Okay, I know this sounds a bit far-fetched, many genealogists (both amateur and professional) have been able to make a connection between Thomas Jernegan, the immigrant, and the British royal family. Granted, the connection is waaaaaay back, but it does appear to be there!
And, since there should be some fun in tracing your ancestors back through history, I thought we’d have some fun and celebrate this nice little connection here.
Now, if you haven’t heard it yet, here’s the short version. It is believed that Thomas Jernegan, alleged to be the progenitor of all Jernigan descendants in the U.S., including the southern states (at least up to the 19th century), was part of the prominent Jernegan family (yes, that was the spelling in England at that time, along with Jernigham, another branch of the same family) of Suffolk, England, and some surrounding counties.
There are two theories about exactly which branch Thomas was from. The one I subscribe to, and which I believe has been proven pretty well, is that he was the son of Thomas Jernegan (1591-1645) and his wife, Eleanor (Elinor). I believe the case for this is strong, since a Thomas Jernegan arrived in Maryland aboard the ship Unity in 1637. Accompanying him were two other Jernegans, Ellen and Mary. Parish records from that time show that this particular Thomas had sisters named Mary and Eleanor.
The other theory states that he was the son of the branch that eventually lived at the estate of Cottessey. Both branches, however, are descended from Edward Jernegan (d. 1515). The royal connection begins a couple of generations later, but both branches each have their own, documented connection. In short, whichever branch produced Thomas Jernegan, immigrant to the colonies, there is a royal connection.
Since I believe he is descended from the branch of Thomas Jernegan (1591-1645), that’s the one I’ll be focusing on here.
According to researcher Kay Stone, who has spent many years digging through the archives of several states in search of original records, the only other Jernigan (of any spelling) to arrive at the shores of the colonies was Henry Jernigan (or was it Jerningham?), another descendant of Edward Jernegan.
Anyway, this section is intended to be more fun that serious, and it’s here for the sole purpose of celebrating the fact that our family line goes back to a very cool place!!
Have fun browsing!