Using Close Relatives to Find All the Stories about Your Ancestor

Samuel Fuller (1580-1633), a physician, was accompanied on the Mayflower by his brother, Edward Fuller (1575-1621), Edward’s wife, and their son Samuel (1612-1683).

Dr. Fuller’s nephew Samuel had a difficult start to life here when – as a 9-year-old –his parents died within a year after arriving in America.

According to this article I found in GenealogyBank’s Historical Newspaper Archives, Samuel and his brother Matthew were raised in the home of his Uncle Samuel alongside his cousins.

An article about Mayflower passenger Samuel Fuller, Plain Dealer newspaper article 4 September 1927
Source: GenealogyBank, Plain Dealer (Cleveland, Ohio), 4 September 1927, page 36

From this Plain Dealer newspaper article, I also learned that he married Jane Lathrop (1614-1678) and moved to Barnstable, Massachusetts, on Cape Cod.

I wanted more information about them; I decided to see what else I could learn about their life in Barnstable. A quick Google search of “Barnstable Cape Cod + Samuel Fuller” led me to an ebook on the history of New York that held a surprising amount of information about Barnstable and Samuel’s role in helping to settle it.

An article about Samuel Fuller from Google Books, Cutter, William Richard. Genealogical and Family History of Western New York. (New York, New York) 1912. page 817.
Source: Google Books, Cutter, William Richard. Genealogical and Family History of Western New York. (New York, New York) 1912. page 817.

According to this book, this Samuel and Jane (Lathrop) Fuller and her family were some of the earliest settlers of Barnstable:

“In 1639 the Rev. Mr. Lathrop and many of the members of his church removed and founded the town of Barnstable, probably at the time the most easterly settlement on Cape Cod. If Samuel Fuller and his young wife did not at once follow him thither, they did so in a few years… He was the only one of the passengers of the ‘Mayflower’ who settled permanently in Barnstable, and one of the late survivors of that company.”

Interested in learning more about Samuel’s life in Barnstable, I turned back to GenealogyBank. I didn’t have any luck when I searched for his name with the keyword “Barnstable,” so I tried a new tactic: since Samuel’s father-in-law is considered the founder of Barnstable, I searched for “John Lathrop” with the keyword “Barnstable” instead.

A screenshot of GenealogyBank's search page showing a search for John Lathrop and "Barnstable"
Source: GenealogyBank

This search provided the detail I was looking for, reported in a Dallas Morning News article that described Samuel and Jane’s life in Barnstable.

An article about Mayflower passenger Samuel Fuller, Dallas Morning News newspaper article 3 January 1915
Source: GenealogyBank, Dallas Morning News (Dallas, Texas), 3 January 1915, page 7

According to this newspaper article:

“Samuel left Plymouth and moved to Barnstable. There he built a house, ‘a small, plaine, pallizadse house’… It was a good house, as houses in the colony went… Samuel gained a good-sized fortune, as his will and inventory, still in existence, show.”

This article also discussed the inheritance his Uncle Samuel had left him, even though “Dr. Samuel had children of his own to give most of his possessions to.”

An article about Mayflower passenger Samuel Fuller, Dallas Morning News newspaper article 3 January 1915
Source: GenealogyBank, Dallas Morning News (Dallas, Texas), 3 January 1915, page 7

Genealogy Tip: Searching the names of close relatives of the ancestor you’re researching can provide new sources to help you fill information gaps, like searching for John Lathrop did for me in researching his son-in-law, Samuel Fuller. Find all of the stories of your family by casting a wide net when searching in GenealogyBank’s Historical Newspaper Archives.

Related Articles:

(Visited 341 times, 1 visits today)

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *