Fuller family research by Archibald Bennett

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Date: [unknown] [unknown]
Location: Redenhall, Norfolk,Englandmap
Surname/tag: Fuller
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Lineage of Fuller family.[1]

Archibald F. Bennett, FASG, wrote a book on how to do genealogy, available via HathiTrust (see preceding reference). On pages 225-236, he uses the example of the Fuller family of Redenhall to demonstrate how to walk through English records of the 16th and 17th centuries.

Without copying the entire section of the book, presented here is the outline of his conclusions regarding the ancestry of Capt. Matthew Fuller of Plymouth and his associated cousins. For exact sources, please see the referenced pages in HathiTrust. Most of them are wills and church records, along with his process of unraveling the family tree. The following is essentially a transcription of the attached tree diagram:

William Fuller alive in 1482 and 1488, freeholder in Redenhall, Norfolk, England. child:

John Fuller, Sr. marr. Alice, alive in 1482, 1588, 1508, will 1511, freeholder in Redenhall, children:

  • William 1511 inherited Holland's Close
    • John Sr. buried 1559
      • John bur. 1599, marr. Ann NEHGR 33:212
      • Robert bur. 1614 marr. Sarah Dunkhorn bur. 1584, marr. Frances bur. 1632
        • children by Sarah
        • Thomas bp.1573
        • Edward bp. 1575, Mayflower passenger
        • Ann bp. 1577
        • John bp. 1579, marr. Ann, marr. Margaret Balls
          • child by Ann
          • William
          • children by Margaret Balls
          • Constance bp.1600
          • John bp. 1602
          • Capt. Matthew bp 1603, will pb. 1678 Plymouth, Mass.
          • Thomas bp. 1606
          • William bp. 1609
        • Samuel 1580, Mayflower passenger
        • Edmund 1583
        • children by Frances
        • Sarah bp. 1586
        • Christopher 1588-1590
        • Elizabeth bp.1590
        • Mary bp.1593
      • Alice alive 1559
    • William godson of Robert, alive 1550
    • Robert godson of Robert, buried 1608, marr. Margaret bur. 1594, children bp. Redenhall
  • Thomas buried 1558, marr. ?Cicely buried 1559
  • Alice alive 1511
  • Robert will prob.1551, marr. Alice will prob. 1558
    • Rose marr. Anthony Stebbing
    • Anne marr. William Baker
    • Alice marr. Richard Spooner
  • John Jr alive 1508, 1511, prob. of Earsham, Norfolk, with descendants

While the above makes a case that Capt. Matthew Fuller was a _nephew_ of Mayflower passenger Edward Fuller, the later research of MacGunnigle, _et al._ -- accepted by the GSMD -- has demonstrated that he was Edward's _son_.[2] Apart from this apparent error, Archibald Bennett's work offers a useful model, and a useful map of the Fuller family's lineage.


  1. Archibald F. Bennett, FASG, Searching With Success:A Genealogical Text, (Salt Lake, UT: DesertBook Co.) 1962, pp. 225-236 Starting on page 225 and ending on page 236.
  2. Bruce Campbell MacGunnigle, Robert M. Sherman and Robert S. Wakefield, "Was Matthew Fuller of Plymouth Colony a Son of Pilgrim Edward Fuller?", TAG 61(1986):194-199. The American Genealogist. New Haven, CT: D. L. Jacobus, 1937-. (Online database. AmericanAncestors.org. New England Historic Genealogical Society, 2009 - .); https://www.americanancestors.org/DB283/i/12790/194/24565883 (subscription)

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Comments: 4

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Excellent, Christopher. Thank you. We're always against the question of what makes a fact a fact and how to tell and, well, we hope to move forward.
posted by Robin Anderson
Thanks, Robin. I'm at work on the relevant profiles (as I have been, off and on, for a couple of years). I'm relying on MacGunnigle's work, as accepted by the GSMD. (There are problems not only with Bennett's conclusions, but also with Savage, whose Genealogical Dictionary gave Capt. Matthew a nonexistent additional wife, Hannah.) I think that on this page, the only things I'd change are the header's inclusion of the word "credible" (perhaps use "arguable"?), and the note at the bottom of the lineage: perhaps say, "While the above makes a case that Capt. Matthew Fuller was a nephew of Mayflower passenger Edward Fuller, later research -- accepted by the GSMD -- has demonstrated that he was Edward's son."
posted by Christopher Childs
Thank you, Christopher. Please feel free to edit anything on this page, if further research supports it. (I originally created the page to support corrections in the Fuller lines, especially confusions between Matthews.) If you have better info, please enter it and think about correcting the individual profiles.
posted by Robin Anderson
Fuller researchers arriving at this page should be aware that Bennett's conclusion that Capt. Matthew Fuller of Plymouth was a son of _John_ Fuller does NOT match the conclusion of the General Society of Mayflower Descendants, which -- as published in the "Silver Books" -- recognizes Matthew as a son of Mayflower passenger _Edward_ Fuller. NEHGS subscribers can also view the 1985 article "Was Matthew Fuller of Plymouth... a Son of Edward Fuller", by Bruce Campbell MacGunnigle _et al._, in NEHGR 61, online at americanancestors.org/DB283/i/12790/194/24565883 ; this strongly supports the acceptance by the GSMD of Edward as the father of Capt. Matthew. The Matthew born in 1603 is a different fellow.
posted by Christopher Childs

Categories: Fuller Name Study