Following is a more detailed version of my article published by the New England Historic Genealogical Society in the American Ancestors Magazine, Volume 20, no.1, Spring 2019, page 43-47. References (®) are within the text and listed at the end.
Who Did Nicholas Munger Marry?
WHAT THE H?LL
Who did Nicholas Munger marry, Sarah Hull or Sarah Hall? Copy artists today are more apt to say Sarah Hall. For a graphic image of this practice see Ancestry Trees or WikiTree. Researchers using original records will say Sarah Hull. This article will examine which surname is accurate for Sarah, wife of Nicholas Munger born in England about 1628, lived in New Haven and Guilford, Connecticut from about 1639 to his death, age 40 or so, in 1668.
In his article “Guilford Vital Records,” The American Genealogist, Volume 13, page 88, Donald Lines Jacobus states, “Copied by Donald Lines Jacobus” from Town Records, Book A. On page 90 his entry for Munger, Nicholas reads “married Hall, Sarah 2 June 1659.” Jacobus references page 62 of Town Book A. His work was done in the early 1920s. He acknowledges assistance from The New Haven Colony Historical Society “for aid granted ... to copy and verify these records. ®TAG 13:88, 90
Is Jacobus’s entry in this transcription correct? The entry in the original Town Book A page 62, shown below, reads “Nicholas Munger & Sarah Hull were maryed the 2∂ day of June Ano 1659”
Courtesy Anna Dwyer, Town Clerk, and Joel Helander, Town Historian, Guilford, Connecticut. March 11, 2018.
Comparing the “a”s in Sarah and “maryed” with the vowel in Sarah’s surname, note the “a”s are closed and the vowel in Sarah’s surname is open. Comparing the “u” in Munger with the vowel in Sarah’s surname, note the similarity. Sarah’s surname is Hull not Hall. Why Jacobus interpreted the vowel in Sarah’s surname as “a” rather than “u” we will never know, but he did.
Before Jacobus others had used the original Guilford Town Record books for their own purposes. The Rev. Thomas Ruggle wrote A Sketch of a History of Guilford... published in 1795, but his manuscript contained only town related material.®Collections of the Massachusetts Historical Society, Ser.1, Vol. 4. See also Collections of the Massachusetts Historical Society, Vol. X, pp.90-101. Boston, 1809. Internet Resources.
In order of publication date, James Savage’s Genealogical Dictionary of the First Settlers of New England is next. Volume 3, published in 1861, does contain an entry for Munger on page 254 which includes Nicholas and his marriage date of 2 June 1659 to Sarah Hull, not Hall. Savage does not cite his sources specifically but claims that either he or friends examined the public records of “Colonies, Counties, and towns”.®Savage, James. Genealogical Dictionary of the First Settlers of New England. Boston, Little Brown and Company, 1861. Internet Resource
Ralph Dunning Smyth/Smith was the next to prepare a history of Guilford. Smith settled in Guilford in 1831, right after he was admitted to the bar, and lived there until his death. In 1848 he became a probate judge, which undoubtedly whetted his interest in the history of Guilford and its families. Smith died in 1874 before any of his manuscripts were published. Son-in-law Lewis H. Steiner inherited his manuscripts. Steiner edited Smith’s history and in 1877 published it under the title Guilford, Connecticut from Its First Settlement in 1639. In the front matter, Steiner gave credit to Alvan Talcott for assistance in preparing the manuscript for the press.®p. 6, Munsell, 1877, Internet Resource. As published, Smith’s manuscript did not include genealogical data, but his other manuscripts did.
Born in the same year as Smith, 1804, Alvan Talcott also had an interest in Guilford and its families. Talcott’s wife was from Guilford and she was a Chittenden, a direct descendant of William Chittenden, one of Guilford’s founders. Talcott practiced medicine. After living and working in Vernon, Connecticut for ten years the family moved to Guilford in 1841. Talcott took an active roll in town activities. He also served as Registrar of Guilford which gave him access to original town records. From these, Talcott compiled a genealogy of his wife’s family, the Chittendens, which he published first in 1882.® Talcott, Alvan, Chittenden Family: William Chittenden of Guilford, Conn., and his Descendants. New Haven, Tuttle, Morehouse & Taylor, 1882. Internet Resource.
Talcott also used the town records for his manuscript titled “Guilford town records showing all births, marriages and deaths recorded in the town records 1639 - 1889.” In essence, this was the first transcription of the Guilford vital records. Talcott’s entry from list of marriages for M is shown below. Below that is Talcott’s entry of marriages for H.
