Today a distant cousin requested I try to clean up a messy area of the Potter family tree at Geni.com. Always willing to help where I can, I started fixing the errors and duplicates in the area mentioned. And then a remarkable thing happened. I came across the story of Tibudah Hayden...who it seems never really existed.
According to a post by "kelleypaulf" on an Ancestry.com message board:
"To anyone researching Tibudah Hayden and reading through these old posts, I have an update on this old mystery. Joseph Potter's wife was not a "Tibudah Hayden". She never existed. This must have been some confusion with Zebudah Hayden who married Joseph Potter, Jr. The real wife of Joseph Potter, Sr. is Mary Baker (1717 - 1788), daughter of Joseph Baker and Elizabeth Perry. You can find the reference to Mary (Baker) Potter in Joseph Baker's will dated September 18, 1752. You will also find her signature as Mary Potter along with Joseph Potter's signature on Joseph Baker's probated will dated June 23, 1755. For further evidence, I compared Joseph's signature on Joseph Baker's probated will to his signature on his own will and they are the same. Although not proven, it is possible that Joseph Baker was the son of Joseph Baker and Ruth Holton from Northampton, MA born in 1676 and that this Baker connection would have made Mary Baker and Joseph Potter 2nd cousins (Joseph Potter's grandmother was most likely Elizabeth Baker from Lynn, MA, daughter of Edward Baker, who married John Witt). The Witts, Bakers and Potters were all neighbors in Marlborough, MA near the northeast section of the town at that time (some of which is now Hudson, MA). This place was known as Agaganquamasset, or the Indian Plantation. I hope this information helps others doing research into these families and finally puts to rest this old mystery."
She was the 6th great grandmother of my sister Sandra Foster. This is of importance to me, as I have autosomal DNA tested my sister, and this ancestor is within range to have DNA cousin matches.
My sisters line goes Joseph Potter and Mary Baker >Martha Potter>Esther Ann Rice>Nelson Hugo Reed>Cora Josephine Reed>Marjorie Beatrice Whiteway>Daryl Wayne Foster>Sandra Marie Foster.
I looked at the evidence that the poster had kindly posted images of in her family tree at Ancestry.com, and I agree, she was Mary Baker, born 29 Jul 1717 in Marlborough, Massachusetts. Tibudah Hayden did not exist and was an error. I haven't seen enough evidence to be 100% convinced that they were 2nd cousins as described, but it does seem probable. Perhaps in time more evidence will be discovered, or I will find the time to look deeper.
So goodbye to a brick wall, and hello to new ancestors :)
Had I not been doing this tidying up the tree at Geni.com I would not have discovered this valuable information!
And, always remember to check for documents to support every name and relationship! When you can't find something on someone, sometimes it is because they don't exist and you are looking for the wrong name, date or location, or all of the above!
Known descendants who have DNA tested for genetic genealogy:
Sandra Foster (23andMe autosomal)
If you are a descendant of Joseph Potter and Mary Baker click here for more info on how you can help!