History ~ Genealogy Questions
This section deals with the genealogy of William Kidd.  I receive more enquiries on this subject than anything else. The subject is strewn with assumption, conjectural interpretation and in some cases darn right pure invention! It seems that everyone with the surname Kidd believes they are related in some way to our infamous subject.

Many genealogists have attempted to piece together Kidd’s ancestral tree in the past, and all have failed to complete it in it’s entirety.  This is because we have patches of fact interwoven between huge chunks of forced conjectural interpretation ~ which of course renders the exercise inaccurate, incomplete, and invalid.

In an attempt to bring some greater understanding, I have listed the facts as we know them, together with a summarization as a footnote.
Source for the following records is New York City Wills, 1665-1707

Page 99.--SAMUEL BRADLEY. "In the name of the Lord, Amen. This 5 day of July in ye year of our Lord 1693, I, Samuel Bradley, of the city of New York, merchant, being at present in good health and being now bound on a voyage beyond the sea." "Whereas my loving brother in law, Captain William Kidd, hath been very careful of me, and hath likewise for my encouragement, now in my minority, at my desire and request, advanced and paid unto me ye sum of £140, current money of New York, which I now employ in trade and merchandize. For and in consideration of his so great love unto me, as well as in recompense and in full satisfaction of ye said sum of money, advanced as aforesaid, I do give and bequeath unto my said loving brother in law Captain William Kidd, his heirs and assigns for ever, All that my one half of one certain toft or lot of Ground numbered with the number 6. Situate, lying, and being within ye city of New York, in ye street commonly called and known by ye name of ye Dock street. And likewise all that my one half of a certain message or dwelling house and lot lying and being in ye street commonly called by ye name of ye Wall street. And also that my lot or Toft of ground in ye new street, without ye gate of ye said city, called King street. I will that all my goods and chattels be equally divided into three parts, amongst my loving father, Samuel Bradley, my brother in law, William Kidd, and my loving brother, Henry Bradley. And lastly I constitute and appoint my said brother in law, Captain William Kidd, to be executor.

Witnesses, Richard Jones, William Morris, Jacob Mayle, James Graham. Edward, Viscount Cornbury, Captain-General and Governor, etc.

Whereas SAMUEL BRADLEY, New York, merchant, lately died, leaving behind him his last will, therein declaring his brother in law, William Kidd, sole executor, who died without having proved the said will. And whereas Sarah Kidd, widow and relict of William Kidd, and sister to ye said Samuel Bradley, hath prayed for the administration, The same is granted, April 13, 1703, and the said Sarah Kidd is sworn as executrix.

Page 109.--WM. COX, New York. "In the name of God, Amen. I, William Cox, merchant." I bequeath to my well beloved servant, Jacob Mayle, £100 in money, to see my books and accounts settled, and make him one of my executors. I leave to my loving friend, Richard Jones,£20, and make him executor. I leave to my mother, Alice Cox, alias Bone, £500, to Dorothy Lee, £10. "I give and bequeath to my dear and loving wife Sarah, which house she pleases to have, to her and heirs. I give and bequeath to Samuel Bradley, my brother in law, my other house which I bought of Mr. John Robinson, or that house I now live in, my wife taking her choice."..... The rest of his will is available at  New York databases online

[NOTE.--Wm. Cox is said to have been drowned in the bay off Staten Island, in August, 1689. The house he lived in, which was the one chosen by his wife, is now No. 56 Wall Street. The house bought of Mr. John Robinson is No. 129 Pearl Street. His wife Sarah afterward married John Oort, and after his death she married the famous Captain William Kidd.]

Page 195.--A license of marriage granted unto Captain William Kidd of New York, Gent., of the one part, and Sarah Oort, the widow of John Oort, late of New York, merchant, deceased, the 16th day of May, 1691.

