Thursday, September 25, 2014

Marriage of Thomas and Margaret

Dr. Frank A. wrote the following over 100 years ago: Various writers, including Rev. Joseph B. Felt, have stated that her maiden name was Fryer (or Friar), but the writer has thus far failed to find the authority for this statement.

Today, we can announce that the "authority" may have been discovered. That is, Rev. Felt may have been correct; even though, we do not know how (from whom?, etc.) he got the information (early 1800s) for his assertion.

Where was this authority found? In the records of the Sherborne parish. Attached is an image from the record of April 1617 that shows Thomas Gardiner and Margaret Frier marrying on the 28th. Not only do the records show this, they have the following: the birth records of Thomas, Richard, George, and John; Wills of interest; and more, We have Margaret's parents: Walter Friar and Grace Mullins. And, there is a record that may show Thomas' parents: Thomas Gardner and Christine Saule.

All this information was discovered within the last week by a researcher, John Cook of Minneapolis, who only recently (comparatively) completed his link to Thomas Gardner through son Richard. He had written with queries about what we knew about the origins of Thomas. We had a discussion of the "whence" issues (also, what we know).

Too, we mentioned John Gardner's push to get Gov. Lovelace to allow the use of the name of Sherborne on Nantucket. Part of this tale came to us by the Folger family. There was opposition on Nantucket to the re-naming, of course.

Now, speaking of Sherborne, you can find the marriage of Thomas and Margaret on this list of marriages in the parish from 1600 to 1619.

Sherborne will be a focus of concentrated work, for awhile. Some of the records have been transcribed. OPC Dorset has a nice starting page.


To recap the issues, a little, we can start with the Two Wives. Earlier viewpoints accepted that there had been two wives following Felt and others. Recent work (NEHGS) called that notion into question. As in, the modern claim was that Margaret was not the mother of the children. Granted, the NEHGS work mainly used already existing sources.

But records are expected to settle these types of arguments. With the Internet and records being digitized and indexed, we can expect that a lot more material will be coming around that can be scrutinized to firm up what we know (or to raise more issues).


In this case of this marriage and the related families, expect that more information will be provided as we go along with respect to provenance of the sources, the methods used for search, the actual before and after view related to the transcription, and more.

Too, one task will be to follow what was known or thought through the years which provides us somewhat of a trace.

Finally, a closer tie needs to be made between the Thomas and Margaret of the marriage with the kids who were born shortly thereafter.

Remarks: Modified: 09/25/2018

09/25/2014 - Sherborne? Well, for one, capital of Wessex so it was the main stomping ground of Alfred the Great. ... Also, we need to get more material about John's knowledge (learned from his parents). I do remember seeing a book in Salem (at the Essex Institute) that mentioned Sherborne. It had "Captain John" in the title.

09/26/2014 Added Thomas, Jr. to the list of births. The firstborn, of course. ... About Felt, he had access to Rev. Hubbard's work and notes. Was it there that he saw this? Or, being only 150 years removed (closer than we are), perhaps, some scuttlebutt was around and about. ... The key item is that the information comes via son John.

10/03/2014 -- Comment posted to WikiTree (Thomas Gardner).

10/13/2014 -- Tabula raza, and more, will be of concern.

07/12/2015 -- Okay, turtle speed. But, we get there. Announcing a new project: Sherborne, Dorset. No doubt, it is about time. When finished with the data collection and analysis, we will present the strongest story (the prerogative of the family) that the facts, and abductive reasoning, will support. As such, we hope to demonstrate some very much needed research viewpoints.

08/01/2018 -- The past few days, I have been on WikiTree. We are looking at settling issues for the profile of Thomas (and his spouses). These profiles are being set up and maintained by the Puritan Great Migration. Expect an update blog post within the next day or so. Notice the recent comments (the 'unknown' is because I juggle many email accounts and was in the wrong one - it's not that I'm old).

08/28/2018 -- After some discussion, we settled that we had Margaret's folks, her baptism record, the marriage announcement, and baptism of their kids, prior to them leaving Sherborne. So, we have the post "Margaret, anew" which updates "How many wives?" Now, the question moves to whether or not we have the right couple (Children with what wife?, Further discussion).

09/15/2018 -- Gardner Research published four articles in The Essex Genealogist. These were republished in The Gardner Annals which just released Vol. IV. Last fall, we printed TGA Vols I and II. Soon, we will print Vols III and IV. Included with the TGA were Gardner's Beacon issues. Of late, we have experimented with one approach to a database, namely WikiTree using Dr. Frank's information. As mentioned in that post, we have established that Thomas had two wives as we found information about the marriage of Thomas and Margaret in Sherborne, Dorset, UK.


  1. How wonderful! Thanks for the good news and the hope for further tasty fruits from future analyses of newly available primary documentary sources online!

  2. Very interesting discovery! So are we saying that Thomas Sr. might not have been married to Elizabeth White, sister of Rev. John of Dorset?

  3. Do not know, yet. This page, out of Dorchester, has the children of Elizabeth (#6) and Thomas Gardner.

    Note, no mention of a child named Thomas. Is this based purely on the Will (see link on the page)? Perhaps, Thomas was not mentioned as he was away.

    Now, was Thomas just disowned? This happens more than one might think.

    Did not Rev. John, in his Plea, essentially, throw that Cape Ann group out onto the garbage pile of history? If he is an uncle to Thomas, did he act like one? Again, we all know of funny uncles.

  4. Posting for Linda Mott :

    This is great and exciting news! Oh yes, and the tantalizing prospect of a Thomas
    Gardner Will of Nov. 1623. Could it possibly be what we need? Will it answer the
    questions surrounding Thomas' ties into the White family? I can't wait to see how
    it unfolds!

    Then there's yet another Will by Walter Frier dated Nov. 10, 1613. What delights
    might that one hold?

    Thomas' proof of marriage to Margaret Frier in 1617 validates the part of the
    equation we've all thought but didn't have proof. Now that again brings up the
    question was Margaret wife # 2? Then who was the Thomas Gardiner in 1613 who
    marries Edith Webber in Sept. 13, 1613? Are the Thomas' the same or different men?
    So many questions that await answers!

    It's a shame the OPC Sherbourne post is now vacant. These diligent volunteers will
    often go above and beyond to help us Yanks get back across the Atlantic to England
    if it is at all possible.

    Kudos to John Cook for such a great find to re-energize the quest!

    Linda Mott a Gardner/Balch descendant

  5. Has anyone ever commented about the will of Thomas Gardner, husbandman, of Sherbourne, Dorset, England, dated 1623. I paid to get a copy of the will. It's somewhat hard to read, but mentions sons Thomas, John & Robert and daughters Margaret & Catherine.

  6. AJS, we're finally getting around to updating the wikitree profile. Sorry it's taken so long. Question about what you've written above; you mention that the parish records include the baptisms of the first several children, but I see nothing on the Sherborne web site that indicates they have parish records from that period. Could you please clarify that? Thanks.

  7. Also, that Margaret's parents were Walter Friar and Grace Mullins; where does that come from in the S. records? Thanks.

  8. Dar and Robert. There were several Thomas Gardners. So, we need to figure out the differences.

    Jillaine. I remember getting a copy of several untranscribed records. Let me back up and find those. At that time, I was writing a bunch of articles and merely noted the find. Thanks for the reminder (whence and who are our huge focus, now).

  9. Let's take this to WikiTree. But, the old guys not so bad. Look at this. Documented at the time.