Friday 3 June 2022

 Always go back and check your original sources.

3rd June 2022

Find My Past has offered free access to its newspaper archives to mark the Queen's Platinum Jubilee.

Checking through I have found that new papers have been added since I last looked. One of these contains extra information about the trial of Thomas Bissett who had the misfortune to be married to my three times great aunt, Frances Garnett Wills aka Fanny Wells. Reading the pages to the right you will see that the jury implored the judge to be lenient with the sentence as Thomas had tolerated so much provocation from Fanny. Now a letter to the editor of a local newspaper reveals that the people of Newport, Isle of Wight paid for a solicitor to represent Thomas at his trial. After the verdict residents contacted the solicitor of their own accord to say that they would be prepared to sign a memorial to the Secretary of State requesting that his sentence be repealed. Unfortunately, the newspaper does say if this ever took place.➨

Hint πŸ˜‰ It is always worth rechecking your research. New information is becoming available all the time.

Tuesday 24 July 2018

How I Finally Found My Great Uncle (or a Divorce Rescinded)

Well, I have finally discovered why my great uncle, Henry James Webb, vanished from view 
after  1901. My grandmother's family were the first of my antecedents I investigated. I 
managed to  trace her eldest brother up to 1901 then he disappeared. In 1901 he was
 single, living with his parents and working as a carter. There were records for many men
 with his name but nothing  conclusive. Every so often I would attempt another search
 for him. On members' trees on Ancestry various records were attached to him but I was
 not completely convinced. Then  Find My Past added the records for the War Tribunals 
for Portsmouth. I had a breakthrough finding a Henry Webb in Portsmouth who could 
very well be my great uncle. Having entered these  details into the 1939 Register I found 
a Henry Webb living with a Hilda Couch. It looked like this  could be him. By researching
 Hilda I found the solution to my problem. Of course nothing in family history is easy. After
 considerably more research I found the records for Henry and his family. He had shared
 his life with a lady named Ada Couch. Ada was already married and so  on many records
 Henry (aka James) had used her surname as that was the name used by his children. Why
 had I not thought of that?! Twelve years after the birth of Henry and  Ada's first child her 
husband, Edgar, obtained a Decree Nisi by citing her adultery. It was posted in the Portsmouth 
News. Scandal! My grandmother would have been horrified! Then evidence emerged
 showing that Edgar had two daughters with two separate women. The Decree Nisi was then
 rescinded. I am not sure if this wipes out the scandal.

To read the story of Henry and Ada go to the page Henry James Webb aka James Couch .➨  
I have highlighted in red the sources I used to follow their story.

Hint πŸ˜‰ New records are becoming available all the time. It is worth going back and doing a stock take every so often.

Hint πŸ˜‰ After you have been going round in circles trying to find an ancestor taking a break can clear your head.

Hint πŸ˜‰ If you have reached a brick wall researching  a particular person try looking at someone they are associated with.

Now I have a further mystery. This photograph taken in Portsmouth shows my grandmother, Elsie Wills nee Webb, with some of her family. She is seated with the little boy. The elderly man to the far right is her father, Henry James Webb. The man in the centre is one of his sons. Could it be the enigmatic Henry James Webb aka James Couch?

😧 More research!

Wednesday 27 June 2018

I have joined GeneaBloggers Tribe!

Well, it has just been confirmed that my Blog, Sally's Family History Hints, is about to become part of the GeneaBloggers TRIBE! I am looking forward to reading the jottings and thoughts of other family historians and genealogists. I wonder if anyone will want to read mine? I had better get on and write some interesting posts and articles. Fortunately my ancestors have left some interesting stories and nuggets.

Monday 21 May 2018

How to trace all the children of your ancestor!

In this post I am going to show some of the methods you can use to trace the
children of your ancestors. This list is by no means conclusive, but it is a start.

There does seem to be a myth about our ancestors. They were all upstanding moral pillars
 of the community. They were married before they started to live together meaning that 
all their children were born at least nine months after the wedding. Of course, there were 
a few strays who had children outside marriage but they are on other peoples' family trees 
not ours. Well, I am sorry to break the news but that is not the case. Our ancestors were
 very similar to us. Some were well and truly wed before the next generation started to
 appear. Others married after the birth of their first or second child. Whilst some preferred
not to marry or were not able to. They also suffered the problems of relationship
 breakdowns and interesting personal lives. The point of all this means that it can be
difficult to trace all the offspring of a particular individual. You need to extend the
 boundaries of your search in order to trace all members of the family.

