Who should be attached to Hannah Potter as her father?

+8 votes

Hannah was born the daughter of John Browne-27 and his wife Dorothy Unknown (WikiTree currently reports her as Dorothy Kent-70 - but that's a separate question).  John Brown was featured by Anderson in his ''Great Migration'' series.  After John Brown died in 1636 (at only 36 years old), Anderson reports nothing further is known about Dorothy and their two daughters.

However, there is a compelling hypotheses.  Anderson calls the circumstantial evidence "highly suggestive."  Soon after John Brown died, William Potter acquired John's proprietary share of Watertown property.  Anderson says, "On more than one occasion, a single man acquired these land rights by marrying a widow."

Anderson says that John Brown's widow Dorothy "probably" married, as her 2nd, to William Potter-1209 who removed in 1645 to Stamford.

John Mead-99 of Stamford married to a Hannah Potter.  Their first child was born about 1657, when Hannah Brown would have been 22 years old.  In addition, in 1685, when William Potter of Stamford wrote his will, the only relatives he mentioned were his son-in-law John Mead and John's 11 children.

Anderson believes that William Potter of Watertown is probably identical to the William Potter of Stamford, who was the father-in-law of John Mead.  The words which Anderson uses are somewhat equivocal.  He reports that Hannah, daughter of John Brown, was "probably" the step-daughter of William Potter and "possibly" married John Mead of Stamford.  He concludes, "Unfortunately this suggested Brown-Potter connection remains only a hypothesis.  If, for example, a record of William Potter in Stamford named his wife as Dorothy, the case would be much stronger."

What do we do in a case where Anderson believed a hypotheses, but there seems to be no proof?  If we are to "follow Anderson," as the instructions for Puritan Great Migration Project profiles state, should we: merge [[Potter-142|Hannah Potter]] into [[Browne-48| Hannah Browne]], add Potter to her other last names, and set current last name as Mead?   She is already connected to John Browne as her father, and William Potter is already mentioned in her profile.


* Anderson, Robert C., "John Brown" Featured name, ''The Great Migration Begins: Immigrants to New England 1620-1633, Volumes I-III.'' [http://www.americanancestors.org/databases/great-migration-begins-immigrants-to-ne-1620-1633-vols-i-iii/image/?pageName=255 AmericanAncestors.org] Vol 1, Pages 255-57.

* ''Massachusetts Vital Records to 1850.'' [http://www.americanancestors.org/databases/massachusetts-vital-records-to-1850/image/?volumeId=13934&pageName=141&rId=251757878 AmericanAncestors.org,] Watertown, Page 3.

WikiTree profile: Hannah Mead
in Policy and Style by Cynthia B G2G6 Pilot (129k points)
What a great question, Cynthia! You've done a great job finding and adding this info to her profile  

Confirming, If the two Hannah's were merged, would it be into Browne?

I also notice that neither Hannah currently has a mother shown in the data fields. As an added item, would we try to have a Dorothy Unknown become her mother, possibly by converting Dorothy Kent? I realize that is a separate wuestion, but just curious.

Yes, I personally think they should be merged into Hannah Brown (Anderson spelled it "Brown," but the existing profile is Browne).  This is a new situation for me, one in which Anderson seems to believe a theory which has no real proof - and has not been discussed in a journal article (if so, it would probably be since 1995, and I haven't found it).  As a Puritan Great Migration profile, I think we would be following Anderson here.  There could be room for disagreement though.

Seems her mother should be Dorothy Unknown.  Anderson shows Dorothy ____, and I cannot find any evidence of Dorothy's parents. 

I looked to try and figure out whether there was this Dorothy Kent, (and whether we ultimately should detach her from husband John Browne or just change her name to Unknown).

I did find some information on the Humfrey Kent-380 who is currently shown as Dorothy's brother.  His father's name was John Kent.

Nothing showing that John Kent had a daughter, or that Humfrey had a sister.  Seems that Dorothy Kent is currently attached to the wrong family, (?) if she existed.  More research needed here.

Did I answer your question?  (I think I didn't) 

As this has floated up again, I realize you never got any help with your question. I honestly can't make up my mind

1 Answer

+5 votes
Best answer
I would follow Anderson, summarizing the issue under a header "== Origin Theory ==".  (It's not really disputed ... Yet.) Mark father brown as uncertain.  Thanks for your work on this issue.
by Jillaine Smith G2G6 Pilot (821k points)
selected by Cynthia B
Thanks for weighing in on this Jillaine! Sounds like a perfect way of handling it!
For reference on Mead family, also refer to "One Life at a Time" by R. Thomas Collins, Jr., Ravensyard Publishing, Fairfax Cty., VA, 1999.
Thanks, Ruth. Do you have a page number and relevant quote?

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