history during the first half of the 17th century. Achievements investigated a host of records during its work in the following months and years. By 1993 it had uncovered many Tulls and Tull families in Berkshire - but no link whatsoever between them and Maotuile, Kyras Tully, Matthew Tully/Tull or Ireland in general."

The most recent information from Tull researchers, born, living, & working in England suggests another possibility for the family of Thomas & Richard Tull, the immigrants. There is another family of Tull's which had sons named Thomas & Richard who may be the original immigrants, but this has not been proven either.

See also The Ancestors of Thomas Tull, Sr. and Descendants of Richard Tull

Web site copyright 1996-2004 by Barbara Cox.  Page updated November 2, 2004 (wls)


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