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John Count of TANKERVILLE, Castle, Normandy, France

John Count of TANKERVILLE, Castle, Normandy, France

Ashley Chamberlin (View posts)
Posted: 1093351184000
Classification: Query
I received some information from a well known name on this BB, Mr. James Parker. I know now that I am a descendant of Henry the Blacksmith who apparently fled from England in aprox. 1638 to escape Religious Persecution. Somehow I stumbled across a sight on the net much like LDS. I found the Blacksmith and continued even further back, 14 generations. Some of the dates were obviously not accurate, so I am hoping to get more accurate dates on the info. and names I found. By following direct links and eventually went back 12 generations and found JOHN EARL OF TANKERVILLE born in 1070. It was noted that John Earl was LORD CHAMBERLAIN to King Henry I, England. The Earl's father, JOHN COUNT of TANKERVILLE, Castle, Normandy France, born 1040 was noted to be a companion of WILLIAM THE CONQUEROR. The Count's father was listed as SIR THOMAS OF BERWICK & CHILLINGHAM GREY, but the birth date was listed as 1359, obviously some of this info. is not correct.

What I am trying to find out is if this is part of my family line or are these people the elders of Henry the SHOEMAKER. Mr. Parker said that as of this time he didn't know the origins of the that is what makes me wonder if this info. was connected to the wrong line.

If Mr. Parker or anyone else can help me it would be greatly appreciated.

In my discovery of this info. I have come across a new question as well...I have always been under the impression that Surnames were based on the individual's kingdoms there are positions of respect and power that are given titles...IE...The Earl, The Count, The Duke, appears that "Chamberlain" is also a title and that may have been how the last name came about. This is just a theory of mine. I would like to find out what a "chamberlain" was in/to a kingdom and also what the origin of the name CHAMBERLIN are.

Lastly, I would like to find a family crest for Henry the Blacksmith. If anyone knows a good websight I can go to, please let me know.

Thank you so much.

