Bradshaw Genealogy
John Bradshaw & Elizabeth ----- of Henrico County, Virginia

Want to Contribute?

Historical Narrative
Descendant Listings
Documentary Sources
Discussion Groups
DNA Research
Other Links


Many of the Bradshaw families in the USA trace their ancestry to John Bradshaw of Henrico County, Virginia, who married Elizabeth ----- around 1690. This web site is intended to be a compendium of the research done on him and his descendants. Much has been published on this family in various historical books and family histories, some of it accurate, some not so accurate. As is often the case with family histories, once something is in print, it often is considered to be "gospel". It is my hope that this web site will facilitate a critical examination and discussion of the facts, legends, and myths surrounding this Bradshaw family and to allow us Bradshaw researchers and descendants to learn more about our origins and our relatives' contributions to early North America. The best way to separate fact from fiction and to resolve conflicting information is to go back to the primary sources (see Documenting Your Genealogy Research - Guide to Citing Sources). These include records of marriages, births and baptisms, deaths and burials, census listings, tax lists, probate and land records, etc. The information in the descendant listings on this web site will include documentation of the primary sources as much as possible, and transcriptions of many of those sources will be presented in links below. This is a working document; it will be modified and (hopefully) improved as more researchers provide input and, most importantly, evidence.

Historical Narrative

John Bradshaw makes his first appearance in the records of colonial Virginia on 12 October 1688 when he testifies on behalf of the plaintiff in a civil lawsuit in Henrico County (VA, Henrico County, Record Book 5 (1688-1697), p. 10 and VA, Henrico County, Court Orders (1678-1693), p. 286):

"John Breidshew, aged 24 or thereabouts . . . he the deponent being servant to John Granger did (sometime last spring on a Sunday morning) see Mary the wife of the said John Granger say that John Womack had six fletches of bacon in his house beside middling and other small meat and had killed but one hogg out of his own stock that year."

"John Bradshaw aged 24 years or thereabouts examined and sworn saith that about two days before John Granger's tobacco house wherein was Sam'l Fowlers tobacco was burned. Lain Fowler did say that he had to have John Granger's barn . . . and that he would bring more damage on him, the said Granger, than he was aware of . . . day before the house was burned. Fowler said to deponent that he dreamt Mary the wife of John Granger had fired the tobacco house and burnt all his tobacco."

""John Bradshaw having attended two days as evidence for John Womack against Jno Granger has order granted his against Agent ye sd. Womack for 80 pounds of tobacco.""

This establishes John Bradshaw's year of birth as approximately 1664. What were his origins? He is likely the same John Bradshaw brought over from the British Isles in 1687 as a headright of Richard Kennon, as recorded in Henrico County on 1 April 1690 (VA, Henrico County, Court Orders (1678-1693), p. 387, as transcribed by Wes Blankenship):

"At a court held at Varina for the County of Henrico, the first day of April by their Majesties, Justices of ye said County in the second year of ye reign of our Sovereign Lord & Lady William and Mary by the grace of God of England, France & Ireland, King & Queen, Defenders of ye faith & etc. and in the year of our Lord God, 1690. . . . Upon the petition of Mr. Richard Kennon these may certify that there is due unto him eight thousand acres of land for the importation of ninety servants into this Colony whose names are underwritten & for seventy persons more, being negroes, the same being legally provided by his oath in open Court . . . ARRIVED IN 1687 Henry Brooks, John Bradshaw, Robert Grigg, William Griffin, Joseph Higgens, Joseph Marshall, William Triphook, Thomas Sissom, Siro Pooke, Mary Marshall, Mary Middleton"

As a headright, John Bradshaw was required to serve a term (typically five to seven years) as an indentured servant. The 1688 court deposition shows the name of his "master" - John Granger. What became of John's servitude after testifying against Granger in the lawsuit? At what point had John fulfilled his obligations as an indentured servant?

Where in the British Isles did John Bradshaw live before he came to America? Perhaps those other ten headrights who came over with him in 1687 were from the same place.

