I ordered the will of my great-grandfather, William Darlington Asher, who died in 1930. It reads as expected, leaving his daughters £100 each and his brother £50. Then to a Miss Edwards £30, who may have well have acted as a domestic servant. What I did not expect, though, was that he left his house, furniture and £50 to a Mrs Gertrude Annie Lofthouse. And then a very short sentence, leaving the remainder of his property to his wife (not even mentioning her name), but there is no mention of what that might have been.

Who on earth is Gertrude Annie Lofthouse? Apparently she married a Stuart Lofthouse in Chorlton, Lancashire in 1919, her maiden name Clark. I have found no other information on her. I need a 1921 census. The 1939 register comes too late.

I feel aggrieved on Kate’s behalf. Why did this woman get the house and furniture and £50? Did that mean that Kate was turfed out of her home or did they have another property? Living with William D at the time of his death was a Bryce Eglington Ross, one of the executors. What’s going on?

He also asked that his executors destroy all his private papers as soon as possible after his death. Wow.

I have so many questions…

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I  happened upon a link (on Facebook) to websites to look for books or PDFs of family or county histories. Included amongst them was a link to familysearch’s books. I idly searched for Cornelius (only because it is an unusual surname). I found a PDF of over 100 pages long (“History of the Cornelius family in England : starting from the past to the present of the Cornelius line”) of a researcher’s attempts in about 2003 to follow the line down on several branches! She was very thorough, looking at alternatives and eliminating some based on sound evidence.

It confirmed my belief that the “We’re related” app was wrong in the parentage of an ancestor, thereby linking me to several different “famous” Americans.

So today I have been reading this amazing document and making notes on my tree, searching on Cornwall OPC and Findmypast (currently subscribed to for a short time) to confirm. The author included snippets from actual microfilmed documents so there’s no arguing the authenticity.

I haven’t even begun to search for other documents out there. It will be interesting if there is anything else on one of my branches.

I haven’t updated lately, but that’s not to say I haven’t been dabbling.

I belong to a few genealogical pages on Facebook (and they’re’ the only reason I visit Facebook these days). You learn some interesting stuff there. I found out about ancestry’s “We’re related” app, which I thought would be bogus but interesting to see. When I finally got the thing working, it came up with six so-called famous people, three of whom I had never heard of, five of whom were American. It will take a bit of time to verify, especially as they claim that my ancestor Mary Poor was the daughter of someone called John Preble. They all reach back to the 16th century which also seems dubious. We’ll see.

More interesting, however, is familysearch’s version “Relative Finder”. Again, “famous” American people I’ve never heard of but I’ve looked at a couple and they do list ancestors I’m familiar with but reaching back another four or five generations, so I will verify those also – a much easier task as it’s all there in familysearch with sources. I can always double-check with the Cornwall OPC (yes the interesting Cornish ancestors yet again).

As a result, I’ve just spent all morning adding details to the Cornelius and Johns family (the parents of Elizabeth Cornelius, who married Christopher Dart, were John Cornelius and Ann Johns) with more to do. Somone has done a lot of research linking children and parents, going back to the 1600s.

Considering the many different surname changes from the supposed common ancestor to the famous person (through female lines), it’s no wonder I can’t find names in common when trying to link DNA matches. It’s extremely complex.

ancestry.com sucks. I signed up for a month and after not getting anywhere with the DNA results, decided just to search for stuff that I needed to using the records. It won’t let me, despite confirming that I’ve paid. Whenever I click on something to view the record it takes me to a subscription page.

I dislike ancestry. They promise so much and deliver fuck-all, and their results page leaves a lot to be desired. Like familysearch, why show me results that don’t fall into the parameters I specified. It’s a waste of time scrolling through irrelevant results.

Give me findmypast any day.

Edit: Well, it seems the sub I went for only included basic records (which appear to exclude parish records and anything before 1840), which are of no use to me, since I’ve exhausted pretty much all those records, so I asked to cancel, which they have done. I didn’t see any benefit in having a subscription for the DNA part of the site and dislike their search result display so goodbye ancestry.

Just a brief entry to express how disappointed I am. I had my DNA test done last year at ancestry and didn’t really do anything with it because I didn’t have a current sub. They wouldn’t show how people were related to you unless you paid up.  Well, I finally succumbed and paid for a month with ancestry and thought, right, what can you tell me, expecting to be able to contact lots of new genetically-related relatives to expand the tree. Well, the vast majority of them have no tree at all, and the rest have trees full of surnames which are completely different to everyone in my tree. How on earth would you figure out how you are related? So I paid my money and got precisely nothing out of it. The very first match did have a tree and the correct surname but they’re a beginner and had little information regarding our common surname. So I won’t get anything of interest from them either except for descendants.  Talk about hugely disappointing and, I felt, a waste of money.  As a resource for normal genealogical research I dislike ancestry, preferring findmypast, so that money could’ve gone back to findmypast to fill in gaps I’ve found during the past year. Huh.

