Editorial

NEHGR Vol. 174, Winter 2020

Our lead article is The Probable Origin of Mayflower Passenger John Carver and the Minter Family in Suffolk, by Sue Allan, Caleb Johnson, and Simon Neal. Based on what was already known about John1 Carver in Leiden and the Plymouth Colony, the authors’ extensive (and impressive) research shows that John1 Carver almost certainly was the child of that name baptized in Great Bealings, Suffolk, 12 March 1580/1, son of John and Margaret (_____) Carver. John1 Carver had no known children to survive infancy, but he and his second wife Katherine were accompanied on the Mayflower by a girl named Desire Minter, whose family the Carvers had known in Leiden.

Two other Carver immigrants to Massachusetts are treated briefly at the end of the article: Robert Carver of Marshfield and Richard Carver of Watertown. None of the three men appears to have been related to the others.

In Walter1 Palmer of the Great Migration: Possible Origins in Frampton, Dorset, author Perry Streeter discusses previous speculation about the Dorset origins of Walter1 Palmer of Charlestown, Rehoboth, and Stonington. The author concludes that Walter Palmer probably was from Frampton, Dorset, where two of his older children, Jonah and Elizabeth, were baptized, rather than Yetminster, Dorset, as earlier writers claimed.

The English Origin of John Gedney of Salem, Massachusetts, and His Three Wives, by Roger A. Prince. In 2016 the author published an article in the Register on Gedney’s third wife, Katherine (Franklin) (Prince) (Clarke) Gedney. The analysis of the Prince and Clarke identifications was so complex that the account of John Gedney and his family was postponed to run as a separate article, with new information on his first and second wives, and his children.

John Gedney was already known to have been from Norwich, Norfolk, and parish register research there revealed the baptisms of four children by Lydia, his first wife, who was buried in May 1636. By May 1637 John Gedney had married a second wife, Sarah, and they immigrated to New England with his three surviving children. A search for John Gedney’s marriage to a Sarah during this twelve-month period turned up only one possibility: “John Gidney married Sarah Helly 25 April 1637 in Wrentham Suffolk.”

No previous connection to Wrentham for either John or Sarah was found, and Wrentham is twenty-seven miles from Norwich. However, The Great Migration Directory and the Great Migration Parish Web Mapping App (on AmericanAncestors.org) show that three other Great Migration families emigrated from Wrentham with John Gedney’s family on the Mary Anne, namely the families of Thomas Paine, John Thurston, and Austin Kilham. In addition, Samuel Greenfield, a weaver of Norwich (like John Gedney), was on the Mary Anne, as was the Rev. John Phillips of Wrentham, later of Salem. While the existence of these shipmates does not prove that John Gedney’s second wife Sarah was Sarah Helly, it certainly is a good probability.

Elizabeth Sturgis of Watertown, Massachusetts, was the wife of Edward1 Sturgis of Charlestown and Yarmouth. Using the Great Migration volumes, author Samuel Paine Sturgis III reviewed all the potential candidates named Elizabeth in Watertown born before 1625. He found only one who fit the parameters of Elizabeth Sturgis’s life, namely, Elizabeth Munnings, baptized in January 1621/2, daughter of George1 Munnings of Watertown, who was living there 1634–1639 and 1641–1651.

Samuel Smith and Elizabeth Smith were married in Whatfield, Suffolk, in 1624 and had children baptized there, and in the adjacent parish of Hadleigh, until they came to New England in 1634. Despite their common surname, Myrtle Stevens Hyde has found much of the ancestry of both spouses. The first part is presented in this issue as The English Ancestry of Samuel1 Smith of Hadley, Massachusetts, Whose Wife Was Elizabeth (Smith) Smith. Although the ancestry of Samuel’s father has not been found, his mother’s Gardiner ancestry goes back to the late fifteenth century. Several relatives left informative wills that tied the family together.

The Family and American Descendants of Deacon Edward Collins of Cambridge, Medford, and Charlestown, Massachusetts, by James Wade Ferris Collins, gives a complete documented account of this Great Migration family to the fourth generation. Also treated are Deacon Edward1 Collins’s sister Phebe1 Collins, who immigrated to New England in 1635 with her husband, John Russell. Another sister of Edward was Martha Collins, mother of Daniel1 Markham, who immigrated to New England by 1655. Briefly treated are Edward’s first cousins: Dorothy1 Bedle, with her husband, John Bowles, and Abigail1 Bedle, with her husband Michael Powell.

Bathsheba Was Right: A 1724 Maine Case of Bastardy, by Priscilla Eaton, shows how much genealogical detail can be found in court records to add to, corroborate, or correct compiled accounts of a family. In 1724 Daniel Paul, Jr., was accused of fathering a child of Bathsheba Lydston of Kittery, single woman. Daniel denied being the father and produced witnesses who deposed having seen Bathsheba with other men; nevertheless, the court ruled in Bathsheba’s favor.

Thomas E. Arnold’s Proving the Parentage of Betsey F. Blodgett of New Salem, Massachusetts, is a good example of how difficult identifying an early nineteenth-century Massachusetts wife can be when the relevant town vital records were destroyed in 1855, and compiled accounts of her husband’s family do not give her parents. Nelson Blodgett had married about 1826 in New Salem, Betsey F. King, of unknown parentage. Using mainly vital records, probate, and obituaries for their children and for Betsey’s siblings, the author was able to prove that Nelson’s wife was the daughter of George and Miranda (Blanchard) King.

– Henry B. Hoff and Helen Schatvet Ullmann