Heysham Arms

The Hissem-Montague Family

Montague Arms

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Welcome to my web site. While it may eventually become many things, this site is currently dedicated to the genealogy of the Hissem family, but includes references to all the families of Heysham, Hysham, Heesham, Hesam, Hesom, Hessam, Hissam, Hissem, Hissim and Hissom of England, India and America, as well as those of Gernet, Garnet, Garnett, Montague, Wells, Six, Offerman, and Dengler.

As you will read, I believe I can accurately trace my family back at least three hundred years to our American forebear, Thomas Heysham, who was born around 1720 in the Delaware river valley. I don't know who his father was, but I am fairly confident that I can find our roots to the northeast of England, in Lancashire county. Members of the Heysham family have lived in and around the city of Lancaster, and the eponymous village of Heysham a few miles to the west, since at least the fourteenth century. They have traditionally held that they descend from a junior branch of the Gernet family. This Norman clan held a number of estates in the north of England in the first centuries after the Conquest, among which was the the manor of Heysham. I tell the story of the family based on this supposition.

I've enjoyed writing this history, I hope you enjoy reading it.


To navigate this site you may go through all the pages sequentially by using the arrow keys at the bottom of each page. This is the story of the family, in order, from the earliest point and is how this story is meant to be read. Alternatively, individual pages may be selected using the menu at the top of the page. Most of the pages are identified by the earliest member of that branch of the family. One other means of navigation is to go to the surname page and select an individual. Clicking on their name will take you to the page on which their biography is located.


3 July 2003: The most recents updates have been to the William Heysham Line, the story of the merchant family in New York and Philadelphia. I've added more background on the friends and acquaintances of the family to help round out our understanding of their lives.

9 July 2003: I've updated the Montagues in New England page attempting to strengthen the ties between Zenas Montague and his purported father, Peter Montague of Westhampton, Massachusetts. I've also added the 1850 census showing David O. Montague's family in Iowa.

17 July 2003: I've updated the Welles Family page with a more accurate view of the early family in England and Connecticut and strengthened the ties between generations to Constant Wells.

7 August 2003: I've added more data to the Thomas Hissom Branch, especially to the Hysham line, though I've confused the story of Jacob A. Hysham. The 1880 census indicates his father was from North Carolina.

25 August 2003: I've updated the John Heysham Line page with more background material, especially about Dr. John Heysham of Carlisle, and added a good deal of information about the Mounsey family, the Heygate family [Isabella Dorothea Mounsey married into this family], and the Boeselagers [Millicent Mounsey-Heysham married into this line of German Barons].

5 September 2003: I've added the history of the Sayre family to the Heysham-Sayre page and come up with a lot of new information about the life and death of Francis Bowes Sayre.

23 October 2003: I've found considerable new information about Thomas Heysham's sons and their part in the Revolutionary War. This includes William & Abner Heysham/Hissom. Both were soldiers during the Revolutionary War and Abner, it seems, died in British captivity. Up until now I wasn't sure Abner even existed. I've also done new work in the Gernet's of Halton, correcting faults with dates of birth pointed out to me in an extremely helpful email.

6 November 2003: I've finally completed formatting the "Montagues of Virginia" and "Garnets of Kirkby Lonsdale" pages and, of course, did some updating as I went along. I've also just taught myself in the use of frames. I'm hoping this makes updating, especially of the Table of Contents, a bit easier.

27 December 2003: Too many changes have been made for me to list them all, but the William Heysham Line, the Sayres & Gibbons have all been extensively updated. The Robert Heysham line is also in the process of being updated, including new information from present-day descendents.
Steve Hissem
San Diego, California




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