Had to vent.

And finally, a year and a bit later, I reach the end of this challenge. It’s been really helpful for getting my head around what I have and what I don’t have. Anyway, for this final week I have included more than one ancestor: John Stevens and his parents (and beyond). I cannot claim to have undertaken all the research – much of the information (especially the earlier years) has come from another researcher, but where possible I have confirmed the dates.

John was born in about 1715 in St Ives, Cornwall. He was baptised on 24 March 1714/15 (pre-Gregorian calendar).  John was the son of Vivian Stevens and Anne Sprigg. He married El(e)anor Penrose (or Prouse, depending on which website you look at) by licence on 25 March 1738 in St Buryan to the south-west of St Ives. John was a lawyer, then mayor of St Ives and had 13, maybe 14 children:  John (1739); Anne (1740); Vivian (b. 1741, d. 1741); Francis (b. 1743, d. 1744); Francis (1744); Eleanor (1745); Mary (1747); Vivian Francis Penrose (b. 1749 but the long name didn’t prevent his early death in 1750); Elizabeth (1750); Jane (1752); Andrew (1754); and Thomas and Henry (1756). According to the other researcher there was also a Susannah born in 1758 but I have not been able to find a baptism.

John was listed as a lawyer or attorney up until about 1741 in the baptisms and burial of children, and then as a mayor from 1743. Unfortunately, later entries don’t give John’s’ occupation. Eleanor died in 1785, buried on 16 August in St Ives. John died in 1791, buried on 9 September in St Ives.

Vivian Stevens, John’s father, was baptised on 16 February 1685 in Towednack, Cornwall. His parents were Andrew and Elizabeth Stevens. He had two confirmed siblings – sisters, Ann and Margery. According to various records, Vivian was a merchant, collector and alderman.

Vivian married Anne Sprigg on 31 January 1711 in St Ives. They had five children that I know of, including John: Elizabeth (1712); (John); Andrew (1717); Anne (1720); and Catherine (1723) – children of “Mr” Vivian Stevens (and Anne).

Vivian died in 1735, buried on 16 October in St Ives. It was noted he was a “collector” – of what I wonder. I imagine it was some sort of profession such as collecting taxes. If he was born in 1685, that made him only 50 when he died.

Anne lived on to 1764, buried on 6 December in St Ives.  It is Anne’s family that is interesting, in that it can be traced back further. It’s often the female line on “Who Do You Think You Are?” that reveals fascinating history.

Anne’s parents were Thomas Sprigg and Ann Hammond. She was baptised on either the 10th or 16th December 1685 in St Ives (depending on whether the transcriber could read the second digit – if only I could see the original). Thomas Sprigg(e) married Ann on 20 November 1677 in St Ives.

Thomas was baptised on 30 November 1655, the eldest son of Robert Sprigg(s) (no mother mentioned, and I can’t find a marriage for Robert) as far as I know. Thomas had two sisters and a brother – Mary, Elizabeth, and John.

Now comes the stuff from yet another family researcher at ancestry that I can’t confirm, and so, at this point, is pure speculation. It would be great if I could find confirmation. Apparently Robert Sprigg (who died in 1667 in St Ives) was the son of Thomas Spriggs and Margery Anderton. I have not been able to find a baptism for Robert so can’t confirm or deny. Nor can I find a marriage for Thomas and Margery.

Thomas was apparently the son of John Sprigg and Pascoe James, but again I can’t find a baptism or marriage, so don’t know where this information came from. Thomas apparently died in 1663. I can confirm the baptism of John Sprigg on 26 November 1566 in Bodmin, Cornwall. Whether he’s a valid ancestor or not remains to be seen. He was the son of Robert Sprigg (and, apparently, Agnes Hendye). I did find a marriage of Robert and Agnes for 2 September 1565 in Bodmin.

Robert was, apparently, born in 1545 and died in 1596. He was the son of David Spriggs (who, apparently, was born in 1505 but that would make him 40 years old when Robert was born, or at least, baptised). David apparently died in 1559.

It would be amazing if it could all be confirmed, reaching back towards the end of the 15th century(!), but as I don’t know from where or how the information was obtained, it will have to stay theoretical. (You can’t trust anything on ancestry. One “researcher” had attached my Scottish grandmother to her family of totally unrelated people.)

