Lilly/Lilley Family


The Virginia Lilly-Lilley Family
DNA Alert

We are seeking a Lilly male who can prove a male line descent from William Lilly and Lucy Wynne of Gloucester and Mathews Counties, Virginia. William died 1781. If you or a cousin believe you are eligible, please contact me at or David Lilly at  A YDNA test would prove conclusively that the descendants of Edmund Lilly share an ancestry with those of William Lilly.  

Links on this site:

John Lilly I
John Lilly II
John Lilly III
John Lilly IV
William Lilly, son of John Lilly IV
February 1639 Deposition referring to the ship, Elizabeth
Armiger Wade Family
Wade-Halsey in England
Lilly's in England-No Proven Links
Edmund Lilly
Tax Records of Fluvanna County, Virginia

This entire Lilly site is under construction, please return.
If you are researching a Virginia Lilly or Lilley family, please contact  If you have additional information, I would be glad to hear about it.

        The early spelling of the name varied. Records can be found for Lilley, Lilly, Lily, Lillie, Lille, Lylly, etc.  Please note that correct spelling is a Twentieth Century concept.  The earliest record found for Edmund Lilley is in a Goochland County court record dated 1735, where his name is spelled Lilley. Later members of the family mostly spelled it Lilly.  

Edmund Lilley and Ann Flippen of Goochland, Albemarle, and Fluvanna Counties, Virginia
        Armiger Lilly son of Edmund Lilly
John Lilly son of Edmund Lilly, died 1759.
        William Lilly son of Edmund Lilly, and his wife, Elizabeth Paulette.  She was the daughter of Thomas Paulette and Semiramis Johnson.
Armiger Lilly, son of William Lilly and his wife, Rebbecca Hutchinson [parents of the Lilly children who married into the Cullumber and Clover families in Franklin and Madison Counties, Ohio.]
        Mary Lilly daughter of Edmund Lilly, born ca. 1738.
Probable Sons of Edmund and Ann
        Edmund Lilly of North Carolina
        Robert Lilly of West Virginia Note: Connection proved by DNA testing.
        Thomas Lilly of Kentucky

Ann Flippen, wife of Edmund Lilley. See  Flippen/Flipping
Probable Ancestry of Edmund Lilly in Gloucester and York Counties, Virginia.
Ancestry of Elizabeth Paulette and her mother Semiramis Johnson
Tax Records of Fluvanna County, Virginia

Queries from some possible Lilly cousins:
Information on other Virginia Lilly families
Information on Kentucky Lilly Records.  Many members of the Virginia Lilly family moved to Kentucky.
Information on non-Virginia records of Lilly families. I have them here because they are often mistaken for Virginia families.  

When did Edmund Lilly come to Goochland County?

        The first records found of Edmund Lilly are in Goochland County, Virginia in 1735. He most likely came with a group of relatives.  We know that his wife, Ann, was the daughter of Elizabeth Flippen from her will written 1747.  Stephen Bedford was married to another daughter of Elizabeth. For research about the Elizabeth Flippen will which ties the Flippen, Bedford, Lilly families together, see Flippen.  

        We know that the Edmund Lilly, the Flippen Family, and Stephen Bedford arrived in Goochland County about the same time because the first records of them in Goochland County are dated closely together.  Note that Stephen Bedford is referred to as "late of Gloucester County." This suggests that they arrived directly from Gloucester and did not stop for a few years somewhere else. 

        The Bedford and the Flippen entries were dated February 1735/6 which would actually be a year after Edmund's first record in June 1735. But these are just the first court records they left. We don't have an actual date that they arrived in Goochland.  There may have been other earlier records which did not survive.

The first Goochland County record for Edmund Lilly is a court record dated June 1735.
Ann R. Blomquist, Goochland County Order Book, 1731-1735, (Heritage Books, 2006) , page 448:
June 1735. Lilly vs. Webb: On the petition of Edmund Lily vs. William Webb, the parties and witnesses being heard it is ordered the the said Webb do pay unto the said petitioner four pounds two shills and three pence current money with costs.
Skeyman vs. Lilley On the motion of George Skeyman a witness for Edmund Lilly vs. William Webb it is ordered the the said Lilly do pay him for three days attendance 90 pounds of tobacco.

