Cogswell Genealogical Research

the Thomson surname

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It has been well established that Elizabeth Thomson (who married John Cogswell in 1615) was the daughter of William and Phyllis Thomson.  William’s given name also appears in various records of the time as “Willmus” and “Guilielmus” (the Latin version of the name William).  Phyllis was the sister (or perhaps half-sister) of John White, longtime Vicar at Cheriton (now Chirton), a village near Devizes in Wiltshire, England.  Baptismal records have yet to be located for both William and Phyllis, but researchers are focusing in the early 1570’s period in which they hope to find them. 

William was a member of the clergy and served as a Vicar between 1603 and his death in 1623.  The words “Willmus Thomsonn Vicarius” appear just below the column heading
“ • Baptismata • Anno Doni • 1603 • Jacobi • 1 • ” in the parish register from All Saints Church in Westbury, Wiltshire, England. 

image from the parish register
This heading appears between two entries dated 31 March and 11 April, so we presume that William’s appointment was made in late 1602 (as 1603 began on 25 March during this period in England). 

1603, Westbury parish register entry regarding Vicar William Thomson

The digital photographs contained on this web page are of the original parish registers stored at the Wiltshire and Swindon Record Office in Trowbridge (now the Wiltshire and Swindon Archives in Chippenham), Wiltshire, England.  They were taken in May of 2002. 

These images have been edited slightly for clarity to eliminate stray lines from characters appearing in the entries before and after the one shown. 

William and Phyllis Thomson were married prior to his appointment as the Vicar at Westbury.  No records of them exist in the parish registers prior to 1603, so their marriage, as well as their daughter Elizabeth’s baptism, occurred in an unknown parish outside that area.  Information also has yet to be found to establish whether this marriage was the first for both William and Phyllis. 

In July 1608, Phyllis (White) Thomson died and was buried at Westbury.  William remarried in April 1610 to Elizabeth Shepherd.  In July 1623, William Thomson died and was buried at Westbury.  Information as to what became of Elizabeth (Shepherd) Thomson after William’s death has not yet been uncovered.