Page 329.--Registered for Captain William Kidd and Sarah his wife. Fort William Henry, this 15 day of April, 1692. Whereas the within named Sarah Oort, now Sarah Kidd, and administratrix of the estate of John Oort, deceased, hath since the grant of the within Letters of Administration, been intermarried to Captain William Kidd, by which means she hath neglected to exhibit her Inventory pursuant to the written directions. I being well satisfied in the fidelity of the said William Kidd, have decreed that the said William Kidd shall give bonds in five hundred pounds, along with the said Sarah, for their true administrations, and allow them six months from this day for the exhibition of the Inventory, and one year from this day for their account. As witness my hand the day and yeare above written.

Page 375.--The account of Captain William Kidd and Sarah his wife, administrators of the estate of JOHN OORT, merchant, deceased. They charge themselves with all the goods and chattels, which appear to be £155 14s. The petition for allowance for the funeral charges, £30 1s. 6d. The whole estate appears to be £274, 3s. 6d.
Signed :William Kidd  and The marke of Sarah S. K. Kidd._
Quietus granted by Governor Benjamin Fletcher, November 18, 1692.

Page 137.--Marriage license granted to CHRISTOPHER ROUSBY and SARAH KIDD, November 4, 1703. [NOTE.--In the printed volume of marriage licenses the name of Christopher Rousby is wrongly spelled. Sarah Kidd was the widow of Captain William Kidd.]

Page 262 - In the name of God, Amen. I, SARAH ROUSBY, of New York, widow of Christopher Rousby, late of New Jersey, deceased, being in good health and perfect mind. "The funeralls of my body are to be only such as shall become a Christian." After the payment of all debts and funeral charges, I leave all the rest of my estate to my five children, Christopher Rousby, Henry Rousby, Sarah, widow of Joseph Latham, William Rousby, and Elizabeth wife of John Troup, Jr. My eldest son Christopher shall have my wedding ring. I make my eldest son Christopher, and my son-in-law John Troup, executors. My houses and lands are to be sold by my executors.

Dated November 1, 1732. Witnesses, Abraham Van Wyck, Benjamin Hildreth, Christopher Roberts.

Codicil, August 26, 1743. My daughter Sarah Latham having died, her share is to go to her children.

Witnesses, Mansfield Tucker, James Johnson. Proved, September 12, 1744. The oldest son Christopher was then dead.

Elizabeth Kidd married John Troup Jr

Sarah Kidd married Joseph Latham. Joseph died between Jan and May 1732. Sarah Latham Kidd died between 1 Nov. 1732 and 26 Aug. 1743.

[Source: New York City Wills, 1730-44} Page 298.--In the name of God, Amen. I, JOSEPH LATHAM, of New York, ship wright, being of sound mind, though low and weak in body. After payments of debts and funeral charges, I leave all estate to my wife, and I make her executor.

Dated January 31, 1731/2. Witnesses, John Hutton, Henry Rousby, John Troup, Jr. Proved, May 19, 1732. The widow Sarah, having renounced the executorship, Letters of Administration are granted to John Crane, of Elizabethtown, New Jersey, Principal creditor.
Precis of known facts
William Kidd was born in or around Dundee in or around 1654, although some accounts give his place of birth as Greenock and 1645 as the year of his birth. Sarah was born Sarah Bradley in England ~ her date and place of birth is unknown.  Sarah was married four times. Her first husband was William Cox, her second was John Oort, her third William Kidd and her fourth and last husband was Christopher Rouseby. It is not known if William Kidd was married prior to meeting Sarah Oort.

