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Messages - peakoverload

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Family History Beginners Board / Parish Records - Burials - A Child Of
« on: Tuesday 28 January 20 12:15 GMT (UK)  »
I've come across something I've not encountered in my tree before. In tracing my maternal line I've got back to the start of the 1700's in Coggeshall, Essex, England and in particular the church St Peter Ad Vincula.

I'm trying to find the baptism of my 6xGG John Foster and I know he got married in 1723 so I would expect a baptism c1700.

Sure enough I find two baptisms in this church for a John Foster:

20/03/1691 Parents John and Susanna
23/06/1700 Parents John and Susanna

I presumed that the first one born in 1691 died and when they had a second son they reused the fathers name so I searched for burials between 1691 and 1700 but couldn't find anything actually mentioning a childs name.

What I did find were several burials listed as "A Child of John Foster" for example:


In none of these is the childs name given just that of the father John Foster.

Looking through the rest of the Parish Registers for this church it's quite frequent that burials of children are recorded in this way.

Does this mean that these children died before they were baptised and so 'were not known to God' and couldn't therefore be named in the church records or was this a common practice for children below a certain age and if so at what age would their names typically start being recorded?

If it was the former then a lot of children were dying before they were baptised, I'm talking hundreds, which whilst possible seems unlikely when looking at several baptism records that also list the date of birth as it seemed common practice to get your child baptised within 2 weeks of birth and in some cases just a couple of days.

Essex / Fosters in Coggeshall
« on: Friday 24 January 20 18:47 GMT (UK)  »
I've hit a bit of a brick wall and wondering if anyone can find any information that I can't that might break it down.

So far I've traced my maternal line back to a John Foster born 17/11/1759 in Coggeshall. He along with most of his brothers, sisters, cousins, nephews and nieces were all baptised, married and buried in the church St Peter ad Vincula in Coggeshall.

John was one of 3 children born to a John and Susanna Foster:

John Foster b 01/11/1758 d Aug 1759
John Foster b 17/11/1759 d June 1828
Susanna Foster b March 1761

When looking for the parents John and Susanna I've assumed that they were around 21 years old when they married and that they married around 1758 and looked for a baptism for John the father c 1737 +/- 10 years and couldn't find anything in Coggeshall nor could I find a marriage in Coggeshall between a John and Susanna.

The mother Susanna does appear to die in Sept 1764 and was buried in St Peter ad Vincula on 24/09/1764. The parish register says 'The Wife of John Foster". Whether she died young or was older when she had her last child I don't know but on the same page of the register there is a John Foster who was buried 18/01/1765.Whether that was her husband or just another John Foster is unknown.

There is however a John Foster being buried in the same church on 03/11/1806

Can anyone else find a marriage for John and Susanna, a baptism for John or have a better idea of which, if any, burial is likely to be his?

If it's of any help, many of the Fosters were shoemakers/cordwainers around this time although I don't know if this was the case for either of the John Fosters mentioned here.

Essex / Re: John Foster of Witham
« on: Tuesday 14 January 20 21:14 GMT (UK)  »
Tell me about it! What is really annoying is that I thought I had traced this line back to the 1600's in Margaret Roding to a very wealthy family who for about 6 generations all pretty much used the same names and married people of the same name. It took me ages to work out who was who from the parish records and transcribing wills to see who was related to whom and during that time I found several other Fosters sharing the same christian names who clearly weren't from that family (labourers) and yet who also had wives and children of the same name!

I've just ordered the death certificate for the 1850 death so in a week or so I really hope it says he was a shoemaker even though this means I'll have to delete 250 years of family history from the tree and give up on finding the family fortune  ;) ;D

Essex / Re: John Foster of Witham
« on: Tuesday 14 January 20 19:38 GMT (UK)  »
 :o :o :o I truly cannot thank you enough. I absolutely agree that the 1850 death is a better match for my John Foster. It's just very weird that the death certificate I have for the death I thought it was in 1870 says that he was a shoemaker. I shall definitely be ordering a death certificate for the 1850 one but it really does seem to fit as does the Coggeshall baptism.

