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Topics - jbml

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1
The Common Room / Rob & Sarah Ashby married 28 July 1793
« on: Wednesday 27 March 24 16:24 GMT (UK)  »
If these are your ancestors then there is a MUST HAVE artefact for sale ... but you will have to move quickly!

It is a Queen Anne crown of 1706, engraved with the date of their marriage and the births of their children:

Harry R** Ashby born 31 May 1794
Sarah Spilsbury Ashby born 31 May 1794
William May Ashby born 22 June 1795
Rob Strasford Ashby born 30 November 1796
Washington Cambridge Ashby born 23 November 1800
Martha B O Ashby born 10 July 1808

There's some pretty distinctive names in there ... so if it's your family, you'll know.

It's on sale for 395 plus postage ... but is currently ONLY being offered to Coincraft Blue Card Flyer customers (of whom I am one) ... so if you want it give me a shout and I shall try to buy it on your behalf.

But be quick ... these things generally sell pretty fast, and I'd HATE it to go to a general collector, rather than someone whose family history it properly belongs to.

2
The Common Room / New experience: emotional impact of FH research
« on: Sunday 12 March 23 13:15 GMT (UK)  »
I've always taken the view that as historians we are impartial observers. The past is what it is. We cannot change it and we must not judge it. We must accept whatever we find with equanimity.

And yet ...

... I've started finding a bit about what happened to the family of Edgar Spooner (alias King) after he fell from the railway bridge and drowned ... and my powers of detachment have wholly deserted me.

I find one of my great x3 aunts becoming a teenage drunkard and prostitute, sharing a squalid room with several other women and their children. No furniture except for packing cases and (incongruously) a solitary four-poster bed ... insufficient bedclothes for all ... no food in the place and the children huddled in a corner. She is condemned to the lock hospital ... escapes ... is returned.

I am emotionally drained just reading about it. I cannot comprehend it. I am autistic, and empathy is supposed to be beyond my abilities. Usually it is. But I cannot escape that squalid room ... it is hanuting my every thought, try as I may to turn away from it. And those children ... what became of them? What sort of lives did they lead?

I am bleeding, aching, crying bitterly for the plight of children I never knew, no relations of mine and long since dead; affronted at the hand life dealt them.

I never knew family history research could be like this ...

3
Francis (alias Frank) Spooner (alias King) was last seen in London on the night of 3-4 April 1881 when the British census of 1881 was taken.

The first sighting I have of him (so far) in New Zeland was a newspaper advertisement in  the Auckland Star on 29 June 1882 announcing that he had taken over his father's business.

His father (Edgar Spooner, alias King) travelled to New Zealand with his daughter Theresa and his son John on the Wellington (captain Cowan), departing London on 3 October 1881 and arriving in Auckland on 2 January 1882. Francis did not travel on that ship, and I have been unable to find him on any other passenger list accessible on FindMyPast.

Francis was old enough to have travelled independently, therefore he could have travelled ahead of the rest of the family, but there is no evidence that he definiately did. The rest of the family travelled steerage, and as Frank King's occupation shown in the 1881 census was omnibus conductor, it is probable that he did too.

Thus, he travelled on a ship departing England no earlier than 4 April 1881, and arriving no later than 29 June 1882.

It seems possible that he travelled under the name Francis, since this is the name he was using in New Zealand; but he might also have travelled under the dame Frank as this is the name he was using in the 1881 census. Or he might simply be listed as "Mr F"

He is likely to have travelled under the surname King; but he could also have travelled as "Spooner-King" or "King-Spooner" (both had been used at different times by other members of the family.

It is also possible, but highly unlikely, that he travelled under the surname Spooner (this name had been abandoned by his father to cover the evidence of his bigamous third marriage in 1861; although is was still being used by his sister Mary Spooner in 1865 when she married George Streat).

So can anyone find the evidence of his emigration voyage to New Zealand? I know I can't ...

4
Frank Whitney Hardwick married Myrah Cass Stephenson in Trumpington on 25 November 1905.

According to the GRO marriage certificate, Frank's residence at the time of marriage was Newmarket, and Myrah's was Trumpington. But this is altogether the wrong way round. Frank's father was the coachman at Trumpington Hall (or had been) and Myrah was the daughter of a Newmarket publican and baker.

