I researched and wrote all the biographies for the England Ancestry of the Brewster and Mann families. I've read just about everything and transcribed some of the wills, etc. So I'm very familiar with this family.
I have not worked on the biographies for the Smythe branch of this family yet (which is currently a mess). I hope to at some point.
I have the latest 2014 edition of:
Merrick, Barbara Lambert, and E. Virginia Hunt. William Brewster of the Mayflower: and his descendants for four generations. (Plymouth, MA: General Society of Mayflower Descendants, 2014), p 1-2, 2014. The GSMD "Silver Book"
This book calls these two articles ***the current state of research on this topic:***
John G Hunt, "New Light on the Brewsters of Scrooby and New England" in The American Genealogist (Demorest, Habersham, Georgia, United States: D.L. Jacobus, 1965) Vol 41 p 1-5
John G Hunt "The Mother of Elder William Brewster of the Mayflower" in The New England Historical and Genealogical Register. Boston, MA: New England Historic Genealogical Society, 1847-. (Online database: AmericanAncestors.org, New England Historic Genealogical Society, 1970) Volume 124 p 250-254
I totally agree.
John G Hunt has made a career out of the Brewster family. He definitely had two articles of lower quality to which Anderson is referring. I’ve read both. They were not fully convincing but they were interesting and added some insight into the family but he tried to push a conclusion that wasn't going to stick.
He also had a series of other articles that are considered top rung by the Mayflower Society and have not been superseded and these include the two articles above. They are both excellent in my opinion. Very solid research!
To answer John Schmeeckle’s question, the current consensus which is summed up in the articles above is that William Smythe’s parents are *unknown.* They are likely unknowable. We are working with probate records only and they just don’t go back that far.
The wives shown currently for William Smythe of Hatfield on Wikitree are *nonsense.* He had a first wife named Catherine with whom he had Thomas, Jennet, Agnes and John Smythe of Hull. (John Smythe of Hull is an important character in Brewster history). William Smythe had a second unknown wife with whom he had Cuthbert, Mary, Margaret, Francis and Richard.
Records don’t go back further than that and we will probably never know anything about the parents of William Smythe of Hatfield, Yorkshire, England. This is all we really have:
1) His marriage to Catherine:
Orate pro animabus Willielmi Smith et Catherinae et Agnetis uxorum ejus.; Joseph Hunter’s South Yorkshire: The History and Topography of the Deanery of Doncaster (London, 1828-1831), vol. 1, p. 150,
2) His will 25 Jan 1558 Proved 2 May 1560; NEHGR 124:252; NEHGR 124:252
The father currently shown is a fantasy and should be disconnected.
Most importantly we have probate records by and regarding his son John Smith of Hull and the Symkinson and Mann families. We also have several key documents concerning the children of Prudence (Brewster) Peck's children and William Brewster supposed half-brother James Brewster vicar of Sutton cum Laude.
We have the will of Thomas Symkinson Alderman of Doncaster dated 29 Jan 1558 Doncaster, Yorkshire, England proved 2 May 1560 names John Simkinson and his two children Dorothy and Thomas Simkinson as well as Thomas Smythe, John Smythe of Hull, William Smythe and Alice widow of Chirstopher Mann among others.
The will of Maude's brother Christopher Mann dated 11 Oct 1558 in Doncaster, Yorkshire, England was witnessed by John Symkinson who was the first husband of Mary Smythe, the mother of Thomas Sinkinson of Hull by her first husband and the mother of William Brewster the Mayflower passenger by her second husband William Brewster of Scrooby.
These show that William Brewster married first Mary Smythe daughter William Smythe of Stainforth parish in Hatfield. She was sister of John Smythe of Hull and widow of John Simkinson of Doncaster.
The will of John Smythe of Hull dated 8 Aug 1592 in Hull, Yorkshire, England made it evident that Elder William Brewster and the younger Thomas Smythe of Hull were maternal half-brothers when he named "my nephews" William Brewster, John Smythe and Thomas Simkinson executors of his estate.
Then we have the Bill of Complaint by William Brewster and Mary his wife, the late wife of John Symkinson late of Doncaster, Yorks. The said John was seized of lands in Doncaster and in his lifetime did convey them to the said Mary then his wife for the term of her life and afterwards he died at Doncaster.