Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Potters in the Mayflower Index

There are over 40 Potter-surname folks listed in the three volumes of  The Mayflower Index published by the Mayflower Society in 1960. While finding a name in these books does not constitute proof to join the Mayflower Society, it surely would be a starting point? Take a look-see for yourself.

The Potter names are:  Abigail, Alice, Alida, Andrew, Cynthia, Daniel, Dorothy, Elizabeth, Ellen, Eugene, Frances, Franklin, Harriet, Henrietta, Hettie, James, Jonathan, Josephus, Joshua, Lida, Lydia, Marion, Mary, Minerva, Olive, Susan, Amanda, Anna, Carl, Cornelius, Dennison, Eseck, Ezra, Frances, Hepzibah, Jennie, Job, Lucy, Susannah and Thankful.

The other (married) surnames are:  Stevens, Brown, Collins, Dunham, Read, Field, Bridgham, Woodworth, Hyatt, White, Spalding, Baker, Swift, Lester, Howard, Harris, Packer, Colfax, Rhodes, Woodford, Crolius, Sutton, Baker, Fisher, Aiken, Barber, Barden, Doolittle, Stoddard, Adams, Hubbell, Lake, Sherman, Moseley, Hicks, Quinby, Clarke, and Dye.

I do trace my lineage back to Gov. William Bradford, Mayflower passenger and second governor of the Plymouth Colony, through my mother's Gurney line, not my Potter line. What about you? It surely makes history more alive and more interesting to document your connection to something like the Mayflower.

Saturday, December 17, 2011

"Potters" and Christmas Time

This image has everything and nothing to do with Potter research. But being born a Potter, all my life my Dad and I were the recipient of pots-pottery-potting jokes, some cute, some stupid and some ribald. Gifts were given and envelopes addressed to .......... and they would draw pot shapes with names or not. I took no offense; I rather thought it clever. But how about YOU?  Were you the unhappy or happy recipient of such joking? Care to share? 

Monday, October 24, 2011

Beatrix Potter, author of the wonderful Peter Rabbit books.

Did you know that it was (Helen) Beatrix Potter, 1866-1943, who was the English writer, creator and illustrator of so any books for young people including Peter Rabbit, Benjamin Bunny, Jemima Puddle-Duck, Mrs. Tiggy-Winkle?

Beatrix and her brother (Walter) Bertram (1872-1918) were the children of Rupert William and Helen (Leech) Potter, ( he was s/o Edmund Potter) well-to-do but strict Unitarians.  Bertram was sent away to school and Beatrix was taught by a governess.  When she was 27 and still living at home, she began sending drawings and stories about Peter Rabbit to a friend's sick child. This humble beginning eventually brought forth 23 of the books which made her famous.

In 1905 she became engaged but after his sudden death became a bit of a recluse. In 1913 she married William Heelis and spent the last 30 years of her life living off the royalties from her books and breeding Herdwick sheep. The only known portrait of her hangs in the National Portrait Gallery.

Few, if any, might be related to Beatrix Potter but all can claim through her wonderful books an association beyond blood ties.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Potters in the War of 1812

From the National Society U.S. Daughters of 1812's book, Ancestor Index, 1892-1970, compiled by E.S. Galvin, 1970, pps. 408+ is a short list of the Potter males accepted by the organization as having served in this conflict. They are: 

Benjamin Potter, 1785-1867, Lt. RI Militia, m. Elizabeth Greene
David Potter, Colored NJ troops
George Potter, 1732-1794, Pat. RI Gen Assy, 1790, m. Content Maxon
Horace Potter, 1781-1841, Surgeon OH Militia, m. Abrilla Quinby
John Potter, 1761-1865, Pvt. TN Militia, m. Mary Stout
John Potter, Seaman, PA
Joseph Ayer Potter, 1794-1863, Pvt. NY Militia, m. Rachel West
Pardon Potter, 1772-1859, Lt. RI Troops, m. Rhoda Carver
William Potter, 1794-1858, Capt. CT Militia, m. Mary Maxon
Loving Potter, Pvt. US Artillery

Then this book: Index of Awards on Claims of Soldiers of the War of 1812 in NY, 1969, p. 363:

Isaac Potter,  Alfred Potter,  Benjamin A. Potter,  David Potter,  Daniel W. Potter,  Edward Potter,  Henry Potter (x2), James Potter (x3), John Potter,  Joseph Potter,  Samuel Potter,  Stephen M. Potter,  Varnum Potter,  William Potter (x4), Willis Potter.

