In this entries on page 20 of Wills and Administrations of Isle of Wight County, Virginia, 1647-1800:

HIGGINS, Roger: Leg. mother Mary Lupo; at the death of mother my cattle at Edward Millers and Thomas Wombwells to be divided between my brother James Higgins and my Godson Roger Hodges; to my brother Robert Hodge's eldest son; to his second son Elias; to his third son Roger; to James Lupo; to Ann the wife of Nicholas Ogburne. Brother Robert Hodges Ex. D. April 16, 1672. R. Aug. 10, 1672. Wit: Edmond Prime, Nicholas Ogburne. Page 113

What relations could Godson be, could it include a son-in-law? How do you explain Roger Higgins having brothers like Robert Hodges, or is that one and the same with the Godson title?

1 Answer 1


A godson does not have to be any relation at all to his godparents, and often is not.

I would think a godson is unlikely to also be a son-in-law, given godparents are named at the time of baptism (usually in infancy), and it would be a bit coincidental for the father of his future wife to be present.

Given the information given here, my guess would be that Robert Hodges was a brother-in-law of the testator (commonly brother-in-law is abbreviated as brother). This means Robert was likely a brother of the testator's wife, or married to one of Robert's sisters. Either way, Roger Hodges would be nephew to the testator, assuming the nephew and the godson are one and the same Roger Hodges.

The other main possibility would be Robert Hodges was a step or half-brother (i.e. they share a mother or step-mother). In which case Roger Hodges could also more loosely be called a nephew to the testator.

Obviously this would need to be corroborated with further evidence; there is simply not enough information here to be certain.

  • 1
    "in-law" relationships in documents from this period are not likely to have the modern meaning. genealogy.stackexchange.com/a/5342/1006
    – Jan Murphy
    Commented Apr 22, 2018 at 22:06
  • @Jan Right, there is no mention of in-laws here. "In-law" was commonly omitted, as I suspect in this case, when it would not be in modern usage
    – Harry V.
    Commented Apr 22, 2018 at 22:31

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