Wading Through the 18th-Century Hannah Huntingtons of Norwich, CT
Updated: Nov 7, 2022
Warning: Studying New England Puritan/Yankee families requires extreme patience due to the repetitive use of the same given names up, down, and sideways!
There were certainly a lot of "Hannahs" attending "meeting" at the First Church in eighteenth-century Norwich, CT. It was a popular girls' name beginning with the third generation (born in the late seventeenth-century). The name picked up steam, for awhile, as the generations multiplied, matrilineal naming patterns held on, and intermarriages occurred. Patrilineal names also were repeated all the time.
One of the reasons names carried on so much was to honor the dead--and death was omnipresent. Also, to honor parents.
Hannah is a Biblical name and means "grace or favor." It was associated with fertility. The Huntingtons were possibly the most fertile family in Norwich, CT history based on my non-scientific hypothesis (gravestones, records, indexes, city directories, etc.) and thus the name multiplied.
Two of them are sometimes mistaken for each other in geneaology sources, particularly on-line databases: Hannah Perkins Huntington Lynde Lathrop (HPHLL) and Hannah Frink Huntington (1701-1746) (HFH). This is understandable since they both married Huntington men and were born at roughly the same time. Also, the amount of incorrect information posted on family tree websites is something to always watch out for.
Hannah Frink Huntington (HFH) was married to Colonel Hezekiah Huntington (1696-1773), a descendent of Christopher Huntington (1624-1691).
This spring, I stumbled upon new information that led me to the fact that HPHLL married two more times after the early death of Joshua. Bingo! A whole new world for that chapter in my book opened up.
HPHLL is mentioned a few times in the records: birth, marriage to Joshua, his will, Samuel Lynde's will, Samuel Lynde inventory papers, her own will (1784), and finally one measly sentence in the Norwich Packet mentioning her death in November of 1788. No obituary or gravestone can be found. Of course, she was named for her mother: Hannah La-Lothrop Perkins (1677-1721)!*
Thus, my main girl, the co-star of my Chapter Four, Hannah Perkins Huntington Lynde Lathrop, had to keep track of the other Hannahs in her orbit during her whole life: Her daughter-in law: Hannah Williams Huntington (1726-1807), her little granddaughter Hannah Huntington (1753-1761), and two of her grandsons' wives: Hannah Huntington Huntington (1750-1815) and Hannah Phelps Huntington (1760-1833). There also were two Hannah Bills, named for grandmother HPHLL, keeping the name going in the Bill family line.
I'm sure there are more Hannah Huntingtons from the past, but for now, I am just focusing on HPHLL.
*The La-Lothrop family name is spelled many different ways but are all the same family in Norwich.