Sarah married William Cox on April 17th 1685. Four years later, William Cox drowned in August 1689 without provable issue. Sarah married John Oort in 1690. John Oort mysteriously died on May 14th 1691 without provable issue. William Kidd applied for a marriage licence on 16th May 1691, just two days after John Oort had died and married Sarah, becoming her third husband. William was executed on May 22nd 1701 without provable issue. Sarah married Christopher Rouseby on November 4th 1703 and had three sons with him. Christopher Rouseby died in 1732.  Sarah died in New York on 12th September 1744
Footnote:
From known facts, if you have the surname Kidd ~ you might as well forget trying to forge a link between you and our infamous subject ~ unless you can prove an ancestral link with William’s maternal family back in the mid 1600’s in Scotland. Unfortunately, there are no records available that are complete and detailed enough to create and prove a direct genealogical connection. This is why many eminent genealogists have failed to establish Kidd’s lineage over the years. (many have tried)

Some people have speculated that Sarah’s two daughters (Sarah and Elizabeth) were fathered by William Kidd, which if true, would provide another potential link to William Kidd.  Unfortunately, no birth records exist to show or more importantly prove that William and Sarah ever had children together.

Some accounts show that William Cox and Sarah had two daughters (not proven), and some accounts claim that William Kidd and Sarah had two daughters (not proven). We know that Christopher Rouseby and Sarah had three sons.  We also know that Sarah names her five children in her Will.

So the hub of the problem seems to be the confusion over the fatherhood of Sarah’s two daughters Sarah and Elizabeth. Some people believe they were fathered by Cox, and some believe they were fathered by Kidd. It is interesting to note that in William Cox’s Will, he states "I give and bequeath to my dear and loving wife Sarah, which house she pleases to have, to her and heirs.  Why would Cox specify “heirs” in his Will if at the time of drafting his Will he was childless and without “heirs”? This small point may indicate that William Cox and Sarah had either more than one “heir”, or that Sarah was pregnant with their second still unborn child at the time William’s Will was drawn up.  This is not conclusive evidence of William Cox being the father of Sarah and Elizabeth, but it is I believe, an important pointer to him being so. If William Cox was the father of Sarah and Elizabeth, it means the girls would have been born sometime between 1685 and 1690 and would have been between 1/6 years old when William Kidd married Sarah Oort in 1691. This fits nicely with popular accounts of the day which observed that Kidd “doted” over the two girls. Unfortunately, Kidd’s reported dotage of Sarah and Elizabeth has been interpreted by some seeking to force a genealogical connection as proof that Kidd was their father ~ which of course is completely wrong.

Unfortunately, nothing can be proven one way or another as no birth records exist. Therefore, I guess you can believe what ever you want to believe, as long as you realise that your belief is based on conjectural interpretation, which can not be proven, rather than fact.

More information about Sarah, her four husbands and her two daughters can be found in the Links section.

I recently received the following interesting email from Sandra Kidd which is self explanatory.  If you are interested in pursuing your interest and maybe establishing a DNA connection with the many Kidds who emigrated to America from Scotland, follow the links in her email.

Dear Mr Hawkins
I recently came across your very interesting Capt. Kidd web site at www.captainkidd.org . Nicely done!

I noted that you kindly included a page on Capt. William Kidd family/genealogy on the site, to help re-direct all those Kidds who insist their grandfather/great-uncle/cousin Jane swore to them that their Kidd family was descended from Capt. Kidd!

I did want to mention to you that we have a Kidd family Y-DNA study going on at www.familytreedna.com/public/Kidd . We have recently been able to recruit a few Scottish origin Kidds for the study--several from Fife and one from Dundee. If you would be willing to do so, I would appreciate your posting our link to your Capt. Kidd genealogy page or, if you do not add links as a rule, then

I did want you to know that you are welcome to send those seeking to establish a link to this Kidd family to our site.

Our intent is not to establish a connection to Capt. Kidd himself (that not being possible with his having no known children, male or female), but we are interested in establishing genetic connections for the Kidd families which lived around Dundee and Fife, as well as any Kidd trying to establish a family heritage.

Thanks for your time!
Sandra Kidd
Kidd Y-DNA study co-administrator
www.familytreedna.com/public/Kidd
descendant of Thomas Kidd of Middlesex Co Virginia, in the colony by 1646
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Site content (text and Images) are the property of Paul Hawkins - © All rights reserved
Site design and layout Copyright 2000/9  Paul Hawkins - All rights reserved