We began our search with limited information. A journal entry by Joachim Hammitt, tells us our history begins in New Jersey. In 1791 Samuel and Jane Hammitt witnessed the will of Andrew Corson, a Maurice River resident. The 1793 will of John Kille refers to his Maurice River plantation as being in “possession of Samuel Hammitt”. For us, those two documents confirmed we had New Jersey roots. Concentrating our search in New Jersey, we next discovered the Burlington County family of George Hammitt and Rhoda Packer. A second Hammitt family in New Jersey deserved a closer look.
George Hammitt and Rhoda Packer
The genealogy of George Hammitt and Rhoda Packer is repeated many times on Ancestry.com. For the most part, the trees are consistent, well researched and well documented. George Hammitt and Sarah Ruckman are most often identified as the parents of George Hammitt (Rhoda Packer’s husband). In a previous post we questioned whether this was accurate and still consider his origin a mystery. (See: George Hammitt or George Hamack.) George Hammitt is listed as an immigrant from Nova Scotia1 and the marriage of George and Rhoda is recorded in the U.S. and International Marriage Records2. This record identifies Rhoda’s birthplace as Pennsylvania, but provides no information regarding George. The records don’t prove Rhoda Packer’s husband was the immigrant from Nova Scotia. But they do deserve consideration when trying to identify George Hammitt. We have not been able to directly connect our family to the family of George and Rhoda. But we have continued to research the family, relying heavily on the Packer family records for support.
Rhoda Packer Borton and Mathias Aspden, Jr.
The search for Rhoda Packer lead us to the History of the Borton and Mason Families in Europe and America, by Freeman Clark Mason. Published in 1908, the book includes the 1823 Affirmation of Rhoda (Packer) Borton from the case of Packer vs. Nixon. The case sought to identify the heirs of Mathias Aspden, Jr., who was also a Packer family descendant. Rhoda Packer Borton and Mathias Aspden, Jr., were first cousins. Litigation in the matter began in 1828 and continued until 1850, following a second hearing ordered by the Supreme Court. One of the issues addressed was the 1786 transfer of property originally purchased by Aspden’s great grandfather from William Penn. At the conclusion of the matter, the property in question had grown in value to approximately $600,000. Determining the heirs was, without question, of great interest to many people.
Rhoda Borton’s statement identifies multiple generations of the Packer family, including the family of her aunt, Rhoda Packer Hammitt, wife of George Hammitt. The document is an important part of any genealogical research related to early New Jersey families. We have posted a transcript of Rhoda Borton’s Affirmation in the features section on the Genealogy homepage. A digital copy of The History of the Borton and Mason Families in Europe and America, by Freeman Clark Mason, 1908, is available online at: Archive.org. The Affirmation is found on page 257/image 382.
2 “U.S. and International Marriage Records, 1560-1900 – Ancestry.Com.” Accessed May 1, 2017. http://search.ancestry.com/cgi-bin/sse.dll?indiv=1&dbid=7836&h=520494&ssrc=pt&tid=50220280&pid=27779849451&usePUB=true.
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.
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. Continue reading →
Samuel Hammitt (Hamack), married to Esther Sharp, is most often identified as the son of George and Rhoda (Packer) Hammitt. But you will also find family trees that list Samuel Hammitt married to Elizabeth Sharp and trees who have Samuel married to both Elizabeth and Esther. The search to identify Samuel’s wife lead us to the discovery of Samuel Hamack, whose father was also George. One thing lead to another and suddenly the evidence was pointing in a different direction than what was commonly accepted. Records of the Friends Society’s Haddonfield Monthly Meeting provide clues to Samuel Hammack’s short life and give a glimpse of his wife, Sarah Sharp. George Hammitt’s 1784 Will provides additional clues that support the theory there were not only two Samuel’s, but two George’s.
