|I had an interesting time at Worcestershire Archives yesterday. Amongst other things, I was looking at the Roman Catholic registers for Dudley, seeking an Irish family, and there, to my surprise, I found a baptism for an Ann Gwinnett in 1836. The Gwinnetts have been almost totally members of the Church of England since they arrived in Gloucestershire in the late 16th century; only two other instances of nonconformity have been found, one a Methodist and, most intriguing, a Lawrence Gwinnett who was found on a list of Papists in the early 18th century. I wonder if this new Gwinnett child is linked to Lawrence? Because of the difficulty of finding any Catholic registers for the county for that period, this Lawrence branch has vanished into thin air. Did he remain in Gloucestershire? Were his estates confiscated? I wish I knew!||
Tracing Catholic Ancestors
National Index Parish Registers
I had cause to look up something to do with Chedworth today and came across Anthea Jones’ book ‘The Cotswolds’, published a few years ago. It is, I think, the best book I have found on the subject. It begins with the Domesday Book and works its way forward through the ages, explaining the changes to the environment and way of life that occurred. Using fieldwork and excellent research, Dr. Jones has produced the definitive book on the area. If your ancestors came from the Cotswolds and you want some background reading on the area, this is the book for you. You can find a copy here
Well, I have another session at the Archives tonight on my Gwinnett research. I am considering some sort of publication, either a book or a web site, that involves the history of the Gwinnett family, combined with researching your ancestors in and around Gloucestershire – basically a how-to-do-it book. The latest version of ‘Gloucestershire Family History’ written by M E Richards and produced by the then Gloucestershire Record Office is 15 years old now and a lot has happened in genealogy since then. It has been mentioned a few times that it needs updating ….. So, my problem is threefold: do I write the family story from when the Gwinnetts arrived in Gloucestershire in the 16th century using documents to illustrate what can be found – the most logical way from the family point of view; do I begin with the most recent Gwinnett and work back though his family as one does when tracing ancestors; or do I take topics for research such as parish registers, probate, etc., and describe the family via that means? Any suggestions from those who have been along this route already? It’s all a bit overwhelming at the moment.
I had an interesting experience yesterday. A client very tactfully suggested that the information I had sent him about a marriage contradicted an entry for the same event listed in Phillimore’s Marriages and also 6 entries in the IGI so I checked the Minchinhampton registers to see who was correct.
To begin, I checked the specific marriage registers and could not find the entry at all until I noted that the minister had mixed up all the banns and marriages and they were not in the correct order. Presumably he had filled in the banns as they occurred but then he had extra marriages to enter when people married by licence so couldn’t always fit the marriage to its banns. The result was a very muddled register. I did eventually find the marriage and was rather disappointed to find that Phillimore and the IGI were correct – the bride’s name was Hester and not Elizabeth as I had thought.
However, I also needed to check the general register for a burial at the same time and while searching that document, I realised that the minister had, quite unnecessarily, entered the marriages there as well as in the special marriage registers produced from 1754 following the Hardwicke Act. And when I came to 1759, there was a second entry for the marriage I was interested in. And this time, the bride’s name was Elizabeth! All other details were the same. So – was she Hester or was she Elizabeth? Next week, I will look at the Bishops Transcripts to see what is said in there.
As they say,
you should always have three separate sources for every fact