26 March 2010

Watts in a name

Today's anniversary is from 1861. That's the year of a census, taken on 7th April; the American Civil War started and Abraham Lincoln was inaugurated as President; Elizabeth Barrett Browning and Prince Albert (he of Queen Victoria fame) both died.

From a slightly more personal perspective, this day saw the wedding, in Landbeach, of my first cousin four times removed. Ann Webb, the daughter of Thomas and Sarah (nee Wayman) was born in the village in 1831 and she married wheelwright James Watts of Lode. Ten days later, when the census was taken, the couple were in Bottisham where their oldest daughter Alice was born . . . . . quite possible only a few days later!

The family's next appearance is in Stow-cum-Quy for the birth of their second child Anne - in November the same year. I'll pause for a second so everyone can count on their fingers . . . . I can only assume that there may have been some smoke & mirrors involved in the registration of Anne's older sister! For my own peace of mind, I will check again.

Moving on, Ann & James went on to have ten children in all, the majority of whom were also born in Stow-cum-Quy and, actually, seemed to stay in the village. By 1901, the family seems to have been involved in the running of the Post Office, with James as the Postmaster in 1911 after the death of his wife in 1907.

They were quite a prolific family, in terms of offspring. Alice married Albert Abraham, moved to Landbeach and produced ten children; Louisa married William Day and they had four children; James & Laura Richardson produced two daughters and a son; Ann & Jonathan Golding added another three; Tom married Eliza Wright - they rather lowered the average by simply begating one child; and Arthur married Holland Preston, producing the final four .

So, that's a total of 25 grandchildren for Ann and James, which is no mean haul, considering that I have lost track of one of their children and the youngest three - Minnie, Mack and Emily - weren't married by 1911.

I've just proved to myself (again) how useful doing this 'ere blog actually is; I hadn't seen the significance of the fact that Ann and James appear to have had two daughters named Ann (give or take an "e"). In my humble experience, it is unusual for parents to give two of their children the same name . . . . unless one of them (the older, I've noticed) has already died. Better check this one out then.

More soon.

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