Tag Archives: wright

A SHORNDEN/LAY marriage certificate arrives, but what to do next?

3 Nov

The marriage certificate for Henry SHORNDEN and Sarah LAY arrived yesterday, and it has already been scanned and filed away. For once this appears to be a pretty straightforward marriage certificate, no unexpected surprises, in fact it confirms much of what I already know.

Henry SHORNDEN and Sarah LAY were married on the 25th December 1840 (I wonder how much it would cost to get married on Christmas Day now?) at the parish church in Milton next Gravesend, Kent. Henry was a bachelor and Sarah a spinster, but unfortunately their ages are only given as “full”. Both gave their residence as Milton.

I was pleased to see that Henry’s rank or profession was given as “Cutler”, that ties in nicely with information from the census and baptism records from Alton, Hampshire. Not surprisingly Sarah has no rank or profession shown.

Henry’s father is William SHORNDEN, this matches the information from the Ospringe parish registers, and he was a labourer. Henry’s profession and the name of his father mean this provides a nice link between the Henry from Ospringe, Kent and the one from Alton, Hampshire, adding to the evidence that suggests they are the same person.

Sarah’s father was Joseph LAY, and he to was a labourer. Joseph would be another of my 4x great grandfathers. That leaves me with only three left to find, including Joseph’s wife.

Interestingly neither Henry nor Sarah signed their names, I am sure this led to much of the confusion with different surname spellings once they got away from their native Kent. The other interesting thing is that the witnesses were William and Mary Ann WICKER, could these be relations of either the bride or the groom?

So where now? Well there are still two questions to be answered:

1) Where and when was Sarah born and who was her mother? I have an approximate date of birth (1821), but no definite place for Sarah’s birth, Kent seems most likely, so I need to check all the baptism registers for the places previous mentioned, Milton next Gravesend, Ospringe and surrounding parishes for a daughter of Joseph LAY.

2) What about the two daughters that Henry and Sarah had, who are shown in the 1851 census as being born before the couple were married? These two girls were most likely Henry and Sarah’s daughters, but as well as checking all the above parishes for their baptisms, I need to check for a variety of different surnames as well. It would be nice to find the family in the 1841 census, but their appears to be very few SHORNDENs in the south of England that year.

This family are certainly one of the most challenging I have worked on so far, they are the first case I have in my tree of a name change, rather than just different variants. I do feel however that this is a story worth investigating and I will probably try and put together a full report on the family once more of the facts emerge.

The birth certificate for Henry SHORNDEN arrives

24 Oct

The birth certificate for Henry SHAWNDEN (probably Henry SHORNDEN later WRIGHT) arrived today. Another pretty quick turn around from the GRO considering there have been two 24 hour postal strikes this week.

As usual the certificate brings with it as many questions as answers. Henry was the son of Henry and Sarah (possibly Sarah Ann) SHORNDEN (my 3x great grandparents) and he is the eldest child I have been able to trace a birth registration and baptism for.

Henry was born on the 10th January 1842 in Alton, Hampshire and his birth was registered on the 25th January 1842. He was baptised in Alton on the 6th February 1842. When his birth was registered the surname was spelt SHAWNDEN and when he was baptised it was spelt SHORDEN.

Within a couple of years the surname WRIGHT was being used for Henry’s brothers and sisters. Initially in combination with the surname SHORNDEN (or variants thereof) and then on its own. In the 1851 census the family are listed as WRIGHT. I have not yet traced many of the children in later years to find out what surnames they used when they got older.

The name of Henry’s mother is given as Sarah SHAWNDEN formerly LAY, and that is probably the key piece of information to take away from this certificate. This not only tells me that Sarah’s maiden name was LAY, but it also implies that Henry and Sarah were married after all.

This gives me another name to use to search for a marriage, baptisms of their two older children (including my 2x great grandmother), their whereabouts in the 1841 census, birth registrations and a marriage entry in the GRO Indexes.

Only slightly worrying thing is that Henry’s father’s occupation is given as bricklayers laborer which is not what I was expecting. Henry’s baptism entry has his father recorded as a cutler, this puts the seed of doubt in my mind, whether I have the right people, but I am pretty certain that this is the correct family, because of the overlap or combination of surnames for later baptisms.

I suspect that Henry’s father did whatever he could to earn a living. In the 1844 edition of Pigot’s Hampshire Directory he is listed as a cutler and grinder, but in later years he is a chimney sweep and a lodging house keeper. I suspect one job wasn’t enough for Henry’s father to support the family, so he did whatever he could to bring in some money.