Ashley M. Chamberlin, A1C, USAF

Re: John Count of TANKERVILLE, Castle, Normandy, France

James Baldwin Parker (View posts)
Posted: 1093362081000
Classification: Query
I'm delighted to hear that you are interested, Ashley, in learning more about the origins of the Chamberlains in America and elsewhere, and the origin of the name itself, in antiquity. Much has been published, over the past 106 years (when the original Chamberlain Association of America was founded), as you can imagine, on these subjects. Unfortunately, we present-day active Chamberlain researchers/genealogists, who are very familiar with all of the "literature", now spend much of our time responding to, and debunking, lots of stuff that appears on the Internet, and much earlier in the "literature", that is just plain wrong, or simply guesswork.
I refer you to the homepage of the World Chamberlain Genealogical Society <>;, of which I was a co-founder in 1996, which will answer some of the questions you have posed, in more depth than I can address here. But let me summarize, as follows, my own answers to these questions, based on my own knowledge of the subjects, and with reference to the extensive Chamberlain records I maintain here.
- Henry Chamberlin, "The Blacksmith", of Hingham & Hull, MA, (not to be confused with Henry "The Shoemaker" - a very detailed article was published in the NEHGR by David Conrad Chamberlin, Sr. just on this subject which I recommend that you obain and read), was born in England about 1592-1595, and his orgins remain unknown. This is the subject of continuing professional genealogical research in England (sponsored by the WCGS), but results to date are discouraging. DNA analysis of known descendants in the U. S. proves that Henry(1) is unrelated to the other early Chamberlain/lin immigrant ancestors in North America. The origins of Henry "The Shoemaker", who returned to England with his family, are likewise unknown, and his descendants haven't been traced, either, unfortunately.
- Welton Chamberlain, of Pinckney, Michigan (which is just a few miles from where I live here in Whitmore Lake, MI), the first President of the WCGS in 1996, and also my 5th cousin, published a well-researched, and richly documented book on the Tankervilles, their likely line of descent (he calls it "speculative"), and how it might tie into our own line of Richard(1) Chamberlaine of Braintree, MA, another one of the five earliest Chamberlain immigrant ancestors in New England. You can probably still purchase a copy of this fine book from Welton, if you wish. Years ago, I abstracted the data from this book into a "lineage" of sorts, together with detailed "notes" (which I'm studying as I write this message), tracing all known descendants (there aren't very many Tankerville lines which have actually been traced to the 18th or 19th century, as yet, but we are hopeful that more of them will be found/proven as the years progress). Research is continuing (mostly by Philip J. Chamberlain who is in charge of the "English Ancestries" research committee for the WCGS) to clear up some inconsistencies and "holes" in the speculative lineage that Welton wrote about, but that is another matter, much too obscure and complex to discuss here, though Philip is beginning to publish some of these results in the WCGS newsletter, the "Chamberlain Key." At present, DNA samples have not yet been obtained from known Tankerville descendants. Tankerville descendants probably include some relatively wealthy early Virginia colony immigrants (what we call the "Thomas" line), and numerous lines in England (most of which have not yet been traced, as mentioned above). If and when DNA samples can be obtained and tested, we will immediately know whether any of the major Chamberlain/lin families in North America do match. In the meanwhile, the WCGS is continuing to collect and test samples from the descendants of dozens of family "groups." Some of the results are very surprising, and are prompting us to question and re-research the lineages previously believed (from traditional research) to have been valid. One of these surprises occurs in the second generation of the "Henry" line, where two of his sons have DNA that doesn't match! Philip J. Chamberlain is also in charge of this DNA project, and routinely publishes very detailed internal WCGS reports about this DNA study, with anaylsis of each test result, which I receive here, and avidly study. You are welcome to contact Philip or myself if you have any questions concerning this DNA study and its findings, including data for the "Henry" group, to which you belong.
- The surname "Chamberlain" was indeed originally a title, and a very distinguished one at that, more than 1000 years ago. For instance, you mentioned "John Earl was LORD CHAMBERLAIN to King Henry I, England." I have his name listed here as John de Tancarville, who was Lord Chamberlain to King Henry I of England, who reigned between 1100-1135. John was probably a son of William Fitz Ralph de Tancarville, who came with Duke William "The Conqueror" to England, then returned. William's father, Ralph (Fitz Ralph) was said to have been the mentor and companion of Duke William in his youth, and it is said that "Le Chamberlain de Tancarville was at Senlac Hill, near Hastings, during the great battle there on 14 Oct 1066. The next generation on back, Ralph Fitz Gerold, or "Raoul le Chamberlain", also called "Radulfus Camerarius filius Geroldi" in Latin, was the guardian of Duke William, and also went with him to Hastings [I question whether all of these Chamberlains indeed went with William the Conqueror to England, but perhaps they did]. Gerold, the next generation on back (who died c1056), was also probably the Chamberlain to the earlier Dukes of Normandy. The generations before that lived at Tancarville Castle in Hauteville, Normandy, and were probably also attached to the household of the Dukes of Normandy. Tancred de Hauteville I, a Viking descendant, received the Lower Seine River fief from "Hrolfr" (850-927) in 912, subsequently called Tancarville. Hrolfr was a Norwegian Viking who obtained the Dukedom of Normandy from Charles III of France in 911. The original Viking invasion of this area was in 1885. This brief account, which skips some early generations, should give you some idea when and where the Chamberlain title arose in this particular Tankerville family in Normandy. But the original Latin name/title, "Camerarius", meaning "of the Camera", was probably used much earlier, and by other unrelated families in Italy, France and elsewhere. It is my belief that this title was used by other baronies in France and in other noble families in other countries, but I haven't studied the subject carefully. So, one should expect many unrelated families to have used this title as a surname, over the course of many centuries. Also, one would expect some of their serfs, tradesmen, etc., who would be totally unrelated (by blood) to their Baron or nobleman, would also assume Chamberlain as a surname, which practice began in the 1500s in England. DNA analysis of present day descendants of some of the major Chamberlain (various spellings) families who came to America, prove to our satisfaction that many Chamberlain families are indeed completely unrelated to each other, going back more than 1000 years. The name Chamberland and Chamberlan (with several other variations of that French spelling including Chamlin, later changed to Shamlin, Camblin, etc.), continued to be used in France and Ireland (as opposed to England), and descendants were among early immigrants to Quebec, Canada, and in the southern U. S. colonies. I attempt to track all of these families and their origins here (creating lineages for each of them), knowing, however, that they are probably unrelated to each other, and probably unrelated to the Tankervilles, as well. DNA analysis should resolve most of these questions, within just a few years from now.
- Yes, there is a Tankerville crest, which you can see for yourself in the WCGS homepage/website, and WCGS members can tell you how to go about acquiring one for yourself, I suppose. Welton Chamberlain has a lovely large, wooden, painted Tankerville plaque hanging on the wall in his dining room at his home that I've seen there, for instance, which served as the model for the crest used in the WCGS website. Of course, Henry the Blacksmith, whose origins are unknown, and which are quite likely of very humble birth, would have had no family crest. I'm also a "Henry" descendant, by the way. Earlier generations have speculated whether Richard(1) Chamberlain might have been Henry(1)'s nephew, but DNA anaylsis proves that Richard(1) and Henry(1) are completely unrelated to one another, and also unrelated to the other early immigrant ancestors in North America. The other three original New England Chamberlain immigrant ancestors, Edmund, Thomas and William (some of whom probably lived in Virginia before coming to Massachusetts), have been proven by DNA analysis to be very closely related to one another, and the available historical/genealogical research shows they were likely brothers.
This should begin to answer (in a very cursory, condensed, abbreviated and undocumented way) some of the important questions you have raised. I hope this response is helpful to you and to other Chamberlain Message Board readers. Please contact me via Email if you have additional questions or concerns.

