Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Mary Jane Bulleid (1828-1838)

St John the Baptist, Hatherleigh, Devon

Many of my ancestors and relatives are simply names, dates and places on a page. Occasionally, however, I learn something more.

The British Newspaper Archive is a new online resource for genealogists and historians. According to its website, "the British Newspaper Archive is a partnership between the British Library and brightsolid online publishing to digitise up to 40 million newspaper pages from the British Library's vast collection over the next 10 years." Over three million pages are currently available. Searching the archive is free, however, there is a small cost to view individual pages.

As a researcher whose primary interest is Devon, I was happy to discover that several historical Devon newspapers have been scanned, including the Western Times and the North Devon Journal. So far I have focused on finding articles relating to my COOKE, LOVEBAND, and BRAGINGTON ancestors and relatives, however, a quick search for BULLEID uncovered the following:
Western Times, Friday, Aug 31, 1838

INQUESTS HELD BY H.A. VALLACK, ESQ. CORONER.— At North Lew, on the body of Mary Jane Bulleid, aged 10 years, daughter of Mr. Bulleid, of Hatherleigh. The deceased had been incautiously and ignorantly placed by a servant man on a horse with her foot in the stirrup leather—the result was, she fell from the horse, and being entangled in the leather, the animal became frightened, and ran off furiously for nearly a mile to the house of his owner, by which time the head of the poor child was fractured, and the scalp entirely gone. Verdict 'accidental death.'
Mary Jane BULLEID was the niece of my ggg-grandmother Mary Field BULLEID (1809-1894). Her parents were Samuel BULLEID (1803-1875) and Patience TUCKER (1804-1885). Samuel had been born in Dolton, Devon but moved to Hatherleigh and established himself as a butcher. Mary Jane was the second eldest of seven children. Her gravestone in the churchyard of St John the Baptist records her death as well as the deaths of three of her siblings.

Sunday, November 27, 2011

The Descendants of David Jacques (1762-1824)

Jacques Monument, Utley Cemetery,
Keighley, Yorkshire

A number of different stories have been told about the origins of the family of my grandfather, Alfred George Jacques (1896-1939). One such story is that the Jacqueses are descendants of Colonel Henri Jacques, a refugee from the French Revolution who landed at Whitehaven, Cumberland. Another is that the family is descended from a rich Huguenot who came to England to make his fortune in the wool trade. Research initiated by the late Greville Jacques of Sugnall, Stafford, however, indicates that the Jacqueses originated in Scotland and that Jacques is a variant of the surname Jack.

The earliest record of the Jacqueses is that of the marriage of David Jack to Jean Gillies in 1784 in Douglas, Lanark, Scotland. Jean was baptised in 1761, the daughter of William Gillies and Jean Wier. David and Jean had thirteen children, nine boys and four girls. Most of their children were born in Windermere, Westmoreland, England, however, the second daughter, Allison, was baptised at Douglas in 1789, while the first daughter, Jeannie died there in 1794.

The names and birthdates of David and Jean's children appear in a Bible currently held by a son of Greville Jacques. Greville Jacques writes:
The family bible is a bit of a mystery. It has obviously been rebound and the information about David and Jeannie Jacques's children is on a new fly sheet. However, this information is repeated on a piece of paper which dates about the beginning of the 20th Century and is in the possession of Hazel Taylor a distant cousin I contacted for the first time last summer. At the beginning of the New Testament there is a title page which gives the date of printing as MDCCLXII [1762]. At the top of this page in longhand is written P.L. Jacques July 25th 1869 and on the next page is written William Jacques July 25th 1869. So the bible is quite old, but the information on the new fly sheet could have been written when it was rebound, but not in living memory.
The bible also records the deaths of Allison and James Jacques who "drowned together in Lake Windermere Aug 12 1800" as well as that of George Jacques who was "killed at Waterloo."

In the parish registers of Windermere, David Jacques is referred to as "of the island, gardener or of Belle Isle." David Jacques was most likely gardener to Isabella Curwen and John Christian of Belle Isle. This is supported by the names of three of the Jacques children: John Christian, Isabella and Curwen.