The birth itself was registered by Henry’s mother Sarah, she couldn’t sign her name so just made her mark. This is probably the reason why the spelling of the name changed so much, she probably had no idea how to spell it. At least the surname LAY shouldn’t give me too many variations.

So what now? The next step is to search for any marriages for Sarah LAY and Henry SHORNDEN before 1842, also search for baptisms and birth registrations for the two children possibly under the surname LAY instead of SHORNDEN or WRIGHT. I am not sure what to look for in the 1841 census or where. I think it is safe to assume somewhere in the south of England, but possibly not necessarily confined to Kent or Hampshire.

At least I feel as if I am making some progress now, another piece of the puzzle slots into place. I would be interested to see what the other birth certificates say, whether the spellings and details changed depending on who was actually registering the birth, but with another seven children registered after Henry that is not the sort of thing I can really afford to do, just to satisfy my curiosity.

Christmas Tree Project Update

19 Oct

Most of my work last week was focused on trying to find the 4x great grandparents for my Christmas Tree Project. All in all it was quite successful, but I have still have quite a bit of work to do.

The present state of play is that I am still missing four individuals, there are another three 4x great grandmothers where I have no maiden name for, only a married name, and there are a couple of connections I have made that are not as strong as I would have liked (like the parents of Ellen NICHOLLS).

The missing individuals are the parents of Susannah POCOCK, and the parents of Sarah Ann the wife of Henry SHORNDEN.

I don’t know Sarah Ann’s maiden name, I thought she was the SHORNDEN and Henry was the WRIGHT, but I have since found that to be wrong. Now I need to find out if Sarah Ann was the WRIGHT.

Logic would suggest that if they didn’t use Henry’s surname, then they used Sarah Ann’s instead, but logic and the WRIGHT/SHORNDEN family don’t seem to sit together well in the same sentence.

Tonight I have ordered a copy of the birth certificate for Henry SHAWNDEN, who I believe was the first of their children to be registered and baptised in Alton, Hampshire in the first quarter of 1842.

This promises to be the most eagerly awaited birth certificate yet (apart from my illegitimate grandfather’s one). If I were a betting man I would put my money on Sarah Ann being a WRIGHT, but then again I wouldn’t be surprised if I lost it all.

I just hope that the Royal Mail and the Communication Workers Union settle their differences quickly so my certificate doesn’t get held up in the post too long.

I am going off the SHORNDEN family

17 Oct

I really am starting to go off the SHORNDEN family. Apologies to any SHORNDENs reading this, but they are my ancestors too so I think I am allowed to get annoyed with them.

Not only does it look like Henry SHORNDEN was a criminal and changed his name and moved to Hampshire, but it is beginning to feel like he did it with the intention of making my research as difficult as possible.

Several things are starting to annoy me. Like why can’t I find the family in the 1841 census, there should be four of them at least, Henry and Sarah (possibly his wife) and their two children Mary Ann and Harriet.

And why was Henry’s sister Marianne baptised twice? First on the 31st July 1808 as the daughter of William and Ann SHORNDEN and then again on the 25th December 1808 as the “spurious” daughter of Ann SHORNDEN. Did William deny she was his daughter?

Why can’t I find a birth registration for Harriet? What happened to Mary Ann after the 1851 census? I have a baptism in Ospringe, Kent for Mary-Ann Hannah SHORNDEN in 1836, could this be Henry and Sarah’s first daughter? Well possibly, but her parents are given as William and Sarah, was Henry also known as William? Had he already started changing his name by then?

I know I need to go to Kent and look for some answers, but I don’t trust the information I already have. I think I will trade-in this family for a better one. A nice family that stayed put in the same parish, knew how to spell their name and didn’t get up to anything naughty or illegal. Anyone want to swap?

Did Henry SHORNDEN change his name to hide his criminal past?

15 Oct

I have been trying to make sense of some of my notes from the London Family History Centre today, in particular I was trying to work out what was going on with Henry SHORNDEN/WRIGHT.

While I think I have located Henry’s baptism in Ospringe, Kent I would like to prove a connection between Henry SHORNDEN in Kent and Henry WRIGHT in Hampshire, other than the fact that some of his children were baptised and registered under the surname of SHORNDEN or some other variant.

I thought I would try a search on Ancestry.co.uk on the Criminal Registers they released earlier this year. I searched for Henry SHORNDEN and only one result came up. A 28-year-old called Henry SHORNDEN was tried at the County Sessions at Maidstone, Kent on the 4th January 1838. My Henry SHORNDEN would have been 28 in 1838 and he was last heard of in Kent (he first turns up again in Hampshire in 1842), this has to be my 3x great grandfather.

