John Brockett of New Haven d 1690 - The Broket Archive

John Brockett of New Haven and Wallingford
b 1609-18, d 1690

John was probably the first Broket immigrant to N America. The original records show how he became a competent and successful member of new plantations—an early example of the American dream. The earliest documentary evidence so far found of John is his name on the list of 104 subscribers to the Newhaven colony’s ‘Fundamental Agreement’ of 1639, and a mention of him in its preamble:1

Fundamental Agreement New Haven 1639

For an image of the whole page click here.

Another early document is the “The names of all the Freemen of the Courte of Newhaven”:2

Detail of Newhaven Freemen list showing John Brockett

For an image of the whole page+ click here


For further details about these two pages:    Read more

The third mention of John in the New Haven Colony Records was an entry for 4 Jan 1640:13    Read more

In sum, the first 2 records so far found of John Brockett in N America date between June and October 1639, and the next was on 4 January 1640. The addition of his name to the List of Freemen was after 7 November 1642.

Contents of this page:

1. Introduction
2. John’s arrival in North America
3. John’s parentage
4. Will and probate inventory
5. What next?

1. Introduction

The main aim of this webpage is to analyse what primary sources can tell us about John’s origins: both in New and Old England. The aim is not to give you another account of his life and achievements—you can readily find that on the internet, especially in the online editions of the early records of the Newhaven colony.

2. John’s arrival in America

When and how did John arrive in America? Knowing this could give us a clue about his previous life in England. According to Winthrop’s contemporary journal entry for 26 Jun 1637:16

“There arrived two ships from London the Hector, and the [blank]. In these came Mr. Davenport and another minister, and Mr. Eaton and Mr. Hopkins, two merchants of London, men of fair estate and of great esteem for religion, and wisdom in outward affairs. In the Hector came also the Lord Ley, son and heir of the Earl of Marlborough, being about nineteen years of age, who came only to see the country…”

Apart from these 5 men, the only primary record of people sailing in the Hector is of the captain and mate during an earlier voyage of 31 May 1636.17 But ever since the publication of Calder’s The New Haven Colony in 1934, it has been taken as fact that a long list of immigrants, John Brockett among them, were aboard the Hector as it sailed into Boston 26 Jun 1637, and then in the following spring moved down to Quinnipiac to set up a Puritan community. And now, so-called passenger lists of the Hector can readily be found on the internet, and John Brockett is on them. But unfortunately, there is no documentary evidence for them, nor that John himself was ever on the Hector, see here for an analysis.

John Brockett might have been a member of Davenport’s ‘company’ that is said to have sailed on the Hector. But it’s more likely that he came to New Haven from England later, or was in New England beforehand and moved down to New Haven, like those from Wethersfield, for example.18 But there is no evidence either way. Although John isn’t normally associated with them, there was said to have been a separate sailing into Boston, 5 weeks after the Hector, bringing 15 Hertfordshire families who joined ‘Davenport’s company’.19 And for another example, it is said: “During the second summer of the Davenport company at Quinnipiac, three ships sailing directly from London brought a great company from England to the new colony”.20 And with respect to possibly coming from Wethersfield—or by extension other places—John Gibbs, a signatory to the Fundamental Agreement in 1639 came from Wethersfield,21 as did John Clarke who was on the list of Newhaven Freeman.22

Thus, we cannot be sure when or how John Brockett came either to New England or New Haven; all we know is that by 6 Jun 1639 he was there—signing the ‘Fundamental Agreement’—or soon after.23 The benefit of this is that it widens the time frame in the search for his birth and removes restrictions on where in England it might have been.

3. The parentage of John Brockett of New Haven

So, who were John’s parents in Old England? We say England rather than Scotland because emigration across the Atlantic from Scotland didn’t begin till the 18th C, and the early Newhaven records portray a distinctly English community.

Because no document has been found that states who his parents were, all possibilities should be investigated. This requires comparing clues from contemporary New and Old England records. The Broket Archive contains results of extensive and rigorous research on the Brokets of Britain from those times. But new records are continually coming to light and the investigation into his English origins is certainly not closed. What you will find here is a progress report of the research so far:

3.1. Tax, seats and prefixes
3.2. Son of a Knight?
3.3. Son of a Yeoman?
3.4. Potential baptisms 1600-1620
3.5. John Brackett?
3.6. John’s wife

3.1. Tax, seats and prefixes

These three matters cast light on John’s origins. John was clearly a capable man and by 1667 he, with one other, was representing Elizabethtown in the House of Burgesses.24 Then in 1669 he was a leading member of the endeavor to establish the new settlement of Wallingford and in many of its later records was styled “Mr”, e.g. in the document setting up the church there in 1675.25 But earlier records show that his social status had been lower. John Brockett was an early example of the American dream.

