Here is another series of posts on who was William Ives wife. What do you think?
The identity of the wife of William Ives is controversial in most Ives, Dicerkman, and Bassett genealogies. Many claim that she is Hannah Dickerman. However she is, Goodwife Ives played an important role in the start of New Haven. Goodwife Ives had four children by each of her two husbands, William Ives and William Bassett; She became the matriarch of two large New Haven families. The Ives and Bassett families continued to grow, and between 1647 and 1754 there were seventy-six births recorded in the New Haven records for the Bassett family and sixty-eight births for the Ives family (5). This places them as numbers twenty-two and twenty-six in the list of families with the most births recorded in New Haven, The male descendents of these two families accounted for between two and three percent of the children born during this time period.
I looked very carefully in to this issue and it includes the most thorough genealogy research in this blog. I examined documents for English churches I received from the Mormon genealogy service and looked at every primary evidence i could find through the New England Genealogical Society but I am sure there is more out there. What follows is a report of my findings. I welcome comments and am very eager to receive corrections that are supported by fact and primary evidence. I have seen many references to her name but they mostly end up just referring to other second hand information. I do not pretend to have the final answers. I am only reporting what I found so far to add to the conversation on this issue.
I want to note that since I wrote this report I have seen some very interestiing work by David Allen Lower that adds an additional perspective. His work makes it more plausible the Hannah Dickerman was the daughter of Thomas Dickerman by a marriage prior to Ellen Whittington and would have been the right age to marry William Ives. However, there is no conclusive evidence to support this. Here is a link to Dickerman Ancestry, Additum for Thomas (___-1657) Part One - by David Allen Lower and to my summary in Updates on Thomas Dickerman (1597? – 1657).
Finding Hannah Dickerman: the Nexus of Three New Haven Families
Goodwife Ives was seated at the March 10, 1646 New Haven general court on the opposite side as her husband, William Ives (1 - see references below). In 1648 she became Goodwife Bassett, following the death of William Ives and she is mentioned a number of other times in the early New Haven town, probate, and church records from 1644 to 1662 (2). Unfortunately, as was common then, her first and/or maiden names are not listed in any of these records. This occurs, in part, because of the dominance of male names in the early records even in such traditional female roles as child birth, e. g., “John Bassett the son of William Bassett was born the 24th day of December 1652” (3). In other cases, we have the misfortune of her of her name being absent even when female names are given, such as the record of her admission to the First Church of Christ, New Haven in 1644 as simply the wife of William Ives (4). These circumstances set the stage for a genealogical guessing game that continues today.
As I wrote in the prelude Goodwife Ives was the matriarch of two large New Haven families. Some members of both the Ives and Bassett families families moved to other locations during this period, so the total of births within these two families is greater. It approximately doubles when the families of female descendents are included. By the 1790 US Census there had been more migration, but there were still seventeen Bassett households and twenty-six Ives households in the New Haven vicinity. This article traces the attempts to find a name for the matriarch of these two families. In this process it examines the relevant early connections of a third family, the Dickermans, with the Ives and Bassett families. Before we explore these attempts to find her name, her two husbands will be briefly profiled to provide context in the next posts. (Continued)
1. Hoadly, Charles J. Records of the Colony and Plantation of New Haven from 1638 to 1649 (Hartford: Case, Tiffany & Company, 1857), p 304.
2. Records of the Colony and Plantation of New Haven from 1638 to 1649 410, 431, 441; Dexter, Franklin (Ed.), New Haven Town Records from 1649 to 1662, (New Haven: Haven Colony Historical Society, 1917), p. 109, 527-528; Dexter, Franklin (Ed.), New Haven Town Records 1662-1684 (New Haven: Haven Colony Historical Society, 1919), p. 1; Alcorn, Mrs. Winfred S., Abstracts of the Early Probate Records of New Haven, Book 1, Part 1, 1647-1687, New England Historical and Genealogical Register, Vol. 81, p. 121-122; Dexter, Franklin, Historical Catalogue of the Members of the First Church of Christ in New Haven Connecticut A. D. 1639-1914, (New Haven , 1914), p. 10. In her last recorded appearance before the New Haven court of August 5, 1662, she apologized to the court for her “sin in meddling with that which did not concern her,” the execution of William Potter, and breaking the fourth commandment. New Haven Town Records 1662-1684, p. 1. William Potter was the father-in-law of her first daughter by William Ives, Phebe, so this may have given her reason to feel connected to the event. Jacobus, Donald Lines, Families of Ancient New Haven, vols. 1-9. (Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing Company, 1923), p. 1458.
3. Vital Records of New Haven 1649-1850 (Hartford: The Connecticut Society of the Founders and Patriots of America, 1917) p. 9.
4. Historical Catalogue of the Members of the First Church of Christ in New Haven Connecticut A. D. 1639-1914, p. 10.
5. Dickerman, Edward Dwight, & Dickerman, George Sherwood, Families of Dickerman Ancestry: Descendents of Thomas Dickerman. (Tuttle, Morehouse, & Taylor Press, 1897, updated 1922), p. 279.
