The Jesty Family Tree

(Revised August 2017)

These pages are devoted to the Jesty family of Dorset and Somerset, England, from the earliest definite names and dates we know, in the mid-1600s, to the early 1900s in all branches, and in most to the present. In 2003 I started organizing and posting on the web a collection of early (1700-1800s) Jesty material from my aunt, Vera Jesty. Since then the tree has expanded more than four-fold with contributions from many others, plus online sources. I think we now have about 1500 names: at least 1200 Jestys and spouses, and 250 in daughter lines (> 90% first generation, some seconds, and a few thirds). Although many lines run to the present, the core of these pages is pre-1920. More than 95% of Jestys in the British 1881 census are accounted for, more than 90% of the 1901 census, and at least 70% of the 1911 census. By then the family was expanding not just in England but in Canada, USA, New Zealand and Australia. As of 2016, some Jesty youngsters are the 11th generation from our founders John and Magdalen Justy.

The tree pages are linked visual trees with colour-coded generations. If readers would like to translate pieces of this tree into standard formats (e.g. GEDCOM) for analysis by genealogical web sites, I can post them here. This first page of the tree shows my format (click on it). There are eight more such pages (Tree Pages, below).

I am an amateur genealogist, and forgiving about nits: confirmed birthdates, concrete documentation, certain proof of descent or identity, etc. On the other hand, I doubt there are many pre-1920 Jestys that you won't find in these pages at some level of confidence: certain, probable, or speculative. More than 90% are certain. If you don't know your distant roots, but have Jesty grandparent(s) living, ask them about their Jesty parents and grandparents: names, rough dates, and likely places. If you can find that information, 3-4 generations back, you may well succeed in identifying your branch, and these pages might then take you back more than 300 years.

IMPORTANT NOTE (Aug 2016). WEAK MODERN BROWSERS: LINKS DON'T WORK IN PDF TREE PAGES. Unless you're using Microsoft's Internet Explorer (IE), most modern PC browsers no longer support PDF files properly, and the tree pages here are PDF format. Chrome, Firefox, and Microsoft's new Edge browser will all display a tree page, but they will not let you connect to any of the links--especially the copious notes and photos--within the tree pages. GO HERE for information about the problem, and how to fix it. NOTE: So far as I know (August 2017) this problem is still true. If you know that things have changed, please let me know.

REQUEST (Apr 2016): DNA databases. If you are a member of a genealogical service like ANCESTRY.COM,  MUNDIA.COM,  FINDMYPAST.COM, etc, and have provided cheek swabs for DNA analysis (particularly Y-chromosome analysis), I would be very grateful if you would contact me about any JESTY hits, and help me with contacting them. My DNA (both Y-chromosome and autosomal) is only with FTDNA.COM, which is mainly American and Canadian subscribers.


South Somerset (more searching, unsuccessful, August 2017). Generous efforts by Brian Matthews of the Somerset & Dorset Family History Society have failed to find any information about the father of Mary Jesty's two illegitimate sons in Rimpton, Charles (1793) and George (1797) (see next Note). It is quite possible that they too are children of George Penny, who married Mary in 1800. Charles's son George (bapt 1816) is the one we're interested in. Although the circumstantial evidence is good, there's no hard evidence that this George is the Canadian line's Founder George. Oh well!
South Somerset, and perhaps a founding link with Canada (December 2016). Following a review of Patrick Pead's new book in The Greenwood Tree (journal of the Somerset and Dorset Family History Society), Audrey German (a Jesty daughter-line descendant) wrote about one of my unconnected islands, extending it back to the late 1700s around Rimpton and Chilton Cantelo. Two important things about this. (i) An illegitimate son of a Jesty daughter, Charles Jesty (bapt. 1793), and (ii) his son George Jesty (bapt. 1816). I find no death record for George, and he doesn't appear in the 1841 census. It is tempting to wonder whether he emigrated to Newfoundland in his 20s (Bristol, Poole and Falmouth--all reasonably local--were major ports for the Newfoundland fishing industry), but carrying with him no male (Y-chromosome) Jesty genes. Unfortunately the theory will likely remain pie in the sky for a long time. See my new Somerset sheet for the details.
A historical novel (October 2016) by Noel Allsup about north Dorset, including  much about the scourge of smallpox in the countryside, and a fictional appearance by Benjamin: see Books below.
Benjamin Jesty web site (July 2016). Patrick Pead has set up a new site about vaccinator Benjamin, at He provides a lot of information there, including his recent book (details also under Vaccination, below).
Jestys contacts (February 2016). Since I sometimes receive requests to help with possible contacts between Jestys and relatives in the tree, I have added a suggestion for getting in touch, below.


