Many Generations of Gary’s Taylor Ancestry in Pennsylvania

I bumped into Gary recently at the local coffee shop. Gary mentioned that he was interested in his family history. Family lore has it that his family goes back to the William Penn land grants in Pennsylvania. Due to my weakness for genealogy, I offered to look into his history.

Gary’s Parents – Social Security and the US Census

Gary is from my generation. This is good, because I should be able to find his parents in the US Census. These are available beginning 1940 and going back.

Gary’s Dad

Gary’s dad is William Sproul Taylor of Media, PA. First I create a tree for Gary at I had asked Gary for his parents’ birth dates, but he gave me their Social Security Numbers. Let’s see if I can find Gary’s dad using just his name. Ancestry gives “leaf” hints when it thinks it knows who people are. I didn’t get any immediate leaf hints even when I added Gary’s mom.

Next, I did a search for Gary’s dad at Ancestry. I got Social Security results, but the number didn’t match what Gary gave me. Then I went to Ancestry’s S.S search page:

This had a SSN box. Putting in Gary’s dad’s SSN gave me this first:

Genealogy involves getting over some initial hurdles. This was the first hurdle. William was born early in 1920, so he should appear in the 1920 Census. Good genealogial research also involves going from the known to the unknown, so I will be going backward in time for much of this Blog.

I then tried the SSN Gary gave me for his mom, but got no results.

My next new hint for Gary’s dad was for a gravestone application from his mom. Here is part of it:

I get the impression that Gary’s dad was a Navy Gunner in World War II.

The Taylor’s 1940 Census

Here the family was living on 36 West Street in Media, PA. Gary’s father was a sales clerk at a produce department store and had worked 28 hours prior to the week of the census. William’s parents were John Q? and Florence Taylor. William’s dad was out of work in 1940. The mother was doing housework and earned $200 the previous year. William contributed about $128.

Now Gary’s tree looks like this:

Gary’s paternal grandparents were both born in Pennsylvania.

Here is some more information on Gary’s dad William about a year later. This is from his WWII Draft Card:

Back a Generation to John and Florence Taylor

Here is the family in 1930:

It looks like there was a separate family in the house. This could have been Florence’s parents. John Q was again listed as a policeman working for the railroad. The value of the house was $20,000 which would have been a substantial house for that time. John Q. Jr. was a cigar store merchant. Florence was listed as 15 at the age of her first marriage. Florence must have been a child bride if this was right.

Taylors in 1920

The 1920 Census rounds out the family picture:

John Q. and Florence had six children.

The family is listed at 36 East Street. In 1920, the Ormsby’s were the head of the household. It is clear that they were Florence’s parents. All people above were born in Pennsylvania and their parents were born in Pennsylvania, so it does appear the family has deep Pennsylvania roots.

A Taylor/Ormsby marriage record gets us back to the 1800’s:

It looks like Florence was from Media and John Q was from Concord (something?). From this record, The marriage date has the year first, so they married on August 18, 1904. I have elsewhere that Florence was born in 1889. Doesn’t it look like the record shows 1882 above? Was that a writing error or a fib?

Here is some more on John Quincy from Social Security:

Concord Turnpike is in the red box below:

It looks to be about 7 miles from Media.

Here is John’s WW I Registration card from 1918:

Here is a photo I get when I put 36 West State, Media into Google Maps:

I suppose the family could have lived in this block.

Now there is some symmetry in Gary’s line back to his paternal great-grandparents:

Sticking with the Taylors Back to the Civil War.

Francis or Frank’s wife’s parents were from Ireland according to her death certificate. She was born in New Jersey in 1857. That gets us before the Civil War. Francis and Mary married at the Media Presbyterian Church on December 30, 1875.

This looks like it could be old enough to be the right Church.

Here is at least part of the family in 1900:

Frank is a government official. I wonder what kind. Bessie was a sales woman and John Q was an insurance agent.

Who Was Francis or Frank I. Taylor?

Here is Francis in 1870.

Here we have Francis’ parents: John Q. and Martha J. John Q is a brick mason and it looks like Francis was an apprentice at the brick mason trade.  However, later Francis becomes a ‘government official’. The family lived in Westtown which was not too far from Concord Turnpike and Media:

We are now at almost 150 years ago. I need to get us back at least another 150 years to colonial times if Gary is right about his family. So far they have not moved around much. However, I will be running out of useful Census Returns soon. The earliest useful Census is for the year 1850.

Before John and Martha Taylor

Martha’s maiden name was Frame. Here is Gary’s father’s tree so far:

Gary’s grandfather John Quincy was named for his grandfather who appears to be another John Quincy Taylor. So far, I’m following the Taylor Line.

John Q Taylor in the 1850 Census

Before the elder John Q was a brick layer, he was a farmer like his father, John B. John Q’s parents just get us to the edge of and over into the 1700’s. In 1850, the family were farming in Thornbury – still not too far from Media.

There are two more children on the next page of the census, so the family had at least six children.

Gary’s Taylor Ancestors in the 1700’s

OK we made it. Here is the death record fo John Q’s younger sister Hannah. In her death certificate, we find out a little more about her parents:

Her dad was born in Thornbury and her mom’s maiden name was Ingram.