NOTE: These were men living in New York only.

Thursday, August 4, 2011

World War I Memorial Museum

Did you know there was a World War I Memorial Museum in downtown Kansas City, Missouri? I visited there last week and it was really a great place to visit. I won't say "wonderful" for it told all about that horrible conflict (with some quite graphic movies and dioramas) but I certainly learned much about the "war to end all wars." As you enter, you see a field of 9000 orange silk poppies, one for every 1000 person who died in that conflict. Very sobering. How many Potter ancestors participated in this war? How many died? If you live near KC, a visit to this museum is one that I would recommend.

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Potters in the 1940 census?

Are you eagerly looking forward to finding your Potter people in the 1940 census? By law, it will be released on April 2, 2012........ but did you also know it will NOT NOT be indexed? The various folks who index databases (Ancestry, FamilySearch) are geared up and eager to begin the project but legally they, too, must wait until the opening day. So for the first few months how to find your Potter people? You must be prepared to browse or you must have a good idea of where they lived. There are already some good finding aids for discerning their address; click to www.stevemorse.org .

 Rejoice, cross your fingers and wait, I guess, to find our Potter people.

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Potters in 1899 in Portland, Oregon

Potters found in the 1899 Portland, Oregon, City Directory:

Addison Potter,  Alex Potter,   Mrs. Caroline V. Potter,   Charles E. Potter,   Charles L. Potter,   Frank E. Potter,   George Potter,   Miss Grace I. Potter,   Hannah M. (wid Levi C.) Potter,   Harry E. Potter,   John S. Potter,   Julia M. (wid Henry N.) Potter,   Joseph C. Potter,   Lester G. Potter,   Salina (wid Sylvester) Potter,   Thad S. Potter,   T.J. Potter,    Washington I. Potter,   Willis E. Potter,   William M. Potter.

Was your Potter family living in this Pacific-coast state in 1899??

Saturday, July 9, 2011

Potters in Congress, 1774-1971

The Biographical Dictionary of the American Congress, 1774-1971, published by the U.S. Printing Office, 1971, lists these eleven Potter ancestors who were members of Congress:

Allen POTTER, 1818-1885, representative from Michigan
Charles Edward POTTER, b. 1916, representative and senator from Michigan
Clarkson Nott POTTER, 1825-1882, representative from New York
Elisha Reynolds POTTER, 1764-1835, representative from Rhode Island
Elisha Reynolds POTTER, Jr.,  1811-1882, representative from Rhode Island
Emery Davis POTTER, 1804-1896, representative from Ohio
John Fox POTTER, 1817-1899, representative from Wisconsin
Orlando Brunson POTTER, 1823-1894, representative from New York
Robert POTTER, about 1800-1841, representative from North Carolina
Samuel John POTTER, 1753-1804, representative from Rhode Island
William Wilson POTTER, 1792-1839, representative from Pennsylvania

Friday, July 1, 2011

Potter County, Pennsylvania

How did Potter County, Pennsylvania, get its name? Years ago, the librarian at the Coudersport Public Library answered my letter of inquiry about this. She said that the first name proposed for the county was the Indian name Sinnemahoning, meaning Stony Lick, but the Senate wished to have a county named in honor of Gen. James Potter, and this name was chosen. This Gen. James Potter was born in Co. Tyrone, Ireland, in 1729 and came to this country when 12 years of age. He served under Col. John Armstrong, the noted Indian fighter, and in the Revolution as Commander of a Battalion of the militia under Gen. Washington at Trenton and Princeton, and also as Brigadier General at Brandywine and Germantown. He held carious public offices before and after the Revolution. He came into the Susquehanna area soon after the Treaty of 1768 as the agent and surveyor of the land company on the Sinnemahoning; he died in 1789. Some one who new Gen. Potter described him thusly:  A stout, broad-shouldered, plucky, active man, 5'9", of dark complexion, and of a hopeful disposition which no troubles could conquer. Potter County is honored in bearing his name even though he never trod upon its soil.

