Richard Message married my great x4 Grandmother Hannah Oliver in Dallington, Sussex on 20 October 1803. They had one child from the marriage, Richard baptised on 9 February 1807 at Warbleton, Sussex where the family were living. Various contacts have mentioned a second child, Philadelphia who lived between 1804 and 1817 but have never shown me any proof and I have searched high and low with no sign. So I discount until someone shows me the evidence! Hannah had two children already by a previous relationship with a Benjamin Carley, Benjamin Oliver Carley baptised on 16 February 1800 at Warbleton, and Stephen Carley Oliver born in 1802 in Warbleton.
Richard may have been born in Shoreditch around 1786, a baptism has been found on 31 January 1786 to a Richard and Mary Message of Holywell and there is nothing in Sussex at that time.
But Richard’s story can be picked up in 1806 and fits this week’s theme of Negatives for #52Ancestors nicely. Richard appeared in the England and Wales Criminal Register 1791-1892 on Ancestry.co.uk charged with Felony (which was a serious crime) at the January session, he was acquitted.
Then he turned up again in 1807 on the England and Wales Criminal Register 1791-1892 on Ancestry.co.uk at the Lent session at Horsham Court charged with Larceny (theft of personal property), the sentence was 14 years Transportation.
At the age of 21 in 1807 he appeared on the register of Perseus a Prison Hulk register, convicted on 16 March at Horsham of Felony which is a bit confusing unless it was a separate charge from the Criminal Register above. He was awaiting transport on the Admiral Gambier. The Perseus was moored in Portsmouth Harbour and it would appear from the next record that they were moored for over a year. It must have been grim!
A newspaper report from the Sydney Gazette and New South Wales Advertiser, Sunday 25 December 1808 reported that the Admiral Gambier arrived from England under Captain Harrison with 197 male prisoners. They sailed from England on the 2nd July and arrived in late December so a 5 month voyage, but all were reported in good health and good spirits. A small handful died on the passage.
Richard appeared on a list in 1811 as being in Hobart town in Tasmania and then in 1816 he appeared in the New South Wales Convict Register of Conditional and Absolute Pardons with an Absolute Pardon.
Amazingly the next record found for Richard is the record of his marriage on 26 June 1816 to Mary Ann Mullins in Hobart, Tasmania. She was a free person. Unfortunately Richard doesn’t appear to have been free to marry again, as he was still married to Hannah although she was all those miles away in England. I guess the likelihood of him ever returning to England was so very slim, he took his chances as many others must have too. He was 31 years old and Mary Ann was 19 years old.
Richard died on 5 October 1821 in Hobart, Tasmania aged 35 years, having never returned to England.
Willetts, J (n.d.) "Convict Ship Admiral Gambier 1808" Free Settler or Felon
18 April 2022 – more information about the Admiral Gambier
How do you spell that? is the theme for this week’s #52 Ancestors. I’m sure we all have stories from our family trees of misspelt names. I have one family for instance that somewhere in the middle of the 19th century became Rusbridge from Risbridger. All the early records are Risbridger and then suddenly records start showing Rusbridge. When I work backwards suddenly I could no longer find any Rusbridges but when I found the first Risbridger I was then able to start finding other missing family members and fit them together. I presume somewhere along the line someone writing down what they heard misheard an accent and it simply changed. Two generations have a mixture of the two.
But my best family for misspelt names is that of James Traies, my Great x 5 grandfather who was born in Exeter in Devon in 1785 to Samuel and Jane. At some point James travelled to London where he spent the rest of his life, living around the Kensington area. James was a Tin Plate worker. He married 5 times, although is first marriage to Hannah has not been found, just her death, and Ann who he married next was thought to be the same woman but can’t be, he married her after his first children were born. The search carries on for the first marriage in the early part of the 19th century.
Searching for the records for this family was a slow and laborious task and some records remain hidden to this day. Not only can parts of the family be found under; Trayes, Treays, Treayes, Traces and Trease to name a few but there were other mistranscriptions such as the 1851 census for James which took ages to find. It was eventually found under Fraies. I notice on Ancestry.co.uk that a user submitted a correction to this record in 2020 which is curious because I submitted a correction in about 2007. Ancestry obviously didn’t believe me!
