Stedman Family Organization

Family History Research

 Homage to Past Stedman Researchers


Even though the Stedmans were one of the early families in New England and were distinguished in their communities, they have been one of the least researched of all early families.  It has only been in the last few decades that people have had a good understanding of the various families.

One might think that their history would have been well documented.  Sad to say, this has not been the case.  There have been a few people over the years to research parts of the Stedman family in America.  Unfortunately, most of them never published their research.  This page is an attempt to document the accomplishments of the people who have gone before and created the trails that we are now following.

Charles Ellery Stedman

The earliest researcher known to me was a Charles Ellery Stedman of Boston who did research in the 1870s and 1880s.  He was descended from the family of the immigrant Robert Stedman of Cambridge.  His work, and some continuation done by his brother Henry Rust Stedman, is in the manuscript collection of the New England Historic Genealogical Society in Boston.  I have a copy of this manuscript in my files.  

His research consists mainly of a documentation of the Robert Stedman family, but he did try to document the other families in New England.  The manuscript includes some correspondence as he tried to see how the other families fit in.  In general, that material has many mistakes based on current research, but it has provided many interesting clues.

James Edington Steadman

Starting in the 1920s and continuing until his death in the 1950s, James Edington Steadman of Chicago began correspondence and travelling about the country to research on his branch of the Steadman family.  He was descended from a branch of the Scottish Steadman family that seems to have come to America in the early 1700s and settled first in Pennsylvania, then migrated to Virginia, in parts that are now West Virginia, and then to Ohio.  I have seen parts of his research, but the bulk of his papers were given to the Rev. Melvin Steadman (see below).

Clarence E. King

Clarence E. King of California actively researched the family from the 1930s through to his death in the 1960s.  He was part of the Rhode Island family that is presumed to be of Scottish descent.  Again, I have seen bits and pieces of his research, but he also gave his papers to Rev. Melvin Steadman.

Clarence wrote prolifically and advertised to learn more of the family.  He had many contributions to the Boston Transcript genealogy pages.  He contributed an important article the NEHGS Register on the families of Samuel and Thomas Stedman of Rhode Island.  He was well known for having tried to create a Family Organization.

Bertha Stedman Rothwell, John J. DeMott, and Eloise Myers

Bertha Stedman Rothwell of San Francisco and John J. DeMott of New Jersey and Eloise Myers researched their Stedman roots from the 1930s to the 1960s.  They are also part of the Rhode Island family, in particular, the family of Ensign William Stedman of South Kingstown, RI, and Tyringham, MA, families that lived in Berkshire County, Massachusetts in the early 1800s.  

Bertha's manuscripts are in California, but copies of the genealogical items were given to John DeMott.  John DeMott, in turn, left them to Eloise Stedman Myers of Tyringham who donated the manuscripts to the Berkshire Atheneum in Pittsfield, Massachusetts, and I have a copy in my files.

Eloise wrote or contributed to two books about Tyringham that have much Stedman anecdotal material.

Rev. Melvin Lee Steadman, Jr.

Probably the most effective early researcher of the Stedman family was the Rev. Melvin Lee Steadman, Jr., of Virginia.  He became quite active researching the family in the 1950s and worked until his early death in the 1980s.  He claimed, in letters that I have read, to have documentation on over 100,000 Stedmans and to have pictures of over 3000.  

Mevin was also part of the same family as James Edington Steadman.  Since his death, his papers, along with the papers of James Edington Steadman and Clarence E. King, have been unavailable.  

Joseph Earle Steadman

Joseph Earle Steadman of South Carolina actively researched the Steadman family until his death in 1995 at age 101.  He was descended from the Scottish Steedmans, cousins of James Edington Steadman's ancestors.  His Steadmans came to America in the 1760s and settled South Carolina and Pennsylvania.  This Steadman family has extended throughout the Southern United States.

Joseph did considerable research on the Scottish roots of the family, extending a short manscript prepared years ago, for which we are most indebted.  He published his research in 1987, and I have a copy of his book, which may still available from his daughter.

NEHGS Register

In addition to these major researches in the family, I have uncovered a few articles in the NEHGS Register concerning the family.  

One by George Chandler in 1860 documents a part of the family of Isaac Stedman that emigrated to Windham County, Connecticut in the 1730s.  

Another article from about 1912 extracted Stedman information from Parish Registers for Biddenden, Kent, which has the basis for the an understanding and a confusion about the early English Stedmans.

Dr. Luville Taylor Steadman

Dr. Luville Taylor Steadman died in 1996 at age 92 and was descended from Capt. John Stedman of South Kingstown, Rhode Island, who in 1760 removed to Cornwallis, Nova Scotia.  After the French and Indian War, the British kicked the Acadian French out of Nova Scotia and the Maritimes.  As New England was getting crowded, the British offered large blocks of land to anyone who would chose to relocate.  As a surveyor, Capt. John Stedman was offered a large piece of land.  As I was told by thenotable Nova Scotia researcher Vernon Spurr, "all Steadmans in Nova Scotia are descended from Capt. John Stedman."

Luville wrote a short genealogy of his Steadman family about 1990 that I found in the NEHGS Library.  This has been an especial interest to me as this really got me started on my Stedman quest.  I began my research on the Stedman family about 1990.  My wife's mother was a Steadman whose family was from Nova Scotia.  I began serious investigation about 1997 when I had a break through and discovered that the Nova Scotia family came from Rhode Island!


I would be remiss if I did not at least mention Mrs. Virginia Chappell and Grace Connor of South Kingstown, RI.  I believe these ladies are still alive, but I do not think they are actively researching.  Virginia has contributed a few articles to the Rhode Island Genealogical Register.  And both have helped numerous researchers on the Rhode Island Stedman families.

If I have missed anyone or if you have additional details you wold care to share onthese people, please write...

Last updated: 21 January 2001


Copyright © 1998-2001, John B. Lisle, Burlington, MA