Since I've recently encountered a misleading transcription error between parish register and GRO, I'm wondering if this is another example of the same.

Could somebody perhaps have a quick squint at the parish register entry for me, and let me know whether it too says that Frank lived in Newmarket and Myrah in Trumpington, or if it had them the other way around?

Many thanks!

5
The Common Room / It's enough to set your teeth on edge!
« on: Sunday 05 March 23 21:16 GMT (UK)  »
When  I was growing up, my parents took me (twice a year) to a private dentist at 13 Upper Wimpole Street. It was a very civilised affair, with an ancient receptionist (I guess she was probably only in her 50s as I am now ... but when you're only 8 or 9, that looks positively ANCIENT, doesn't it?)

Well ... i think I may just have found her prototype!

I just chanced upon the 1851 census entry for 13 Upper Wimpole Street, when it was a private residence, and guess what? They had a servant there called Mary Austin, whose age was given as (I kid you not) ... 91!!!




6
The Common Room / Countess of Huntingdon's Connexion registers
« on: Sunday 05 March 23 11:53 GMT (UK)  »
Does anyone know if the Countess of Huntingdon's Connexion registers have been digitised and are available to search online yet?

It's that troublesome Spooner/Escott line again ... and I'm beginning to wonder if the missing pieces lie in the Countess of Huntingdon't Connexion.

I am back to the hypothesis that the Thomas and Elizabeth Escott who witnessed Edgar Spooner's marriage to Elizabeth Escott on 11 June 1849 WERE her parents.

I had discounted this on the grounds that although the certificate names her father as Thomas Escott, shoemaker, it ALSO says that she was of full age - whereas her age in the 1851 census is given as 21, and if this is correct then she was NOT of full age in 1849. The normal reason for claiming to be full age on marriage when you're not is lack of parental consent. If you marry without consent then you don't ask your parents to be witnesses. So I had concluded that witness Thomas was a brother rather than her father.

HOWEVER, Jon has produced an image of the parish register which shows that her age was given as 20 ... so the GRO has mistranscribed the information. That turns the analysis on it head! When you marry underage, with parental consent, it is usual for a parent to witness so that it is apparent on the face of the record that the parents were present and did not forbid the marriage, and there can be no future questioning of the validity of the marriage.

So ... Thomas and Elizabeth Escott who witnesses the marriage were Elizabeth's parents. I traced them through the censuses long ago and it is apparent from GRO records that the maiden name of Elizabeth Escott, mother of Elizabeth Escott the wife of Edgar Spooner, was Holland (sometimes spelled Hollande).

Thomas Escott and Elizabeth Escott (nee Holland) had eleven children. If we accept all of the census information as accurate (which can be dangerous ... but this time it looks reasonable) we get the following:

Elizabeth Escott, born in Southampton circa 1829
Joseph Escott born in Clerkenwell circa 1831
John Escott born in Clerkenwell circa 1834
Jesse Escott (a daughter) born in St Andrews, Holborn circa 1836
Rose Escott born in West London in 1839 (mother's maiden name HOLLAND)
Rhoda Ide Escott born in West London in 1841 (mother's maiden name HOLLAND)
Walter Henry Escott born in Holborn in 1843 (mother's maiden name HOLLAND)
Henry Holland Escott born in Holborn in 1846 (mother's maiden name HOLLAND)
Frances Eve Escott born in Islington in 1848 (mother's maiden name HOLLAND)
Arthur George Adam Escott born in Islington in 1851 (mother's maiden name HOLLAND)
George Edgar Escott born in Clerkenwell in 1854 (mother's maiden name HOLLAND)

FindMyPast cannot produce a record for the baptism of any one of these 11 children, nor can it produce a marriage for Thomas Escott and Elizabeth Holland.

The censuses are fairly consistent in saying that Thomas Escott was born in Taunton, but every promising-looking baptism for him which I have researched has proved sooner or later not to be him. In his very last census appearance, however, his birthplace has shifted a few miles from Taunton to Bath.

Elizabeth Escott (nee Holland) is consistently said to have been born in London.

Now the thing is ... both Rose Escott and Rhoda Ide escott died in infancy (Rose in 1840, Rhoda Ide in 1843) and both were buried at Spa Fields, which is the burial ground of the Countess of Huntingdon's Cpnnexion.

