05 July 2015

Portrait of a Great Great: Mary Mason

With a full quarter of my ancestry coming from the Great Migration, I'm used to finding the occasional mention in American Ancestors, one of the periodical publications of the New England Historic Genealogical Society.  But the Winter 2015 (Vol. 16, No. 1) has set a new standard here for excitement!

One article is primarily about Abigail Smith Adams, wife of President John Adams and mother of President John Quincey Adams [1].  Author Michelle Marchetti Coughlin hypothesizes howAbigail's maternal great-grandparents may have affected Abigail.  Luckily for me, those maternal great-grandparents are also my 8th-great-grandparents, John NORTON and Mary MASON.

The entire article is very interesting and includes a good deal of family history information and detail, far beyond birth-marriage-death.  The great surprise is a portrait of Mary Mason, circa 1670!  The actual portrait, artist unknown, is on display at the Adams National Historical Park in Quincy, Massachusetts.  As part of the United States National Park Service (NPS), the website is great, too.  It includes a Photo Gallery with eight sections, one of which is Portraits in the Old House. Of the 32 portraits shown there, one is of "Mary Mason, circa 1670" and a download is available.  My illustration here is a clip of that NPS download. Please visit their fine site for your own full copy.


  • Join national genealogy societies!
  • Read their publications and be prepared for surprises!
  • Appreciate fine government websites!

Line of Descent
Rev. John Norton = Mary Mason
Capt. John Norton = Elizabeth Thaxter
William Norton = Elizabeth Bennett
Moses Bates = Hannah Norton
Moses Bates = Ruth Shaw
Norton Bates = Betsey Sweet
Homer Thomas Porter = Dolly Ann Bates
Celim Homer Porter = Clara Evelene Davidson
my Grandpa Porter

[1] Coughlin, Michelle Coughlin. "A shared sensibility: Examining the legacy of John and Mary (Mason) Norton, maternal great-grandparents of Abigail Smith Adams." American Ancestors, 16 (1): 47-51.

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