Here is a condensed summary of William Ives (see upcoming William Ives post for more detail). On November 7, 1648, the will of William Ives was probated in the New Haven court (6). Richard Miles and Roger Allen testified that William “was in a state fit to make this will & did make it.” He was one of the original settlers of New Haven, arriving with the initial group in April 1638 and signing the First Civil Compact on June 4, 1639 (7). William had been a member of the same London parish, St. Stephens of Coleman Street (8), as John Davenport, the first minister in New Haven. He arrived in the Boston area by himself in 1635 at age 28 (9), two years before Davenport and the main party of New Haven settlers came to Boston.
William reportedly lived in the Boston area (10) before joining the first New Haven group in 1638 and appears to have married shortly after arriving in New Haven. William became a freeman in 1641 (11) and was an active participant in town affairs (12). In his will, William designated his wife as the sole executor of his estate to be used to bring up their four children until they came of age. When his oldest son, John, became twenty-one he was to receive the house and land in New Haven. When the other children became twenty they were to receive one cow or the worth of a cow (13).
Next I will briefly review William Bassett.
6. His will was made in April 3, 1648 and his estate was valued at 98 pounds, 4 shillings on September, 22, 1648. Records of the Colony and Plantation of New Haven from 1638 to 1649, p 410.
7. Records of the Colony and Plantation of New Haven from 1638 to 1649, p. 17-18.
8. Calder, Isabel MacBeath, The New Haven Colony (New Haven: Yale University Press, 1936), p. 30.
9. Hotten, John Camden, The Original Lists of Persons of Quality 1600-1700, (Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing, Co.), p. 131; Savage, James, A Genealogical Dictionary of the First Settlers of New England (Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing Co., 1981), p. 525-526.
10. Ives, Arthur Coons, The Genealogy of the Ives Family, (Watertown NY: Hungerford-Holdbrook Company, 1932), p. 17. There is no clear evidence on what he did between his arrival in Boston in 1635 and his departure to New Haven in 1638 and there is no record of movement outside the Boston area.
11. Records of the Colony and Plantation of New Haven from 1638 to 1649, p. 61.
12. William Ives held several positions in the community including fence viewer, Records of the Colony and Plantation of New Haven from 1638 to 1649, p. 155; In the first division of land in 1641, William received 6 ¼ acres in the first division, 1 ¼ acres in the neck, and 2 ¼ acres in the meadow with 9 acres in the second division, Records of the Colony and Plantation of New Haven from 1638 to 1649, p. 93.
13. Records of the Colony and Plantation of New Haven from 1638 to 1649, p. 410.
14. Records of the Colony and Plantation of New Haven from 1638 to 1649, p. 431. William Bassett had declined a request to provide security for his, then future, step children when William Ives’ will was probated since his marriage had not yet occurred but was just under contract. Records of the Colony and Plantation of New Haven from 1638 to 1649, p. 410.
Here is a brief summary of William Bassett: Later on the same November day as his will was probated, his widow married William Bassett and on February 6, 1649, William Bassett agreed in court to honor the will of William Ives (14). William Bassett’s arrival to New England is not documented and he first appears in the New Haven records on March 7, 1643 (15). After the 1648 marriage, the Bassett family continued to live in the house of William Ives at 72 – 160 Congress Street until William Bassett sold it in 1651/2 to the widow of Anthony Thompson (16).
William placed eleven pounds worth of cattle as security for John Ives’ portion of the property. Goodwife Bassett died some time after 1662 (17) and before William Bassett wrote his last will in January 1, 1679, where he provided bequeaths to only some of his living children and step children: daughters Bia Bassett and Hannah Parker, stepdaughter Phebe (Ives) Rose, and stepson Joseph Ives (18). Abraham Dickerman and John Cooper, the father and grandfather of Mary Dickerman, his new daughter-in-law, were named as overseers of his estate. William Bassett passed away five years later, and his estate was inventoried in September 1684 (19). (Continued)
14. Records of the Colony and Plantation of New Haven from 1638 to 1649, p. 431. William Bassett had declined a request to provide security for his, then future, step children when William Ives’ will was probated since his marriage had not yet occurred but was just under contract. Records of the Colony and Plantation of New Haven from 1638 to 1649, p. 410.
