For this week’s #52 Ancestors the theme is Passed Down and I thought I would look at the twins I have on my family tree. I don’t know how unusual it is to have lots but on my tree the Twin gene has been passed down generation to generation quite successfully in our family. A quick search of duplicate baptism dates on my family tree brought me at the very least 32 sets of twins and that is only the ones I know about.
My earliest set of twins were James and Mary Pilbeame who were baptised on 11 August 1615 at the Church in Ticehurst, Sussex to Robert and Elizabeth Pilbeame. Robert was my Great x 9 Grandfather and he married Elizabeth Daniell on 18 October 1614 at Ticehurst and they had 10 children, James and Mary being the eldest. The only one I have properly researched at the moment is John, the youngest, my Great x 8 Grandfather, born 1634 in Wadhurst and died 1713 in Wadhurst. In 1662 John Pilbeame paid Hearth Tax on a house in Wadhurst with three hearths and he wrote a will in 1709 which stated he was a Yeoman.
I found one family, that of John Parks and Mary Beeching of Heathfield who had two sets of twins.
John Parks was my Great x 7 Grandfather who was born in Heathfield in 1687 to Thomas Parks and Grace Mascall. John married Mary on 16 August 1710 in Burwash and they had 9 children including Esau and Jacob Parks both baptised in Heathfield on 4 December 1720 and Barbara and Richard Parks baptised in Heathfield on 24 November 1723. Some of John and Mary’s offspring went on to have twins of their own including Esau who married Elizabeth Hope on 4 September 1748 in Heathfield and was noted of Waldron. He and Elizabeth had 9 children including Elizabeth and Mary Parks both baptised on 16 May 1750 in Heathfield, their firstborn children.
Those two examples are both on my maternal side of the family, there are twins on my paternal side too. There is Henry and George Cruse both baptised in Chailey on 15 November 1752 to Thomas and Ann Cruse. Sadly though, Henry died and was buried on 20 November and George buried on 26 November 1752. This sad family was mentioned in a previous blog ‘High and Low’.
There are a number of sets of twins in my Harmer family including Reuben Lewis and Charles Harmer who were baptised on 16 August 1807 in Ashburnham, sons of Samuel Harmer and his wife Phoebe. They had 12 children in all, they married on 22 June 1790 at Ashburnham. Their eldest son, Samuel was born in 1791 in Ninfield and was transported for life, to Australia, in 1812 after conviction for illegally stealing a chestnut gelding at Icklesham, with his harness and a cart the property of Jacob and Lewis Carey. They may have been his uncles but I have not researched that yet. He and twelve other prisoners were capitally convicted and received a sentence of death. The Chief Baron, humanely reprieved all the capital convicts before he left the court. (How kind of him!) Thus Samuel received a sentence of transportation for life.
I haven’t found many sets of twins on my Baldwin side of the family apart from Emma Jane and Harriet Louisa Turner born 27 December 1840 in St Botolphs, Aldgate London to Edward Turner and his wife, Harriet. Their Uncle James was my Great x4 Grandfather and they all lived in Cartwright Street in Aldgate which was very near to the Royal Mint and the Tower of London.
Lastly there was Joseph and Mary Willey baptised on 23 February 1792 in North Somercotes in Lincolnshire to William and Ann Willey. William was my Great x5 Grandfather and he married Ann Smith on 19 May 1791 in North Somercotes, Joseph and Mary were their first children. They went on to have 10 children altogether, all of whom lived to adulthood and marriage. William was a Joiner according to the 1841 census as were some of his sons.
That is a small sample of some of the twins in my family tree, looking at the spread, they do seem to be more prevalent on the Pilbeam line which ends with the Pilbeam twins of Punnetts Town, my mum, Hilary and her twin sister Davina Pilbeam born in 1943 in Worthing Hospital in Sussex. To find out more about them read my previous blog called Sisters written in March 2022.