One of the weak links on my Christmas Tree Project is the wife of William RUSSELL, my 4x great grandfather and mother of my 3x great grandfather Thomas RUSSELL.
I know that Thomas’ father was William from his marriage entry in the Ticehurst parish registers. From that I also know that his father’s occupation was that of a shoemaker.
All the census information I have points to a birth for Thomas in Salehurst, Sussex around 1822-23, and although the Salehurst baptisms have been included in the Sussex Family History Group (SFHG) Data Archive, I can’t for the life of me find Thomas’ baptism.
I think I have found Thomas with his father (and brother George) in the 1841 Census, in Salehurst, but there is no sign of a wife for William. There is an older woman, Lydia RUSSELL, who is probably William’s mother (making William the son of Samuel and Lydia RUSSELL).
In 1861 William is living with Elkanah RUSSELL and family in Burwash, Sussex and it could well be that Elkanah is another son. It is an unusual name so it should stand out in the records.
So who was William’s wife? The SFHG Marriage Index gives a couple of marriages around the right time for William RUSSELL in Salehurst, Sussex, and the most likely of these is to Ann SPICE on the 27th April 1811.
My best bet however is to try and locate the baptism for Thomas RUSSELL, that should give me his mother’s name, but if not in Salehurst then where. I searched the baptism transcriptions for Salehurst and surrounding parishes at the East Sussex Record Office last week without any luck.
I wasn’t until I got home that I discovered a birth record for Elkanah RUSSELL, amongst the non-conformist records on BMDregisters.co.uk. This confirmed his parents as William RUSSELL and Ann SPICE, but there was still no sign of Thomas.
So all the evidence points to William RUSSELL and Ann SPICE being the parents of Thomas RUSSELL, but the connection is not quite as strong as I would like.
The problem with the BMDregisters website is that it is not obvious what records are included and whether any other records exist at the National Archives. There is of course the chance that records might survive locally as well, so I need to check with the East Sussex Record Office again.