A small world

Augusta in 1823In the small world department, one of my closest friends growing up still lives near my parents on the North Shore of Boston. We grew up hearing our parents and grandparents call each other cousin, but no one could readily sort out the connection – in our case, it was via my step-grandmother’s first husband, which means that Franz was really a connection, a cousin of my (step) first cousins!

Fast forward, and Franz and his wife used to bring their older children, now grown, to visit my father and stepmother for Halloween. It was an annual pleasure on both sides, as my stepmother would call me up afterwards to tell me exactly what costumes the boys had worn. Now as it happens, I can point to an actual genealogical connection between Franz and me, via the Francis family of Maryland and Pennsylvania, but there is also a connection between Franz and my stepmother: both are descended from the Patten family of Maine.

Walter Goodwin Davis’s series of genealogies, exploring the families of his great-great-grandparents (and published in a three-volume omnibus edition in 1996[1]), includes one on The Ancestry of James Patten covering the early generations of the families of Matthew, Hector, Robert, and William Patten, as well as their apparent kinsman William Patten of Wells. Franz is a descendant of Matthew1 Patten as follows:

Matthew Patten = Margaret ____

Robert Patten = Susanna Goodwin

Capt. John Patten = Olive Lassell

Caroline Augusta Patten = Enoch Redington Mudge

Caroline Estelle Mudge = James Lawrence

James Lawrence = Marion Lee Peabody

John Endicott Lawrence = Anne Mercer Tuckerman

Susanna Lawrence = Ferdinand Colloredo-Mansfeld

Franz Ferdinand Colloredo-Mansfeld

My stepmother, Grace Vanner Steward, was descended from Matthew’s brother, Hector1 Patten:

Hector Patten = ____ Suter

Lieut. John Patten = Mary Means

Margaret Patten = Capt. James Maxwell

Margaret “Peggy” Maxwell = Elihu Hatch

Freelove Hatch = Daniel Holway

Philena Whitmore Holway = Joseph Hill Jr.

Grace Mabel Hill = Samuel Alfred Vanner

Charles Maxwell Vanner = Eleanor May Riggs

Grace Hill Vanner

In this way, Gay and Franz are eighth cousins. Both Patten families stayed in Maine for several generations before coming to the Boston area in the late nineteenth or early twentieth centuries. In both cases, their respective branches have kept a toehold in Maine while living within a few short miles of one another in Essex County, Massachusetts – a small world, indeed!



[1] See Massachusetts and Maine Families in the Ancestry of Walter Goodwin Davis (1885–1966)…, 3: 84–162 at 90–95, 97–100. This work covers many New England families, and is often the best resource in print on the family in question.

About Scott C. Steward

Scott C. Steward was the founding editor at Vita Brevis; he served as NEHGS Editor-in-Chief 2013-2022. He is the author, co-author, or editor of genealogies of the Ayer, Le Roy, Lowell, Saltonstall, Thorndike, and Winthrop families. His articles have appeared in The New England Historical and Genealogical Register, NEXUS, New England Ancestors, American Ancestors, and The Pennsylvania Genealogical Magazine, and he has written book reviews for the Register, The New York Genealogical and Biographical Record, and the National Genealogical Society Quarterly.

13 thoughts on “A small world

  1. Scott – what is the significance of the Augusta IN picture? I was hoping for a north shore picture (Manchester, Beverly Farms) since my maternal grandfather and descendants live in that area.

    1. I think the engraving was “Augusta in 1823″…meaning Augusta, Maine…don’t think IN was used that way until recently.

      1. Susan – thank you; I missed the date completely and you are right about the use of IN. I should have realized that given the age of the picture.

  2. One of my grandfathers was Richard Patten who married Mary Lindall in Marblehead in 1760 before removing to Yarmouth, Nova Scotia. His origins are obscure; could there be a connection with the Patten families of Maine?

  3. Have you any background on Philena Whitmore Holway? I am still missing some info on my Whitmore family. Due to old handwriting transcription errors my Minerva Lantrell Whitmore may be Minerva Sawtell Whitmore; a Dr. Sawtell lived w/ the Whitmores in Conneaut, Ohio, where my missing Florence Caroline Whitmore Sherwood Hall was born @1840. Before that date, somewhere in New England… unknown.

    1. Susan, it was the Holways and the Hills who lived in Augusta, Maine. I would imagine, since I don’t think Whitmore was a family name, that Philena was named for a Whitmore friend of her parents’.

  4. Hi Scott,

    As a descendant of John Lawrence I was pleased to see this interesting post. It is amazing to me how very often so many lines do cross over. In the interest of the Lawrence family, can you tell me if Susanna Lawrence was the Susanna who was married to the famous aviator? I admit, I am curious, and having trouble connecting the dots of the Lawrence generations here. I am certainly proud to be even distantly related to these fine people.


    Jeff Record

  5. Scott,
    Yes thank-you – there are some wonderful photographs of him. He was quite the hero!
    Best regards,

  6. Thank you for the reference! I’m also a descendent of Lieut. John Patten & Mary Means through their daughter Sarah. Too bad there is no local copy (I’m in NYC)

  7. Ten years on, I am still working on my GGrandmother Florence Caroline Whitmore Sherwood Hall. A rather famous harpist in her time, a divorcee. She left her husband in Woodstock, Illinois, with her son Frederick Whitmore Sherwood and moved to Boston, where she taught piano and harp. She married the heir to the Hall Carriage Co. and was in a touring orchestra on the west coast, trying to save the business, when he died by suicide.

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