3.1.1. The 1641 tax schedule

Although this document is found in the original record book for 1643, and you may find it referred to as the ‘Division of 1643’, for instance, we will follow Atwater who sensibly concluded: “There is so much probability that the schedule was recorded before the collection of the rate due in April, 1641, that it will be designated as the schedule of 1641.” Others since have dated it to 29 Oct 1640 and 22 Nov 1640.26 For John Brockett an earlier date than 1643 also makes sense, although for our purposes—reflecting on his social status—isn’t vital. John was recorded in the schedule on his own, therefore presumably unmarried, whereas the New Haven First Congregational Society recorded the baptism of his eldest son John on 31 Dec 1642.27 Atwater pointed out an instance where circumstances had changed between 1641 and 43 but the record had not been updated.28 If you’re interested in the dating of the schedule:    Read more

John’s estate was valued at £15, comprising 3¼ acres in the first division of upland, ½–24 acres in the neck, 1¼ acres in the meadows, and 5 acres in the second division of upland, with an annual tax rated at 2s 6½d.31

In his discussion of the personnel of the plantation, Atwater said of Roger Ailing or Allen, who came to New Haven with Capt Lamberton, that “He was at this time unmarried, and of small estate… John Brockett was also, in 1643, unmarried, and of even smaller estate than his neighbor, Roger Ailing.”32 Only 12 others had estates valued less, £10 being the lowest.

3.1.2. Seats in church

Another indicator of social status was where you could sit in church, the community’s meeting house. “On one side of the house men of the congregation were placed according to dignity, age, and estate, and on the other, the women.”33 The first organized seating arrangements were read out at a New Haven General Court on 10 Mar 1646.34 For the men there were the middle seats, the cross seats at the end and then the seats “on the other side of the dore”. For the women there were the middle seats, the cross seats at the end, the little cross seat, the seats on the sides and then the seats “on the other side of the dore”. The seats on the other side of the door were the last in order of precedence and were where John and Sister Brockett’s seats were—in rows 6 of 6 and 3 of 4 respectively. In later years, 1656 and 1662, their seating appears to have moved higher up the social scale.35

3.1.3. The prefix ‘Goodwife’or ‘Goody’

In 2 of the 4 known early Newhaven records of John’s wife she was styled ‘Goody’ or ‘Goodwife’. The latter prefix was often shortened in the records to ‘Goodw.’, as was the male equivalent ‘Goodman’ to ‘goodm.’, e.g. “in the house of goodm. Brockett” referring to John.36 This prefix was a social-status indicator. In class-conscious England at the time the prefix ‘Goodwife’ was used for the wife of a Yeoman or Husbandman—a woman of middling or low rank,37 and this carried over to New England: The case of Goodwife Fancy in New Haven in 1646 was of “a low-status woman”.38 Although to call John’s wife “a woman in humble life” was probably unfair;39 middling to low rank would be fairer.

To conclude: for the first decade or two of his time in New Haven, it’s fair to say that John and his wife’s “social status in the community was modest”.40 In the society of the time this would imply that that had also been their status before they emigrated.

3.2. Son of a Knight?

If you explain John’s initial middling-to-low social status by saying he was the disinherited son of an English knight you should consider the evidence more carefully. You will find that it was a myth put into writing by Edward Judson Brockett (EJB) in his book published in New Jersey in 1905,41 although contradicted in an Appendix at the end of the book. You can find a more detailed analysis of his evidence as part of a wider discussion about the reliability of his work on this separate page, but in a nutshell the main weaknesses of this particular claim were:

1. Insufficient research to support it.
2. Over-reliance on oral tradition.
3. Failure to resolve contradictory evidence.

Ray Madsen firmly rejected the myth in 1983, although replaced it with another in 1999, which—commendably—he also withdrew in 2019, see below.

An English variant of the myth—probably late 20th C—found in privately printed histories of Brocket Hall, suggested that the Hall remained in the Broket family till 1746 citing alleged rumors that it was sold “as a result of one of the Brocket sons getting a local girl pregnant; the family moved away and the errant son was sent to the worst possible place that could be thought of at the time—America.” This tale is obviously anachronistic—the Hall passed out of Broket ownership in 1598.

