March 18th, 2011

I have become very, very skeptical of the connection to New England

I am _so_ bummed about this. There are _definitely_ a bunch of people (google-able and on ancestry.com) who have convinced themselves that a Hamlin married a Royce, and it is that Royce that connects me to New England and so forth. But I've become profoundly suspicious of that connection, because there (really) are a couple Joanna Royces and people have _clearly_ confused the two Connecticut Joanna Royces and that means they might have confused even more Joanna Royces.

I _hate_ when this happens.

a little lesson in geography

My maternal grandmother (yeah, that one) was the product of a cousin marriage. The doubled up grandfather, Nathaniel Hamlin, early settler of Audubon County, was pretty vague about his ancestry when people asked him about it. Add on a few generations and you get things like this, from one Julie Sizemore (who, if she checks in here to read this, I am not actually holding personally accountable for any of this).

Julie says, on an ancestry.com message board for the Hamlin surname:

"The following is what my mother received back in the late 70's by Mrs. Claire McAninch, granddaughter of Nathaniel Hamlin, Exira, IA, 1963. I don't know if she received it from Mrs. McAninch or not, and I can't ask her since she has been deceased since 1992."

That's why I'm not holding Julie accountable for any of this.

Anyway, this is part of what is in quotes:

"A man named Hamlin, perhaps John, lived in Suffolk Co. New Jersey as appears from the records of birthplaces of his children. He was twice married and probably died in New Jersey."

There certainly is not _now_ a Suffolk County in New Jersey, and while I do recognize that administrative boundaries change, I do not actually suck at detecting that and I cannot find any indication of a Suffolk County in New Jersey.

Other scions of the Hamlin family have records indicating that John's son John was born in Huntington, New Jersey. Again, there is not now and, as near as I can tell, has never been a Huntington in New Jersey. In at least once instance (yes, I am thinking of you, Nancy Hamlin Offield in a 1 Feb 2000 post on rootsweb), Suffolk County has morphed into Sussex County, which has the merit of existing in New Jersey.

I have a lot of trouble believing that some granddaughter of Nathaniel, in the 1970s, when she was no longer a, um, young'un herself, got important details like "Suffolk County" wrong, and I also am inclined to believe in Huntingdon. By contrast, I'm really skeptical of the New Jersey part, and here is why.

The hypothetical Joanna Royce (and boy is she hypothetical) that might have married our early John Hamlin very definitely came from Connecticut, probably Wallingford, but from a clan with deep roots in Stratford. And Stratford is _right across Long Island Sound_ from Huntington, Suffolk County, New ... York. A very short few miles in a boat, and that area was colonized by white people from Connecticut.

I'm starting to believe in the John Hamlin married Joanna Royce theory again. I just think the midwestern descendants have made sort of a hash of things because they haven't been near large bodies of navigable water for a few generations and their understanding of geography, as a result, is a little weak.

The old bird, however, did have some understanding, because she went on to say this about John Jr.:

"They moved to Washington Co. Penn, Thence to Delaware Co. Ohio. The journey was by flat boat down the Ohio River. Later they lived at the Salt Licks, Lewis Co. KY."

I'm still a little hazy on the details of this, but I'll be looking into it next.

ETA:

Here's a book source for the very common Hamlins from Hunterdon and Sussex Counties NJ theory, complete with the claim that the Audubon County Hamlins descend from this John sr.

http://books.google.com/books?id=jZBPAAAAMAAJ&lpg=PA7&ots=ATQ2LIIGqa&dq=hamlin%20hunterdon&pg=PA7#v=onepage&q&f=false

It's an indication of just how confused people get when you can find trees on ancestry.com which have basically this information, but present (presumed brother) Thomas (and wife Sara) as the father (and mother) of John sr. Dates, obviously, don't work out at all. ;-)