Isabella Curwen and John Christian were first cousins of Fletcher Christian of HMS Bounty fame. Belle Isle is noted for its Georgian roundhouse. Fiona Mountain, author of the historical romance novel Isabella, writes:
Belle Isle, formerly known as the Great Island, is the largest island on Windermere and the only one to be inhabited. Situated in the centre of the lake, with views of the villages of Ambleside and Bowness and the mountain ranges bounding the Troutbeck Valley, it was the seat of the Lord of the Manor of Windermere until it passed into the possession of the local Philipson family. It was bought by a Mr. English in 1774 who instructed the architect John Plaw — later a leading master builder in Westminster who erected the church at Paddington and Montague House, Portman Square — to construct the unusual roundhouse. The construction of the house was not complete when Mr. English went bankrupt and sold the house and island for £1,720 to Isabella Curwen after whom it was then named. The descendants of Isabella and her husband John Christian Curwen lived on the island until 1993.Isabella Curwen was born on October 2nd 1765, the only child of Henry Curwen of Workington Hall who died when she was thirteen, leaving her the heiress of the estate and huge mining interests. John Christian, her cousin, was made her guardian and later became her husband. It was John who bought for her the island on Windermere which was named Belle Isle in her honour.

John Christian, Isabella's husband and also first cousin to Fletcher, took the name and arms of Curwen on his marriage to Isabella.

John was the head of the Cumberland Christians who inherited the Ewanrigg estate at Maryport. He was a prominent Whig MP, innovator of social welfare and an agricultural pioneer. His chief political opponent was the Earl of Lonsdale, nicknamed the Bad Earl because of his use of bribery, corruption and violence to win elections – on one occasion he went so far as to arm his colliers with bludgeons in an attempt to unseat Christian.

His work as an agricultural pioneer earned John Christian Curwen the title ‘The Father of Agriculture’ and he is credited with planting over three million larch trees on the banks of Windermere. As an early welfare reformer he set up compulsory sickness and unemployment benefit schemes for his workers which were in many ways precursors to the National Health Service.
David Jacques was buried at Windermere on 31 Apr 1824 at the age of 62. Also buried at Windermere were his daughter Allison, and his sons James, Robert and Curwen. His daughter Annie married John Moore in 1824.

Archibald Jacques, the son of David Jacques and Jean Gillies, moved to the Cartmel area of Lancashire, and in 1820 married Eleanor Bartram of Bootle, Cumberland. Archibald and Eleanor had seven children. The oldest daughter, Ann, married Thomas Rudd, a mariner who was 18 years her senior. Thomas and Ann had a least four children and lived in Ulverston, Lancashire.

David Jacques, the son of David Jacques and Jean Gillies, moved to Keighley, Yorkshire, and in 1812 married Elizabeth Corlass, daughter of John Corlass and Alice Lawson. Alice Lawson was the daughter of Robert Lawson and Mary Playtress. John Corlass was the brother of Thomas Corlass, owner of Hope Mill.

Hope Mill was one of the first steam powered cotton mills to be built in Keighley. Corlass employed a large number of pauper children, some of whom may have come from afar afield as London. Corlass lost money as a cotton spinner during the Napoleonic Wars and in 1812 was so "agitated by the unfavourable state of the markets, he one morning went to the engine tender and ordered him to rake out the fire and stop the engine; and this being done, he from that time ceased to be a cotton spinner."

In the 1822 Baines Directory entry for Keighley, David Jacques appears under the heading Gardeners, Nursery and Seedsmen as "Jacques Dvd. (dealer in British wines) Spring gardens."

David and Elizabeth had ten children: eight boys and two girls. David died in 1831 and is buried in the churchyard of St Andrew's, Keighley along with his wife, his eldest son William and his youngest son Archibald Gillhouse.

John Corlass Jacques, the second son of David Jacques and Elizabeth Corlass, became a grocer in Morton, Yorkshire. John married Rebecca Greenwood and had three children. According to Philip Evans, a descendant of John's eldest son William, John Corlass Jacques was a prominent figure in Morton. There are several references to him in the minutes of local committee meetings and his signature is to be found on several occasions in official documents. His daughter Priscilla Greenwood Jacques married the butcher Samuel Midgley. John Corlass Jacques is mentioned in Midgleyana by John Franklin Midgley, grandson of Priscilla, who also asserted that Priscilla Greenwood Jacques was the great-granddaughter of Colonel Henri Jacques.

