art by Kazu Kibuishi (Scholastic)
J.K. Rowling has published a new essay on Pottermore that delves into Harry Potter's family history, chronicling his lineage over several generations.
The essay traces Potter's family name back to twelfth-century wizard Linfred of Stinchcombe, who was called "the Potterer" because he was always "pottering" about in his garden. The name was bastardized into "Potter" and stuck through the following generations. The essay describes Linfred as the originator of a number of remedies that evolved into potions still used to this day, including Skele-gro and Pepperup Potion. The essay also chronicles how each generations of the Potters contributed to the family fortune through the ingenuity that seemed to be an immutable family trait. Two members severed as part of the Wizengamot, with one criticizing the Minister of Magic over the Minister forbidding wizards from becoming involved in World War I.
The essay also reveals how the Potter family came to acquire the invisibility cloak, later passed down to Harry:
Linfred's eldest son, Hardwin, married a beautiful young witch by the name of Iolanthe Peverell, who came from the village of Godric's Hollow. She was the granddaughter of Ignotus Peverell. In the absence of male heirs, she, the eldest of her generation, had inherited her grandfather's invisibility cloak. It was, Iolanthe explained to Hardwin, a tradition in her family that the possession of this cloak remained a secret, and her new husband respected her wishes. From this time on, the cloak was handed down to the eldest in each new generation.
You can read the full essay at Pottermore.