His crime was larceny, of which he was found guilty and was imprisoned for 12 months. To me this seems a perfect reason for him to move away from him home and change his name once he got out, to try and hide his past.

So now I need to find out what it was he actually did, whether there was any mention of a family and where he went to prison. Perhaps he was imprisoned in Hampshire, which is why he ended up in that part of the world? I still haven’t done anything about finding out more about Wybrants KINGHORN’s criminal activities, and now I have another criminal in my tree to investigate.

Searching for the WRIGHT family at the London Family History Centre

14 Oct

Today I was back at the London Family History Centre, trying to fill in a few missing ancestors in my Christmas Tree Project, but most of all trying to put the lid back on the can of worms that I opened there back in May this year.

All in all it was quite a successful day, I think I have added another four or five of my 4x great grandparents, including the parents of Ellen NICHOLLS whose lack of marriage in Lewes, Sussex has been causing me some consternation. Once again though it was the WRIGHT family that has been most surprising.

I have Henry and Sarah (or Sarah Ann) WRIGHT living in Alton, Hampshire from about 1842. Their eight youngest children were baptised and registered in Alton using various surnames: WRIGHT, SHAWNDEN, SHORDEN, WRIGHT SHAWNDEN, SHAWDON WRIGHT and WRIGHT otherwise SHORDEN.

I had taken this as indicating the Henry and Sarah had probably never married, and there was some confusion over whether they should use the father’s name (WRIGHT) or the mother’s name (SHORDEN or some variant thereof).

What I discovered in the Ospringe, Kent parish registers was a baptism on the 1st October 1809 for Henry son of William and Anne SHORNDEN. This was exactly the opposite of what I was expecting, and my many hours of searching the 1841 census for Henry WRIGHT have probably been wasted. Tonight I shall be seeing what comes up for Henry SHORNDEN in the 1841 census.

So this has left me wondering whether Sarah was Sarah WRIGHT, or whether the WRIGHT surname was just plucked out of nowhere for whatever reason. I still couldn’t find a marriage for Henry and Sarah in Ospringe, but I didn’t really expect to. Now I have Henry’s parent’s names (and some siblings for Henry) and hopefully I will be able to find them in the 1841 census (and later), which might enable me to discover more information about the family.

As well as searching for Henry SHORNDEN in the census, I also have a handful of notes that need sorting out, on top of what I still have left from my trip to the Hampshire Record Office last Saturday. Looks like I shall be busy catching up for the next few days.

On the way home with two of my 4x great grandparents

10 Oct

After about four hours at Hampshire Record Office in Winchester, Hampshire I am back on the train again making my way home, mentally trying to make sense of what I found.

The Hampshire Record Office, Winchester, Hampshire

The Hampshire Record Office, Winchester, Hampshire

I found all the information I was looking for with the WRIGHT family, but then I was only double checking most of it. I have written about this WRIGHT family before and the confusion that surrounds whether Henry and Sarah Ann were in fact married. As I need to find their parents for my Christmas Tree Project it is time to try again and solve this puzzle.

Both Henry and Sarah Ann WRIGHT were buried in Alton, Hampshire, but checking the monumental inscriptions for the parish it doesn’t look like their gravestone has survived, if there ever was one.

The MITCHELL side of things went quite well, I now have William MITCHELL’s parents (John MITCHELL and Elizabeth LOCKETT) and some details of William’s siblings. The family were where I was expecting them, in New Alresford and latterly in Old Alresford. I think I have found John MITCHELL’s parents (John and Olive MITCHELL) there as well, so that takes me back another generation.

The POCOCK side of things was not so straight forward, and I am still left with no parents for Susannah POCOCK, it doesn’t appear that she was baptised in Hampshire (according to the Hampshire Baptism Index), and certainly not Micheldever.

There is an elderly POCOCK couple living in New Alresford (or was it Old Alresford) who seem to be the only POCOCKs for miles around. My instincts tell me that this couple (Richard and Mary) are Susannah’s parents.

They don’t appear to have been married in Hampshire (according to the Hampshire Marriage Index) and Mary’s place of birth on the census was Lambeth, Surrey. So when I get home I will be searching for POCOCK marriages and baptisms in Surrey and Sussex.

All in all it was a successful trip, so far the trains have gone according to plan and the weather has stayed dry, despite a few threatening clouds. I have added two more 4x great grandparents to my Christmas Tree Project so I feel this morning’s optimism was justified.

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