The major original sources for these pages were Vera Jesty's several handwritten tree branches, derived from much work in the county records offices of Dorset and Somerset, parish records, wills, gravestones, and newspaper records, and amounting to about 250 names. Since then many family branches have contributed information, from Dorset, Somerset and Hampshire to Australia, New Zealand, Nova Scotia, Quebec, Ontario, Mississippi, New York, Ohio, Wyoming, etc; and of course I rely increasingly on the Internet for records of births, marriages and deaths, and censuses. The total is now about 1500 names.

Internet Sources. The free Mormon Church site,, is vast and ranges worldwide, but transcriptions and records can be unreliable, particularly about spelling. I generally consider two independent hits on convincing, but just one is weak. Weaker, I find, are and its sister site,, where I find it difficult to distinguish between a hard record and a subscriber posting or opinion, and like, some entries are just wrong. More recently, I have found and its affiliates (which include the official UK census sites, 1841-1911) a bit more reliable. But before the details, here are new suggestions for genealogy newbies, from correspondents (thanks Debbie, Bailey): and

The 1911 UK census is open and I have used it for several additions. The Canadian 1901 census is online, with Captain George's family in Nova Scotia being the only Jestys in Canada. (I have needed little online material after that, given the expertise and generosity of Wanda Ross [below].) The 1940 US census is open, and partly searchable. The ability to examine much raw--often handwritten--material nowadays is a valuable advance. A problem with some of my US searches was the lack of any 1890 census information, almost all the records for that year having been destroyed in a warehouse fire in the 1930s. The early information about Captain George and Annie (Groves) Jesty in Newfoundland and the baptisms of their children and grandchildren there came from the Newfoundland Grand Banks genealogy site,, but all the later information about their Canadian descendants (after the 1901 Canadian census) comes from Wanda Ross of Ottawa and Chris Denney of Buffalo, NY. The Catholic Record Society, of Columbus, Ohio, was very helpful in sorting out a confusing 1930 census record for a "Mary Ann" Jesty, age 13, at a Columbus convent, who turned out to be actually Rhoda Virginia Jesty, and granddaughter of Jonathan Frederick (sheet F).

The UK births-marriages-deaths index (BMD, started 1837) until the1970s is online at a good reliable free site, especially for marriages; but birth records before 1911 do not cite mothers' names and are thus not useful, and death records are thin. The Societé Jersiaise of St Helier, Jersey, checked for me the 1861 and 1871 Jersey censuses for a piece of sheet C, and for any sign of an earlier George Jesty who might have gone off fishing in Newfoundland. I have also used the Dorset Online Parish Clerks site,, which varies from thin to excellent depending on the parish and the all-volunteer people who transcribe the records. It is especially useful for pre-BMD records, and fortunately the Leigh-Yetminster records are very good. There is a notable country that is still quite hopeless: Australia, which has no national BMD index; and BMD information in most Australian states is not easily available online. New Zealand is better but very time-limited: even birth records are not public for 100 years. So I can't track those many Kiwi Jestys who I know are there down under.

Helpers. Numerous Jestys or descendants have helped me out over these 13 years. Among them (apologies to those not listed) are: Rowena Jesty, Mark Jesty, Alan Jesty, Philip Clark, Andrew Falinski, Paul Foster, Tineke and Justin Gill, Felicity Hann, Bob Ireland, David Hunt, Cam Jesty, Wanda Ross, Chris Denney, Mary Gordon, two Richard Jestys (Melbourne and London), Myra Keay, Lesley Grayson, Sarah Brook, Chris Jesty, Leonie Spiccia, Martin Jesty, Megan Jesty, (Cedric) Barry Jesty, Val Cooper, April Brown, Marianne Roberts, Margaret Pearce, Maj. Ben Jesty, Rhoda Reenders, Joshua Jesty, Eric O'Neil, Andrew Toop, Marian Piehler, Dennis Smith, André Jesty, Andy Buchan, and Audrey German.

