Mary Faunce may NOT be Isaac Robinson's spouse

+4 votes
Mary Faunce is shown in much research as having married Isaac Robinson, allegedly in 1656. This seemed improbable based on her subsequent marriage to William Harlow in 1658, during which marriage they had 4 children.  Isaac Robinson lived until 1704, yet no record of a divorce between them recorded, hence a marriage to William Harlow while she was married to Isaac seemed incorrect.

However, I came across this source today that sheds some light on the situation.  It is based on an article in The American Genealogist Vol 18:  The Robinson Family, by Mary Lovering Holman (pgs 45-46).  In short, the article suggests that, based on a preponderance of evidence, Mary Faunce (daughter of John Faunce and Patience Morton) could not have been the 2nd wife of Isaac Robinson, and said there was no proof that the name of Isaac's second wife was even Mary.  Disputing that, Robert S. Wakefield, in "Isaac Robinson's Second Wife Mary," TAG 56:147, cites Plymouth Colony LR 3:154 to show that in a deed of 1669 Isaac Robinson of Saconesett (Falmouth) was joined by his wife Mary, although no last name was given.

I propose that Isaac Robinson's wife be changed to Mary (unknown) Robinson, and that we remove Mary (Faunce) Harlow as his wife.

Does this seem prudent in light of this information?

Thank you,

WikiTree profile: Mary Harlow
in Genealogy Help by S Willson G2G6 Pilot (108k points)
retagged by GeneJ X

3 Answers

+2 votes
The thing to remember back in this era,There are many people with the same name.

They are likely cousins,in a different line of family.That is why it is so difficult to know

which one is yours.There can be 5-6 people with same name in same Parish.All

cousins.And often back then cousins did marrie.So your two marriages could

be 2 different people.Just to make things more difficult.


Wayne Morgan 5487 Wiki Tree
by Wayne Morgan G2G6 Pilot (843k points)
Thanks, Wayne.

What do you suggest we do to remedy the discrepancy for these profiles? We can add some commentary in the Bio's for each, and disconnect them as spouses, along with disconnecting the children of Isaac as the children of Mary (Faunce) Harlow.  That would seem to tie with what I've seen in other similar cases.

Give me all your names dates ,where and parish Name ,and i will look at it,often

you can see all are a little different,Having the right parish is key.


wayne Morgan 5487 Wiki Tree
I'm not sure about parish names at all. I don't think I've seen them listed.  I will provide dates later today, though, if that will help even without parish information.

+2 votes
Your dealing with 2 Mary Faunce,one born in 1610 who married Isaac Robinson.

The other Mary Faunce born 1628-1630 married William Harlowe.Two different

people ,born at 2 different years married 2 different people.Mary Faunce born 1628

her father John Faunce,mother Patience Morton.
by Wayne Morgan G2G6 Pilot (843k points)
Hi Wayne,

Thanks for adding this informaton.

In 1995, when Robert Charles Anderson profiled Isaac Robinson, the second wife was called Mary ____, and the marriage date was reported as "by 1651,"

Do you have some details about the other Mary Faunce (b. 1610) whom you find mentioned in reports?
Thank you Wayne!  Such good sleuthing :)

I'm not sure if you still need dates, but I have collected a few:

Mary (Faunce) Harlow born ~ 1638 to John Faunce and Patience Morton who married in 1634.  Mary married William Harlow July 15, 1658.  They had 4 children: Mary, born 1659, Repentance, b 1660, John, b 1662 and Nathaniel, b 1664.  Mary died in 1664. William Harlow died 1691.

Isaac Robinson, b 1610, Holland. Married Margaret Hanford 1636. Had children Susanna, 1638; John, 1640; Isaac 1642; Fear, 1645; Mercy, 1647; and Margaret.  His wife Margaret died in 1649.

Isaac married Mary ____ about 1650 (by 1651) and had children Israel (aka Isaac), b 1651; Jacob, b 1653; Peter b 1655; and Thomas, b 1657. Isaac died in 1704.

I could find no information on his wife, Mary's birthdate, but it looks like you succeeded in finding it.

