Matthew Shiffner

Matthew, was a Russian subject who became a naturalized Englishman in 1711 under the Act 7 Anne, c.5 (1708), and is described as 'an Antient Member of the Russia Company in England'; he took up residence in London.Matthew's father was reputedly an Archbishop of Riga, Matthew married Agnata Brewer, said to be gouvernante to the Duchess of Courland, who later became Empress Ann of Russia, 1730-1740 The Empress was godmother to Matthew's daughter Benigna.  Matthew refers to five of his six children in his will proved in 1756, and it appears that his sons Henry and John carried on his trade as merchants in Broad Street, London, principally with Northern Europe,  and we have some accounts and papers relating to their insolvency in 1761 which Henry, in a letter to the Duke of Newcastle,  ascribed to his brother's foolishness."By the imprudence or rather infatuation of my brother I am brought under such circumstances as to be obliged to desire time for the adjustment of my affairs. I hope, my Lord, so to settle them as to have my seat in Parliament unattacked, and that I may yet have opportunities of shewing my devotion and attachment to your Grace on every occasion, for though unfortunate I thank God my character and integrity is unimpeachable".
It was an unfortunate event because Henry has just been elected Member of Parliament for Minehead, Somerset.
Ann, Empress of Russia
John married Elizabeth Eleanor, daughter of Stephen Peter Godin  who was a trustee to the Shiffners. Samuel and Matthew Shiffner (the other two sons) both died without heirs overseas, one in Jamaica and the other at Hernont. One daughter, Catherine, married Matthew Dorrien, a London merchant; their daughter Agnata married William Bingham, D.D. The other Shiffner daughter, Benigna, married Vincent John Biscoe of Hookwood, Surrey, and their daughter, Agnata Frances, married Sir William Ramsay of Bamff, 7th bart.

Samuel Holden .........
Samuel Holden was a merchant, a governor of the Russia Company from 1728 to 1740, MP for Looe in Cornwall, and a director, deputy-governor and, in 1728, governor, of the Bank of England. (Note1)

He was a man who wore many hats throughout his life. He first learnt his merchant's trade as a young man in Riga, where the Thornton family were also a significant force.
In Russia, Samuel was to meet his future business partner, Matthew Shiffner, whose wife Agnata had been a governess to the niece of Peter the Great, and who had extensive contacts in the Baltic trade. This connection might explain why Samuel was later chosen by Peter the Great to act as a London agent for Peter's shipbuilding ambitions, by arranging for Russian apprentices to learn English shipbuilding techniques in the dockyards of London, and to act as an agent for the procurement of cloth for Russia's army uniforms.

From the business records of Samuel Holden it appears that Matthew Shiffner was a big importer of Russian iron and hemp. Henry Shiffner, Mathews son must have joined the firm by 1742 when he applied for membership of the Russia Company; paid several visits to Russia; still had a house in Petersburg in 1757; and was partner in the Petersburg firm of Shiffner, Coole and Watsone
Shiffner Family tree

Mathew Shiffner      = Agnata
of St Petersburg and London
Samuel              John                       Mathew             Catherine                   Benigna                               Henry Shiffner
Shiffner DSP     Shiffner 1753-92   Shiffner DSP   =Mathew Dorrie     =Gottlieb D1796 = Vincent                 of Pontrilas 1721--95
                    =Elizabeth                                           D 1784          1st husband           John                             !
                               Godin b1733                                                                               Boscoe of Hookwood      !                                           !                                                                                                         1721-1770               !                                           !                                                                                                     2nd husband                !      Godin = Maria  Green              Caroline                                                                                                             !             Shiffner 1773 m1803 dsp          Shiffner b1776                                                                                      !  !  ! !  !   !                                                            d.unmarried                                                                          =Mary Jackson
                                                                                                                                                !                                                                                                                                                                                  !
                                                                          !!! !    !  !   !   !   !    !   !   !   !   !    !       !      !     !  !                                                 Thomas                Sir George                Henry      Philip        William      Mary
          Shiffner                  Shiffner 1st Baronet   1760-65  b+d 1761   1763-64   B+D 1765                                                          1768-1800 dsp                                                                                                                
To be continued once I have found an easier way to reproduce the family tree onto this website.