Tag Archives: harmes

Postcard Album: Interior, Bolney Church, Sussex

29 Apr

It may not be Westminster Abbey, but this is more typical of the sort of place where my ancestors were married (sorry I just had to get in a reference to the Royal Wedding).

As the caption says this is the interior of Bolney Church. The church of St. Mary Magdalene in the village of Bolney, West Sussex has more family associations than just the usual baptisms, marriages and burials. Many of the individuals in my family tree passed through the doors to this church, including GASSON, WALDER, HARMES and LEWRY families.

Both of the other family associations relate to the church bells. Several generations of the WALDER family and at least one GASSON have served as bellringers in the church and are remembered on boards in the church tower.

Secondly it seems that one of my probable ancestors, Michael HARMES, paid for four of the eight bells in the church tower. That is one branch of my family tree I would really like to investigate and prove that I am related.

The reason for choosing this postcard today is because hopefully tomorrow I will be walking to Bolney, not strictly speaking for genealogy purposes, but I might “accidentally” end up wandering into the churchyard.

Copyright © 2011 John Gasson.

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Ann HARMES – my next challenge

20 Mar

This should have been an Ancestral Profile post, but it would be the shortest one yet, because I know very little about Ann HARMES. Ann was one of my 4x great-grandparents. She married Samuel WALDER in Bolney, Sussex on the 14th November 1815.

To my knowledge they had six children, all baptised in Bolney between 1817 and 1831, including my 3x great-grandfather Edward WALDER. Then some time between that last baptism in 1831 (or possibly just before) and the 1841 census Ann died.

At least I assume that she died, she is not with her husband Samuel in 1841 and he re-married in February 1842 (in Bolney) claiming he was a widow. The problem is that I can’t find a burial record for Ann WALDER or anything like it (or HARMES) in Bolney.

I have been using indexes and transcriptions for my research, so I need to check the original records to make sure that the record hasn’t been missed. I also need to make sure that I have covered all surrounding parishes just in case.

The problem is that without knowing when she died and how old she was when she died I don’t know when she was born. She may have been about the same age as Samuel and died young, or she could have been considerably older and died at a ripe old age.

She may even have been a widow (that should be easy to check on the original parish register entry) when she married Samuel and in that case HARMES might not be her maiden name.

The good news is that there is an eligible Ann HARMES in Bolney. Michael and Hannah HARMES had at least nine children one of whom was Ann, who was baptised on the 4th March 1798 in Bolney. This would make her about a similar age as Samuel WALDER, but of course I don’t know how old Samuel’s wife was, so I am reluctant to accept this at face value without further evidence.

Further Research…

I need to double-check the Bolney parish registers, for details of Ann’s marriage and to find her burial, I really need to find an age from somewhere. I also need to pay attention to Michael and Hannah HARMES, my best bet would be to find a will that mentions the WALDER family.

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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