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Joseph Beale, or Beal, was born in around 1806, baptised on 22 December of that year in Overton, Hampshire. His parents were John Beal and Sarah Barnett. He had eight siblings including five brothers.

Joseph was an agricultural labourer and married Frances, or Fanny, Kercher on 8 May 1830 two months after the birth of her/their son, Charles. As mentioned in the previous post, in 1841 the family, with seven children, were living in Bridge Street in Overton. Just down the road lived Joseph’s parents and two sisters.

The eighth child, Jane, was born in about 1842, then, sadly, Frances died in 1844.

Joseph was still an agricultural labourer (as were most of his neighbours) in 1851. The family were still living in Bridge Street next door to Joseph’s widowed father. Six of the children were still living with him between the ages of 9 and 18. Harriet, age 17, was a silk winder. The eldest, Charles, was living alone in Southington, working as a railroad labourer. Edmund, an agricultural labourer, appears to be visiting George and MaryAnn Roberts in West Street, Overton, near his uncle Charles (Kercher). Either that, or he died in 1850 (but no age is given).

Charles, now calling himself Charles Kercher rather than Beale, married in 1852 and emigrated to Australia in 1859 with his wife and young family. He disappears from the Beales’ lives.

For the rest of the children, some of the following is guesswork (where indicated by “might”).

In 1861, Joseph and his three youngest children were living in West Street. Joseph and son, Alfred, were agricultural labourers. Louisa (or Lucy) and Jane were a paper factory operators. The paper mill, between Overton and Whitchurch, was founded by Henry Portal in 1712 and won a contract to make banknote paper in 1724. It’s still in operation. With the closure of the silk mill (although there was still one in Whitchurch), the paper mill would have been a major employer of young girls.

I can’t find any sign of Edmund. George might have died in 1852 (again no age). I don’t know what happened to Harriet. Henry might have joined the army. I found a Henry Beale, of the right age and birth place, at Fort Gomer, Alverstoke (or Gosport), a private in the 11th regiment.

In 1871 Joseph, age 66, was still an agricultural labourer (and widower) in Overton, living with his youngest daughter, Jane, age 28, and one-year-old grandson, Thomas Beale, baseborn son of Jane. I can’t find Edmund, George, Harriet, or Henry.  I found an Alfred and Elizabeth Beale living in Overton in 1871 with a daughter, Jane, age 4. Alfred’s age is out by a couple of years but he is an agricultural labourer. His wife (a paper mill worker) was seven years older. With them are her mother and sister, Hannah and Jane Field (paupers). I found a marriage in 1866 for Alfred and Elizabeth Goodger. I suspect Goodger was Elizabeth’s married name from a previous marriage and, indeed, I found an Elizabeth Hannah Field marrying a George Goodger in 1853. This is all supposition for our Alfred, but highly likely.  Louisa Beale might have married William Wake, an agricultural labourer, in 1864. She and William appear in the 1871 census in Overton along with children Alice and William. Louisa was a paper mill worker (as before).

Jane Beale married Charles Gronsell (or Grunsell) in 1880. Was he the father of Thomas? Thomas was ten years old by then so it’s probably unlikely, and he kept the name Beale. Was Charles Gronsell related to Jane’s sister-in-law Mary Grunsell (married to Charles Kercher)? George Grunsell was christened on 4 May 1849, son of George Grunsell and Mary Ann Silver so there’s no direct link so far.

In 1881 Joseph was living with Charles and Jane (now Gronsell) and Thomas. They lived in High Street, Overton. Charles was a labourer and Joseph (now 74) was also still a labourer.

I can’t find a death date for Joseph, but it must have been between 1881 and 1891. I have 1889 noted down but my younger self did not note where this information came from. He lived to a good age regardless, despite the hard life he must have had.

 

Sources: Wikipedia; findmypast; familysearch

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This will be a brief entry.  Frances Kercher, or Fanny, was born in about 1808, baptised on 18 September in Overton, Hampshire. She was the daughter of Timothy Kercher and Esther (or Hester) Webb. She had 10 siblings.

Frances was a silk girl working at the Silk Mill in Overton, which closed in 1846. I can’t find any old illustrations of the mill but here’s one of a silk girl in Hertfordshire.

SilkmachineryHertfordshire

from http://www.hertfordshire-genealogy.co.uk/data/occupations/silk.htm

It seems difficult to get any information about “silk girls” without Google throwing up dodgy results. Over to Wikipedia for information on silk throwing.

Frances gave birth to a boy, Charles, in March 1830 and had him baptised on 14 March. It was noted that he was a baseborn son of Frances, a silk girl. No father was named, but Frances married agricultural labourer, Joseph Beale, just two months later on 8 May 1830.

Frances had another son, Edmund Beale, in 1831 (baptised 7 August), followed by a third, George, in 1833 (baptised on 24 February). In about 1834 Frances gave birth to her first daughter, Harriett, who was baptised on 4 January 1835. In 1836 another son, Henry was born (baptised on 5 June), followed by Alfred in 1838 (baptised on 30 September). Finally, before the 1841 census, Lucy, or Louisa, was born in 1840, baptised on 4 October.

In 1841 the family were living in Bridge Street, Overton. They were living next door to Fanny’s older brother, Charles (also an agricultural labourer) and his wife and three girls.

Fanny had another girl, Jane, in about 1842 but I haven’t found her baptism.

Fanny had a tragically short life, dying in August 1844, and was buried on 29th in Overton.  She was just 36 years old.  Incredibly, I do not seem to have her death certificate!

More on her husband, Joseph, next.