David and Elizabeth's fifth son, Henry Jacques, married Mary Hollings. Six of their nine offspring died in childhood and are buried with their parents in Utley Cemetery, Keighley. The name of one of their children, Curwen George Hollings Jacques, acknowledges their Windermere roots.

David and Elizabeth's seventh son, George Jacques, began his career as a wool spinner in Keighley, Yorkshire. When the Waterloo Mills was built in nearby Silsden, George was one of the purchasers and soon became the sole owner. In the 1870s George had a home called Springbank built on Howden Road in Silsden. When George died in 1895, his estate was worth £72,000. Today this would be worth over £4,000,000.

George married Arabella Holmes and had six children. His son, Plateras, inherited Waterloo Mills and Springbank. Plateras married late in life and had no children. He did, however, travel extensively. Passenger records exist showing a passage from Japan to Vancouver in 1922 and a passage a few months later from Quebec City to Southhampton. When Plateras died in 1935 his estate was valued at over £350,000 (£13,000,000).

George's daughter Arabella married Arthur Sellers. Their son, Arthur Brian Sellers, was a famous cricket player. George's daughter Alice married Edgar Heap, a prosperous wool merchant in Bradford. Apparently it was one of the poshest weddings Silsden had ever seen.

Plateras Lawson Jacques was the sixth son of David and Elizabeth, and was named for his paternal grandmother Alice Lawson and her mother Mary Playtress. Plateras married Ellen Jennings, daughter of Jonathan and Sarah Jennings of Bradford in 1851. Plateras and Ellen had eight children, one of whom, Ellen, died at the age of five.

The oldest child, George Gilbert Jacques, emigrated to Australia. He married Catherine McWilliams in 1878 in Ipswitch, Queensland. Both George and Catherine are buried in the Lutwyche Cemetery in Brisbane, Queensland.

Plateras and Ellen's oldest daughter, Sarah, was born at sea and her birth was apparently registered in Augusta, Maine in the United States. The family's stay in the United States was brief since all of Sarah's siblings were born in Yorkshire. Sarah never married. Her sister, Alice, married a widower, James Roberts, and lived in Fenton, Staffordshire.

Plateras and Ellen's second eldest son William became an architect and did not marry. Their third son, Alfred was a journalist who married Emma Murgatroyd. Greville Jacques is their grandson. Plateras and Ellen's fourth son, John Henry Jacques was also an architect. He married Marion Cane and named his second son Geoffrey Plateras Lawson Jacques. Geoffrey joined the Royal Flying Corps but died in a mid-air collision in 1916 over Salisbury Plain.

The youngest son, Charlie Jacques started as a goldsmith's clerk but eventually became Chief Accountant of the Public Utilities Commission of London, Ontario, Canada. In 1891 in Sutton, Surrey he married Alice Lymath. Alice was the daughter of George Lymath and Elizabeth Boorer and was one of five girls, two of whom, Alice and Charlotte, were twins. Charlie and Alice had three children, all born in Sutton: Archibald Lymath, Alfred George and Dorothy. Charlie emigrated to Canada in 1906, arriving at Quebec City aboard the SS Canada on the 2nd of November. Alice and her three children joined Charlie the following spring, arriving in Quebec City aboard the RMS Empress of Britain on the 24th of May.

Plateras died in 1870 and is buried in Uttly Cemetery, Keighley. In 1875 Ellen married Issac Holmes a widower with two boys. Both Issac and his two boys had died by 1878 at which point Ellen decided to move her family to the south of England, to Sutton in Surrey. Ellen died in 1898 in Sutton but is buried with her husband in Keighley.

Belle Isle, Windermere © Copyright Brian Clift and licensed for reuse under this Creative Commons Licence.

Waterloo Mills, Silsden © Copyright Chris Allen and licensed for reuse under this Creative Commons Licence.