The 1861 census was found under Truies and other records were found under names such as Praies.
Searching for James and his son Samuel and in turn his daughter Emma who married James Turner, all part of my direct line taught me quite early on that it helps to be a little creative when searching for missing records. Sometimes you need to think outside the box and be clever with your searching. One day I might succeed in finding out who Hannah (first wife) was.
For this week’s #52Ancestors I’m having a rant. No not really, just a little bug bear of mine. The theme is ‘Check it out’ which instantly reminds me of something I learnt fairly early on in my genealogy journey. If at all possible you should find 3 primary sources to prove a person is the correct one. Of course, this is not always possible but so often when searching for someone on a certain subscription site and I find that person appearing on a tree something doesn’t quite fit and there are never any sources cited to show where they got the information from. Sound familiar?
For instance, when I started researching my tree some 20 years ago, I was sent a copy of a tree from someone, and they had my Great x3 Grandfather James Winchester who married Catherine Sarah Williams in 1850 in Ashburnham. This is correct, we have more than one primary source that proves this information. Marriage certificate, and at least two census records as well as birth certificates for some of the children. I merrily copied what they had on the tree with an incorrect date of birth of 1830 in Ashburnham and his parents were William and Philadelphia, with several generations going back. I can’t remember the exact details now, but something didn’t quite fit. The census records I have for him are; 1841 – born 1828, 1851 – 1821 and 1871 – 1828. It was when I found the 1841 census that alarm bells started ringing, James was age 13 with a Thomas Winchester age 50, so presumably his father, not a William. I eventually checked it out and now have him, son of Thomas Sinden Winchester and Ann Stonestreet. My theory about the 1851 census is that his wife was older than him but he was embarrassed, he was only 23 and so he said he was 30 to appear older than his wife who was 26. Of course, without finding Catherine’s birth I can’t prove that at all but it’s a fun theory.
There are many instances on that same website where someone for instance, was searching for Joe Bloggs born about 1850 in Sussex and they find one Joe Bloggs born 1845 in Hertfordshire, think that will do and fit him into the tree. But without checking at least other parish records such as burials they cannot see the glaringly obvious for anyone who carries on searching other records, that particular Joe Bloggs died in 1848 so cannot be the right one.
Also there are many other less obvious records that can be searched that give clues such as wills which often name all children and can be checked with parish records, newspapers sometimes can be a really useful source of information about families, funerals and weddings name relatives in attendance and help to widen the family picture. One of the simplest ways of proving you have a correct family, after 1837 is to purchase the birth certificates for siblings and check the mother’s maiden name tallies for all of them. These days you don’t even have to purchase the certificates, you can tally the maiden name on the GRO website simply by searching.
The theme for this week’s #52Ancestors is Sisters. I have struggled with this one but then I thought as we have just celebrated Mother’s Day in the UK, I would celebrate my mum and her twin sister and take the opportunity to share some of the many photos I have collected of the pair. A photo of the ‘Pilbeam Twins’ always had the same conversation, “Which one is which”?
The twins were born on 9 September 1943 at Worthing Hospital. Davina Mary came first and Hilary Margaret second. The lived at Punnetts Town, where their dad, Ron Pilbeam worked on the family farm at Three Cups and mum, Edith looked after the four children, Neville and Enid born before the twins and helped at the Dairy.
They attended the village school at Punnetts Town where their Auntie Eva Pilbeam was a teacher and where now, my mum’s grandsons attend. After that they moved to Heathfield Secondary School.
Mum tells many stories about helping Grandad on his milk round in the late 50s early 60s especially the hard winter of 62/63. She also tells stories of the fun they used to get up to pretending to be each other for boyfriends, teachers etc.
Mum married my dad in September 1964 at the Rest Gospel Hall at Cade Street and Davina or as she was known, Auntie Beana married Philip Greenacre in 1968 at Oulton Broad, Norfolk. They lived in Lowestoft. I have some faint memories of the wedding. My grandad took me out of the service, at the age of 2 1/2 I was probably restless and we went and woke the ducks up on the Broad.
