Unknown manorial term

Posted by Liz Jack     Category: Uncategorized

Whilst transcribing a perambulation of Old Sodbury in Gloucestershire from 1783, I came across two of the participants who were described as being ‘carnivals’.  They were listed with the steward, bailiffs, hayward and scavenger – manorial occupations of which I had heard.  But I have never seen the position of a carnival (or carnivall) before.

Does anyone know what a carnival did?

 

Can we rely on Parish Register entries?

Posted by Liz Jack     Category: Gloucestershire, Parish Registers, Research

Looking for the baptisms of the children of John Harris in Kings Stanley, I came across these entries on a microfiche.

  • Samuel Harrisson, son of John Harrisson, baptised last day of July 1653
  • John Harrisson, son of John Harrisson, baptised 14th October 1655
  • William Harrisson, the 3rd son of John Harrisson, baptised 25 December 1657

Checking a microfilm of Kings Stanley parish register entries for the period that followed, I also found:

  • John Harries the son of John Harries was baptised the 14th day of October 1655.

I did not find baptisms on this film for either Samuel or William.  The three Harrisson entries were not on the microfilm and the one Harries entry was not on the microfiche!  So, what was the explanation?

I ordered up the original register and checked the entries, all as above.  There was nothing that I could see in any part of the book to indicate that any part had been copied at any time.  The book appeared to be organised in 4 sections.   The first section held baptisms, the second had marriages, and the third burials.  The fourth section seemed to be a general section.   At the end of the first section, I found the first three Harrisson entries just as they were shown on the fiche.   After the marriages and burials, I found the baptism for John Harries as it had been on the film.

So, all four entries were there in the registers, as you would expect from filmed documents.  So – what happened?  After discussion with the archivist on duty and another experienced researcher, we all agreed that it was extremely unlikely that a John Harries, son of John Harries, was baptised on the same day (14th October 1655) as a John Harrisson, son of John Harrisson.  We agreed that there was most probably only one family, father John and his sons Samuel, John and William.

So, which surname is the correct one – Harries or Harrisson?  From other, later entries in the registers, Harrisson or, more usually, Harrison, seems to be the most reasonable choice but – are our assumptions correct?  There were, of course, no bishops transcripts for the 1650s so we cannot check those.   Can we trust the parish registers?

Business Accounts for family historians

Posted by Liz Jack     Category: Uncategorized

This is a brand new topic for me, not one covered in either of my books, Discover Gloucestershire Ancestors.  Gloucestershire Archives has begun to catalogue two large collections of documents from Cirencester solicitors.  As the Gwinnetts do not, so far, appear to have had any connection to Cirencester, I didn’t expect to find anything of particular interest to my one-name study there, so I was very pleasantly surprised to discover about a dozen account books belonging to the Cheltenham solicitor, Theodore Gwinnett.

Most of the account books have few mentions of Theodore Gwinnett himself, except when dealing with his clients and their financial affairs, but two of the books look as though they will prove to be a treasure trove of little facts on him and his family.  For instance, on 1st April 1809, there is an entry: “Paid fare by Mail to London for Mr Gwinnett’s son.  £2 5s 0d”.  The next entry states: “Paid expenses for him to London including coachman, etc. 18s 0d”.

At this time, Theodore Gwinnett had three sons:  Thomas (1800-1810), Edwin (1803-1812) and Theodore junior (1804-May 1809).  Which could it have been and why was he going to London, apparently on his own?  Where was he going to stay?  Was he going to school or to a hospital?  None of these three boys lived beyond childhood …

Hopefully, further entries will clarify the situation and reveal further snippets about the life of the solicitor and his family.  Watch this space!

 

Filling the gaps

Posted by Liz Jack     Category: Genealogy, Gloucester, Gwinnett, Inns, Licences

Placing your ancestors on the family tree, using births, baptisms, marriages, deaths and burials, along with the census records, is fairly straightforward.  Filling in the gaps between these vital events is not only more difficult, as little is online, but it is also much more interesting.

