While researching the provenance of a family portrait, I recently revisited the research problem posed by my ancestress Martha (____) (Naden) Mortier, an Englishwoman who came to New York before the American Revolution with her second husband, Abraham Mortier, and her daughters Elizabeth and Ann Naden. As I’ve mentioned before, occasional Google searches on intractable research questions can sometimes yield surprising results, now that so many original documents have been digitized and made available online.
In this case, I went to Ancestry.com to see what I might find. Previous searches on John Naden, the father of Elizabeth and Ann, had never yielded information on his wife, Martha, although her second marriage to Abraham Mortier, in 1754, has long been known. This time, a few minutes’ searching brought me to
- The London and Surrey, England, Marriage Bonds and Allegations, 1597-1921 database, which gave the following: “26th March 1739. Appeared personally John Naden of the Parish of St. Martin in the Fields in the County of Midd[lese]x Victualler a Widower and alledged hee intendeth to marry with Martha Gray of Fulham in the same County and upwards of twenty one years and a Spinster … and that he knoweth of no lawfull … Imped[imen]t by reason of any precontract, Consanguinity, affinity or any other lawfull Means whatever to hinder the Said intended Marriage, of the truth of which he made Oath and prayed License to Solemnize the Said Marriage in the Chapell in the Savoy in the said county of Midd[lese]x. [signed by John Naden] Sworn before me Rob[er]t Chapman Surrogate”
- The London, England, Wills and Probate 1507–1858 database, with the will of John Naden dated 19 August 1749. After bequeathing Richard Baynham and Abraham Mortier two guineas to buy mourning rings, with other bequests and a reference to his “just Debts and Funeral Expences,” he left “all the remainder of my personal Estate & Effects of what nature & kind so ever unto my Dear and loving wife Martha Naden, the said Richard Baynham and the said Abraham Mortier … to divide the Same into three Equal parts of shares… And further my will is That if my wife Martha Naden have a mind to Carry on the Business of a Victualler in the house wherein I now dwell commonly called & known by the Name and Sign of the Heath Cock in the Strand, [the other executors] shall sell to the said Martha Naden the Stock in Trade Furniture and Utensells in the said house…” His daughters were each to receive a third share in his estate; the will was proved 20 August 1753.
- Martha and Abraham were married soon thereafter. The London, England, Church of England Marriages and Banns, 1754-1921 database lists banns for Abraham Mortier and Martha Naden of Fulham on 5 January 1754.
So who was Martha Gray of Fulham? As yet, I’m not sure, as the surname Gray is so much more common than Naden or Mortier. I can’t yet square the circle, but I will keep at it!
 Elizabeth Naden (1740–1797) was married to John Appy 1757–64 and to Goldsbrow Banyar in 1767.
 The parish in which Elizabeth and Ann Naden were baptized, in 1740 and 1742.
 Pre-contract: an informal agreement to marry. The allegation that Lady Eleanor Butler was precontracted to marry King Edward IV was King Richard III’s excuse for seizing the English throne in 1483.
 Consanguinity and affinity were impediments to marriage when the contracting parties were too closely related.
 He made a similar bequest of one guinea to his two sisters, Elizabeth Nowman and Esther Bateman; the latter was presumably Hester Bateman (1708–1794), the London silversmith. Both John and Hester Naden were baptized at the Church of St. Michael Paternoster Royal, in 1702 and 1708 respectively.