Saturday, 18 September 2010

Surname Saturday: Hall

The only time the HALL surname appears in my family tree is when it belongs to my ggg grandmother, Elizabeth Thomas HALL, who was born about 1800 in Plymouth, Devon, England.  The fact that her middle name - Thomas - is usually thought of as a man's name, suggests that it was actually a surname itself.  So maybe her mother's maiden name was THOMAS?  But wait, I have heard of people being caught out like this before.  They take huge genealogical leaps without any concrete evidence.

Now, I know there are times when leaps can become clues, but only if you treat them as such.  If I were to take Thomas as a clue to THOMAS, for instance, and therefore it would make me keep my eyes open for a suitable family, then that's OK.  What is not acceptable is me saying Thomas must be THOMAS, and therefore I will not accept anything else!  I have found that in my own family history.  A child was given the middle name of 'Cornish', but that particular name does not appear anywhere in my tree as a surname/maiden name.  Perhaps it was just the surname of a family friend, or (as often happened), the surname of a wealthy individual, and the family hoped that, by giving their child the wealthy person's name, they would inherit!

So Elizabeth Thomas HALL, who married into the BLAGDON family in Stoke Damerel in 1817, had 10 children, regularly appeared in censuses for thirty years, and died in Plymouth in 1876, remains something of a mystery as regards that Thomas name until I can get to the records that may shed some light on her birth and her parents.

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