 

Sources: family archives; findmypast; overtonparishcouncil.gov.uk; Wikipedia

Charles Kercher was born in 1830 in Overton, Hampshire.  He was baptised on 14 March, the baseborn son of Frances Kercher.  Frances Kercher married Joseph Beale just two months later, so I can only assume he is the father.  We’ll never really know.

Overton is a large village to the west of Basingstoke.  The region has been inhabited for thousands of years but the village developed about the 10th century.  The river Test runs through it.  Alongside the river were corn, fulling and silk mills.  The region was primarily agricultural.

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Overton was involved in the Swing Riots.  In November 1830 there was rioting in the village as agricultural labourers demanded money, food and higher wages, so it was not an easy time.  Joseph Beale, a labourer, may well have been one of the rioters.

overtonmap

By 1841, Frances had had another six children, so she had seven children under the age of 12 by the time of the census.  Charles’ surname is listed as Beale, along with the other children (four boys and two girls).  The family lived next door to Frances’ brother, Charles, and his family in Bridge Street.  The street is full of agricultural labourers.

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Google streetview of Bridge Street

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Bridge Street in 1915

Charles’ mother died in 1844, so Joseph was left to bring up six children (another had been born in 1842).  Charles appears to have kept the Beale surname and in 1851 was listed as a railroad labourer in Southington.  In the same area lived widow, Sarah Grunsell, with her youngest son.  Sarah Grunsell’s daughter, Mary, must have met Charles several times.

They married on 5 June 1852 at the parish church in Overton.

stmaryoverton

St Mary’s church, dating to the 12th century

Interestingly, on the marriage certificate, Charles now called himself Charles Kercher, but listed his father as Joseph Beale.  The witnesses are not family members.

Mary was heavily pregnant and gave birth to their first child, Elizabeth, in July 1852.  In 1854, a boy, Charles, was born, then in 1856 another boy, George.  George died as an infant.  In 1858 another boy, William, was born.

Mary’s brother, Thomas, had emigrated to Australia with his wife in 1853.  There must have been some correspondence, Thomas encouraging his sister and family to join them.  He paid £15 for their passage over.  So on 18 March 1859, Charles, Mary and their three children boarded the “Queen of England” at Liverpool and sailed for Sydney.  The passage took just under four months, but, sadly, William died on the journey.  He was one of four that died on the voyage.  The ship arrived in Sydney on 8 July 1859.

qoearrival

Thomas Grunsell was living in the Goulburn/Tirrannaville area, so that’s where the family headed.

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Charles and Mary’s next child, Arthur, was born in Goulburn, NSW in 1860.  The next five children (one girl, four boys) born between 1861 and 1870, were born in Tirannaville just to the south of Goulburn.  Charles became a gardener to Mrs Gibson at Tiranna House.

tirrannahouse1865

Tiranna House in 1865

I have no other information for Charles other than his tragic death on 25 March 1871.  He died of strychnine poisoning.  The verdict was suicide but there’s no evidence that he wished to kill himself.

smhchdth30march1871

Sydney Morning Herald, 30 March 1871

What’s weird is that it seems to have been the way to end one’s life in Tiranna:

ofinterest

ofinterestsmh

Sydney Morning Herald, 1859

Strychnine was used for pest control, but it’s a horrible way to die.

That left Mary with six children under 12 to care for.  Her two eldest were near enough to adults so could help out.  I turn to Mary next.

 

 

Sources: wikipedia; family archives; overtonparishcouncil.gov.uk; Google; overtonpictures.com; powerhousemuseum.com; Trove

Just a week ago I signed up for a “free” trial with findmypast.co.uk and in that time, with just two days of research, I have filled in numerous gaps.  Their search engine is vastly superior to ancestry and familysearch.  They only display relevant results which makes a vast difference!  I don’t waste my time clicking on results which do not meet my search criteria.

I had a word file of particular details that I wanted for a range of different ancestors.  Slowly, I have made my way through them and crossed them out as I got a positive result.  I have noted the positive and negative results on my “research log”.

Last week I found the births or baptisms for Thomas Mudd, Elizabeth Potter (also her death), and clarified births, marriages and/or deaths for some of the Rose family.

Today I met with even more success, finding the baptism (and parents) of Mary Chariot and the marriage of those newly found parents, the marriage of John Beale’s parents, the burial of John Cornelius, the burial for Thomas Gruncel, the likely baptism and death of Sarah Kercher (nee Lee), and a baptism for Sarah Barnett.  For years I had been searching for the baptisms of Sarah Exel and Esther Webb, never having found anything remotely possible, but today I found a possible baptism for a Sarah Exall AND I found Esther (aka Hester) Webb!  That was the biggest prize, finding Esther.  Those records were probably sitting there all this time, buried in all the irrelevant results from stupid search engines.  Even when I know exactly what I’m looking for and that it exists, I always drew a blank on both ancestry and familysearch.  Findmypast also has British newspaper records with a good search engine so I have started to find little articles such as John Rose standing for council.

I recently received my DNA results from ancestry.  The ethnicity is not a surprise but ideally I need a subscription to view any matches.  I’m reluctant to give ancestry any money.  I’ve usually found them disappointing (see above comments re search results).  I think I’ll wait until my findmypast sub expires and then think about it.  I’m no hurry.  In the meantime, I have uploaded my results to Gedmatch but don’t really know what to do.  It’s all gibberish to me with its 31.6 cM 4th cousin match.  What is one supposed to do with that information?  Presumably the person you match has a tree with similar surnames?  Who knows?  I need a “DNA for genealogy” for dummies, with them spelling out exactly what to do.  The help I’ve received so far still doesn’t help.  When it comes to numbers, my brain freezes.

In the meantime, I’m happy enough continuing with the more traditional search on findmypast.