It is not possible to write a history of any family which covers over 1,000 years without errors and misunderstandings. For that reason I have included as many collateral family lines as reasonable with the intent that we would then be able to get a clearer understanding of the Venables family and its history, realizing that if I have incorrectly linked generations, the story of Abraham’s family line would still have been told. The ultimate goal was to find Abraham Venables our first immigrant to Virginia in 1679. I believe he has been found and his family correctly identified.
Abraham Venables was christened in 1654 at Hertford, Hertfordshire at All Saints Church. His father was Abraham Venables but there is no record of his mother.
My sources are all available on the Internet either freely or by subscription, including parish church and history records. These volumes were of significant help in preparing the first 500 years of history:
Visitation of Cheshire in 1580
Sir Peter Leycester’s Pedigrees of Cheshire
George Ormerod’s The History of County Palatine and City of Chester
Some Venables of England and America…, by Henrietta Brady Brown
The English Venables records begin in Cheshire, with early branches in Staffordshire and London. During the late 1500’s England experienced a population boom, and churches began recording births, deaths, and marriages, although it was often sporadic and haphazard. Prior to this time, landless but law abiding individuals are virtually invisible to history. It is mainly through land, court, or tax records that men and an occasionally women are documented.
The name Abraham is first documented in 1604 with the birth of Abraham to Raphe Venables in London who most certainly was from Cheshire. Soon after this there are births of Abraham in Staffordshire and Hertfordshire.
Regarding parish registers of births, deaths, and marriages, I quote from the Internet Londonlives: Despite their apparently comprehensive coverage, it is important to note that parish registers suffered from a significant degree of under registration. Those who were not members of the Anglican Church, particularly dissenters, often did not register these events, especially marriages, with their Anglican clergyman. It is also important to note that there was often a delay between births and baptisms, and the births of infants who died before they were baptized were often not reported. Clandestine marriages, which took place outside the parish, were not recorded in parish registers, though the incidence of these fell dramatically following the passage of the 1694 Marriage Duty Act, which imposed heavy fines for non-registration of marriages (though with one center of clandestine marriages, Holy Trinity Minories, immediately adjacent to St Botolph Aldgate, this possibility should not be ignored). Finally not all deaths in a parish led to burials within the parish, since some bodies were returned by parish officers to the individual’s parish of settlement, or by families to a family vault in another parish.
The levels of under registration varied from parish to parish and by type of event. It has been estimated that in late seventeenth-century London, birth under-registrations caused by religious dissent were about 17 per cent of all births, with a further unknown percentage of births missing due to infant mortality before baptism. In contrast, the under registration of marriages, particularly after 1694, and deaths, was considerably lower. While there is no reason to question the accuracy of the data provided, the fact an event was not recorded in a parish register does not mean it did not happen in the parish.