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Henry Melville Potter, 1888-1952

Henry Melville "Mel" Potter had a rough start in life. His father, Francis Matthew Potter, worked construction for the Santa Fe RR and on a hot July day in 1894, he was killed in an accident. Mel was only 6 years old the oldest of four children. They were living in Pawnee County, Kansas, a long way from home. His mother Wanda (nee Goss) was left a widow at age 23. These circumstances directed his life for the next 20 years. Mel didn't marry until he was 29 because of having to help support his mother. (He married Efa Hope Carr.) Mel apparently had no formal training for an occupation for he worked for the Post Office and then in the local prison as a guard. He also helped take the 1920 census where he lived in Nashville, Illinois, and it is such fun to read the names in his handwriting.

I do not remember him well; we lived way out in California and he lived in Illinois and as my Dad was in the Air Force we did not get "back east" as often as we would have liked. I remember one really good picture of him and grandma Efa...... he was very tall and she was very short so she had to stand on a box!

My entire Potter ancestry is posted on Ancestry's Family Trees. Someday I expect to get a great big bear hug from Grandpa Mel.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Potter in Arkansas??

My good friend, LindaSue Davis, shared her Potter Profiles "need" with me for you:  "I have Potters! I just found them! The oldest so far is Jonas Potter, b. 1822 in Ohio, died in Arkansas; his son David Potter was born in Missouri  in 1857 and died in Indian Territory, Oklahoma, in 1914. And his son, Arthur Lonza Potter was born in Oklahoma in 1909 and died in Lane County, Oregon, in 1980.  Contact LindaSue at LDavis@yumaregional.org . 

Saturday, May 21, 2011


Branch 10  --  Joseph Potter, 1758-1854, m. (1) unknown; had Paul, Elizabeth, Mary, Ann, Gilbert (who m. Martha Ferris).  He married (2) Jemima Skinner; had Catherine (m. Daniel McClain), John, Daniel (m. Mary McClain), Jane (m. John McCammom) , Joseph (m. Margaret Taylor), Thomas (m. MaryAnn Heaslett), Walter (m. Eleanor Finley), Reuben, Nancy(m. Abijah Leonard), Ann (m. John Garvin) and Abigail (m. Harvey Heaslett).

Branch 11  --  Elias Monroe Potter, b.ca. 1818, m. Prudence Keesee; had George W., Martha Jane (m. Edward P. Carter), Sarah, Elias, Susanna, Mozella, John, Prudence, Sarah and Robert.

Branch 12  --  William Potter, b.ca. 1850, m. Margaret Duffy, had Edgar, George, James, John, William (m. Beatrice Hoffman), Francis, Agnes.

Branch 13  --  Orrin Potter, ca 1705-1862, m. Mary Ann ???, had George Wellington (m. Margaret Ann Kennedy), Susannah, Francis.

I realize these are the barest of sketches, but the "full meal deal" can be found in Volume 1 of POTTER PROFILES....... check it out if you spot a match.

Saturday, April 30, 2011

Branch 3: Nathaniel & Dorothy (?) Potter

When I began Potter Profiles, I arbitrarily assigned Branch 1 to my particular Potter lineage. The next-different one from mine became Branch 2 and then Branch 3, etc. I was up to over 100 when I wrapped up the project. NOT that there were really that many different Potter lineages, but if I couldn't see which Branch to connect that person's submission to, then I assigned it a new Branch number.

Branch 3 quickly became the branch that more folks connected to and submitted material on. (1) Nathaniel Potter, b. England, ?-1615-?1640, m. Dorothy??;  (2) their son Nathaniel Potter, 1637-1704, m. Elizabeth STOKES;  (3) their son Samuel Potter, 1675-1748, m. Sarah BENTON.  (One person's submission.)

Branch 3 again:  (1) Nathaniel Potter, ?-1620-1645, m. Dorothy WILBUR or COTTON; (2) their son Ichabod Potter,  m. Martha HAZARD; (3) their son Thomas Potter, 1663-1728, m. Susannah TRIPP. (Another submission.)

Honestly do not remember how many Branch 3 submissions there were, but I do know that all this information was published and indexed in Potter Profiles which is now available for free to you at www.liveroots.com.  In 3000 pages, I assure you that there is "tons" of information about Branch 3, a lineage going back to Nathaniel Potter, born about 1615 in England.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Potter Marriages in Kentucky

From the book Kentucky Marriages, 1797-1865, compiled by G. Glenn Clift, I found these:

Christiana Potter m. Samuel F. Brown on 22 Feb 1849; both of Louisville

Harriett Potter m. Thomas Anderson on 27 Dec 1836; both of Lexington

Capt. R. G. Potter m. N. Katie Gilbert (of Manchester, Clay Co, d/o F.G. Gilbert) on 17 Oct 1865 in Manchester; Capt. Potter was late of the 24th Kentucky Infantry Volunteers.

Ruth Potter m. John M. Hewett on 10 Jan 1839 in Louisville

Sarah Potter m. Theophilus McGlone on 13 Mar 1833 in Lexington.

My personal line of Potters were never in Kentucky; were yours?

Friday, April 15, 2011

Potters in Greene Co, Arkansas

I love finding,collecting and posting "strays." Here are some I found yesterday in the Greene County (Arkansas) Historical & Genealogical Quarterly, Vol. 4-5-6, 1990-1993. This comes out of Paragould, AR.

John POTTER, age 18, m. Susan W. PUCKETT, age 17, on 17 Aug 1880, Missionary Baptist church.

J.L. POTTER, age 47, m. Mrs. Maranda THOMPSON, age 39, on 31 Oct 1880, by the Justice of the Peace

Mary J. POTTER, age 21, m. John T. JACKSON, age 29, on 19 Feb 1880, by the Minister of the C. P. Church.

Please, my readers, I encourage you to post Potter "strays."

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Potters found in FamilySearch

Clicking to http://www.familysearch.org/, and then to search Historical Records, and typing in William Potter 1600-1700, I got 827 hits or results. My point? FamilySearch is adding millions of records/images to its database daily and if you've not checked for your Potter ancestor(s) in this database recently,you might be missing out. And then remind yourself to click there in a month to check again...... a million more hits will have been added to FamilySearch by then and it just might be your answer. I use FamilySearch regularly for research and do recommend it to everybody.

Monday, April 4, 2011

Origin of the Potter surname

Booklet #1 of Potter Profiles was published in the Fall of 1984. One of the first articles in that first booklet was a quote from J.R. Dolan's book, English Ancestral Names, the Evolution of Surnames from Medieval Occupations, 1972.  "The shop of the potter was usually a little one-room affair with a lean-to in the rear where he lived." The article went on to explain the manufacturing process and how the names originated:  Clayman/Claybook/Claypool from the supplier of the clay to the potter;  Thrower/Trower for the shaping of the clay on the wheel; "most of the 20 names beginning with pot are the result of scribal variations; that is, spelling errors either by careless tax men or by individuals through the centuries." These variations could have been:  Pottman, Pottmaker, Pott, Potee, Potterton, Potterridge, Pottharst, Pottinger, Potton, Pottruff, Potts, Potkin, Pottle, Pottinger, Potier, etc. This applied to the 20 Bowl names as well and 6 Crock names. Also Cupp, Steyn, Beaker, Mugg, Pitcher, and of course Chambers (the one who made chamber pots). "The earliest potter recorded in America is Philip Drinker; his kiln was turning out crockery in Massachsuetts as early as 1635."  The article concluded with a list of 111 surnames that evolved from the pottery-making industry. Interesting, no?

Thursday, March 31, 2011

Francis Harold Potter, 1921-2009

When I asked my grandmother to tell me about how she named my Dad, she giggled. She liked Frank, she said, but it sounded so hard for such a little baby. So they settled on Francis. So what about the Harold, I asked? She really giggled then and said it was for an old boyfriend and Mel (her husband) never knew.  Whether that story is true or not, it does make for a good family story. Dad came from a depression-poor background and when I was a year old he jumped at the opportunity to join the Army Air Corps and get an education and learn to fly. He had a 30 year career in the Air Force retiring in 1969 as a Colonel. He wrote up many of his Air Force memories and stories and they were published in The Air Force Magazine publication of the Wright-Patterson AFB Historical Museum. What really fun thing do I remember about my dad? That he loved to change rocks into candy with his magical incantation before little childrens' queezed-tight eyes. He's been gone two years; I still miss him.