Friday, October 28, 2011

Family History, Family Mythology

Long before I became interested in genealogy, I had heard the story of how my ggg-grandfather had come from Barnstaple, Devon in the early 19th century to establish a fishing station in Newfoundland. A sister of my grandfather had been very fond of telling how William Cooke had brought over three sailing ships, two slaves and £80,000; and had then lost it all when the fishery collapsed.

Even before I began to research my family history, I had doubts about this story. Although slavery existed in the United States and in British possessions in the Caribbean, it was essentially non-existent in the United Kingdom and in Newfoundland. As well, £80,000 in 1820 would be worth almost three and a half million pounds today.

Eventually, after several years of research, the truth began to emerge. In 1817, William Cooke had left High Bickington, Devon to assume management of a fishing station located at Paradise on Placentia Bay on the south coast of Newfoundland. The fishing station had previously been owned by William's great-uncle George Cooke, and had been inherited by William's father in 1790. William's father was also majority owner of the brig Friends, built in Barnstaple in 1812. When William's father died in 1821, William inherited both the brig and the fishing station.

This brig, build in 1828, would have been similar to the brig Friends built at Barnstaple in 1812. (Source: Art Gallery of Nova Scotia)
The men who actually did the fishing often worked in very harsh conditions, however, they were not slaves. One of them, William Harding, recorded his experiences:
I and seven men more was sent in a cod seine skiff hauling codfish. We were sent off Sunday after dinner and not to return to the cookroom until Saturday evening. No place to sleep only a nap in the skiff, while one would be waiting for a haul of fish and only one meal of victuals cooked in twenty four hours. If we wanted more there was bread and butter and water in the skiff ... we had only one night in the week to sleep in our bed".
When William Cooke left Newfoundland in the late 1830s, it was not because the fishery had collapsed, but because it had slowly become unprofitable. As the youngest son, there was little in Devon for him to return to, so William decided instead to move to New Carlisle, Quebec, a small but thriving settlement on the Gaspe Peninsula that had been founded by United Empire Loyalists after the American Revolution.

My maternal grandfather's family also has it's share of mythology. My mother had heard stories about how the Jacques family were the descendants of French Huguenots who had fled persecution in the 17th century. Another story was that the Jacqueses has been involved in the manufacturing of beaver hats in the 17th and 18th centuries.

When I began researching the Jacqueses, I came across yet another myth, one that held that my grandfather was the descendant of a Colonel Henry Jacques who fled France during the Revolution. At least one distant cousin still holds to this belief, and this perhaps explains why he no longer responds to my emails.

The reality is not quite so dramatic, but is interesting in it's own right. My gggg-grandfather David Jacks was most likely born in Scotland, and was employed by the Curwen family as a gardener for their Belle Isle estate on Lake Windemere in Westmorland. The Windermere parish register shows a gradual change in spelling from Jacks to Jacques. The latter spelling had firmly taken hold by the time my ggg-grandfather moved south to Keighley, Yorkshire.

My sense is that my Jacques ancestors invented a mythology to make themselves more socially acceptable. It apparently worked. My ggg-grandfather married "above his station," as his wife was the niece of a mill owner. A brother of my gg-grandfather married a mill owner's daughter and eventually became a mill owner himself. My great-grandfather's brothers were architects and journalists. And they were apparently horrified when my great-grandfather married a coachman's daughter. This possibly explains why my great-grandfather emigrated to Canada.

So beware of family mythology. Although there may be grains of truths in the stories, the reality is often quite different, but just as fascinating.

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Death by Misadventure

Merton is a Devon parish a few kilometres south of Great Torrington. Perhaps best known as the birthplace of General George MONCK (1608-1670) — the architect of the restoration of CHARLES II — Merton is also the birthplace of my ggg-grandfather Thomas SMITH (1807-1841).

