The Fishers of Dedham

When I started working on the Early New England Families Study Project sketch for Daniel Fisher of Dedham, I had a vague recollection that he might be one of my ancestors. However, once I pulled out my old folded, torn, and turning-brown 12-generation wall chart (only about half of which has been entered in my genealogy database), I realized that no, I am not descended from Daniel. My ancestor is Daniel’s first cousin, Joshua Fisher Jr.

Daniel and Joshua Jr.’s fathers, Anthony and Joshua Fisher, were brothers, both of whom brought their families to New England in the late 1630s. This means they have not yet been treated in the Great Migration Study Project (complete only through 1635), but, very fortunately, the Fishers and their ancestors have recently been more than thoroughly treated in print.[1]

Joshua Fisher Jr. probably came to New England in 1637 with the party led by his uncle Anthony; thus he and his cousin Daniel arrived together, but while Daniel stayed in Dedham, Joshua Jr. later settled in Medfield. Both Daniel and Joshua Jr. were baptized in Syleham, Suffolk, England; Daniel was the older, baptized in 1618, and Joshua in 1621. When they arrived in New England in 1637 Daniel was 19 and Joshua Jr. 16.

Daniel was the first to marry. He married at Dedham in 1641 to Abigail Marrett, who was also a second-generation Great Migration child, arriving in 1635 at the age of 12 with her parents Thomas and Susan (Wolfenden) Marrett.[2] Daniel and Abigail had seven children.

Joshua Jr. married his first wife, Mary Aldis, in Dedham in 1643, and they had seven children before she died in late 1653. He married second in February 1653/54 my ancestress Lydia (____) Oliver, widow of Samuel Oliver, who had drowned in March 1652.[3] Curiously, Lydia and Samuel had a son “Vigilent” Oliver, born in 1647, and Lydia and Joshua’s first child, born in 1654, was named “Vigilence” Fisher, who is my ancestor.

All of which, of course, is carrying me far away from my present objective – finishing the sketch for Daniel Fisher. Back to work.


[1] The New England Historical and Genealogical Register 151 [1997]: 171–91, 291–99, 300–7, 154 [2000]: 495–96, 159 [2005]: 25–34; Dean Crawford Smith and Melinde Lutz Sanborn, eds., The Ancestry of Eva Belle Kempton 1878–1908, Part IV: The Ancestry of Linda Anna Powers 1839–1879 (Boston: NEHGS, 2000), 218–44.

[2] Robert Charles Anderson, George F. Sanborn, Jr., and Melinde Lutz Sanborn, The Great Migration: Immigrants to New England, 1634–1635, 7 vols. (Boston: 1999-2011), 5: 18–22.

[3] Samuel Oliver was brother of Early New England Families Study Project subject John Oliver.

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