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The Nickersons are coming home

PUBLISHED: 14:46 11 May 2012

Members of the Nickerson Family Association

Members of the Nickerson Family Association

Archant

Is your name Nickerson? The clan are gathering in Norwich and would love you to join them.

The Nickersons are coming home to Norwich and they would love you to join them – if your name is Nickerson.

Nickersons from America, Canada and across this country are gathering in the city later this month to discover their roots.

The Nickerson Family Association, one of the largest family associations in the world and based in Massachusetts, is hosting a gathering of people with the same name in the city on Saturday, May 26.

Why Norwich?

This is the birthplace of William Nickerson, who sailed from Great Yarmouth in April 1637 to become one of the first English settlers to arrive in Cape Cod, Massachusetts, and he is the founder of Chatham.

William was an extraordinary man of Norwich determined to carve out a new life for his wife and children in the new world and his achievements.

Born in rough-and-tumble Norwich of 1604 he was a tailor apprentice to his father, then a Worsted weaver, in what was then a thriving industry and a became a freeman of the city.

William married Norwich girl Anne Busby, the daughter of Nicholas and Bridget (Cooke) in 1627 and it is believed they had five children – Nicholas, Elizabeth, Robert, Thomas and Anne – while still living in the city.

They then decided to leave, packed up, said their farewells, and headed off to Great Yarmouth where they climbed aboard a ship.

Imagine how they must have felt – setting sail for the unknown.

The couple left on April 15, 1637, arriving at Salem, Massachusetts, on June 20.

After a while the family moved to Yarmouth buying up land to develop Chatham. They went on to have more children – Samuel, John, Sarali, William and Joseph.

As the family grew so did their assets. Hard work was paying off. The founder of Chatham was described on his memorial as a ‘useful citizen’. He was the first of tens of thousands of Nickersons.

The association was founded in 1897 by William Emery Nickerson, a wealthy businessman who, along with King Gillette, invented the safety razor. His passion was genealogy and he had enough money to employ a full-time professional genealogist, Anna Kingsbury, to piece together the family tree.

Today Nickerson House and Genealogical Research Centre, in Massachusetts, maintain an extensive collection of Nickerson records and memorabilia, based on more than 100 years of research. Next door is Caleb House, an 1827 home bought by the association and now restored on land where William had lived.

Now members of the clan are coming home to explore Norwich and they also hope to meet more Nickersons.

Mark Nickerson, co-ordinator for the Nickerson Family Association, said: “We are extremely excited to be visiting Norwich and to see the birthplace of our common ancestor William Nickerson.

“If any Nickersons are interested in joining us to meet their American cousins and share family history we would be delighted to hear from you,” he said.

They will be at the Maid’s Head Hotel on Saturday, May 26 between 3.30pm and 6pm.

For more information email the UK contact Graham Nickerson at gnickerson30@aol.com

For more information about the Nickerson Family Association visit www.nickersonassoc.org

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