Sunday, 25 February 2007

Geoff's Genealogy Update 25 February 2007

Well, another week has rolled by. It's hard to believe that already two months have sped past since Christmas. Here in the UK the days are lengthening and our thoughts are turning to the joys that come with the spring and summer - gardening, holidays etc.

During the past week I have been diligently entering more data into my family history records. So what, you say; you've been doing that since the blog started. True. However, there was a bit of a difference this week.

My mother used to speak fondly of her uncle and aunt - James Archer Smith and his wife Ophelia. They were more prosperous than mum's family, and helped them in times of need. Mum bore the name Ophelia as a third forename, named after her aunt. She hated it!

Some months ago traced the marriage of James Archer Smith and Ophelia Eliza Florence Kerr in Shoreditch, London in 1901, and this week this record came to the top of my pile of items for entry. I noted that although the groom was a bachelor, his bride was a widow, and her father's name was George Worthy (deceased). In the interests of getting the whole story (or as much of it as is possible) I decided to research the Worthy/Kerr clans, using the censuses on, the Mormons family search website and Free BMD.

I had quite a bit of success in this enterprise, tracing the families on several censuses. Ophelia's parents were George (b c1826) and Annie (b c1829) Worthy, Londoners both, and for the most part living in the Shoreditch area in the second half of the nineteenth century. I failed to trace their marriage, so don't know Annie's maiden name. I have also been unable to trace George's birth. George and Annie were enumerated on the 1891 census, but as per the marriage certificate I mentioned above, George had died by September 1901, and as I cannot trace Ann on the 1901 census, I suspect that she also may had died by then.

I traced the marriage of Ophelia to William Henry Kerr in 1882 by using Free BMD. I also traced her with her spouse and 3 Kerr children on the 1891 census. Free BMD tells me that William Henry Kerr's death was registered in the December quarter 1897. Ah! I hear you say. Without buying the certificates you can't be sure of these facts. True. However, I am very confident that I am drawing the right conclusions. The age of the deceased William Kerr just about ties with the age on the 1891 census. I'll let you know if it transpires that I am wrong!

In 1901 Ophelia was enumerated with her seven Kerr children, living in 2 rooms! How on earth did they manage.

All of this information was news to me. I had no idea that Ophelia's marriage to James was her second marriage. Still less did I know that she had all those children! Mum never mentioned any of this. However, there is one other surprising fact that has arisen out of this piece of research. In the records that I have found this week Ophelia was recorded as Eliza Florence Worthy/Kerr No Ophelia. However, on her marriage and death certificates her name shows as Ophelia.I wonder why. Mum hated her third forename, although I must say I like it. I wonder whether her aunt also disliked the name so much that she wouldn't use it. Quite possible, but even if that were that case it surprises me that her parents didn't use it when giving information to the census enumerator.

I really need to round off this by tracing Ophelia's birth record, and seeing how she was named. I hope to be able to do this soon, and will let you know the outcome.

All this goes to reiterate what I said in this blog a few weeks ago - it's amazing how much research you can accomplish online, without leaving home.

Finally, the microfilm I ordered a couple of weeks ago has arrived at my local LDS family history centre, so I shall be going there this week to start searching it for Heppell baptisms at Monkwearmouth c1765-1830.

Happy hunting!


Monday, 19 February 2007

Geoffs Genealogy Update

During the past week I have turned my attention to a couple of different sources as I work towards getting all the information I hold into my family history records.

During November 2006 I went to The National Archives, Kew, and completed a source transcription that I had started in November 1998! The source is a Receipts and Payments book relating to the John Bankes Trust. It had been kept by the Haberdashers' Company in London, and was used as an exhibit in the long-running Court of Chancery case relating to the Trust. Finally it ended up in the keeping of a certain Master in Chancery, named Master Farrer, and is recorded in The National Archives catalogue as

"UNKNOWN CAUSE: Cash book? Bank's charity (possibly an exhibit in the cause MITCHELL v HOLLOWAY): Middx".

The source reference is C108/116.