This past summer during my trip to Devon, I spent some time viewing microfiche of the Merton burial registers, and noticed that in the mid 19th century the curate of Merton, John C. FISHER, and later the rector, J.C. KEMPE would include details of accidental or unusual deaths. Here are a few of the entries:
  • Jane HEYWOOD buried 30 Apr 1837 aged 4 "accidentally drowned in the Torridge"
  • William LUGG buried 4 Nov 1838 aged 40 "died of small pox"
  • Fanny MAYNE buried 19 Nov 1838 aged 5 "accidentally burnt five weeks before she died"
  • Eliza ELLACOTT buried 3 Feb 1839 aged 4 "accidentally burnt about a week before she died"
  • Thomas STACEY buried 29 Oct 1843 aged 22 "died from injuries received by a Waggon going over him — surviving only a few days"
  • Mary JOHNS buried 10 Jun 1845 aged 15 "accidentally drowned at Beaford Bridge"
  • Hannah BALKWILL buried 18 Aug 1847 aged 33 "killed in the harvest field by the cart going over her chest"
  • Priscilla CUDMORE bur 14 Aug 1859 aged 5 "her clothes caught fire during the temporary absence of her mother & died within 6 hours by the effect of the burns"
William LUGG's death from smallpox is somewhat unusual as it occured more than forty years after Dr. Edward JENNER discovered that immunity to the disease could be produced by inoculating a person with cowpox pus.

According to a brief article in Trewman's Exeter Flying Post, Eliza ELLACOTT "was accidentally burnt during the temporary absence of her elder sister who was left in charge of her."

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Caldwell and Beebe

February 1834 marriage of Joshua BEEBE to
Mary WATT. Joshua's mother Mary SECORD
was almost 100 years old at the time of the
marriage. (Source: Drouin Collection)

So I finally gave in and purchased a subscription to Ancestry. Previously, whenever I needed to check census information or use the Drouin Collection of Quebec Vital & Church Records, I would have to visit the library to access the Ancestry Library Edition, usually on a computer with a monitor far too small for the purpose. Far more convenient to work at home with a 24" widescreen monitor and a really comfortable chair.

Access to the Drouin Collection has been quite useful as I am currently updating and expanding my information on the CALDWELL and BEEBE families of New Carlisle on the Gaspe Peninsula of Quebec. I've previously written how my ggggg-grandmother, Mary SECORD (1734- ?), widow of Joshua BEEBE (1738-1778), settled at New Carlisle in 1784 with six of her seven children (four sons and two daughters). One son, Amasa BEEBE (1769-1862), did not marry, while another, Secord BEEBE (1764-1859), moved to Nova Scotia. The other two, Asa BEEBE (1772-1861) and Joshua BEEBE (1778-1844), had large families and some of their descendants still live in New Carlisle.

Joshua BEEBE had three wives and at least 11 children born over a forty year period. In fact, his third wife, Mary Ann WATT (1813- ?), was younger than several of the older children, and was not much older than Joshua's son Amasa BEEBE (1815-1901), who married Mary COOKE (1823-1873), sister of my gg-grandfather.

In the previous post I mentioned that Mary SECORD's youngest daughter, Sarah BEEBE (1774-1823) married Andrew Todd CALDWELL (1772-1827), son of Robert CALDWELL (1735-1825). Her descendants are proving to be rather elusive. A document dated 1816 records that Andrew and Sarah had four children, however, additional records exist for only two of them. Andrew and Sarah's daughter, Elizabeth CALDWELL (? -1864) married her cousin Adin BEEBE (? -1865) . Two of Andrew's nephews also married BEEBEs, while another two married COOKEs (sisters of my gg-grandfather). In 19th and early 20th century New Carlisle, almost everyone was related.

Many of the CALDWELL's were seafarers. Andrew Todd CALDWELL, for instance, apparently died at sea sailing from Boston to Halifax. Last year I was contacted by a CALDWELL descendant living in Australia who believed that his gg-grandfather, Charles CALDWELL (1812-1874), had been born in New Carlisle. The problem was that although it seemed likely that Charles was a grandchild of Robert CALDWELL, it was uncertain who the father was. Eventually my correspondent decided that Charles was the son of John Todd CALDWELL (1764-1850). Having now looked more closely at the data, however, I think it equally likely that any of John Todd CALDWELL's brothers, including Andrew Todd CALDWELL, could be the father.

Barring the discovery of a Caldwell bible, it is unlikely that this mystery will be solved. Records for New Carlisle from the early 19th century are almost non-existent, although clues can often be found in later records preserved in the Droiun Collection.