When starting to search for the children of an ancestor in both parish registers and civil
 records it pays  to be fairly generous with the dates you are researching. Allow for a 
few years before the presumed date of  the parents' marriage. Any children born
 before a couple were officially married may be recorded with either the father's or
the mother's surname. It is worth checking both even if the child used the family
 (father's) surname later. Should the couple come from different towns or villages
 again check both.  There are always the stories of daughters being sent to stay with 
distant relations to await the birth of an illegitimate child.  It may be worth extending 
your search to include the home towns of other relations.

You should also check more local sources for details of bastardy bonds and paternity suits.
 These can appear in local records rather than on the major websites.  Usually the
 presence of such documents means that the child's parents did not go on to get married.

Old Wills can also be helpful. You may find names of people you do not recognise. Or, it may be
you find a relative referred to by a slighter different name to that you are familiar with.

Example One
The son of my 3x great aunt Frances Wills was born before his parents married. The birth was registered in the September quarter of 1848 in Newport on the Isle of Wight. The child's name shows on the civil records as Thomas Person Wills (This is a transcription error his name was Thomas Pearson Wills). No other name is recorded. In 1849 Frances Wills married Thomas Pearson Bissett in Portsea. Frances and her husband Thomas Snr do not appear on the 1851 Census together. Frances is shown in 1851 with the surname Bissett. Thomas jnr is shown as Thomas P Wills.  From 1851 onwards Thomas jnr uses the surname Bissett.

Example Two
My great great grandparents, Robert Emond and Jane Romanes , were married in Selkirk in the
 Scottish Borders on Christmas Day 1846. Their first child, another Robert, having been born
 on 4 September 1844.  He was christened on 21 December 1845. The record of his
 christening describes him as the illegitimate child of Jane Romanes and Robert Emond. His 
brother James was born sometime in 1846. So, Robert and Jane already had two children when 
they married. Scotland's People have indexed  the christening record of 1845 under Emond.

Example Three
In another branch of the family I found a little girl who only lived for nine months. Her parents married a few months after her she was born. Her birth was recorded showing her mother's surname and her death her father's.

Example Four
My 4xgrt grandfather, John Newbolt,  was baptised in  Minstead, Hampshire in 1732. He was buried a short distance away in Lyndhurst in 1809. He was a timber dealer in the New Forest. Fortunately various documents about him are available at Hampshire Records Office. Two of these are bastardy bonds relating to his son James Witherington. James was baptized in Lyndhurst in 1797. John is not recorded as his father in the record of this event. Without the bond I would not have made the connection. A copy of John Newbolt's Will is also available at the records office. In it James is referred to as his natural son. James always used the surname of his mother, Mary Witherington.

Example Five
John's legitimate  daughter, Sarah, is my 3xgrt grandmother. There is no evidence of her baptism in the New Forest or of John's marriage. The reason why is disclosed in another document held in Winchester. It is a settlement certificate for John, his wife Elizabeth, Sarah and younger daughter Elizabeth (born Lyndhurst). It is dated 1772 and is relevant to Lyndhurst. It shows that around 1748 John was apprenticed to a cardboard maker in Frome, Somerset. A search of the records for Frome showed that John married there in 1753. My Sarah was baptised there in 1765. Sadly the records also show that three other children born in Frome did not survive infancy.

Example Six
Back with my Selkirk relations I found a paternitysSuit dated 1845. It related to the son of Euphemia Emond and Benjamin Fearson (or Pherson). James was born on 31st October 1842. He was baptised on 17th November 1844 when his name is given as James Fearson. The paternity suit is dated 1845. After this date James uses the surname Emond. So, this raises the question did Euphemia expect Benjamin to marry her? 

Example Seven
One of my great uncles shared his life with a lady who was already married. The births of this couple's children were all registered using the lady's married name and usually her maiden name. Therefore it is almost impossible to trace the connection to my great uncle. Although! On the 1911 Census he also used her married name so they all appear with the same surname. The name being that of her estranged husband.

HintπŸ˜‰ You need to have a broad mind when searching for your ancestor's  offspring! Good Luck!

Friday 27 April 2018

Always look beyond the dates you are researching

A few years ago I exchanged information with a lady with whom I shared some of my ancestors. This lady made reference to the fact that my great great grandfather, Edmund Webb, had been bankrupt in the early 1860s. This was new to me and so I looked at Southampton newspapers around that date for more information. I found that he had been declared bankrupt at that time. He was described as a timber dealer. This occupation was different from the previous descriptions of him as a carpenter. Interestingly the family of his wife, Sarah Sign Humby, had been timber dealers in Lyndhurst. As Sarah's family had lost their timber business I wondered if she and her mother, Elizabeth Watts Humby nee Sign,  had encouraged Edmund to change occupations. I extended my search dates to look for more information. Yes, there was more information. Then I extended the dates again, and again and again! I had given Edmund the benefit of the doubt over one failed business. I found articles from 1856 to 1884 concerning his business dealings. The Southampton search extended to Portsmouth, Gosport, the Isle of Wight, Dorset and his birth place in the north of Hampshire. His bankruptcy details featured in newspapers all over the country. He had starring roles in accounts of the court proceedings. He was a multiple bankrupt and his business dealings were legendary. I collected dozens of newspaper articles about him.The main articles fall into the groups listed below. There are many more for the intervening and later years.

