Monday, December 5, 2011

Monday Madness: Is it Molly or Mary?

I've been tracing down my distant female Connecticut ancestors and in the spirit of Geneabloggers, I thought I'd share the one that is currently driving me mad.

Molly Graves was from the East Haddam or Lyme area. Born in Connecticut in 1763, she married Abiel Stark, Senior. Her son Abiel was born in 1790. I've checked the usual online sources and have a trip to that area planned. And right now, that's all I know.

Why I am dead-ending? First of all, there are the usual issues with tracing a female. Molly is well recorded in genealogies for the Stark family only after she married Abiel. Her primary purpose, according to the family genealogists, was to be his wife and Abiel, Jr's mother. There was no reason to find out more about her. Second, I have a sneaking suspicion I'm looking for the wrong name. Molly could have been born Mary or Margaret, according to several baby name website.

I'll be starting the search again slowly. This time I'll be looking for the extra information. Who knows what I'll find?


  1. Isn't it interesting how females were only noted for marriage and children? We all know who probably ran the household. I have the same issue for several of my lines. Hopefully your onsite visit will turn up something!

  2. My goodness, I live in Londonderry, New Hampshire where there was a very famous woman named Molly Stark. She was born 1737 and was the wife of General John Stark, who was at the Battle of Bennington. Is there a family link between the two women?

  3. Very possibly. There's a Mary Stark in the family line, married to a Revolutionary soldier named John. The family genealogy is blurry as to his residence. If that is the same Mary, she would have been the cousin by marriage of my Mary.

  4. I specialize in Massachusetts naming patterns, and in this time period, Connecticut's were very similar. Molly was a common nickname for Mary, as was Polly, especially if there was another close female relative named Mary (and wasn't there always?). I have never seen Molly used for Margaret - the typical nickname for Margaret was Peg or Peggy. Hopefully you'll be able to find more when you visit the area. Good Luck!