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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

The further back I go, the less information I have so some entries (like this one), will be rather brief.

John Grunsell (also spelled Grundsel, Grunsel, Gruncel, etc) was born in about 1792, baptised on 12 August, at Micheldever, Hampshire. His parents were Thomas Grunsell and Mary Chariot. He was the eldest of 11 children that I’m aware of (six brothers and four sisters).

He married Sarah Exel on 19 October 1822 in Overton, Hampshire. I don’t have any information on Sarah. The only baptism I could find was for a Sarah Exal born in Tadley, Hampshire, in November 1796, to David and Leah Exal.  According to the 1851 census “our” Sarah was born in Whitchurch. The names, David and Leah, don’t appear in children’s or grandchildren’s names either so it seems unlikely, but not impossible.

The couple had five children that I’m aware of, born in Overton from 1823 to 1836: Elizabeth (1823); George (1824); Thomas (1829); Henry (1832); and Mary (1836). Elizabeth died in 1836.

John was a journeyman tailor in 1841. The family were living in Southington (a tything in Overton parish). George is not with them and I have been unable to find him. (He wasn’t dead as he went on to marry in about 1847.)

Unfortunately, John died in 1848, buried on 26 May. He was only about 56. This was obviously bad news for Sarah who, in 1851, was listed as tailor’s widow and a pauper. With her is 18-year-old Henry, an agricultural labourer. Thomas, 21, appears to have been working as a shepherd in Sherborne St John. Among the other servants listed was George Miles, 18, farm hand. I suspect it was George’s sister, Mary, that Thomas married in 1852. The couple then sailed away to Australia in 1853. Mary also married in 1852 to Charles Kercher.

Sadly, Sarah died on 31 August 1857 in Overton. With their parents dead and Thomas in Australia, the rest of the children also migrated to Australia – Mary and her family in 1859, Thomas (now a widower) and family in 1866. I haven’t found when Henry emigrated – some time after his mother’s death perhaps.

 

Sources: findmypast; familysearch; http://www.myancestors.com.au/passenger-lists-and-immigration; Wikipedia

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

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

Mary Grunsell was born in 1836 and baptised on 4 September in Overton, Hampshire.  She was the youngest child of John Grunsell and Sarah Exel.  The couple’s eldest child, Elizabeth, died the same year Mary was born.  The other three, that I know of, were boys (five children seems a small family for the many my ancestors had).

In 1841 the family (except the eldest) were living in Southington.  Mary’s father was a journeyman tailor.  Southington was a tything of Overton.

In 1851 Mary, at age 16, was working as a house servant for the Chamberlain family in Basingstoke.  Charles Chamberlain was a 39-year-old plumber from Surrey, and lived in Cliddesden Road with his wife and four children.  Mary’s mother lived next door to Charles Kercher in Overton.

The heavily pregnant Mary married Charles Kercher, a labourer, on 5 June 1852 at St Mary’s church, Overton.  On 14 July her first child, Elizabeth, was born.  The following year Mary’s brother, Thomas, emigrated to Australia with his wife.  Mary’s first son, Charles, was born in 1854.  George was next, born between July and September in 1856, but he died sometime between October and December.  Two years later, in 1858, Mary gave birth to William.

By this time Thomas Grunsell and his wife had three children (and his wife pregnant with another) and must have offered to sponsor his sister to join them in New South Wales.

As stated in the last post, Mary and Charles and their three children sailed for Australia aboard the “Queen of England” in March 1859, arriving in Sydney on 8 July.  Their young son, William, had died on the voyage.

Mary’s next son, Arthur, was born on 25 February 1860 in Goulburn (Australia’s first inland town, established about the 1830s), so Mary must have got pregnant towards the end of the voyage.  They must have moved to Tirannaville shortly after that, as Mary’s daughter, Alice, was born there on 27 August 1861.  Perhaps by then Charles had found the job as gardener to Mrs Gibson at Tiranna House.

Two years later, Walter Henry was born on 31 July 1863.  Another son, Alfred Henry, was born on 19 July 1865.  Edward James was born on 8 December 1867 and the final child, Edwin George, was born on 28 March 1870.  Mary had given birth to ten children, eight of them surviving.  She was just 34.

Tragically, Charles died of strychnine poisoning just one year later.  Mary’s two eldest were teenagers (17 and 19) but she still had six children to take care of, the youngest only a year old.  I have no idea what she did to survive.

Mary’s eldest, Elizabeth, married George Snow in 1875 in Tirannaville.  The next eldest, Charles, married in Goulburn in 1876.  Arthur married in 1884 in Goulburn and Alice married Philip Thomas in Sydney in 1885.  Walter never married and appeared to live with his mother in George Street, Goulburn.  I imagine that Mary moved to Goulburn sometime after 1875.

In 1895 the second youngest, Edward, married in January to Lavinia Stevens.  Four months later, his younger brother, Edwin, married.  The last of the sons married in 1897 (Alfred to Emily Hall).  Just one year later, Walter died of consumption.

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Goulburn Evening Penny Post, 8 November 1898

Two years later Mary herself died, on 16 May 1900, age 64.

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Goulburn Evening Penny Post, 17 May 1900

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Goulburn Evening Penny Post, 17 May 1900

In her will, Mary left a total of £1,157, quite a substantial sum, so she did alright.  She left a larger chunk (£236) to her eldest son, Charles, who must have provided for her.  To her other sons she left equal amounts of £136.  To her grandchildren she left £10 each and to her daughters-in-law £20 each.  It appears that Mary had properties in George Street and Ruby Street (houses built by her sons) which she had rented out.  She left a houselot of furniture (for two bedrooms, parlour, dining, and kitchen) and such things as pictures, ornaments and sewing machine.

She was buried alongside Charles in Tirannaville cemetery.

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Sources: wikipedia; family archives; Trove

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.

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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:

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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

As a distraction from thoughts of the death of my young cat the night before, I did a Google search of some surnames and areas.  I found a partial family tree of someone who had a distant relative included.  From that tree I was able to fill in more descendants from a branch of Kercher.  It’s rather like filling in pieces of the puzzle and is very satisfying.  I also downloaded some old photos of the ancestral village.

I must back up the information gathered so far on the computer.