Much like the story from a few weeks ago, about how often Asahel Barnes is confused with his cousin, Asahel Barnes, it appears there are times when George Hamack is mistaken for George Hammitt of Burlington County, New Jersey. As a result, the records of their sons, each named Samuel and each with a wife whose maiden name was Sharp, are also merged together in some histories. The story of two Georges, two Samuels and two Sharp women is as difficult to understand as it is to tell. Many of the facts we uncovered were discovered while trying to confirm whether Samuel Hammitt, the son of George Hammitt and Rhoda Packer, was married to Elizabeth Sharp or Esther Sharp.
The Haddonfield Monthly Minutes of the Friends Society recorded the marriage of Esther Sharp and Samuel Hamack, son of George Hamack, deceased, in 1749. Wondering if this was an alternate spelling of the Hammitt name, we dug a little deeper. The Calendar of New Jersey wills, administrations, etc., published by the New Jersey Historical Society in 1901, includes an abstract of the Thomas Ruckman Will. The record identifies his daughter as Sarah Hamack, wife of George Hamack. Ruckman was a familiar name and the name Sarah Ruckman even more so. Just about every Hammitt genealogy that includes George Hammitt and Rhoda Packer lists Sarah Ruckman as George’s mother. At first glance everything seemed to fall in line. The Hammitt vs Hamack spellings in old genealogy books appear interchangeable. There was a Samuel, whose father was George and there was a George identified as the husband of Sarah Ruckman in her father’s Will. Everything seemed to fit. But then we noticed George Hamack was recorded as deceased when Samuel and Esther were married in 1749 and our records indicate George Hammitt of Burlington County died in 1788. Also at issue was the 1708 Will of Thomas Ruckman, who named one grandchild – John Hamack. Assuming George Hammitt was the about the same age as Rhoda Packer, he would have been born around 1700. Although it is possible Sarah Ruckman and George Hamack had other children, it seems unlikely Thomas Ruckman would have named one grandchild and not another, especially since the Will, written in 1708, wasn’t proved until 1713, presumably at the time of his death.
The 1749 record of Samuel Hamack’s marriage to Esther Sharp also notes Samuel would need his mother’s consent to marry, indicating he was born after 1728. Sarah Ruckman’s birth year is believed to have been about 1675. Since she would have been in her early to mid-fifties when this Samuel was born it’s not likely she was his mother. The Hamack spelling leads us to believe the Samuel Hamack who married Esther Sharp was most likely related to George Hamack, Sarah Ruckman’s husband.
Although we haven’t found a direct link between our Hammitt’s, the Burlington County Hammitt’s or the newly discovered Hamack’s. However, it is interesting to note that Esther and Elizabeth were half-sisters. Esther Sharp was the daughter of William Sharp and Mary Austin, his first wife, and Elizabeth Sharp was the daughter of William Sharp and Hannah Austin, his second wife.
As I said earlier, understanding the story is as difficult as telling it. A thorough search for our Hammitt roots couldn’t be done without including the genealogy of other Hammitt families. For that reason, we have decided to include their stories on the Hammitt Families menu where you’ll find two new pages. The first, George Hammitt and Sarah Ruckman, provides a bit more detail about George and Rhoda and further explains why we believe Sarah Ruckman may not have been this George’s mother. The second, Samuel Hammitt and Esther Sharp, reviews what little we know about Samuel Hamack and details the life of Esther Sharp.
 “New Jersey, Calendar of Wills, 1670-1760 – Ancestry.com,” 397, accessed May 1, 2017, http://search.ancestry.com/cgi-bin/sse.dll?indiv=1&dbid=4723&h=8097&ssrc=pt&tid=50220280&pid=120025966175&usePUB=true.