The upcoming summer issue of the Mayflower Descendant includes an interesting article by Mark Wentling entitled “Joseph Brownell (1699-ca. 1773) of Dartmouth, Massachusetts, and Little Compton, Rhode Island: Corrections to the Identities of His Wives and Children.” The article examines conflicting claims in past genealogical literature and goes through numerous contemporary sources to show that one Joseph Brownell, a fifth-generation descendant of Mayflower passenger Francis Cooke, was married five times and had eight children by his first three wives.
Of particular usefulness for Mark’s article were Quaker records from Dartmouth, which are now digitally available through the Dartmouth Historical and Arts Society, including the record shown here of Joseph Brownell’s second marriage in 1736 to Leah Lawton. This marriage is also included in our three-volume database Dartmouth Vital Records to the year 1850, but the abstract therein lacks much of the above information. While Quaker records are a great genealogical resource, when I began my research in the early 1990s, they were largely not available at NEHGS. Instead, I’d rely on William Wade Hinshaw’s Encyclopedia of American Quaker Genealogy. Continue reading Quaker Marriage Records