Is Mary Herbert the daughter of Philip Herbert, 4th Earl of Pembroke?

+1 vote

I have discovered in past months that Mary Herbert  (b. 1627 Pembrokeshire, Wales) would be my 11th Great Grandmother, her parentage seems to be somewhat of a controversy, in American records she is listed as the daughter of the Earl of Pembroke, I have read other sources stating she was disowned by her family for her marriage to John Congdon (b. 1610 Pembrokeshire, Wales), and she moved to America. If anyone has any information on this, whether professional or other, it'd be greatly appreciated.

external sources:

I have also seen Mary listed as the daughter of the fifth Earl of Pembroke as well.

in Genealogy Help by Hrs Stuart G2G1 (1.5k points)

2 Answers

+3 votes
Best answer
Currently Wikitree has her in both incarnations, Herbert-226 and Hebert-1330, neither sourced. What are needed are the original sources that led to the connection being made in the first place. Without them it's just a story, but it's good fun looking for the evidence. How did she get to America? Which ship? Where did she marry? From that we can perhaps draw conclusions about when she might have been born, and where. Only then can we think about who her parents might have been. The story as given seems unlikely.

Edited from Herbert-1330 to Hebert-1330
by C. Mackinnon G2G6 Pilot (274k points)
selected by Hrs Stuart
Very little is known of John Congdon of Virginia. There are several "family histories" which provide him with a home, parents, and wife in either Wales or England, and which claim that three men named John, David, and Benjamin Congdon (who supposedly died in
Massachusetts, New Jersey, and Rhode Island respectively) were his sons.

Here is what the documents say:

On 27 Jan 1638 Capt. Christopher Wormeley received a land patent for the transport of a number of persons to Virginia.  Included on the list of  names is a John Congdon.  Wormeley was governor of Tortuga until 1635 when he apparently left abruptly for Virginia. He became a Governor's Councillor as soon as he arrived and served in other positions until his death in 1643.

On 21 Aug 1638 John Congdon received a grant of 50 acres for transport of 2 people named Edward Palmer and Nicholas Gibson. John sold 25 acres of this grant in 1639.

On July 1, 1642 John "Conngdon" patented 200 acres received for the transport of "his wife with three persons."

John apparently died by 1646. York County, VA records from that year show that "The Catle belonging to the orphants of John Congdon are Three Cowes One Cowe Calfe."  
Ralph Wormeley (brother of Christoper above) agreed that the cattle belonged to the "orphants" after balancing all the accounts of their father's estate.  No mention of any names or of their mother. "Orphans" at this time meant only that a person was under 21 and their father was dead.  

On 22 May 1650 a man named Ephrodatus Lawson patented 2000 acres due him for the transport of 40 persons; included on the list was a man named John Congdon.  

Those are all of the early mentions of Congdon's in early colonial Virginia.
That's a lot of information, Kathie. To save it from going to waste I'll copy it to John's profile as a Research note.
+3 votes
It seems very unlikely that a woman born in 1627 could be the wife of a man who was in Virginia before 1638 (John Congdon got a land patent that year, and it took time, often years, to obtain a patent).  The John Congdon who came to Virginia was apparently married before he left England and sent for his wife (they may have had children as well) at some point.  He died in 1646, leaving children.  Land records are in Cavaliers and Pioneers, other records, including disposition of his estate to his children, are in Virginia Colonial Abstracts Vol III.  Both books available on Ancestry.  

If his wife’s name was in fact Mary Herbert it appears to just be a same-name situation.
by Kathie Forbes G2G6 Pilot (403k points)
The year of birth could be speculation or an error, it is not derived from official sources, as far as I know, it could have been decades before, the fact that she is mentioned as a daughter of the Earl in America is why I continue to be intrigued by the possibility. It also appears the Folger Shakespeare Library in America believes that "Mary "married for love, beneath her, then moved to America and was erased from the family records.". I  also wonder as to how they were both born in Pembrokeshire. If her parentage is correct, she'd have been granddaughter to Edward de Vere, who many theorize had been behind many of Shakespeare's works.

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