Monday, January 30, 2012

My Civil War Potter Ancestor

It's time to come clean; I have a questionably shameful ancestor story and it concerns my direct line Potter ancestor. My Matthew Potter, 1838-1902, was a Civil War veteran. He married my ancestor, Lydia Temple, and then in 1878, he married Sarah Hendricks. (Lots of detail; no need to rehash it all here.) His obituary in the Belleville, St.Clair County, Illinois, newspaper spoke of him as a "loving and lovable father" to his many children.

But.  In 1924, when widow Sarah was trying yet again to get a pension because she had been married to a Civil War veteran, she was yet again rejected (because she remarried). But in a typed affidavit, she explains, "I divorced him on account of I caught him in a vile sexual act with a chicken.....after which he beat me, and threw me out of the house in my nightclothes............... (more)."

As a genealogy teacher, I never have a problem with folks fearing to trace their ancestry for worry over finding a horse thief!! Nobody has yet topped my very-true story.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Potter ancestors known and touted today.

The Tri-City Herald, newspaper for Richland, Kennewick and Pasco, Washington, on Tuesday, 21 January 2012, carried a human interest story about Coral Arne who lives near Gig Harbor, Washington (some miles from Tri-Cities actually). Coral, who is 95, has completed a notebook documenting her family's history to present to her children and grand-children. Nothing new here. But, said Coral, "We have a Harry Potter in the family," referring to her grandfather, Harrison R. Potter. During her research, Coral and her granddaughter, Susan Green, found a document that revealed that her Potter ancestors held a special place in American history. Eight of the Potters' sons served for the Union during the Civil War, the longest combined service----- 21 years---- from one family. "The amazing thing is that they all came home," she said.

I think that any of us having Civil War ancestors during this 4-year remembering and anniversary of the conflict should let the local media know their stories. I know our local reporters would appreciate my sharing the story of my Matthew Potter's Civil War service.Think?

Monday, January 16, 2012

Genealogies of the Potter Families & Their Descendants in America

Early in my Potter research, I stumbled upon the 1888 book by Charles Edward Potter considered by many to be a research standard for early Potters-in-New-England research. Titled, Genealogies of the Potter Families & Their Descendants in America to the Present Generation with Historical & Biographical Sketches, this 350-page book is such an enlightening study and read. It is divided into ten parts which cover specific Potter families:

1.  Anthony Potter of Ipswich, Massachusetts, and Descendants
2.  George Potter of Portsmouth, Rhode Island, and Descendants
3.  George Potter of Lancaster, England, and Descendants
4.  Ichabod Potter, of Portsmouth, Rhode Island, and Descendants
5.  John & William Potter of New Haven, Connecticut, and Descendants
6.  Martin Potter of South Shields, England, and Descendants
7.  Martin Potter of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, and Descendants
8.  Nathaniel Potter of Portsmouth, Rhode Island, and Descendants
9.  Nicholas Potter of Lynn, Massachusetts, and Descendants
10. Robert Potter of Warwick, Rhode Island, and Descendants

As I studied this book, it seemed to be the source for the connection between Anthony (#1) as the son of Robert (#10) but while the evidence bits swirl and fly, I've never seen or found proof of that connection.

This book is available for sale via Google books, via Inter-Library loan from your public library, via the Family History Library/Family Search Centers, and available today for $22.95 from So seems there is no good reason for you not to seek out and study this book if your Potter roots go back into New England.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Potters & Rhode Island

When I first began digging into my family history in a serious manner, I soon learned that there were many Potter lines going back into Rhode Island. In fact, in the 1980s, when I began compiling Potter Profiles, one researcher wrote me that "Yah, Rhode Island was the factory where they churned out Potters." Well, I don't know about that but I do know that there are hundreds of Potters listed in James N. Arnold's Vital Records of Rhode Island 1636-1850, published in 1891. In Volume 4 of Profiles, I included 8 pages of extracted Potter names from Arnold's record. If you think your Potter lineage might or does go back to Rhode Island, perhaps you'd want to check the information from this source? You can click to, and then scroll down to Search by Surname and type in Potter Profiles to access all the volumes/booklets of this surname database of mine.

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

More Potters in the newer Mayflower index.

There was an additional Mayflower Ancestral Index published in 1981covering the Brewster-Chilteon-Eaton-S.Fuller-Moore-Rogers-Soule-White families. If you find your ancestor here, it is sufficient proof to join The Mayflower Society or to prove a claim as a descendant.  Here are the additional Potter names:

Alice, Alma,  Bathsheba,  Daniel Frederic,  Desire,  Don Theron,  Elisha,  Elizabeth,  Emeline,  Fannie,  Frances Adelia,  Franklin,  Hannah,  Helen,  Hepzibah,  Isabel,  James,  Joan Cynthia,  Jonathan,  Joseph,  Josephus,  Lida,  Lina Nancy,  Lydia,  Marion,  Martha,  Matthew,  Nathaniel,  Olive,  Phoebe,  Rosamond,  Ruth Brigham,  Sarah, Stephen,  Stokes,  Susanna. The cited book gives the spouse name; if you have a New England Potter of one of these names, you might want to check out this index. Why not?