I really cannot thank you both enough. This is my maternal line and one that I am closest to but really hit a brick wall with John Foster so much so that after a couple of years of trying to break through I kinda gave up and have not looked at this line in a few years. It was only when researching another branch who just happened to also be in Essex that I rejoined the ERO and just by accident found a will which then made me look at it all again.

Essex / John Foster of Witham
« on: Monday 13 January 20 22:40 GMT (UK)  »
This is long and complex so please bare with me but I'm hoping for ideas, suggestions, opinions as to how I can verify if I have the correct family line.

What I do know 100% is that my 3x GG was William Foster b 1816 in Witham d 1900 in Leigh-On-Sea.

From legal documents and newspaper articles that have been handed down through the family I also know that Williams father was a John Foster who was a shoemaker/cordwainer who, according to the newspaper article 'did business in Witham' and he had a brother also called John Foster

From William's baptism I know his mother was called Martha.

I've been trying to follow back beyond John Foster the father and this is where it gets complicated.

Starting with the census returns, John Foster seems to be moving around a lot.

In 1841 he is on HO/107/337/16 Page 27 in Rayleigh with his wife Martha and other children Mary, Robert & Jane. His wife dies in Rayleigh 23/11/1847 which probably explains why in 1851 he appears on HO 107 1611 in Gillingham, Kent as a lodger and widow and in 1861 on RG 9 1108 in Terling, Essex also as a lodger and widow before dying on 07/03/1870 in the Rochford Union Hospital.

The problem is that in each census he gives his place of birth as something different (all other details match and no other alternatives can be found).

1841 - birth place just given as Essex
1851 - birth place given as Chelmsford
1861 - birth place given as Rochford

When his son William dies in 1900 his Will provides some very interesting reading because it lists a whole load of other brothers and sisters not previously found. A brother by the name of Henry and a niece who is the daughter of a sister by the name of Elizabeth.

So now we know that William has:

A brother by the name of John
A brother by the name of Henry
A sister by the name of Elizabeth

Baptisms for all of them appear in Witham along with a few other children not previously mentioned. The confusing thing is that the mothers name varies. In total these are the children of John Foster:

Eliza Ann Foster b1807 d 1811 baptism says parents are John and Martha
Sarah Eleanor Foster b 1808 d 1850 baptism says parents are John and Martha
John Trew Foster b 1810 d 1862 baptism says parents are John and Martha
William Foster b 1816 d 1900 baptism says parents are John and Martha
Elizabeth Foster b 1818 d 1878 baptism says parents are John and Patty fathers occupation Cordwainer
Jane Foster b 1821 d ? baptism says parents are John and Martha fathers occupation Cordwainer
Henry Osborne Foster b 1827 d 1907 baptism says parents are John and Patty fathers occupation Cordwainer
Robert Foster b 1830 d  1847 baptism says parents are John and Patty fathers occupation Cordwainer

So there is a mix of John and Martha and John and Patty but William Fosters will recognises the children from 'both mothers' as being his siblings. Researching the names Martha and Patty I did find a few references that suggested they were known name variations of each other but I don't know how true that is. It would certainly explain a lot.

Still with me?

So John Foster the father was 82 when he died meaning he was born Jan - March 1788. The only possible baptism I've been able to locate is one on 13/04/1788 in Blackmore Essex. On the assumption he would have been born a couple of weeks earlier this would match for date and Blackmore is close to Chelmsford given as his place of birth on the 1851 census. If this were correc then his parents are John Foster and Mary Bolton and I've been able to trace that back to the 1600's.

However the other day I was searching the ERO and found a will of a John Foster Senior of Blackmore who was a shoemaker and he says his wife was Martha! However the dates don't match up. This will was written on 15/02/1795 and sealed on 20/10/1821 meaning this Richard Foster died in 1821 which is at least 25 years before I have legal documents showing he was alive, before his sons Henry Osborne and Robert were born. But what are the chances of there being two John Fosters living in Blackmore, working as Cordwainers/shoemakers and both married to a Martha?

I appreciate that prior to 1841 we only have Parish records and wills to go by and these are often incomplete so it's possible that certain vital information has been lost to time but this all seems too much of a coincidence.

