I have just been asked to find out about someone born in Shortwood in the first half of the nineteenth century. The name Shortwood tells me that the family were nonconformists – Baptists in fact. The original site is no longer in use, the graveyard sadly neglected when I last went and took photographs of all the tombstones there a couple of years ago. Some records do remain for the church which is now situated in the town of Nailsworth so it may be possible to locate ancestors who attended the church.
I am in the process of transcribing the Inclosure Award for Badgeworth and Shurdington. If you are seeking the lands that belonged to your ancestors, you may find some clues here. Only the landowners seem to be mentioned. With the section I am transcribing at the moment, that includes Joseph Ellis Viner, William Edwards Lawrence, William Henry Hyett and Joseph Sadler. The transcript accompanies maps of the area. The final version will be put on the computers at Gloucestershire Archives – many Inclosure Awards have already been installed there.
Find these books on Amazon:
|Maps for Family History||Maps for Family & Local History|
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.
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:
Please take a look and send me any information that might prove useful.
|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