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    GOULD ANCESTRY OF ELLEN GOULD (HARMON) WHITE—The Genealogist’s Report

    Prepared by Roger D. Joslyn, CG, FASG for The Ellen G. White Estate, Silver Spring, Maryland

    Mr. Joslyn opens his report by quoting five excerpts from a book that challenges Ellen White’s previously documented Anglo-Saxon ancestry.GEGW 3.1

    When James S. White and Ellen Gould Harmon married about 1848, they suddenly realized their marriage placed them under an old law which forbade Whites to marry Coloreds and in less than ten years, they found themselves gravitating toward the Ohio Colony where mulattoes had settled. [p. 13]GEGW 3.2

    James White along with his mulatto wife, Ellen White also moved westward to Saratoga, to Rochester, New York to Ohio on onward to Battle Creek, Michigan where they lived among the Colored people. [p. 12]GEGW 3.3

    [Ellen] could relate with the plight of the mulatto and slave groups for these were her people. [p. 13]GEGW 3.4

    In Battle Creek, memorials are being erected in honor of two great women, Harriet Tubman and SoJourner Truth. It would be proper to have another erected in honor of another great African-American woman, Ellen Gould Harmon White. [p. 13]GEGW 3.5

    Eunice Gould Harmon, Ellen’s mother was a mulatto; whose roots can be traced to New Jersey and the Caribbean. The roots of Robert Harmon, her father, were of the African/Moor/Nanticoke Indian and English Colored people living on the Eastern Shores of Delaware. [p. 33]GEGW 3.6

    The above are just a few quotes from an interesting book published in 1999—The Genealogy of Ellen Gould Harmon White: The Prophetess of the Seventh-day Adventist Church, and the Story of the Growth and Development of the Seventh-day Adventist Denomination As It Relates to African-Americans. Book Two 1Endnotes The quotes are from the pages of this work indicated in brackets at the end of each. In the first quote, the author presumably meant the State of Ohio. The work is filled with many historical inaccuracies, but pointing them all out is not the purpose of this paper. (Nashville, Tenn.: Dudley Publishing Services). According to its author, Charles Edward Dudley, Sr., D.D., L.L.D., pastor of the First Seventh-day Adventist Church in Shelbyville, Tennessee, Ellen Gould (Harmon) White was descended from or at least related to five Gould brothers who “came from the Dutch West Indies and settled near Salem, New Jersey,” by the mid-1680s. They established a settlement that became known as Gouldtown, just east of present-day Bridgeton in Cumberland County. Dr. Dudley follows only descendants of one brother, Benjamin, who is supposed to have married Elizabeth Ann Adams, a granddaughter of John Fenwick, an English soldier-turned-Quaker and founder of the Salem colony. 2Charles Edward Dudley, Sr., D.D., L.L.D., The Genealogy of Ellen Gould Harmon White: The Prophetess of the Seventh-day Adventist Church, and the Story of the Growth and Development of the Seventh-day Adventist Denomination As It Relates to African-Americans. Book Two (Nashville, Tenn.: Dudley Publishing Services, 1999), 21, 41—42, hereafter Dudley, Genealogy of Ellen White.GEGW 3.7

    Dr. Dudley’s study of the ancestry of Ellen White, and more specifically her possible connection to persons of color, developed from a curiosity about her background that has “been discussed for years,” although the “limited genealogical research which has been done on both her father’s and mother’s side of the family has not shown any such ancestry.” The interest in Ellen’s background derives from photographs of her, showing what some have called “ambiguous” features: “‘Mrs. White’s features often raise the question of whether she had any Black or Indian ancestry.’” 3Dudley, Genealogy of Ellen White, 18, quoting Adventist Heritage Magazine, Spring 1982. The emphasis in the quote is probably Dr. Dudley’s.GEGW 3.8

    Throughout his book, Dr. Dudley has tried to establish Ellen White’s descent from or blood relationship to the Gouldtown settlers. Besides presenting information about the Gould family of that area, he has tried to support his claim of Ellen’s connection with the Gouldtown Goulds with statements about her settlement among persons of color in Ohio and Michigan, as noted in two of the above quotes. He also implies her earlier associations with persons of color, such as in a statement about her father, Robert Harmon, who “moved to many places during his lifetime seeking employment to care for his family. Historians first mention the family when they lived in Gorham, a suburb town of Portland, Maine, where transient people known as ‘Maine Indians’ lived.” This implied association between Ellen’s family and persons of color in Maine—Indians were frequently designated colored persons—is further nourished with information about James Augustine Healy, “the first Colored priest in the United States,” who “was appointed the Second Bishop of the Catholic Church in Portland, Maine, ....” “There were many families living in the Portland community who had the appearance of being White people who, in reality, were fair-skinned mulattoes. Such appears to be the plight of the Healy family of Portland and Harmon family living in nearby Gorham.” 4Dudley, Genealogy of Ellen White, 25, 27. The emphasis is Dr. Dudley’s. There is even further implication of a connection between Ellen and persons of color made through statements about her interest in these people, such as, for example, “Ellen Gould Harmon White had a deep interest in the welfare of Colored people during her lifetime.” 5Dudley, Genealogy of Ellen White, 23. The emphasis is Dr. Dudley’s.GEGW 3.9