Sent by Lou Poole:
Weisiger, Benjamin B., III, Goochland County, Virginia, Wills and Deeds, 1728-1736, p. 73.
Deed 12 Feb 1735[/6] Claudius Gory of King William Parish, Goochland Co., planter, to Edward Scott of same, Gent., for 50, 50 acres on south side of James River, now in occupation of said Claudius, bounded by the river, Gideon Chsmboone, and said Gory, as by patent to said Gory 31 Oct 1716.
Wit.: John Williams, Ralph Flippen, Thomas (+) Winchester
Signed: Claude Gauri, Recorded 16 March 1735[/6]

Weisiger, Benjamin B., III, Goochland County, Virginia, Wills and Deeds, 1728-1736, p. 72.
Deed 14 Feb 1735[/6] John Woodson of Goochland Co., to Stephen Bedford, late of Gloucester Co., for 52/10, 350 acres on south side of James River on Deed Creek, being part of a tract of 1000 acres granted to said John Woodson by patent 11 April 1735, bounded by Deep Creek and Nicholas Cox.
Wit.: Stephen Hughes, Fleming Bates, Ralph Flippen, John [S] Franklin
Signed: John Woodson
Recorded 17 Feb 1735[/6]

How did the Lilly Family come to Goochland County?
       The settlement of Virginia in the 1700s was the result of two separate waves of migration.  The northern part of Virginia and what became West Virginia, was settled from Pennsylvania, Maryland, New York, and New Jersey. These migrants primarily came via the Lancaster Trail and were mostly German and Dutch with a few others mixed in.  The southern half of Virginia, including the area of the original Goochland County, was settled by descendants of early emigrants to the Tidewater area who were mostly from England. These people moved up the York, James, and other rivers as the population grew and the settled areas expanded. Prior to 1800, with a few exceptions, most migration in this southern part of Virginia was via the river system. Travel on land was too slow and too difficult and too dangerous.  The river routes were also the highway to take the tobacco and other crops to market.  Even if a river required a portage at the fall line, it was still the best highway of the 18th century in Virginia.   

Thanks to Lou Poole for generating this map to help us visualize the areas.

Color Codes: Pink is York County, Brown is Gloucester County, Grey is Mathews County, Black is Fluvanna County, Yellow is Goochland County, Blue is Louisa County, Red is Albemarle County, and Green is Cumberland County. These represent the modern borders of these counties. Look at the rivers to see the direction of population growth and settlement.
       You can see, looking at the above map, that families from the early settlements in York County, and Gloucester County, could easily travel up the river system to the area where they settled. When the Flippen, Bedford, and Lilly families arrived, the entire area was Goochland County.  It was only later that county boundaries changed and they ended up in Fluvanna and Cumberland Counties. Goochland County was formed in 1727 from Henrico. A few years later, Albemarle and Cumberland were formed from Goochland and later on, Fluvanna was formed from eastern Albemarle.  No matter what county it ended up in, the original Lilly, Flippen and Bedford land all lies within about 5-8 miles of the James River in the Goochland Area and all of them settled within about 15 miles of each other.  
        Although they settled close to the James River, the river system in Virginia is large and complicated.  They might also have traveled to the area via one of the rivers that drains into the York River.  For a map showing the river system, see

The followin map is taken from Early Virginia Families along the James River and is titled, Highways into New Lands.

Exactly where did these families settle?

            The Flippen family, the Bedford Family and the Lilly Family settled within just a few miles of each other in Goochland County. The area was fast growing in population and the boundaries changed quickly as new counties were formed.  Eventually, the Bedford and the Flippen families found themselves in Cumberland County, while Edmund's land was on Byrd Creek partly in Goochland and partly in Fluvanna County according to the legal descriptions in the deeds.  Although they ended up in different counties, the people did not move. Instead, the county boundaries changed.

Thanks to Lou Poole for sending us this wonderful map of the area.  He has marked it with x's to show the approximate locations of the land where the families settled in 1735.  You can see that they are very close together.  I think from the scale of the map that they are perhaps all within 15 miles of each other.    

 Where did the Lilly Family come from?

