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Archive for the ‘Mayflower descendants’ Category

I Take the First Step

As many of us receive stimulus checks from the federal government during the coronavirus pandemic, we all must decide what to do with the money we receive.

I am fortunate not to have the stress of needing this cash to pay my mortgage or to purchase groceries. Instead, I can use it to do my part to keep our economy running.

My husband/tech advisor and I agreed I could take a portion of the distribution to use for genealogy expenses. I took that step this week.

My $75 fee went to the General Society of Mayflower Descendants. They will compare the family tree I have compiled with the approved papers in their files to determine what part of my line is already documented.

From there, I will receive instructions on how to proceed with a membership application.

Their website says it will take 4-8 weeks for me to receive a response. Things move more slowly these days with everyone working from home.

In the meantime, I will continue to investigate my suspected Mayflower ancestors to see if I can glean any additional information to prove my lineage. I spent time this week attempting to document the siblings of my difficult ancestor Lucy Snow. They all have names that repeat through the generations—Edward, Benjamin, Bethiah, Hannah, Priscilla. Sorting them from their cousins presents a challenge. I made little progress this week.

As our economy reopens, I hope I will not have to wait the full 8 weeks to hear back from the Mayflower Society. If the stars are aligned, another descendant of Lucy Snow and Gershom Hall has already been approved for membership in the 150,000-member Society.

Names Provide Clues

Lucy Snow (1760-1795) left few clues behind. I suspect, and hope, that she was the daughter of Thomas Snow (1735-1790) and Hannah Lincoln (1738-1817) of Brewster, Massachusetts. They were known Mayflower descendants.

Unfortunately, the records for Thomas and Hannah seem to be commingled with those for another Thomas Snow who lived nearby at the same time. Which Thomas was the father of my Lucy?

Perhaps family names can help me place the Snows of the period into the proper families. People often honor their forebears by naming children after them.

The Brewster church records list six baptisms for the children of Thomas Snow and his wife Hannah:

  1. Lucy, bap. 1760
  2. Edward, bap. 1763
  3. Bethiah, bap. 1765
  4. Hannah, bap. 1769
  5. Priscilla, bap. 1771
  6. Benjamin, bap. 1775

Were this Thomas and Hannah the Mayflower descendants? Do any of these names of Lucy’s siblings repeat those of earlier generations in the well-documented Snow-Lincoln lineage? Are any ancestral names repeated in later generations?

The most obvious name that we see several times was Hannah. Hannah Lincoln’s mother was Hannah Hopkins. The name also appears among the children baptized at Brewster and their descendants. Perhaps we have this direct line: Hannah Hopkins>Hannah Lincoln>Hannah Snow. So far, I have no information about Hannah Snow’s children, but her sister Lucy Snow Hall had a granddaughter named Hannah Dunbar. I do not know whether this girl was named as another Hannah in the Mayflower line or after her paternal grandmother Hannah Hathaway. Perhaps both?

Another sometimes-repeated name was Edward. Thomas Snow, the Mayflower descendant, was the grandson of Edward Snow (1672-175?). Thomas Snow of Brewster named his eldest son Edward. This Edward in turn named a son Edward III.

We find the name Thankful in the tree a couple of times. If Lucy was the daughter of the Mayflower descendant Thomas, her paternal grandmother was Thankful Gage Snow. Lucy named a daughter Thankful.

Thus, we see the names of three ancestors from the documented Mayflower lines–Hannah Hopkins, Edward Snow, and Thankful Gage, all repeated among later generations in the family of the Thomas and Hannah who had their children baptized at the Brewster church.

Three names repeated a few times does not provide strong evidence of family relationships. The repetition does add some weight to other evidence.

When Lucy Snow left behind few clues to her family line, a circumstantial case will have to be made. Family names become part of the conclusion.

Lucy’s Birth Family

My ancestor Lucy Snow (1760-1795) holds the key to verifying my family’s Mayflower lineage. She continues to hold it tight and out of sight.

I hope her parents were Thomas Snow (1735-1790) and Hannah Lincoln (1738-1817) because both these people had documented lines of Mayflower descent.

I began by looking at the family Lucy created with her husband, Gershom Hall (1760-1844).

This week I added the couple’s children and their families to my database. I found no clues for the identity of any grandparents in the children’s names. Lucy and Gershom Hall did not honor their own parents by naming children after them. No Thomas, no Hannah, no Seth, and no Elizabeth.

