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'Same Name' Shenanigans

I’ve been meaning to dive into Amy Johnson Crow’s 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks for what seems like 52 years. Finally, even though we are already a few weeks into 2020, here is my first post under the given topic for this week: “Same Name.”

I have a couple of choices for this theme. The simple one is that my mother, Permilla Ann Wherry, was named for her grandmother, Permilla Esther May. Where I grew up in Northwest Ohio, the name Permilla was rare, and Mom went by several nicknames – mostly "Pam", but many people called her “Pete” and my Aunt Max, her sister, always called her “Tudy” – or was it "Tootie"? I never asked.

Through the years, as I have researched for clients and others, I’ve found Permilla – also spelled Permillia – to have been a rather popular girl’s name in the the eastern and southern states in the 1800s.

But another “same name” scenario has given me many a headache through the decades.

Meet my father’s paternal grandfather – Josiah Peter Hackett (1844-1936), a Civil War veteran show here wearing his GAR-Michigan pin while attending the 50th anniversary reunion of the Blue and Gray at Gettysburg, Pennsylvania.

When I first began researching his line, I discovered that Josiah Peter had been named for his grandfather, Josiah Hackett (1774-1845), who married Abigail Rathbone, and also for his great-grandfather, Josiah Hackett (1754-1845), who married Abigail Conant.

There are other Josiahs among cousins in this Hackett family. But the most confounding one that keeps messing with my research is not actually related – at least not closely – to the eldest Josiah listed above.

This "other" Josiah Hackett has been my nemesis for almost 30 years.


Well, because this man, who has the same name as my 4th great-grandfather, was born and died in nearly the same time period, and many, many online trees have included him in the family, instead of the man I know to be MY Josiah Hackett, my fourth-great-grandfather.

My Josiah was born in Middleboro, Plymouth, Massachusetts, near Taunton, where his second-great-grandfather, Jabez Hackett/Hacket, settled about 1644. An iron worker, my fellow Hackett researchers believe Jabez was originally from Ireland, but had been recruited in London, England, to work for the Taunton Iron Works in the New World.

I am not completely certain, but I have evidence that suggests my Josiah Hackett died on 4 July 1845 in Jefferson County, New York. Finding proof of this is one of my longest-held goals.

I do know that Josiah’s grandson, Samuel Rathbone Hackett (my second-great-grandfather, 1809-1877, who had several siblings, including yet another Josiah, born in 1815) met and married my second-great-grandmother Lovina Amanda Roberson (originally from Huntingdon, New Jersey) in Waterloo, Seneca County, New York, in 1833.

Samuel's grandparents, Josiah and Abigail Conant, were living in Westmoreland, Cheshire County, New Hampshire, where their 10 children were born. Documents, including a manuscript written by Josiah Peter Hackett in the 1930s, seem to confirm these facts.

According to information I have found in searches, including here, the "imposter" Josiah Hackett was born 15 Jun 1758 in Lyme, New London, Connecticut; married Mary E. Booth in Dartmouth, Massachusetts in 1777; and died in Oxford, Chenango County, New York, on 4 Jul 1845 – allegedly the same day as my great-grandfather’s great-grandfather. Coincidence? Error? I cannot say. I've also seen the day and month with the year 1847.

Confused yet?

Then let this sink in: Both men served in the Revolutionary War, as well, at almost the same time.

My Josiah served in Ashley’s Regiment of the New Hampshire Militia, entering the army on 16 Nov 1776, even though he previously signed papers stating he was a Quaker and therefore would not fight.

Imposter Josiah, according to documents found on, served in the Massachusetts Militia in 1775 and in the Rhode Island Militia in 1776, rising to the rank of orderly sergeant under the command of Capt. Benjamin Lawrence. My Josiah served for about three weeksh and never rose above the rank of private.

As I write this blog post, I realize I really have to write a proof argument on this man. On Ancestry, there are 245 trees listing “Josiah Hackett (mConant),” 408 trees listing “Josiah ‘Si’ Hackett,” and 208 trees listing “Josiah Hackett.” Every single tree in either category of these trees that I checked while writing this piece, even though they seemed to be well-documented, had conflated either the vital records or military records of these men. Some had the correct names of my Josiah’s wife and children, but had added a document showing the date and place where the imposter was buried.

In fact, one tree, shown below, has a Josiah Hackett married to both Abigail Conant and Mary E. Booth!

Clearly, I have a lot of work to do.

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Wow! You definitely do have quite the case to document! Doing a proof argument should most definitely be helpful. And congratulations for starring the 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks party 😀

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