Pandora's box

I opened Pandora’s box. Traditionally, Daniel Fisher is credited with marrying Abigail Marrett/Marriot/Marrott, etc., daughter of Great Migration parents Thomas and Susan (Wolfenden) Marrett.[1]

This is supported by the record of marriage in Dedham of Daniell Fisher to Abigal Marriott on 17 November 1641, and by the will of Thomas Marrett dated 15 October 1663 naming his daughter Abigail [no surname given] and grandchildren “Lidea, Amos, John and Jeremiah Fisher.” All well and good, except the Dedham vital and church records include seven children for Daniel and Abigail Fisher: Abigail, 1646; Daniel 1649/50; Lydia, 1652; Amos, 1654; John, 1656; Jeremiah, 1658; and Esther, 1667. Daniel’s wife Abigail became a member of the church in March 164[6/4]7 (although note the gap of five years between the 1641 marriage and the first recorded child in 1646).

This is the point where someone usually says “they were just left out of the will,” but I am a staunch believer that nobody “just gets left out” of a will.

Okay, Esther was born after Marrett’s will, but what about the two older children – Abigail and Daniel? If Daniel married Marrett’s daughter in 1641, they should have been Marrett’s grandchildren, too, right? This is the point where someone usually says “they were just left out of the will,” but I am a staunch believer that nobody “just gets left out” of a will.

I took another look at the marriage record for Daniel and Abigail in the digital version of the existing Dedham records – which is clearly a later copy judging from the handwriting style and neatness of presentation, and thus open to copying errors. Considering that Thomas Marrett lived in Cambridge and was deacon of the Cambridge church – why would his daughter be getting married in Dedham, or why isn’t there a record of the marriage in Cambridge?

After spending a day going in circles, I am presently at the conclusion that the 1641 marriage record is incorrect – if Daniel did marry someone named Abigail in 1641, it wasn’t Marrett’s daughter. Possibly the date should be 1651, which would slip Marrett’s daughter in just before the birth of Lydia, who is named first in the will – although that still begs the question of the marriage in Dedham instead of Cambridge.

The gap between 1641 and the birth of Abigail in 1646, while, of course, possibly the result of children who did not survive, suggests the date is wrong, and Daniel was married to Abigail’s mother closer to 1645. This first wife Abigail would have had to die when young Daniel was born, or shortly after, to allow for a year of mourning before Daniel’s remarriage.

Somebody have another conclusion?


[1] Robert Charles Anderson, George F. Sanborn, Jr., and Melinde Lutz Sanborn, The Great Migration: Immigrants to New England, 1634-1635, 7 vols. (Boston: 1999–2009), 5: 21–22.

Alicia Crane Williams

About Alicia Crane Williams

Alicia Crane Williams, FASG, Lead Genealogist of Early Families of New England Study Project, has compiled and edited numerous important genealogical publications including The Mayflower Descendant and the Alden Family “Silver Book” Five Generations project of the Mayflower Society. Most recently, she is the author of the 2017 edition of The Babson Genealogy, 1606-2017, Descendants of Thomas and Isabel Babson who first arrived in Salem, Massachusetts, in 1637. Alicia has served as Historian of the Massachusetts Society of Mayflower Descendants, Assistant Historian General at the General Society of Mayflower Descendants, and as Genealogist of the Alden Kindred of America. She earned a bachelor’s degree from the University of Connecticut and a master’s degree in History from Northeastern University.View all posts by Alicia Crane Williams