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John Dodge of Middle Chinnock, Somerset, England, left a will dated 2 April 1635, and probated 15 October 1635, showing he died between these dates.1 In it he mentions his wife Margery and children Michael, William, Richard and Mary. William and Richard can easily be identified as those who settled in what is now Beverly, Massachusetts, based on circumstantial evidence. Most obvious is that Richard was of Middle Chinnock when he married in 1628 and his will, made in Beverly, Massachusetts, waves the rent Michael was paying on Richard's property in England.
Since there are numerous vague, unsourced and incorrect claims in books published over a century ago and on the internet regarding this family in England, a clarification and caveat is needed. I've seen no records in pertinent English parish registers that say when or where any of these English Dodge's were baptized. The registers at this time don't give birth or death dates, just baptisms and burials, so any claims to birth or death dates are certainly wrong, and all claims to birth and death places and in a few instances marriages, are only guesses. For instance, the entry for John says he was born in East Coker, Somerset, in 1574, and died on 15 October 1635. Without a baptism record, the former claim is pure speculation and the latter is when his will was probated, not when he died. The same is true for John's marriage to Margery. The claim is that it happened in 1600 in Middle Chinnock, which is also only a guess. She's given a variety of last names depending on the internet site, and all appear to be added out of confusion or by mistake. This is typical of the bad information you'll find on the internet. Also, we know his wife was Margery because he mentions her in his will, but this doesn't necessarily mean she was the mother of his children.
     Another thing worth noting, since John is the earliest ancestor known of the Essex County Dodges, is that the coat-of-arms one often sees for them on the internet has no known connection to the Massachusetts Dodges. Joseph T. Dodge has a prominent facsimile of the arms in his book.2 The casual observer won't read the extensive but irrelevant part of the book that explains to whom the arms were granted. Dodge himself makes no claim of a connection. They are also displayed at the Dodge Family Association website, which is a casual genealogy site that relies heavily on outdated and incorrect sources about the family in England, most notably Joseph T. Dodge's book.

children of John Dodge and Margery:


1. Prerogative Court of Canterbury wills, . 2. Joseph T. Dodge, Genealogy of the Dodge Family of Essex County, Mass. 1629-1894 (Madison, WI: 1894).

all text and photographs © 1998-2023 by Doug Sinclair unless where otherwise noted