Tag Archives: ancestral profile

Ancestral Profile: Eliza WORSFOLD (1806-1867)

27 Dec

Eliza WORSFOLD was my 4x great-grandmother and the wife of John FAIRS, whom I wrote about last week. She was the daughter of Thomas and Elizabeth WORSFOLD and appears to have been the eldest of four children.

Eliza was baptised in the parish church of West Grinstead, Sussex on the 13th April 1806. Nothing more is known of Eliza until she marries John FAIRS at West Grinstead on the 11th October 1826. As I mentioned last week, the couple had ten children (all baptised at West Grinstead):

  1. Mary FAIRS (baptised 17th December 1826)
  2. Harriet FAIRS (baptised 26th January 1829)
  3. Elizabeth FAIRS (baptised 27th February 1831)
  4. Eliza FAIRS (baptised 10th November 1833)
  5. Henry FAIRS (baptised 10th January 1836)
  6. James FAIRS (baptised 8th October 1837)
  7. John FAIRS (baptised 8th December 1839) [my 3x great-grandfather]
  8. Ann FAIRS (baptised 13th February 1842)
  9. Jesse FAIRS (baptised 24th September 1843)
  10. Fanny FAIRS (baptised 16th August 1846)

In 1841 John and Eliza were living at Goreland Farm, West Grinstead with their five children (Elizabeth, Eliza, Henry, James and John), with John working as an agricultural labourer.

Eliza’s husband John died in 1846, so by the time of the 1851 census we find Eliza living as a widow with her four youngest children (John, Ann, Jesse and Fanny). Although the address isn’t included on the census page, they were probably living at a house named Whitefoots in West Grinstead. Eliza’s occupation is given as charwoman.

In 1861 Eliza is living in the village of Partridge Green, still within the parish of West Grinstead, but unfortunately the exact address is not given. Her occupation is given as housekeeper and she is living with her nephew John WORSFOLD (an apprentice wheelwright) and a seemingly unrelated lodger William BAKER (a blacksmith).

According to her headstone (which may not be accurate) Eliza died on the 3rd December 1867 and she was buried next to her husband at West Grinstead on the 9th December 1867, she was aged 61 years.

There appears to be little more that I can add to the life of Eliza WORSFOLD but it may be possible to find out exactly where Eliza was living after her husband’s death (through parish rate books) and she may have received some form of poor relief after her husband died and she had to raise several small children on her own.

Ancestral Profile: John FAIRS (1804-1846)

20 Dec

I have a couple of direct ancestors named John FAIRS, the subject of this post was my 4x great-grandfather. His life was quite short, but he and his wife had lots of children including the other John FAIRS my 3x great-grandfather.

John FAIRS was probably born in West Grinstead, Sussex in 1804. He was baptised at the parish church at West Grinstead on the 9th December 1804. He was one of the six children (five boys and one girl) of Thomas and Elizabeth FAIRS.

John married Eliza WORSFOLD (also of West Grinstead) at the parish church at West Grinstead on the 11th November 1826. Together the couple had ten children (all baptised at West Grinstead):

  1. Mary FAIRS (baptised 17th December 1826)
  2. Harriet FAIRS (baptised 26th January 1829)
  3. Elizabeth FAIRS (baptised 27th February 1831)
  4. Eliza FAIRS (baptised 10th November 1833)
  5. Henry FAIRS (baptised 10th January 1836)
  6. James FAIRS (baptised 8th October 1837)
  7. John FAIRS (baptised 8th December 1839) [my 3x great-grandfather]
  8. Ann FAIRS (baptised 13th February 1842)
  9. Jesse FAIRS (baptised 24th September 1843)
  10. Fanny FAIRS (baptised 16th August 1846)

At each baptism John’s occupation was given as labourer and in the 1841 census he was described as an agricultural labourer. John and Eliza were living at Goreland Farm, West Grinstead with their five children, sadly Goreland Farm no longer exists, but I do know where it was and have walked past the site many times.

According to his headstone (a double headstone shared with his with and two of their children) John died on the 11th March 1846 aged 41. Interestingly the parish register records that he was also buried on the 11th March. This doesn’t seem quite right, maybe one of the records is wrong, or perhaps there was some reason why he needed to be buried quickly. I really ought to get a copy of his death certificate and see what was going on.

The other interesting thing to note is that their youngest child, Fanny, was baptised on the 16th August 1846, five months after John’s death. Again this record needs checking but of course it is perfectly possible that Fanny was born after John’s death.

Ancestral Profile: Isabella GRAHAM (1818-1900)

13 Dec

Isabella GRAHAM was my 3x great-grandmother and came from the county of Durham in the north of England, but ended her days at the other end of the country in Brighton, Sussex on the south coast of England.