    None of these presentations of Dr. Dudley, however, including any circumstantial evidence through Ellen Gould (Harmon) White’s associations, provide any proof that she was descended from or had any family connection with the Goulds of Gouldtown, New Jersey. And Dudley’s genealogical evidence is equally lacking.GEGW 4.1

    Above all, Dr. Dudley provides no documentation to substantiate a genealogical connection between Ellen Gould (Harmon) White and the Goulds of Gouldtown, New Jersey. The case he tries to make for Ellen’s link to the Gould persons of color could be called genealogy by inference. Dr. Dudley presents information about Ellen’s Gould ancestry and about the Gouldtown Goulds on the same page, in one paragraph after another, or even together within the same paragraph, as if by discussing the two Gould families almost simultaneously they become the same family.GEGW 4.2

    One element of this genealogical inference is the surname, Gould, with the all-too common implication that all persons with the same last name must be or are likely related. And that two families of the same surname living miles apart, or in this case, a few states apart, might have many of the same first names among them does not alone raise the possibility of a common bloodline, as Dr. Dudley seems to have hoped.GEGW 4.3

    Dr. Dudley’s conclusions about Ellen Gould (Harmon) White’s mixed-race ancestry are most curious, since he seems to accept earlier research into her genealogy that indicates her Gould line traces back a few generations in Maine and then back to Massachusetts, with no hint of persons of color in her lineage. 6In discussing Ellen White’s Gould lineage, Dr. Dudley followed the same ancestry as is discussed in this report, presenting not even a suggestion that any of her Gould forebears back to the American immigrant were incorrectly identified.GEGW 4.4

    As mentioned above, Dr. Dudley states in his book that the possibility of African ancestry for Ellen White has been questioned for a long time, based on “ambiguous” features seen in photographs of her. Genealogy by phenotype can be misleading, just as it can by assuming a relationship between persons with the same surname.GEGW 4.5

    My conclusion after studying Dr. Dudley’s book was that, while he was not attempting to argue something he knew to be untrue, he is simply not familiar with genealogical evidence and the sources needed to properly analyze and construct genealogical links. Nothing in his book even suggests that the Gould ancestry of Ellen Gould (Harmon) White was in any way connected with the Gould family of Gouldtown, New Jersey, or that any part of Ellen’s Gould ancestral line traced to persons of color, at least not in this country.GEGW 4.6

    Unfortunately, Dr. Dudley has offered no evidence to show Ellen Gould (Harmon) White was of African-American descent—certainly not through her Gould ancestry, and likely not through her other ancestral lines, although they have not been studied for this report. There is the very remote possibility her Gould ancestors were in some way related to Goulds who settled in Gouldtown, New Jersey, perhaps generations earlier in England, but even if so, she was not a descendant of the Gouldtown Goulds.GEGW 4.7

    With the hope of clarifying Dr. Dudley’s position and to ask what his best evidence was for his claims, I wrote to him 23 March 2001, explaining I had been engaged to examine the Gould ancestry of Ellen Gould (Harmon) White in connection with the material in his book. After briefly reviewing the information on Ellen’s ancestry back through her mother’s Gould family line in Maine and Massachusetts, I remarked that “Making the connection to the Goulds in Gouldtown, New Jersey, however, has me a bit baffled.”GEGW 5.1

    In your book, on page 21 and elsewhere, you indicated Benjamin Gould and his brothers, Lewis, Robert, William and Salon, came from the Dutch West Indies and settled near Salem, New Jersey, and that Benjamin married Elizabeth Ann Adams about 1685. This would place Benjamin Gould of Gouldtown’s birth about the mid-1660s or earlier. Obviously, he was not the son of John Gould of Taunton (whose son Benjamin was likely the one who settled in Kittery, Maine, by 1714), but it is reasonable to suggest Benjamin Gould of Gouldtown and John Gould of Taunton were contemporaries (based on his marriage in 1673, John Gould of Taunton would have been born in the early 1650s or earlier).GEGW 5.2

