TENNEY, John & Ursula (Mumby)

By Cliff McCarthy, 2017

The Tenney Family’s home in England was at St. Peter’s Parish, Great Limber, Lincolnshire.  Elder John Tenney was baptized there at the Church of St. Peter in April 1567. The Church and its existing Baptismal Font date to the 12th Century.

John Tenney was named in the will of his uncle, William Tenney, in 1591. He was a husbandman and was named a churchwarden at St. Peter’s in 1595, 1607 & 1614 and likely in 1636.

John Tenney married Ursula Mumby (or Mumbie) at Brocklesby, Lincolnshire, on 29 October 1599 and they removed to Great Limber. Ursula was doubtless a native of Brocklesby, where the surname Mumby is commonly found, but there is a gap in the parish registers from 1571 to 1671. John and Ursula were the parents of seven children, each baptized at St. Peter’s, Great Limber, between 1600 & 1619.

Douglas Richardson, the primary researcher into the Tenney family, wrote the following:

“On 9 March 1601/2, John Tenney was appointed administrator of the estate of his late sister, Alice Tenney. On 14 August 1610, he served as an appraiser of the estate of John Mumby the elder, yeoman, of Brocklesby, signing the inventory by mark. On 10 July 1616, he was one of the appraisers of the estate of William Heaton of Great Limber, husbandman. On 13 March 1618/9, he served as an appraiser of the estate of John Mumby, gentleman, of Brocklesby. John Tenney’s wife, Ursula, was probably related in some manner to the two John Mumbys, but the exact relationship has not been determined.”

The reference to William Heaton is also important to note because William Heaton’s son James married John and Ursula’s daughter Elizabeth.

Ursula passed away and was buried at Great Limber, 4 April 1642.   Following the death of his wife, John apparently went to live with his son, John, in nearby Riby, Lancashire. He was buried there as “John Tennie the elder, husbandman,” on 30 October 1644. No probates have survived for either John Tenney or his wife.

Of their seven children, at least three immigrated to New England. Thomas Tenney is considered progenitor of the Tenney family in America. He left Hull, Yorkshire, in the company of Rev. Ezekiel Rogers, pastor of St. Peter’s Church, Rowley, Yorkshire, in 1638. Along with some 20 other families, these Puritans made the pilgrimage to New England aboard the John of London. Sailing from from Hull, Yorkshire, England, with a stop over in London, they arrived at the Massachusetts Bay Colony during the second half of 1638. Making port in Salem, Massachusetts, they made that their home during the harsh winter of 1638. In April 1639, Rogers’ company colonized an area between Ipswich and Newbury as the Ezekiel Rogers Plantation. On Sept. 4, 1639, it was incorporated as the town of Rowley, Massachusetts. Thomas Tenney’s brother William was also an early settler at Rowley.

Their sister, Elizabeth Tenney was also an immigrant to New England. Elizabeth was married first in 1630 to James Heaton of Great Limber at nearby Stallingborough, Lincolnshire. Their two children were baptized at Great Limber. James Heaton apparently died in 1631, leaving Elizabeth pregnant with his son.

That son, James Heaton, our ancestor, came with his mother to begin a new life in America. Elizabeth (Tenney) Heaton probably immigrated with one or the other of her brothers, Thomas and William, but there is no documentary proof for this. The circumstances that brought Elizabeth (Tenney) Heaton from Boston (or Rowley) to New Haven, Connecticut remain a mystery, but we do know that Elizabeth (Tenney) Heaton was at New Haven by about 1642 when she married Benjamin Wilmot.


The Children of John & Ursula (Mumby) TENNEY:

JOHN TENNEY was born 1567, and died 1644. He married URSULA MUMBY on 29 October 1599 in Brocklesby, Lincolnshire, England. She died 1642. The Children of JOHN TENNEY and URSULA MUMBY are:

i. JOHN TENNEY, b. Bef. 9 November 16001.
ii. ROBERT TENNEY, b. Bef. 3 July 16081.
iii. ELIZABETH TENNEY, b. Bef. 8 August 1610, England; d. 1685, New Haven, New Haven Co., CT; m. (1) JAMES HEATON, 17 August 1630, Stallingborough, Lincolnshire, England; b. Abt. 1605, Lincolnshire, England; d. Abt. 1631, England; m. (2) BENJAMIN WILMOT, Abt. 1642; d. 8 April 1651, New Haven, CT; m. (3) WILLIAM JUDSON, 8 February 1659/60, New Haven, New Haven Co., CT; d. 29 July 1662, New Haven, New Haven Co., CT.
iv. THOMAS[1] TENNEY, b. Bef. 24 January 1612/1334.
v. THOMAS[2] TENNEY, b. Bef. 25 June 161534.
vi. WILLIAM TENNEY, b. Bef. 23 December 161634.
vii. EDWARD TENNEY, b. Bef. 19 March 1618/1934.



  • Anderson, Mary Audentia Smith, Ancestry and Posterity of Joseph Smith and Emma Hale, (Independence, MO: 1929).
  • Blue, Jon C., Case of the Piglet’s Paternity, The, (Wesleyan University Press, Middletown, CT, 2015).
  • Dexter, Franklin Bowditch, Historical Catalogue of the Members of the First Church of Christ in New Haven, CT, (New Haven, CT, 1914).
  • Jacobus, Donald Lines, Families of Ancient New Haven, (Genealogical Publishing Co.; Baltimore, MD, 1981).
  • Richardson, Douglas, “Tenney Family of Lincolnshire and Rowley, Massachusetts,” New England Historic Genealogical Register, July 1997.
  • Richardson, Douglas and Dean Crawford Smith, “English Ancestry of Nathaniel Heaton of Boston, MA,” New England Historical & Genealogical Register, Vol. 152, Oct. 1998.



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