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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.

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