Friday, September 2, 2011

New Carlisle's Presbyterian Burial Ground

Sarah CALDWELL nee BEEBE (1775-1823)

Family historians travelling to New Carlisle, Quebec on the Baie des Chaleur will most likely visit the historical St Andrew's Anglican Cemetery. Surrounding the wooden church are approximately 300 gravestones. The oldest stone is that of Issac MANN who died in 1803 at the age of 73.

New Carlisle was settled in 1784 by discharged soldiers and United Empire Loyalists. Many of the gravestones commemorate names of descendants of these original settlers: ASTLES, BEEBE, BILLINGSLEY, CALDWELL, CHATTERTON, FLOWERS, MANN and THOMPSON.

Another historical New Carlisle cemetery is the much smaller Old Presbyterian Burial Ground located behind Zion United Church. Zion United Church is a relatively modern congregation, formed in 1925 when the Methodist, Presbyterian and Congregational Churches merged to become the United Church of Canada. The building itself, however, dates from about 1820. Apparently, a significant number of Presbyterian families in New Carlisle were not pleased with the merger and decided to continue a Presbyterian congregation, building Knox Presbyterian Church next door to the old church. A cemetery is located behind the new building, however, the stones all date from the 20th century.

In the summer of 2010, I photographed all 40 gravestones in the Old Presbyterian Burial Ground. This past week I finally began to transcribe the inscriptions for the CanadaGenWeb Cemetery Project. Unfortunately, the inscriptions in some of the photos are quite difficult to read, and as New Carlisle is 1500 kilometres away, a quick trip for retakes is out of the question. Fortunately, the baptism, marriage and burial records of the Presbyterian church in New Carlisle are part of the Drouin Collection which is available online through A transcription can also be found on the Loyalists of the Gaspe website.

As I cross-checked my transcripton against the burial records I realized that the information on the gravestone does not necessarily match what is in the burial record. I also discovered that while there are large gaps in the Presbyterian records, burials at the Presbyterian burial ground during the time of these gaps were frequently recorded in the St Andrew's register.

The oldest gravestone in the Presbyterian burial ground is that of Sarah CALDWELL who died in 1823 at the age of 47. Sarah was the daughter of Joshua BEEBE (1738-1788) and Mary SECORD (1734- ?), and was born in the vicinity of Tunkhannock, Pennsylvania in 1775.

Joshua BEEBE was a Loyalist and in 1777 he and his oldest son, Adin BEEBE (1761-1843), enlisted in Butler's Rangers. In the summer of 1778, just prior to the Battle of Wyoming, Mary SECORD and her children were evacuated first to Tioga Point near Athens, Pennsylvania, where Sarah's brother Joshua BEEBE (1778-1844) was born in August, and then to Fort Niagara. Sarah's father died of smallpox in October 1778, after being captured by the Americans. Mary Secord and her children were eventually sent to the refugee camp at Machiche near Trois-Rivières, Quebec, where Sarah was baptised on 15 Aug 1781. Mary Secord married Christopher PEARSON (1737-1832) later that year at Machiche and they were among the first settlers at New Carlisle in 1784.

Sarah married Andrew Todd CALDWELL, son of Robert CALDWELL (1735-1825) and Sarah TODD. Like Sarah, Andrew had been born in Pennsylvania, and had spent time at the Machiche refugee camp before coming to New Carlisle. Sarah and Andrew married about 1798. In a 1809 letter to Sarah's brother, Adin, who had been granted land in Louth Township on the Niagara Peninsula. Andrew stated his time was "Spent at Saling and fishing" but that he was interested in taking up farming at Niagara. It would appear that nothing became of this as Sarah died at New Carlisle in 1823.

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Snure Cemetery Revisited

GLINZ gravestone at Snure Cemetery,
Jordan, Ontario

Work continues on photographing and transcribing the gravestones of Snure Cemetery near Jordan, Ontario. A few days ago, I made my fourth and hopefully final trip to the cemetery. Retakes were needed for a number of gravestones. These were mainly for gravestones where the inscription had been in deep shadow on the north or west side of the stone. Previous visits to the cemetery had occurred in the morning, so this time I visited in mid-afternoon. What a difference. The lighting was such that on many of the stones, the face of the stone was in sunlight while the inscription was in shadow, making the inscription much easier to read.

