I came across the following while researching a line for a client. Although this particular document did not prove relevant to my research, I thought it was worth sharing with my readers.
The document I examined is a typed copy of an original that describes the inter-generational custody, over eight generations, of a family heirloom, handed down through daughters called “Mary.”
Copy of a paper now in the possession of Mary (Dean) Lipcamon who resides at Griggsville, Illinois. "The following Names are those that have been in possess- ion of a silver Stay hook that is marked with the letter M and is to be handed down from generation to generation to the Girls that are called Mary and if the Daughter that is called Mary has no Daughter then one of her Sisters must call a girl Mary and then it must be given to her. Mary Tilden and she married a Thomas Mary Thomas and she married a Langerell Mary Langerell and she married a Law Mary Law and she married a Doubleday Mary Doubleday and she married a Southard she had no Daughter and then it fell to her niece Mary Dean. Mary Dean and she married a Curtis Mary Curtis and she married a Jones she had no issue, no sisters, and no brothers and then it fell to her cousin Mary Dean Mary Dean and she married a Chitwood she had no issue so it fell to her niece Mary Dean Mary Dean and she married a Lipcamon." (The Stay Hook mentioned is stuck through the bottom of one side of the paper.)
See: Bible records for the Beach, Dean, and Doubleday families, in the R Stanton Avery Special Collections Department, New England Historic Genealogical Society, Boston, Mss C 2340.
It sounds like a fun tradition, but perhaps one that worked better when families were larger and a shorter list of common names were used.
But is this story credible? One thing I wonder is whether silver stay hooks were even around, back in colonial times, for those earliest generations.
Have you seen anything like this before, an heirloom passed down based on who in the family bears a specific given name?