Books. Readers might note A.D. Mills's book, Dorset Place Names (Ensign Publications, Southampton, 1991; ISBN 185455-065-9), which can be a bit addictive for someone from Dorset! All the villages that appear here are recorded in Domesday (1086, available in facsimile and translation, and by county), but only one of the Jesty farms that I have found. That is Lyscombe, between Piddletrenthide and Cheselbourne, which includes a very ancient chapel (certainly the reason for the Domesday entry), and which Harry Jesty (1918-1963, son of Harry Robert of Roke Fm) farmed in the late 1950s. However, all the farms here appear in Mr Mills's book, with references, and spelling variations, back to medieval times, 1200-1400s. Also recommended is David Beaton's book, Dorset Maps (Dovecote Press, Standbridge, Wimborne, 2001, ISBN 1874336-79-2), going back to the 1600s, which allowed me to identify my 1695 map that is the background for these pages. Additionally, a recent novel by Noel Allsup includes a fictional reference to Benjamin's vaccinations in a north Dorset village suffering the scourge of smallpox: Thresher: Winter Grip. (2016; ISBN 978 1785899 423).

Books: vaccination. Finally, a strong recommendation to read Patrick Pead's two books about Benjamin Jesty and cowpox vaccination:
1) Vaccination Rediscovered (2006, Timefile Books, Chichester, ISBN 0-9551561-0-6). A good informative read.
2) Benjamin Jesty: Grandfather of Vaccination (2016, Timefile Books, Chichester, ISBN 978-0-9551561-2-0). A major piece of work, with detailed analysis of who (Montague, Jesty, Jenner, and others) knew what, who did what, and especially when they did it, in the fight against smallpox in the 18th century and before. Jenner certainly developed cowpox vaccination into a highly effective public-health procedure in the 1800s--so much so that vaccination was mandatory by the 1850s--but his claim to being the first to deliberately inoculate with cowpox (i.e. vaccinate) is wrong. Moreover, as Patrick shows, he almost certainly knew he was wrong.

TREE INFORMATION: naming, searching, viewing, links, formats

NAMING RULES. ALL names are given names ONLY--the surname is assumed--EXCEPT for incoming spouses upon marriage, where, if known, (1) the surnames of wives are underlined; (2) the surnames of husbands are in CAPS, WHICH CHANGES THE (ASSUMED) SURNAME FOR ALL CHILDREN AND DESCENDANTS. (The tree pages rarely go beyond 2 generations in daughter lines, so this is not a major complication.)
Related things... (i) Children are often given the mother's maiden name as a middle name: these have no underline. (ii) Some children have new hyphenated surnames from both parents. These are given in full, using CAPS again to denote the change. (iii) Same-sex marriages are becoming common, and there are two in the tree. I apply the same rule for any subsequent children and lines: if the incoming spouse's name is underlined, the existing surname remains unchanged; but if the name is in CAPS, that denotes a change.
Searching. You can't search all the pages at once, but you can search a tree (PDF) page at a time, using Ctrl-F (on PCs). Just enter the first name you are looking for.
Security. My html skills are minimal, so these pages contain no cookies, popups, etc. Material is checked with current versions of Symantec Antivirus and Malwarebytes Anti-Malware (MBAM) before uploading.
Viewing. First, remember that on PCs at least, Ctrl+ enlarges and Ctrl- shrinks, including tree pages and photos. The PDF tree pages are in a deliberately small font, to get more on a page. When you look at your first tree (PDF) page a new tab opens. To move back within tree pages, use the back arrow. To get back  here, close the tab. (At least, that's the intent!)
Links in tree pages. Links in HTML text pages (like this one) are norsmal underlined web-page format. Within the PDF tree pages they are different: click on red links for photos, and blue links for other tree pages and for notes. However, read the Important Note at the top of this page about problems with the PDF readers in Chrome and Firefox not recognising these links.
Saving, Printing. This depends on which browser you're using. The easiest way (if it works!): On the list of tree pages, below, right-click on the page link (Sheet A, Sheet B, etc.). That should bring up a Save As choice: simply save the pdf file (e.g. sheet_a.pdf) to your desktop, or perhaps to a thumb drive. Then you can open and print it in Acrobat later. If you want to frame and hang your ancestors on the wall, the resolution should be sufficient to print them at larger size (maybe 50% larger) if you go to a print or photo shop with a large printer.
Tree page format. Should anyone wonder, I make the tree pages in Powerpoint and then translate them into PDFs, at which stage links are added, along with basic read-only security (to prevent having different versions of the pages floating around in the web world). The tree is not available in GED format, but I would be happy to post, or link to, GED or other standard-format files of pieces of the tree prepared by others. The HTML pages--this one, notes, etc.--were made with Mozilla's Kompozer.