        Since the Flippen, Bedford, and Lilly Families appear to have come to the Goochland area about the same time, and were related according to the will of Elizabeth Flippen, we need to know where they could have come from.  The deed record above describes Stephen Bedford as "late of Gloucester County." The immediate question this raises is whether or not the others came from the same place.
        The Quit Rents of Virginia, 1704, is a kind of tax list on all the land in Virginia with the exception of the Northern Neck area. If we examine this, we find that the only Lilly who owned land in 1704 was in Gloucester County.  The only Flippen who owned land in 1704 was in Gloucester County.  The only Bedford who owned land in 1704 was in Gloucester County.  All of them lived in the Kingston Parish area of Gloucester County.  If this family group from the Goochland area did not come from Gloucester County, it would seem to be an unbelievable coincidence.  To find all three related families in one parish of one county in the Tidewater area where we would expect them to be, is convincing evidence that the Goochland group did, in fact, migrate from Gloucester County.
Annie Laurie Wright Smith, Quit Rents of Virginia, 1704, (Baltimore, Maryland: Genealogical Publishing Company, 1975). This book is also available on Ancestry [paid site].
Page  7. The only Bedford listed in the Colony of Virgina in 1704.
          Thomas Bedford, 50 acres in Kingston [Parish], Gloucester County.

Page 32. The only Flipping or Flippen listed in the Colony of Virginia in 1704.
        Thomas Fliping, 300 acres in Kingston [Parish], Gloucester County
Page 57. The only Lilly-Lilley-Lillie-Lylley listed in the Colony of Virginia in 1704.
John Lylley, 584 acres in Kingston [Parish], Gloucester County.

How do we know they didn't get married in Goochland? 
        Stephen Bedford's dates are easier to prove than Edmund's dates are.  According to the Bedford book, see
Flippen, Stephen was born about 1698 and his first child was born ca. 1722.  Three of his five children were born before they would have arrived in Goochland.  Remember that Bedford was described as "late, of Gloucester County," so he had left there recently. Thus, he had to have married in the Gloucester County area.  Edmund also had at least three children born before that date and perhaps more because we can't be sure of the dates of all of the children.  So both were married to a Flippen girl some years before they arrived in Goochland.

Why are there no records of these individuals in Gloucester County?

        The Parish Register of Kingston Parish, Gloucester County begins in 1749, which is well after they had moved to Goochland.  There may have been earlier church records, but they did not survive.  
        The county records for Gloucester County, i.e., court records, deed records, will records, were mostly destroyed during the Civil War and we have only a tiny portion of the original records.  
        Because of the destruction of records, we have no chance of ever finding the names we are seeking in Goucester County.  

Why did these families leave Gloucester County to settle in Goochland?

        Both Ralph Flippen and Edmund Lilly were likely to have been younger sons. With the Law of Primogeniture in effect, the entire estate of a father would have gone to his oldest son.  This meant that although they might have received something, they had no land.  Land equaled wealth in 1735, and land had become more expensive by that time in the Tidewater Counties.  So people were moving up river where there was more available land and they could afford to purchase or patent a plantation.  Cheaper land was the primary motivation for all of the movement up the rivers from the original settlements. This was true not only in the Southern states such as Virginia, but in New England as well.  It remained the primary motivation for the settlement of the Ohio Country at the beginning of the 1800s, and the settlement of the West in the next century.  It was also the primary moving force in the emigration from England to America in the 17th Century.

        From the evidence, it seems sure that our Edmund Lilly came originally from Gloucester County. No other scenario fits the known facts.  The more difficult question is, of course, which of the Lilly's there was his father?  At this time, I believe that the following is the most likely answer.
See the following links for a discussion of evidence on these people.   

See Records of Edmund Lilly.
See Records of Gloucester and York Counties.
See Records of the Wade Family

DNA Project on Lilly - Lilley at
See information about this project on Lilly DNA
See information on the DNA results from current testing.
New Article on DNA and genealogy with comments on Autosomal DNA  
This page includes help for those who are struggling with this.  

Since we do not have surviving records, we are attempting to discover some links between the Southern Lilly and Lilley families with DNA.  Please contact me if you are interested in this project.

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All research and information is courtesy of June Clover Byrne
and is used here with her permission.

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page last 10 April 2016