The Will of George Hammitt (married to Rhoda Packer) was written in 1784 and proved June 26, 1788. Identified as a yeoman, this George Hammitt was from Evesham, Burlington County, New Jersey. An abstract of the Will tells us he had three sons (Samuel, George and Thomas) who pre-deceased him and that he left a child’s share of his legacy to “each of the children of the deceased”. The document confirms Samuel not only predeceased his father, but that he had issue.
The Friends Society’s Haddonfield Monthly Meeting record shows Samuel Hammack and Esther Sharp first declared their intent to marry on February 9th, 1746. Samuel is identified as the son of “George Hammack”, deceased, and Esther is identified as the daughter of William Sharp, also deceased. The notes mention Samuel would need his mother’s consent since he had not reached the proper age to marry. The record, which identifies Samuel Hammack’s father as George Hammack, confirms he was deceased prior to the February 1746 appearance of the couple and tells us Samuel would have been born sometime after 1725. Samuel and Esther appeared a second time the following month on March 9, 1746, and on April 13, 1746, Josiah and William Foster[i] reported the marriage had taken place accordingly.
Esther Sharp Hammitt next appears in the Haddonfield Monthly Meeting notes of May 8th, 1749, when she and Job Haines announced their intent to marry. In this record, Esther Hamack is identified as the “widow of Samuel Hamack”, son of Samuel Hamack, deceased. Also in the notes, the said “widow, not having any child, her affairs require no settlement”. Esther and Job were granted permission to marry and on the third month William Foster and Thomas Wilkins reported the marriage had been accomplished in an orderly fashion.
Job Haines, Esther’s second husband, was the son of Jonathan Haines and Mary Matlack. He died in 1783, leaving Esther the farm where he lived and the use of a cedar swamp in Atsion, Evesham Township, Burlington County, during her life. The Will identifies him as a yeoman from Newtown Township, Gloucester County, New Jersey. Job Siddons[ii], Richard Watson and Joseph Lippincott were witnesses on the Will.
Esther Sharp Hammitt/Hamack Haines died a few years later. Her Will, dated July 18, 1785, proved on August 8th of the same year, identifies her as being from Newton, Gloucester County, New Jersey.
The 1749 Monthly Meeting notes differ somewhat from the 1746 notes in a few areas. The biggest discrepancy being Samuel’s father, who in 1749 is identified as Samuel and not George. While we can’t be certain, we can assume there would have been more discussion regarding the couple at the first meeting, when both Esther and Samuel would have been required to identify their parents. It’s more likely the record of their first appearance is correct and the latter is possibly an error on the part of the transcriber. Next is the entry stating the Widow Hamack had no children. This is contrary to the Will of George Hammitt, who included the children of his deceased son, Samuel, in his legacy.
The various spellings of Hammitt may present additional clues to the family. In the 1746 and 1749 Friends Society records Samuel’s name is spelled Hamack. The 1877 book, Sketches of the First Emmigrant Settlers in Newton Township, Gloucester County, West New Jersey, by John Clement, uses the Hammock spelling when referring to the 1747 [sic] marriage of Samuel and Esther, but then uses the Hammitt spelling when referring to the 1749 marriage of Esther to Job Haines. You will find the “Hammitt” spelling used frequently when referring to Esther Sharp. In this instance the Hammack and Hammitt spellings appear interchangeable. The Hamack spelling is also found in the 1708 Will of Thomas Ruckman, where he identifies his daughter as “Sarah, wife of George Hamack”, along with a grandson, John Hamack. The Ruckman Will was proved 5 years later on May 13, 1713, in Gloucester County, New Jersey. Since only one grandchild was named we believe Sarah Ruckman and George Hamack only had one child. If Samuel had not yet reached the age of 21 in 1746 when he and Esther married, then this George Hamack was neither his father, nor Rhoda Packer’s husband, but instead may have been another George Hamack/Hammitt.