Yesterday I turned to a search for records of Lucy’s siblings. Perhaps one of them left a clue linking themselves to parents Thomas Snow and Hannah Lincoln or to a sister Lucy Snow Hall. I have a list of possible names and birthdates.

A Thomas Snow and his wife Hannah had several children baptized at the Brewster, Massachusetts church:

  1. 1760: Lucy
  2. 1763: Edward
  3. 1765: Bethiah
  4. 1769: Hannah
  5. 1771: Priscilla
  6. 1775: Benjamin

Is this my Lucy and her family? Brewster lies on Cape Cod just north of Harwich where Lucy and Gershom wed and raised their family. The Lucy baptized in Brewster in 1760 could be the same Lucy born in 1760 who married Gershom Hall. The only other record I have located for a Lucy Snow born the same year in Massachusetts lived much further away, near Boston. The Brewster Lucy is more likely my Lucy.

What other information can I find about the parents and siblings of this Lucy? A cursory look for records reveals that additional information on the other children will be difficult to locate. I found none of these people on Find A Grave or on Wiki Tree. I found no will for Thomas Snow or Hannah Lincoln Snow. The compiled family tree on Family Search has this Thomas Snow combined with another.

It will take some deep digging to build this family tree with good evidence. I hardly know where to begin. Lucy, were these your people? Give me a clue.

Still Looking for Lucy

As I continue my effort to verify the parents of my Lucy Snow, I keep searching as many databases as I can find. So far, none have yielded a list of her parents with their children that I have come to expect from Cape Cod records.

Part of the problem lies with Lucy’s position in the family tree. Her name does not appear in the names of Mayflower descendants because she is too far removed from the Pilgrims. Those people are well-documented to the 5th generation, and Lucy is in the 6th. The Mayflower books do not help me.

On the other hand, several genealogies of Cape Cod families tell the stories of 19th century residents there. Unfortunately, Lucy died in 1795, and the books mention few people who lived before 1800. No help there, either.

I persist with my search, and I looked at these repositories recently:

  1. DAR files. These provided clues to sorting out the various men named Thomas Snow. Lucy’s father may have been a Thomas, but he probably was not the Patriot recognized by the DAR.
  2. Ancestry. I have looked at all the sources they have for Brewster, MA. I think Lucy’s suspected parents Thomas and Hannah (Lincoln) Snow lived there. The town did not incorporate until 1803, long after Thomas died in 1790 and Lucy died in 1795. Their family does not appear in the town records there. I did find some good background information on Brewster in a town history on Ancestry.
  3. Family Search. An annotated cemetery record for the Brewster Cemetery includes some Snow burials. Thomas and Hannah Snow appear on the list as does Thomas’ brother Deacon Reuben Snow and his wife Reliance (Wing) Snow. Locating the name of Reuben gives me a collateral relative to research although he died the same year as Lucy.

Still, the elusive link between Lucy and her parents continues to elude me. After I exhaust all the sources on these three databases, I will need to look at other repositories.

Thomas Snow, Please Stand Up

My ancestor Lucy Snow (abt. 1760-1795) married Gershom Hall and had a large family in Harwich, Massachusetts. But who were her people?

Online family trees attribute her parents to Thomas Snow and Hannah Lincoln. None of these trees include much proof of this connection other than a baptism record from Brewster, the town north of Harwich. This church list includes a child Lucy, daughter of Thomas Snow, jr., baptized in 1760.

This might offer good evidence of her father’s name, but then the question becomes, “Which Thomas Snow fathered Lucy?”. The name seems to be a very common one in colonial Massachusetts.

I have identified two, maybe three, men who might qualify. Before claiming one of them as my Lucy’s father, I must investigate each of these men to make a case for Lucy’s parentage:

  1. Thomas Snow, Junior. This man married Hannah Lincoln in Harwich on 31 January 1760. Afterwards, a Thomas Snow, jr. arrived almost immediately in Brewster, Massachusetts. The records of the Brewster Church mention him several times. On October 12, 1760, his wife Hannah received full Communion. Several of his children subsequently were baptized there including Lucy in 1760, Edward in 1763, Bethia in 1765, Hannah in 1769, and Priscilla in 1771. So far, I have no explanation for why this Thomas was called “Junior”.
  2. Capt. Thomas Rogers Snow. According to a cemetery marker in Brewster Cemetery, this man died in the West Indies on 27 April 1790 at age 54. He is buried with his widow Hannah [Lincoln] who lived until 1817. The person who manages his FindAGrave memorial claims he was born at Harwich on 19 Nov 1735. The Harwich records do include a Thomas who was born that day at Harwich to Nathanaell and Thankfull Snow. The Hall family entry in the Encyclopedia of Massachusetts agrees with this claim.
  3. Thomas Snow, Revolutionary War patriot. According to the DAR files, the Thomas Snow who served in Massachusetts was born at Harwich in 1734 and later relocated to Gorham, Cumberland County, Maine. He lived until 1825. His wife’s name was Jane Mague. A 1908 publication, Genealogical and Family History of the State of New Hampshire, discusses the Snow family, specifically the Thomas Snow who settled in Maine. It states he was born to Thomas Snow about 1730 in Harwich. It goes on to say he wed three times with the second wife being Hannah Lincoln and the third Jane Mague. It makes no mention of Revolutionary War service. A third source, a couple of Sons of the American Revolution applications, both claim the soldier Thomas was the son of Nathaniel, not Thomas. They go on to say he was the husband of Hannah Lincoln, and they make no mention of Jane Mague.

Were these one, two or three men? The profiles for #1 and #2 seem to match each other pretty closely. They seem consistent with the father of a daughter who lived at Harwich.

And what about the Thomas Snow who removed to Maine? He does not seem as close a fit, and I suspect he was a different Thomas Snow. But what are the odds that another Thomas also had a wife named Hannah Lincoln?

It seems the records of more than one man may have been commingled. It will take some research to sort this out. I can begin by creating a chart listing references to each man side-by-side. I can then compare their data to isolate similarities and differences and thus untangle this problem.

This approach will help me differentiate the men to find the most likely candidate for the one who fathered Lucy in 1760. If I am to verify a Mayflower lineage, I need to resolve the question of Lucy’s parentage.

A Brewster-Harwich Connection

My ancestor Lucy Snow Hall (abt. 1760-1795) may hold the key to establishing a Mayflower ancestor for our family. To establish a genealogical proof of this line, I must find evidence of Lucy’s parents.

Online trees claim that Lucy was the eldest child of Thomas Rogers Snow (1735-1790) and his wife Hannah Lincoln. Most of these trees do not have sources attached. A couple of them cite the Encyclopedia of Massachusetts printed in 1916.

My wonderful husband/tech advisor went on a search for a digital copy of this book. He found it at an online library called eBooks Read ( Volume 3 describes the Hall family, and my Lucy married Gershom Hall.

The book discusses this Gershom and states, “He married (first) February 8, 1781, Lucy Snow, baptized December, 1760, in Brewster, Massachusetts, died October 8, 1795, in Harwich, daughter of Thomas and Hannah (Lincoln) Snow. She was a descendant of Nicholas Snow…He married at Plymouth, Constance, daughter of Stephen Hopkins, who came in the ‘Mayflower’ to Plymouth in 1620.”

This encyclopedia seems the likely source for all the claims of Mayflower descent for my Lucy. Can it be verified in original records?

Unfortunately, I have been unable to find town birth records for 1760 for Harwich or Brewster on or FamilySearch. I did go looking for the Brewster baptism record for Lucy. I found these published in Records of the Brewster Congregational Church, Brewster, Massachusetts, 1700-1792. The entries for 1760 include two that mention Lucy’s purported parent, Thomas Snow:

  1. Oct. 12 Received to full Comunion (sic) Hannah ye wife of Thos Snow junr
  2. Decr Baptized Lucy a Daughter of Tho’s Snow Junr

The Lucy baptized that day must have been the child of Thomas Snow and his wife Hannah. It disturbs me some that the father is called “Junior”. The family tree in the Encyclopedia I mentioned above says Thomas was the son of Nathanial Snow, not the son of another Thomas.

Other genealogists have told me that people in colonial times did not interpret the Junior designation the same way we do today. We think of it as indicating that a son was named for his father. Back then, it could mean an uncle-nephew relationship or that there were two men of the same name in town, with the Junior being the younger man.

Is it plausible that the Lucy baptized at Brewster was the same Lucy who married Gershom Hall? How would they meet if they lived in different towns? He lived his life in Harwich. She came from Brewster. Both are towns in Barnstable County, but I wondered how often people traveled between the two.

I turned to my copy of the Historical and Genealogical Atlas and Guide to Barnstable County, Massachusetts (Cape Cod). The chapter on Brewster tells me that until 1803 it was known as the north precinct of Harwich. As we say in genealogy, that makes Brewster and Harwich within “kissing distance”. A meeting between Gershom of Harwich and Lucy of Brewster seems feasible. How likely is it that another Lucy Snow, born in 1760, lived in the same vicinity?

