Looking for help with Weroance Totopotomoi (Tottopottomoy) "Toby" Powhatan formerly Pamunkey

+4 votes
I'd appreciate some other eyes on this profile which combines two real people as well as a number of mythical people and events.

There isn't much documentary evidence for these early people.

Totopotamoi was a Native American chief, head of the Wyanoke until the death of Nectowance, and then head of what remained of the Powhatan Confederacy until his death in 1656.  Little more is known of him, although he must have been a nephew or great-nephew of Powhatan and Opechancanough in order to succeed them. His wife (who must also have been his cousin), Cockacoeske, succeeded him.

Toby West was an Englishman who arrived in the Virginia Colony about 1653.  He appears briefly in colonial records, patenting and then transferring land between 1654 and 1659.  There is speculation that he was a brother or cousin of a man named John West.  John West is believed by some to be the father of Cockacoeske's mixed-blood son, also named John West.

Thomas West, Lord Delaware, is a well-documented English aristocrat, the second Governor of the Virginia colony.  There is no record of any son named "Toby".
WikiTree profile: Tottopottomoy Pamunkey
in Genealogy Help by Kathie Forbes G2G6 Pilot (591k points)
recategorized by Jillaine Smith

Thank you for taking on the challenge this profile presents. The only help I can offer: I looked up Thomas West in Douglas Richardson's Royal Ancestry (Vol V, p 354 WEST 15.ii) and the entry does not show a marriage to anyone other than Cecily (she is named his widow in a 1620 court reference), nor does it show a Rachel as mistress or any children outside of the marriage.

I think that the profile for Thomas West should be disconnected as the father of Totopotamo.

Thanks for checking.  I figured a person as prominent as Thomas West would be well-documented, but I didn’t know what the authoritative source was.

I'm not familiar with sources used by the NA Project, but Richardson is the "go-to" source for the Magna Carta project.

I just went searching through Rachel & Toby's profiles (and Croshaw's), as well as the FindAGrave memorials and didn't see a source for the story about Thomas West & Rachel's illegitimate son (I found the story on Croshaw-66's profile, and it appears to be attributed to a 2008 Ancestry posting).

Seems more likely that if Rachel had a child born 1615/1616, it was Croshaw's.

You people really need to do a better job, He was the son of Thomas West, and my great uncle.  https://old.findagrave.com/cgi-bin/fg.cgi?page=gr&GRid=137571059

1 Answer

+1 vote
I think it's great to disconnect who should be legitimately (no pun intended) disconnected, but a word of caution: for the orphaned profile, I think it would be helpful to comment on it that a legitimate source is needed, and until one is produced, the parentage remains questioned/uncertain, dubious, and unacceptable in terms of a source status.

Note however, that not all mistresses or gigolos are going to be acknowledged in "authoritative sources." Not all who have illegitimate children wanted that to be discovered. In some cases, it would be unacceptable or risky to have that information known. So contemporaneous tangential references, circumstantial records, or other proof of a relationship where possible should be considered if those can be found. "Forensic genealogy" may need to be an emerging field, because otherwise, we end up with a bunch of dead ends, which are worth avoiding if lines of inquiry otherwise can show evidence that a relationship was acknowledged, though "frowned upon" or otherwise accepted as accurate, contemporaneously.
by Porter Fann G2G6 Mach 6 (63.9k points)
I’m sorry, but that Find-a-grave is a completely undocumented piece of fiction.  All contemporary records (during Tiotopotamoi’s life or just after) state that he was chief of the Weyanoke until the death of Nectowance.  His birthdate and parents are unknown and he was never anywhere near England.  He was related to Powhatan and Opechacanough, probably their great nephew.  The names of the Powhatan women who accompanied Pocahontas to England are unknown, although one of  them was probably her aunt, Mattachana.  Six women went with her  Only three returned.  The Rolfe’s and their party lived in lodgings in London, not in Sussex with Lord de la Warr.  If Totopotamoi was the son of the Colonial governor, that would have been recorded.

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