And so I'm wondering ... were Thomas and Elizabeth Escott members of the Connexion congregation? Were all eleven children baptised in the Connexion? Is their marriage recorded in the Connexion registers?

And the Connexion had a chapel in Bath, too ... so are all the Thomas baptisms I have followed up proving to be false leads because he too was baptised in the Connexion, but in Bath? And there are a cluster of Connexion chapels in West Sussex, not so very far from Southampton, where Thomas and Elizabeth could have been members of the congregation during a post-marital interlude in Southampton, where Elizabeth is said to have been born. (I had thought this a mistranscription of "Som. Taunton" when copying the returns into the schedule, since Thomas - who I was taking to be her brother - gives Taunton as his place of birth. Now I know him to have been her father I am not discounting this altogether - Elizabeth could have been born during a visit to Taunton to introduce his newish bride to his parents - but it might also be an accurate statement of her place of birth.)

And if so, is ELizabeth Holland's baptism also to be looked for in a dissenters' register (there are a couple of promising-looking ones showing up on FindMyPast now, such as Eliza Holland, daughter of John & Mary, born 9 September 1812 and baptised 25 November 1812 at the Providence Chapel, Gray's Inn Road; or Eliza Holland daughter of Thomas Lindsey and Elizabeth, born on 7 March 1812 (Certificate I-4365 in Dr Williams' Library Register of Dissenters, and Certificate E-4001-4250 in the Haberdashers' Hall (Independent) register). Obviously, since there is more than one plausible candidate I would need to find the marriage to be sure which she was, or else to narrow it down by exclusion.

And hence the question ... are the Countess of Huntingdon's Connexion registers available online so I can explore this possibility from the comfort of my study? Or am I going to have to go to Kew and find them in the TNA/4 series?

7
Hampshire & IOW Lookup Requests / Baptism in Millbrook in 1824
« on: Saturday 04 March 23 18:34 GMT (UK)  »
FindMyPast has a transcription (but no image) of a baptism record in Millbrook, Hampshire on 18 March 1824.

The transcription says Elizabeth E.Et daughter of Thomas & Frances.

It's a long shot, but this MIGHT be the baptism I'm looking for ... it all depends what actually lies behind that "E.Et".

Could somebody who is able to access the Millbrook registers (or images of them) kindly have a look, and see what THEY make of the manuscript entry.

I'm not going to say what i WANT it to be in order not to create any unconscious bias in the effort to construe it.

8
The Common Room / Oh the frustration!
« on: Saturday 04 March 23 18:24 GMT (UK)  »
Having established that one  of my family lines was wrong (due to assumptions I'd made on the basis of an error in a GRO certificate which has now come to light) I set about re-assembling it.

I found a baptism in the right name, in the right place, at the right time, and started following it back. Lots of entertaining roaming round north Somerset followed, including one line which took me back to the time of the Monmouth Rebellion.

This was FUN ... but something felt wrong. There was MONEY in this family. Apprenticeships with premiums of 63 and 80 in the 18th century. A wealthy miller with three further business interests listed in Pigots Directories for 1822 and 1824. Not to mention the suggestion that he was part-pwner of two or more ships playing between north Somerset and south Wales.

Can you really go from THAT to the workhouse in two generations?

Well ... you CAN ... but it was rare. Particularly when the baptism I'd identified turned out to be the oldest surviving child of said wealthy merchant. Now I KNOW that my ancestor migrated from Somerset to London, and married in London. But what about THIS wealthy merchant's son? What did HE do?

I looked around for a marriage ... and there it is, in Somerset, in 1825.

So all of that work was chasing the wrong line. Probably.

I still need to check that the wife didn't die soon after ... not least because the marriage in London is still elusive.

But it's not looking promising.

Ah well ... at least it means there's more fun to come when I finally do identify the right line!

9
Somerset Lookup Requests / John GRIFFITH, married Minehead 26 February 1703/4
« on: Saturday 04 March 23 10:16 GMT (UK)  »
Could someone who has access to images of the Somerset parish records please have a look at the marriage of John GRIFFITH in Minehead on 26 February 1703/4?

The FindMyPast transcript has his bride's name as Ann SLGRE

I wouldn't have a CLUE how to pronounce that ... and I'm guessing that the hand is very difficult to construe. Nevertheless, I'd be grateful for any attempt to identify what the name ACTUALLY is ...

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