Confusion in the Bolney parish registers

4 Sep

When I was looking at the Victoria County History of Sussex the other day for information on the lych gate at Bolney I noticed that the next paragraph concerned the church bells, and that five of the eight bells had been given by Michael HARMES.

I have an Ann HARMES in my family tree, who married Samuel WALDER in Bolney in 1815. I thought there was a good chance that Michael and Ann HARMES were related and it would be nice to be able to say that one of my ancestors had provided some of the bells in Bolney church. So I thought tonight I would have a quick look to see if I could find the connection.

I didn’t even get as far as finding Ann’s parents because I got tangled up in verifying that my Samuel WALDER did marry Ann HARMES and had my 3x great grandfather Edward WALDER. This is where things started to get very confusing.

The 1881 census gives Samuel as Edward’s father, no sign of his mother by then, and that is the only census they appear together. In earlier census returns Samuel is with his wife Maria, so presumably Ann had died and Samuel married again.

The problem comes with Edward’s baptism, there is an entry in the transcript’s of the Bolney parish registers for an Edward WALDER, but his parents are James and Ann WALDER. There is no marriage in the Sussex Family History Group Sussex Marriage Index for James WALDER and Ann in Bolney, or nearby, that would fit.

So were James and Samuel the same person? James and Ann WALDER had four children baptised and Samuel and Ann WALDER had three children baptised, all around the same time, there is one pair of baptisms that are quite close together (8 months apart) but that of course doesn’t mean they were different couples.

What seemed like a fun bit of research to prove my ancestor had given some bells to the church has turned into a bit of a nightmare, and one which I am going to have to spend a lot more time on to get to the bottom of. I am beginning to wish I had never started now, still I would have to sort it out eventually, like it or not. There are several other WALDER researchers about so it might be time to get in contact and see what they have found out.

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