To see it all. Even on a huge PC screen you can't do it, but if you print the six main pages and lay them out top-left (A) to bottom-right (F) on a table you will see the breadth of the whole thing. All pages come down to the mid-1900s, and most to the present.
Colour scheme, generations. The lines of descent for each generation are coloured on a rotating scheme in the order BLACK, RED, BLUE, GREEN, BLACK... I have marked every 4th generation (the black ones: 1, 5, 9) so that you can keep track of cousins and steps of cousinly removal, and how distant you are from John and Magdalen Justy. As of 2016, a few young Jestys are 11th-generation descendants (blue). Colours transfer across pages, except for the Islands and the Canadian line, which are not yet connected to the rest of the tree. Overall, a 4-generation cycle averages about 115 years, though some branches make babies faster than others.
Abbreviations, remarriages. I use a few abbreviations, but they're a bit random. Here are the majority: "b." = born; "d." = died; "bur." = buried; "m" = marriage; "ch." or "bapt." = christened/baptised; "div." = divorced; "dau." = daughter; "bro." = brother; "em." = emigrated; (C) or c = census (date given, or obvious). Remarriages are shown as m(n), but the arrangement varies because of space restrictions. Children usually come from the first marriage, and that is usually clear. If in doubt, assume that the children of the first marriage are referred to.