Mum and Dad had 3 children, me and a younger sister and brother and Davina and Philip had two children, a boy and a girl. At some point in the early 70s Davina and Philip divorced and she came back with my cousins to live in Sussex and they attended the same school as us in Hailsham.
Sadly Auntie Beana died in May 1998 and she is missed for the fun we used to have with her as children. Mum had a stroke in 2016, survived and carries on to this day.
Looking at my family tree I am surprised at the number of sets of twins that appear on both sides of the family. I found one family in the 1600s that gave birth to two sets of twins but sadly I don’t think any survived to adulthood. I wonder how many of the twins on my tree were known for being identical like mum and her sister.
Week 12 of #52Ancestors and the theme is Joined Together. I thought I would take a look at the three marriages I have on my tree that all took place at Fleet Prison in London.
Edward Clarke married Margaret Roocks on 25 May 1725
Walter Comber married Jane Fillery on 17 September 1732
Edward Turner married Charity Clark on 2 October 1753
(Incidentally Charity was the daughter of Edward and Margaret)
A marriage at Fleet Prison or its environs was a common example of an irregular or a clandestine marriage taking place before the Marriage Act 1753 came into force on 25 March 1754. The reasons for these marriages taking place at Fleet are many and various; cost, speed, pregnant brides, parents not giving permission, underage to name a few. The clergymen in the Prison were less than scrupulous about who they married, they were just trying to make money and that was the reason why Parliament acted in 1754 and introduced the Marriage Act. This tightened up the rules on how marriages could be celebrated.
I can only guess at the reasons why my three couples married at the Fleet. This was Walter Comber’s second marriage, his first wife having died two years earlier. None of the brides appeared pregnant unless I have failed to find an earlier child in each case. I think it is interesting how Edward and Margaret’s daughter, Charity copied her parents. Perhaps I should check their other children’s marriages too!
Edward was described on the marriage entry as from Waldron and was a weaver. I’ve not managed to pin down a birth for him either in Waldron or East Grinstead or anywhere else in Sussex but then Clark is a fairly common surname. Margaret was of East Grinstead and that is where the family lived after the marriage. Despite her unusual name, I’ve not managed to find her birth either yet, Roocks could be Rocks or Rooks. Hmmm… They had 9 children, 3 were called Mary, the first two dying young. Charity was their 2nd child and married Edward Turner in 1753. Their marriage entry stated they were both of East Grinstead and Edward was a husbandman (farmer). They had 4 daughters and a son and their 3rd daughter, Sarah married William Faulkner my great x 5 grandfather.
Walter Comber was described as a Cordwainer from Slaugham, Sussex and Jane Fillery was also from Slaugham. Walter had been married to Sarah Wright, who died in 1730 leaving Walter to bring up their two young sons. Walter and Jane had 4 daughters. Unfortunately, Jane’s birth has not been found although it is thought she was younger than Walter. Walter married Sarah in 1707 so he would have been born about 1680-90 ish but again no birth found yet. It is known that he was the son of Lambert Comber, I have copies of deeds that mention Walter and his sister, Elizabeth who was my great x7 grandmother. Jane is thought to have been born about 1710 but there seems to be little evidence for that and once again I have not yet found a baptism for her.
It is a lesson learnt well though that if you are looking for a marriage during the early part of the 1700s that you cannot easily find, it is worth checking the Fleet marriages. Some are available on Findmypast or The National Archives is worth checking. I would love to find the reasons why they married in this way though!
Week 11 of #52Ancestors and the theme is Flowers. I thought I would introduce you to my paternal grandmother. Ivy Lorraine Harmer, one of my many female ancestors with a flower name.
Ivy was born on 2 January 1913 in Dallington, Sussex to Dorothy Harmer. We do not know who her father was, although I hope that maybe one day with the help of DNA we might at least be able to find the family. The earliest possible picture of her is this one of Dallington School in 1917, she would have been 5 years old and in attendance at Dallington. The photo has her labelled as the girl in the centre with the light coloured dress and the large collar.
