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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 (ebooksread.com). 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 Ancestry.com 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.

 

 

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