15. William Bassett first appears in the New Haven court records on March 7, 1643 when he was fined 6 pence along with several others for having a “foole gun.” Records of the Colony and Plantation of New Haven from 1638 to 1649, p. 125. The court of May 1, 1644 fined William Bassett and several others for coming late to the Lord’s day with their arms, p. 134. These fines were common and reflect the need to be prepared against possible attack by local Indians or the nearby Dutch, and do not reflect on William Bassett being different from most other early settlers, including William Ives who had similar fines. William Bassett continued to be an active member of the community (e.g., he won a legal case in October 2, 1666 and was awarded damages for beating given to his son, Samuel, New Haven Town Records 1662-1684, p. 188; he was seated at the general court of January 7, 1667, New Haven Town Records 1662-1684, p. 220, and received land in the December 1680 division of land - New Haven Town Records 1662-1684, p. 405. There is no reliable record of his immigration. There were two others named William Bassett whose early arrival in New England was recorded but they could not have been this William. One William Bassett came to Lynn, MA in 1635 at age 9, as part of the Burt family party and remained there, Anderson, Robert Charles, Sanborn, George F., & Sanborn, Melinde, The Great Migration Begins: Immigrants to New England 1634-35, Vol. 1, (Boston: New England Historic Genealogical Society, 1999 – 2001) p. 190-195 and another came to Plymouth on the Fortune in 1621 and remained in Massachusetts as did his son William, Anderson, Robert Charles, The Great Migration Begins: Immigrants to New England 1620-1633, Vol. 1 (Boston: New England Historic Genealogical Society, 1995) p. 127-130. Also, a John and Robert Bassett were part of the early New Haven community but they do not appear to be related to William Bassett of New Haven. Robert was the town drummer, Records of the Colony and Plantation of New Haven from 1638 to 1649, p. 410. Both Ives, see Ives, Arthur Coons, The Genealogy of the Ives Family, (Watertown NY: Hungerford-Holdbrook Company, 1932), p. 23, and Smith, see Smith, Tenney, Charles Smith and Rachel Amy Bryant: Their Ancestors and Descendents (Brattleboro: The Vermont Printing Company, 1938), p. 112, suggest the William Bassett had a first wife who died before he married the widow of William Ives since a “Sister Bassett” is listed as seating next to “Sister Ives” in the 1646 New Haven town meeting, Records of the Colony and Plantation of New Haven from 1638 to 1649, p 304, but there is no other evidence for the and they probably confuse her with the wife of John Bassett.
16. New Haven Town Records from 1649 to 1662, p. 109-110.
17. She last appeared before the New Haven court with William Bassett on August 5, 1662, New Haven Town Records 1662-1684, p. 1. She had also recently spoken to the court at the July 1, 1662 meeting, New Haven Town Records from 1649 to 1662, p. 527-528. There is no record of her death. She is listed as leaving the New Haven church after 1662, Historical Catalogue of the Members of the First Church of Christ in New Haven Connecticut A. D. 1639-1914, p. 10.
18. Alcorn, Mrs. Winfred S., Abstracts of the Early Probate Records of New Haven, Book 1, Part 1, 1647-1687, New England Historical and Genealogical Register, Vol. 81, p. 121-122. It seems unusual that his son, Samuel, who married Mary Dickerman, is not named in this will since Samuel’s father-in-law is named as an overseer of the will. The marriage of Samuel Bassett and Mary Dickerman is recorded as June 21, 1677 in the Vital Records of New Haven 1649-1850, p. 43. He also left out of his will a number of his other living children and step children.
19. Abstracts of the Early Probate Records of New Haven, Book 1, Part 1, 1647-1687, p. 121-122. His death is recorded as August 29, 1684 in the Vital Records of New Haven 1649-1850 p. 49.
The Appearance of Hannah Dickerman
About 240 years after her death, Hannah Dickerman first surfaces in print as the name of the wife of William Ives and William Bassett through Frank Bassett’s 1902 Reports of the Two Reunions of the Massachusetts Branch of the Bassett Family Association (20). This publication is followed by a response in the Boston Evening Transcript in February 3, 1906 (21). In this response to a question, H. B. G. states that William Bassett married Hannah (Dickerman) Ives in Nov. 7, 1648 and she was probably the sister of Abraham Dickerman and daughter of Thomas and Ellen Dickerman. He adds, “I think this information came from either ‘Families of Dickerman Ancestry’ or the ‘Tuttle Book.’ ”
We shall look closely at what is actually said in the “Families of Dickerman Ancestry,” published by Tuttle in the next section of this article. In 1920 and 1929, there were two more postings in the Boston Evening Transcript naming Hannah Dickerman as the wife of William Ives and/or Bassett; however the 1929 posting mentions Hannah as the daughter of Abraham Dickerman (22). Abraham did have a daughter named Hannah but she was born after William Ives died. Hannah Dickerman also appears as the wife of William Bassett in Wheeler Bassett’s, A Bassett Book, as well as a genealogy of the Obil Beach family in 1936 (23). Clarence Torrey lists Hannah Dickerman as the wife of William Ives in his New England Marriages Prior to 1700, but with a question mark indicating he is not certain of the validity of this information (24).
Today a large number of genealogy Web sites and postings list Hannah Dickerman as born on 1622 in Little Missenden, Bucks, England and arriving in America with her parents from England on August 17, 1635, sailing out of Bristol on the James. Her parents are listed as Thomas Dickerman and Ellen Whittington who married in 1621 in Little Missenden, Bucks. England. These sites also claim that Hannah Dickerman married William Ives on June 14, 1639 and that she died on November 5, 1665 in New Haven, CT. For example, there were 193 hits on a search in the Ancestry.com family tree on November 2003 on Hannah Dickerman as both the daughter of Thomas Dickerman and wife of William Ives. However, all of the above claims are posted with either no reference to a primary or secondary source or with a secondary source that does not provide confirming evidence when examined.
