The Elusive Potters of Goulbourne

March is Women’s History month and I am plan to spend the month focused on finding the family of Mary Potter.

Mary is my direct female ancestor and I know very little about her. The census records tell me she was born about 1805 in either Ireland or England. In 1834 at the Parish of March Mary walked down the aisle, John Potter gave her away and Rachel Potter served as her attendant. The Potter’s, according to the church records, were from Goulbourne.

Mary and her new husband George Mordy settled to life in Huntley, Carleton Co., Ontario where their six children Elizabeth, Rachel, Mary, Joseph, Thomas and Margaret were born. The family farmed on Concession 10 Lot 7, the farm stayed in the family until the death of son Joseph. Mary died at the age of 66 years in June 1871 and is buried in St. Paul’s Anglican Cemetery in Almonte, Lanark Co. Her death, to my disappointment, was not registered.

Mary is my 3x great grandmother and what I have written here is the limited amount of information I know about the Potter family. The clues in the marriage register provided to me by the Ottawa Anglican Diocese of John & Rachel Potter being in attendance at Mary’s wedding has not given me the leads one would expect. In frustration, not once but twice I have hired researchers to uncover something about the family, both times we have come up empty-handed.

One clue is a Rachel Potter who married Allan Clark and later a John Dennison, but nothing that connects her back to Mary. If you have Potter’s in your tree drop me a line, maybe you can help me break down this brick wall.



  6 comments for “The Elusive Potters of Goulbourne

  1. Bev Smith
    March 1, 2017 at 10:08 am

    Hi, doubt if I can help much. I found Rachel Potter married to John Denison in “Fighting Dennisons of Lake Dore” by Lorna Milne 1987 at the LDS Centre. Her daughter, Margaret was by 1st husband ?Allen, but may have been Clark. Where did you get Clark? 1851 census has Rachel born in Ireland @1822. Died 1892 and buried in Lake Dore Cemetery. She is my cousin’s 2x great grandmother via William Dennison.
    Enjoy your blog. Bev

    Liked by 1 person

    • March 2, 2017 at 9:52 am

      Hi Bev, thank you for getting in touch. I have often wondered if Rachel Dennison and Mary were connected. There do not seem to be too many Rachel Potter’s at that time and area. I Have noted the name of Rachel’s 1st husband as either Allen Clark or Clark Allen but the information was off a tree in ancestry as I haven’t spent much time working on it as I don’t know if it is my tree. Have you done any DNA testing, it would be interesting to see if there is a DNA match. Since Mary is my direct maternal ancestor we have also done mtDNA testing and we fall into the very common Haplogroup H.
      I appreciate you taking the time to comment and maybe someday we will discover if there is a connection!


    • March 4, 2017 at 7:59 pm

      Bev, I have had a great breakthough that I have just posted about. Hope you see it!


      • Bev Smith
        March 5, 2017 at 10:08 am

        Thank you for the note. Great news.
        My cousin is related through her mother, not her father who is my relative, so my DNA won’t tell anything. Gwen is not interested in any of this, unfortunately, so doubt if we can convince her to do DNA. But I’ll ask. Her grandmother was a Dennison. Also related to Lorna.
        Keep looking and you’ll figure it out. Thanks for keeping me up-dated. I do the gene for Gwen’s family. One might be interested.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. March 5, 2017 at 8:09 pm

    I can’t help, but it’s so cool to read a genealogy story directly related to the area I grew up – west end of Ottawa…now going to read the update 🙂


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