Thursday, November 25, 2010

Joseph, Mary and Joseph!

One of the most frustrating things about researching family history is when, like me, one has very common last names in one's tree. My last name is "Hall" but it may as well be Smith or Jones. And Ed's last name, Eaton, is pretty common up in New England, too. He and I both have multiple Josephs in our trees. And, at the same time our ancestors were naming their kids Joseph so, it seems were every other Hall and Eaton family in the area. We both have Mary's and Alberts and more Josephs.

Joseph, Mary and Joseph! It sure gets confusing!

When you're researching those kinds of surnames with common given names, it feels like a goldstrike when the first name is unusual, like Alonzo, or Zimri. Or at least that's what I thought. Until I find out that there was more than one Zimri Eaton and more than one Alonzo Eaton lving at the same time, in the same generation, in the same geographical location.

Once we found the right Alonzo and Zimri, we found their father was Amos Eaton. And wouldn't you know it, two Amos Eatons were born around 1804 and lived in the Townsend, MA area at the same time. One Amos became a reknowned botanist and is found in numerous articles and publications. That's not our Amos, though. He was much more obscure and harder to locate.
Grave of our Amos Eaton
But we did finally sort things out, find our very own Amos who didn't have any botanical papers published but managed to have two wives, Abigail and Hepsibah, a daughter and 6 sons to continue on the family name.

So I found it sort of interesting how names came in and out of favor in the past, just as they do today. There are lots of Jessicas and Joshuas but not too many Zeppelins, as my grandson is named. His parents did future geneaologists a great favor!

One thing I recently learned was that in the Scottish tradition, there are naming patterns that should make it easier to trace my Waters ancestors. It was the usual tradition to name the first boy after the paternal grandfather, the second boy after the maternal grandfather and the third born son after the father. The first born girl was named after the maternal grandmother, the second after the paternal grandmother, and the third after the mother. They didn't always stick to that pattern, but as I hunt for my earliest Waters ancestors, I am hoping it will hold true.
Bell Rock, Abroath, Scotland where David was the Principal Lighthouse Keeper in 1850

My earliest Waters ancestor so far is David Waters, born 1820 in Midlothian, Scotland. He was an interesting character who worked as a lighthouse keeper all of his life and soon I will have to dedicate a whole post to what I have learned about him. But his eldest son is Daniel, making me think his father is most likely Daniel as well, although we haven't found him yet. His second son is William, giving me a clue who his wife's father will turn out to be and his third son is also David, indicating that perhaps they did continue the naming pattern.

Daniel, the immigrant's grave Woburn, MA
However, eldest son Daniel Waters  is our immigrant who went on to serve and be wounded in the Civil War. His eldest and only surviving son, and there were many who didn't survive, was also Daniel.  And his son was Daniel. And his son is Daniel. And his son is Daniel, my cousin. So, they broke that pattern when they got to America, but I am eager to begin the search for David, the lighthouse keeper's family, although records get more difficult in the 18th century.

Civil War Pension record for Daniel Waters, served in the 5th NH
On the other hand we do have some very intersting names in our families, although seemingly unique, they weren't necessarily so. Still, they are fun to find. Probably the first odd name I came across, and perhaps the most unique as it turns out, is found in my Sudbury line and the name was Loruhamah Ames Hunt. I found this name in the first online site I ever used. is the website that the Mormons run and a great place to start. But with Loruhamah, I found two listings there and both were spelled differently and one was identified as a female, the other a male.

The name Loruhamah, according to Webster's Online Dicitionary, means "not pitied". It is a biblical name of the first daughter of Hosea and Gomer. The name "was chosen by God to mark his displeasure with the people of Israel for following other gods." Now isn't that a nice thing to name your baby girl?
Fisher Ames and Loruhamah Ames Hunt's Graves Wadsworth Cemetery

Loruhamah, or "L. Ames Hunt " as it says on her grave, was born Loruhamah Dudley in Framingham, MA. She married Fisher Ames, who died at a fairly young age. The Widdow Ames went on to marry John Hunt, and lived on King Philip Road in Sudbury in what was recently a B&B known as the Hunt House. It was also the house that my GG Uncle Howard Goodnow lived in when I was a child.

Uncle Howard's House

Loruhamah was my Henrietta's grandmother. Had they been Scottish, I guess the name of my blog would have been The Hunt for Loruhamah!

Some other favorite names I have found in my tree or in Ed's trees are listed below:

Mercy Bryant
Increase Allen
Patience Newton
Pineal Hall
Phineus Ames
Marinus Willett
Ebenezer Willett
Abner Crowell
Judah Crowell
Experience Higgins
Experience Crowell
Experience Newton
Deliverence Newton
Deliverence O'Kellia
Thankful Crowell
Thankful Higgins
Milo Whitney
Zilpha Crowell
LuLu Budd
Azubah Baker (That is another biblical name -the mother of Jehoshaphet, as in Jumpin' Jehoshaphet).
Masters of the Universe
Heman Crowell -I must mention Heman. (Heee-min) Ed has a number of Heman Crowells in his family tree. Now I remember He-man, Mastersof the Universe action figures from the 80s that my kids collected. They were big musclebound things that I never really warmed up to. But  I hadn't ever heard of Heman as a first name. It, too, is a biblical name meaning  Faithful, Seer, Singer and Wise. I don't know if Ed's Heman liked to sing or if he was faithful and wise.

 What we do know is that Heman was a seaman!
Heman Crowell and Family 1870 Yarmouth MA Census
(Click on image to enlarge)

Happy Thanksgiving All!

1 comment:

Heather Rojo said...

So, did you find Amos's parents? I have a line of Eatons that originated in Reading, Mass, but passed through Townsend. It was tricky but we made all the connections. It's funny, but they lead back to the Reading Eaton and Lilley families, and I was going to commnent on your nice post today about baby Lilly but got sidetracked by this Eaton lineage! Things do run in circles in genealogy, don't they?