Note in both entries it seems Talcott wrote Hull instead of Hall and someone crossed out the Hull and wrote Hall, in red ink. According to Ed Suarto of the New Haven Colony Historical Society, Whitney Library, “There are numerous corrections in ... [Talcott’s] records. All are done with what appears to be the same red pen by the same hand. It doesn’t look to me like the hand that wrote the original Hull.” ®Suarto to Munger, email, Tuesday, April 3, 2018 Now the mystery deepens. Who did make the changes, Talcott, Jacobus, Ricker, or someone else?
After he retired from his medical practice Talcott probably used his vital records manuscript to prepare his two volume manuscript “Record of all the families in Guilford between 1639 and 1888,” 612 pages. A portion of the Munger page is below. Here, Sarah’s surname is Hall, but is it in Talcott’s handwriting? A clue as to whose handwriting it was may exist in the note above the number 1 in the left column referring to Nicholas Munger, “came over with Wm Chittenden; 16 years old” [for which a record is wanting]. Who might make that entry, Talcott, Jacobus? Certainly the M in Munger across the top of the page is the same as in the previous manuscripts, but it is not the same as in the text, nor are the Hs. Perhaps it makes no difference who did the handwriting, the conflict between Hull and Hall had been introduced.
These Talcott manuscripts were not published during his lifetime. He died in 1891 and sometime thereafter the manuscripts were donated to the New Haven Colony Historical Society. Curiously, their processing date is September, 1978. A copy of Talcott’s manuscript of families of Guilford is on the shelves of the Whitney library. Working with the New Haven Colony Historical Society for the Connecticut Society of Genealogists, Jacquelyn L. Ricker edited and prepared Talcott’s manuscript for publication. Under the title, Families of Early Guilford. Connecticut, the Genealogical Publishing Co. printed the book in 1984 and reprinted in 1997 and 2010. That book uses Hall for Sarah’s surname. The book is for sale in print, or as an ebook and is available on the Internet so it is easy to use and copy.
Shortley after Talcott died, Bernard C. Steiner, brought Ralph Dunning Smith’s genealogies of Guilford families to light. Academic historian and librarian of the Enoch Pratt Free Library in Baltimore, Maryland, Bernard C. Steiner was Smith’s grandson. In 1893 Steiner began sending Smith’s genealogies to the New England Historic and Genealogical Society for publication in the Register. One of these genealogical sketches and outlines was of “Nicholas Munger of Guilford (Conn) and his Descendants.”®NEHGS Register, Jan. 1900, Vol. 54, p. 46-50. americanancestors.org. In the sketch, Smith used Hull for Sarah’s surname.
The publication of these sketches and genealogical outlines becomes more interesting after reading an 1886 comment in the Register that Talcott had nearly completed “extended genealogical notes” for many early Guilford families including Munger.® “Notes and Queries,” NEHGR (1886), 40: 209 These were never published during Talcott’s life although the manuscripts were deposited at the New Haven Colony Historical Society as stated earlier.
Talcott’s seventeen page manuscript on the Munger family would have given Jeremiah B. Munger a remarkable start on The Munger Book and may account for naming Sarah Hall not Sarah Hull as marrying Nicholas Munger June 2, 1659.®The Munger Book, xvi Jeremiah B. Munger spent the years 1894 through 1914 researching and compiling The Munger Book. ®Notes, NEHGR, Vol. 64, No. 253, Jan.1910, p. 89. He had always been knowledgable of his own family’s background and he had the use of a small trunkload of old records lent by a cousin. By profession a house, sign and carriage painter, Jeremiah B. Munger later became an India ink and crayon portrait artist. After Munger’s wife died, he traveled widely to examin records, locations, whatever he thought necessary, for as he wrote, “A genealogist stops at nothing-he disturbs the dead, and irritates the living, in his quest for information.” He also covered his tail by plainly stating, “Doubtless I have made mistakes-perfection is hardly to be expected in a work of this kind.”®Munger, iv
One of those mistakes he anticipated was to give Sarah the surname Hall, a second was to give her parents as William and Esther Hall. Even Talcott did not go that far. Talcott did not give Sarah any parents. Talcott correctly gave William and H/Esther Hall of Guilford only two sons, no daughters.®Talcott and Ricker 579; Hall, The Halls of New England.
Succeeding transcriptions and copies of transcriptions of Guilford Town Book A give Sarah’s surname as Hull. Charles H. Post, 1844-1927, was the next person to work on the Guilford Town Records. Town Clerk from before 1900 to after 1910, Post transcribed the very worn Guilford Town Book A and placed the original in the vault to be used only for a special need. The LDS microfilmed Post’s transcribed copy in 1985 and it is now digitized for online use. Post’s transcription for Nicholas Munger’s marriage reads as below: “Nicholas Munger & Sarah Hull were maryed the 2∂ day of June Ano 1659.” Note Hull not Hall for Sarah’s surname.