3.3. Son of a Yeoman?

Society in those days was organized by rank and deference; if a man was a gentleman, he was styled as such, or as ‘Mr’—by law. The John Brokett who married at Sandridge in 1635, for instance, was recorded as ‘Gentleman’. But John of New Haven wasn’t styled ‘Mr’ in early New Haven records, as others were.42 As discussed above, his early social status in the community was modest. But the records of his activities in Newhaven suggest that he had had some prior education, so he could well have come from the Yeoman, or craftsman, class. In the 17th C there were few Yeomen who didn’t arrange for their sons to have some schooling. However, since Yeomen usually held land and so left records and Wills, if John sprang from that rank in society some trace of him in England might be expected.

Of currently known possible fathers of John only one is known to have been a Yeoman: Edward of Dunton, Bedfordshire, 1589-1660, see below.

3.4. Records of potential baptisms 1600-1620

An inventory attached to John’s Will showed that he died by Apr 1690. Citing the Wallingford Vital Records, Jacobus gave the date of death as “12 Mar 1689 [1689/90] ae 77”.43 This means 1690 aged 77. The microfilm of Barbour’s 1924 edition of the Wallingford Vital Records gave the same date but that he was aged 80, as does the original record.44 This is a rare example of an error by Jacobus. These make an earliest birth date of c 1609-13. Ages at death in those times could be overestimated, but he is unlikely to have been under 21 when he signed the Fundamental Agreement c 1639. This provides a latest birth date of c 1618, and a range of c 1609-18. For good measure, we will go back a further decade and search for a possible birth between 1600-20.

The emigrations in the 1630s were largely from England’s eastern counties, 45 although not exclusively. Statistics suggest that in England at the beginning of the 17th C there were about 50 Broket households, up to a dozen of which were northern, so there would have been about 38 Broket families in southern areas from which emigration was most likely. How many of those 38 had sons called John? Until other records come to light, the following 11 are the currently known Johns born in England 1600-1620 who might at first sight at least, have been John of New Haven, none of whom were from the north:46

  1. 1600 9 Nov Hitchin, 4th son of William and Katherine of Hitchin. In 1652/3 he was a Grocer in Pirton, Herts.
  2. c 1602, son of Gentleman John and Dorothy of Codicote. He is recorded in London in 1638 along with his family as a Citizen of London.
  3. 1608 27 Nov Quadring Lincs, son of William. No previous and only one subsequent Brocket record has been found in the original Quadring registers or Bishops’ Transcripts up to 1700—including burials, and in all probability William, b c 1580, and therefore his son John, were Brocups.
  4. 1610 8 Mar St Giles Reading Berkshire, no parents listed.
  5. 1611 20 May Wheathampstead, son of John Esq of Wheathampstead and his first wife Mary Garroway. Ray Madsen thought that this was John of New Haven,47 but corrected this opinion in 1999. John was buried 1628.
  6. 1612 29 Jul Wheathampstead, son of John Esq and Joan of Wheathampstead, later Caswell. This was the John who married Mary Blackwell in 1635, and Ray Madsen thought he was John of New Haven,48 but this John baptized 1612 was Rector of Grimston, Norfolk, England from 1646 till his death in 1663. Ray Madsen formally corrected his opinion in 2019.
  7. John Brockett, son of Robert and Jane of Wonersh, Surrey, alive 1614 and probably young—although how young is speculation.
  8. 1617 27 Apr Dunton, 2nd son of Edward Yeoman and Ann. DNA evidence gathered so far reveals that descendants of John of New Haven were of entirely different stock from probable descendants of the Dunton clan.
  9. 1618 19 Jul Ware Herts, 1st son of Edward.
  10. 1618 16 Aug Eastbourne Sussex, only? son of Robert Brookat.
  11. 1619 22 Nov Hemel Hempstead, only son of Gentleman William and Mary of Codicote. Mary died late 1620 or early 1621 and her father and brother then looked after John through to at least May 1636, but John died before 1640.

One of Johns 4, 7, 9 and 10 could have been John of New Haven.

