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Who were Edmund Rice's ancestors?

Twice in the 20th century nationally recognized research genealogists have attempted to determine the parents and ancestors of Edmund Rice. Mary Lovering Holman described the negative result of her search for records in the parishes near Stanstead and Sudbury, Suffolk County, England in "English Notes on Edmund Rice ", The American Genealogist, Volume 10 (1933/34), pp. 133 - 137. Mrs. Holman is considered by many to be one of the best research genealogists in the 20th century. In 1997 the Edmund Rice (1638) Association commissioned Dr. Joanna Martin, a nationally recognized research genealogist who lives in England only a few miles from Stanstead and Sudbury to search again for records of Edmund Rice's parents. Dr. Martin reported in 1999 that she found no record that identified Edmund's parents or ancestral line.

Several authors of published works and computer data sets have claimed names for Edmund Rice's parents. Regrettably they have not given sources that would assist in definitive genealogical research. For example, the Ancestral File and International Genealogical Index, two popular computer data sets widely distributed by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, offer parent candidates that include: Henry Rice and Margaret Baker, Henry Rice and Elizabeth Frost, Thomas Rice and Catherine Howard, and Thomas Rice and Elizabeth Frost.

From Mrs. Holman's paper we have an excellent record of one Henry Rice's marriage to Elizabeth Frost in November 1605 at Stanstead. Mrs. Holman also documents the baptism of Edmund's first child on 23 August 1619 at Stanstead. If this is the Henry Rice and Elizabeth Frost to which the LDS records refer, the LDS records must be erroneous. Our researchers have not been able to find records that support any Henry Rice and Elizabeth Frost, Henry Rice and Margaret Baker, Thomas Rice and Catherine Howard, or Thomas Rice and Elizabeth Frost as parents of Edmund Rice.

A scholarly investigation by Donald Lines Jacobus, considered by many as the dean of modern American genealogy, appeared in The American Genealogist, Volume 11, (1936), pp. 14-21.  Jacobus traced many of the false accounts to the book by Dr. Charles Elmer Rice entitled "By the Name of Rice ", privately published by Dr. Rice at Alliance, Ohio in 1911.

Edmund Rice deposed in a court document on 3 April 1656 that he was about 62 years old. Sudbury, England includes three parishes, two of which do not have complete records for the years near 1594, which is Edmund's most likely birth year. Thus, if he were born in Sudbury, England his records have been lost and we may never know his origin.

In his address to the 1999 annual meeting of the Edmund Rice (1638) Association, Gary Boyd Roberts, Senior Researcher, New England Historic Genealogical Society, reviewed all of the genealogical sleuthing on Edmund's parentage. Mr. Roberts is well known for his research on royal lineage. He concluded that there was no evidence whatsoever that supports the published accounts of Edmund Rice's parents and no evidence that Edmund Rice was from a royal lineage.

The Edmund Rice (1638) Association is very interested in proving the ancestry of Edmund Rice. The Association encourages anyone who can identify a primary source that names Edmund and his parents to identify that source. Records of a baptism, estate probate, or land transaction naming Edmund and his parents are the most likely records to contain that proof.

Until someone can cite such a record, the Association must state emphatically that Edmund Rice's parents and ancestry are not known and that Edmund Rice's descendants can not claim royal ancestry.

Copyright 2014, Edmund Rice (1638) Association, Inc.. All rights reserved.
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