This source records receipts and payments made by the Trust in the period 1741-1754. I have focussed my attention on extracting the rentals received from, and payments made to, Banks Descendants, but there is much more of interest in this book. In particular, the records of payments made to tradesmen make fascinating reading.

For the period in question, I now have a record of the payments made under the Trust to the various Banks descendants. Apart from the intrinsic interest to me of this information, I am able to deduce certain facts of interest in my research. For instance, I note that my direct ancestor James Jacobson was receiving payments that were actually due to Mary Mitchell, wife of Joseph Collyer the Elder. I surmise that the reason for this was that James had been a creditor of Joseph Collyer when Joseph sought Insolvent Debtors Relief, and these monies were assigned to him to repay that debt. You can see information about Joseph Collyer and his insolvency on the Geoffs Genealogy website.

This record of payments can also be useful in identifying the year in which an ancestor died. If you see that a person was receiving a payment regularly for a number of years and then the payment suddenly starts being paid to another person, such as a child of the usual recipient, you may suspect that the original beneficiary had died. Of course, this is not in itself proof of the death, but it can start you off looking for a probate record or a burial.

In some cases it may be the only evidence of a death that you can find.

The other source that has occupied me is a Court of Chancery Pleading dated 1724, TNA source ref C11/1704/50. This relates to the Chancery Cause BANKS v DENTON.

Elizabeth (Trevers) Banks, widow of John Banks Haberdasher, had not received any of the money due to her under her spouse's Will, and in this document she sets out her claim to arrears of these payments, plus the future payments due to her. Given the fact that Banks' Will was proved in the Prerogative Court of Canterbury five years previously, in 1719, one can understand her annoyance.

Time for me to sign off for another week. I hope you find something of interest in Geoffs Genealogy and wish you happy hunting!

Sunday, 11 February 2007

Geoff's Genealogy Update 12 February 2007

Another week of entering census data into my Family Tree Database. is a wonderful resource, enabling me to find so much information without leaving my desk. I keep on discovering so much about Bankes descendants - when I first started treeing about 20 years ago I could never have imagined such riches!

On Thursday I drove through the snow to my local LDS Family History Center and this third session completed my viewing of the Monkwearmouth Burials 1792-1845. seeking HEPPELL entries. I still don't know why there were so many burials of Militia men in the early 1800s - but there were! They came from Essex and Lancashire as well as the local militia. Maybe I'll find out sometime.

I noted that there were few HEPPELL entries, and this makes me wonder where my mum's cousin's clan emanated from. More research needed there! I've ordered a further microfilm - Baptisms at Monkwearmouth late C18 - early C19. It will probably be available to me in a few weeks time.

This week my younger son and I bought a laptop computer. I haven't got to grips with it yet, but it looks very good, and should be useful on visits to records offices. Alex wants it for more meaningful reasons - to do with his course at Uni. I need to get my genealogy software installed, but there's no immediate rush.

This was a quiet week for contacts with other researchers. They tend to come in fits and starts.

Time to sign off now, as I need to go off to earn a crust!


Sunday, 4 February 2007

Geoffs Genealogy Update 4 February 2007

This week has been relatively quiet, insofar as I haven't made any new contacts. However, I have been busily working away at my family history files. I have typed a lot of new information into my database, and hope to make further progress towards getting this up to date in the forthcoming week.

In addition, I have two very exciting family trees available to me, which I hope will significantly add to my records. The first of these is a FIVEASH tree, and the other one relates to the MADDOX family of Carmarthenshire. Sometimes I find it a bit hard to keep up with all this material, but I am always pleased to receive anything connected to either my family tree or Jan's.

Also this week, as last, I spent an evening at my local LDS Family History Center, looking for HEPPELL burials in Monkwearmouth, Sunderland (1792-1814). I found a couple of entries that look relevant to my research. I was most interested to note that there were a significant number of entries relating to Militiamen or their relatives who were buried at Monkwearmouth in the 1790s. In addition to the local militia, some of these militiamen came from Essex and others were from Lancashire. This was, of course, after the time of the Scottish risings, but it was the time of the Napoleonic wars, and I wonder what was going on. I'll have to look into that.

Have a good week.