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Descendants of Edward DORSEY,
boatwright of Lower Norfolk Co. VA and Anne Arundel Co., MD

Edward Dorsey was among the first settlers of Anne Arundel Co. in 1649, coming from Lower Norfolk Co.,VA with other Puritans and Independents. His ancestry has been the subject of much debate over the last 80 years. Some of this debate can be read in the 1997 issues of the Maryland Genealogical Society Bulletin. There are several genealogies on the family of Edward Dorsey. Among these are The Dorsey Family by Dorsey, Dorsey & Ball; Anne Arundel Gentry (first Edition), by Harry C. Newman, Anne Arundel Gentry Volume 2 by Harry C. Newman. Information on the family is also in The Founders of Anne Arundel and Howard Counties Maryland by J. D. Warfield (1905). I also believe there is a book about the Georgia desendants of Edward Dorsey. A couple of articles on Edward Dorsey's family have also appeared over the years in the Maryland Historical Magazine. There have also been some Dorsey newsletters including Dorsey Dreams which was published by Mrs. Lois Colette Bennington, and The Dorsey Project that was published quarterly by Mr. Donavon Dorsey of Benton City, Wash. I would recommend that people interested in this family to obtain copies of the above listed books for much in-depth material on the families.>/P>

While, there is much controversy over the ancestry of Edward Dorsey, recent DNA testing seems to rule out claimed relations to the family of Thomas, Lord D-Arcy. However there are a few facts that should be considered with the history of the time and places. Edward Dorsey was in Lower Norfolk Co VA by 1642, when Cornelius Lloyd claimed land for transporting him to the colony. (The 1642 date is the claim for head rights to receive land for transporation of persons into Virginia, and not necessarily the date the person arrived in Virginia.) Edward Dorsey bought 200 acres in Elizabeth River Parish; in 1642 he bought cattle there (3 head of cattle from John Browne of the Elizabeth River District of Lower Norfolk Co., In the Cort Records B book of Lower Norfolk Co.; 15 April 1648: Henry Nichxxx appointed constable for the head of Eastern Branch beginning at Edward DORSEYS and so Upwards on both sides of said River including Richard Woodman's Plantation. On 20 Oct 1649 Robert Taylor sold Edward DORSEY 200 acres. This land is described by a deed dated 19 October 1647 recorded 31 Oct 1649: William Julian selling 200 acres of land to Robert Taylor of Elizabeth River, Planter, which is part of a patent of 500 Acres as being a Neck of land upon the south turning of ye Said River, East upon a creeke and South upon upon a creek north into ye woods as is bounded in the patent bearing date 22 July 1634, witnesss: Abraham Weekes and William Hancock. He witnessed by Edward E.D Dorsey. quit-claim deed Oct 1649 to Virginia land executed by Thomas Tod (Todd). This deed he signed Edward E D Dorsey
Edward Darcy granted in November 1650 a warrant for 200 acres of land. & another 200 acres in 1651, half of a warrant for 400 acres he shared with John Norwood (Patents 11/folio 98)

A little history of Virginia shows that Cornelius Lloyd and his brother Edward Lloyd were involved with Richard Bennet who was a puritan and advocate of the independent church, and endevored to establish a purtian settlement on the south shore of the James River in the late 1630s and early 1640s. It was among these Puritans or memeber of the Independent church with which Edward Dorsey associated. Given that we find Edward buying cattle in 1642, it is doubtful if he was an indentured servant. Rather, I suspect he was among young men and families (including college graduates) that were recruited for the Puritan settlement on the south shore of the James River. At this time England was in the early stages of the English Civil War, with King Charles I taking a hardline stance against the Indendent/Putitan and other sects that were not outside the Church of England.

The provinical court records tell us of Edward Dorsey's death. Att a Court hoden in Anarundel County on tuesday August 2nd 1659: Whereas Thomas Hinson hath petitioned this Court, Showing that hee hauing taken up the Boate wherein Edward Doarcy & some others drowned, neare the Isle of Kent, being desyred by the sd Darcys overseer to take up the same, wch he did, delivering the same Boate to the chiefe in Authority taking a discharge upon the Anarundell & now by his Petn craving for his paynes taking therein, as the Court now sitting shall adjudege him. It is ordered that the sd. Thomas Hinson have one hundd pounds of Tob. payd him for the sd paynes and Care, by those (Whoever they bee) that possesse & enjoy the sd Boate

In addition to the information on this site, I know of several people who have created their own web sites with Dorsey Genealogical Information. On the Internet there is a Dorsey Genealogy mailing list at The information on this website has been extensively updated in Feb 2009 . It presents material on 8 generations of Dorsey descendants including data from church records, census, graveyards, marriage licenses, and genealogies. The data is not complete. There are Dorseys that seem to belong to this family that have not been connected to Edward Dorsey's lineage. It is also noted that there is another early Dorsey family in Maryland which settled mostly in Calvert Co. and the Eastern Shore, at times this family used the spelling of Dossey as well as Dorsey. This family's progenitors were James, Ralph, and John D-arcy or Dorsey, kinsmen of Richard Preston of the Clifts in Calvert Co. MD.

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