1. A search in the IGI in 2003 found a record of the baptism of a John son of John in Hertford in 1609, but it isn’t in the original Parish Register for either Hertford parish. It would have been a wishful-thinking patron submission.
2. For a couple of decades the writing is small and untidy, but a careful search through the Parish Register of St Stephen’s Coleman St in the City of London showed no Brocketts or the like from 1590 to 1636.49 

3.5. John Brackett?

In Elizabeth New Jersey today there is a place called Bracket’s Brook, a branch of the Elizabeth Town Creek, in the north part of the town. It was apparently named after John.50 Referring to John, the historian of Elizabeth Hatfield said of the brook, “It probably indicates the locality of their allotment.”51 John was in Elizabeth from about 1666-70. Hatfield, who worked from the original records,52 recorded the surname 19 times, 15 of which were as Brackett,53 and only 4 as Brockett.54 Interestingly, in one document John was surnamed Bracket and his son John Brocket.55 Suffice it to quote 3 occurrences from Hatfield:+Read more

Anyone researching early North American Brokets soon notices that they were often recorded as Brakets. In the 1790 census for New Haven, for instance, they were nearly all Brackets. And the same applies occasionally with later records of US Brokets not in New Haven but descended from John. You might say these were just cases of scribes not making their ‘o’ distinct from their ‘a’ or else they were occasional misspellings or idiosyncratic transcriptions. That’s probably what happened in Hoadley’s New Haven Colony records 1638-49: In its 30 references to John or his wife, there was only once instance of the name spelt with an ‘a’: Brackitt.59 And this is the case with records in the UK—you find a few isolated instances of Broket being misspelt or mistranscribed as Braket.

However, with the surname of John of New Haven—and that of his descendants—there are more records spelt Bracket and the like than can be attributed to occasional misspelling. Moreover, elsewhere the Bracket version of the name didn’t pass on to following generations as it did with this New Haven clan descended from John. With them the ‘o’ and ‘a’ spellings often alternated with each other for 150 years or more following John’s immigration—for 5 generations or more—and some present-day cousins of Brocketts have been Bracketts for generations. Dexter’s New Haven town records for 1649-62 have 16 instances of the ‘o’ spelling of the surname and 7 of ‘a’.60 A record from Wallingford in the CT State Archives is indexed: “Brackett, John, Wallingford, appointed to assist in care of wounded at New London, Jan 14 1675/6.”61 The entry in Savage’s 1860 Genealogical Dictionary of the First Settlers of New England for John Brockett and his 3 sons Benjamin, Samuel and John concluded: “In early days, as sometimes in our own, the name was Brackett.”62 In his discussion of reliable printed, i.e. secondary, sources Jacobus mentioned Savage’s “great compilation” and how he “displayed marvelous critical acumen and judgment in handling the material that was then accessible.”63 For other examples, see this separate page.

Later secondary sources tend to homogenize the Brackett spelling to Brockett, such that it appears much rarer than it was. Hatfield, as mentioned above, was of course a secondary source, but he was working from the original records, so was only at one remove. But in contrast to Hatfield, the recent edition of Founders of New Jersey, spelt John’s name each time as Brockett.64 Even when quoting from Hatfield it changed Brackett to Brockett, e.g. “the town chose John Brockett as one of the two men to represent it in the House of Burgesses”. If you look at Hatfield yourself you will see he spelt the name Brackett here with an ‘a’, as quoted more exactly above in this section. It isn’t quite so easy to change the the ‘a’ spelling of a place name, like Bracket’s Brook.

So, if the search thus far for John’s origins in England seems unsatisfactory as a Broket, we could cast the net a little wider and search for him under the name Braket as well. See this separate page for currently known records of baptisms in England of John Bracketts 1600-20.

3.6. John’s wife

Unfortunately, we know nothing about John’s marriage—neither where nor when it was, nor to whom. The marriage would not have been recorded in any of Jacobus’ many local sources; he left blank space after “m.” where he would have put her name and details, had there been a source.65 The social customs of the early New Haven society—evident from the 1665 court case in which John’s wife testified—make it impossible for the couple not to have gotten married. But there is no evidence that his wife was called Mary, and the contemporary John Brockett who married Mary Blackwell in 1635 became a London priest and later a Rector in Norfolk, England. Mary Blackwell had died before May 1646, when John Brockett of New Haven and his wife were being allocated seats in the meeting house there, and the former husband of Mary Blackwell was marrying for a second time in London.

