Gloucestershire Apprentices

Posted by Liz Jack     Category: Apprentices, Freemen, Genealogy, Gwinnett

One way to trace the parents of your ancestor is by looking at records concerning their apprenticeships.  There are two useful books for Gloucestershire Apprentices, both produced in the Gloucestershire Record Series by the Bristol and Gloucestershire Archaeological Society.

They are: ‘A Calendar of the Registers of Apprentices of the City of Gloucester 1595-1700′ edited by Jill Barlow, M.A. and ”A Calendar of the Registers of the Freemen of the City of Gloucester 1641-1838′ transcribed by Peter Ripley and revised and edited by John Jurica.

The first book deals with the apprenticeship registers and has entries such as:

1690 Nov 1 Gwinnett Francis, son of Lawrence, gentleman of Great Shurdington, to Newman, Samuel 7years baker

1680 Apr 12 Gwinnet, Richard, son of George, gentleman of Badgeworth, to Randle, Josiah & Margery, 7yrs baker 2s 6d.

the second line giving the name of the apprentice’s master, the length of time of his apprenticeship, the trade and sometimes the amount paid to the master.  At the end of the apprenticeship, the apprentice was entitled to become a freeman of the city.

The second book, listing the Freemen, has entries such as:

1757 Oct 24 Button Gwinnett, son of Sam., clerk
1806 Apr 14 Sam. Gwinnett, writer, son of Chas., victualler

(There is a note that Button was a signatory on the American Declaration of Independence of  1776.)

A man could become a freeman in four ways, by apprenticeship, by patrimony, by purchase or by gift of the city corporation.  Although the books, available via Amazon.co.uk, specify the city of Gloucester there are entries for people from the whole county of Gloucestershire as well as a few from elsewhere.

Nonconformist churches, chapels and meeting houses

Posted by Liz Jack     Category: Genealogy, Parish Registers

You have searched the IGI and checked the parish registers and still you cannot find that elusive baptism.  Could it be that your ancestors were Baptist, Methodist, Presbyterian, Congregationalist, Roman Catholic ……?


Finding ancestors who did not conform to the Church of England religion is fraught with difficulty.  Many of the churches, chapels and meeting houses no longer exist and registers, when kept, have been destroyed over the years.  It is hard to know where to start as there is no list of all such churches for Gloucestershire.  I am endeavouring to fill that gap by creating a database of all known churches, chapels and meeting houses that existed or still exist in Gloucestershire and Bristol.

I am hoping that someone can help me extend my list, tell me about chapels that I have omitted or duplicated, anything that will add to my knowledge and, in the long run, to other people’s as well.  I have a long way to go but have made a start at:

http://www.hidden-heritage.co.uk/nonconformists/

Please take a look and send me any information that might prove useful.

House History

Posted by Liz Jack     Category: Genealogy, Gwinnett
I attended a wonderful workshop session yesterday, run by Averil Kear for the Friends of Gloucestershire Archives on tracing the history of a house.We had a presentation showing us the sort of things we should be looking for and then we spent an hour looking at individual documents that had come from the archives. Averil had chosen a large house in the centre of Gloucester, sadly no longer in existence, but one which we could follow back a couple of centuries. There were maps, street and trade directories, electoral registers, deeds, wills and inventories, books of leases, solicitor’s letters, census records and a large collection of maps of the centre of Gloucester over the years. We were recommended certain books, including Nick Barratt’s ‘Tracing the History of your House’ which has a companion Starter Pack to help you with your research.

The session was concluded with Averil going through the items that we had been looking at,putting everything into chronological order to produce the complete history. Although I had done some house history work before, I learnt a great deal – and, as a bonus, found a few more Gwinnetts as well!

Tracing the History of Your House: The Building, the People, the Past

Gloucestershire Hearth Tax

Posted by Liz Jack     Category: Genealogy, Gwinnett
Yesterday, I had a look at the Hearth Tax returns for Gloucestershire. They cover the period from 1671/2 and include a list of names of those people with houses worth more than 20 shillings a year and who also paid church or poor rates. So they are lists of the wealthier people in the county at the time.

The records in Gloucestershire Archives are negative photocopies of the originals which are held in the National Archives at Kew and not all of them are easy to read. I looked at the Badgeworth and Shurdington areas of the county. There I found all four of the Gwinnett men who were around at the time, Richard, George, Isaac and Lawrence, the four sons of George Gwinnett and his wife, Elizabeth nee Lawrence.

The number of hearths was given for each, the more hearths being an indicator of the wealth of the person. Richard had five, Lawrence four and George and Isaac three each. This put three of them in the merchant/yeomen bracket with Richard just into the gentry group. Richard and George were living in Little Shurdington and their two brothers in Great Shurdington. The wealthiest person in the neighbourhood, using this measure, was William Lawrence, with 9 hearths, who lived at the Greenway, now a hotel.

Houses and the Hearth Tax

Catholic Ancestors

Posted by Liz Jack     Category: Genealogy, Gwinnett
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
Tracing Catholic Ancestors
National Index Parish Registers

History of the Cotswolds

Posted by Liz Jack     Category: Genealogy

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

How to document Gwinnett research?

Posted by Liz Jack     Category: Genealogy, Gwinnett

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.

One marriage, two brides?

Posted by Liz Jack     Category: Genealogy, Parish Registers

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

.

Cold Ashton

Posted by Liz Jack     Category: Genealogy, Parish Registers

At Bristol Record Office yesterday, I looked at the 18th century Cold Ashton registers. I had been told that they were ‘illegible’ for that period and discovered that, indeed, they were difficult to read. Half of each page was vertically obliterated so you could either, for instance, read the name of the child being baptised or the bridegroom in a marriage entry or else the parents of the child or the bride’s name but rarely both. However, when I looked at the Bishops Transcripts for the parish for the same period, they were vastly better, quite easy to read and, unlike many for other parishes, an almost complete set. So don’t believe that you cannot find your ancestors in Cold Ashton in the 18th century, try the Bishops Transcripts instead!

Gwinnett research – first session

Posted by Liz Jack     Category: Genealogy, Gwinnett

Well, my first session at the archives went well but I didn’t exactly get far. I had ordered two bundles of documents and concentrated first of all on the family bundle. This held about 20 documents and included copies of wills, (not all apparently related to the Gwinnett family but possibly to do with land they were interested in), leases and, the one I began with, a marriage settlement dated 1646. This related to the marriage of Richard Gwinnett to Anne Caple, the daughter of William Caple who was an Alderman in the city of Gloucester. Others mentioned were Richard’s parents, George and Elizabeth Gwinnett, and Anthony Freeman of Badgeworth, who was Richard’s brother-in-law. The amazing thing was that William Caple was paying George Gwinnett £600 to marry his daughter to Richard, of which only £100 would go to Richard and Anne. That was a lot of money in those days!! (Anyone tell me how much it would be worth today?) After nearly two hours of transcribing the document, I am still only a quarter of the way through it.