Author Topic: My ancestors get better off the further back I go on most lines - why?  (Read 1030 times)

Offline Wiggy

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Re: My ancestors get better off the further back I go on most lines - why?
« Reply #9 on: Wednesday 14 March 18 06:00 GMT (UK) »
One of my families were French refugees who came over and did well in the silk weaving industry - then when the laws changed and cheap imports of silk were allowed in, various families fell on very hard times indeed and were practically destitute in East London - 1750s onward

- so there could be various reasons why the family lost their 'wealth'.  One of mine stole to try to keep bread on the table . . . .  and ended up with a free trip to Australia for his pains.    :( :(
Gaunt, Ransom, McNally, Stanfield, Kimberley. (Tasmania)
Brown, Johnstone, Eskdale, Brand  (Dumfriess,  Scotland)
Booth, Bruerton, Deakin, Wilkes, Kimberley
(Warwicks, Staffords)
Gaunt (Yorks)
Percy, Dunning, Hyne, Grigg, Farley (Devon, UK)
Duncan (Fife, Devon), Hugh, Blee (Cornwall)
Green, Mansfield, (Herts)
Cavenaugh, Ransom (Middlesex)
 

 Census information Crown Copyright, from www.nationalarchives.gov.

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Offline hilarykellis

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Re: My ancestors get better off the further back I go on most lines - why?
« Reply #10 on: Wednesday 14 March 18 11:43 GMT (UK) »
I had the same thought as familydar. Records for ordinary working people are very poor before the 19th century and get worse with every decade you go back. It also becomes harder to triangulate the evidence you do find.

Fair enough but based on DNA and loads of other evidence over many years of research, I very much doubt Iíve just attached the wrong people with the right-ish names.

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Offline pharmaT

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Re: My ancestors get better off the further back I go on most lines - why?
« Reply #11 on: Wednesday 14 March 18 13:36 GMT (UK) »
There's one line of my daughter's family that are pretty well off in the 18th cent.  Then one of them (her direct ancestor) tries to move into another business venture due to changing patterns of business.  His venture didn't go well and he lost a large proportion of his wealth.  This reduced the options for his children, some of whom went bankrupt in attempting business ventures as they didn't have the capital to back them.  There is even a book on the family that refers to our branch as the "embarrassing poor branch" of the family.
Campbell, Dunn, Dickson, Fell, Forest, Norie, Pratt, Somerville, Thompson, Tyler among others

Offline hilarykellis

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Re: My ancestors get better off the further back I go on most lines - why?
« Reply #12 on: Wednesday 14 March 18 14:11 GMT (UK) »
There's one line of my daughter's family that are pretty well off in the 18th cent.  Then one of them (her direct ancestor) tries to move into another business venture due to changing patterns of business.  His venture didn't go well and he lost a large proportion of his wealth.  This reduced the options for his children, some of whom went bankrupt in attempting business ventures as they didn't have the capital to back them.  There is even a book on the family that refers to our branch as the "embarrassing poor branch" of the family.

Haha! Thatís pretty funny (Iím sure it wasnít to them at the time, though) about the book. Iíd love to read it.

On my Dadís side he has an aunt who just died at 102. She was a ďkeeping up with the JonesesĒ type and insisted we were descended from royalty. Her grandmother was a Somerville and she claimed was related to the noble branch of that family. She went on a trip to Scotland with her husband and apparently looked one of them up in the phone book to pay a call on her long lost kin at their grand house. Apparently the ďcousinĒ slammed the door right in her face! We always thought that was hilarious. (And our earliest Somerville ancestor that Iíve managed to trace was a cotton mill worker, so Iím doubting her story).

Offline pharmaT

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Re: My ancestors get better off the further back I go on most lines - why?
« Reply #13 on: Wednesday 14 March 18 18:52 GMT (UK) »
There's one line of my daughter's family that are pretty well off in the 18th cent.  Then one of them (her direct ancestor) tries to move into another business venture due to changing patterns of business.  His venture didn't go well and he lost a large proportion of his wealth.  This reduced the options for his children, some of whom went bankrupt in attempting business ventures as they didn't have the capital to back them.  There is even a book on the family that refers to our branch as the "embarrassing poor branch" of the family.

Haha! Thatís pretty funny (Iím sure it wasnít to them at the time, though) about the book. Iíd love to read it.

On my Dadís side he has an aunt who just died at 102. She was a ďkeeping up with the JonesesĒ type and insisted we were descended from royalty. Her grandmother was a Somerville and she claimed was related to the noble branch of that family. She went on a trip to Scotland with her husband and apparently looked one of them up in the phone book to pay a call on her long lost kin at their grand house. Apparently the ďcousinĒ slammed the door right in her face! We always thought that was hilarious. (And our earliest Somerville ancestor that Iíve managed to trace was a cotton mill worker, so Iím doubting her story).