Many of the secondary sources such as the works by Atwater (1902), Jacobus (1923), and Virkus (1929), list the wife of William Ives and William Bassett as Hannah, with no last name (25). This approach is also taken with a number of family genealogies including those of Goodyear (1899), Hall (1954), Ives (1932), Keeler (1939), Merriman (1914), Randall (1943), and Smith (1938) (26). The Ludington-Saltus (1925), Hollister (1916), and Miner (1928) family histories take the position that neither her first or last name is known (27). (Continued)
20. Bassett, Frank. Reports of the Two Reunions of the Massachusetts Branch of the Bassett Family Association (Boston: Bailey Publishing, Co., 1902), p.18.
21.Boston Evening Transcript, Posting by H. B. G. on Feb. 3, 1906.
22. Boston Evening Transcript, Posting by D. M. V. on May 19, 1920; Boston Evening Transcript, Posting by Franklin on Aug. 12, 1929 - #8718.
23. Bassett, Wheeler, A Bassett Book. (Interlaken, NY: Published by author, 1928), James, Alma Eliose, The Ancestry and Posterity of Obil Beach (Fairbury, IL: Blade Publishing Co., 1936), p. 60.
24. Torrey, Clarence Almon, New England Marriages Prior to 1700. (Boston: New England Historic Genealogy Society, 2001), p. 412. All of the references that Torrey lists were reviewed (see footnotes 26 & 27). The only Torrey reference not listed in these footnotes is Curtiss, Frederic Haines, A Genealogy of the Curtis Family (Boston: Rockell & Churchill Press, 1903), p. 103, since it covers a later Hannah Ives (1778-1844).
25. Atwater, Edward, History of the Colony of New Haven to its Absorption into Connecticut (Meriden, CT: The Journal Publishing Co., 1902), p. 544, 711; Jacobus, Donald Lines, Families of Ancient New Haven, vols. 1-9. (Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing Company, 1923), p. 910; Virkus, Frederick Adams, Immigrant Ancestors: A list of 2,500 Immigrants to America before 1750, Vol. 7 (Chicago: The Institute of American Genealogy, 1929), p. 861 for Ives and p. 846 for Bassett.
26. Kirkman, Grace Goodyear, Genealogy of the Goodyear Family (San Francisco: Cubery & Co., 1899), p. 153; Sumner, Edith Blake Bartlett, Ancestors and Descendents of Amaziah Hall and Betsey Baldwin (Los Angeles: American Offset Printers, 1954), p.107; The Genealogy of the Ives Family, p. 28; Frost, Josephine C. Ancestors of Evelyn Wood Keeler, Wife of Willard Underwood Taylor (Brooklyn, NY: privately printed, 1939), p. 327; Merriman, Mansfield, Reunion of Descendents of Nathaniel Merriman of Wallingford, Conn., June 4, 1913 with a Merriman Genealogy for Five Generations (New Haven: D. L. Jacobus, 1914), p. 139; Randall, Frank Alfred, Randall and Allied Families (Chicago, Raveret-Weber Print, Co., 1943), p. 443-447, Charles Smith and Rachel Amy Bryant: Their Ancestors and Descendents, p. 112.
27. Ludington, Ethel M. (Saltus), Ludington-Saltus Records (New Haven: Tuttle, Morehouse & Taylor, 1925), p. 89; Talcott, S. V. The Hollister Family (Asbury Park, NJ: Martin & Allardyce, 1916), p. 18; Selleck, Lillian Lounsberry, One Branch of the Miner Family (New Haven, D. L. Jacobus, 1928), p. 35
Hannah Not Claimed by the Dickermans
One problem with the Hannah Dickerman theory, in addition to the lack of any primary evidence, is that the Dickermans do not appear to claim her. In 1897, Edward Dwight Dickerman and George Sherwood Dickerman published Families of Dickerman Ancestry. Descendents of Thomas Dickerman, an Early Settler of Dorchester, Massachusetts, (28) the book referred to in the 1906 Boston Evening Transcript posting mentioned earlier. This book was praised when it first came out in the “Book Notices” section of the NEGHR (29). It was revised and re-published in 1922. Both editions list Thomas and Ellen Dickerman of Dorchester as having four sons, but no daughter (30).
One of their sons, also Thomas, did have a daughter named Hannah Dickerman but she was born in 1659, after William Ives died. Another son, Abraham, married Mary Cooper, in Dorchester. She was the daughter of John Cooper of New Haven and moved there to be in the same community as his wife’s family (31). Abraham became a very active participant in the community and served many roles. He also became directly involved with William Bassett when his daughter, Mary, married William’s son, Samuel, as mentioned earlier. A closer connection was later established between the Ives, Bassett, and Dickerman families through several subsequent marriages (32).