There had been about eight gravestones that were me causing transcription headaches. The inscription on these stones was so faded that few or no details can be made out. Even under perfect lighting, only minimal details could be seen. In the 1984 Ontario Genealogical Society transcription these stones were either listed as illegible or were not listed at all. An earlier 1965 transcription didn't help.

Fortunately, while researching the history of the cemetery, I discovered a partial transcription completed in 1929. Dr. W.G. Reive was an amateur historian who spent his spare time transcribing old cemeteries in the Niagara Area. Apparently, after his death, his son donated his work to the Archives of Ontario. Using the Reive transcription I have been able to to identify all but one of the mystery gravestones.

Perhaps the stone which gave me the greatest difficulty was that for Matilda, Frederick and William GLINZ. The stone is located in a shadowy corner of the cemetery, and is broken into three pieces.

My initial visit to the cemetery last year had resulted in a photograph where no detail could be made out. A second visit last May didn't help. In July, a third attempt to photograph and transcribe the stone produced an age: 2 years. On my most recent visit, I temporarily reconstructed the gravestone. The ideal lighting conditions revealed the names Glinz, Matilda, Frederick, and William.

The stone was not listed in the 1984 or 1965 transcriptions, but Dr. Reive's transcription included a gravestone for Matilda GLINZ (1855-1862), Frederick GLINZ (1860-1860) and William GLINZ (1860-1862), children of F. and E. GLINZ. A mystery had been solved.

The actual inscription is still hard to decipher, and one line is still unreadable because of the break, but here is my reconstruction:

Children of
F. and E. Glinz
died 22 Mar 1862
aged 6 Y. 11 M. 22 D.
died 26 Aug 1860
aged 12 days
died _________
aged 2 years

At the time of the 1861 Census, Frederick GLINZ was a 34-year-old labourer living in Louth, Lincoln, Ontario. Living with him was his 27-year-old wife Elmeda and four children: Matilde, aged 6, Anst, aged 4, Margret, aged 2 and William aged less than one. Frederick and his family do not appear to have remained in the Jordan area for long. All that remains to mark their presence is a broken, fading monument in a forgotten corner of Snure Cemetery.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

The Rolle Brass at Petrockstowe

Monumental brass at Petrockstowe, Devon

One of the more challenging photographs I took during my trip to Devon was that of the early 17th century monumental brass to Henry ROLLE and his wife Margaret YEO at Petrockstowe, Devon. A tripod was essential since flash was out of the question. In hindsight, a polarizing filter would have also been useful to reduce the amount of reflection.

The two brasses show Henry ROLLE and his ten sons, and Margaret YEO and her eight daughters. Another daughter who died before her parents is represented by a skull. Margaret ROLLE's date of death in 1591 is given, however, no date of death is given for her husband. Above the head of Margaret ROLLE is the inscription, "My children feare the lorde."

Henry ROLLE was the fourth son of George ROLLE of Stevenstone in St Giles in the Wood. Henry acquired the manor of Heanton Sachville in Petrockstowe upon his marriage to Margaret YEO. Henry ROLLE presumably died in 1625 as his will was proved at the Prerogative Court of Canterbury later that year. Heanton Sachville was inherited by the oldest of his nineteen children, Robert ROLLE (1560-1633).

When Henry ROLLE's great-great-grandson Samuel ROLLE died in 1719, Heanton Sachville became the inheritance of his ten-year-old daughter, Margaret ROLLE (1710-1781). When Margaret married Robert WALPOLE (1701-1751), son of the first British Prime Minister, Heanton Sachville passed to the WALPOLE family. Neither Robert WALPOLE nor his son George (1730-1791) used Heanton Sachville as a residence. When George died childless, a distant cousin, Robert George William TREFUSIS (1764-1797), inherited the property, however, four years later the house was destroyed by fire.

Sunday, July 31, 2011

Trip Report

Hound Tor Cairn Circle and Cist

Well, I'm back from a very successful research trip to Devon and Somerset. Filled most of a notebook with genealogical research and took over 1450 photographs. It's going to take some time to go through it all.

