William Trower and the fly in the ointment

24 May

My 4x great-grandfather William Trower of Henfield, Sussex is one of the weak points in my Trower ancestry.

At first glance everything seems right with the world, William was born about 1790, his death was registered in 1875 when his age was given as 85. Likewise with his burial at Henfield on the 8th January 1875 his age was given as 85.

Tracking back through the census we find him aged 81 in 1871, 70 in 1861, 59 in 1851 and 50 in 1841. In short everything seems to add up right and points to William being the son of Henry and Ann Trower.

A baptism exists in the Henfield parish registers for William the son of Henry and Ann Trower on the 13th March 1791. Don’t you just love it when everything works out neatly?

Unfortunately the fly in the ointment is a burial at Henfield on the 23rd January 1794 for William the son of Henry and Ann Trower, which of course I can’t explain.

Was this William my 4x great-grandfather? or rather was did the William who I thought was my 4x great-grandfather die at the age of three? Should I be looking for another William?

I can’t satisfactorily explain this burial record, it looks like my William Trower could not be the son of Henry and Ann Trower, but there are no other William Trowers who would fit the bill for my William Trower.

My saviour is in the form of a family bible (technically a prayer book), which has been passed down through the Trower family, or rather has survived through the generations without being thrown out. This bible clearly links Henry and Ann Trower with William’s descendants.

So where does this leave the William who was buried in 1794? I can only assume that Henry and Ann Trower had another son after my William but he died suddenly, perhaps before he had even been given a name or baptised. Stuck for a name for the burial register they used the name William. Either that or the vicar simply made a mistake.

Perhaps one day I will find further evidence (there is no sign of a will for William’s father) to be able to prove the relationship one way or another. For now I can only acknowledge the presence in my database of this fly in the ointment.

Copyright © 2012 John Gasson.
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