    You point out the parents of Benjamin Gould of Gouldtown are unknown. It is possible, of course, this Benjamin’s father was an Englishman, born perhaps in the 1640s or more likely earlier (the births or even approximate years of birth of the Gouldtown brothers not being known). This suggestion could be stretched to speculate the father of Benjamin, Lewis, Robert, William and Salon Gould was from the same area of England as Jarvis Gould and perhaps even a close relative.GEGW 5.3

    As you note, however, there is no evidence of the origin of the Gouldtown brothers beyond the Dutch West Indies, and, as I pointed out above, the specific origins of Jarvis Gould are unknown. Additionally, the name Gould is found in a number of places in England in the early 1600s, so even if the Gouldtown settlers had English ancestry, it would be even more of a stretch to point to a specific place without more information or clues.GEGW 5.4

    I am mystified, therefore, about your claim that Ellen Gould (Harmon) White is even remotely related to the Goulds of Gouldtown, New Jersey. While this is possible, I find no evidence for it, but perhaps I have missed something important, or perhaps you have turned up documentary proof.GEGW 5.5

    Dr. Dudley replied on March [sic] 4, 2001, asking I consider several points, including the following:GEGW 5.6

    I should visit Gouldtown, New Jersey, speak with present-day citizens, and read the pre-American Revolutionary grave markers in the cemetery.

    I should read “Stackpole’s complete account of the Gould families” wherein the “record speaks of Benjamin and Joseph as brothers and sons of John Gould.…”

    That there are “several generations with the name Benjamin Gould,” including one with “a number of children, namely John, Hannah, Lydia, Sally, Betsey, Mary, Rebecca, Samuel, Benjamin, Hannah, Eunice, and Nathaniel. Eunice was born in 1787, the year of the French Revolution. She and Robert Harmon married in 1810. They had eight children: Celestine, Harriet, John, Mary, Sarah, Robert, Elizabeth and Ellen. All were a part of the St. George Methodist Episcopal Church in Philadelphia, a multiracial church.”

    “Benjamin F. (Gould) Lee of Gouldtown, New Jersey, a first cousin to Ellen Gould Harmon,” became the third president of the African Methodist Episcopal Church established at Wilberforce University in Ohio in 1856 “to educate Colored youth.”

    “Some are appalled her [Ellen’s] lineage is spoken of as being Colored. This makes no difference as to her racial heritage, although Ellen Gould Harmon’s mother was a mulatto (a mixture of African and European); her father was Colored (a mixture of the Nanticoke Indian nation and European). In today’s terminology she was a ‘Black’ lady.”

    Dr. Dudley’s points do not answer my questions; they do not provide evidence of Ellen White’s genealogical connection to the Gouldtown Goulds or for his claims that her “mother was a mulatto” or that “her father was Colored.” In fact, Dr. Dudley has, in the third point above, confused things by indicating Eunice, a daughter of a Benjamin Gould (presumably of the Gouldtown Goulds), was the one who married Robert Harmon and the mother of Ellen Gould (Harmon) White, which all evidence shows otherwise. Additionally, the Robert and Eunice (Gould) Harmon family are not known to have ever been a “part” of St. George Methodist Episcopal Church in Philadelphia, much less to have lived in that city.GEGW 6.1

    Furthermore, Ellen Gould (Harmon) White was not a first cousin of “Benjamin F. (Gould) Lee” of Gouldtown (that Dr. Dudley included the maiden surname of Benjamin F.’s mother in writing his name only adds further confusion).GEGW 6.2

    Accordingly, I was engaged by the Ellen G. White Estate to research and properly document as much as possible the Gould ancestry of Ellen Gould (Harmon) White, to see if there was any hint of a connection between this ancestral line and the Goulds of Gouldtown, New Jersey.GEGW 6.3

    To begin the research, the White Estate supplied copies of a number of items that included the results of investigations into the ancestry of Ellen White conducted in the early 1980s. 7Also sent with the genealogical material on Ellen Gould (Harmon) White was a recent submission from Dr. Dudley, which needs a few lines of correction. In the first paragraph of this paper, titled “Gould Blood-Lines,” Dr. Dudley states that the wife of Jarvis Gold was Mary Cossman. While the wife of Jarvis does seem to have been named Mary, research clearly indicates Mary Crossman was the wife of John Gould, likely the son of that name of Jarvis. Dr. Dudley also states in this paper that the children of Jarvis Gold were Joseph and Benjamin, but again, the sources show they were John and Joseph. This information was helpful, but I was also asked to carefully examine and analyze this research for its genealogical value, how it meshed with independent research that I was asked to undertake, and whether any new or previously overlooked information might be found to support a mixed-blood ancestry for Ellen White. (In this report, I have referred to records obtained from the earlier 1980s research as materials “supplied by Ellen G. White Estate from previously copied genealogical records”).GEGW 6.4

