Delmarva Settlers

Comparative Inventories
Comparison of Contents of Inventories of William Ennis, Sr. and His Sons (1670-1706) and His Sons-In-Law (1687-1721)

Comparison of Colonial Inventories

* Introduction
* Inventory comparison of William Ennis, Sr. and His Sons, 1670-1706
* Inventory comparison of William Ennis and His Sons-In-Law, 1687-1721

In the general discussion of colonial inventories elsewhere on this website, I referred to the value of inventories when used in re-constructing family possessions and in ascertaining wealth within a family at a single period of time as well as over an extended period. With wills, inventories may be utilized to determine the disposition of an individual’s personal property once he/she has died. An inventory may also be a guide to the kinds of wealth—or lack thereof---which a family might possess. When examined over a period of three or more generations, inventories of related individuals also provide a telling story of the ascent or decline of a family’s wealth.


Contents : Resources

Resources Index
1670 - 1681 Warrant Book
1685 Rent Roll

< < Comparative Inventories

Distribution of Wealth
Family Networking
Laws & Legal Info
Colonial Remedies

In the case of the family of William Ennis Sr., who emigrated from England in 1635 to Virginia’s Eastern Shore and then, in 1672, to Old Somerset on Maryland’s Eastern Shore, we have a detailed view of how inventories may help us build a profile of possessions within a family. Not only do we have the inventory of William Ennis Sr. who died in 1683, but we also have inventories for each of his four sons, William Jr., Nathaniel, Samuel, and Cornelius. In addition, William Ennis Sr had three daughters, each of whose husbands left an inventory.. In one case, a daughter married three times, and each of her successive husbands left an inventory. Finally, that daughter, Parthenia, dying in 1721, left an inventory of her own possessions. In all, for William Ennis Sr. and his children and children-in-law, there are a total of eleven inventories.

If one wanted to do an even more extensive examination of community and family networking, one could also examine the re-marriages of the widows of the deceased sons of William Ennis, Sr. for they would no doubt provide additional information about family possessions and their dispersal over a period of time and also the changing demographics of wealth within a single family as a result of marriages and re-marriages.

Inventories are a little used record---one which might help flesh out an understanding of a period of time and of the families who lived within the framework of that era.

G. Ray Thompson, PhD.
Professor of History
Salisbury University
Salisbury, MD 21801

* Introduction
* Inventory comparison of William Ennis, Sr. and His Sons, 1670-1706
* Inventory comparison of William Ennis and His Sons-In-Law, 1687-1721

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