I did not have space in my books Discover Gloucestershire Ancestors, Volumes 1 & 2 to write about alehouse licences in any detail and it was only yesterday that I checked some of them out at Gloucestershire Archives. (Ref: GBR/GV/AV/1 – 5).  These records cover the period from 1674 to 1836 with a few gaps.

The records include the date of the application (made annually in September), the name of the person applying for the licence, the sign (name of the pub), the names of two people acting as sureties and the surety or fee that they put up on the publican’s behalf.  If the publican broke the rules of his licence, the surety would be lost.

I had known that my Gwinnett ancestors were frequently recorded as being victuallers but had no idea where they had carried out their trade.  Imagine my surprise to discover that Samuel Gwinnett, later his wife Ann and later still his brother Charles had all applied for a licence to run the prestigious 15th century New Inn!

The earliest inn known to be run by a Gwinnett was the Bolt Inn in Eastgate Street.  George Gwinnett, who died in 1739, left his inn to his sons, William and George.  William was recorded as being one of the sureties for Joseph Grazebrook in 1749 so presumably the Gwinnetts had given up the licence during the years from 1740 to 1749.  Earlier records are still to be checked.

Other inns run by the Gwinnett family in Gloucester included The Red Lyon, the Greyhound, the Golden Cock and the City Arms.

 

Confusing Dates

Posted by Liz Jack     Category: Dates, Genealogy, Parish Registers, Research

Family historians have to be careful of various changes with the system of dates.  I was recently transcribing an early burial register when I came across the date of 29th February 1739 which appeared to be a leap year day but not in an actual leap year.  It made me wonder when leap years were first introduced.  Further research told me it was originally back in the days of Julius Caesar so well before 1739!  Obviously, the minister or churchwarden had made an error when entering the burial information.

But the real dates to be careful with are those around the early 1750s.  Before 1752, the new year began on Lady Day (25th March) and ended 24th March so a date recorded in a register as 1st March 1750 would nowadays be called 1st March 1751. From 1752 onwards, the year began on 1st January.  So 1751 was a very short year.  And even 1752 lost nine days …..  confused?  There is a fuller explanation in the first volume of Discover Gloucestershire Ancestors.

Early schools in Gloucester

Posted by Liz Jack     Category: Gloucester, Gwinnett, Schools

In Discover Gloucestershire Ancestors Volume 2, I included a chapter on education records and mentioned some of the early Gloucester schools such as the Crypt School, Sir Thomas Rich’s School and the College School, all of which are still in existence, the latter now called the King’s School.

Recently, however, I was googling the name of Theodore Gwinnett and I came across a mention of him in connection with the Minutes of the Committee of Privileges of 1799. Further investigation showed this particular document to relate to one William Cole (or Tudor as he was calling himself), attempting to make a claim on the Berkeley estate. It seems that three of the Gwinnett boys, Theodore, Charles and John had all known the young William Cole or his relatives in their schooldays or early manhood. One other family that mentioned was the Hudds of The Fleece in Wotton.

Apart from the information I gleaned on the early years of the Gwinnett boys, it was interesting to note how they walked from Barnwood to Wotton to collect William Cole and continue with him into the city to school most days. Theodore said he attended Mr Cook’s school in Oxbody Lane in Gloucester, whilst William Cole, who lived with his family at The Swan at Wotton, went to a different school. However, another friend, Edward Hudd, said both he and William Cole attended Mr John Cooke’s school, again said to be in Oxbody Lane, but that Theodore Gwinnett had gone to a different school, that belonging to a Mr Mutlow, which he believed was ‘down behind the College Wall’. Someone has to have been wrong! William Cole’s sisters went to a school in Lower Northgate Street ‘kept by a person by the name of Middleton’ and later to Mrs Clarke’s.

Does anyone have any more details on any of these schools? Or any other small Gloucester schools of the same period?

Settlement Examination

Posted by Liz Jack     Category: Genealogy, Gloucestershire, Parish Chest, Poor Law, Uncategorized

When a woman was left with  illegitimate children after her partner had died, she was examined by the local overseers of the poor to find out which parish she belonged to.  Such an examination happened to Ann Howell …

On 27th April 1832, Mitcheldean Overseers of the Poor examined Ann Howell, the daughter of Evan and Mary Howell of Lampeter in Pembrokeshire as to where she had been born.  She was 47 years old and in need of help from the parish.  Her examination revealed a long story involving much travelling.

