The start of a New Year and the first #52Ancestors theme is I’d like to meet. I knew instantly which of my ancestors I would like to meet. James Traies who was my Great x 5 grandfather on my Baldwin side of the family. He was one of my luckiest or unluckiest ancestors depending on your perspective as he had 5 wives!
He was born in Exeter, Devon and was baptised to Samuel and Jane on 29 May 1785 in St Mary Major, Exeter. He appeared to be listed in 1803 aged 18 on an Exeter Militia list. His occupation was Tin Man. The name before his on the list was Robert Gaul, Tin Man who we find James apprenticed to in 1798 on the UK, Register of Duties Paid for Apprentices' Indentures, 1710-1811 list on Ancestry.
After 1803 there is no sign of James in Exeter but he appeared in Hackney in Middlesex. The reason he was lucky or unlucky and the reason I would like to meet him was because he had 5 wives. Hannah was possibly his first although all we have for her is her burial record in 1818 on 8 March at the age of 39. The couple had 4 children, Jane in 1809 and died in 1810, Ann in 1810, and James in 1816 all baptised to James and Hannah including my Great x4 Grandfather, Samuel in 1812. No marriage has been found for James and Hannah yet and I do wonder if they married in Devon rather than London where we have been looking.
In October 1818 James married Ann Sutton in St Johns, Hackney. She died in 1830 in Westminster. This means she must be the mother of Henry born about 1819 although no baptism has been found for Henry so far. Jane was born 1823, Hannah in 1826 and Emma in 1827 but again no baptism records have been found. Emma appeared to be the last child born to James.
The records for Hannah and Emma in particular are few and far between, for Emma just the 1851 census where she appeared with her father and was born in Marylebone. Neither she nor Hannah were with their father on the 1841 census. Hannah married Robert Hunt in Paddington in 1853.
After Ann Sutton, James married Martha Looker in 1831 in Hackney and she died in September 1842 of disease of the brain. That is a bit vague and she was aged 48. He married again just two months later in November 1842 to Jane Berry and she died in 1856, I have just ordered a copy of the death certificate as I realise I don’t have a copy and it would be interested to know how she died. The last marriage was to Mary Jones in June 1857 and she died in October 1861 of paralysis. James did not marry again and he died in 1878 and his death was registered as natural decay, he was 93 years old which is no mean feat at the time.
I have never found any evidence that he was ‘doing away’ with his wives, but he does seem quite unlucky with them. But I would like to know his thoughts on his many wives, his story has always interested me and the research has excited me.