It looks like John B died in October, 1860 of typhoid.

Back before John B Taylor and Sarah H Ingram

At this point we have run out of useful Census returns. I can now do some independent research by traveling to Pennsylvania or cheat a little and look at some other family trees where hopefully the research was well done. When I search for John B Taylor at Ancestry, this tree pops up:

This gives a father for John, a middle name for John and a mother for John. When I look at this Taylor Tree, I can put things in to fast reverse back to 1602:

A Summary of the Copped Taylor Tree

John Bailey Taylor’s father was Stephen Taylor. He was born in 1771 in Pennsbury Township while the country was a British Colony. Here is Pennsbury on the Delaware border:

John Taylor, born 1743 in Thornbury Township, died in Pennsbury Township in 1812. John would have been around for the Revolutionary War. He married Dinah Baily. The Baily name would come out two generations later in Gary’s third great-grandfather John Baily Taylor.

Philip was born and died in Thornbury and lived between 1714 and 1762 all under British rule.

Philip’s father Philip was born in 1680 in Wales and died in Thornbury Township in December, 1732. There have to be some stories about Philip.

Thomas Taylor born about 1628 Wales – Did He Come to Pennsylvania?

However, it appears that Philip came to the New World with his father Thomas who this tree has as follows:

Here is a sketch about Thomas written in the 1800’s:

Theref is some indication that Thomas arrived in Pennsylvania prior to William Penn:

Here is another reference found at Ancestry. However, I don’t see a source listed:

This appears to be some of the goods that Thomas Taylor brought with him to Pennsylvania to start a new life. As Thomas preceded William Penn and brought oatmeal, that meant that he brought Quaker Oats to the New World before William Penn.

Finally, there is John Taylor born 1602 also from Worthenbury. Here is Worthenbury who lived about 25 miles South of Liverpool:

When Gary goes to visit his ancestral lands, he can stay at Worthenbury Manor:

William Penn

As many people know, Pennsylvania was named for William Penn, a prominent Quaker. Quakers would have been attracted to Pennsylvania. However, Wiiliam Penn offered religious freedom to all who would settle in Pennsylvania.


Philip Taylor (1680-1732)

Philip is Gary’s 7th great-grandfather. Here is the Quaker record of his marriage from 1705:

I am not used to looking at Quaker records. However, I find it interesting. Their simple Quaker philosophy of marriage comes through in the record, “..they are left to their liberty to accomplish their marriage according to the good order of truth.” Philip is listed as the son of Frances Worrell. Philip’s dad died soon after coming to the New World and his mother remarried.

Philip’s Land Holdings

Philip had an immense amount of land. Here is some information from his will dated 1732:

Gary’s 6th great-grandfather Philip made out well, inheriting 300 acres. It seems clear from the will that the elder Philip bought the land that he left to his son Philip from Richard Clayton. This land is on a branch of the Brandywine River.

Philip Taylor and Mary Gilpin

These two also married in a Quaker assembly in 1736:

The note taker got in quite a bit of detail for this wedding. My guess is that, as a Quaker and a pacifist, Philip would not have fought in the Revolutionary War.

John Taylor and His Wife Dinah Bailey

The tax man caught up with John in 1768:

It appears that John had a tannery in Pennsbury.

Here is John’s will:


He only left 5 Pounds to his son Stephen, Gary’s 4th great-grandfather. Fortunately the will explains the reason why. Otherwise, questions may have arisen.

Stephen Taylor

Stephen is listed in the Quaker records along with the rest of his large family:

Dinah had children over a 25 year span.

John Baily Taylor

Here is a Certificate of Removal from the Quakers:

The title sounds bad, but it appears to be a transfer from one meeting to another. I suppose John was moving at age 16. This shows that the Taylors were Quakers for at least 100 years. I hope I have the right John B Taylor here.

John Quincy Taylor

I wonder if John Quincy was the first in his line to make a break from the Quakers. It appears that he got married in a Baptist ceremony.


  • I was able to get Gary’s Taylor Line back 11 generatioms to 1602 in Wales.
  • Gary’s ancestors were early settlers in Pennsylvania and large landowners in the Thornbury area  west of Philadelphia.
  • It appears that Thomas Taylor did not buy land from William Penn, because he preceded William Penn’s arrival to Pennsylvania.
  • Gary’s early Pennsylvania ancestors were Quaker. However, at some point in the 1800’s they left the Quakers to become Baptists and later Presbyterians.
  • Gary is an 11th generation Taylor from Pennsylvania. When he left the State, there must have been some loud tearing and ripping sounds.



3 Replies to “Many Generations of Gary’s Taylor Ancestry in Pennsylvania”

  1. This is so awesome Joel – I have enjoyed reading it. And also putting an end to the Taylor urban legend that they bought land from William Penn!

    1. Thanks Suzy,

      I had fun looking into the Taylor family. I didn’t look into all the families that they married into. Perhaps one of those families bought land from William Penn. I did read an interesting story of the Gilpin family, I believe. Philip Taylopr married a Gilpin and the family, when they first came to the New World lived in a cave. This was until they built a dwelling to live in. I don’t know if it is true but the old book I read mentioned that the cave was still around to see. It brings up the issue that many people when they first came to the New World had no place to live and really had to rough it.


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