The Search for Hannah Hobart’s Missing Husbands

I recently went searching through newspaper records for information about the family of John Doane of Eastham for the next Early New England Families (ENEF) sketch. Newspaper resources about 17th– and 18th-century families are rare, but do exist for larger cities such as Boston. I happened upon the following abstract from the Boston New-Letter:

Scan of handwritten record which reads: “Doane, Hannah, w[ife]. John, d[aughter] Capt. Joshua Hobart of Hingham, (twice a wid[ow]. when she m. Doane), at Eastham, apoplexy, Sept. 4, 1731.”

“Doane, Hannah, w[ife]. John, d[aughter] Capt. Joshua Hobart of Hingham, (twice a wid[ow]. when she m. Doane), at Eastham, apoplexy, Sept. 4, 1731.”1

Um. I had the marriage of Hannah Hobart to John Doane, all right, but two more husbands?

Previously, I had investigated Hannah (Hobart) Doane when writing the ENEF sketch for her father, Joshua Hobart.2 There, I had identified her sole husband as John Doane. Backtracking now, I found the entries in Clarence Torrey’s New England Marriages Prior to 17003 for John Doane who married Hannah (Hobart) Snell, and for Samuel Snell who married Hannah Hubbard.

Hannah Hubbard/Hobart of Hingham married Samuel Snell of Piscataqua sometime after a bond was filed in Boston on 12 January 1687. Hingham vital records include the birth of a child Hannah, daughter of Samuel Snell, on 28 March 1689[/90], and her death on 14 September 1690. Samuel Snell, “late of Boston, mariner,” died in Boston by October 1690, when his widow Hannah petitioned for administration of his estate. One of the co-signers of Hannah’s administrator’s bond was Edward Cowell, husband of Hannah’s sister Sarah Hobart—both of whom were daughters of Joshua Hobart.

One lost husband found, one to go.

If Hannah (Hobart) Snell married someone between Samuel Snell and John Doane, it had to have been between 8 November 1690, when Hannah Snell was awarded administration on Samuel Snell’s estate, and 5 March 169[5/]6, when Joshua Doane, son of John and wife Hannah, was born. A global search through Torrey’s Marriages produced no viable Hannah Snell who married before 1700. No marriage records for John Doane, Jr., to anyone, including Hannah Snell, were found.

Hannah Hobart’s father, Joshua Hobart, died before her first marriage. In June 1685, her mother, as Hellen Hobart, deeded property to “Loving and Obedient Child Hannah Hobart of Hingham,…in Consideration of her marriage approaching”—which would have been the one to Samuel Snell, although the intended groom was not named in the deed. The next step in this journey will be to search probate records, etc., of Hannah Hobart’s siblings to see if they might have mentioned their sister during her brief third marriage.

I must accept that I have spent a bit too much time fiddling around with “other spouses of daughters-in-law” to warrant delaying the ENEF sketch for John Doane, Jr., any longer. I will also update the online version of the Joshua Hobart sketch with what I have found. Should I turn up more information, the online sketches for both Hobart and Doane will be appropriately updated.4



1, “U.S. Newspaper Extractions from the Northeast, 1704-1930, vol. 2, Deaths outside Boston,” 310. Hannah’s husband, John Doane “3 rd” (1664-1755) was son of John Doane, Jr. (ca. 1635-1708), subject of the in-progress ENEF sketch.

2 Early Families of New England (Original Online Database:, New England Historic Genealogical Society, Alicia Crane Williams, Lead Genealogist), Joshua Hobart; Alicia Crane Williams,Early New England Families 1641-1700, Volume I (Boston: 2015, errata et corrigenda 2021), 217-33.

Clarence Almon Torrey, New England Marriages Prior to 1700, 3 vols. (Boston: 2011) Torrey’s New England Marriages Prior to 1700. (Online database. NEHGS, 2008)

When ENEF sketches in the American Ancestors database are updated, a “version” number and year are added to the headers, e.g. V.2 (2022). Headers without any version numbers are all Version 1.

About Alicia Crane Williams

Alicia Crane Williams, FASG, Lead Genealogist of Early Families of New England Study Project, has compiled and edited numerous important genealogical publications including The Mayflower Descendant and the Alden Family “Silver Book” Five Generations project of the Mayflower Society. Most recently, she is the author of the 2017 edition of The Babson Genealogy, 1606-2017, Descendants of Thomas and Isabel Babson who first arrived in Salem, Massachusetts, in 1637. Alicia has served as Historian of the Massachusetts Society of Mayflower Descendants, Assistant Historian General at the General Society of Mayflower Descendants, and as Genealogist of the Alden Kindred of America. She earned a bachelor’s degree from the University of Connecticut and a master’s degree in History from Northeastern University.

8 thoughts on “The Search for Hannah Hobart’s Missing Husbands

  1. That is one good story relating how important it is to collect every bit of information, record it and react to it. An obscure, poorly transcribed note in a death certificate recently told me that the dead person’s father was born in Paupack, PA and that linked him from his 1805-ish birth in Pennsylvania to New York and back to Pennsylvania. Now to find where the father of the father, Barzilla King, came from around the latter 1790’s, said by his daughter in 1880 to be New York.

  2. This is like when I found a new wife for my gggrandfather every week or so. That was back in the day when I was just getting started and thought the 2nd wife, mother of the kids, was the only wife. Boy, was I wrong!!

  3. Very interesting article. Thanks for sharing. Recognizing both family names from my Mayflower tree, I then checked the lines and as it turns out Hannah Hobart is my 1st cousin 11 times removed and John Doane is my 1st cousin 9 times removed. New England was a small place at that time.

    Your story does drive home a significant point though, and that is never fully discount info on a death record because sometimes scratching beyond the surface can bring a major breakthrough. I recently had a similar breakthrough on my own tree when after many years of feeling that the mother’s name on my 3x ggm’s death certificate was just incorrect, I finally found out that it was actually (we believe) her grandmother’s name. Since her mother died when she was very young, she was likely raised by her grandmother and thus the only maiden name known by the children. Once I made the changes in the Ancestry tree, many new DNA connections popped up to substantiate the find. Brick Wall finally broken down.

  4. I have a Hobart mystery. In some places it says that John Coomes of Northampton married an Elizabeth Hobart as his second wife. Two of the men who fit the ages and names of this couple ended up in Eastham. I have never been able to find this Elizabeth Hobart or prove the connection with Northampton.

  5. Alicia, I read this with interest. I descend from Edmund Hobart Sr. born in Hingham, England and lived and I believe died here in Hingham, MA. Is this the same family to your knowledge? This is not a line I have researched extensively, in my software I see only basic info about the earlier gens. My 8th ggrandmother Elizabeth Hobart (c1635-1707) was the daughter of Edmund Hobart, the family mostly of Hingham. She married a Tucker and they come down in my Mayflower line from Richard Warren. I’d love to know more about the Hobarts but have not had the opportunity to work on it. Perhaps there is particular Hobart genealogy or some other repository where I’d find more than just starting with! Your posts are always sooo interesting, thank you!

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