Re: John Count of TANKERVILLE, Castle, Normandy, France

Posted: 1206402190000
Classification: Query
I have just followed my great-grandmother's grandfather, William Chamberlin, all the way to Count John Chamberlain of Tankerville. So I was searching for the location and came across your message and another one from Ashley to whom you sent a reply and I printed out both hers and yours.

If there is any more information that I could search through, it would be exciting to know about.

Chamberlain-Tankerville Update

Posted: 1206537279000
Classification: Query
If you would provide identifying information for your great grandmother's grandfather, William Chamberlin, then I can probably identify him and his proven lineage in my Chamberlain/lin/land research records here. But it is highly unlikely that it has been traced back to the Tankervilles as you stated. To briefly update my very long and detailed message in 2004 that you read and printed out here, the website for the World Chamberlain Genealogical Society is now: Mr. Welton Chamberlain, first President of the society in 1996, whose book on the Tankervilles I mentioned, passed away at his home in Pinckney, Michigan, a few days ago, on 21 March 2008 - we shall all miss him a great deal. Genealogical research in Parish and other ancient records in England continues. DNA research of Chamberlain descendants from many unrelated branches with this surname (all spellings) continues as well, but the conclusions remain the same as I outlined in my posting. Philip J. Chamberlain continues to lead these two projects. If you wish to discuss this information in greater detail, contact me via Email at this address:

Re: Chamberlain-Tankerville Update

Posted: 1271359380000
Classification: Query
Upon reading your findings, there may be a possility that the Chamberlin and Chamberlayne are tied togrther. I followed mine back to John De Tankerville, 1040, Tankville Castle, Normandy, France.
Our last name is spelled Shamblin, but took a turn back in time and had several spellings, one being yours.

If you would like to share of compare info. please e-mail me at,

What I gather so far, most of mine came from England, settled in Shenandoah, Va, before going out.

Thank you for your time

Re: Chamberlain-Tankerville Update

Posted: 1271426751000
Classification: Query
I recommend, if you've not already done so, that you thoroughly check out the GenForum and sites for Shamblin, Camblin, and several other spellings of the surname. My recollection of the matter is that these lines, at least some of them, came as indentured servants to Virginia, and that their origins, probably in France, remain unknown. Perhaps some newer information has come to light. I've certainly seen nothing, as yet, that connects them directly with the Tancarville line in Normandy or England, as you allege - if you know of a specific source for this information, please do inform everyone! This, if true, would be spectacular to learn!! We do have records for some Chamberlains or Chamberlins (and other spellings) in Shenandoah, VA - if you'd care to identify your Shamblins there (or other surname spellings you have listed there), I'd be happy to check it out versus my records here, and I'd be happy to correspond with you via Email. My Email is:, James B. Parker. Thank you for your posting. One key, as I've continued to stress with everyone in my postings, to solving some of these puzzles, is DNA testing. You didn't mention this in your article, but, working with Philip J. Chamberlain of the World Chamberlain Genealogical Society, this should be done for more of your Shamblin families, I do recommend.

Re: Chamberlain-Tankerville Update

Posted: 1273801816000
Classification: Query
Thank you for your reply,
My greatx8 was thomas chamberlaine, born 1652, england, died
1719 henrico, va

Re: John Count of TANKERVILLE, Castle, Normandy, France

Posted: 1293912253000
Classification: Query

I thought I was unto something good with identifying the above as my 25th grandfather but after reading your article now I have my doubts. I would like to know more about the group that you identified in your article regarding the Chamberlains. And what is this DNA about? You certaintly have me questioning if I am on the right tract. Thank you!