I guess it boils down to either the Blackmore baptism of John Foster in 1788 is wrong or this will is just a pure coincidence. I'm not sure how to find a different baptism though given the different places of birth listed other than just going a wide search which is how I found the one in Blackmore.

Any thoughts?

Thank you so much for all you've done. This has confirmed who I thought it was which is great. Sorry for not replying sooner but the flu has got the better of me today. When I'm feeling more up to it I'll try reposting the images in sections to make them more readable.

Thanks again for your hard work.

I've found the will of Richard Foster who died 1660 in Margaret Roding, Essex but the copy on Ancestry was practically unreadable because it looks like they've tried to clean it up. I managed to download the original from The National Archives and it's certainly 'noisier' and 'dirtier' but it is slightly more readable. Unfortunately it is only slightly more readable and I'm getting about one word in six at best and it's giving me a pounding headache trying to read it.

Whilst it would be incredible to get a proper transcript I'd settle for just knowing who is mentioned in the will and their relation to Richard as I'm tyring to work out if this is the will of Richard Foster the younger who was married to Ann and had 6 children (Ann, Richard, Elizabeth, William, Dionise and Elizabeth - after the first Elizabeth died) or whether it's of his father Richard Foster who was married to Jane Baden and had 4 children (Elizabeth, Richard the younger, John and Thomas).

For about 6 generations the same names for parents and children were constantly used, for example there are 6 Richard Fosters known by various names such as Younger, Senior, Junior and Elder and it makes working out who is who a bit of a nightmare!

Any help or advice on how to enhance the text to make it readable would be hugely appreciated.

Essex / Any way to narrow this down?
« on: Sunday 22 April 18 21:34 BST (UK)  »
I'm trying to trace my 4x GG, I'm certain of his death and parts of his life but at that point the trail goes cold largely because he appears to have given different information on each census he's on (but I'm 98% sure it's the right person in each census as other family members usually appear with him)

So far I've only managed to locate a few possible lines to follow, most I was able to prove weren't correct but two are possible. One line I was able to trace back to the 1600's the other I'm just starting to look at. What I'm trying to do is to find anyway that I can prove or disprove either line of inquiry but I'm not having much luck.

What I know for certain is that my 4X GG was John Foster who was a cordwainer/shoemaker and that he died 07/03/1870 in the Rochford Union Workhouse which by that time was actually a hospital. As this name comes up frequently within the tree I shall refer to him as JF1. JF1 had a wife whose name was Martha or Patty and they had 9 children. On some of the childrens baptism records the mothers name is given as Martha, on others its Patty. For years I thought they were two different people but have since proved they are the same person. JF1 and Patty married in Clerkenwell on 13/05/1806. I've attached their marriage banns below. Can anyone make out what the marks are after their names, they don't appear on other banns on the same page?

On JF1's death certificate his age is given as 82 making him born 1788.

On the 1841 census in Rayleigh his age suggests he was born in 1783 and born in Essex.
On the 1851 census in Gillingham, Kent his age suggests he was born in 1793 and born in Chelmsford
On the 1861 census in Terling, Witham his age suggests he was born in 1790 and born in Rochford

I also know that he worked as a Cordwainer in Witham.

That is what I know for certain.

Searching all of Essex for baptisms of a John Foster circa 1788 I find only 2:

A baptism in 1788 in Blackmore
A baptism in 1794 in Woodham Mortimer

I know that John Foster died in 1870 and tracing the John Foster born in 1794 in Woodham Mortimer revealed that he was still alive in 1871 and was not a shoemaker so cannot be correct.

Therefore either JF1 was not baptised, his baptism record has been lost or he was baptised in Blackmore in 1788.

If that is correct then his parents were John Foster (JF2) and Mary Bolton. JF2 and they married 18/10/1870 in Doddinghurst. JF2 I believe was baptised in Writtle on 21/12/1754 and so the line goes back and back.....or so I thought.

I have just found a will for a John Foster (JF3) married to a Martha Foster who is a shoemaker in Blackmore. This can't be JF1 because this John Foster died 24/03/1803 nor can it be JF2. What is a little confusing is that written on the front page of the will it says John Foster but within the will itself it refers to John Forster and Martha Forster.