Despite this clear evidence, published on this Archive since 2003 you can still find the mistaken claim that John Brockett of New Haven married Mary Blackwell. And largely due to the easy-copy nature of the internet the claim has become a ‘factoid’—in the sense of “an assumption or speculation that is reported and repeated so often that it becomes accepted as fact”.66 Many descendants of John Brockett of New Haven still wrongly record Mary Blackwell and John, son of John Brockett of Caswell, as their ancestors.

This ‘Mary Blackwell myth’ or factoid appeared in its first form in 1983 in a printed article, then with a slightly different conclusion in an internet update in 1999. Both were written by Raymond Madsen, an accredited genealogist (AG) with the official LDS organisation the Association of Professional Genealogists.67 Ray Madsen has since retired but his good standing with the Association has led to him being accorded Emeritus AG professional status.68 One of the Association’s criteria for accreditation is recognition of the Genealogical Proof Standard, and in accordance with Standard 4 “Resolution of conflicting evidence”, Ray Madsen has now formally acknowledged that his earlier theory—what we call here the ‘Mary Blackwell myth’—was incorrect.+Read more

The hope is that this will be made prominent enough to reverse the process and remove the factoid.

That Ray Madsen has publicly accepted the new evidence disproving his 1983 and 1999 theory is commendable and engenders trust in the LDS Association of Professional Genealogists. His courage and honesty in acknowledging that he came to mistaken conclusions is an admirable example of one of the fundamental principles of genealogy—acknowledging fresh evidence when it contradicts your previous theories or opinions. When someone publicly does so it generates trust in that person’s work, and in the case of a professional genealogist, trust in the organisation they represent.

Ray Madsen did some good research on the Wheathampstead Brokets, especially in the 1983 article, and although the 3 arguments he based his conclusions on were faulty, they are well worth looking at. They were essentially the same for both articles:

The first—and cornerstone—argument was that John of New Haven’s wife was named Mary: “Little has been known about [John’s] wife, except her name was Mary, “whose parents are not known. She is mentioned in various histories as “Mary Brockett” and Mrs John Brockett.”69 But Ray Madsen cited no sources for these claims, neither in 1983 nor later 1999. Which histories were they? The argument then progressed to a brief discussion of John’s Puritanism and involvement with Rev John Davenport, citing Calder. He added, “Tradition says he marrid a Puritan girl named Mary, which caused bad feelings within his own family.”70 Comment: Tradition recorded by EJ Brockett and his brother did say he married a Puritan maid, but not that her name was Mary. That appears to have been Ray Madsen’s addition to the myth.

Argument 2 concerned John’s education. The introductory 2 paragraphs of Ray Madsen’s article mentioned some of John’s activities in New England and that “He was an educated man, with a reputation as a civil engineer and surveyor” and in 1654 was “appointed a Surgeon.” Ray Madsen picked this up again after the discussion about his wife “Mary”, just mentioned above, and said, “Since John was an educated man, university records were searched for more information. The University of Cambridge, Christ College, shows John Brockett, son of John, born at Wheathampstead, Hertford, and admitted 23 April 1634 at age 21.”71 But these are anachronistic interpretations. Both “Civil engineer” and “surgeon” are modern-day professional categories inapplicable to the 17th C New Haven context. The idea of university education was also anachronistic. It assumed that like today someone in those days who was well educated would have gone to university. Of course, someone who had gone to university was well educated according the standards of the day, but the reverse wasn’t necessarily true. The ability to read and write and other essential elements of education were learnt as a child, just as they are today, and many a Yeoman sent his young sons to school. In England in those days there were just the two universities of Oxford and Cambridge, plus the Inns of Court in London, and these were largely the preserve of the sons of gentry or wealthy families—although there were scholarships for students from poorer families. University was largely a preparation for entering the Church, and the Inns of Court for the Law—they didn’t train people to be civil engineers or surgeons. The John Brockett who was admitted to Cambridge in 1634 became a parish priest.

Argument 3 concerned Hertfordshire. Although in 1983 Ray Madsen firmly rejected the myth that John was the son of a Hertfordshire knight, this element of the argument of his 1999 article was essentially a modification of that myth. It tacitly assumed that John was a son of the Wheathampstead family, albeit not of one of its knights. His conclusion was that John, baptized 1612 son of John Brocket Esq and Joan of Mackrey End, Wheathampstead, later of Caswell, “sailed to the American colonies to throw his lot with the Reverend John Davenport and Theophilus Eaton, Puritans from England.”72 However, that John of Mackery End baptized 1612 became Rector of Grimston, Norfolk, England from 1646 till his death in 1663.