Other members of both the Ives and Bassett families married Dickermans and the family connections are presented in the 1897 edition of the Dickerman book and expanded on in the 1922 edition (33). As they trace the family lines, the authors state that William Bassett married the widow of William Ives and that her son, Samuel Bassett, married Mary Dickerman, daughter of Abraham Dickerman (34). It would seem almost certain that if the Dickerman authors knew she was Hannah Dickerman, a daughter of the first Thomas Dickerman, or connected to the Dickermans in any way they would have mentioned this. Instead, she is simply referred to as the wife of Ives and Bassett with no first or maiden name. This book does not appear to avoid the names of females, as many are mentioned (35). However, this omission may indicate that the Dickerman authors were simply unaware of her, not that she did not exist.
James Savage, in his 1860-1861 work on the genealogy of early New Englanders, agrees with the Dickerman authors and only lists sons for Thomas and Ellen Dickerman, as do the files of Colonel Charles Banks as reported by Jacobus (36). Thomas Dickerman’s will of 1657 does not mention any of his children, so this document does not help (37). More on this topic of the Dickermans tomorrow.
28. Listed under Book Notices of the NEGHR, 1897, 51, p. 239, is the Families of Dickerman Ancestry. Descendents of Thomas Dickerman, an Early Settler of Dorchester, Massachusetts. Prepared and published by Edward Dwight Dickerman and George Sherwood Dickerman, (New Haven: the Tuttle, Morehouse & Taylor Press, 1897). The same publisher issued the 1922 edition, NEGHR, 1922, 76, p. 216.
29. There was a brief comment appearing later in the same NEGHR Volume: “The book on the Dickerman family is one that any family might be proud of. The descendents of Thomas Dickerman of Dorchester have been traced with remarkable success…” NEGHR, 1897, 51, p. 241. Jacobus also speaks well of the book, in: Jacobus, Donald Lines, “Dickerman Origin in England” American Genealogist, 26, 165-167.
30. The Dickerman genealogy lists the four sons as: Thomas, Abraham, Issac, and John, Families of Dickerman Ancestry, p. 14. The birth of Thomas’ third son, Issac, born in Boston is recorded in A Report of the Record Commissioners of the City of Boston containing Dorchester Births, Marriages, and Deaths to the End of 1825 (Boston: Rockwell and Churchill, 1890). p. 2 and “Early Records of Boston” NEGHR, 1851, 5, p. 98. The Dickerman genealogy also lists a younger son, John, born 1644 and died young, p. 14, but he is not found in the Dorchester vital records. The New England activities of the two older sons, Thomas and Abraham, born in England, are well documented (see below).
31. Their marriage date is listed as February 10, 1658 in the A Report of the Record Commissioners of the City of Boston containing Dorchester Births, Marriages, and Deaths to the End of 1825, p. 20. Abraham and Mary received a significant grant of land in New Haven from her father John Cooper; the original transaction is reproduced in Families of Dickerman Ancestry, p. 144-145. Abraham’s involvement in the community is documented in several sources including Dexter, Franklin (Ed.), New Haven Town Records 1662-1684. New Haven: Haven Colony Historical Society, 1919, e.g., p. 220, 261, 285, 289, 337, 378, 404. He is listed as a proprietor of New Haven in 1685, “Proprietors of New Haven, CT” NEGHR, 1847, 1, p. 157.
32. For example, Hannah 4 Bassett (Abraham3, Samuel2, William1) married Jeremiah 5 Ives (Jonathan4, Samuel3, Joseph2, William1) on June 7, 1738 in New Haven and her grandfather Samuel 2 Bassett, as discussed, married Mary 3 Dickerman (Abraham 2, Thomas 1). In addition, Sarah 5 Hitchcock (Hannah 4, John 3, John 2, William 1) grand daughter of John Bassett, married Elam 5 Ives (James 4, Ebenezer 3, Joseph 2, William 1) on May 9, 1790. These connections are recorded in the Dickerman genealogy, Families of Dickerman Ancestry, p. 158 -163, as well as many other sources, including the vital records of the relevant towns. The marriage of Jeremiah Ives and Hannah Bassett is listed as June 7, 1768 in Vital Records of New Haven 1649-1850, p. 412.
33. Families of Dickerman Ancestry, p. 160, 163.
34. Families of Dickerman Ancestry, p. 156, 163.
35. For example, all the female and male children of Abraham and Mary Cooper Dickerman are listed. Families of Dickerman Ancestry, p. 156.
36. Savage only names three of Thomas Dickerman’s sons: Thomas, Abraham, and Issac, Savage, James, A Genealogical Dictionary of the First Settlers of New England, Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing Co., 1981. (Vol. 2, p, 47). Savage also does not name the wife of William Bassett (Vol. 1, p. 136) and William Ives (Vol. 2, p. 525-526) in his coverage of these two men. Banks also only lists the same three sons for Thomas Dickerman. His work is covered in: Jacobus, Donald Lines, “Dickerman Origin in England” American Genealogist, 26, 165-167.