 “Ancestry.com – Sketches of the First Emigrant Settlers in Newton Township, Old Gloucester County, West New Jersey,” 407, accessed May 4, 2017, https://www.ancestry.com/interactive/13831/dvm_LocHist001513-00205-1/395?backurl=https://www.ancestry.com/family-tree/person/tree/50220280/person/27780160308/facts/citation/540091148997/edit/record.
[i] The Foster surname appears in several documents and was possibly a family friend or relative. William Foster was originally appointed to inquire about the couple when they first announced their intention to marry. Josiah Foster is most likely his brother.
[ii] Job Siddons is believed to have been the father of Joseph Siddons. Joseph was married to Rebecca Hammitt (parents unknown) in Philadelphia on May 28th, 1776. John B Blinn, “Pennsylvania Archives 2nd Series,” 375, accessed May 6, 2017, https://ia800502.us.archive.org/2/items/recordofpennsylv00linn/recordofpennsylv00linn_bw.pdf.
A search for Hammitt families from South Jersey in the 18th Century will no doubt find the family of George Hammitt and Rhoda Packer. Married in 1731, George and Rhoda, are believed to be the parents of 12 children. Although George Hammitt’s death is recorded as occurring in 1789, his Will, dated January 6, 1784, was proved June 26, 1788, making it more likely he died in1788. Most online family trees identify George’s parents as George Hammitt and Sarah Ruckman. After a bit of research, we decided to take the road less traveled and not follow the common path.
Sarah Ruckman Hammack is commonly identified as George Hammitt’s mother. Born about 1675, she was the daughter of Thomas and Elizabeth Ruckman. In her father’s Will, she is identified as Sarah Hamack, wife of George Hamack. Thomas Ruckman’s Will was written in 1708 and proved May 13, 1713, in Gloucester County, New Jersey. From the New Jersey, Calendar of Wills, 1670-1760 we learn his wife was Elizabeth, he had 6 surviving daughters and one grandchild, John Hamack, when the Will was prepared. While we haven’t confirmed Sarah’s birthyear, the document does confirm Sarah was married to George Hamack. It’s unlikely that Thomas Ruckman would have included only one grandchild in his legacy if there were others.
In the records of George Hammitt and Rhoda Packer we find their marriage recorded in the U.S. and International Marriage Records, 1560-1900. Rhoda Packer’s records indicate she was born in Pennsylvania and The Affirmation of Rhoda (Packer) Borton, dated February 25th, 1823, provides a glimpse of both the Packer and Hammitt families. In the U.S. and Canada, Passenger and Immigration Lists Index, 1500s-1900s George Hammett is listed as arriving from Nova Scotia. The existence of these two records suggests the George Hammitt married to Rhoda Packer may not have been the son of George Hammitt and Sarah Ruckman, as represented in so many Ancestry Trees.
George and Rhoda’s son, Samuel Hammitt (1732-1784), presented an equally confusing set of facts. Some family trees show Samuel married to Elizabeth Sharp, while others identify his wife as Esther Sharp and a few solved the mystery with a second marriage. It turns out there were two Samuel Hammitt’s, both had fathers named George and were both married women with the maiden name Sharp. Samuel Hamack, the son of George Hamack, was married to Esther Sharp in 1746. Esther was the daughter of William Sharp and Mary Austin, his first wife. Samuel Hammitt, the son of George and Rhoda, was married to Elizabeth Sharp, the daughter of William Sharp and Hannah Austin, his second wife, in 1755. It turns out Esther and Elizabeth were half-sisters. Adding to the confusion is the fact that their mothers, Mary Austin and Hannah Austin, were sisters, the daughters of Francis Austin and Mary Borton.
 “Ancestry.com – New Jersey, Abstract of Wills, 1670-1817,” 173, accessed May 1, 2017, https://www.ancestry.com/interactive/2793/32669_236603-00178/30596?backurl=https://www.ancestry.com/family-tree/person/tree/50220280/person/27779849451/facts/citation/137546641602/edit/record.
 “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.