Ivy’s mother met a Canadian Soldier, John Marini at the end of WW1, and they married in Dallington in 1918. In 1920 they emigrated to the USA leaving Ivy behind with Dorothy’s older sister, Emily and her husband David Smith. It is not clear at what stage Emily took over the care for Ivy and my dad always knew her as Granny Smith. Maybe Emily always cared for Ivy anyway. However Dorothy and John made a few trips back to England and dad knew Dorothy as Ivy’s mum and when they visited in 1975 and I was 9 years old, I was aware that she was my great grandmother.
David, Emily and Ivy appeared on the 1921 census at 19 Garfield Road, Hailsham in an area Ivy lived for the rest of her life and the road that my first property I owned was in. Ivy was now Ivy Smith, but I don’t believe there was a formal adoption. There appeared to be two small boys also living with the family, Leonard Fears and Jack Marchant, both noted as mother alive and father unknown and entered as Boarder, which might suggest David and Emily were fostering. They never had any children of their own. Leonard Fears appeared with Ivy and Alfred on the 1939 register.
David Smith died in 1930 after a short illness and Emily and Ivy remained at 19 Garfield Road. On 4 August 1934 Ivy married my grandad Alfred Sydney Baldwin of 6 Sackville Road, Hailsham, also I road my family lived in during my teenage years. He worked at Green Bros in Hailsham, a garden furniture manufacturers. They started out as one of the number of rope making factories in Hailsham. Grandad and David Smith who had worked there after WW1, had both made Trug baskets. The occupation now of my other half who is based at The Truggery, Herstmonceux.
The 1939 Register has them living at 24a Bellbanks Road, Hailsham. This is where I remember them living through my childhood with its outside toilet with paraffin lamp and tin bath hanging up behind the scullery door.
By this time their first born Richard, better known as Dick had arrived and later during the war, my dad Leslie known as Les arrived in early 1942.
Ivy died in 2002, she was 89 years old. Not a remarkable life particularly but interesting to me because she gives me the opportunity to research another family apart from her birth mother’s. David Smith’s family is the first family on my tree to actually have come from Hailsham, the town where I was born and have lived all my life. More research is always a good thing!
The theme for #52Ancestors this week is Worship. I thought I would take a look at my tree and find the clues to how many of my ancestors were non conformists. My family attended an Open Brethren Chapel in Hailsham whilst we were growing up. But where did our ‘dissenting’ come from?
My maternal grandparents were also Open Brethren, part of the Plymouth Brethren movement. My grandfather, Ronald Pilbeam was one of the leaders of a small chapel, The Rest Gospel Hall, in Punnetts Town, near Heathfield which is now a Christian Outreach Centre. It was planted out by the Assembly at Maynards Green, the other side of Heathfield. I know that a Great Aunt, Eva Pilbeam wrote an account of the history ‘Growing up under the shelter of the Maynards Green Assembly’, copy of which is held at the East Sussex Record Office and hopefully one day I will get over there to read it, now that Covid is over.
I presume that my great grandparents George Charles Pilbeam and his wife Naomi were members too. Before that I am not sure where the family worshipped although I know that they along with 3 other generations of my family are buried at the Independent Chapel at Cade Street, Heathfield. This is a famous white building of the mid 1700s, a bit grand for an independent chapel and is reputed to have been used as a navigation aid by mariners on the sea. Amongst the gravestones I can find many ancestors and forebears that I either knew or were from before my time but appear on my tree.
My maternal grandmother belonged to the Lingfield Mission Room with her parents and siblings, her and grandad were married there in 1937. Unfortunately I was unable to find anything on Google about it. Something to add to the list for searching.
My x4 great grandfather James Vincent and his wife Sarah on my maternal grandfather’s side chose to have a number of their children baptised at Providence Chapel in Staplefield near Cuckfield which was an Independent Chapel. Four of the children were all baptised together on 18 November 1821, the year the chapel was founded. The register starts
‘In an Independent Congregation, worshipping
in Providence Chapel, Staplefield. In the parish
of Cuckfield, in the County of Sussex. The
Church formed in the year of Our Lord
The Minister Edmund Greenfield’
Amongst the Deacons is mentioned James Vincent.
The couple had a further 4 children, all baptised at Providence Chapel. The last child, Jesse Vincent born 1831 later emigrated to Salt Lake City in Utah, USA.