In England, the Bradshaw surname (as of the 1891 census) was most common in Lancashire and Yorkshire in northern England. Likewise, Lanarkshire in Scotland had the highest concentration of Bradshaws in 1841. According to

"This interesting surname is of pre 7th century Anglo-Saxon origins. It is locational from any one of the places called Bradshaw in the various counties of Lancashire, Derbyshire, and West Yorkshire, although the centre of most frequently occuring name recordings is Lancashire. There the place is first recorded as Bradeshaghe in 1246, and means the broad grove, the derivation being from the Olde English word 'brad', meaning broad or wide, with 'sceaga', a thicket or grove. In the modern idiom the surname has several variants including Brayshaw, Brashaw, Bradshaw and Brayshaw. Locational names were generally given either to the local lord of the manor or more often to those former inhabitants of a place who went to live in another area. The easiest way to identify such strangers being to call them by the name of the place from whence they came. Spelling being at best erratic, soon lead to the development of "sounds like" spellings. Amongst the many famous name holders was John Bradshaw (1602 - 1659). He was a High Court judge, and lord president of the parliamentary commission at the trial of King Charles 1st in 1649. He was also a regicide, being one of the signatories of the death warrant. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of William de Bradesaghe, and dated 1246, in the Lancashire Assize Rolls, during the reign of King Henry 111rd of England, 1216 - 1272. Surnames became necessary when governments introduced personal taxation. In England this was known as Poll Tax. Throughout the centuries, surnames in every country have continued to "develop" often leading to astonishing variants of the original spelling."

Being a ancient surname based on location, it is to be expected that a number of different (non-related) Bradshaw families would immigrate to America in the 1600s and later. Richard Kennon (Kenyon) is believed to have come from Little Bolton in Lancashire County. DNA testing confirms a close relationship between John Bradshaw of Henrico County, Virginia and the Bradshaw family living in that part of Lancashire County. See Bradshaws in England, by Mark B. Arslan for my recent preliminary research on this Bradshaw family in England.

John Bradshaw's last appearance in the colonial Virginia records is, again, as a witness in a civil trial, this time on 1 June 1696 (VA, Henrico County, Court Orders (1694-1699), p. ?):

"John Bradshaw having attended two days as evidence against Will Arrington on behalfe of ffra [Francis] Reeve judgment is awarded against him the said Reeve for 80 pounds tobacco according to the law with costs"

Somewhere in this timeframe, John Bradshaw was married to a woman named Elizabeth. (Did they marry during his term of servitude?) They had four sons: John, William, Benjamin, and Larner. Other children may have been born to this couple, but their names have not survived in the records. John apparently died between 1696 and 1711, as Elizabeth appears in court records of 1711 and 1713 as the wife of Arthur Marcum (VA, Henrico County, Court Orders (1710-1714), pp. 80, 89, and 248):

[July 1711] - Arthur Marcum and wife Elizabeth vs. Jane Bayley for illegally detaining son of Elizabeth as a servant

[July 1711] - Arthur and Elizabeth Marcum vs. Jane Bayley for indenture of Elizabeth's son to be lodged with clerks office. Dismissed.

[3 August 1713] - Elizabeth Marcum, mother of Benjamin Bradshaw vs. his master William Ballew. Complained Ballew was giving Benjamin inadequate care. Benjamin was to receive sufficient meat, lodging, clothing. Case continued through November.

Elizabeth does not appear in any Henrico County records after 1713. Her surname is not known. Some secondary sources state that her surname is either Pleasants, Reeve, or Harper (take your pick). She appears as a witness on a deed written 14 March 1698 and recorded 1 April 1698 (VA, Henrico Co., Deed Book ?, p. 73) involving grantors Edward Jones and Mary (his wife) to grantee John Pleasants. Francis Reeve is also a witness to this deed. Note that John Bradshaw, in 1696, testified in court on behalf of Francis Reeve. Was he John's brother-in-law?

Where exactly did John and Elizabeth Bradshaw live in Henrico County? Henrico County of the early 1690s was much larger than it is today, comprising an area much farther to the west. In fact, by 1800, the following counties were formed from parts of Henrico County: Goochland (1727), Albemarle (1744), Cumberland (1748), Buckingham (1757), Amherst (1758), Fluvanna (1777), and Powhatan (1777). So, the land on which John and Elizabeth lived could have been in the current-day boundaries of any of these counties. Records of the 1730s and the several decades following show that three of their sons (William, Benjamin, and Larner) lived along both the north and south sides of the James River in what is now Goochland, Powhatan, and Cumberland Counties. This may be a clue as to the location of their parents' home.

However, their other son John was living in Bristol Parish of Prince George County as early as 1719 and as late as 1749 along Namozine Creek that divides the northwestern side of Dinwiddie County from Nottoway and Amelia Counties. Amelia County was formed from Prince George County in 1748, Dinwiddie County from Prince George County in 1752, and Nottoway County from Amelia County in 1788. DNA evidence shows that John Bradshaw was, indeed, closely related to his Bradshaw contemporaries (William, Benjamin, and Larner) in Goochland County, and was most likely their brother. Given that three sons were in Goochland County (later Cumberland County and Powhatan County in the 1730s through 1750s), that is more likely where John and Elizabeth lived.

