29 July 2017

Will the Real Matthew Woodruff Please Stand Up? (part 1 of 2)

There has been much speculation about the origin of Matthew Woodruff of Farmington, Connecticut, my Woodruff immigrant ancestor.  Although no solid proof has been found, there is strength in the circumstantial evidence that points to his origins in Cambridge, England.

Legend has it (by way of several published genealogies which have translated to many, many online family trees) that Matthew and his wife Hannah were in Boston circa 1639 and then in Farmington by 1640 or 1641.  There is no evidence to back this up.  In fact, there is no mention of Matthew Woodruff in the exhaustive Great Migration project, which provides comprehensive sketches on all New England immigrants from 1620 through 1635 and a comprehensive index of all New England immigrants from 1636 through 1640. [i]

In her 1963 Woodruff Genealogy, Susan Woodruff Abbott states “Although it has been said that [Matthew] came from Hartford to Farmington in 1640-41, written evidence seems to be entirely lacking.” [ii]

From Susan Woodruff Abbott's book.