Best regards,

Re: John Count of TANKERVILLE, Castle, Normandy, France (and Chamberlains in General)

Posted: 1294677354000
Classification: Query
It's nice to hear from Ashley again, who is sincerely interested in learning more about the history of this Chamberlain (or Chamberlin) surname. For the benefit of all readers, I'll repeat here what has previously been published on the Internet and elsewhere (often to refute errors) - what is generally known by us Chamberlain genealogists, to facilitate your searching, and to preclude any misunderstanding, most hopefully. You can rely on the accuracy of the following comments!

1) BEWARE of Chamberlain (or Tankerville) information posted on the INTERNET - much of it is just plain wrong!!!
2) Many specific and accurate answers to Ashley's questions can be found in earlier postings online (since about 1996) in the Chamberlain, Chamberlin and Chamberland message boards or sites in and in GenForum. I urge everyone to view them. I've answered thousands of queries on these sites through the years, often in an attempt to correct of clear up errors and misconceptions. These errors are like wildfire - they spread around and it is almost impossible to stampt them out, but I try!
3) Refer to the homepage for the website of the World Chamberlain Genealogical Society. I was one of the co-founders of this society in 1996, together with several other gentlemen here in Michigan. This site provides authoritative information about the origins of the Chamberlain surname and its best known lines, including, for instance, actual formal lineages (Family Group Records which can be downloaded by the public) for the descendants of Henry the Blacksmith. Also, back issues of the society's 4X/year newsletter, The Chamberlain Key, are posted on this website for members' use. Articles published in this newsletter, through the years, have also addressed these matters in considerable detail - reading them is the very best way to learn more about this surname, but one must be a member of the society to access the back issues of the "Key."
4) As a very active amateur genealogist during my retirement years, I maintain here at my home in Michigan what is by far the largest Chamberlain files (actual lineages or partial lineages) available anywhere - readers are urged to continue to contact me, James B. Parker, with their queries at: Much more can be learned, of course, through networking with other WCGS members.
5) Henry "The Blacksmith" appeared in New England in about 1638, as Ashley said, but his origins (presumably in England) are completely unknown, despite very intensive research in parish and other records in various places in England where he most likely came from. One of the reasons for this failure might be that his age (born about 1592) precedes the available records in many parishes. Because he was a blacksmith - a tradesman - he was almost certainly of humble origin and unrelated (by blood) to the Tankervilles or other noble Chamberlain families. That's for sure.
6) Henry "The Shoemaker" (oft confused with "The Blacksmith") who returned to England with his family, had known children, but their descendants have never been traced (back in England). We simply don't know his ancestry. Perhaps one day we will run cross some living descendants.
7) The illustrious Tankerville family (their first known ancestor was called Tancred - a Viking lord in Normandy born about 800), over several generations, served the Dukes of Normandy, before and after the Conquest in 1066, and they did indeed come to England with William the Conqueror, with branches of this "Chamberlain" family later spreading throughout the British Isles (but very difficult to trace). A book has been published by the late Welton Chamberlain on this subject. So, I maintain a somewhat speculative lineage for them and their known descendants (from about 800 on down to the present day) here, and we are continuing to refine and expand this lineage as time goes by. Just a handful of living descendants are known, but we have yet to obtain DNA samples from any of the men who carry the Chamberlain or Tankerville surname, alas! So, we don't yet know the DNA "fingerprint" for the Tankerville line. Little or nothing has been done, as yet, to trace Tankervilles in France or elsewhere in Europe (e.g. in Sicily). Likewise, other "Chamberlain" lines who originate elsewhere in Europe - families who used this title as their surname - have received little attention to date, though we hope to learn more about them as time goes by.