 “U.S. and International Marriage Records, 1560-1900 – Ancestry.com,” accessed May 1, 2017, http://search.ancestry.com/cgi-bin/sse.dll?indiv=1&dbid=7836&h=520494&ssrc=pt&tid=50220280&pid=27779849451&usePUB=true.
History of the Borton and Mason Families in Europe and America (H.F. Agnew, 1908), 259.
 “U.S. and Canada, Passenger and Immigration Lists Index, 1500s-1900s – Ancestry.com,” accessed April 30, 2017, http://search.ancestry.com/cgi-bin/sse.dll?indiv=1&dbid=7486&h=2663983&ssrc=pt&tid=50220280&pid=27779849451&usePUB=true.
Samuel Hammitt (1754-1807) and Jane Simmons (1750-1825)
Our biggest roadblock throughout this search has been determining the ancestors of Samuel Hammitt and Jane Simmons. Following the family’s roots back to Philadelphia was easily documented. Documenting a jump across the river has proven a bit more challenging. It was Joachim’s journal that told us to make the leap when he identified his ancestor as Isaac, who first made a home in South Jersey. Almost all the 1800, 1810 and 1820 New Jersey Federal Census records were lost, the exception being the 1800 records for Cumberland County and the 1820 records for Roxbury and Morris Counties. While the Cumberland County records survived, they are not available online. For the time being we rely on tax records, Wills or the abstracts of Wills, Church records and the Monthly Meeting records of the Friends Society. Through these records we identify extended family members and begin to understand the relationships between families.
Samuel is first found in the records of Christ Church in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, where, on 10 January 1763, Samuel, his sister, Mary, and their father, Isaac, were Baptized by Rev. Richard Peters, D.O. Continue reading →
Listed in the 1850 Census for the 5th Ward of Kensington are John K Hammett, born 1833, and Thomas J Hammett, born 1835. They are living with the family of David and Elizabeth Gominger Hammitt Fow in the Northern Liberties section. The household of Elizabeth and David introduces us to a blended family of Hammitt, Gominger, Sutton and Carr family members. The 1850 Census didn’t identify relationships, making it easy to assume most of the residents are boarders. But a closer look uncovers family ties and clears up a few mysteries.
Elizabeth Gominger Hammitt Fow
A search for David Fow tells us he and Elizabeth Hammitt were married on May 23, 1841 in the Kensington Methodist Episcopal Church. Living with David and Elizabeth Fow in 1850 are Continue reading →
A New Look, a Few Changes and a Lot More Hammitt’s
We’ve brightened things up, made some changes and added a “Master
Tree” to our newest “Branches” section. The “Branches” menu includes links to those
earliest Hammitt, Hammett and Hammatt lineages represented in the Master
Tree. Those who have joined our search
for answers know there are two main trees in the Genealogy section. For those who are new, you’ll find the two
trees hold many of the same people.
However, they center around different aspects of research and cover a
wide range of information. The “Branches” button is a new addition to the site and is
located on the far right on the Genealogy menu bar. The Branches menu is where you’ll find a
“Master Tree” that holds all the Hammitt, Hammett and Hammatt families we
have followed in our search, including the families they married into. This menu also has direct links to some of
the earliest families we have followed in our search. Not everyone in the tree is a direct ancestor
and while some remain a mystery, several of the families are related through marriage. Quite often the surnames found in one
generation are related to those found in later years. Following those lines helped us piece
together several of the families.
The “Master Tree” is a working tree, subject to change. It holds names, dates, comments, identifies
the sources we’ve relied on and in some cases differs from many of the
genealogy trees found online. We have
worked hard to confirm the families and document their relationships. However, new information is never ending and
those new discoveries can change the entire dynamic of what we once thought was
true. As with all genealogy trees, you
should verify the information in the tree is correct if you decide to rely on
the material presented. Please take a
moment to let us know if you find an error or disagree with the information presented,
especially if your information differs from ours.
