In 1883, the Rev. David B. Hall published The Halls of New England; an enormous undertaking and a book that continues today to be the go to book for Hall genealogy. While there is a great deal of accurate information in this book, it is not without errors, and unfortunately those errors continue to be published in new family trees every day. Why? It must be because the genealogical information in this book is presumed to be accurate without performing the individual research for primary records that is absolutely necessary when documenting our ancestors. As family historians or professional genealogists we must always document what is found in a reference book with primary sources. Reference books should become our main source only when primary records do not exist.
I wanted to document the marriage of John Hall, son of Amos (Jonathan, Samuel, Edward Hall of Rehoboth) to Huldah Williams. In the Halls of NE book, page 620, Family 112, the following is written:
John Hall b. Nov. 15, 1745; was a farmer in Raynham Centre; member of the Congregational Church; removed to Rochester, Mass. and thence to Wilton, Me., where he d. Feb. 8, 1830, ae 84; m., January 1, 1770, Huldah Williams, of Raynham (5th from Richard), b. Jan. 1741, d. Dec. 26, 1804, ae. 64 years.
The only Huldah Williams that I have found in any records was born September 28, 1750 to Edmund and Lydia Williams. I cannot find a Huldah Hall in either Massachusetts or Maine who died in 1804. I realize that the Taunton, Massachusetts fire destroyed primary records and I also realize that an 1804 headstone might be long gone….but, no one seems to have anything out there on the Huldah Williams who, according to the Halls of NE book, married John Hall.
In the Massachusetts, Town and Vital Records, 1620-1988, Ancestry.com, 2011 a record is found for the marriage of John Hall to Huldah HALL in 1770 (no month or day given) in Raynham, Massachusetts, but there is no marriage record found for John Hall and Huldah Williams on January 1, 1770.
There is no record found for Huldah Williams born January 1741 BUT there is a record for Huldah HALL born January 18, 1740/41 to Philip and Huldah (Leonard) Hall in the Massachusetts, Town and Vital Records, 1620-1988.
In my research, I came across another record of interest, also found in the Massachusetts, Town and Vital Records, 1620-1988 database. This record caught my attention because it appears to be an attempt to reconstruct the vital records for the Philip and Huldah (Leonard) Hall family that were lost in the Taunton fire. It gives names of children, birth dates, and death dates, death of Huldah, marriage of Philip to Hannah Leach, as well as Philip’s death date and at the bottom of the first page this entry is included:
John Hall son of Amos Hall and his wife Abigail was born Novr ye 16th 1745 on Sabbath Day. The names of the children of John Hall and Hulda his wife
Amasa their first son born August 12th 1771 on Monday
Keilah their second son born April 18th 1774 on Monday.
The top portion of the next page completes the entries for Philip and Huldah Hall’s family with the marriage of John Gardner to their daughter, Phebe in 1766, along with the births of their children and their death dates.
Is it merely a coincidence that John Hall and his wife Hulda are thrown into the middle of entries for the family of Philip and Huldah Hall? After all, John Hall is from a different, unrelated Hall family than Philip is. I don’t think so. I think this is a huge clue, however, there is nothing written into this document to confirm that suspicion.
Philip Hall died in Raynham, Massachusetts on 2 January 1764. In the Mayflower Deeds and Probates, 1600-1850 database, in the record for the Estate of Philip Hall, Huldah is named as the eldest daughter and Phebe as the 2nd daughter. This entry indicates that both daughters were single at the time of Philip’s death and at the time the inventory of his estate was taken.
Philip Hall’s (identified in Halls of NE as being a descendant of George Hall of Taunton); (Hall DNA Project Family 024) widow, Hannah (Keith) Leach Hall marries Jonathan Hall (a brother to Amos [father of the subject John Hall]; Hall DNA Project Family 006) in April 1764. It would be reasonable to assume that with this marriage Philip’s unmarried daughter, Huldah was living in the Jonathan Hall home after his marriage to Hannah, the same as her unmarried children by Benjamin Leach. Jonathan’s son, Seth, married Hannah’s daughter, Diadamia Leach in 1769, so would it not be possible that Jonathan’s nephew might have married Philip Hall’s daughter, Huldah? Seems almost too much a coincidence that according to Halls of NE, Huldah Williams was born January 1741 and the only Huldah born about the same time in Bristol County, Massachusetts was Huldah Hall, born January 18, 1740/41; and that Huldah Williams married John Hall January 1, 1770 and the only record to be found is for the marriage of Huldah Hall to John Hall in 1770. In other words, Huldah Williams cannot be documented in available records. But so far everything has been theory based on coincidences; can anything with substance be found? The record for the Estate of Philip Hall mentioned a division. Are there records of that division and will they help? There are, indeed!
A deed naming the legal owners of all lands that were set off to Hannah Hall as her right of dower clearly settles the question of who John Hall, son of Amos (Jonathan, Samuel, Edward) DNA Family 006 married and thereby corrects the erroneous statement that David B. Hall made in his Halls of New England book, that John Hall, son of Amos Hall, married Huldah Williams. Finally, a primary source was found.
Bristol County Deeds, Book 74, page 310, dated November 14, 1794, recorded February 5, 1796
Know all Men by these presents that we ISAAC HALL yeoman, JOHN HALL yeoman and HULDAH his wife, JOHN WILLIAMS yeoman and SILENCE his wife, and SETH HALL yeoman, all of Raynham, County of Bristol, being now ye legal owners in fee simple of all the lands that were set off to HANNAH HALL, the late widow of PHILLIP HALL late of Raynham decd – as her right of dower in said estate, said land lying and being in Raynham……..
Isaac Hall is the son of Philip and Hannah (Keith) Leach Hall.
John Williams married Silence Hall, daughter of Philip and Huldah (Leonard) Hall.
John Hall, son of Amos Hall, married Huldah Hall, daughter of Philip and Huldah (Leonard) Hall.
Seth Hall, son of Jonathan Hall (Jonathan, Samuel, Edward) and Hannah (Keith) Leach Hall’s third husband, married Diadamia Leach, daughter of Hannah (Keith) Leach Hall Hall and her first husband, Benjamin Leach.
The entire deed can be fully (and freely) viewed on the FamilySearch.org web site here.
Now when we look back at that earlier record that appeared to reconstruct the vital records for the family of Philip and Huldah (Leonard) Hall, finding John Hall, son of Amos, and his wife “Hulda” in that record makes perfect sense.