The Houghtons of Lancaster MA and the Hoghton Tower Hoghtons:
A nonexistent ancestral connection by Charles J. Vella, PhD (c)
In an 1869 publication, The Houghton Memorial, Francis Walter Houghton (probably having taken the idea from his grandfather Jason Houghton's unpublished Lineage of the Houghton Family of 1828) was the first to formally present the theory of a connection between the Houghtons of Lancaster MA (John Houghton and Ralph Houghton) and the British noble Hoghton family of Preston's Hoghton Tower (and the latter's connection to William the Conqueror). Unfortunately, this theory is pure speculation. The English origins of both Ralph Houghton and John Houghton of Lancaster MA are yet to be established. No documentary evidence, vital record, or parish record exists for such a connection. It was high fashion in the early 1880s to 1920s to try to connect an American family's ancestry to British nobility. Even John Wesley Houghton examined the theory in his 1912 Houghton Genealogy (the first major Houghton genealogy) and rejected this connection. I still await anyone who can produce valid genealogical evidence for this theoretical connection. The latest volume of Anderson's Great Migration discredits the theory that John Houghton of Lancaster MA was the John Houghton, aged 4 (or 40) who came over on the "Abigail", the most often cited theory of John the Emigrant's origin. John and Ralph Houghton of Lancaster MA were not cousins. The earliest citation I have been able to find that Ralph and John were "cousins" was in Topographical and historical sketches of the town of Lancaster (1826) by Joseph Willard, which is 200 years after the fact. The current Houghton DNA Project proves that they were genetically unrelated. Definitely not cousins. There is also no evidence to suggest that John and Ralph "became" Protestants here, as opposed to their having been Protestants in their homeland. While I have given the ancestry of the current Baronet of Hoghton Tower, Bernard de Hoghton BT (based on two Pedigree charts supplied by him), this is only for historical interest and does not imply any acceptance of the connection theory. I would welcome any valid genealogical evidence from anyone claiming the English noble connection. Until then, the connection is a Houghton myth not based on any valid genealogical evidence.
Please use citation: "Houghton Surname Project, authored and compiled by Charles J. Vella, PhD"