The object of the website is to correctly represent our
family’s history, search for the ancestors of Isaac Hammitt, document
contributions and tell their stories for future generations. While we haven’t been successful at finding
the one person or family that ties everyone together, we have accumulated quite
a few Hammitt, Hammett and Hammatt families, along with the families they
married into. Our story is buried in one
of these families. Hopefully, as we tell
the stories of the families we’ve followed we will discover our own.
To see a list of the top 100 surnames in the database go to the Genealogy section and click on the Surnames link.
Spreading our Roots
We’ve been working together on our ancestry search for a while now and looking at this picture of the two us, collaborating may have been in our future long before we realized it. This year brings some minor changes in appearance and a bit of rearranging. Deciding how best to organize the information we’ve accumulated, while keeping up with the internet’s “website rules” can be more than a little daunting. Once again, although not much appears to have changed on the surface, a lot has been added to the Genealogy Section. Over 1790 obituaries, mortuary and death notices have been transcribed and added to Cheryl’s tree, along with many of the articles and personal stories she has gathered over the years. Her BOSWORTH branch represents the largest surname referenced on the HammittRoots website, resulting from the work of two generations over several years. Their genealogy and history takes the Barnes family back to their Mayflower roots through Nehemiah Bosworth. Born 1731, he was a Revolutionary War soldier, descended from Hannah Howland, daughter of John Howland and Elizabeth Tilley, Mayflower passengers. Cheryl’s tree continues to add individual’s to this extensive branch of HammittRoots.
A good portion of the Hammitt descendants have had their census information added and some now have snippets of the census docs attached. Three Branches have been created in Susan’s tree, making it easier to identify direct descendants. These include: “Descendants of Isaac Hammitt”, “Descendants of George Hammitt” and “Orphan Families”. Each branch includes ancestors, descendants, their spouses and the families of spouses. The “Orphan Families” branch refers to those whose originating family has not yet been identified. The “Descendants of George Hammitt” branch connects the descending families of George Hammitt and Rhoda Packer. George and Rhoda Packer Hammitt (of Burlington County) are the earliest ancestors of many New Jersey families. Although we have not been able to establish a direct link between George Hammitt and the ancestor of our Isaac Hammitt, we do believe the families were related.
The Families Section is still a work in progress, but has begun to take shape. This is where you will find information about individual’s, their accomplishments and how we identified them. Recently added to the Barnes-Bosworth menu is a comparison of Asahel Barnes, born 1774, and Asahel Barnes, born 1777. The Asahel’s are easily confused and are a perfect example of how one person’s namesake can wreak havoc on an entire genealogy tree. Then again, those namesakes may just hold the clues we need to unlock the mystery of who we are.
Helping each other, sharing our discoveries, theories and thoughts is what will finally break through that brick wall we are facing.
Our Hammitt Family is Branching Out
If you have visited us before, you’ll notice our home page has changed. If this is your first visit, you’ll find our “Welcome to Hammitt Roots” page in the “Quick Look” section. The Welcome page will provide a bit of information about the website. Our Hammitt Genealogy links us to many extended families throughout Pennsylvania and Southern New Jersey in a variety of ways. Through marriages, businesses and associations we hope to uncover the story of our ancestors.
It may not look like much has been taking place, but a lot has been happening in the background. We now have over 25,000 individuals listed in the Genealogy section, many with stories or short articles attached. Census information and articles are being transcribed regularly. You will also find a great deal of research on the Bosworth Family. While not the focus of our website, the effort of family members who researched the line was too great to not include their entire branch.
The Family pages (Hammitt, Fennell, Barnes-Bosworth) are beginning to take shape.
Here you will find information about key families in the Genealogy section, how the families are connected and where we believe they originated. We also identify the earliest documented ancestors for each family to help you begin your search. These pages are a work in progress. As we move forward we will begin adding the names of individuals who held important roles in each family.
A few new areas have been added to the sidebar on the right.
