Getting Back on Track
We still haven’t solved the mystery of our first Isaac Hammitt, but we have pieced together quite a few Hammitt, Hammett and Hammatt families. New to our genealogy section is a Master Tree, located in the “Branches” menu. This tree is a collection of all the families we have researched and includes many of the families they married into. The decision to concentrate on searching left little time for website blogging. The more information we uncovered, the faster the months started slipping by. Each day brought new discoveries and took us in directions we had never considered in the past. As we began following the families of spouses we ventured down new paths and each new path seemed to lead to more family relationships.
Once we broadened our search we began to look a little closer at the spelling differences, “Hammitt” vs “Hammett” vs “Hammatt”. At times the Hammitt and Hammett spellings seemed to depend more on the Census taker’s handwriting or spelling capabilities than anything else, giving the impression the two names were interchangeable. As our list of Hammitt’s and Hammett’s grew larger, and our search a bit more intensive, we began to see, not only distinct family lines where the spelling was consistent, but also lines where the spelling changed. Family lore tells us two brothers had a disagreement and one changed the spelling. I’ve come across this story one other time, which may or may not give it credence. Family stories are not usually given much credibility. Folklore gets embellished over the years, unsavory parts are left out and things tend to get a bit jumbled. But the stories carried through the generations usually have an origin of truth buried between the lines. These stories come from somewhere and at the very least they deserve some thought.
Genealogy has always relied on documentation, family folklore and, in some cases, a good old-fashioned leap of faith. More importantly, it relies on collaboration that includes the sharing of information, stories and theories. We have no way of knowing if or when the disagreement between brothers took place, or which brothers found themselves on opposite sides.
What makes the disagreement story a bit intriguing is DNA evidence suggesting a familiar relationship between our Hammitt lineage and that of 3 Hammett family lines. These families are represented by a branch icon in the Branches menu. We haven’t found that missing link, but I believe it’s out there. I also know we can’t solve our mystery without looking closely at the lineages of all the Hammitt, Hammett and Hammatt families, as well as the families of those they married. Hopefully by looking beyond the obvious we’ll find the answer to our history.