Returning to the 1641 tax schedule in Newhaven, at that time John was single, or at least on his own, but on 31 Dec 1642 his son John was baptized there.73 John snr therefore probably married in 1641 or early 1642. Following are the 4 known records of John’s wife from early Newhaven, none unfortunately supplying her forename. As discussed above, her title of ‘Goodwife’ signified a middling to low social status:

1. Three times regarding the seating allocated to her in the meeting house:

1646: 10 May. Sister Brockett in row 3 “on the other side the dore”74
1655/6: 11 Feb. Goodw. Brocket in row 9 of the women’s Longe Seates.75
1661/2: 20 Jan. Sister Brackit in row 7 of the women’s long Seates.76

2. 1665: 7 Feb. At a court held at Newhaven Goodwife/Goody Brockett testified against a young unmarried couple she caught “alone at an unseasonable time of night, & in an uncomely manner in the house of goodm. Brockett.” +Read more

(3.) 1680: 20 Dec. The Widdow Brockett listed in the Newhaven town meeting’s announcement of the 3rd division of land with 4 in the household, £10 in Estates and 20 Acres on the Easterne side of the Towne, 3 lines down from John Brockett with 4 in the household, £40 in Estates and 24 Acres,79 couldn’t have been John’s wife/widow. He didn’t die till 1690. EJ Brockett carelessly assumed that she was.80 Although her forename was’t mentioned in the text, Dexter in his index of names listed her as Wid. Elizabeth Brockett, implying she was the widow of John’s son Benjamin.81

EJ Brockett was of the opinion that “from the middle of the year 1640 to the end of the year 1641 [John] returned to England, spending a year or more there, during which time he married, and that his wife did not arrive here until 1644 or 1645”.82 His support for this was the lack of “Colonial records in regard to John Brockett (excepting tax)” during that period. It is possible, but this is weak negative proof since there is no additional circumstantial evidence that John sailed back to England to marry, and the more natural place to find a wife would have been more locally somewhere in New England. But it’s curious that the marriage hasn’t been found in New England records, so below are all the John Brokets and Brakets currently known to have married in Old England 1620-45:83

John Broket marriages in England 1620-45:

  1. 1622: 30 Jun, John Brocket and Isabel WILSON, Earsdon Northumberland;84 and again 30 Mar 1631.85
  2. 1623: 29 Dec, John Brocket and Marye BANISTER, St Bride Fleet Steet, London86—this was John of Wheathampstead Esq.
  3. 1624: 8 Jul, John Brokett and Eliz MORDANT, Oakley Bedford87—this was John of Caswell Esq.
  4. 1635: 14 Aug, John Brokett and Mary BLACKWELL, Sandridge, Hertfordshire—this was John s/o John of Caswell Esq.
  5. 1641: 7 Mar, John Brocket and Elizabeth SCOTT, St Mary Staynings London, she a spinster of that parish, aged 22, servant, and he a bachelor of St Gabriel Fenchurch, Tailor aged 24—so b c 1617.88 Did his baptism go unrecorded?

The Northumberland couple were probably too far north to be relevant and would not fit well with a 1690 death, leaving only the 1641 one, however New Haven records don’t give any hint that John was a Tailor.

A search in the IGI in 2003 found a record of the marriage of a John Brockett to … PRUDDEN in Hertford in “abt 1641”, but this is neither in the original Parish Register nor in Allen’s Index. It would have been a wishful-thinking patron submission.

John Braket marriages in England 1620-45:

  1. 1624: “December 9 John Brackit & Margaret SOUTH maried”. South Somercotes, Lincolnshire.89
  2. 1631: “John Brakett & Isabell INMAN were maryed the xjxth day of May”. Norwich, St Gregory, Norfolk.90
  3. 1643: John Bracket and Elz BATE in St Benet Gracechurch, London.91

No records of burials of these 3 couples, nor baptisms of any children have been found 1620-60.92

For further details see this separate page.