The later generations of descent from these four brothers would migrate from Virginia into the adjoining states, as shown by the distribution of these surnames at the time of the 1840 USA census. (Source:

At least one of the grandsons of John and Elizabeth (William's son John, #24 in the Bradshaw database) would go by the surname of Bratcher (a phonetic variation of Bradshaw). Spelling variations are quite common in written records of that time period.

Descendant Listings

Here are listings of known descendants (through eight generations):

[Note: To view the Adobe Acrobat files, you will need the Adobe Acrobat Reader software. This can be downloaded free from You can download the files to your disk to view them, or use your web browser with the appropriate plug-ins.]

Children of John Bradshaw & Elizabeth -----

Descendants of John Bradshaw (#1) & Anne Hamblin
Descendants of William Bradshaw (#2) & Judith Scruggs
Descendants of Benjamin Bradshaw (#3) & ----- ----- & Ann McBride
Descendants of Larner Bradshaw (#4) & Elizabeth -----

There are a number of Bradshaws who have not yet been placed in this Bradshaw family. If you know where they belong, please let me know. [Note: The prefix for these individuals is "z".] Miscellaneous Family Groups

Index of Names
Explanation of Format of Descendant Listings

Documentary Sources

USA Federal Censuses:


USA State Censuses:

Iowa - 1856
Kansas - 1885
Kansas - 1895
Kansas - 1905
Kansas - 1915

USA Notes (Vital Records, Wills, Deeds, Tax Lists, Cemeteries, etc.):

North Carolina
South Carolina
West Virginia
World War 1 Draft Registrations
World War 2 Draft Registrations

Digital Images (photos, newspaper clippings, etc.)

Discussion Groups

Facebook - Bradshaw Group

DNA Research

Bradshaw DNA Project

A new tool in genealogical research is the use of genetic markers in DNA to establish family relationships. See How to Use DNA Testing to Trace Your Family Tree. The Y-chromosome is passed down from father to son to grandson to great-grandson, etc. along the male line (as are surnames in many modern western societies). Occasionally, due to random mutations, one or more of the genetic markers may change in an individual and be passed down to his son that way (similar to a surname changing from Bradshaw to Bratcher). Standard tests are available (based on a cheek swab) to identify 12, 25, 37, 67, or 111 markers on the Y-chromosome. (The more the markers, the more precise the identification; I strongly suggest 37 or more markers, in order to be useful for genealogical purposes.) All direct male descendants of John Bradshaw would have a very similar, if not identical, set of markers (or haplotype). Someone with a surname of Bradshaw (or some variation), whether or not they had done in-depth genealogical research, could compare their haplotype to known John Bradshaw direct male descendants to see if they were likely to be a direct male descendant of John Bradshaw. Likewise, the John Bradshaw haplotype could be compared to haplotypes of other families to see if these families were closely related in the British Isles. I would like to establish a confidential database of haplotypes of John Bradshaw's direct male descendants to give us a tool to identify John Bradshaw descendants and to find closely related Bradshaw families from the British Isles. Ideally, we would need several samples from direct male descendants of each of John's grandsons. The Family Tree DNA testing service is one of the most well-known. If anyone is interested, please contact me by e-mail. The tests can be ordered from Family Tree DNA as a part of the Bradshaw DNA Project.

John Bradshaw belongs to Y-DNA haplogroup R1b1a1b. (This haplogroup is also known as R-M269. It is the most common haplogroup in western Europe. Further analysis (a "deep clade" test) has refined the haplogroup designation for John Bradshaw to the specific subclade R1b1a1b1a1a2b3c, also known as R-Z145, according to the ISOGG tree. John's haplotype (set of Short Tandem Repeat, or STR, markers) is shown at (Hint: Look at the cluster of samples highlighted in bright yellow.) All descendants of John Bradshaw and his wife Elizabeth will fall within this same haplogroup and match the haplotype within just a couple of differences over 37 markers. Likewise, descendants of other Bradshaws from the British Isles who are close paternal relatives of John Bradshaw will closely match. Anyone of a different haplogroup, or differing from John's haplotype by more than just a few markers out of 37, cannot be considered to be of the same Bradshaw family.

This DNA project is open to other Bradshaw families with British heritage. It will establish if there is any relationship between these families and ours prior to John Bradshaw's generation. In addition, it will help differentiate between the various Bradshaw families in the USA and Canada, especially where the documentary evidence is lacking.