I invite you to write up the stories of your Potter father or grandfather or ancestor and post them as a comment for sharing with other Potter researchers. Doesn't this seem like a good idea?

Friday, March 25, 2011

Potters Field........... where did this term originate?

Being a Potter, the term "potter's field," as used in "they buried him in the potter's field," always intrigued me. What was, what is, a potter's field? Are there still some today?

Found the term in Matthew 27:7. After betraying Jesus, Judas gave the 30 pieces of silver back to the priests to buy a "potters field to bury strangers in." is that the first use of the term? And why there? Did the potters toss their broken pottery pieces onto this "worthless" field and so it was available for a burying ground?

Webster's says:  "a burial ground for paupers or unknown persons." 

Anybody have any answers or ideas to share?

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Potter Profiles Posts

Let's get going! Post your comment in the form of a complete query........... a pedigree! I'll go first:

1. Donna Ruth POTTER
2. Francis Harold POTTER, 1921-2009, IL-WA
3. Henry Melville POTTER, 1888-1952, KS-IL
4. Francis Matthew POTTER, 1862-1894, IL-KS
5, Matthew J. POTTER, 1838-1902, IL-IL
6. Matthew POTTER, 1796-1875, ME-IL
7. Robert POTTER, 1766-1819, ME-IL
8. James POTTER, 1734-1815, ME-ME
9. William POTTER, 1715-1747, MA-ME
10. David POTTER, 1685-1714, MA-MA
11. Samuel POTTER, 1656-1714, MA-MA
12. Anthony POTTER, 1627-1689, MA-MA
13. Robert POTTER, 1610-1654, Eng-MA

My idea here is that if we will post our pedigree as a comment, and if I make the blog searchable (which I have) then anybody can search for any name. Think this will work??  Let's see!! 

(Yes, I know full well that Anthony as the son of Robert is still in dispute.... stay tuned.)

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Potter Profiles in the beginning......................

This was the very first issue of Potter Profiles way back in 1986. In those days, I used first a typewriter, then a Kaypro 10 and and SkyIndex and finally in the early 90s I "graduated" to a desktop Gateway. Each issue/volume/booklet was about 30-50 pages with an every-name index in the back. I posted the information exactly as folks sent their data to me (except for re-typing) and did not do any research as to what was correct and what was not; I figured that was for my readers to figure out as I was presenting many different Potter lines other than my own.  I did try to "plug in" the lineages that folks shared with me into numbered Potter lines. I began with Branch 1 as my branch and just numbered up from there. I think Branch 3 had more submissions that any other but the numbers went up nearly to 100. If I could not figure out what branch a submission was, then I just gave it a new number. With the advent of computer databases, I could hear the death knell for a paper-form surname publication. With issue 50 in 1996, I wrapped up the project. I did pay a private party in the late 90s to digitize all 3000 pages and (bless him!) Ilya D'Addezio posted the entire database (in its "dinosaur" form) on his LiveRoots website.  So now you know "the rest of the story," and we're ready to move forward, right???

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Guidelines to comment?

Wow, great response within 24 hours; I'm excited! Two things already apparent to my mind:  Please feel free to comment but if you wish to submit a "query" (for isn't that what it is??) then submit it as a complete query: full names, dates and places and spouse name. Please no long ramblings. As Sgt. Joe Friday used to say on Dragnet, "Just the facts." 

Friday, March 11, 2011

Welcome to Potter Profiles!

I was born a POTTER.......... Donna Ruth Potter, d/o Francis Harold Potter and June Magdalen Gurney. Back about 1980 when I began my genealogical research and in an effort to learn my Potter lineage, I collected anything and everything on folks named Potter (especially in New England). Soon I had learned about my ancestors but had a huge amount of information that deserved to be shared to help others. Thus POTTER PROFILES was begun. In the 15 years of its existence, I published 50 little booklets comprising nearly 3000 pages of Potter-only information. Then the Internet took over! All that information was digitized and Illya D'Addezio has included it in his www.liveroots.com database where you may search it for free. I've begun this blog in hopes that it will be a forum to continue the sharing that began a decade ago. How might best we all share information? Please indicate by your comments below what you think and I'll decide where to go with this Potter Profiles blog. I think it will be fun and worthwhile!