One of the earliest Yea researchers, Alfred Monday, in his 1885 book The History of the Yea Family of Oakhampton House and Farm, Wiveliscombe, and later Pyrland Hall Nr Taunton contended that the forebears of this branch originated in Devon and migrated north into Somerset.
Without providing documentary evidence for either statement, Monday suggested that the branches whose pedigrees Mike Darch and David Yaw have since followed probably stemmed from a common root. His book remains the standard reference work on research into the Yea branch descended from Richard Yea of Oakhampton, Wiveliscombe (whose 1548 will has survived). On reading his text, the modern researcher whose work is so greatly facilitated by the internet can only feel admiration and respect for the breadth of Monday’s research and his documentation. The errors that Mike and David have uncovered can be surely forgiven considering the sources and means available to Monday at the time.
In his previously published research, acknowledging and referencing Monday’s work, Mike proposed that his own ancestor Robert Yea of Kingston St Mary (died 1710) was directly descended from Richard Yea who died in 1548. From Mike and David’s latest research, including transcribing records of court cases only recently available, it is now possible to conclude this was not so, and to document with a high level of confidence the histories of a number of lines of this branch.
From origins in Devon and Somerset there has been a wide diaspora of the Yea, Yaw and Yeaw families not only across Britain, but through migration to the United States, Canada, Australia, New Zealand and elsewhere. One family branch in the United States descended from David and Jane Yeaw, who lived in Marblehead, Massachusetts from the mid 1720s. This branch was first documented by Clarence Arthur Phillips in 1893, with an update by the Yaw-Yeaw Family Society of Wooster, Ohio in 1962 [note 1].
The 1962 work is housed by Family Search – a free account is required to log in to view it there and it cannot be downloaded:
The Yaw-Yeaw Family in America
© Yaw-Yeaw Family Society 1962
1. Mike and David cannot be certain that the American families covered in this 1962 book or its 1970 supplement originated in Devon or Somerset, even though their forenames are similar to those in the families they have researched.