The Dickerman genealogy books of 1897 and 1922 appear careful in their claims and contain much information backed up by other sources. For example, the authors suggest that Thomas Dickerman and his family might have come to Boston with Richard Mather on the James in 1635, as later claimed on many Web sites, but they indicate this is not proven (38). The passenger list for this voyage of the James, while showing Richard Mather, does not include the Thomas Dickerman family (39).
This omission is unfortunate since the complete families of all passengers are listed and we could have seen if Hannah was included. On the other hand, there is ample independent evidence that Thomas and his family were in Boston perhaps as early as 1636, when he may be listed in the church annuals, and certainly by 1637 when the birth of his son, Issac, is recorded and when he participated in the division of land in Dorchester (40). He continues after that date as an active and well-documented member of the community (41).
The Dickerman genealogy authors could not find any information on Thomas and Ellen Dickerman in England; the only exception is the listing of the births of their two oldest sons in 1623 (Thomas) and 1634 (Abraham). The common assumption on many Web sites is that Thomas and Ellen were married in 1621. However, the church records in Little Missenden, Buckinghamshire indicate that Thomas Dickerman and Ellen Whittington were married on October 10, 1631. This date is found in both the 1911 publication of marriages in Little Missenden and the original handwritten record (42). While the printed version of Little Missenden parish records only includes marriages, the original handwritten version also includes christenings and burials. However, the handwriting for the years 1620-1635 is much harder to read for christenings than marriages, and some of the pages are damaged.
It was not possible for me to determine with certainty if the christening of Thomas, Abraham, or Hannah is listed or not listed. However, if not listed here, they also could have been christened in another parish for a variety of reasons. It is also possible that the date for the birth of Thomas was actually 1633, not 1623 but there is no primary evidence for either date. The birth dates of his children (1653-1668), at least make this 1633 birth date plausible (43). Thomas, the younger, also could have been the child of a prior marriage or relationship for either Thomas or Ellen. The same could be said for Hannah, if she existed. What is clear is that Hannah Dickerman could not have been born during the 1631 marriage of Thomas and Ellen Dickerman and then produced the first child of William Ives in 1642. (Continued)
37. McGhan, Judith, Suffolk County Wills, Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing, Co., 1984.
38. Families of Dickerman Ancestry, p. 4.
39. Banks, Charles Edward, The Planters of the Commonwealth 1620 – 1640 (Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing Co.), p. 134-135. Thomas Dickerman is also not listed in other sailings of the James: Planters of the Commonwealth 1620 – 1640, p. 136-140, 151-153; Tepper, Michael, New World Immigrants (Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing Co., 1980), p. 59-60.
40. The Dickerman family book indicates he was on the church rolls in Dorchester in 1636 (Families of Dickerman Ancestry, p. 3-4), and the book provides a copy of the land division statement from March 18, 1637, p. 5. Meredith Colkert lists a 1636 arrival date for Thomas Dickerman but cites the Dickerman genealogy as the major source along with the Jacobus article mentioned earlier – Colkert, Meredith, Founders of Early American Families (Cleveland: The General Court of the Order of the Founders and Patriots of America, 1985), p. 95. Issac Dickerman’s birth is listed as (9th) 1637 in A Report of the Record Commissioners of the City of Boston containing Dorchester Births, Marriages, and Deaths to the End of 1825, p. 2. Farmer also lists 1636 as the date of Thomas Dickerman’s arrival in Dorchester in Farmer, John, Genealogical Register of the First Settlers of New England (Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing Co., 1984 – first published in Lancaster, MA 1829) p. 84.
41. Thomas Dickermen was admitted as a freeman in Boston on March 14, 1638-39, NEGHR, 1849, 3, 96. He died on March 11, 1657, “Boston Records,” NEGHR, 1857, 11, p. 332.
42. The printed version of the Little Misseden marriages 1559 to 1812 is found in Phillimore, W. P. W., Buckinghamshire Parish Registers, Vol. VII (London: Phillimore & Co., 1911), with the marriage of Thomas Dickerman and Ellen Whittington on p. 104. A microfilm of the original handwritten register of Little Missenden christening, marriages, and burials from 1559 – 1718 was obtained from the LDS and viewed at their Cambridge family history center. The hand written parish records are listed chronically, as marriages occurred, so there is little room for 1631 to be a mistake for 1621. We can only speculate on the origin of the mistaken 1621 date in most Web sites, perhaps to cover the real or mistaken date of the birth of Thomas, the son. Banks also reports the 1631 marriage date for Thomas and Ellen Dickerman through the same Little Missenden records in; Jacobus, Donald Lines, “Dickerman Origin in England” American Genealogist, 26, 165-167.
