Saltmarsh Genealogy

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Thomas Saltmarsh Coat of Arms

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History of the Saltmarsh Name

The following two paragraphs are taken verbatim from a packet in my possession included with a letter from Frank Nehemiah Saltmarsh to my Grandfather, Robert Lee Saltmarsh, dated May 21, 1923. It is obvious that this summary was written in or after 1971, however, by an unknown author. Upon further reflection, there are some key phrases in the 2nd paragraph that sounds suspiciously like a generic history spit out by the coat-of-arms peddlers. Milton Rubincam in his book "Pitfalls in Genealogical Research" reported that these companies (Halbert's in one case) will often make up information if they can't find it. As far as I can tell, most of the historical information in the first paragraph may be true. The information about Capt. Thomas is unlikely, as far as I can tell. This may have been added on by the author of the letter.

"On the River Humber, in England, or rather that part of it called the River Ouse, is a parish the name of which is Saltmarshe (map). The parish is in Yorkshire, west of Hull, and nearly opposite the town of Goole. The family was derived from the lordship of this parish. In ancient days it was spelled many different ways, of which the most usual were Saltmorse, Sautmarois, Saute Marays and le Salso Marisco, the latter being the most common in the 12th and 18th centuries. Towards the close of the 12th century was born Elnard de Salso Marisco1 or Saltmerse, from whom the descent of the Yorkshire Saltmarsh family can be traced. It is likely that this Elnard is our first English ancestor whose name is known. A deed to a piece of land is still extant to which he was a witness, the deed having been given before 1216. His son, Sir Piers (or Peter) de Salso Marisco, appears in the list of Yorkshire knights in the time of Henry III. Sir Pier's son, Sir Elnard de Salso Marisco, was a member of Parliament for Beverly in 1299. He appears as holding Saltmarshe under the Bishops of Durham in 1313. Sir Elnard's son Sir Peter, was a member of Parliament for Huntington in 1322, and for York in 1330. He was High Sheriff for Yorkshire in 1334 and 1337, and Constable of York Castle in 1333. Tracing the family down through the centuries that follow, many of its members are found occupying places of responsibility and rendering distinguished service to their country. And the family is an extensive and important one in England at the present time. There is a Saltmarshe family coat of arms with the motto, ad astra virtus2. The Arms description is: "Red: strewn with silver crosses bottonee(sic), three silver covered cups."3 Family mottos are believed to originated as battle cries in medieval times.

"Information available indicates that in 1971 there were approximately 100 heads of households in the United States with the old and distinguished Saltmarsh name. The United States Census Bureau in 1970 estimated an approximate total of 310 people in the United States carrying the Saltmarsh name. The figure seems low but many important contributions have been made to history by individuals bearing the name Saltmarsh. The name Saltmarsh is of good old English origin and repute. There is no doubt that the first American Saltmarsh, Captain Thomas Saltmarsh, born in England, belonged to the Yorkshire family, though the date of his birth and name of his father may not be known. Thomas was a Captain in the Royal Navy. There is a tradition not positively authenticated that he was the son of Captain William Saltmarsh who commanded the ship "Larkie", on the Royal Navy, and who at one time went to the West Indies in the "Jersey." Captain William Saltmarsh died May 28, 1691." 4

1Frans Hoppenbrouwers from the Netherlands informed me that " 'De Salso Marisco' is ... Latin and could certainly designate literally something like "from Salty Marsh", i.e. Saltmarsh(e) in vernacular. Please note, however, 'mariscus' is an adjective meaning literally: 'something large and of bad quality.' " I really find that last part very amusing.
2Literally ad=towards astra=stars, heights, glory and virtus=virtue, courage. See the coat of arms page for the explanation of what this means.
3It is not known to which line of Saltmarshes this belonged to, but the coat of arms notes indicate that this does not belong to the Capt. Thomas Saltmarsh line.
4Research of Winifred Saltmarsh Raines indicates that the captain of the Larke and Jersey was named William, but wasn't a Saltmarsh, nor was he related to Capt. Thomas.


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Last updated: 15 MAY 2004

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