So this brings me to the end of the challenge. It’s been tremendously helpful and made me realise how much I still have to find out – so many relatives, so little time, so little stuff online. I need to look at originals, especially since different transcribers give different dates, unable to read digits clearly.  (So lots of planning to do to enable me to visit the records.)

Naturally, I’ll continue to update this blog with other finds or observations.  Thanks for reading!

 

Sources: findmypast; familysearch; Cornwall OPC database; west-penwith.org.uk/ivesbur4.htm; sallenbach.net; wikipedia; http://www.ancestry.com.au/genealogy/records/john-sprigg_63672852

And today should have been my final entry but I’m still running a week late.

From Timothy Kercher to his father, Thomas.

Thomas was born in St Mary Bourne, Hampshire, in about 1753, baptised on 30 September. His parents were Thomas and Martha. I haven’t been able to find any siblings at all.

Thomas married Sarah Lee (sometimes written as Alee) in St Mary Bourne on 6 July 1777, exactly 240 years ago today. What a coincidence.

The couple had seven children that I know of, including Timothy. The first was Timothy’s older brother, William, born in January 1778, then Timothy in 1780.  Next was a girl, Martha, born about 1782, then a son, another Thomas, born in 1784. Then three daughters: Sarah (1787), Mary (1790) and Betsy (1794).

Well, I probably shouldn’t have chosen Thomas for this exercise because I know basically nothing and he lived a very short life, dying in January 1796, one year before little Betsy, at the age of 43.

Two years later he would have seen his eldest son, William, marry Ann Washbee (née Allen) in February 1799. Martha married William Goodyear in April 1803, followed by Timothy marrying Esther in November of that year. Sarah married Thomas Harries in October 1808. Mary married William Leigh in 1821.

William and Ann had four children before Ann died in June 1827. One year later William married widow, Sarah Garlick, in July 1828.

As for their mother, and Thomas’ wife, Sarah. She died in 1818. She was buried on 3 May in St Mary Bourne. She was born in about 1752 in St Mary Bourne, daughter of Richard Alee and Elizabeth Spring.

Such a short post. My next, final, one will be longer and will deal with John and Vivian Stevens reaching back into the 17th century.

As always, if anyone can add any information to the above, I would love to hear from you.

 

Sources: findmypast; familysearch; family archives

And yes, I’m a week late so today’s should be week 51!

Timothy Kercher was baptised on 30 January 1780 in St Mary Bourne, Hampshire.  As far as I know he was one of seven children, the second son of Thomas Kercher and Sarah Alee or Lee.

St Mary Bourne is a small village in northwest Hampshire. I can’t find a lot of information about it but this website gives a little information even if it is focused on WWI.

Naturally, I have no information on Timothy before he married Esther (or Hester) Webb on 14 November 1803 in Overton (Esther’s birth place).

They had 11 children that I know of, their first son, Charles, baptised in April 1804 in St Mary Bourne. Another son, William, was baptised in April 1805, then Thomas in January 1807. Then came the first daughter, Frances, in 1808. Two more daughters, Jane (baptised October 1810), and Emma (baptised August 1812), then another son, Henry in about 1814. I found a baptism for Henry on 17 April but the mother’s name was put as Henrietta. Another three daughters were born: Sarah (baptised November 1815); Elizabeth (baptised December 1816); and Harriett (baptised August 1818). Lastly, came George baptised July 1821.

The eldest, Charles, married Ann White in 1826.  Frances married Joseph Beal(e) in 1830. Emma (or Emily) married Isaac Smith in 1832. Sadly, George died in March 1834 at the age of 12. Thomas married Isabella Osman in September of that year. Elizabeth died the following year at the age of 18. Sarah married William Lewis in 1838.

In 1841 Timothy and Esther were living in Overton with their youngest daughter, Harriet, and her son, George, born six months earlier. Timothy was a blacksmith.

Esther died in February 1844 in Overton. Her daughter, Frances died in August. Harriet married William Moore in the third quarter of 1844. William, the second eldest, died in 1846. Henry married Henrietta Bartlett in 1848, then in 1849 Thomas died.

I’m not sure if Jane married. If not, she may have died in 1850.

In 1851 Timothy was a widower, still working as a blacksmith, living with his son, Charles and family in West Street, Overton. Charles was a labouring woodman, while his two daughters were silk girls.

Harriet died in 1852 and Charles died in 1859.

It seems Timothy didn’t quite make it to the 1861 census. He had outlived most of his 11 children. Henry died just three years later in 1864. I’m not sure when Jane died, and I can’t find Emma/Emily in the 1861 census.  Sarah was alive with her husband and children. Timothy died on 8 April 1861, at the grand age of around 81.

