Tag Archives: parish register

The TARGETT/HILTON story – Part One: The marriage of William TARGETT and Ruth HILTON

1 Oct

I wrote the other day about William TARGETT and Ruth HILTON, the age difference between them and the closeness of their marriage to the baptism of their only daughter Caroline (or Emily Caroline). I felt there was an interesting story here waiting to be investigated, and in any case I needed to do more work to establish who their parents were (my 4x great grandparents).

The two parish records I checked at Worthing Library on Tuesday certainly shed more light on the situation, or rather added more fuel to the fire. Both records were on the International Genealogical Index at familysearch.org, but neither entry gave the full details that I needed.

First up was the marriage of William and Ruth in the parish of Heyshott, Sussex on the 27th September 1856. The first piece of new evidence was their ages; William was 37 years old and Ruth was only 19. So the census had been pretty accurate and my calculations were right, William was nearly twenty years older than Ruth.

I was not surprised to find that William was a bachelor and Ruth a spinster. William’s occupation was given as labourer, so again there was nothing unusual there.

It was the father’s details for the couple that proved the most interesting. William’s father was also William, and his occupation was also labourer. This pretty much confirmed what I had already suspected, William was the son of William and Charlotte TARGETT.

Ruth’s father’s details were in one respect what I had expected in that his surname wasn’t HILTON but SAUNDERS. Ruth HILTON’s father was Richard SAUNDERS and he was also a labourer. I had my suspicions that Ruth might be illegitimate when I found a baptism record that seemed to fit and it only gave a mother’s name. To be honest I had half expected to find her father’s name and occupation left blank in the register.

So although this is not an ideal situation for me. I have very little to work on to link Ruth’s mother and father together, but it could be worse, at least I have a father’s name to work with. The possible baptism for Ruth was the other record I wanted to check down at Worthing, to see if that might provide further clues.

Another birth certificate arrives, but doesn’t really help

18 Sep

Great excitement usually accompanies the arrival of certificate from the GRO (well at least for me anyway) and today was no exception. The envelope contained the birth certificate for William GEERING my 2x great grandfather.

William was born in Lewes, Sussex in 1868 that much I knew already, more precisely it was on the 24th August 1868 in Sun Street, Lewes. Sun Street is an address I hadn’t come across before in my research, but apart from the exact date and place the reason I wanted this certificate was to find out his mother’s name/maiden name.

I had previously been unable to locate a marriage in the GRO Indexes for William’s parents, and with a name like GEERING it should have been easy. I hoped that having his mother’s maiden name would help in the search, but so far it hasn’t.

In the space for the mother’s name it says Ellen Geering formerly Nicholls. I am pretty certain it says NICHOLLS, it would take quite a stretch of the imagination to make it anything else. So this implies that William’s father (also William) had married Ellen NICHOLLS, but still no entry in the marriage index is forthcoming.

I switched to the census, perhaps I could find Ellen NICHOLLS in the 1861 census (her future husband was unmarried in 1861) but nothing obvious stands out. There is one possible hit in 1851, but that is not really in the right area.

I tried the GRO Birth Index, and again no Ellen NICHOLLS in the right place or time frame, this really is starting to look very mysterious. The 1871, 1881 and 1891 census all give her place of birth as Chiddingstone, Kent and her age is pretty consistent, giving her year of birth around 1848.

So what has gone wrong here? Why is Ellen causing me such a problem? At least I have a maiden name now, but it is a maiden name that I don’t feel I can trust, at least not until I see it in writing somewhere else.

So what next? I need to widen all my searches on both the census and the GRO Indexes, in case one of the pieces of information is wrong and try some different census indexes. I need to visit the East Sussex Record Office and search the parish registers for a marriage entry (maybe it missed the GRO Indexes) and also for any sign of banns for the husband because I am sure he would have been in Lewes.

Such a disappointment to not have all the pieces fit into place, this looks like it could be a major obstacle to finding all my 4x great grandparents. Then again I wouldn’t want things too easy, would I?

When two sources are sometimes better than one

13 Jul

Yesterday I showed you an example of a newspaper report for a wedding (my grandparents wedding as it happens), now I wouldn’t want you to think that newspapers were better than having a marriage certificate.

They provide two different records of the same event, and hopefully they don’t contradict each other. What they will do however, is record two different perspectives of that event.

There is one key fact on the marriage entry in the parish register that the newspaper report doesn’t mention (other than their ages) and that is the groom’s father’s name. Until last year the identity of my grandfather’s father was a mystery.

No father’s name was recorded on his birth certificate, and I hadn’t been able to find a baptism record, but to my surprise there it was on the marriage entry in the parish register for Keymer, Sussex. I have since found one other source, a school record, with this name so I am pretty confident it is correct.

That discovery opened up a whole new branch of my family tree, and if I hadn’t checked the marriage entry I would never have known. If I had known the date of the newspaper report I could have worked out the date of the wedding (the Saturday before publication) so I would probably have not needed (or bothered) to check the marriage entry.

Always remember that information on an event may be recorded in more than one source and whilst some of the details may overlap, some may also be unique to that source.

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