In 1813, Ann had been hired by Captain James Probert of St. David’s at £5, presumably in a domestic capacity.  After she left Captain Probert’s employ she ‘connected’ with George Sleeman Kendal, a malt mill grinder.  She never married him but lived and travelled with him.  In 1814, she became pregnant and was delivered of a male bastard child at a lodging house in Pembroke.  The child was baptised Thomas Sleeman Kendal in Peterchurch, Herefordshire.  In 1820, Ann had a female bastard child at Brockway in Hewelsfield who was baptised Mary.  In August of that year, a male bastard child called George was baptised at St Mary’s church in Swansea.

Then the family moved to Ruardean and finally Mitcheldean.  In May 1822, a son called William was baptised, the following July a daughter called Margaret arrived on the scene and, finally, a sixth child, a boy called Evan after his grandfather, was baptised at Mitcheldean in August 1825.

The following year, George Sleeman Kendal died and Ann stated that she did not know his legal place of settlement but only that it was near Penzance in Cornwall.

If it weren’t for this examination document, how confident would you be in tying the various baptisms together into one family?

Illegitimacy

Posted by Liz Jack     Category: Genealogy, Gloucestershire, Parish Chest, Poor Law, Research

Every time we go back a generation, we double the number of ancestors that we can add to our family tree, except when we come across an illegitimate child.  As the base born child was baptised with the mother’s surname, it is normally very difficult to find out the name of the father.  Where would you start looking?

 

Apprenticeships for poor children

Posted by Liz Jack     Category: Apprentices, Gloucestershire, Parish Chest, Poor Law

Some apprenticeships were organised by the overseers of the poor in a parish  in order to enable a poor child to provide for himself and his family in future years.  These documents may be found in the parish chest and can often give a little more information than expected.

For example, an apprentice indenture, dated 12th January 1772, found in the Down Hatherley records, relates to young William Gibbs and informs us that William was the son of the late John Gibbs who was a labourer from the hamlet of Wotton,  and that his mother was Dorothy who was then married to John Finch of Wotton, also a labourer.  William was being apprenticed to John Blanch who was a cordwainer in Down Hatherley.

Many years later, on 28th February 1801, William Gibbs was declaring to the overseers that George Piff of Down Hatherley had his apprenticeship indenture.  No reason was given for why he did not have it himself.

 A week later, William Gibbs was examined by the authorities – presumably he had become dependent on the parish for some reason.  In his examination on 4th March 1801, he declared that he had been born in the hamlet of Wotton in the parish of St Mary de Lode and, about 27 years before, had been apprenticed to John Blanch of Down Hatherley, cordwainer, with whom he had served 5 years.  This qualified William for settlement in Down Hatherley and therefore to support from the parish.

On 6th March 1801, the overseers of Down Hatherley were ordered to pay William Gibbs the vast sum of 3 shillings per week.

Guilds

Posted by Liz Jack     Category: Apprentices, Freemen, Genealogy, Gloucester, Gloucestershire, Research

Early tradesmen and women were organised into guilds.  Today, there are over 100 guilds, each with its own crest and associated patron saint, a list of which can be found online.  Some archives exist, consisting of information on apprentices, freemen, minutes of meetings and requests for help from petitioners.  However, there is no central repository of their records; most are based in London at their guild headquarters.  Some information, particularly on apprentices and freemen may be found locally.  For Gloucestershire, we have two good books which contain transcripts on apprentices between 1595 and 1834 and their masters and one which lists freemen from 1641 to 1838.   These records don’t necessarily relate to a Gloucestershire person – either the apprentice, the master or even the freeman could be from another county.  An example of an entry in the Apprentices book is:

Ref: 1/549         1641 Nov 1

Draper, John son of Thomas, upholsterer, dec’d, of Gloucester to Plomer, Robert & Christian, 8 years, pewterer, 20s.

Check out my chapter on Apprentices and Freemen to find out more about guilds, apprentices, masters and freemen.