A Brief Biography of Doreen Potter Hanna

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Doreen Potter Hanna, daughter of William W. and Margaret (Richardson) Potter, was born in 1899 in Hastings, Michigan. She graduated from the University of Michigan in 1920, worked in the University Museum, taught zoology in Detroit City College (later to become Wayne State University), and did graduate work at Harvard. In 1925 she was married in Detroit to Jay Eaton Hanna; their married life was spent in Detroit and Birmingham, Michigan, where their four children grew up. In 1958 she moved to Vermont, and became assistant archivist in the library of Dartmouth College, Hanover, New Hampshire. Upon her retirement she moved to Skowhegan, Maine, where she died in 1982.

Doreen Potter Hanna's own family tree was the first subject of her genealogical research, which she began in the 1940's. She published A Potter-Richardson Memorial in 1957, after consulting historical collections, corresponding with many other descendants, and investigating, upon numerous occasions, grave sites and other sources of direct evidence. She carried out much of her research for this book, as for her later ones, in New England, whence her forefathers had come to Michigan and which she knew well.

While investigating the Richardson line, Doreen Potter Hanna had collected a body of information on her first-generation ancestor Edward Kibbe of Boston and his descendants, and later undertook to apply her skills and thoroughness to an expanded study of this topic. In 1967 she published the first version of Kibbe Genealogical Notes: On Some Descendants of Edward Kibbe and his Wife Mary (Partridge) Kibbe. The revised and enlarged edition of this book, published in 1972, has become a much-consulted reference for the Kibbe and related family lines.

In addition to her work on the Potter, Richardson, and Kibbe families, Doreen Potter Hanna investigated a number of other families related in one way or another to her own, among them the Botsford, Hamilton, Hanna, Kerr, Meneely, and Townsend lines. She published the results of her work in limited editions kept by family members. To make some of her works more available to other researchers, she donated copies to appropriate libraries. Her publications are now out of print, though some are available in genealogical libraries such as those of the New England Historic Genealogical Society and the Connecticut Historical Society. Among those held in libraries, in addition to the two editions of her Kibbe work, is her book Some Descendants of Amos Richardson of Boston and Stonington, published in 1971.

---- Graham Hanna, 2000