The “Quick Look” section provides links to the Surnames and Places pages. On the Surnames page you will find a list of the top 30 names currently included in the Genealogy Section. The Places page will list the top 30 places where family members lived at various times. Each list expands further once you are logged into the Genealogy section.
Our “Topics of Interest” section is designed to hold information important to the website or of special interest to those involved in the never ending search for our ancestors. This is where you’ll find a link to our “Updates and Changes” page that will list corrections and changes as they are made to the families in the Genealogy section. Much like our Family Pages, this area is also a work in progress that will evolve over time.
Once again, welcome and we hope you’ll join us on our journey through the generations!
Our research does not tell us the origin of the Hammitt family, but the journal entries of Joachim Hammitt have guided us in the search for our ancestors. Sometime around 1941 Joachim wrote:
In the early 1700 hundreds the Hammitts settled in New Jersey built a white cedar log house for a home. My ancestors name was “Isaac”. . .
The Hammitt family represents the roots of our project and while we are still searching for records confirming the family of the original Isaac, we have documented many of the descendants of Samuel Hammitt and Jane Simmons. Samuel and Jane had 8 children, 4 sons and 4 daughters. Their sons, Isaac and John Kille, were shipbuilders. John K’s shipyard was in Philadelphia, along the Delaware River in the Kensington area. Isaac Hammitt was one of the Kensington shipbuilders called upon to build Commodore Perry’s flagship, the USS Brig Niagara. Isaac is reported to have joined the squadron in the 1813 Battle of Lake Erie. Samuel’s daughter, Jane Hammitt married Peter Deal, Jr and settled in Salem County, New Jersey. Daughters Mary and Bathsheba remain somewhat of a mystery, as does Josiah. Son, Thomas, died fairly young, leaving behind a wife, Elizabeth Gominger Hammitt and 5 children. Daughter, Elizabeth, married John G Stevenson and also settled in Salem County.
Hammitt families are found living throughout Southern New Jersey. The loss of early New Jersey records has made it difficult to confirm how the families are related. Changes to county boundaries and long forgotten town names make it even more difficult. But we keep finding clues that confirm their existence, from marriage records, newspaper accounts and petitions we have pieced together several families. Branching out to the families they married into and tracing their histories may be the only way of finding answers.
We still have a lot to discover, but we have also covered a great deal of territory. You’ll find the Hammitt line represented on both trees in the Genealogy section. Since our research methods and interests tend to lead us to different discoveries you may also find differences in our interpretation of the records. Uncovering and reviewing those differences is what has lead us to some pretty interesting discoveries.
The Fennell family connects to the Hammitt line in 1923 when Ruth Eva Fennell married Isaac Edwin Hammitt on October 6th. Isaac was the 2x’s great grandson of Samuel Hammitt and Jane Simmons. The photo featured in the header of the website is of Isaac and his children.
Currently the family is represented in Cheryl’s tree. This branch of the tree holds the records of over 1000 Fennell descendants and ancestors. From church beginnings to the discovery of oil, the Fennell families played a large part in the settling of Western Pennsylvania. Although family events and accomplishments are well documented the progenitor of the family is not.
Like other Fennell researchers we have relied heavily on The Fennell Chronicles, by Mrs. Raymond Ralston. Mrs. Ralston’s accounting identifies Frederick Fehnel, Sr. as the “earliest Fennell ancestor” and one of four brothers. In a letter to Mrs. Ralston, Lt. Col. Fennell identifies the four as: Christopher, Frederick, Conrad and Abraham. He also wrote that tradition tells us the family “fled Germany during the prosecution of Protestants to England during 1702 – 1709, thence coming to America”.
Newspaper accounts from 1911 reported the first Fehnel reunion, held at the Moorestown church in Moorestown, Northampton County, Pennsylvania. Attended by over 60 families from seven states, the reunion was held to honor the memory of Gottlieb Fehnel. It was reported that Gottlieb had “settled in Northampton County in the early part of the eighteenth century” having landed “from Odenwald, Germany.