1856 First Bankruptcy including details of his father Thomas Webb’s financial                             assistance and Sarah Sign Webb’s Marriage Settlement  

1857 Bankruptcy of Elizabeth Watts Humby and the Bankruptcy and Imprisonment of                 Thomas Harris for Fraud

1858 (Admiral) Saumzraz v Webb 

1859 Disputed Bill of Exchange and Second Bankruptcy 

1861 The Death of William Rolleston 

1862 The Railway Hotel, Southampton 

1863 Third Bankruptcy

1869 The Coach and Horses, Portsmouth 

1870 Fire at the Coach and Horses 

1871 The Hants and Berkshire Agricultural Show and  the Pig Problem 

1871 The Private Omnibus Service in Portsmouth  and Pearce v Webb

1872 The Imprisonment of John Sharp a soldier from Hilsea Barracks, Portsmouth 

1872 Liquidation by Arrangement

Edmund Webb Summary of Court Cases can be found to the right of this post.➨

There is also an article The Saga of Edmund Webb which gives details of his family and life.➨

Hint πŸ˜‰ Always look outside your initial search area you never know what you may find.

Tuesday 30 May 2017

How Google books can help with your research

Google books can be a very useful website to help with your family history
research. The search facility is easy to use. All you need to do is enter the
topic you want to explore. Basic searches for a place , a surname, an
occupation will produce a list of books, journals and magazines. You can
also search for information about institutions such as workhouses or
hospitals. Details about Acts of Parliament also show up.

Your search will produce a variety of different suggestions. Occasionally you will find that a book is only available at a particular library or archive. Usually it will be possible to gain access on-line even if a book or journal is out of print. These items  can be downloaded to create your own reference library.

Here are a few examples of what is available.

Old tourist guides will give details of an area when your ancestors lived there. This link should take you to a guide book for the Isle of Wight dated 1846.

This pamphlet from 1862 gives details of the poor law medical relief
available on the Isle of Wight.

Here a 1844 document has information about the House of Industry.

A copy of The Farmer magazine gives details of the activities of seeds man Mr Toogood of Southampton.

This pamphlet from 1837 reflects on the Factory Act and the cotton industry.

There are also details of court documents which might be difficult to obtain elsewhere.

I am distantly related to Robert Emond, the Haddington Murderer. Just by typing his name into a search engine it is possible to obtain a wealth of information. Books containing the details of his life, crime and trial are widely available. When I looked for the family name in Google books  something else appeared. This link gives details of the Court of Session held in Scotland. It shows that after Robert's death his sister pursued his wife for money she claimed Robert owed her. It is also interesting in that it tells how the wife's time in prison had damaged her health. She was to be allowed out of prison until her health improved. Then she was to be detained again. 

A summary of Robert Emond's crime and trial can be found on the right. ➨
Also, brief summaries of his family and that of his wife Mary Munro.➨

My 4x great grandparents, Robert Emond and Sarah Waite, being his

Hint πŸ˜‰  There are a wealth of hidden documents. You only have to search.

Saturday 27 May 2017

How ebay can help with your genealogy research

Everyone who likes a bargain has used ebay at sometime. There are many
items advertised that could help you collect information about your
family and the area they lived in.

Here I am going to list some of the items you may find useful. Even if
you decide not to buy you can still browse and look at things that
interest you. The old photographs and postcards are particularly good
for researching fashion trends.

Family tree charts
Family History Discs
Old and recent maps.
Guide books
Postcards of places and people
Photographs of people and places
Pages from old magazines and books
Indentures of property and apprenticeships
Certificates. Birth, marriage and death certificates do appear. There
                            are also certificates relating to achievements such as
                            swimming  or music. Others are connected to peoples'
Adverts from businesses
Tradesmen's stationary
Mourning cards
Baptism cards
School reports
Military memorabilia

I found documents showing that a member of my family who worked
as a carter in the Scottish Borders had paid his "Road Money".
Unfortunately there was not any sign of a document showing that
he had paid his fine for allowing a cart to stand on a turnpike

Hint πŸ˜‰ Other peoples' discarded items may turn into your treasure of