Sheet A. John and Magdalen Justy of Leigh are the first we know definitely. While Vera Jesty has found hearth-tax records and the like for Yetminster and Sherborne Justys (and other spellings) in the 1600s, John and Magdalen's is the first definite trunk. Note also that consistent parish records do not start until the 1660s. John & Magdalen's children are all recorded as Jestys, as are their descendants. Sheet A includes the line of the eldest son, John, through Longburton to Liverpool, Birkenhead, and New York, until the 1900s. No present Jestys of this line are known, but daughter lines exist.
Sheet B. This starts the line of John & Magdalen's youngest son Robert (Robin) and Edith (Harris) of Winterhays. Three sons are the founders of major lines. John (1730) founded a line that goes to Bath and Bristol, and from there into London and Essex. William (1734) is the founder of larger branches of the tree: sheets C and C1 (his son Robert, 1765); and the descendants of his son William (1768), on sheets D (Robert, 1798), and E + F (Charles, 1800). Benjamin, the vaccinator's, tree is shown here but that male line ends with his grandsons Thomas, George, and John, with no Jesty descendants. This sheet also gets quite complicated in the lower left quadrant (John's branch), with all sorts of interesting descendants, including Swithin George (a wood-carver), his aunt Kezia Amy, and descendants of his father Robert Douglas (b. 1849), who get all mixed up in such far-afield places as the Caribbean, USA, and the Netherlands. Thanks to Tineke Gill (born in Holland; her mother Avis was a Jesty) for many of the details.
Sheet CAN. This shows the large island of Canadian Jestys, originating with Founders George and Annie (Groves) Jesty in Newfoundland in the 1840s. Their son, Captain George, and family (including mother Annie) emigrated to North Sydney, Nova Scotia (Canada), in 1886. This line stretches across Canada, from Newfoundland and Nova Scotia to British Columbia, but there is no known link with the English Jesty tree. There are two other Canadian Jestys in the tree who are definite Dorset descendants, but they are unrelated to this large island. The Notes for this page have many details about what we know and don't know about the descent of this line, including the results of DNA analysis.
Sheet C. This is the line of William's (1734) son Robert (1765) and Jane (Harris). They are the founders of the major Yeovil line, having moved from Yetminster to Yeovil around 1820. As well as descendants still living in and around Yeovil, this line connects through Alresford, Hampshire to present-day Melbourne, Australia; and probably to Jersey, Channel Islands. I have added Kenneth Jesty, greengrocer in St Helier in the 1950s, and his daughter Ann; but Kenneth's father is not yet known (see also News about André Jesty, above.) There are also additions on this page--(i) another daughter of William, wheelwright of Yetminster (1815): Eliza, b. 1853, who married Walter Fowler, and their small branch; and (ii) a sub-sheet, of the Jesty glovers and printers, which includes author and cartographer Chris Jesty (Sheet C1).
Sheet D. This line descends from William (1734)'s grandson Robert (1792) and Edith (Minchington). A large branch descends here from their elder son George (1827) and Adelaide (Hinbury), who had 16 children in Yetminster and more than 30 grandchildren. Many children in this line were daughters. This line continues to the present in parts and has been expanded recently to the extent that it has no more room!
Sheet E
. This is the line of the first marriage of Charles (b. 1800, "Old Charles") and Sarah Salter, to his arrival in Bere Regis. This includes the Weymouth line (including his eldest son, "young" Charles, Mayor of Weymouth just before his death) into the 1900s and the present day. Also here is the New Zealand Jesty line, in part to the present, and a smaller number of Jestys in Australia, including a daughter line of historic interest (see page). But if any Kiwis are reading, please help me with the New Zealand Jesty branch. I know you exist in substantial numbers, particularly around Auckland, but I don't know any details beyond what is here.
Sheet F. This line is from Old Charles's second marriage, to Amelia Ainsworth of Bere Regis, to the present. Major lines are William Ainsworth Jesty's and Henry Robert Jesty's, the latter being the main Bere Regis branch, including me. Additionally, a considerable American line descends from their brother Jonathan Frederick's family in Winona, Mississippi from the 1870s to the early 1920s, to Jestys now in Ohio, and through Michigan to a daughter line in Wyoming and South Dakota.
Sheet I. This sheet contains Jesty islands that I have not yet connected to the main tree (i.e. sheets A-F). There are two in the 1800s: a perplexing one in Gosport, Hampshire that goes back before 1800, and is surely the root of cricket players Trevor Jesty and his daughter Lorna; and another in Chester, which has possibly died out. Also here is a piece of the Pope tree showing the "descent" of Benjamin's portrait from his son Robert and granddaughter Edith (Jesty) Pope to Frank Pope of Molteno, South Africa.
Sheet SOM. This island sheet starts in the mid-late 1700s around Rimpton, Chilton Cantelo and Yeovilton in south Somerset. It later runs, via Ireland, into Portland and Hampshire, but it also provides a perhaps-important speculative link with the founding of the large Canadian Jesty island (see News, above). However, it is not yet connected with the main body of the tree (sheets A-F).

The Jesty name. The early spellings of English words and names vary a lot. Justy, Justin, Jesse, Jestin, Jestins, Jestence, Jestings, Jesty and variations are all recorded around Yetminster, Yeovil, Sherborne, etc. Jesty seems to become the preferred form in the early-mid 1700s in all branches that we know of. By Y-chromosome analysis (2014), the only family in the FamilyTreeDNA database (which is mainly American and Canadian subscribers) that shows significant paternal linkage to me are the Stedmans, or Steadmans, with roots in Wales and southwest England back to the 1600s and before. Perhaps as more people provide their cheek-swabs to DNA databases we will have more information about other distant roots and branches.
Accuracy, unclear family links. I hope the large majority of the tree is fairly accurate in names and links, shown by solid lines, but early names and dates must be regarded as flexible even so. Speculation about names or links--i.e. is this a real person or the right person, or is this marriage correct?--is shown by a ?. Unclear parentage is shown by dotted links, ----.
Dates of birth and names are commonly subject to error: i) censuses record the age on census day (the month and date vary for each census), not date of birth; ii) censuses until quite recently were based on orally reported and hand-written information, so names (both given and family, and especially spelling) are always unreliable; iii) the first UK census was in 1841; iv) for earlier times, births were not recorded and baptisms may occur some time (sometimes years) after birth; and (v) central British BMD records, which started in 1837, are recorded quarterly, not by birthdate. (For births in October-December, this can often mean that the BMD birth registration is in the following year.) Personal census data are confidential for 100 years in the UK, though less in some other countries like USA. And of course I make mistakes as well.