4. Will and probate inventory

Written 3 Mar 1689/90.93 A court copy, held in Wallingford Public Library, probated 23 Nov 1691, is transcribed here. The whole document—including probate details—is in one man’s handwriting, therefore not John’s.94 E J Brockett published an earlier transcription of the Will, with quite a few differences, but none of substance.95    Read more

The Will mentioned bequests to the following:

Eldest son John
Grandson John
Daughter Silence married to BRADLYE
Sons Samuell and Jabez
2 daughters of son Benjamin
Daughter Mary married to PENNINGTON

These correspond with John’s children listed by Jacobus, who recorded a daughter Abigail married 1673 to John PAYNE, and son Benjamin’s death in 1679.96 John’s wife was not mentioned in the Will. It’s not clear if she was still alive. For more details on their children, in particular John and Samuel, see the separate page.

The attached ‘Inventory of the estate of Mr John Brockett late of Wallingford deceased’ gives an insight into his way of life:    Read more

5. What next?

This Broket Archive administers a DNA project, which contains a growing database of genetic information about descendants of John, and about Brokets in general. DNA research is hugely important for finding out who John Brockett of New Haven was. More DNA tests of his descendants are urgently needed. Currently we only have a few from just two of them—John 1642-1720 and Samuel 1652-1742. We need more both from them, and from descendants of other sons. Where are their descendants now? Are you one of them? Please email us at broket @ one-name . org (spaces inserted to reduce spam).

The method is to try and document the ascent of those who claim descent from John and who have Y-DNA evidence. See the DNA evidence gathered so far here.

Page Last Updated: June 9, 2022


For full bibliographical details please see the sections Publications or Glossary.


[1] This snip from the list of names is taken from an image of the original page (see next image), with kind permission for reproduction received from the Connecticut State Library. Many thanks to Jeannie Sherman, Librarian, CT State Library for expert assistance. Its reference is: CT State Archives Record Group 001, Early General Records, New Haven Colony, vol. 1A< (accessed 4 Apr 2018). Many thanks also to Sue Pemberton for drawing my attention to this document and for much subsequent help with other early New Haven documents. Newhaven---as it was spelt then---is now New Haven, Connecticut.

[2] As with the images of the Fundamental Agreement above, this snip is taken from an image of the original page (see the image following this one). Its reference is the same. Many thanks to Bill Brackett for obtaining it as well as permission from the Connecticut State Library for reproduction here.

[3] Available at (accessed 6 May 2018).

[4] Hoadly vol 1 p 11, transcribing p 1 of the actual records.

[5] Hoadly vol 1 pp 17-18.

[6] Hoadly's footnote, vol 1 p 11.

[7] Vol 1 p 12.

[8] 1902 p 97.

[9] 1980 p 10 and footnote 15 on p 32.

[10] Vol 1 pp 9-10

[11] Email communication from Jeannie Sherman, Librarian, CT State Library 21 Aug 2016.

[12] Hoadly vol 1, p 80, referring to the original record p 41. With thanks to Professor Bruce Daniels, author of The Connecticut Town for an email of 6 May 2018 confirming that 'received the charg of freemen' meant 'taking the oath of freemanship, which meant he could vote for all colony officers.'

[13] Hoadly vol 1 p 26, transcribed from p 8 of the original.

[14] 1905 p 26.

[15] 1980 p 32 fn 24.

[16] Winthrop’s Journal, I, 223-4

[17] Winthrop’s Journal, I, 181, 182; Massachusetts Colony Records, I, 176.

[18] Calder 1934 pp 67-8.

[19] Calder 1934 p 47. They are usually associated with the quarter spelt 'Herefordshire' top left of the map called 'New Haven in 1641' (Mills Brown 1980 p 1).

[20] Calder 1934 p 70.

[21] Hoadly 1857 vol 1 p 18; Adams 1904 p 271.

[22] Hoadly vol 1 p 9; Adams 1904 p 260.

[23] Atwater 1902 p 97.

[24] Hatfield 1868 p 125.

[25] Davis 1870 p 97.

[26] As pointed out by Stephen Perkins under 'So-called Division of 1643' at (accessed 29 Apr 2018). Perkins provides a useful transcription of the Persons Numbered and Estate value of each planter.

[27] NHC1, according to Jacobus 1923 p 323.

[28] Atwater 1881 p 108 footnote.

[29] 1857 vol 1 pp 91-93.

[30] Atwater 1881 p 108.

[31] Hoadly vol 1 p 91, referring to the original p 48; EJ Brockett p 27 cited some figures inaccurately.

[32] Atwater 1881 p 133. He wasn't apparently aware of the 1642 baptism of John's son.

[33] Calder 1934 pp 90-1.