43. Thomas2 Dickerman first married by 1653 to Elizabeth. While the marriage is not recorded, her death is listed “Elizabeth Dickerman, wife of Thomas 10 (3) 1671” in Births, Marriages and Deaths in the Town of Malden, Massachusetts 1649 – 1850 (Cambridge: University Press, 1903) p. 340. There is a second listing of her death on May 5, 1671 in Flagg, Frances G., “Early Malden Records” NEGHR, 1852, p. 241. Their children (Sarah, Lydia, Thomas, and Hannah) are also listed in Births, Marriages and Deaths in the Town of Malden, Massachusetts 1649 – 1850, p. 22. After Elizabeth died, Thomas remarried and had one child, Anna, listed in “Births, Marriages, and Deaths in Malden,” NEGHS, 1856, 10, p. 235. Thomas’ death is listed as September 6, 1685 in Births, Marriages and Deaths in the Town of Malden, Massachusetts 1649 – 1850, p. 340.
Circumstantial Evidence For and Against the Marriage of William Ives and Hannah Dickerman
The documented evidence has several implications. First, the evidence establishes that Thomas and his family were in Boston at the same time as William Ives and before William went to New Haven and married almost immediately, most likely to someone he met in Boston or knew from England. If they married in 1639, as claimed, and she was born in 1622, as claimed, Hannah would have been 17 and William would be 32 on their wedding day which just fits into the limits of plausibility. Secondly, in early New England children were often named after their parents or grandparents. While neither of William Ives’ two daughters was named Hannah, three of his four children had daughters named Hannah (44). William Bassett had a daughter, Hannah, and three of his four children including Hannah, had daughters named Hannah (45). In addition, the two of the sons of Thomas Dickerman had daughters named Hannah (46).
However, this proliferation of Hannahs may simply be the use of a popular name and is a potential source of confusion, as well as confirmation, especially since there was a Hannah Dickerman, daughter of Thomas, one generation too late. Thirdly, a concern arises if Hannah Dickerman was the daughter of Thomas and sister of Abraham, since her son, Samuel, would then have married his first cousin, Mary, the daughter of Abraham. However, if she was the child of either Thomas or Ellen by a prior marriage, then the connection would still be close, but not quite as strong. The practice of first cousins (or half cousins) marrying was not common, but not unknown with the limited number of spouses available in early New England. (Continued)
44. William Ives’ children (with their children named Hannah in parenthesis): Phebe, baptized October 2, 1642, “Baptisms in New Haven, Conn.” NEGHR, 1855, 9, p. 360 (Hannah Rose, born March 15, 1676/77, listed in Connecticut Vital Records Branford 1644 – 1850, Barbour Collection, Connecticut State Library, 1924, p. 211 ), John baptized December 29, 1644 “Baptisms in New Haven, Conn.” NEGHR, 1855, 9, p. 360 (Hannah Ives, born about 1672), Martha, born about 1646 (Hannah Beach, born about 1685), Joseph, born about 1647-1648 (no daughters named Hannah). William Ives children were all born before the start of New Haven vital records, but all individuals above are listed in Families of Ancient New Haven, p. 910.
45. William Bassett’s children (with their children named Hannah in parenthesis): Hannah, born Sept. 13, 1650 (NHV*, p. 5) (her daughter Hannah Parker, born August 20, 1671 -NHV, p. 34), John, born December 24, 1652 (NHV, p. 9) (his daughter Hannah Bassett, born October 3, 1679 - NHV, p. 50), Samuel, born February 15, 1654 (NHV, p. 11) (no daughter named Hannah), Abiah, baptized February 7, 1657, “Baptisms in New Haven, Conn.” NEGHSR, 1855, 9, p. 357 (her daughter Hannah Lines, born July 28, 1684). *NHV stands for Vital Records of New Haven 1649-1850. All individuals not listed in New Haven Vitals are listed in Families of Ancient New Haven, p. 134-135.
46. As indicated above, Thomas2 Dickerman’s children are listed in Flagg, Frances G., “Early Malden Records” NEGHR, , 1852, p. 335 and “Births, Marriages and Deaths in Malden,” NEGHR, 1856, 10, p. 161-162 & 235, His daughter, Hannah Dickerman, is listed as born on October 27, 1659 in Flagg, p. 335; Abraham Dickerman’s children are listed in Vital Records of New Haven 1649-1850, Sarah, born April 28, 1663 (p.19), Hannah, born March 5, 1665 (p. 22), Ruth, born April 5, 1668 (p. 27, Abigail, born September 26, 1670 (p. 29), Abraham, born June 14, 1673 (p. 37), Issac, born November 7. 1677 (p. 46), Rebecca, born February 27, 1679 (p. 50). Mary, his first child, is not listed in these records but the Families of Ancient New Haven lists her birth as about 1660, p. 536. His daughter, Hannah Dickerman, was baptized on Dec. 12, 1665 (born Nov. 6, 1665). “Baptisms in New Haven, Conn.’ NEGHR, 1855, 9, p. 359.
A Possible Origin of Hannah Dickerman
The papers of Eben Pierce Bassett are housed at the NEGHS and they list Hannah Dickerman as the wife of William Ives. Eben was a member of the NEGHS from 1930 to 1934 and 1937 to 1951. He continues the work of Frank Bassett, who provided the first known reference to Hannah as the wife of William Ives. In fairness, these papers are working notes and we do not know Eben’s own position on each detail of the contents. Eben records the following.
