My Family Tree

As each leaf of the tree, from painters and farmers to Confederate Infantrymen, draws me further up into the branches, they tell me a story that draws me inexorably in, taking conflicting facts of history and shaping them into a compelling narrative. ~ Michael D. Ketchum

If you cannot get rid of the family skeleton, you may as well make it dance. ~ George Bernard Shaw

Ketchum Etymology

Ketchum genealogies give various accounts of the origin of the name "Ketchum," which is English. While they vary, they all agree that of the four typical origins of names (patronymic, occupational, nickname, and place name), "Ketcham" was derived from a place name. The ending -ham is a typical English village name, and "Ketcham" is most likely derived from the borough Chatham in Kent. Perhaps not coincidentally, 60% of the Puritan immigrants to Massachusetts were from the "Eastern Association" -- Norfolk, Suffolk, Essex, Hertfordshire, Cambridgeshire, Huntingdonshire, Lincolnshire, plus parts of Bedfordshire and Kent.

The name "Ketcham" is most commonly spelled "Ketch_m", with the vowels "a", "e", or "u". The soundex is K325. You may "back-form" the varieties of spellings found from the soundex. In the 17th and even until the 19th century spellings beginning with "C" are not uncommon. It is variously spelled as: Ketcham, Cacham, Catcham, Catchman, Cecham, Cetchman, Chattham, Kecham, and Ketham.

As an example of the range of early spelling, the following were found in colonial New York: Ketcham, Ketchem, Ketchum, Kitcham, Cetchim, Catchum, Catchem, Catcham, Ketchman, Kecham, Kicham, Kitsham, Kacham. From Edmund B. O'Callaghan, Lists of Inhabitants of Colonial New York (Baltimore, Md.: Genealogical Publishing Co., 1979). Additionally, the Ketchum surname is thought by some to have originally been an occupational name for a cook, deriving from the Old English word, "cycen".

Bishop History

My mother's side of the family hails from the Bishop line. The American progenitor to the Bishop line was Rev. John Bishop, the second pastor of the original church at Stamford, CT. In 1644. Rev. Denton and 17 families left Stamford for Hempstead, Long Island. He was quickly replaced by Rev. John Bishop, of Taunton, Massachusetts, who would serve as the spiritual leader of the community until 1694. In 1692, following the conclusion of the witch hysteria, Rev. John Bishop made it clear that he wanted relief. He had served since 1644 and was old and infirm. Thus, the call went out to Rev. John Davenport, grandson of Rev. John of New Haven. Stamford's congregation had grown over Bishop's tenure.

Bishop is an occupational English and German name, popular throughout Europe with over 100 variations including German Bischof, Russian Yepiskop, and Spanish Obispo. Originally non-religious, it derived from ancient Greek "episcopes", meaning overseer. After early Christianity, it described someone who worked for a bishop, performed as a bishop in a medieval traveling play, or had been a "boy bishop" on St. Nicholas Day, December 6. The Bishop motto "pro deo et ecclesia" means "for God and the Church". English Bishop family history dates back to their family seat (feudal home) in Worcestershire. In America, Bishop genealogy began in Maryland and Massachusetts in the 1630s.

The Lone Star Church

The Lone Star Church, a Missionary Baptist Church three miles south of Poplar Bluff, Missouri, was organized August 19, 1906, in the Live Oak Schoolhouse by Rev. J.T. Savelle, pastor of the First Baptist Church (q.v.). The present site was deeded by Byrd Duncan a banker of Poplar Bluff and the house was erected in 1910. The name of the church, given by Mrs. Cora Ketchum, who with her husband David H. Ketchum, was a leader in getting the church organized, was suggested to her because her father, M.C. McGuire, who had lived for many years in Texas, the "Lone Star State," was more desirous, as he grew older, of returning to that state. (Source: Pottenger, Cora Ann. "Place Names Of Five Southern Border Counties Of Missouri." M.A. thesis., University of Missouri-Columbia, 1945.