[34] Hoadly vol 1 pp 302-4, transcribed from pp 180-1 of the original. See also Atwater 1881 p 109; Mills Brown 1980 pp 9, 10, 32 n 13.

[35] Atwater 1902 p 546 (1656), p 550 (1662).

[36] Dexter 1919 vol 2 p 132.

[37] Laslett 1983 pp 38, 44; NSOED 1993 has 'usually of low rank' for the 16th C.

[38] Blue 2015 p 60.

[39] Mills Brown 1980 p 32 n 14.

[40] Mills Brown 1980 p 9.

[41] E J Brockett (1905) The Descendants of John Brockett: One of the Original Founders of the New Haven Colony pp 25-6.

[42] Atwater 1881 p 109; Mills Brown 1980 p 31 n 9.

[43] 1923 p 323.

[44] So too Davis 1870 p 86 n 1; and E J Brockett 1905 p 29, without a source, and on p 23 giving a birth date of 1609, again without a source.

[45] Fischer 1989 p 785

[46] Sources: Parish Registers of Alton, Boston, Dorking, Dunton, Eastbourne St Mary (PAR 309/1/1/1), Hitchin, Quadring, Reading St Giles, Southwark, Ware St Mary, Wheathampstead; TNA; IGI.

[47] 1983.

[48] In his 1999 article, see the discussion below under 'John's wife'.

[49] Guildhall Library London Parish Register microfilm of ms 4449.

[50] Turner & Koles 2003 p 13.

[51] Hatfield 1868 p 71.

[52] p 5.

[53] pp 70, 71, 122, 123, 125, 126, 160, 161.

[54] pp 57, 58, 70, 265.

[55] pp 57-8.

[56] pp 56-7.

[57] p 125.

[58] p 160.

[59] Hoadly vol 2 p 409.

[60] Dexter 1917 vol 1.

[61] Connecticut Archives, Connecticut State Library document I:192. This may have been John's son who was about 33 at the time. I am indebted to Sue Pemberton for drawing my attention to this record.

[62] Savage 1860 vol 1 p 258, available at (accessed 20 Nov 2018).

[63] 1930 pp 72-3.

[64] 3rd edition 2016, edited by E H Ogden et al, p 79, available at (accessed 13 May 2018).

[65] 1923 p 323.

[66] New Shorter Oxford English Dictionary 1993 vol 2 p 204.

[67] (accessed 8 Feb 2019).

[68] (accessed 8 Feb 2019).

[69] 1983 p 130.

[70] 1983 p 131.

[71] 1983 pp 131-2.

[72] Available at (accessed 7 May 2018).

[73] The New Haven First Congregational Society records, according to Jacobus 1923 p 323. EJ Brockett, without a source, dated it a month later on 31 Jan 1643.

[74] Hoadly vol 1 p 304.

[75] Dexter 1917 vol 1 p 272; Atwater 1902 p 548: 'Goodw. Brocket'.

[76] Dexter 1917 vol 1 p 512; Atwater 1902 p 552: 20 Feb (sic) 1661/2, Sister Brockett.

[77] Dexter's footnote: 'Mary, born 1651, daughter of Lancelot and Hannah (Marsh) Fuller; her mother was now wife of John Finch.'

[78] Dexter 1919 vol 2 pp 132-3.

[79] Dexter 1919 vol 2 p 407, referring to p 224 of the original.

[80] 1905 p 31.

[81] Dexter 1919 vol 2 p 446.

[82] 1905 p 26.

[83] From a search in the FindMyPast database in Dec 2017, supplementing an IGI search in 2003.

[84] Boyd's marriage index, 1538-1850; IGI 2003.

[85] According to IGI 2003.

[86] IGI 2003.

[87] IGI 2003.

[88] IGI 2003. Boyd's 1st miscellaneous marriage index, 1415-1808 spells her name SKOTT.

[89] Lincolnshire Archives, image reproduced by Findmypast. Transcription only in Dec 2017.

[90] Norfolk Record Office PD 59/1, image reproduced by Findmypast and Dec 2017.

[91] Boyd's marriage index, 1538-1850. Transcription only in FMP, no image. Not recorded by Dec 2017.

[92] A search on Dec 2017 found none.

[93] New Haven Probate Records vol 2 p 34.

[94] Copy kindly supplied by Ron Brockett.

[95] 1905 pp 29-30.

[96] 1923 pp 323-4