When I planned this series of posts about my Irish forebears I had in mind S for Snell, my 6th great-grandfather William Snell, born Ballymoney, County Antrim, the son of William Snell of Coleraine, County Londonderry.

Ballymoney and Coleraine are in the north of Ireland

S for Scanty might have been better. I didn’t expect to find so few documented facts about him. But that’s genealogy, I suppose: sometimes we’re overwhelmed by information, sometimes there’s almost nothing.

The source for William Snell’s place of birth – and his father’s name – is Stephen Isaacson Tucker (1884), ‘Pedigree of the family of Chauncy’, privately printed, with additions, p. 25. (This can be read at Google Books.) I have been unable to locate any other records of my Snell family in Ireland.

Sometime during or before 1749, William Snell moved to London, and from this point his story is comparatively well-documented. On 12 December that year he married Martha Chauncy, at St Margaret Lothbury, in the City. They had three sons: William, Charles, and Nathaniel.  Martha died in 1765. On 8 November 1766, William married a second time, to Mary Snell, daughter of Reverend Vyner Snell, at St George’s Bloomsbury. William and Mary had a son John.

In his London years William Snell made a career as a merchant and slaver in the West India trade. He died in 1779 aged 59.

William had been left property in Liffey Street Dublin by his uncle Robert Shaw. This he passed on to his own son William.

While his later career is interesting, it has been frustrating not to be able to find a William Snell associated with Coleraine, County Londonderry, nor a marriage of a William Snell to the sister of Robert Shaw, and although I have found some deeds from the right period mentioning Robert Shaw of Dublin I cannot confirm that this Robert Shaw was William Snell’s uncle.

Wikitree: William Snell (abt. 1720 – 1779)