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A Disciplined Approach

Last month I viewed a webinar on creating a research plan for cluster research. I hope this method will help me find every resource I can to make the case for the parentage of my ancestor Lucy Snow Hall (1760-1795).

Cluster research involves searching for records not just for the ancestor of interest (Lucy Snow) but for records from everyone that person knew. In genealogy circles this is known as the person’s FAN club or network of Family, Associates, and Neighbors.

The webinar instructor suggested beginning with family and creating a spreadsheet page for each family member. There you list all the found records for the family member alongside the pertinent information the records contain. Looking at the data this way ensures you do not overlook anything.

This week I created the first page of my spreadsheet. I began with Lucy herself and her known husband, Gershom Hall. I have their marriage banns and records, children’s birth registrations, 1790 U.S. census record, and Lucy’s cemetery marker. None mention Lucy’s parents.

I also have a baptism record I believe is Lucy’s. Yet I have no real proof that the Lucy Snow, daughter of Thomas Snow and Hannah, who was baptized in Brewster, MA in 1760 is the same Lucy Snow who married Gershom Hall at Harwich in 1781. I can make a case for it, though.

The cemetery marker for Lucy Hall, wife of Gershom, provides an inferred birth year of 1760, the same year as the Brewster baptism. Lucy and Gershom married and lived in Harwich, MA, just north of Brewster, so the location is feasible. I have not found any records for another Lucy Snow Hall living during this time in Brewster or Harwich.

Still, it would be nice to have something more. Hence the FAN club approach. I plan to use a cluster research plan to search for wills and land records with anything that may have connected my Lucy Snow Hall to her parents.

Once I have methodically reviewed the Massachusetts records for clues to Lucy’s origins, I can draw a good conclusion about whether or not my Lucy was the daughter of Hannah and Thomas Snow of Brewster.

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