 

Sources: Google; findmypast; familysearch

Andrew Stevens was born in 1754, baptised on 31 March 1754 in St Ives, Cornwall. He was the son of John and Eleanor.  He had 12, perhaps 13 siblings, some of whom died as infants. Andrew’s father was a lawyer, and then mayor of St Ives. I can find no information of past mayors (even a list) of St Ives. The only website I could find listed mayors from the 19th century, as if mayors (or St Ives) didn’t exist before then. Even John Knill (a surname that crops up in the family) wasn’t mentioned. Disappointing.

St Ives is an old and well-known seaside town, known for its artists’ colony among other things. A civic history timeline can be found here.

StIves

Andrew married Honor Facey (whose mother was Gertrude Knill) on 6 March, 1781 in Werrington, Devon (now part of Cornwall).

The couple had six children that I know of. Lenora Penrose Stevens was baptised 4 January 1782 in St Ives. Her middle name was her paternal grandmother’s surname. Gertrude Knill Stevens (named after her maternal grandmother above) was baptised on 5 July 1783. The first son, Vivian Francis, was baptised 17 November 1784. Andrew had had two younger brothers called Vivian (one of them named Vivian Francis) both of whom died in infancy. George Facey Stevens was born next in about 1790 (his middle name being his mother’s surname). I don’t know if any children were born between 1784 and 1790. It seems likely, but I could find no baptisms during that period. There were two burials of young children in 1785 and 1787 in St Ives of a Mary and a William, aged 8 months and 3 years respectively, but no mention is made of the parents. Another five years passed before Emmeline Escott (or Eskourt) Stevens and Edwin are baptised on 25 August 1795 – twins? Again there are burials of infants in that five years but hard to say if Andrew and Honor had any more children apart from the six mentioned.

I have no further information about the life of Andrew. I don’t even know what he did. I have found no newspaper articles about his family, sadly, even though his father was a mayor.

Three of the children married in 1814. The youngest daughter, Emmeline, was the first to marry, to a naval man, George Hubert Rye, in January of that year. In April, her brother, George, married Honour Langdon. Then eldest sister, Lenora, married John Kernick in December.

George Rye had an interesting life. He was a midshipman in the Royal Navy and was involved in a few battles of the time (Copenhagen and Netherlands) before retiring in 1823 due to fever and becoming a commander of the coastguard of St Ives, capturing a French slave ship, and shooting a man in a “smuggling affray”.* He and Emmeline had five sons and a daughter: Hubert, Edward, Walter, George, Frederick, and then Emmeline on 5 January 1824. Sadly, mother and daughter died during or shortly after childbirth, both being buried on the same day on 7 January. It did say on the child’s private baptism record that her father was a lieutenant in the Royal Navy which seems to contradict the above information. Perhaps George retired shortly after the death of his wife and daughter to be there for his remaining children. This seems more likely.

Andrew was resident at Portreath in November 1830, when he died at the age of 76 from dropsy. He was buried in the parish of Illogan on 17 November.

Andrew’s wife, Honor, died just a couple of months later, being buried on 17 January 1831 in Illogan. Their daughter, spinster, Gertrude, married widower, George Rye, in December of that year. They had no further children.

 

Sources: familysearch; findmypast; Cornwall OPC database; Google; wikipedia; stives-town.info; *”The Genealogist”, 1877, archive.org/stream/genealogist;

I’m over a week late with this one. I had a brief draft ready but hadn’t got round to posting it.

Thomas Grunsell was baptised on 27 May 1764 in Stoke Charity, Hampshire. He was the son of Thomas Gruncel and Mary Poor. He had an older sister, Sarah, and two younger brothers, William and Charles.

I don’t have much information on Thomas (it’s difficult as you get further back). He married Mary Chariot on 22 March 1792 in Micheldever, Hampshire.  Their first child, John, was baptised in August of that year, so Mary was another pregnant bride. Ten more children were born over the next 24 years: Mary (1794); Thomas (1796); Rebecca (1797); William (1798); Sarah (1801); Elizabeth (1803); James (1805); Henry (1810); Joshua (1815); and (I think) Charles (1816). All were born in Micheldever.

Thomas died just eight years after the birth of Charles and was buried on 18 February 1824.

Mary lived on to 1854 and was listed both in the 1841 and 1851 census with her son, James (agricultural labourer) and his family of wife and children. Living with the family in 1841 was James’ younger brother, Charles and in 1851, James’ younger brother Joshua, also an agricultural labourer).

Mary was buried in Micheldever on 3 April 1854.

 

Sources: familysearch; findmypast