I gathered from my reading of Kelly’s site that the link between Domingo and James is the shaky one. The site states that James is assumed to be Domingo’s son based on when he was born, where he was born (i.e., Dragon Swamp, the area of Virginia owned by Domingo), and by the common surnames used in existing documentation.
The link between James and Zachariah seems sound, but is Zachariah the same person as Zacharias Maddera? That’s anyone’s guess – it all gets very confusing, doesn’t it?
As I mentioned in my original posting, I’m switching my attention back to the UK. This presents more of a challenge because the bulk of Maddra references I’ve found on the Internet relate to the US. I live in California, but I hope to get back to Hull for a few weeks sometime next year, so I’ll be hitting the local libraries for their copies of the 1881 and 1891 census returns. I might also manage to get down to London to browse through the registry of births, marriages and deaths.The release of the 1901 UK Census online on January 2, 2002 is also an event I’m looking forward to.
As for the possibility of my Maddra ancestors coming from Portugal -yes, I suppose it’s possible. As far as I can tell there are no Maddras in Portugal today, so the name would probably still need to have evolved via a series of corruptions. It’ll probably take a more profession researcher than myself to ever get to the bottom of this, but I shall keep chipping away.