Post also composed the online index to the Guilford town books, Vol.A, Vol.1, Vol.2, Vol.3, Vol.4, Vol.2 1/2 covering the period 1639 to 1905. For Munger, Marriages, Book A the entry reads as below. Note Hull not Hall for Sarah on the same line as Nicholas and the same page: 62. Certainly these two transcriptions by Post mean that he thought the vowel in Sarah’s surname was a “u.”
The Guilford volume of the Barbour Collection of Connecticut Town Vital Records also has Sarah’s surname as Hull. In the early 1920s the transcriber, James N. Arnold, used a copy of the original Book A as noted at the beginning of the volume. Arnold used Hull not Hall for Sarah’s surname. Arnold worked for Lucius B. Barbour, Connecticut’s Examiner of Public Records 1911-1934. Barbour published the Arnold version of Guilford Vital records in 1924. His brief introduction states “The entries from the volume known as ‘Volume A’ were made from a copy of the original.” This means he used Post’s copy. The Arnold copy, not the copy from which he transcribed, was placed in the Connecticut State Library. The published version, part of the Barbour set, under Munger on page 177, shows “Nicholas, m.Sarah Hull, June 2,1659 A 62.”
Furthermore, of the ten entries for a Sarah Hall in the Guilford Barbour book none show a marriage to Nicholas Munger. The earliest entry for a Sarah Hall is dated 1744. There is no entry for the 1600s. The only entry for William or Esther Hall in the 1600s is “William, bd. [buried] Mar.8.1668/9 A 67 and Will[ia]m, freeman 1669-70 A 121. There is an entry under Hull for “Sarah, m, Nicholas Munger, June 2, 1659 A 62.” See the NEHGS version of the Guilford, Barbour Collection online at americanancestors.org. The findings are the same for the Ancestry.com version of the Barbour collection.
Torrey’s New England Marriages Prior to 1700 deviates from the Guilford volume of the Barbour collection; at least all versions of Torrey published before 2001. Clarence Almon Torrey compiled his marriage index from “standard, well-known references,” over 2,500 printed works. Begun in 1927, Torrey worked on this project in the old New England Historic and Genealogicl Society library compiling thirteen cartons of manuscript material which were donated to the Society after his death in 1962. His work “lists every married seventeenth-century New Englander of whom he could find any record in any printed work ..., through roughly 1960.” Nevertheless, Torrey used Hall, not Hull for Nicholas Munger’s wife Sarah’s surname as shown below from page 527 or image 542 on Ancestry.com. ®Roberts, Gary Boyd, “Introduction,” in Clarence Almon Torrey, New England Marriages Prior to 1700. Baltimore, Genealogical Publishing Co., Inc., v-xvi.
By 2001 the entry in Torrey for Nicholas Munger had changed. For a CD-ROM of that year, eleven researchers compared original sources with Torrey entries and added the results when different. Thus the 2011 printed edition and the 2015 online edition at americanancestors.org are the up-to-date versions. Note that the expanded entry includes reference to the Guilford Vital Records which gives Hull as Sarah’s surname. ®Dearborn, David Curtis, Introduction. Torrey’s New England Marriages Prior to 1700. americanancestors.org
So, what of the Hall possibility for the surname of Sarah who married Nicholas Munger? The above discussion should eliminate that possibility. If it does not, let’s try to find the Sarah Halls that could have married Nicholas Munger in 1659. Guilford is the first place to look, but we find none in the colony or town records 1639 to 1659 when the marriage occurred. Likewise, there was no Sarah Hall in Milford. ®Milford Vital Records in Connecticut Vital Records (The Barbour Collection), 1630-1870. Guilford, established 1639, and Milford, established 1640, were towns of the original New Haven Colony. If not in either Guilford or Milford was there a Sarah Hall in New Haven at the proper time? According to Charles J. Hoadly’s Records of the colony and plantation of New-Haven, from 1638 to 1649 New Haven had no Sarah Hall during those years, nor was there a William Hall or Esther Hall.®Internet Resource In 1664, however, a Sarah Hall married Wingle Johnson in December, but she could not be the Sarah Hall who married Nicholas Munger as he was already married and still alive at the same time.®New Haven Vital Records, 1649-1850. americanancestors.org