Thank you very much for your help!
We have historical records about John's daughter, Mary Faunce.

Hoping to learn if there are historicl records that report about a second Mary Faunce, early at New Englahd
Did not find evidence of mother or father of Mary Faunce born 1610,Remember this

occured 500 years ago,much evidence was lost to fire.,Indians were constantly

attacking.See if you can find any Immigration records.


Hi Wayne,

We don't all approach these things the same way, but in the case of the Puritan Great Migration project, we use Robert Charles Anderson's articles as a backstop for the record. This allows us to update Anderson's findings based on our own updated historical records and insight.

You wrote, "...much was lost."

That's true, so those who suspect there was another Mary Faunce could seek to discover what they believe to have been the first or original recording of Isaac's second wife with that surname. From those results, it is often possible to assess whether someone was making a record of "family tradition" or "research results passed along." Much can be learned from this kind of documented research.

If it is helpful, Clarence Torrey (20th century) surveyed a massive amount of family materiials and historical records over many years and noted references to marriage. His working papers became published as "New England Marriages prior to 1700." While not free of error or oversight, it is an amazingly comprehensive work. In his record about Isaac Robinson's second marriage, the wife is not referred to as Faunce. She is called "Mary _____ [Isledon]."

In the mean time, even though she may be recorded as Mary ____, we have options to report about alternate theories in the narrative section. This way, both past notions and good ideas aren't lost in the WikiTree profile.

Hope this helps.--GeneJ
Thanks, all, for the research and info on Mary _____.  It is interesting that, Wayne, at least you found something definitive to support her birth year as being 1610. As she would have been about 40 years old when marrying Isaac, perhaps she was married first to another spouse who died; it seems that 40 was rather old to be getting married for the first time.  

All sorts of possiblities to explore.
+2 votes

Hi S Willson,

Good work. It would seem that Anderson backs you up in his 1995 profiling of both John Faunce and Isaac Robinson. 

While we wait to hear more from Wayne, might you walk me through the changes you would like to make? I made a few notes, below

  • Isaac Robinson now has three wives attached, one of whom is a Mary _____
  • Mary Faunce (Faunce-8) is also being reported as Isaac's wife--would seem she should be detached. (Which will leaver her happy as a clam with William).
  • Mary Faunce (Faunce-8) is being reported the mother of Jacob Robinson, so Jacob should presumeably be moved over and attached to Mary (___).Robinson. 

Isaac's profile is in need of some clean up work and documentation. Do you want some assistance with that?

by GeneJ X G2G6 Mach 4 (49.8k points)
edited by GeneJ X
Thanks for your feedback GeneJ.

I am under the impression that Isaac had only 2 wives: 1st, Margaret Hanford, and then 2nd, Mary ____ (who sounds like she was another Faunce born earlier, but I'll leave it as Mary_____ so as not to cause more confusion.

Yes, I think we should detach Mary (Faunce) Harlow (Faunce-8) as Isaac's spouse. Jacob Robinson (Robinson-295) was a child of Isaac and Mary ____, as you suggested, so he should be detached from her, as should Thomas Robinson (Robinsion-3739) for the same reason. The end result, hopefully, will be that Faunce-8 will have only 1 spouse - William Harlow - and will be the mother for only 4 Harlow children: Mary, Repentance, John and Nathaniel.

I agree Isaac's profile is in need of clean-up.  I am not the profile manager, but I would be willing to help either provide information I have found to the PMs, or update it myself (I am not sure the protocol about making changes to profiles belonging to others).

Thank you very much for your assistance on this :)

S Willson,

For profiles of people older than 200 years, the profiles are open to anyone editing. I see that you posted a message on Septemer 7th to the profile managers of Isaac Robinson, and I'm guessing since you more recently created a g2g message here, that you never heard from either of them. If that's the case, I'd say go ahead and start editing. I see that Gene has made an initial stab at it. I don't think it needs the "Long Profiles in Need of Cleanup" category/template any more.

Thanks everyone! Great work.

-- Jillaine, co-manager, PGM project

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