From what I can tell JF3 had a son called John Forster (JF4) who was baptised 04/03/1770 in Blackmore. There is a burial for a John Forster (JF5) in Blackmore on 27/03/1803 aged 55 meaning he was born 1748 so this can't be JF4 and possibly confirms that JF3 was actually a Foster and not a Forster.

There is a burial for a John Foster (JF6) on 27/11/1788 in Blackmore but the burial gives no additional information

I could go on but the number of John Fosters is already ridiculous.

There are 3 things I can't satisfy.

1. The similarities between JF1 and JF2 seem too big to be coincidence. Same name, same name of wife, same occupation and potentially the same home town. Whilst I don't think JF2 is JF1's father or even grandfather I wonder if he might be an uncle and that shoemaking was a family business.

2. I know JF1 lived for many years in Witham. If he was born in Blackmore, how did he end up in Witham some 35-40 miles away.

3. The JF2 line traces back to Margaret Rothing and the surrounding towns and to a very wealthy family owning lots of land, houses, farms etc with a number still existing today. To have gone from a very wealthy family to a shoemaker in 120 years is obviously possible but adds a bit of doubt. That said JF1's son, my 2xGG became a very wealthy landowner and business owner himself only for his son to loose it all after he died so it's certainly not impossible.

I'm just wondering if there any other resources etc I can look at to try and ascertain which line is more likely to be correct if indeed either are? I have searched extensively the ERO and have been going through the parish records and wills thoroughly.

The Common Room / Riches to Rags to Riches?
« on: Monday 16 April 18 09:37 BST (UK)  »
Firstly I do realise that nobody will be able to give me a definitive answer to this but I'm interested in everyone's opinion as to whether I've traced the correct family line.

Rather than start at the beginning I need to start at the end. The following I know for absolute certain:

My 2xGG was William Foster b 1816 in Witham, Essex d 10/07/1900 Leigh-On-Sea, Essex. William was a very wealthy man who started off as a victualler then became a coal merchant, then a farmer (owned the farms rather than worked them) and was the 3rd largest land owner in Essex at that time. From various documents I have of his that have been passed down through the family I know his father was John Foster and that he was a Cordwainer who for many years had a business in Witham.

Based on this I always assumed that William was a self made man as a cordwainer was perhaps a more humble background for his father.

Detail on John Foster is fairly scant and although I have located him on the 1861, 1851 and 1841 census his age and place of birth differ. I am confident though that these are the correct census as other details like occupation and other family members match.

On the 1841 census his age suggests he was born in 1783 and his place of birth is simply given as Essex
On the 1851 census his age suggests he was born in 1793 and his place of birth is given as Chelmsford
On the 1861 census his age suggests he was born in 1790 and his place of birth is given as Rochford

John Foster died 07/03/1870 and the age on his death certificate suggests he was born 1788

The only baptism I could find for A John Foster anywhere near Chelmsford or Oxford in the time frame was on one 1788 in Blackmore which is roughly 8 miles from Chelmsford.

If that is correct then his parents were John Foster and Mary Bolton and he was one of 8 children. His parents came died in Blackmore but were born in Writtle which is 6 miles from Blackmore and 2 from Chelmsford.

Going back 2 generations further, this John Fosters grandparents were Henry Foster and Dorothy Brecknock who were from Margaret Roding (all parish records spell it as Margaret Rothing but current maps have it as Margaret Roding) which is 11 miles from Blackmore.

This is where it gets interesting. The Foster family live in Margaret Roding for something like 4-5 generations to the point where a Richard Foster in 1670 writes a will in which he leaves money to the poor and an awful lot of land to his grandchildren. In other documentation I have found he is referred to as a Gentleman (as was William Foster my 3x GG) and clearly is a very wealthy man.

Obviously 6 or 7 generations is enough time to loose a family fortune (my 2x GG managed to loose his fathers fortune in a few years) but presumably whilst money may slowly or rapidly decline, education, social status and opportunity would take a little longer to disappear. So is it likely that the Foster family could go from wealthy land owners in 1670 to a shoemaker in 1814 only to regain fortune some 30 years later?

I'm just trying to work out if I mixed another Foster family into my tree as Parish Records offer such limited detail.

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