The preponderance of evidence takes us back to Sarah Hull as the woman who married Nicholas Munger. As early as the 1950s Edith Bartlett Sumner recognized Hull as the surname of the Sarah who married Nicholas Munger. Sumner included a sketch of Sarah’s father, Andrew Hull, in her book Ancestry and Descendants of Amaziah Hall and Betsey Baldwin, frequently referred to as Hall-Baldwin. The sketch included mention of Sarah, her sister, Hannah, her uncle Richard, her mother, C/Katherine and her step-father, Richard Beech/Beach, all of New Haven Colony.®Sumner, 103-4 Sumner also included a shorter sketch of Sarah. Sumner’s sources included the Barbour Collection and Donald Lines Jacobus’ outline of the Richard Beach family in volume 1, page 147-48 of The American Genealogist. Before Sumner published her book, Donald Lines Jacobus had published volume IV, 1927, of his Families of Ancient New Haven in The American Genealogist. His entry for Andrew Hull on page 872 shows daughters Hannah and Sarah b [baptized] 4 Oct 1640.®New Haven, CT: Families of Ancient New Haven. americanancestors.org. Originally published as New Haven Genealogical Magazine, vol. IV, 1927. Rome, New York. Unfortunately, Jacobus did not connect this entry with his work on Guilford Vital Records. However, Sumner relied specifically on the Guilford, Connecticut Vital Records in the Barbour Collection for her statement “Sarah married in Guilford, Conn., on June 2, 1659*, Nicholas Munger....”
Referring to a more recent time, we have Robert C. Anderson’s Great Migration Project. In his Immigrants to New England, 1634-1635, Volume III, G-H, page 452-53, Anderson has a sketch of Andrew Hull, Freeman of New Haven on 29 October 1640, with all the necessary qualifications where records are lacking. The sketch includes daughters Hannah Hull and Sarah Hull. Both girls were baptized on the same day, 4 October 1640 as recorded in the New Haven Church Records. Sarah was the younger of the two and she was living on 6 March 1654/5 when one of her stepfather’s debtors agreed to pay the debt [her legacy] to the New Haven court for her use.®NHTR 1:231
We do know a few other details about Sarah Hull’s early life. She would not have known her father since he died when she was very young, not more than two years old. An inventory of his estate was delivered to the New Haven Court 6 January 1641 and would have included his slightly more than 2 acre house lot at the end of the neck on Mill River where the family lived.®NHCR, 47 ®Brockett’s Map of New Haven By October, Sarah gained a stepfather for by then her mother had married Richard Beach/Beech, a neighbor across Mill River, and was pregnant with their first child. As part of the marriage agreement Sarah and sister Hannah were to have fifteen pounds ten shillings each from their father’s estate when they were at age.® NHTR 1:214 To secure this amount Beach needed to collateralize Andrew Hull’s house and lot considered to be worth about 30£. The house could not be sold.®Hoadly, NHCR: 124, announced at the town court 8 February 1643/4
In June, 1642 Sarah’s half-sister, Mary, was born and in October, 1644 Sarah’s half-brother, Benjamin, was born. Sarah was no longer the youngest in the family. About this time stepfather, Richard Beech, sold his own house to William Pecke. The town court announced in January, 1645/6 that the new security for the children of Andrew Hull would be part of the value of Richard Beech’s current seven acres of land, house, barn, and cellar which were “completely finished being built with brick and stone” and kept in repair. This property was valued at 40 £.®Hoadly, NHCR: 184 Another half-brother, Azariah, joined Sarah in July, 1646.
Sarah also had another relative in New Haven Colony, Richard Hull. His relationship is not documented, but in April, 1651 the court warned Richard Hull to give to Richard Beech, in security, the amount of the value of his house and land which was promised for the children of Andrew Hull. ®Dexter, NHTR 1:69 Later, in November, 1657 Richard Hull referred to Hannah Hull as his kinswoman when he asked court permission to place two cattle from her estate, with her permission, into the hand of another person.®Dexter, NHTR 1:328 Several researchers including Charles H. Weygant, The Hull Family in America and those who post on Wikitree have thought that Richard Hull and Andrew Hull were brothers. Although there are no written records proving brothership, those sources are worth consulting. Certainly, the New Haven Town Court would not have held Richard Hull responsible for a portion of Andrew Hull’s estate if there were no relationship.
By 1654 Sarah’s sister Hannah was “at age,” meaning she should legally receive her portion of her father’s estate. Under English law, Hannah would have been eighteen years old. Sarah would be receiving her portion “at the time appointed,” probably 29 September 1656. These terse statements allow us to assume that Hannah was born in 1636 and Sarah in 1638. Stepfather Richard Beech was also preparing to move to New Jersey so the town court intervened on behalf of the sisters before he could leave. Upon appraisal, the land and house held in security had lost value over the years and was appraised at fourteen to fifteen pounds rather than the earlier thirty pounds. At a private court meeting at the Governor’s house 15 December 1654 to consider how Sarah and Hannah’s portions should be paid, the court decided to reduce their inheritance to thirteen pounds each, but only sixteen pounds total was available. Hannah received her thirteen pounds, immediately. The remaining three pounds was paid to Sarah and invested for her while her remaining ten pounds was to be paid “at the time appointed,” the 29th of September 1656.®Dexter, NHTR 1:214, 220-21, 228-29
New Haven records for Sarah stop at this time, but one final record appears in Guilford, her marriage to Nicholas Munger 2 June 1659. Nicholas might have known of Sarah through his stepfather, Henry Goldham, with whom we presume he came to Connecticut from England. Goldham lived in New Haven before being called to Guilford. Nicholas would have been a teen when, in February 1644/45, the New Haven Town Court freed “Goodma Goldam” from standing watch and training due to his weakness and was asked, only if he could afford it, to find a substitute for the watch. ®Hoadly, NHCR: 156 Within the year, by March 5, 1645/46, Goldham appears in the Guilford records owning land on the west side of John Stone.®GTR: 2:9 That did not prevent him from sending a letter to the New Haven Town Court in February 1648/49 testifying to the existence of an old order about how to pay town rates when a person is called to remove out of town. ®Hoadly, NHCR: 432 These examples are mentioned to show a continuing relationship between residents of New Haven and Guilford. Although they lived in different towns, it would not have been unusual for Nicholas and Sarah, both from the lower socioeconomic level, to marry.
As in this case of Sarah Hull versus Sarch Hall, researchers should exercise extra caution when finding different “facts” for the same person in different sources. When in doubt about which “fact” is correct, researchers should return to the original record. When the original record is not available, for whatever reason, researchers should use a microfilm copy of the original record. FamilySearch.org is especially noted for that purpose. When a microfilm copy of the original record is not available, researchers should use the first transcript of the original record. If the first transcript is not available, researchers should compare secondary transcripts. Finally, researchers should compare reputable secondary sources. After all documents have been studied, researchers should be able to judge which “fact” or “facts” are correct. After tracing the evidence from the one existing original record through virtually every reputable transcription and secondary source, the preponderance of evidence should convince us that Sarah Hull was the name of the woman who married Nicholas Munger in Guilford, Connecticut on 2 June 1659.
Note 1. One more New Haven record does exist for sister Hannah, her marriage to Edmund Dorman December 25, 1662. ® VRNH 1649-1850: 19
Dexter, Franklin Bowditch. Ancient Town Records: New Haven Town Records, Vol. 1, 1649-1662. New Haven, CT: Printed for the New Haven Colony Historical Society by Tuttle, Morehouse & Taylor Press, 1917. Internet Resource. [NHTR]
Great Migration 1634-1635, G-H. Online database. AmericanAncestors.org. New England Historic Genealogical Society, 2009, pp. 452-53. Originally published as: The Great Migration, Immigrants to New England, 1634-1635, Volume III, G-H, by Robert Charles Anderson. Boston: New England Historic Genealogical Society, 2003.
Guilford, Connecticut. Town Clerk. Records of births, marriages, and deaths, 1639-1905. LDS Film 1428110, 1985; Digitized Online Film No. 7731271; FamilySearch.org [This is a copy of Charles H. Post’s transcription, not of the original Town Record Book]. [GTR]
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Talcott, Alvan, and Jacquelyn L. Ricker. Families of Early Guilford, Connecticut. Baltimore: Reprinted for Clearfield Co. by Genealogical Pub. Co, 1997, 2010. Print. Internet Resource. see also Eells, Nettie B. Some Guilford (conn.) Families from Dr. Alvan Talcott's Manuscript of Guilford (conn.) Families. Salt Lake City, Utah: Filmed by the Genealogical Society of Utah, 1941. Print at NY Public Library; Film at Family History Library.
Torrey, Clarence Almon. New England Marriages Prior to 1700. Boston, New England Historic Genealogical Society, 1966 - 1985 print; 2001 CD; 2011 print; 2015 ebook; Baltimore, Genealogical Publishing Company, 1981 - 2009.
Weygant, Charles H. The Hull Family in America. Pittsfield, Mass., The Sun Printing Co., 1900, Print and various editions to 2002, Salem, Massachusetts: Higginson Book Co., Internet Resource.