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Forging the Links

After I submitted supporting documentation for my application to join the General Society of Mayflower Descendants, they wasted no time reviewing everything and responding.

The good news was that they accepted all my birth, marriage, and death records—seven generations’ worth, extending back to my gateway ancestors, Thomas Snow and Hannah Lincoln.

The bad news is that all these papers are not enough to establish the chain between generations. Out of seven needed connections, only three were obvious from the vital records and other proofs that I sent in.

I do not need to gather any more evidence for these generations:

  1. My link to my father. I was the informant for his death certificate. That record included my married name and described me as his daughter. This is enough to show that my dad’s daughter Teri is the same Teri who married into my husband’s family and is now applying for Mayflower membership.
  2. My grandmother Grace Riddle Reed’s link to her mother, Laura Riddle. The wills of Laura and her sister Theodocia both provided my grandmother’s married name. Their daughter/niece Grace Riddle is the same woman who married Owen Herbert Reed.
  3. My great-grandmother Laura Riddle’s link to her mother Olive (Dunbar) Riddle. The Administrator of Olive’s estate named her adult daughter Laura as an heir.

That leaves four more generations that I must connect:

  1. I need to prove that my grandmother’s son Earl is the same man as my father Earl who married Joyce Bentsen. His obituary spells out this relationship, and I have already submitted it to the Historian.
  2. Nothing I sent in previously makes clear that my second great-grandmother Olive (Dunbar) Riddle, who married John Davis Riddle, is the same person as the Olive born to Rhoda (Hall) and Benjamin E. Dunbar. Benjamin died when Olive was a child, thus his will does not state her married name. I have not found a will for Rhoda, and she died before a census was taken that would have verified the relationship. My best hope here will be to piece together some land records. Olive inherited land in Ohio from her father. She sold it after she married Riddle. The chain of title would establish that Olive Dunbar and Olive Riddle were the same person. Only problem is that I have just transcriptions of these documents. I may need to request photocopies from the county.
  3. I need to show that Rhoda Hall, child of Lucy Snow, was the same Rhoda who married Benjamin E. Dunbar. Lucy died when Rhoda was 11 years old, long before this marriage took place. I believe the will of Lucy’s husband, Gershom Hall (Rhoda’s father), should be enough to document this relationship since Rhoda’s birth record shows that Gershom and Lucy were her parents. Hall’s will leaves legacies to several women whose names correspond to the daughters he had with Lucy. These daughters include Rhoda, described in the will as the widow of Benjamin Dunbar. I plan to mail this to the Historian today.
  4. The final link I need to show presents the worst problem. How do I show that my Lucy Snow is the same Lucy who was born to Thomas Snow and Hannah Lincoln? Ten years ago, the Society accepted the link between Lucy’s brother and these parents, but the application is annotated saying the link is circumstantial. What would be enough today? I have not found wills or land records for either Thomas Snow or his wife Hannah that would provide a paper trail to Lucy. Compounding the problem is the fire at the Barnstable, MA courthouse in 1827 that destroyed the deed registers. The only documentation for the relationship that I have is a genealogy from The Encyclopedia of Massachusetts, published by the American Historical Society in 1916. This is a secondary source that does not tell us how they derived the information. I do not know if this will be adequate to support my application.

Before the Colorado Historian can submit my application to the national organization, I have some more work to do with her. I hope I can assemble enough curative documents to establish this lineage. So far, the Society has been great to work with, and I would like to join them as a member.

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