Based on information given on a couple of reputable Internet Genealogy sites,I note that a number of people claim descent from Sir/Saint Thomas More. I understand that some of these claims are given a high star rating for accuracy.
One of these claims refers to a John Moore who emigrated to Virginia and settled in Elizabeth City County. He is said to have been married to Elizabeth Merritt.
John Moore is claimed to be the son of an Edward Moore of Bamption, Oxfordshire, and his wife Mary More, the daughter of Thomas More and Mary Scrope, and therefore the great-grand-daughter of Sir Thomas More.
Mary More is sometimes said to be "of Barnborough",(or similar spellings), Yorkshire, England.
Edward is said to be "of" various places, including Barnborough, Bampton and Oxford.
In fact, he was from Lower Haddon, in the Parish of Bampton, Oxfordshire, where the family had farmed their estate since the 1300s.
I would point out that there is absolutely no documentary evidence to support the claim that Edward and Mary were the parents of John Moore.
John Moore is said to have been born in various places, including, Bampton, Oxford, London, Reading, Shropshire, and even Ireland.
With regard to 'Mary More':
She was born at Hambleden, Buckinghamshire on 25 December 1553. The event is recorded in the family's 'Book of Hours'.
I have a copy of the entry.
With specific reference to Mary's marriage to Edward Moore and to their children:
Edward Moore's birth date is usually said to have been "abt 1560", but this is just guesswork as no record has survived.
The family were Catholic and the baptisms of their children were not recorded in the Church of England Parish Register. Edward was actually the son of Thomas More of Haddon (a village in the parish of Bampton, Oxfordshire), and his wife Dorothy Mordaunt.
The only thing known about Edward's early life was that he was a minor when his father made his will in 1561.
After their marriage, most probably in 1585 (Edward was a convicted recusant in various London prisons for some years before that), Mary and Edward lived all their married life with Mary's parents (Thomas More and Mary Scrope) on their small estate at Low Leyton in Essex. This is confirmed by Court Records for recusancy.
Some people record their children as being born at Bampton. Again, this is guesswork for which there is no evidence.
As Catholic recusants they were not allowed to go further than five miles from their home at Leyton without the permission of the Court. There is no evidence in Court records of this having been given.
Edward died intestate in 1605 and Mary (then living with one of her married daughters at Stondon Massey, Essex) in 1630.
There is incontrovertible evidence in the form of personal statements, that Edward and Mary DID NOT HAVE A SON JOHN.
In spite of this, some (presumably not interested in genealogy based on hard evidence) still insist on recording it.
It is sad that otherwise reputable genealogy sites perpetuate are guilty of perpetuating the story thus giving people false impressions of their ancestry.
Documentary evidence shows that Edward and Mary had ONLY TWO SONS, Henry and Thomas, both of whom became Jesuit Priests. They also had five daughters: Isabel, Joan, Frances, Grace and Anne. Of these Joan, Grace and Anne became Benedictine Nuns at Convewnts in Catholic Europe.
My information is based on the family pedigree, on family papers, on a sworn statement about his family by Thomas More (son of Edward and Mary) when he entered the English College, Rome, on the history of the Jesuits, on records of the English Benedictine Nuns in Flanders, and on Court records of Recusancy in Essex. I have copies of these.
It seems certain that the John Moore mentioned by most people emigrated from England to Virginia in 1620, in the ship 'Bona Nova', followed in 1622 by his wife Elizabeth in the 'Abigail'. Edward's age is usually given as 36 when he emigrated, thus the birth date of 1584.
Elizabeth's second name is usually given as 'Merritt' - and various guesses are also made about her origins! The ships musters make no reference to any children travelling with either of them - so presumably they were childless, or they left their children in England.
John and Elizabeth Moore settled in Elizabeth City County, Viginia, where he patented land at the head of the Little Poquoson Creek.
Americal genealogists researched all this in the 1890s and first decade of the 1900s - published in the William and Mary Quarterly and other papers.
They did not succeed in establishing John Moore's ancestry. They showed that he was sometimes confused - and from some sites it looks as though he still is - with a Captain John Moore (also of unknown birthplace and ancestry) who arrived in Virginia around the same time, but who settled in Isle of Wight where he eventually became a Burgess.
The American genealogists established that John Moore and Elizabeth (second name said to be "Merritt") had only ONE son, Augustine. This Augustine married and had two children: Augustine II and John (who died childless in 1715-16).
Augustine II (grandson of John the immigrant) married Mary Woolley and had a number of children (including an Augustine who died unmarried in 1637).
Some people claim that Augustine II and Mary Woolley were the parents of Col Augustine Moore who married as his second wife, Elizabeth Todd. There is, however, no known connection between the two families. The ancestry of Co. Augustine Moore, said to have been born in England in 1685 is also unknown.
I hope that some people will find this information useful.
[Author: "The Family and Descendants of St. Thomas More" Published in the UK by 'Gracewing'. April 2008.]