Monday, 1 November 2010

Geoffs Genealogy Update 1 November 2010

I'm pleased to say that a number of people have said that they aim to be at the Reunion of John Bankes' Descendants in June 2011,and we are hoping very much to get a good attendance.

It should be a really enjoyable day for all of you who are interested in the Bankes Pedigree, and we are hoping to meet people from all the various lines of descent from the half siblings of John Bankes.

One person said to me the other day that she did not feel that the event was for her as she has only a tenuous link to a sister of John Bankes. In fact, Anne Deane (abt 1679 - aft 1733), half sister to Bankes, features in her family history, so she has just as much of a claim to be a Bankes descendant as I do! The point is that you will hopefully be able to meet people who are descended on the same line as you, and thereby enjoy a social event, as well as maybe adding to your knowledge.

Anyway, for information about the event please visit
our special page on the Geoffs Genealogy website.

A while ago Ancestry placed online a collection of images from London parish registers dated 1538-1812. These were unindexed at the time, but valuable insofar as you could search through them page by page, as we used to do in records offices in pre-internet days. Well, a couple of weeks ago Ancestry published an index to these records, making our searches so much easier. Needless to say I've been spending some time searching these records - with considerable success.

Some years ago I traced a marriage licence allegation relating to a marriage in 1715 between a certain Robert Mitchell and Elizabeth Russell. The forename of the bride tied in with the facts we had gleaned from the Haberdashers' Company's Bankes Pedigree Book, and these factors made me think this document could relate to my family. Comparison of the signature of this Robert Mitchell to a sample of the signature of "my" Robert Mitchell, Skinner of London (abt 1692 - bef May 1742) was inconclusive. I thought them similar, but there were nine years between the two specimen signatures, and as Robert was a young man at the time it is reasonable to suppose that his signature was evolving at the time. I entered Elizabeth Russell on to my tree, placing her surname in brackets to indicate that there was an element of uncertainty about this.

Some time later I found the Will of Elizabeth Bankes (d 1733), widow of John Bankes, as well as some documents in the Court of Chancery relating to proceedings involving this lady. The will, which was proved in the Prerogative Court of Canterbury in 1733, included reference to Elizabeth's daughter Elizabeth Mitchell, wife of Robert Mitchell, and this relationship was confirmed in the Chancery documents. I already knew that Elizabeth's surname on her marriage to John Bankes in 1715 was Trevers. This latest piece of evidence indicated that if I was correct about Elizabeth Russell being the wife of our Robert Mitchell, Elizabeth Trevers / Bankes had probably been married previously to a Mr Russell.

I found several other pieces of evidence, which gave me more information about Elizabeth's family. As far as I know she had two other daughters, besides Elizabeth. I discovered the names of their spouses, and also the names of their children. Still, I could not definitively resolve the question about Robert Mitchell's wife and John Bankes' widow, and this poser remained "on the back burner" for a number of years ..... until now.

Using the parish registers on Ancestry I traced the marriage of Hannah Russell to
Edmund Jones at St Olave Bermondsey in 1705. I also found the births of two of their children in the same parish in 1706 and 1708, confirming the information I had found. Further confirmation of the Russell connection came in the discovery of Arabella Russell's marriage to John Young at Bermondsey in 1711. Mr Young evidently died after a few years, and Arabella remarried in 1730, her new spouse being John Craister.

Actually, Mr Craister died in 1739 - I have a copy of his will - and sometime later Arabella married for a third time, to Richard Spindelow, Gentleman of St James, London.

All of these marriages took place by Licences, granted by the Vicar-General's office. I have ascertained the dates of these licences and hope to be able to look them up sometime in the new year, at the Society of Genealogists in London.

As if all that was not enough, I have also traced more information about the children of the above mentioned Hannah Jones. For instance, I now know that in 1752 a daughter named Alithea Jones married a doctor in Bedford!

So there we are. the pieces of information I found in the Ancestry parish registers have not only enabled me to prove that the surname of Robert Mitchell's wife was indeed Russell, and that she was the daughter of the second wife of John Bankes, but also provided the links to piece together all the other bits of information about Elizabeth's family that I had previously found. I have not managed to find her marriages to Mr Russell and Mr Trevers, or the burials of her first two spouses, but I am satisfied that these events did take place and hopefully I may find them one day. For now, my next task is to enter all this information into my computer records.

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