Robert Elwell was born c1609 in England and possibly hailed from Dorset. He married Joan (MNU), who died in Gloucester, Essex, Massachusetts on 31 March 1673.
Many have tried to conflate this Joan with Joan (Dolliver) Burt, the sister of Samuel Dolliver of Stoke Abbott, Dorset, England. However, Joan Burt died before 13 April 1633, when her children, and not Joan herself, received legacies from their grandfather, Robert Dolliver.
However, Joan (MNU) Elwell did have family ties to Stake Abbott, as there was an inheritance due to her as gleaned from the Great Migration Project:
In a letter dated 20 April 1648, Tristram Dalliber of Stoke Abbas, Dorset, wrote to John Balch and William Woodbury of Salem and added this postscript:
‘There is Robert Ellwell[‘s] wife hath L3 here in her sister-in-law’s hand which her brother gave her at his death if he be pleased to take it there I shall be content so as they will send an acquiitance sealed up in a letter to me so as I may have it from them at the next return for they told me that they would send a letter to me & I should send it over with mine but I never heard more of them [NEHGR 31:312-13].’
From this, we learn that Joan (MNU) had a brother, presumably living in Dorset and possibly even in Stoke Abbott, who died about 1647 or 1648 and left her a 3 pound legacy, which was being held for her by her sister-in-law.
However, no one has yet been able to identify the name of her brother, thus her maiden name remains unknown.
Robert Elwell died 18 May 1683. Wife Joan predeceased him, 31 March 1675, both in Gloucester, Essex, Massachusetts.
Robert Elwell and Joan (MNU) were the parents of ten children:
1. Mary, born c1634, probably in England; died 29 September 1708, Gloucester, Essex, Massachusetts; married (1) Samuel Dolliver, 15 August 1654, Gloucester, Essex, Massachusetts (2) James Gardner, c1684
2. Samuel, born c1636, Dorchester, Suffolk, Massachusetts; married Esther Dutch, 7 June 1658, Gloucester, Essex, Massachusetts
3. Josiah, born c1638, probably Salem, Essex, Massachusetts; died before 2 February 1679, at sea; married Mary Collins, 15 June 1666, Gloucester, Essex, Massachusetts. Mary married (2) John Cooke (3) James Davis, 3 August 1697, both in Gloucester.
4. John, baptized 23 January 1639/40, Salem, Essex, Massachusetts; married Jane Durin, 1 October 1667, Salem, Essex, Massachusetts
5. Isaac, baptized 27 February 1641/42, Salem, Essex, Massachusetts; married (1) Mehitable Millett, 15 January 1666/67, Gloucester, Essex, Massachusetts (2) Mary Prince, c1700
6. Joseph, born May 1648, Massachusetts; married Mary Dutch, 22 June 1669, Gloucester, Essex, Massachusetts
7. Sarah, born 20 April 1651; died 23 April 1651, both Gloucester, Essex, Massachusetts
8. Sarah, born 12 May 1652; died 26 August 1655, both Gloucester, Essex, Massachusetts
9. Thomas, born 21 November 1654, Gloucester, Essex, Massachusetts; married Sarah Bassett, 23 November 1675, Gloucester, Essex, Massachusetts
10. Jacob, born 10 June 1657; died 21 May 1658, both Gloucester, Essex, Massachusetts
I have no access to Dorset, England probate records, nor to deaths in Stoke Abbott in the 1640s. However, with access, it certainly looks like it might be possible to prove the maiden name of Joan (MNU) Elwell.