It's not really funny, I keep wanting to throttle the author who goes on about our branch being shameful etc because we're not rich or titled.
Campbell, Dunn, Dickson, Fell, Forest, Norie, Pratt, Somerville, Thompson, Tyler among others

Online coombs

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Re: My ancestors get better off the further back I go on most lines - why?
« Reply #14 on: Thursday 15 March 18 13:48 GMT (UK) »
Although as I have found, if you do find a esquire and gentleman in your family or even a knight, they can be just as elusive as ordinary ag labs, tradesmen.
Researching:

LONDON, Coombs, Roberts, Auber, Helsdon, Fradine, Morin, Goodacre
DORSET Coombs, Munday
NORFOLK Helsdon, Riches, Harbord, Budery
KENT Roberts, Goodacre
SUSSEX Walder, Boniface, Dinnage, Standen, Lee, Botten, Wickham, Jupp
SUFFOLK Titshall, Frost, Fairweather, Mayhew, Archer, Eade, Scarfe
DURHAM Stewart, Musgrave, Wilson, Forster
SCOTLAND Stewart in Selkirk
USA Musgrave, Saix
ESSEX Cornwell, Stock, Quilter, Lawrence, Whale, Clift
OXON Edgington, Smith, Inkpen, Snell, Batten, Brain

Offline mrcakey

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Re: My ancestors get better off the further back I go on most lines - why?
« Reply #15 on: Thursday 15 March 18 14:04 GMT (UK) »
There's also a bit of a self-fulfilling prophesy going on. In addition to the effects of splitting estates into ever smaller chunks, it's true that the percentage of people who made wills is progressively smaller the further back you go, and it's those that had wealth to bequest that made a will.

So the very existence of a will means that that ancestor was more wealthy.

As someone else has said, it's very easy to think that because an ancestor matches an expected name in an expected place that it's the "correct" ancestor. I'm preventing myself getting too excited about the wills I have identified as predecessors of my GGGG-grandfather until I can corroborate with other evidence. You could also find that corroborating evidence in the will itself if you're lucky.
Houghton - Lancashire, inc. Manchester
Robertson - Angus
Collinge - Yorkshire, Lancashire, USA
Nedderman - Lancashire
Lane/Fryer - Kent

Online Greensleeves

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Re: My ancestors get better off the further back I go on most lines - why?
« Reply #16 on: Thursday 15 March 18 14:41 GMT (UK) »
I do have a copy of the will of my ancestor, John Pearle, who made his will in 1653 and died in 1658.  I am descended from John's eldest son, Thomas, who died in 1649 leaving a widow and  five young children.

Now John Pearle appears to have been quite a wealthy fellow, and in his Will he gives specific instructions for bequests to his wife: if I remember correctly, she was bequeathed both a pony and a pightle [field]  to put it in!.  However, unfortunately John left the rest of his estate to his two surviving sons in equal shares, without making any provision for the widow of Thomas or her five children. 

Which sort of explains why one side of the family remained wealthy, whereas my side of the family spent several generations as Ag Labs, gradually lowering themselves gently down towards the workhouse.  Until the coming of the railways, when things started looking up a bit.
Suffolk: Pearl(e),  Garnham, Southgate, Blo(o)mfield, Laws, Josselyn/Josslyn/Josling/Gosling
Durham/Yorkshire: Sedgwick/Sidgwick, Shadforth, Thompson, Rudd, Mattingley
Ireland: Davis
Norway: Torreson/Torsen/Torrison
Census information Crown Copyright, from www.nationalarchives.gov.uk

Offline hilarykellis

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Re: My ancestors get better off the further back I go on most lines - why?
« Reply #17 on: Thursday 15 March 18 15:09 GMT (UK) »
I do have a copy of the will of my ancestor, John Pearle, who made his will in 1653 and died in 1658.  I am descended from John's eldest son, Thomas, who died in 1649 leaving a widow and  five young children.

Now John Pearle appears to have been quite a wealthy fellow, and in his Will he gives specific instructions for bequests to his wife: if I remember correctly, she was bequeathed both a pony and a pightle [field]  to put it in!.  However, unfortunately John left the rest of his estate to his two surviving sons in equal shares, without making any provision for the widow of Thomas or her five children. 

Which sort of explains why one side of the family remained wealthy, whereas my side of the family spent several generations as Ag Labs, gradually lowering themselves gently down towards the workhouse.  Until the coming of the railways, when things started looking up a bit.

That's very interesting. I have a more recent example of that. My ancestor John Eckins was a well-off yeoman. His oldest son, also John, died a year before him in 1840, leaving a widow and children. I haven't found a will for John Sr, but I can see from census records that John Eckins's 3 other sons all were farmers of up to 600 or 700 acres, whereas his deceased oldest son's family was pretty destitute. That son's widow ended up a housekeeper and the children sent out to work as labourers and domestics. I'm descended from John Sr's youngest son George Eggins, a yeoman who did alright but not quite as well as his older siblings. Not sure without a will how the division of property was decided on, but it certainly favored the two older (surviving) sons.