Sunday, June 12, 2016


In my post about my ancestor Nathaniel Gay,  his wife is referred to as Lydia Lusher by the author of the book John Gay of Dedham, Massachusetts: And Some of His Descendants. He tentatively identified her as a daughter of Eleazer Lusher. The book had been published in 1879. Yet in the entry for John Gay on page 40 in The Great Migration, Lydia's maiden name is given as Starr.

So which was it?

 I searched Googlebooks and eventually found an answer in the Dedham Historical Register Vol 2. It was in an article entitled "Lusher Wills" written (ironically) by Frederick Lewis Gay, who'd written the Gay genealogy book twelve years earlier. Here's the part of the article that gives the explanation for the confusion:

 "...Maj. Eleazer Lusher left no descendants to continue his name ; and an examination of his will and that of his wife disproves the supposition, mentioned in the Register (p. 90) for July, that his blood was inherited by the children of Nathaniel and Lydia Gay. Nathaniel Gay named one of his children Lusher, and the name has appeared in successive generations of his posterity down to the present day. This repeated use of Lusher as a Christian name in the Gay family doubtless gave rise to the belief that the maiden name of Lydia Gay, mother of the first Lusher Gay, was Lusher, and that she was a daughter of Eleazer Lusher, one of the foremost men of Dedham in the early days of the town. The wife of Nathaniel Gay was Lydia Starr, niece of Mary, wife of Eleazer Lusher. From the light shed by one of the items of Major Lusher's will it will be seen that he had been regarded by Lydia Starr as standing in loco parentis, and it seems quite natural that she should have named one of her children for him from a sense of gratitude for the favors she had received during his life and later under his will.-pp131-132

Dedham Historical Register, Volume 2 , Dedham Historical Society, Dedham, Ma 1891.

So sometime after writing his earlier book, Frederick Lewis Gay must have started researching the Lusher family and discovered his error while reading Eleazer Gay's will, proving once again the value of probate files to genealogical research!

1 comment:

thedevilcorp said...

Good post.