8) DNA testing (of about 100 living Chamberlain male descendants so far - mostly in the States), absolutely PROVES that there are more than a dozen Chamberlain ancestral lines in the States and elsewhere who are completely and totally unrelated to one another. Only one of them, if any, could be a Tankerville line. The biggest, most prolific of these lines is that of Henry(1) the Blacksmith of Hingham & Hull, Massachusetts, one of the five original immigrant ancestors in early New England - the others being Richard(1) of Braintree who is completely unrelated to Henry(1) - the others being the brothers Edmund(1), Thomas(1) and William(1), who are completely unrelated to the other two. I'm descended from both Henry(1) and Richard(1), by the way, but I maintain lineages for the descendants of all five, of course. It has been said that about 85% of all Chamberlains (all spellings -- there are about 100 variant spellings of this name) in America (all of North and South America) descend from just these five. There is another big French Canadian line of the surname "Chamberland" which came directly from France centuries ago that we trace, and numerous smaller lines elsewhere in America (e.g. in Southern States), one or two of which are believed to be descended from the Tankervilles but this remains unproven. I attempt to trace ALL Ch'n's (all spellings) in America, using all available records and sources, such as LDS IGI data and census records. Another WCGS founder and expert researcher, Philip J. Chamberlain, attempts to trace all of the ancient "English Ancestries" for this surname in the U. K. - a formidable task, and I work on several of these English lines myself from time to time - such as that of Neville Chamberlain, and, of course, the Tankerville line. Philip also heads up the DNA project for the society and publishes charts listing all results to date, organized by family groups.
9) The Tankerville lineage does indeed contain other surnames, as you have noted, such as Earle, which we are investigating. Earle would be a case where a title became a surname in later generations. DNA has been made available for some of these surnames, which are believed to be of Tankerville descent.
10) Chamberlain is indeed a title - originally, evidently, the "Keeper of the Chamber" for a royal family. They kept royal records, served as tutors for the children and, in some cases, protected the royal treasure kept in the King's bedchamber! This title is still in use, I see, in Europe and elsewhere, for various purposes. So, we know that there were quite a number of "Chamberlains" in the early history of England and elsewhere in Europe - families who would have been distinguished or powerful in their own right, but most likely unrelated by blood to the royal or noble families they served and on whose estates they sometimes resided, but they had their own estates in most cases. More humble persons - servants, fiefs, yoeman, tradesmen, etc. - who served the "Lord of the Manor" on any given Chamberlain estate were most likely to adopt this surname for their own family, or a surname which denoted their trade or occupation. Prior to about 1500, such persons used only a given name such as "George" or "Peter" with a last name, if at all, which denoted their occupation - such as Charles Smith, or John Schoolmaster or Richard Tyler, or their place of residence. Royal and noble families (for whom records were usually kept) did usually have, in addition to a given name, also sometimes a separate surname - a title or surname which denoted their origins or place of residence or occupation. A name might be, for instance, Thomas Daniels de Anyers - a name drawn at random from my Parker genealogy. Thomas was the son of Piers (Peter) Daniels and Julia Newton, and was born in that unforgettable year of 1492, in Tabley, Cheshire, England. I haven't checked to see what "Anyers" denotes, but most like it is a place name. To summarize, most (almost all) of us Chamberlains (all variant spellings) descend from families of humble origins, for sure, and we are a motley collection of much more than a dozen ancient ancestral lines or families which are completely unrelated to one another. In most cases, it would be impossible to trace the ancestry before about 1500 or so.
11) Since Henry "The Blacksmith" was almost certainly of humble origins because of his trade, he would not have had a family crest, though his unknown ancesters almost certainly served a noble family of Chamberlains who did indeed have a crest. The Tankerville crest can be viewed in the WCGS website and copies of it can be obtained through various members of the society and elsewhere. I've seen it online from time to time.
12) The WCGS is the third large Chamberlain surname-based society of significance. The first was the Chamberlain Association of America (1898 - circa 1940), whose first President was the famous General Joshua Lawrence Chamberlain of Civil War fame, and the second society had the same name (circa 1979 - circa 1993). We formed the WCGS after this second group (to which I belonged) became defunct. Many records and publications from these earlier organizations are known to exist (not all yet available to us) and are important and familiar "grist" for the lineages we create and maintain today. Surname-based genealogical societies don't generally exist in England, by the way, which hinders our research.

There - that is quite enough to answer, as briefly as I can, these frequently posed questions and some misunderstandings. I do hope this has been helpful!

Sincerely, James Baldwin Parker, Whitmore Lake, Michigan

Re: John Count of TANKERVILLE, Castle, Normandy, France (and Chamberlains in General)

Posted: 1294677501000
Classification: Query wouldn't let me post the website for the WCGS, but one can easily locate it online by simply using the search words of "Chamberlain Genealogy" or by contacting me via Email. James B. Parker,
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