Other records that might led further evidence to this family tree might not exist. Land and probate records would have been recorded in the Barnstable courthouse. It suffered a disastrous fire in 1827. Ninety-four volumes of land records dating back to 1686 were lost. Some instruments may have been re-recorded, but the county does not have a complete set of records.

Perhaps I have found everything there is to find on Lucy. I have a baptism record for a likely candidate for the wife of Gershom. I have Lucy’s marriage record and cemetery marker. I have an encyclopedia entry describing her family tree. I have explanations for possible discrepancies (another Lucy Snow born the same year in faraway Worcester; a father described as Junior; a marriage between a couple who came from different towns). My Lucy is looking more and more like the Lucy who descended from Mayflower ancestors.



The Search for Lucy Continues

My ancestor Lucy Snow (abt. 1760-1795) has not yet revealed her parentage to me.

This week I sought a birth record for her, but the only 1760ish birth record I could find for a Lucy Snow was from the Massachusetts town of Rutland. This place lies west of Boston. The parents were John and Sebilla Snow.

None of this Lucy’s information matches what I know or suspect about my own Lucy, reportedly the daughter of Thomas Rogers Snow and Hannah Lincoln. My Lucy was the first wife of Gershom Hall, and they lived in Harwich, on the Cape. She is buried there.

After some digging in various online databases, I did eliminate the Rutland Lucy as my ancestor. That Lucy married Thomas Whittemore and moved to upstate New York. There they raised a large family.

Besides not finding a birth registration, I have not located my Lucy’s name in any of the Snow genealogies I viewed this week. Without this low-hanging fruit to tell me the names of her parents, I will need to expand my search.

I have made a checklist of sources to study. I will look first at the PERSI database on Find My Past for articles on the Snow family. After that, I plan to search for wills or deeds that might mention Lucy.

She remains the link to any Mayflower ancestry I might have. Lucy Snow of Harwich had a family. They continue to wait to be discovered.

Lucy Presents an Unexpected Snag

Uncovering information about my Massachusetts ancestor Lucy Snow (abt. 1760-1795) presents a more difficult task than I first imagined. I have been using the images at FamilySearch, Ancestry, and American Ancestors to find out more about her and to document her life.

This week I located only documentation of her marriage to Gershom Hall. The Harwich town records include a Marriage Intention from late 1780 and a Marriage from early 1781. These confirm that Lucy’s surname was Snow at the time of her marriage. Earlier I had found a town record of her children, including my ancestor Rhoda Hall.

Next, I looked for a birth registration for Lucy. A family tree on the WikiTree website claims she was the daughter of Captain Thomas Rogers Snow and Hannah Lincoln, both Mayflower descendants.

When I searched for a birth record for Lucy Snow, born about 1760 to this couple, no such record appeared. Instead, the only result was for Lucy, daughter of John and Sebilah Snow, born 5 February 1760 at Rutland, Massachusetts. Rutland lies a long way from Harwich.

Was my Lucy the daughter of John and Sebilah Snow? The birth year matches.

Or was her birth to Thomas and Hannah unrecorded? They lived at Harwich, the same town where Lucy married Gershom Hall.

The WikiTree list has no source for the claim of Lucy’s descent from Thomas and Hannah. I need some proof linking Lucy to a set of parents.

I can do two things to resolve this mystery:

  1. Contact the WikiTree contributor and ask about a source, and
  2. Keep working in the records in hopes of uncovering more information.

I plan to do both these things. Lucy is my link to possible Mayflower lineage. I hope she does not turn into yet another brick wall ancestor.

Uncovering the 18th Century Life of Lucy Snow Hall

Female ancestors present difficult research questions. They left fewer records than their male counterparts did. Hence the common advice to look for the men in their lives when seeking information about the lives of the women.

As I follow my path towards documenting a Mayflower ancestor this year, I realize that much of my dad’s New England ancestry lies along the female line. I must trace back to the mid-1700’s before I reach a male in his suspected Mayflower heritage.

This month I have focused on Dad’s third great-grandmother, Lucy Snow (ca. 1760-1795). She may have descended from Mayflower passenger Stephen Hopkins, both through his daughter Constance and his son Giles. The Mayflower Families Through Five Generations, which documents the descendants of the Pilgrims, does not mention Lucy because she would have been the sixth generation.