To help defray the cost of the testing, I have set up a Bradshaw DNA Project fund that will allow those of us without the Bradshaw Y-chromosome (such as females born with the maiden name of Bradshaw) to jointly share in the cost of this project. If everyone interested in this avenue of research can contribute a little from time to time, it will greatly help to increase the level of participation by direct male descendants with the "right" DNA. If you would like to take advantage of the fund for your test, let me know. Those of us not fortunate enough to have the Bradshaw Y-DNA chromosome may help others out by contributing. Pick the letter "B" on the menu and indicate that you wish to contribute to the "Bradshaw" project.

Other Links

Bratcher Family History, by Richard W. Bratcher
Iowa Bradshaw Family, by Teddie Anne Driggs
Bradshaws in England, by Mark B. Arslan


Many people throughout the years have contributed to this Bradshaw genealogy. Naming all of them would be difficult, but I'd like to acknowledge significant contributions by a few individuals.

First of all, I owe a great debt to my grandfather Demus C. Kizer (#111452121), who in 1968 sparked my interest in genealogy by sharing his stories about growing up in rural Arkansas during the early 1900s. I was 11 years old at the time, and was fascinated hearing about all of the different families and how they were connected. I immediately started writing to my relatives, sent away for census records and Civil War pension files, and have kept going ever since.

Finding the USA Civil War Union pension file of Demus's great-grandfather John Henry Bradshaw (#111452) gave me the information I needed to hook up with other researchers of this Bradshaw family. These included Dewey Dishner (#111455824), Josephine (Clark) Zadina (#111235514), Hazel (Ellis) Wetzel (#11124662), Michael Laforest (#111216621/1), Teddie Anne Driggs (#1112235251) and many others. They helped me to trace my line back to William Bradshaw (#111) of Nottoway Parish, Amelia County, Virginia, who married Susannah Hutcheson there in the late 1760s.

At that point, I was stuck for several years. I finally found a 1763 tax list entry in the same parish of Amelia County that listed William, Jr. (#111) as a "tithe" in the household of William Bradshaw, presumably his father. The only Bradshaw family in that parish (which became Nottoway County in 1788) in that timeframe was that of John Bradshaw (#1) and his wife Anne Hamblin. They had a son William (#11) who was born and baptized in 1719 in Bristol Parish, Prince George County, Virginia. (Amelia County was formed from Prince George County in 1734, so Nottoway Parish in 1763 may well have been a part of Bristol Parish in 1719, due to county formations and boundary changes.) This William Bradshaw (#11) appeared to be a likely candidate as a father of my William (#111). The name of William's (#11) wife is not known.

When Alice (Rice) Bratcher started the Bradshaw DNA Project, that provided a means to determine if my William Bradshaw (#111) was related to the family of John Bradshaw and his wife Elizabeth of Henrico County, grandparents of William Bradshaw (#11). One of my close Bradshaw relatives, a direct male descendant of John Henry Bradshaw (#111452) joined the project and was an extremely close match to descendants of William Bradshaw (#2) and Benjamin Bradshaw (#3) of Goochland County, confirming the connection of my William Bradshaw (#111) to John Bradshaw and Anne Hamblin. (Thanks, Alice.)

The advent of the World Wide Web and various online services like, FamilyTreeDNA, and GenForum has made a tremendous difference in helping researchers find each other, collaborate, and share information. Several other Bradshaw researchers, I found, shared my passion for documenting primary historical sources. I am indebted to their efforts in abstracting and transcribing many of the source references of colonial Virginia and adjoining states relating to this and other Bradshaw families. The following contributed significantly to my knowledge of this Bradshaw family: Anne (Bradshaw) Musser, Alene Bradshaw, Richard W. Bratcher, Betty J. Turner, B. J. Horne, and Kenneth Bradshaw.

This Bradshaw web page would not have been possible without the contribution of over a hundred other researchers over many years. During my 40+ years of research, I have tried to carefully document the primary sources of each piece of information in my database in order to validate the extensive research done by myself and many others. I continue to be amazed and gratified at the sense of teamwork displayed by other genealogists I have met. Hopefully this compilation will help others now and in the future to carry on the work that has been done so far.

If you find this information useful and would like to contribute a small (or bigger) amount to help fund this research, please consider selecting one of the options below. This helps me pay for subscriptions to web sites (e.g.,, reference materials (maps, books), supplies (paper, ink, binders, folders), time, and travel.

Amount to Contribute

If you would like to comment on any information contained within, or wish to correspond with me about this family, please send me an e-mail message at: Additions and corrections are greatly appreciated. I am especially interested in receiving information obtained from primary sources (parish registers, census listings, Bibles, cemeteries, vital records, probate and land records, etc.) and photographs and digital images relating to this branch of the Bradshaw family so that I can incorporate them into this page. Also, I would like to provide links to other pages on the Internet that deal with Bradshaw genealogy.

Mark B. Arslan

Last updated on 9 September 2019