Isabella was baptised in St. Mary’s Church, Staindrop, Durham on the 11th June 1818. She was the daughter of Joseph and Elizabeth GRAHAM of New Raby, Staindrop. She appears to have been one of eleven children, although at least three of these did survive to adulthood.

New Raby appears to have been a small settlement about a mile north-east of the main part of the village of Staindrop and about half a mile east of Raby Castle. The houses now appear to have disappeared completely and the woodland surrounding it has engulfed them. I am sure there is an interesting story behind this if I had the time to look into it.

I have no record of Isabella until the 1841 census where she is still living with her father at New Raby, Staindrop along with a six year old John GRAHAM, who doesn’t seem to be one of Isabella’s siblings so is probably a nephew. Her father is described as an agricultural labourer but Isabella herself has no occupation given. Her mother had died a couple of years earlier in 1839, and her father would die three years later in 1844.

I have been unable to trace Isabella in the 1851, so the next record I have is of her marriage to my 3x great-grandfather Thomas KINGHORN in London in 1853. They were married on the 31st July 1853 in the parish church of St. James Piccadilly in Westminster, London. This was Thomas’ third marriage but Isabella first, both were described as being of full age.

Thomas was a tailor and lived at 10 Great Windmill Street, whereas Isabella was living at 19 Great Windmill Street. Thomas’ father was Thomas KINGHORN, the mail guard about whom I have written a great deal in the past. The witnesses at the wedding were Henry MORGAN (about whom I know nothing) and Dorothy GRAHAM, who was presumably one of Isabella’s older sisters.

Together Thomas and Isabella had three children, before Thomas’ death in May 1863, all three were baptised at St. Jame’s Church where their parents had married.

  1. Dorothy Isabella KINGHORN (born 22 Jun 1854) my 2x great-grandmother
  2. Abraham Graham KINGHORN (born 25 March 1856)
  3. Isabella KINGHORN (born 1 Nov 1858)

In the 1861 census Thomas and Isabella are living at 3 Golden Place (just off Golden Square) in Westminster with their three children and one of Thomas’ sons from his first marriage, also called Thomas. In 1871 the widowed Isabella (whose occupation is given as a nurse) is still at 3 Golden Place living with her son Abraham and three lodgers.

By 1881 Isabella has moved to Brighton, Sussex. She is living with her son Abraham and his wife Sarah and their three children at 79 Hanover Street, Brighton. By 1891 she has moved to join her daughter Dorothy Isabella and her husband Henry BATEMAN and their two children in nearby Preston, Sussex (on the outskirts of Brighton) at 19 Yardley Street. Her occupation is given as a retired nurse.

I don’t know the exact date or cause of Isabella’s death. Her death was registered in Brighton Registration District in Q3 1900. By this time her daughter Dorothy and her family had moved to Hurstpierpoint, Sussex but I don’t know if Isabella had remained in Brighton or whether she went with them. The fact that the death was registered in Brighton doesn’t mean that she was living there, she may have died at the hospital in Brighton. The only way to know for sure would be to get a copy of her death certificate.

I don’t know where Isabella was buried (or cremated), I am guessing it was at one of the cemeteries at Brighton, but may have been at the cemetery at Hurstpierpoint. The problem is that the Brighton cemeteries charge an arm and a leg to search their records, I am hoping one day that they will become available online for a reasonable price.

Ancestral Profile: Mary SMITH (c1807-1891?)

6 Dec

In recent weeks I have been jumping from branch to branch of my family tree when it came to choosing a subject for my weekly Ancestral Profile post, but this week I thought I would follow up last week’s post (featuring George MITCHELL) by writing about his wife Mary SMITH, my 4x great-grandmother.

Although Mary outlived her husband by nearly 50 years I know very little about her, this is not helped by the fact that her maiden name was SMITH and her married name was MITCHELL, neither of which are particularly uncommon. It also doesn’t help that each census return seems to give different information from which to calculate her date and place of birth.

The marriage to George MITCHELL took place on the 29th September 1828 in the parish of Cuckfield, Sussex. As I mentioned last week I haven’t checked the original marriage record for extra information. I also wrote last week that George and Mary had six children:

  1. Eliza MITCHELL (baptised 7th December 1828 in Cuckfield, Sussex)
  2. Mary Ann MITCHELL (baptised 30th January 1831 in Cuckfield, Sussex)
  3. Harriett MITCHELL (born c1834 in Slaugham, Sussex) [my 3x great-grandmother]
  4. Caroline MITCHELL (born Q3 1838 in Slaugham, Sussex)
  5. Alfred George MITCHELL (born 23rd February 1841 in Bolney, Sussex)
  6. William MITCHELL (baptised 14th April 1844 in Balcombe, Sussex)

It seems that her husband George died in October 1844 as the result of being hit by a steam engine, leaving Mary as a widow with six children. The 1851 census shows her as a pauper living in Slaugham, Sussex with her four youngest children.