    As in many genealogical pursuits, finding clear, hard evidence of the kinship links beginning with Ellen Gould (Harmon) White and tracking back through her mother’s surname line of Gould was not straightforward. 8The earlier research on Ellen’s ancestry provided a framework, but it was not possible, at least in the time spent, to properly document every link in her Gould ancestry through primary sources and primary evidence. Part of the problem is the result of inconsistent and poor record keeping prior to the twentieth century, particularly in recording the vital events of births, marriages, and deaths (fortunately, most Maine marriages were reported to the counties based on an 1828 law, although compliance was inconsistent). Other kinds of records that would have been helpful are just not available, such as the estate (probate) records for Cumberland County, Maine, which were destroyed in fires in 1866 and 1908. And while some primary records are available on microfilm (land deeds, for example) or in reputable published transcripts or abstracts, the likelihood is high that there are several other useful sources that should be consulted to better document Ellen’s Gould ancestry.GEGW 6.5

    A discussion of the research that was undertaken and the results of my findings and conclusions is the main subject of this report, beginning on page 7. The report is arranged by generation, beginning with Ellen Gould (Harmon) White and working backward through her parents, maternal (Gould) grandparents, and so forth. At the beginning of each generation, the basic, “bare-bones” genealogical information of names, dates, and places is presented, numbered Ahnentafel (“ancestor table”) style, with Ellen as number 1, her parents as 2 and 3, her maternal grandparents as 6 and 7, and so on. 9This numbering is consistent with a pedigree chart of Ellen’s ancestry and the numbering used on folders of copied information provided by Ellen G. White Estate.GEGW 6.6

    Basically, the Gould ancestry of Ellen Gould (Harmon) White remains as established in the past—that her mother, Eunice (Gould) Harmon, traces back through her father, Joseph Goold/Gould, an American Revolutionary soldier who after the war moved from Kittery to Portland, Maine; to his father, Joseph Gould of Kittery; to his father, yet another Joseph Gould, who settled in Kittery in the first decade of the eighteenth century and was likely from Taunton, Massachusetts; to his father, John Gould of Taunton and probably the one born in Hingham, Massachusetts Bay Colony, to Jarvis Gould, a 1635 immigrant from England.GEGW 6.7

    The basic information on the Gould ancestral line of Ellen Gould (Harmon) White is from published sources, such as Edward S. Stackpole’s Old Kittery and Her Families (1903), Artemas C. Harmon’s The Harmon Genealogy (1920), and so forth. Additional sources—some primary—document a few vital events, such as marriages, and place some of the ancestors at particular places in certain times, but they provide only sporadic proof of specific kinship between two or more family members. This is not unusual for the times and places in which Ellen’s Gould ancestors lived. Indeed, the genealogies in Stackpole and Harmon are likely correct, or at least are for the most part, but better documentation is needed to prove or disprove all of the lineage as given. Nevertheless, because Ellen’s immediate origins are pretty well fixed, at least when and where she was born and who her parents were, there can be little doubt she belongs to the particular Gould family of Maine.GEGW 6.8

    The focus of the research was on finding primary evidence, preferably in primary documents, linking Ellen Gould (Harmon) White to her parents, her mother to her parents, and so on back through the Gould ancestral line. When primary documents and evidence were not easily found, reliance was made on secondary material, with an attempt to find supporting documentation wherever possible, testing all that could be verified, even if circumstantially. The results are somewhat mixed, so that there is not a clear, unbroken chain of Ellen’s ancestry based on solid evidence. On the other hand, the information that is presented in this report (including that supplied by Ellen G. White Estate) is fairly consistent with respect to Ellen’s Gould ancestry, with no obvious contrary evidence suggesting her Gould line could be traced in another direction. There is a high degree of confidence that further investigation to improve on the proof would be positive, although the concentration of research for the future should be through collateral relatives and other associates of the ancestors, such as siblings, neighbors, and so forth. Less-available sources such as court and church records might also yield additional positive evidence.GEGW 7.1

    All in all, I have concluded there is no, or even a hint of, evidence among the material I sought independently or that was provided me from either the Ellen G. White Estate records or Dr. Dudley’s research that there is a connection between the Gould family ancestral to Ellen Gould (Harmon) White and those of the name Gould who settled in Gouldtown, New Jersey, from the West Indies.GEGW 7.2

    Dr. Dudley is correct on one point, however, and that is it makes no difference what Ellen’s racial heritage was with respect to the person she was. For historical accuracy, however, it cannot be claimed she had any known ancestry that could be classified as non-white, at least not through her Gould line ancestry based on the research conducted for this report.GEGW 7.3

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