As mentioned in the prior post, Dr. Frank wrote that Thomas had two wives (as did Savage). Of course, he was writing 100 years ago (Savage even further back), and, surely, there has to be more information at this point about the matter. The question then becomes, given the current state, can we really know?
Or, to put it another way, was Dr. Frank wrong? That has not been shown, in our opinion.
Let's look at a couple of studies that are of interest. There are, of course, more of these which we expect to get to, in time. Too, we might add as a preface, some of the needed information is awaiting us in the old country. So, that means that we'll need to look into what genealogical studies might have been done in England about Thomas.
The fact is that we're dealing with events that are long past and about which we have little information, at this time, for various reasons. Many views have been expressed about the relationships between the Gardner families (or see Savage) that came here. Too, one sees various proposals that have come to fore.
The modern study, mentioned below, does not broach the subject of origins at all.
In regard to genealogy in general, just in the past week I've run across scores of books that have been outdated yet are being quoted. It is very easy for misinformation to be propagated via web pages. Our intent is to have material that can be considered reasonable and supportable.
Now, for starters, let's put two studies together, side by side, and make a few comments. Then, we'll rephrase our current position, until there is further information.
This image brings together material from The American Genealogist and from the The Great Migration Begins. The former had an article in 1953 that was written by George E. McCracken and that was titled "The Salem Gardners: Comments and Clues." Topics covered in the article include origin, Margaret, Seeth, the first wife of Thomas the son, the wives of George (very long), The Salem Quakers, the Flight to Connecticut, and the Salem Shattucks. The latter is a recent book in which Thomas has six pages written by Robert Charles Anderson and published by the NEHGS.
So, if we take the TAG article first, it goes a lot into areas that needed some study. The section on Margaret is small. The author, essentially, agrees with Dr. Frank about two wives. However, we don't know Margaret's family name. What I note is the author's insistence that these studies would greatly benefit from looking further into the collateral families. That being said, the work of Dr. Frank is phenomenal and greatly appreciated.
Now, the Anderson study is looking, potentially, at 1000s of families and doing this with an eye to being correct. The best way to do that is to only use sourced material. Did Anderson make an exception in this case? I would like to consider further his hypothesis and proof after seeing the material that he is quoting.
I don't buy the church reference. Thomas did not become a freeman until 1637. That is more than a decade after coming over. How could this be? Basically, we would suggest that he was able to get by using his own mode until his sons were older. And, he and Margaret could have easily done this together. Then, he would have had (deign to join) to be more of a "conformist" (to the puritanical thought and behavior) so as to not handicap their futures. From what we can see looking back, Thomas' and Margaret's children did well.
Aside: There is no record of a first wive's death or of another marriage. We basically know about Thomas and Damaris, who was a widow in 1641, through his will. Hence, the conjectures abound.
That Thomas married a Quaker tells us much about his character, especially in comparison to some. We'll forgo that analysis for a time. In any case, Thomas would have had to be in the church, and active, to be a freeman. He was shown on the rolls early; but, was he regular in attendance? In the case of Margaret, just picture a women dragging a bunch of kids to the Sunday service. Again, did she need that?
There seems to be something there to look at in this regard. In fact, it's a story (or many stories) waiting to be told.
By the way, the above is not a criticism. The Great Migration work has been really helpful and takes the right tact in the case of unknowns, or little knowns. That is, if you don't have something definitive, then just punt it down the road. But, this work does not relieve families of their duties to honor their fathers and mothers.
Which then brings up the family and efforts of Thomas' descendants. I can see someone taking TAG 30:156 and the Great Migration work further. It may be that there is a lot more information available that needs to be looked at and digested. This is so especially with the booming cloud'd informational sources which cause more stuff to appear all the time.
In the meantime, though, we say two wives. But, then, it could be three. You know it does not matter, right now. For anyone doing Gardner genealogy, the use of either has no impact on the tree unless one wants to branch out with the first (and/or second) wife.
It is nice that the Shattuck family has their information filled in.
11/28/2012 -- It becomes even more curious as Lemuel Shattuck suggests, in his Memorials (via Google), that Damaris and Thomas got married after 1641 (no indication of it being long afterward). By the way, I found this book by reading TAG 30:156's other sections. McCracken mentions Lemuel who I had not run across before. Aside: the amount of digitized work has expanded almost without bounds of late which gives me hope that we can find out more about Thomas and Margaret (yes, I'm talking UK books, to boot).
11/27/2012 -- Let's itemize what we know (including use of the Great Migration sketches), re-iterate some basics, and the proceed constructively.
11/27/2012 -- One thing that I've noticed while pursuing information is that some sites assign a rating to what they have. Usually, it's a simple integer. However, we could get a little more precise. Perhaps, modern material can have a certitude of 1.0, but how could one obtain something other than the high 90s for older information? And, information from 400 years ago will be highly variable. Yet, one could classify the material and then rate within that. Complicated? The one thing that we would hope would be that later studies raise the rating rather than lower it. But, then, that is not necessarily the fact.