That is the result of just some quick searching of my family tree and it would appear that nonconformity was strong certainly on the side of maternal grandparent’s lines. There are probably others waiting to be found.
Week 9 of #52Ancestors already! I struggled with this week’s prompt, Females. The obvious is to write about the strong women in your ancestry and I didn’t want to do that, I have some strong men on my tree too! I was looking through my family tree and realised I have a long list of women who are currently UNKNOWN surname. Marriages currently not found.
Those marriages that for one reason or another are not found and the woman remains unknown. It’s not so difficult when you can order a birth certificate for the children, (after 1837) and find her maiden name and then search for the marriage. But when you are relying on parish registers, pre 1837, the mother’s maiden name wasn’t entered on baptism records of the children in England and earlier on you are lucky to even find a first name sometimes.
Every so often I like to pick a few and search for them. I picked one this morning:
Samuel STANDEN married Ann UNKNOWN in about 1750. The evidence I have so far is that their daughter Ann married Hugh VINCENT, my x5 great grandfather in 1776 in Cuckfield, Sussex and Samuel was baptised in Cuckfield. His children were baptised to Samuel and Ann. I had searched high and low and couldn’t find a marriage for them anywhere. But today, looking at the family I had found for Samuel, I noted that some of Samuel’s siblings were entered on to the register as STANDING so I searched for a marriage for Samuel STANDING and found the following:
3 March 1749 in Cuckfield, Samuel STANDING and Ann RAPLEY. Looks most likely and looks like one ticked off the list once I have searched a bit further for her family to try and verify this marriage as the one I am looking for.
There are a number of reasons why a name has not been found on initial searching; they have married out of county, it may be information given to me by a contact that I have not had time to verify, it may simply be down to the lack of records online at the time the searching was carried out or like the one above, a change in spelling of names between records. If the vicar wrote the name down wrongly, the couple may not necessarily have known, if they were unable to read and write.
This serves as a timely reminder that nobody ever finishes their family tree, there is always something to go back years later, and research again. Especially with new records being added to the subscription sites all the time. Who knows, maybe in time I will eventually find who Michael HALL married in Edenbridge, Kent and was mother to Jeremiah Hall!
Week 8 of #52ancestors is an easy one for me – Courting. Now I get chance to share with you some of the letters my granny wrote to my grandad during 1935/36/37 whilst courting.
My granny was born Edith Evelyn Mary Terry on 19 October 1911 in Lingfield, Surrey to Albert Terry and his wife, Emily. Albert Terry was a Post Office Clerk at Lingfield Post Office where he later became the Post Master. By 1911 when Edith arrived,Albert and Emily had been married for 3 years and already had a son, Harold aged 1.
Edith and Harold were later joined by Winifred and Maurice (known as John). All the children did stints for the Post Office, Edith and Winifred both worked as Telephonists at East Grinstead and Edith at Gibraltar Tower, Heathfield. Harold later ran Lingfield Post Office and the last time I visited the Family History Centre in Lingfield, a group of elderly genealogists shared their memories of him. When Edith was at Heathfield, she presumably visited the Brethren chapel at Three Cups which is where she would have met my grandad, Ronald Charles Pilbeam who lived with his family at Rushford Farm.
The letters that she wrote are very chatty, in the days before email, text and mobile phones. They talk about her work in the Post Office, list the wedding presents as they arrived, visits to relatives, and later just before the wedding, cooking for the wedding reception.
“We have a new girl in the Post Office
started Monday. she is the daughter
of the East Grinstead Official who
did all the business of getting me
to Heathfield so I ought to like her
didn’t I? She is learning the work
to get in the East Grinstead office.
Donald, our clerk, went to London
yesterday for the Civil Service exam
He thinks he did well.”
She talks of putting calls through by telephone, date stamping tickets and other Post Office chores.
