PGM: Wife or Wives of George Bunker [closed]

+5 votes

Can someone from the Purigtain Great Migration and/or the Nantucket Founders project take a look at the pending merges for the wife/wives of George Bunker?

From the profile of one of the wives:

uncertain origins: When George Bunker died, the administration of his estate was granted to his widow Jane Bunker. However according to Bette Bunker Richard, the archivist for the Bunker Family Association, the name "Jane Godfrey" is not found in any contemporary records and first appears 200 years after her death with a notation that the record is only conjecture. The only marriage record found for George is to Elizabeth Godfrey whom he married May 5, 1644 at Malden Parish in Bedfordshire, England. No death record for Elizabeth, nor marriage record for Jane have been found. It is unknown if "Elizabeth" and "Jane" are the same person, or if Jane was George's second wife.

And for extra confusion, after George died, his widow Jane (possibly Godfrey) Bunker married Richard Swain.

So the first question is should George be attached to one woman or two?

Once we decide one wife or two - the wife/wives have a myriad of pending merges:

  • Godfrey- 193 Elizabeth (Godfrey) Bunker; this is the PPP profile
  • Godfrey-365 Elizabeth Godfrey (matching parents, no husband)
  • Godfrey-370 Jane (Godfrey) Swain, wife of George Bunker-44 (PPP) and Richard Swain-846
  • Godfrey- 1467 Elizabeth Jane Godfrey, wife of Richard Swain-779
  • Godfrey-2392 Jane Godfrey. wife of George Bunker-1152

If it is one woman, I would say merge everything into Godfrey-193 named Elizabeth "Jane" (Godfrey) Bunker Swain

If this is two women: 

Godfrey-193 Elizabeth (Godfrey) Bunker, first wife of Bunker-44

create Jane (Unknown) Bunker Swain (m1) Bunker-44 (m2) Swain-779


WikiTree profile: George Bunker
closed with the note: Issues resolved
asked in Genealogy Help by Andrea Powell G2G6 Mach 4 (41.2k points)
closed by Darlene Athey-Hill

2 Answers

+4 votes

George Bunker is my 9th great-grandfather.  From the research I've done, it's never been determined if Elizabeth and Jane were one and the same or two different wives.  According to Boyd House, "George married Elizabeth Godfrey 5 May 1644 in Maulden, Bedfordshire, England. Elizabeth was baptized 6 March 1631 in Cardington, Bedfordshire, England to Thomas Godfrey and Elizabeth Mead.  The Bunkers arrived in America before 1652. Here, George’s wife is referred to as Jane. The Bunker Family Association tends to refer to his wife as Elizabeth (Jane) Godfrey. Henry L. Bunker suggested that her name was really Elizabeth Jane, that she was called Elizabeth in England but dropped it for her other given name upon arriving in America. He also admits that Elizabeth Godfrey could have died and George could have remarried to Jane.  In the case that they were two different women, George’s eldest children, Elizabeth and William, would have been Elizabeth’s, and the others, Mary, Ann, and Martha, would have most likely been Jane’s. "

Since we don't know for sure, the only thing that makes sense to me is to merge all of the Godfreys into one profile (no reason not to), first name Elizabeth, middle name Jane.  Then put a note in the biography about the possibility of there having been two wives.

answered by Darlene Athey-Hill G2G6 Pilot (265k points)
Hi Darlene,

I would have a big problem with this approach.  To me, it’s just perpetuating and encouraging an error.  It’s an error which if I come across, I will strive to determine the correct name and delete the error (the middle name).

Elizabeth’s middle name was not Jane.  Women in this period (people in this period) did not have middle names.  If I come across someone with a middle name in this time period I know it is an example of bad genealogy.  There is no evidence of any kind that George Bunker’s wife (wives) had a middle name.  The obvious interpretation when you find a man whose wife has changed names is that she must be a second wife. I have no idea why anyone would try to make them one person.

Furthermore, while there are many names with various nicknames and spelling variations.  The name Elizabeth is not Jane – they are completely distinct.  There are only two possibilities here.  One: The George Bunker who married Elizabeth had a second wife named Jane.  Two: The George Bunker who married Elizabeth was a different person than the George Bunker who married Jane.

There is no possibility that Elizabeth and Jane are the same person, and this is what the profile needs to reflect.  I remember looking at this George Bunker years ago but I don’t remember the evidence that would say George Bunker of Nantucket is the same person as George Bunker of Tingrith.  Assuming there is good evidence that they are the same, the correct approach is to make two wives, Elizabeth and Jane.
I don't think we can say that "there is no possibility..." unless and until mtDNA from Elizabeth (Godfrey) Bunker and George's daughters Mary, Ann or Martha that could possibly be Jane's (maiden name unknown) daughters.

All we can say is  "No records have been found to support any of these theories. All we have is the marriage of George and Elizabeth Godfree in Maulden, the baptism of William, son of Geo. Bunker in Tingrith and George's probate naming his wife as Jane and his children as Elizabeth, William, Mary, Ann and Martha."


I can see value in having a "Jane Unknown" connected as a second wife of George if only to prevent future "Jane Godfrey"s being created - as if this were a second wife her maiden name would not be Godfrey.

This is the type of junk that needs to be removed from WikiTree.  I will say it again.  There is absolutely ZERO chance her name was Elizabeth Jane. They can only be two woman, we don't need to wait for DNA evidence which does not exist. Just because someone with no understanding of English and early colonial records once wrote it that way does not make it so.  

This is a very common error found on internet trees where someone, uncertain of which name is correct,, just puts both names.
Joe, why shouldn't we merge all of the Godfrey profiles into one profile?  It's fine to have a separate profile with the LNAB of Unknown, but it's senseless to have several with the LNAB of Godfrey.  I agree that people didn't have middle names...
Oh I absolutely agree.  We have to get rid of the duplicate profiles.  The only LNAB that you evidence for is Elizabeth Godfrey.  I would merge these all down to Elizabeth Godfrey and Jane Unknown, and eliminate any Jane Godfrey or 'Elizabeth Janes'.  

The tricky part may be in assigning children to the correct mother.
O.K.  Then we're on the same page.  ;)
I created us a "Jane (Unknown) Swain aka Bunker profile, with notes on disputed origins, etc. and merged in two of the Godfrey profiles.  We have conflict on parents to work through with the other two, then we can merge those as well.

Both "Elizabeth (Godfrey) Bunker" and "Jane (Unknown) Swain" are PPP, hopefully that will keep them from being randomly merged together again in the future.
regarding Children:  If they were two separate women, then the first 2 children born in England were Elizabeth's and the last 3 born in America were Jane's.  Jane also had a son with her second husband, and after her death he raised all 6.
I've merged the various Godfreys and dealt with the parents.  It looks like we've got it in pretty good shape at this point...
0 votes
This is turning into one of those rocks I wish I had not looked under ...

Looking further at the Elizabeth/Jane amalgamation we have two sets of parents:

Richard Godfrey & Margarett Temple

Thomas Godfrey and Elizabeth Meade

... and of course the Thomas Richard Gofrey (m1) Margarett Temple (m2) Elizabeth Meade selection of family trees.


Has anyone done research on the parents of Elizabeth /Elizabeth "Jane" ?
answered by Andrea Powell G2G6 Mach 4 (41.2k points)
oops wrong place

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