The Fosters: A Fam­ily History

Research: Fre­d­er­ick T. Foster

Edit­ing: Patri­cia O’Quinn Foster

Pub­lished Septem­ber 2002

San Diego, California


How Did This Get Started?

This fam­ily his­tory owes its incep­tion to two out­stand­ing, caring women — my wife, Patri­cia O’Quinn Foster, and my aunt, Miss Min­nie Foster.

Min­nie Foster was a nat­ive of Eng­land who emig­rated to the United States in 1893 at the age of 14. [Sam’s note: in a sail­ing ship, which I found astound­ing as a kid!] She never lost her Brit­ish accent and she kept in close touch with her rel­at­ives in Eng­land. For­tu­nately, she also had a remark­able memory for names, dates and places.

Some years ago, my wife began to think of my retire­ment. The ques­tion arose in her mind: “What will Fred do with his new leis­ure time—will he get bored with life?”

At the time, Aunt Min­nie was mak­ing her home with us. One day, she and Pat were enjoy­ing their after­noon cup of tea when Pat said: “Min­nie, tell me about the Foster fam­ily. Who were Fred’s ancest­ors, where did they live, and what did they do for a living?”

These ques­tion ses­sions con­tin­ued over a period of time, with Aunt Min­nie provid­ing names and rela­tion­ships, while Pat made notes and attemp­ted to develop rough gene­a­logy charts. When she had fin­ished, she filed these away to wait for Fred’s retire­ment to begin.

April 2, 1980—the first day of Fred’s retirement—Pat handed her file of fam­ily notes to Fred, and thus began a search that has con­tin­ued for more than 20 years.

For­tu­nately, Fred and Pat love to travel, so com­bin­ing gene­a­logy research with trips to many places where ancest­ors had lived served a double pur­pose. Eng­land was vis­ited on nine dif­fer­ent occa­sions, tour­ing most parts of the Brit­ish Isles, but con­cen­trat­ing on fam­ily research in three counties: Suf­folk, Buck­ing­ham­shire, and Cam­bridge­shire, plus Lon­don. Addi­tional pro­duct­ive time was spent in cor­res­pond­ence with Fam­ily His­tory Soci­et­ies in these counties and with indi­vidu­als who were involved in such research.

In the United States, our research travels took us to 12 states, mostly in the East and South of the coun­try. Extens­ive time also was spent in Salt Lake City to take advantaqge of the world’s largest gene­a­logy col­lec­tion, the Fam­ily His­tory Lib­rary of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, whose per­son­nel could not have been more helpful.

Out­line of the Book

This book is divided into five volumes:

  1. Paternal Ances­tral Lines
  2. Our Cana­dian Cousins
  3. Related Ances­tral Lines
  4. Eng­land is Unique!
  5. Fam­ily Pictures

Gen­er­a­tion Numbers

As a means of dis­tin­guish­ing between ancest­ors with same first names, each indi­vidual has been assigned a gen­er­a­tion num­ber which is shown in brack­ets fol­low­ing his or her name.

For example, if Harry Foster is the first in his ances­tral line, he would be shown as Harry Foster [1]. If Harry and his wife had a son named Philip, he would be iden­ti­fied as Philip Foster [2]. Philip’s broth­ers and sis­ters would have the same gen­er­a­tion num­ber of [2]. When Philip mar­ried and had a daugh­ter named Pri­cilla, she would be lis­ted as Priscilla Foster [3].


In order to con­serve space, abbre­vi­ations have been used in some instances. Some of these are:

  • ca = circa (about, approximately)
  • b = birth
  • c = christening
  • m = marriage
  • d = death
  • bu =burial

The fol­low­ing are used for names of Eng­lish counties:

  • BKM –Buck­ing­ham­shire
  • CAM — Cambridgeshire
  • LAN — Lancashire
  • LIN — Lincolnshire
  • OXF — Oxfordshire
  • HRT — Hertfordshire
  • YKS — Yorkshire

States in the United States are iden­ti­fied by their usual two-letter postal designations.


The author wishes to express his appre­ci­ation for the assist­ance provided by the agen­cies named below:


County Record Office, Ayles­bury, Buckinghamshire

County Record Office, Cam­bridge, Cambridgeshire

County Record Office,Bury St. Edmunds, Suffolk

Buck­ing­ham­shire Fam­ily His­tory Society

Cam­bridge­shire Fam­ily His­tory Society

Suf­folk Fam­ily His­tory Society

Pub­lic Lib­rary, Cam­bridge, Cambridgeshire

Gen­eral Register Office, London

Somer­set House, London

Pub­lic Record Office, Kew, Rich­mond, Surrey

House of Lords, London

United States

Fam­ily His­tory Lib­rar­ies: The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, Salt Lake City, Utah; McClung Col­lec­tion, Lawson-McGee Lib­rary, Knoxville, TN; New­berry Lib­rary, Chicago, IL; Daugh­ters of the Amer­ican Revolu­tion, Wash­ing­ton, D.C.

