Proposal to update identities of Daniel Pierce's wives (Puritan Great Migration)

+6 votes

More than one family of the surname migrated early to New England; more than one man, Daniel appears among the different families. This proposal concerns the Daniel Pierce who migrated to Waterbury, Massachusetts, and shortly removed to Newbury where he was prominent in affairs. It proposes to update the associations and names, including the last name at birth, of Pierce's wives to those shown by Robert Charles Anderson.[1]

Anderson identified these wives as "Katherine _____" and "Anne (Lowell) Milward" (Anne Lowell). WikiTree identifies the wives as "Sarah Spencer" and "Anna Goodale." The latter is reported a daughter of John Goodale 

1. Katherine's identity as "Sarah (Spencer) Pierce" is found in family files. This is likely by extension of a comment about Daniel Pierce published 1897 in David W. Hoyt's, The Old Families of Salisbury and Amesbury, Massachusetts … 

As to surname. In his profiling of Pierce, Hoyt called the first wife Sarah _____. He included a footnote stating, "Daniel Pierce had a nephew John Spencer in 1651.

Anderson found the footnote to be an oversight, explaining the Daniel Pierce had purchased land from John Spencer in 1651, and "there are many later references to his purchase, but no indication of a genealogical relationship between the two men." [2]

As to her given name. Anderson goes into some detail about a series of conflicts in the records that mentioning this first wife by name. In brief, 

(a) Death records call her either "_____" (town record) or "Sara" (clerk's annual submittal to Quarterly court).  

(b) She is Katherine in two deeds--one of 1651[/2?] and one, concluded by Anderson to have probably been made in 1653. 

Given the circumstance of the reference to "Sarah," and having resolved both Hoyt's reference and discrepancies about the date of the deeds that mention her by name, Anderson thus concluded the first wife's name as Katherine ____.

2. Anne (Lowell) Milward's identity as "Anna (Goodale) Milward." (Anne married first to Thomas Milward; she married second to Daniel Pierce.) 

Another early immigrant, Elizabeth (Goodale) Lowel, was the daughter of John Goodale. Elizabeth married at New England to John Lowel, the son of Percival Lowel; she survived her husband and left a will dated 16 February 1650[/1]. In Elizbeth's will, she called out "my brother Thomas Millerd" and "my four brothers … Thomas Millerd, Richard Lowle Peter Tappan & William Gerrish." 

Some interpreted Elizabeth's "brothers" Thomas and William to be brothers-in-law by marriages to Goodale sisters--thus considered both Anne (m1 Milward; m2 Pierce) and Joanne (m. William Gerrish) to be daughters of John Goodale.  

When Walter Goodwin Davis profiled John Goodale's family 1945, he found nothing to suggest John Goodale had daughters Anne or Joanne. In this entry, Davis identified Elizabeth's relationship to Thomas Millerd (Thomas Milward) and William Gerrish, saying they were the "husbands of her Lowle sisters-in-law. [3] 

Two years later, Davis profiled the family of immigrant Percival Lowel (The Ancestry of Phoebe Tilton, 1947), and addressed the same associations again. In particular part, Davis wrote about Percival's daughters Anne and Joanne Lowel then explaining

As a widow [of John Goodale], Elizabeth Goodale came to New England and settled in Newbury where her daughter Elizabeth married Percival Lowle's son John. In her will Elizabeth (Goodale) Lowle names the husbands of Joanna and Anne among her four "brothers." John Goodale of Great Yarmouth, her father, had, however, made a very careful and highly genealogical will in 1625, and neither in this document nor in the regular baptismal records of his children do daughters Joanna and Anne appear. It would seem to be a sound conclusion that the husbands of Joanna and Anne were Elizabeth's "brothers" as husbands of her two Lowle sisters-in-law, and the whole atmosphere surrounding them tends to substantiate it.

Questions? Challenges? Comments?

As with all genealogical work, findings such as those discussed here are subject to review and update based on improved historical discovery and insight.


[1] Robert Charles Anderson, The Great Migration, Immigrants to New England, 1634-1635, Volume V, M-P (2007), 457-462 for Daniel Pierce article; digital images, (accessed 2013).

[2] Robert Charles Anderson, The Great Migration, Immigrants to New England, 1634-1635, Volume V, M-P (2007), 457-462 for Daniel Pierce article; digital images, (accessed 2013).

[3] Walter Goodwin Davis, "John Goodale of Great Yarmouth," The American Genealogist 22 (1945):17-21; digital images, American (accessed 2014).


WikiTree profile: Daniel Pierce
asked in Genealogy Help by GeneJ X G2G6 Mach 4 (49.7k points)
edited by GeneJ X

1 Answer

+3 votes
Are you communicating with the current profile managers? If they are in aggreeance with your changes, your sources are sound and comlpy with wikitree standards. So... go for it!
answered by Robin Wedertz G2G6 Mach 1 (17.6k points)
Hi Robin,

Thank you for inquiring.

"Disputed origins" sections were posted earlier to the profiles of each wife. Bulletin board posts were created today, both providing a link to this G2G question. Finally, the G2G links to Daniel's Puritan Great Migration profile.

Hopefully the other managers will reply on the G2G or comment on one of the bulletin board posts. When there are sevral profiles, a project and multiple profile managers involved, encouraging open comments has seemed a good idea.

What do you think?
You are 100% correct. Working with others is probably the most important things we do here. So, If Daniel had a Spencer as a nephew, would that make Katherine's last name Spencer? Or did Sarah Spencer have another family... or even exist? As for Anna, she should be re-located to her GOODALE family and removed as wife of Daniel. If her first name was actually Elizabeth, You could merge her into this existing profile - There is not currently a profile for an Anne Lowell, so you may have to create it. That's my thoughts.

Hi Robin,

(a) Regarding the Spencer nephew note. Anderson found Hoyt's claim to have been somehow confused. There was a land transaction between Pierce and Spencer, but the transaction and later references to it make no mention of a genealogical relationship between the two men. (Even if there had been a "nephew" relationship with the real person John Spencer, the relationship statement alone wouldn't pinpoint the genealogy.)

(b) You inquired, more or less, as to whether or not Sarah Spencer and Ann Goodale were real persons in their own right.

They were not--their only known identties were as a wife of Daniel Pierce (and/or Thomas Milward and Daniel Pierce). Especially in the case of now "Anna," this means we can detach her from current parents, John and Elizabeth Goodale (who had no known daughter Ann/Anna/Anne), and link her as the dau. of Percival and Rebacca Lowel/Lowell without leaving a hole in the Goodale family tree. 

Here's the profile of Anne's Lowell sister, Joanna (Lowell) Gerrish. Like Ann/Anna/Anne (and for the same reason) Joanna is found in many family files as "Joanna Goodale."


It sounds like you have pretty much mapped out your plan of attack, and are just waiting for communication with PM's. Good work!
Thank you for asking such good questions, Robin. Those questions, hopefully this exchange, may be helpful to others.

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