30 July 2010

Press the button

He's only gone and done it again!

It started out with a conversation about the Old Boys Newsletter with the uncle (who's the editor, lest you wonder) then, business complete, we moved on to the music festival and then, as you do, onto family history.

Any regular readers of this blog will know by now that it is aptly titled and that its author (that'll be me, then) can Ramble up to degree-level standard. So, I started to describe to the uncle the steps I had so far taken to discover some info about a particular person (hopefully still alive, hence the cloak & dagger).

I reminded him of previous conversations, then picked apart the semantics of the phrase 'vicar's daughter'. And then I said the trigger word . . . . in this case a scrawled name that I'd read at the bottom of a page of the births index.

'That's it - that was the name!' 

 And, believe me, it's not the type of name you'd randomly make up, but plainly it's memorable . . . . if you hit the right buttons.

And that's all you need for a Eureka moment. Oh, and an uncle who has secreted these details at the back of his mind!

Further searching today has uncovered even more detail so . . . watch this space.

More soon.

24 July 2010

Confusion in Stretham

Yesterday's blog entry looked, at first sight, as though it was going to "write itself" (as the saying goes).  But then I realised it was a bit more complicated than that.  Feel free to offer suggestions to help me sort this lot out . . . . .

Dramatis Personae:

Thomas Langford x 3
Jane, Richard, Robert, Elizabeth & one unbaptised child - all Langfords
Elizabeth Bent
Jane Sunman
Ellen Densone

Setting the scene: it's Stretham in the years between 1645 and 1679.  All my information comes from the registers of the parish of St James in the aforementioned village.

Thomas Langford #1 (b. 1622) married Elizabeth Bent on 10 January 1645.  So far, so good.  He seems to be about 23, reasonable age.  One child, Thomas #2, was born in 1646.  Although I can't prove it, Elizabeth must have died because there's a marriage between Thomas and Jane Sunman on 23 July 1659.  Thomas #1, methinks.

Thomas & Jane, according to the register, go on to have Jane (1669-1669), Richard (1671-1671), Robert (1672-) and Elizabeth (1674-1674) prior to Jane's death in 1675.  Incidentally, she was buried a day after her unbaptised child.

And then there is the marriage of Thomas and Ellen Densone on 6 March 1679 and the subsequent birth of the third Thomas; with history repeating itself, only this time, Thomas's wife was buried the day before her child.

Problem is, who's the daddy?  I think Thomas #1 was too old really; this is the 17th century and I have no reason to suppose that he was anything other than an ag lab so he'd be unlikely to live to a grand age.  So, I think it was Thomas #2 at the altar this time.

One of those times when I'd like to borrow the Tardis!  Now all I have to do is sort it out on the database . . . . may take a couple of minutes.

More soon.

16 July 2010

An unfortunate coincidence

Back again; I've put aside the Sadlers and their various travels in Canada and the US and I've come back to "anniversary" mode.

Today's first mention goes to a pair of sisters who share a name (no, not just the surname) and a birthday.  Meet the Misses Frances Sutton, both of them.  Second and third of the five children of Joseph and Catherine (nee Watts) they were born today in 1803 and 1805 respectively.  Thinking about it now I see that, although these days were taken from the Parish Registers of All Saints, St Ives, there is no mention of a christening date.  The only dates were birth, death and burial and it is unusual, in my limited experience, for the minister to put the date of birth in a burial entry but . . . . maybe he was unusual!  As you will have worked out, both girls only lived a short while; the elder Frances lived from July 1803 to October 1804 and the younger from July 1805 to June 1806.

They each rate as my great-great-great-aunt and their mother Catherine went on to marry into the Culpin family, achieving the elevated position of my great-great-great-great-grandmother.

Moving on to a slightly more distant relationship, meet my eighth cousin three times removed Betsy Langford, who was christened today at St James, Stretham, in 1843.  In common with so many of that side of the family, she is related to me twice so she is also my third cousin twice removed - there, now, that's a bit closer!  The daughter of William and Rachel (nee Murfitt) she went into domestic service and moved to London (not sure of the order, there) and in 1874 she married John Reed, a railway engine driver from Durham, in Islington.  They went on to have one daughter, Maud, and I last found B&J in Pembroke Street, Islington, in 1901.  I really must look to see what happened to them.

*STOP PRESS*  Frances Sutton(s) were christened, on 5 May 1804 and 7 August 1805 respectively, which would explain how I know their birthdays.

More soon.

4 July 2010

Across the pond

So, all chores done, let's talk about the Sadler family.  Rhoda (nee Smith, my 1st cousin 4 times removed) married Stephen Sadler in Chatteris and they quickly emigrated to Canada.

And there, thanks to a fairly large hint, I found them in 1861 - in Lambton County, Ontario - living in Bosanquet Township.  Stephen, a farmer, & Rhoda and their nine children.  And, as if nine weren't enough, they went on to have a further four children before 1867.  They stayed in the same place, according the the Canadian census (same years as ours, but slightly different dates) until Rhoda's death on 30 December 1900.

Before I go on, I have to commend the Ontario record-keepers; in the present day, for putting their records online and, in the past, for some wonderfully detailed information!  Best of all is their 1901 census - there's a column for date of birth and it's been faithfully filled in.  How good is that!!

So, back at Rhoda & Stephen's children - 13, if you recall.  Can't find much about Henry, the oldest, but I was able to track Abram across the border into the US of A.  Wonder if he went across the lake (Ontario) or around the lake and across at Niagara?  He married Mary and they had three children - who seemed to have crossed back into Canada by the time they got married!

Six more of Abram's siblings married, in Ontario at least, and produced a further ten grandchildren for Rhoda & Stephen.  Thanks, again, to superb Canadian record-keeping and their willingness to embrace modern technology, I can even tell you that grandson Martin Molitor served with the Canadian Expeditionary Force during the Great War . . . . and returned home again, to marry Vera Dewar in 1919.

In all, a further 44 people for the family archives (so far) and much fun both had and to be had.

More soon.