The letter dated 2 days before they married on 7 August 1937 at the Lingfield Mission Room lists some of the 89 wedding presents received:
“A tablecloth from Mr and Mrs Mummery
A Duchess set from a cousin at Ealing
A set of Dessert spoons and serve from an aunt in Hove
A combined work and afternoon tea table from the Gates
A marmalade jar from Miss Peters
A pickle spoon and fork from Miss Lambert
An afternoon tablecloth from Mrs Oliver
A tea pot and stand from Mrs Dean
A paste stand from Mrs Thorpe
A butter dish from Mrs Rose
Two towels and three tea cloths from Madge Deaton”
Some of those items I need to go and google, I have no idea what a paste stand is.
She signed that letter “from your own little Duckie bird”.
An interesting insight into a person, who was elderly when I knew her and serves as a reminder that our elderly relatives were once young and had different lives to those that we know they live. I often wish that I had taken more note of some of the stories told to me by my grandparents of their families, the people now lost in the mists of time.
#52ancestors – Landed and I have chosen to write about George Pilbeam my x4 great grandfather who during 2 census years farmed parts of the High Weald AONB around my favourite village of Burwash. I have only just started to scratch the surface of the records I have found which tell the story of his life as a farmer. There are more to be found I am sure, but for now this is what I have so far.
He was born in 1784 at Burwash to Thomas and Hannah and he had 4 siblings. By the time of the 1841 census George was a farmer at Woodsell in Dallington. Both the C14 – 17 farmhouse and the C17 Barn next door are Grade II listed buildings. Looking at the record on the Genealogist website for the Tithe apportionment he farmed 35 acres of wood, pasture, arable, orchards and hops and rented the farm from Robert Watts Esq.
I searched the National Archives website and found the following entry on a record for documents pertaining to the Wellis family of Rye, Sussex:
fo. 1r. (i) 10 October 1399. Feoffment from Sir John Wellis, clerk, to Stephen Woodselle and Joan his wife of 30a. called Yongeland in Dallington, abutting on land called Mardore on the south, the land of Thomas Prynkyll on the east, the land called Tyy on the north and the highway from Dallington to Bucksteep on the west; which land was given to him by Sir William de Hoo, kt., and his wife Eleanor.
(ii) 12 May 1401. Feoffment from Sir John Wellis, clerk, to Thomas Petyjon' of Warbleton, of 2 tenements in Dallington, one called Wodsellys (30a.), the other Creplond (30a.), given to the donor by Sir William de Hoo, kt., and his wife Eleanor.
By the 1851 census George had moved to Battenhurst Farm between Ticehurst and Burwash. He had increased his land to 120 acres and employed 4 labourers.
The most interesting record I have found so far was made after his death in 1857. At the East Sussex Record Office I found an auction book that had belonged to A Burtenshaw & Sons, Auctioneers and Valuers, which had two auctions in September 1857 detailing animals, equipment, crops and household goods that went to auction after his death by order of his executors. Some of the goods were obviously bought by members of his own family and the amount of money raised was £377 6 11 1/2.
Below is a list of the animals sold and some other items, who bought it and the price it sold for:
There were also items such as 7.5 bushels of Medlins and a Cheese press.
I have a copy of his will that states:
Also I give to the said Richard Hook and Samuel Peters all my Term and Interest in any Messuages Buildings Farm and Lands which may be in my occupation at the time of my decease and all the Residue and Remainder of my ready Monies and Securities for Money Goods Chattels Cattle Live and dead Stock Debts and Personal estate whatsoever and wheresoever
and also the said sum of One Hundred and fifty pounds at the death of my said Wife upon trust that they my said Trustees shall if they consider it will be advantageous to my Trust property carry on the Business of my Farm and Lands I may occupy at my death for any time not exceeding two years from that period and to use my Farming Stock and effects and other my personal Estate for that purpose and to buy and sell stock and effects and to allow any part of my Family living on such Messuage and Premises a competent allowance and remuneration in return for work Labour and assistance performed and rendered by them in carrying on such Business as my said Trustees shall think proper and also to allow and pay all other wages Rents Tithes Taxes Duties Tradesmens Bills and other payments and expences incidental to carrying on such Business and fully to do all acts relating thereto as fully as I could have done if living
I will keep searching to see what other nuggets I can reveal about George. His descendents continued to farm around the area, my great grandfather George Charles, one of the last in our line at Three Cups, where my great great grandfather William had been a Chicken Crammer! But that is a whole different story!