I haven’t found Mary in the 1861 census, although there are several possibilities. In the 1871, 1881 and 1891 census she is living with (or next door to) her youngest son William and his family, initially in Bolney, Sussex and then Slaugham, Sussex. All of these show her as a widow and only the 1871 lists an occupation, which is “washerwoman”.

Below are the ages and places of birth from the various census years. In 1841 the age was rounded down, but taking the other years it looks like we are looking at a year of birth about 1807 +/- 2 years. All the places are quite consistent, in the same general area in mid sussex within a few miles of each other.

1841 – aged 30, born in Sussex
1851 – aged 42, born Cuckfield, Sussex
1861 – not found yet
1871 – aged 64, born Staplefield, Sussex
1881 – aged 76, born Cuckfield, Sussex
1891 – aged 84, born Slaugham, Sussex

There is a baptism in Cuckfield which seems to fit, Mary SMITH daughter of Samuel and Mary SMITH, baptised on 1 Nov 1807. Unfortunately there is also a Mary SMITH baptised in Cuckfield in 1805 who could just as easily be the one. Clearly more evidence is needed.

It seems likely that Mary died later in 1891. There is an entry in the GRO indexes for the death of an 85 year old in Q3 1891 in the Cuckfield Registration District. All of the parishes listed were in Cuckfield Registration District. I really need to buy the certificate to see if this is my Mary MITCHELL.

There is a corresponding burial in Balcombe, Sussex of an 85 year old Mary MITCHELL on the 19th September 1891. This would make sense if her husband was buried in Balcombe, but it looks like he was buried in Cuckfield. Why would she be buried in Balcombe when the 1891 census has her living in Slaugham? Did she spend her last few months living with someone else in Balcombe? Am I barking up the wrong tree?

Ancestral Profile: George MITCHELL (1806?-1844?)

29 Nov

I have already written about one George MITCHELL in my family tree, but he was on my mother’s side of the family, this one is on my father’s side and was probably unrelated. This George MITCHELL was my 4x great-grandfather and in contrast with the other George MITCHELL I know almost nothing about his life.

The first record I have is his marriage to my 4x great-grandmother Mary SMITH. The marriage took place on the 29th September 1828 in the parish of Cuckfield, Sussex. As the marriage was before 1837 there is no mention of his father’s name, all I have is that they were both from Cuckfield and neither had been married before. I haven’t checked the original record, so there may be additional clues in the names of the witnesses, it is worth a look anyway.

In the 1841 census George and Mary are living in Bolney, Sussex but I can’t make out the name of the farm on which they are living. They have four children: Mary Ann, Harriett, Caroline and Alfred. The 1841 census provides the only piece of evidence for George’s birth, his age is given as 35 years and he was born in Sussex. In theory this should mean that George was aged between 35 and 39 years old, but this is by no means guaranteed.

By the 1851 census George has died and Mary is living as a widow, with four children: Harriett, Caroline, Alfred and William. This provides the only real evidence for George’s death, seemingly some time between the birth of William in 1844 and the 1851 census. Mary is shown as a pauper, so there may be some further clues among the records of the Poor Law Guardians.

It seems that George and Mary had six children, but apart from Harriett (my 3x great-grandmother) I know very little about what became of them. They were:

  1. Eliza MITCHELL (baptised 7th December 1828 in Cuckfield, Sussex)
  2. Mary Ann MITCHELL (baptised 30th January 1831 in Cuckfield, Sussex)
  3. Harriett MITCHELL (born c1834 in Slaugham, Sussex)
  4. Caroline MITCHELL (born Q3 1838 in Slaugham, Sussex)
  5. Alfred George MITCHELL (born 23rd February 1841 in Bolney, Sussex)
  6. William MITCHELL (baptised 14th April 1844 in Balcombe, Sussex)

The fact that William was baptised in Balcombe possibly provides a clue to the death of George. There is a burial recorded in Cuckfield on the 30th October 1844 of a 38 year old George MITCHELL from Balcombe. It seems quite likely that this was my 4x great-grandfather, and there is a chance that he was the victim of an accident on the London to Brighton railway. The Times newspaper refers to the victim as Thomas MITCHELL, but I can’t find a death registration for either Thomas or George MITCHELL in the right place at the right time. Local newspapers my clarify this situation as The Times might have got his name wrong.

Ancestral Profile: Margaret SEWELL (c1777-1850)

22 Nov

I wrote yesterday that I wanted to look again at my Carlisle connections in preparation for a possible visit to the archives next year and Margaret SEWELL is one of those connection, so she seems a good place to start.