The Ketchum Surname

The Ketchum surname is both interesting and heavily researched, possibly because of their early arrival from England in the Massachusetts Bay Colony, circa 1629. In these early times, the Ketchum family lived in Massachusetts, Connecticut and New York. Many descendants can still be found in these northeastern states today. We have a few facts and a great many rumors concerning the heritage of our progenitor, EDWARD KETCHAM, who is first seen in the Bay colonies in 1635. It is through the efforts of Seversmith and Coddington that we are able to determine the Edward Kecham (sic) who married 1619 at the Great St. Andrews parish in Cambridge, England is the Edward Ketcham who wrote his Will in 1655 at Stratford, CT (New Haven Colony) based on the children named therein and on the baptisms of those found in England. The baptism of Ann Ketham was found in a volume of the British Archeological Assoc. and on another line she is called the d/o Edward and Mary Cetham, baptised in St. Michael Parish, Cambridge. (Coddington) "Ann obviously the Hannah of Edward's Will - The Puritan spelling of Ann." EDWARD KETCHAM, pioneer founder of his family in America, was born in England. He came to the New World prior to 1635, at which time the General Court of Massachusetts Bay Colony made him a 'freeman.' He finally settled in Stratford, Connecticut, where he spent the latter part of his life. During his residence in the Connecticut colony he acquired property valued at the time of his death, at £90 11s. 6d. He died before June 17, 1655, when his will was proved.

Attention should be drawn to the fact, however, that although Edward Ketcham lived in Cambridge at least from 1619 to 1628, he was almost certainly not born in that town or in the county of Cambridge. . . . It seems certain, therefore, that Edward Ketcham was a sojourner at Cambridge, that he was born and raised in some other part of England, came to Cambridge at some time prior to his marriage in 1619, and moved elsewhere in England after the baptism of his last recorded child in Cambridge in 1628. . . . Brief pedigrees of Edward Ketcham and his family are in Donald Lines Jacobus, History & Genealogy of the Families of Old Fairfield, Connecticut, vol. 1 (1930), p. 359, and in Mary Lovering Holman and Winifred Lovering Holman, Ancestry of Colonel John Harrington Stevens & his wife Frances Helen Miller, compiled for Helen Pendleton (Winston) Pillsbury (1949), p. 511, and in both these works an abstract of the much defaced [acidity from spilled ink] will of Edward Ketcham is given. . . . Dr. Herbert F. Seversmith, who descends three times from Edward Ketcham, expects to devote a section of his great work, Colonial Families of Long Island, New York & Connecticut, Being the Ancestry & Kindred of Herbert Furman Seversmith, to the Ketcham family.

The origin of the name KETCHAM (from a newsclipping that quoted from Glouchester Archaelogy Society of England): Here, we learn the name Ketcham probably descends from the Biblical Tribe "Kittim" who were island settlers. One group of which seems to have settled a certain place in the present county of Kent, on the isle of England. (Bible-Genesis) "Kittim, s/o Javan, begotten by Japheth, s/o Noah."

The oldest reference of any possible origin of the Ketcham family is found in the Archaeologia Cantiana, by Scott, Vol. 46, p. 12 where the names Caetham and Chatham are used synonymously in a document assigned to about the year 975. . . . Another document, proven, as dated 1090-3 (Vol. 24, p.4) refers to the place as 'de Ceteham.' . . . The Latin original gives the place-name as Cetham" (when Rome ruled), which the Archaeological Society tranlates as Chatham." (ed: If you know your phonics, you should be able to see that Kittim and Cetham/Caetham are one and the same name. (Remember, "h" is a silent letter and a big vowel switch occurred between 1400-1600.) . . . The foregoing records seem thoroughly convincing. The family evidently originated in the ancient Kentish village known by variant spellings of Caetham, Catham, Cetham, Ceteham, & Chatham. . . . Chatham ("Ch" equals "K"), an offshoot that went its own way. Later, the "C" of the other variants gradually gave way to the "K."

About Me

Father, writer, poet, producer, director, actor, singer, guitarist, graphic designer, raconteur, excellent typist, determined, profound speaker, zero-gravity thinker, sage advisor, gruntled, website builder, skeptic, intermittently quixotic, historian, foodie...approaching all endeavors with a bit of Sprezzatura.