Gov­ern­ment and Edu­ca­tional Agen­cies: Fed­eral Archives, Wash­ing­ton, D.C.; Fed­eral Archives, Laguna Niguel, CA; Geor­gia State Archives and Record Cen­ter, Atlanta, GA; Ten­nessee State Lib­rary, Nashville, TN, Vir­ginia State Lib­rary, Rich­mond, VA; Uni­ver­sity of Vir­ginia Lib­rary, Char­lottes­ville, VA

Pub­lic Lib­rar­ies: Mus­cogee County, Colum­bus, GA; Jack­son­ville, FL; Nowata OK; San Diego, CA; Hamblen County, TN; Chat­tanooga, TN; King­s­port, TN; Sweet­water, TN; wilkes county, GA; Louisa County, Han­over, VA; Clear­wa­ter, FL; Robe­son County, Lam­ber­ton, NC; Mor­ris­town, TN

Court­houses: Henry County, Mar­tins­ville, VA; Pitt­sylvania County, Chatham, Va; Claiborne County, Tazewell, TN; Louisa County, Han­over, VA; Grainger County, Rut­ledge, TN; Wilkes County, Wash­ing­ton, GA; Hamblen County, Mor­ris­town, TN; Hal­i­fax County, Hal­i­fax, VA

His­tor­ical Soci­et­ies: Clair­borne County, Tazewell, TN; Wash­ing­ton County, VA

Gene­a­logy sources in England

On Septem­ber 5, 1538, Thomas Crom­well, vice-Regent dur­ing the reign of Henry VIII, issued a man­date requir­ing every par­ish priest to record in a register all births, mar­riages, and deaths in his par­ish, with the names of the parties. This action provided the found­a­tion for gene­a­lo­gical research in Eng­land. A total of 678 par­ishes have records that com­mence in 1538.

Although the law spe­cified births and deaths, it was more prac­tical to record christen­ings and buri­als, and this was gen­er­ally done. The record­ing was some­times done by the Church Warden, who was often illit­er­ate and unable to spell the names of the per­sons involved. This accounts for the fact that a name may be spelled in a num­ber of ways depend­ing on the way it sounded.

As an example, the name Das­ley has 14 altern­ate spellings: Dars­ley, Dazely, Dazeley, Dais­ley, Dase­ley, Dasely, Deris­ley, Derisly, Dearesly, Dearslye, Dearsly, Dearslee, Deresly, and Dearsley.

In 1597, Eliza­beth I ordered that par­ish registers be made of parch­ment instead of paper, and that all entries wee to be sent annu­ally to the appro­pri­ate bishop. These “Bishop’s Tran­scripts” became another valu­able research source.

The period of the Civil War and the Com­mon­wealth, 1642 to 1660, caused dis­rup­tion in par­ish life. Church registers were neg­lected, des­troyed, or bur­ied. Much poten­tially valu­able inform­a­tion was lost dur­ing this period.

Th 18th cen­tury brought about two reforms for which geane­a­lo­gists are thankful:

  1. The use of Latin was dis­con­tin­ued in par­ish records; and
  2. The Gregorian Cal­en­dar was adop­ted repla­cing the Julian Calendar.

With the Julian Cal­en­dar, the first day of the year was March 25. thus, a birth recor­ded between Janu­ary 1 and March 25, 1714, by the Julian Cal­en­dar, would actu­ally have occurred in 1715 by the Gregorian Cal­en­dar, which changed the first day of the year to Janu­ary 1.

Until 1893, par­ish registers were main­tained by the local par­ish. Many were stored improp­erly and were deteri­or­at­ing. As a res­ult, the gov­ern­ment now requires that registers will be depos­ited in County Record Offices, where they may be reviewed by researchers.

As an inter­est­ing note, when a par­tic­u­lar par­ish register was reques­ted at the Cam­bridge­shire County Record Office, the attend­ant said: “Why do you want to review that here, it’s on film in Salt Lake City (at the Mor­mon Fam­ily His­tory Library).”

maps ayles­bury uk — Google Maps

maps cam­bridge uk — Google Maps

Twelve Gen­er­a­tions of Fosters

JACOB (or JAMES or JOSEPH) FOSTER (ca 1556) = Agnes Smith (1581)




















Joseph (1688) SAMUEL



(ca 1717)


(ca 1718)















































Fitz Thomas


Kate Selina


Maud Her­berta


Albert Alex­an­der


Min­nie Her­berta
Jeanne Augusta


Fran­cis Albany
Alan Fre­d­er­ick
Archibald Reid
Clar­ence Steed
Elsie May
Robert Das­ley
Richard Osborne


Kath­ryn Suz­anne “Samanta” Chris­topher Thomas

NOTE: Names CAPITALIZED in bold face indic­ate per­sons in dir­ect ances­tral line. The date under each name rep­res­ents the date of birth or baptism.

One Comment

  1. Richard Smith
    Posted November 26, 2014 at 3:43 am | Permalink

    I’m part of the Cana­dian branch of the foster line: grand­son of Charles Foster and great-grandson of Fitz Thomas, who was James’ Foster’s brother. I would love to con­nect with some­body from that branch if they get this email!

Post a Comment

Your email is never published nor shared. Required fields are marked *


You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>