The maps on this page predate Google's maps, but I'm leaving them up. Most of the Dorset villages found in the tree can easily be found via Google, e.g. "Leigh, Dorset, UK" will quickly find Leigh, John Justy's home in the 1600s, and still there today, a small hamlet southeast of Yetminster. Similarly for Benjamin's (and many other Jesty's) Yetminster itself, an important small town, and fortunately off any major modern road. Dorset is lucky in never having been much urbanised, except for Poole's substantial urban expansion in the mid 1900s in the east, and the subsequent taking of Bournemouth and Christchurch from Hampshire into Dorset in 1974. With the exception of that dense southeast conurbation, Dorset is remarkably unchanged from many hundreds of years ago. Most of it is still rural, and the villages largely survive, with typically a church and a pub and a post office and probably a village hall. The unusual survival is particularly true of almost all the villages and farms mentioned in these pages, many of which were already very old in the 1600s and 1700s.

Anyway... The map index, and the background image for these pages, is Robert Morden's Dorset map of 1695, from my living room wall (and certainly unavailable on Google!), showing the central-Dorset section. Additionally there are six sections of the 1973 Dorchester-Weymouth 1:50000 Ordnance Survey sheet, showing the locations of villages and farms of Jesty interest, going back to John Justy's Leigh and Robert & Edith's Winterhays, to the south of Yetminster.


Farms. There's a photo page of Jesty farms etc. Individual farms are also linked in the tree pages.
Family. Family individuals or groups are linked from the tree pages as well. The unveiling of Benjamin's restored portrait in the Dorset County Museum in Dorchester in 2009 brought together a large group. More recently, June 2015, thirty-seven Bere Regis Jesty descendants (sheet F) gathered for a Bere Regis family party in Wool. And the recent commemoration of the 200th anniversary of Benjamin's death in Yetminster (April 2016) saw a more general Jesty gathering.
Others welcome. If you have interesting old family or other photographs, or photos of things like marriage certificates, death certificates, etc, I would be very happy to add them (preferably digital photos or scans: just e-mail me a jpg file).
Ownership. Some of the photos in these pages are mine, some are gifts from other branches of the family, and a small number are from open public sources. Take them if you like, but please cite the source if you re-post them on web sites, Facebook, etc.
Other sources. There are many Jesty photographs, including documents, available on, and especially Canadian ones. Many of the names there are readily found in these pages.


Web page.You can contact me by email, Please put FAMILY TREE, in CAPS, somewhere in the Subject heading. For corrections, or for new information, send as much as you would like to share, e.g. name, birth, marriage, and death dates, home town/village, occupation, etc. If the information is recent, remember that this site is public, so reduce the detail if you like. Do not include contemporary birthdates to the very day: just the year is fine. Links from social-media sites to this site are welcome (there are lots of Jestys on Facebook!), but links in the opposite direction would be too chaotic to handle.

Other. If you want to try to contact someone in these pages, I have made a contact list of the email names that I have (currently about 90 of them), but I rarely give out email addresses. To get in touch with someone, check the list, send me a brief contact request, and I will forward it. If you are not on the list and would like to be added for future announcements about this page, just ask.


These pages are now cited by other genealogical services, and are found by Google and the like, so I am adding this: Nothing presented in these pages is guaranteed to be correct and nothing should be construed as fact. After finding something here, if you need formal evidence of a familial relationship or a vital statistic, you need to contact an official county, state, or national records office.

Jolyon Jesty
Long Island, New York
Revised August 2017

The web site is owned and operated by me. It is generously hosted by my nephew Andrew Jesty at his company The Computer Engineers. He is not responsible for the content.