Re: William Rolfe
I also could not find my William Rolfe among the MA ones that migrated to NJ. Not that I think all the MA lines are necessarily well worked out. And it's just online that I have been looking lately.
The Long Island Rolfes would be more feasible for Wm as I believe this is where his wife's family originated, his mother-in-law being a Genung.
My gut feeling, for no good reason, is that Wm himself was not born in England. Altho here's a reference to "English parentage" in a short bio of William's oldest son Aaron: "Aaron Rolf was born in 1792 in New York, to William M. and Mary Dickerson Rolf.Aaron Rolf, was of English parentage and was a native of Essex County, N.Y."
This seems to me to imply that Aaron's parents were born in England altho he himself was born in what was to become Essex County, NY. However it could also mean, I suppose, that several generations back there was an immigrant Rolfe born in England. Aaron's mother definitely was not born in England.
I read the Moore & Slatten article years ago and this convinced me at the time that the NC & VA Thomases were one and the same. But since then, of course, there's been Brayton's rebuttal.
Regardless, my working hypothesis is to believe the story of descent from Pocahontas that's been passed down in my family. It seems there are just too many people with this claim for all of them to be wrong. And I'm hoping someone some day finds evidence that Thomas did indeed have a son with progeny. I can see that in Virginia in the 1800s a lot of people would have jumped on the bandwagon claiming descent from Pocahontas but it's more difficult for me to see why such a story would be passed down in semi-wilderness areas of NY and OH where it was much more likely for one to deny/hide any Native American lineage.
My working hypothesis is also to believe the VA birth story until I find something that suggests otherwise.
But these are just hypotheses and I am certainly open to other possibilities.
It's been frustrating to have reached a dead end with Willam and to not be able to take William back a generation.
It's interesting that you say there are a number of county books that give the story of a Rolfe being born in VA coming to NJ, and thence to NY. E.g. I found brothers DeForest P. Rolfe and Rollin M. Rolfe in a book about Otoe County, Nebraska in which it said that their "father, Joseph Rolfe, was a native of Monmouth County, N. J., born May 12, 1800, and was a son of Moses Rolfe, who was born in Virginia, and a descendant of an old English family." I jumped on the "born in Virginia" but it ended up that this Moses was one of the MA Rolfes.
Then there's this interesting (fanciful?) statement in a bio of DeForest & Rollin's half brother Furman from a 1906 book: "Wherever the name Rolfe is found in America, it indicates descent from one of three brothers who came to this country from England and who settled, one in New York City, one in Massachusetts, and one in Buffalo. They came over in the early Colonial days and later descendants took part in the Revolutionary war."
According to Wikipedia Buffalo didn't exist in the early colonial days, but originated around 1789 as a smaill trading community.
I remember talking on the phone years ago to some NC Relfe who was trying to tell me that my ancestor William would not have migrated north from Virginia or NC. That the direction of migration was to the west, especially TN. But I believe some Rolfes were involved in shipping, trading along the coast, and it seems to me this could have brought them north. Certainly a lot of people migrated from NJ to northern NY.
Do you know if anyone is doing DNA research on the Rolfes, to try to separate out the different families?