John Duham could be characterized as a religous rebel, a pioneer, an adventurer, and even as a family man, all of which would be true. Historians create a view of individuals through various records which give only a glimpse of insight into the life of an individual. In the case of John Dunham, there are many records from the Plymouth Colony that reveal John Dunham was a man of involvement. Beyond the Plymouth records we find that the "Father of American Dunhams", was certainly born in England. According to agreed upon recent research, John Dunham was most probably born in Pirton, Hertfordshire County, England (see Pirton Map).
- According to the records of Pirton, John Dunham was baptized on 8 February 1589.1 The same record shows John Dunham's father as Richard Dunham.
- Aside from his birth, John Dunham's early life in England has no recorded events. John Dunham was born during the reign of Queen Elizabeth I (7 September 1533 – 24 March 1603).
- According to undisputed records, John Dunham married his first wife, Susan, on 17 Aug 1612 at Clophill, Bedford, England.2 Susan's last name has been recorded with different spellings, such as "Susan Kaino", "Susan Kenny", "Susan Kenney" and "Susan Keno". The town of Clophill is approximately 10 miles distance from Pirton (see Clophill Map).
- Based on his recorded date of death in Plymouth Colony [PCR 8:32] on 2 March 1668/69 at about 80 years of age, his birth year is estimated at about 1589 (see below).
- John Dunham was a member of the Christian group known as the "Separatists", named as such because they separated themselves from the politically reformed Church of England, which separatists believed had become corrupt in theological beliefs and practice.3 The Separatists, including several leading members of the Mayflower Pilgrims, left England under covert circumstances, at risk of arrest for unauthorized departure from England. In fact, leading religious separatist, Deacon William Brewster (a Mayflower Pilgrim) was once arrested for attempting to leave England without proper authority.4
- John Dunham was known to have been one of the Pilgrims (Separatists) to emigrate from England and take up residence in Holland prior to the departure of the Mayflower Pilgrims in 1620.5
- It is unknown when his wife, Susan (Kaino/Kenney) Dunham died, but while John Dunham was in Holland, he married on 7 OCT 1622 Abigail Barlow, daughter of Thomas Barlow. John Dunham was listed as "Widower of Susan".6
- John Dunham and his wife, Susan (Kenney), had three children, John Dunham Jr., Humility Dunham, and Thomas Dunham as they were listed in the Zevenhuysen/Zevenhuizen (Netherlands) Census on 15 OCT 1622.7(see Zevenhuizen Map)
- John Dunham and his wife, Abigail, had eight children, Samuel Dunham, Jonathan Dunham, Abigail Dunham, Joseph Dunham, Hannah Dunham, Persis Dunham, Benajah Dunham, and Daniel Dunham.8 It is noteworthy and important for historians and genealogists alike to keep the records factual in that Deacon John Dunham's decendancy is not related to that of the U.S. President Barrack H. Obama. This President is also not related to any of the Mayflower Pilgrims, but rather to one of Plymouth's settlers after the Mayflower's arrival, Deacon Thomas Blossom.9 Deacon Thomas Blossom did not travel on the Mayflower.10 If you are searching for information regarding this President, see the Dunham-Singletary website, as the President decends from that unrelated lineage
This section "under construction or ongoing" 03/2016
The New England Historical & Genealogical Register, 1847-2011
The New England Historic Genealogical Society
John Dunham Biography
There are several biographies written about John Dunham. Our Society uses a well-researched John Dunham historical biography that includes the John Dunham name as listed in Plymouth County records. One must keep in mind when researching the first John Dunham that he had a son with the same name.
New England, The Great Migration and The Great Migration Begins, 1620-1635 (Volume 1)
New England Historic Genealogical Society*
1. Pirton Local History Group, Database, Baptisms, http://www.pirtonhistory.org.uk/data/
2. John Dunham Marriage, England Marriages, 1538–1973 ," database, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:N23C-LZV : accessed 26 October 2015), Jn Dunham and Susan Kaino, 17 Aug 1612; citing Clophill,Bedford,England, reference ; FHL microfilm 599,350.
3. WikiPedia, Puritans and Separatists, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Puritans#Puritans_and_Separatists
4. WikiPedia, William Brewster, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/William_Brewster_%28Mayflower_passenger%29
5. Dexter, H.M. & M, The England and Holland of the Pilgrims, London 1906, (reprinted Genealogical Publishing Co, Inc. Baltimore, 1978), p. 490.
6. Leiden Docs, 70 & Dexter, H.M. & M, The England and Holland of the Pilgrims, London 1906, (reprinted Genealogical Publishing Co, Inc. Baltimore, 1978), p. 612.
7. Dexter, H.M. & M, The England and Holland of the Pilgrims, London 1906, (reprinted Genealogical Publishing Co, Inc. Baltimore, 1978), p. 612.
8. New England, The Great Migration and The Great Migration Begins, 1620-1635 (Volume 1) by Robert Charles Anderson (New England Historic Genealogical Society). ® July 1995 New England Historic Genealogical Society 101 Newberry Street, Boston, Massachusetts 02116 All Rights Reserved. pp. 602-602.
9. Nederlands Pilgrim Archives - "Pilgrim Presidents", http://www.pilgrimarchives.nl/en/history/pilgrim-presidents
10. Barack Obama's English relatives whose lives are a world apart from the White House, http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/barackobama/4953794/Barack-Obamas-English-relatives-whose-lives-are-a-world-apart-from-the-White-House.html