Lucy married Gershom Hall in 1781. I did some research on him years ago and have even visited their graves in Harwich, Massachusetts.

To find out more about Lucy Snow, I began by pulling out everything I had collected on her husband Gershom. I found her mentioned twice. The cemetery record and gravestone in Harwich, Massachusetts tell us that Lucy Hall, wife of Gershom, died 8 October 1795, aged 35 years. The Hall family chapter of The Library of Cape Cod History and Genealogy gave me their marriage date.

Today I have access to several online databases of New England records that I did not have the last time I looked at the life of Gershom Hall. I turned to a couple of these to find out more about Lucy.

I located the Harwich town records wherein I found a list of the children of Gershom Hall and his wife, Lucy. One re-copied version of the record pencils in the maiden name Snow for Lucy. The town shows birthdates for eight children, a son (Daniel) and seven daughters (Rosanna, my ancestor Rhoda, Thankful, Lucy, Tamsin, Olive, and Sukey).

My personal records include that name of one more daughter not mentioned in the town record. Her name was Patience, born in September 1795. Lucy died a month after Patience was born, and the little girl lived only eight months.

As I reviewed these documents, I realized that I need to locate the Hall’s marriage record because the Cape Cod history is a secondary source. I also need to find a birth registration for Lucy. Perhaps her father left a will that would help me tie the generations together.

To find everything I can on Lucy, I must follow the men in her life. Find the records created by her husband and father, perhaps her grandfathers, and I will find Lucy.

Rhoda Hall, Daughter of Lucy Snow

Last week I defined a project to link three of my female ancestors, Hannah Lincoln, Lucy Snow, and Rhoda Hall. I must do this as part of my goal to prove my family’s descent from a Mayflower ancestor. Hannah Lincoln descends through both her parents from Mayflower passenger Stephen Hopkins.

Information posted by other researchers claims these women to be mother, daughter, and granddaughter. I have good documentation of my family line back to Rhoda Hall, my most recent ancestor among these women. My next step is to prove that Lucy was her mother.

None of the sites I have visited includes citations or links to proof of Rhoda’s relationship to Lucy Snow or Hannah Lincoln. Do I have enough proof to make the case that Rhoda was Lucy’s daughter? The Mayflower Society will not take my application unless I provide some documentation.

I began by reviewing everything I have collected about Rhoda Hall, my third great-grandmother.

According to the 1850 U.S. census for St. Joseph County, Michigan, the last one in which she appeared and the only one in which she was named, Rhoda was born about 1784 in Massachusetts. I have not yet located a birth registration for her.

Rhoda married Benjamin E. Dunbar on 2 June 1805 at Chatham, Massachusetts. The marriage record does not name her parents.

In the early 1830’s Benjamin, Rhoda, and their children relocated from Cape Cod to then-Portage County, Ohio. Benjamin died shortly after the move. After that sad event, records usually refer to Rhoda as the Widow Dunbar.

She appears in Ohio school census records and in court records through the 1830’s and 1840’s. Again, no record mentions her parents.

Rhoda passed away, probably back in Ohio, soon after the 1850 census was taken. No death record was created. She was buried next to Benjamin in the city cemetery in Stow, Ohio.

A record linking Rhoda to her father does exist. In his will dated 1841 and probated in Barnstable County, Massachusetts, Gershom Hall leaves $50 to his daughter, Rhoda Dunbar. Gershom Hall remembers his wife Jerusha in the will, but Jerusha probably was not Rhoda’s mother. Gershom married Jerusha late in life, when Rhoda was in her thirties.

Gershom had been married more than once. Secondary evidence links Rhoda to a previous wife, Lucy Snow. A Cape Cod history relates that Gershom and Lucy married in 1781. Lucy’s 1795 cemetery marker tells us she was the wife of Gershom Hall. Rhoda was born in 1784, during the time between the 1781 marriage and the 1795 death of Lucy. Perhaps Rhoda was honoring her mother when she named one of her daughters Lucy Snow Dunbar.

After reviewing this material this week, I feel pretty confident that Lucy Snow was the mother of Rhoda Hall. I will spend some time searching the Massachusetts records for Rhoda’s birth record and Lucy’s death registration to confirm the dates. I will also begin locating probate records for other family members to determine whether their relationship is spelled out anywhere else.

Based on the evidence I have collected, I have posted Lucy’s name as the mother of Rhoda Hall Dunbar in my family tree. I believe Lucy Snow, wife of Gershom Hall, was my fourth great-grandmother.