Margaret SEWELL was my 4x great-grandmother and although I have written much about her husband Thomas KINGHORN (of mail coach fame), I know very little about Margaret herself.

I don’t know a lot about Margaret’s early years, from her burial record I know she was born around  1777 and from the 1841 census I know she was born in the county of Cumberland. Unfortunately she died before the 1851 census, so I don’t know exactly where in Cumberland it was.

Margaret married Thomas KINGHORN on the 5th May 1803 at St. Cuthbert’s Church, Carlisle, Cumberland. The marriage was by licence, which may provide further clues, an index of the marriage-licence allegation and bond records that Margaret was from the parish of St. Cuthbert’s, Carlisle (which doesn’t necessarily mean that was where she was born). There is a reference to a George SEWELL of Carlisle, but I am not sure whether this relates to the allegation or bond or what his relation to Margaret was (father, brother or uncle?).

Margaret and Thomas had six children, it appears that all six were born in Moffat, Dumfriesshire, Scotland (presumably where Thomas was based whilst working as a mail guard) but were baptised at St. Cuthbert’s Church, Carlisle south of the Scottish border.

  1. John KINGHORN (baptised 30th October 1803)
  2. Mary KINGHORN (baptised 3rd August 1806)
  3. Thomas KINGHORN (baptised 13th March 1808) [my 3x great-grandfather]
  4. Abraham KINGHORN (baptised 10th June 1810)
  5. Elizabeth KINGHORN (baptised 19th March 1815)
  6. George KINGHORN (baptised 11th May 1817)

I am not yet sure what happened to their two daughters Mary and Elizabeth, but only one of their sons (George) remained in Carlisle. Both Margaret and her husband appear to have remained in Carlisle. Thomas died in 1833, aged 52 and was buried at St. Cuthbert’s Church.

In 1841 we find Margaret living in the Botchergate area of Carlisle at No. 2 King Street. Her age is given as 60 years old (presumably rounded down from 64 years) and she is of independent means, possibly some sort of pension or benefit from her husband’s time with the Royal Mail.

Margaret’s death was registered in Q2 1850 in the Carlisle Registration District (I don’t yet have her death certificate) and she was buried at St. Cuthbert’s Church (presumably with her husband) on the 4th May 1850.

Ancestral Profile: Charlotte THATCHER (c1800-1882)

15 Nov

Charlotte THATCHER was my 4x great-grandmother and although I know quite a bit about her later years, details of her birth, baptism and parents still remain something of a mystery to me.

The first record I have of Charlotte is her marriage to Benjamin WREN on the 14th October 1828 in East Hoathly, Sussex. Benjamin was from nearby Framfield, Sussex so presumably East Hoathly was Charlotte’s home.

Because the marriage was before 1837 I wouldn’t expect to find her father’s name on the marriage register entry. Their marriage was by licence (granted on the same day), so there may be more details included on that which I need to check.

In the years following their marriage Benjamin and Charlotte appear to have had eight children in total, all baptised (and presumably born) in Framfield, Sussex.

  1. Benjamin WREN (baptised 31 May 1829)
  2. Charlotte WREN (baptised 21 August 1831) [my 3x great-grandmother]
  3. Charles WREN (baptised 7 December 1834)
  4. George WREN (baptised 23 October 1836)
  5. Alfred WREN (baptised 20 May 1838)
  6. Lewis WREN (baptised 19 July 1840)
  7. Mary Anne WREN (baptised 24 April 1842)
  8. Thomas Thatcher WREN (baptised 2 February 1845)

Benjamin died relatively young (not long after his fiftieth birthday) on the 21st December 1852. He had been a farmer and inn keeper, and whilst Charlotte appears to have carried on as a farmer, the inn keeping appears to have been dropped. Benjamin and Charlotte’s daughter (also called Charlotte) married Henry HEMSLEY in 1853, and the inn keeping part of the “business” may have passed down to Charlotte and Henry and may have been the origins of the Gun Inn at Blackboys, Sussex.

Charlotte carried on farming in Framfield with the assistance of various of her sons and grandsons. I need to do some further research to identify exactly where the farm was, what type of farming took place and whether they were just tenants or actually owned the land they worked on.

Charlotte died on the 19th November 1882 aged 83 years and was buried with her husband in Framfield churchyard on the 24th November 1882.

Going back to the beginning of Charlotte’s life, the best evidence I have is from the census, which indicates that she was born in Somerset, but it is not clear where in Somerset or exactly when. I wrote about this a while ago but haven’t really made any serious effort since to find her origins, but now would be a good time to review the available sources and see if anything helpful has appeared online in the intervening months.

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