"From F. G. Bassett’s – “Seymour Past & Present” - William Bassett arrived in Boston 1635 with Rev. Peter Hobart, John Cooper, Sr. and Jr., Wm Ives, Abraham Dickerman, and others who located in New Haven. He first appears in the New Hav. Col, in 1642/3. In his will he calls Abraham Dickerman and John Cooper his brothers." (47)
William Ives was the only member of this group on the Truelove (48). On a separate page he notes that William Bassett married the widow Hannah (Dickerman) Ives of Abraham Dickerman and Mary (Cook). The name, Dickerman, is filled as a pencil addition over the original ink note that has blank parentheses after Hannah’s name, and the names of her parents are also added in with pencil. There is a reference connected to this addition to the Obil Beach genealogy, p. 60, the Dickerman ancestory, p. 181, the Sutliffe genealogy, and the Plant genealogy.
The Obil Beach genealogy confuses some of the details on William Bassett of New Haven with the William Bassett of Plymouth, as Eben Bassett also notes. It also provides no source for its statement that William Bassett’s wife was Hannah Dickermen (49). Given the 1936 publication date for the Beach genealogy it might have picked it up from Frank Bassett’s original reference to Hannah Dickerman that preceded it but this is only speculation. There is no reference to Hannah Dickerman on p. 181 of either the 1897 or the 1922 edition of the Dickerman ancestry book or anywhere else in the book.
Eben also notes a response in the Boston Evening Transcript (# 8718 - 1929-9-9) that raises concerns with the August 12, 1929 query mentioned earlier (#8718 – 8-12-29 by H. D.):
"The answer needs correction. Hannah Dickerman b 1665, d 1703 was dau. of Abraham Dickerman. If correspondent can prove that Hannah Ives (widow of Wm. Ives) who m. Wm Bassett was sister of Abraham Dickerman it would be appreciated. My belief is that this idea has arisen because the word "brother" used a bro. in the church, was interpreted as meaning ch. by same parents" (50). (Continued)
47. Bassett, Eben Pierce. Manuscripts. NEGHS, about 1930-1951. (pages are not numbered)
48. Hotten, John Camden, The Original Lists of Persons of Quality 1600-1700, (Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing, Co.), p. 131.
49. The Ancestry and Posterity of Obil Beach, p. 60.
50. Bassett, Eben Pierce. Manuscripts. NEGHS, about 1930-1951. (pages are not numbered) and Boston Evening Transcript, Posting by H. D., Sept. 9, 1929.
There is no record of a response or resolution in Frank Bassett's notes. It may also be that the term “brother” is used in an informal family way since William Bassett’s son had married Abraham Dickerman’s daughter only two years before he wrote his will. The use of the term “brother” in a community way was common and even Goodwife Ives was called “Sister Ives” in the seating chart for the 1646 New Haven town meeting (51). There was also some contemporary concern over the work of Frank Bassett (52).
We often deal with imperfect and incomplete evidence, especially in documenting the early female settlers in New England. In the absence of a name for the wife of William Bassett and William Ives, the circumstantial evidence might nominate a daughter of Thomas Dickerman named Hannah, born in 1622. This apparent guess was carried forward and gained momentum in the absence of an alternative. However, it seems from this investigation that there is more reason to doubt, than believe, in her existence as either the daughter of the first Thomas Dickerman of Dorchester or the wife of William Ives or William Bassett.
Hannah seems to exist more in the minds of researchers in the late 19th and early 20th century than in her time of the early 17th century. There is one other candidate for Goodwife Ives, as the “Memoirs – Harold Kenney Beach,” in the NEGHR, suggests that William Ives’ wife was named Sarah, but like Hannah, there is again no supporting evidence . This article offers few final answers but it hopefully clears up some commonly held misunderstandings and provides a clearer direction and firmer foundation for future research on the Bassett, Dickerman, and Ives families in early New England.
51. Records of the Colony and Plantation of New Haven from 1638 to 1649, p. 304.
52. The Book Notices section of the NEHGR in 1899 states: “The Bassett Report contains the proceedings of the second reunion of the ‘Bassett Family Association of America,’ held in Plymouth, Mass. Sept. 16, 1898. In the historical address, Frank G. Bassett, Esq., the Historian of the association, assumes, or permits the reader to assume, without an iota of proof, that the William Bassett who according to the records of Leyden, Holland, was married to Margaret Oldham, July 29, 1611, and the William Bassett of Plymouth and Duxbury whose will is dated 1667, are one and the same person. Such unsupported assumptions do more than anything else to bring the science of genealogy into dispute. The subsequent data given in Mr. Bassett’s address is of positive value, and should stimulate other members of the family to co-operate with him in obtaining material for a complete genealogy of the family.” (p. 379). The author of the book notice was Chaplin Roswell Randall Hoes, U.S.N (p.380). I included the complete quote in fairness to Frank Bassett and this statement does not discredit all of his work. It merely indicates that, in the opinion of the writer, his scholarship was not perfect. The William Bassett referred to in this book comment