You'll note that the photograph that leads this post isn't an effigy or a gravestone. It is, however, a burial site, so I technically was stalking dead people. During my trip I spent three days on Dartmoor visiting a number of megalithic sites including this cairn circle and cist near Hound Tor. Hound Tor is thought to have inspired Sir Arthur Conan Doyle in The Hound of the Baskervilles, and was the location for filming the 1975 Doctor Who episode The Sontaran Experiment.

I also spent more than a few hours at various libraries and archives. Visits to the Westcountry Studies Library in Exeter and the North Devon Atheneaum in Barnstaple were very productive. I also spent lots of time looking at microfiche of parish registers at the Devon Record Office. Of course not all parish registers have been microfilmed, so I had several opportunities to consult some of the original registers. Viewing original documents is quite different from staring at microfiche. This page from the East Buckland register records the baptism of my ggg-grandmother Elizabeth STEVENS in 1816.

At the Dartmoor Bookshop in Ashburton, Devon, I picked up a copy of Florence Wrey's 1892 book Tawstock Church, and a copy of W.G. Hoskins Devon published in 1954.

Only visited about 20 churches this time. Most were open for visitors. Exeter Cathedral once again had scaffolding on the west front, however, the fascade of Wells Cathedral was free of obstructions. Unfortunately, the Chapter House wasn't open. As expected, St Mary's, Atherington and St Mary's, High Bickington were closed due to roof repairs. St Peter's, Tawstock, however, more than made up for any disappointment.

St Peter's is remarkable both for the number of monuments it contains and for it's architectural features. Hoskins writes that the church "contains the finest collection of monuments in Devon." Notable monuments include those for Frances KITSON (1535-1586) and for William BOURCHIER, 3rd Earl of Bath (1557-1623). Much of the floor is paved with ledger stones and the walls are covered with mural monuments. Architectual features include roof bosses, oak screens, a manorial pew, carved bench ends, a 16th century gallery leading to the tower, and corbels decorated with leaves and heads.

Also did some "normal" tourist things like visiting the Lost Gardens of Heligan and Glastonbury Abbey.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Snure Cemetery

Snure Cemetery, Jordan, Ontario

Snure Cemetery is a small cemetery of about 180 gravestones located in the Town of Lincoln near the village of Jordan, Ontario. The cemetery is one of several of various sizes and ages in the former township of Louth. The area was first settled by United Empire Loyalists following the American Revolution and by Swiss Mennonites from Pennsylvania. The names on the gravestones reflect both groups—United Empire Loyalist families such as HARE and HAYNES, and Mennonite families such as CULP and HIGH.

The cemetery is sometimes referred to as the Disciples of Christ Cemetery. A red-brick church built in the early 1840s occupied the site but has since been demolished. The only indication that a church once stood on the site is the horseshoe of gravestones surrounding a largely open area.

Research on the descendants of Adin BEEBE (1761-1842) of Butler's Rangers has led me to Snure Cemetery on several occasions. Adin BEEBE was the brother of my gggg-grandmother Charlotte BEEBE (1767-1852) , and three of his granddaughters are buried at Snure. Also buried at Snure is Captain Peter HARE (1748-1834) of Butler's Rangers. Peter HARE's daugher Deborah HARE (1798-1884) married Adin BEEBE's son, Joshua BEEBE (1795-1834). Peter HARE's gravestone is one of five mentioned in Janet Carnochan's Inscriptions and Graves in the Niagara Peninsula.

The most interesting gravestone visually is that of Andrew BRADT (1838-1928) and his wife Libbie (1842-1923). Andrew Hansler BRADT, the son of Thomas BRADT (1810-1885) and Elizabeth HANSLER (1817-1889), was born in Louth. He married Elizabeth Amelia "Libbie" DARLING, daughter of Thomas DARLING and Eve HAINER (1818-1898) on 11 Jan 1865 in Wainfleet, Welland. According to census data, Andrew BRADT was a farmer, so it is unclear why the gravestone has a nautical motif.

Last summer I undertook to photograph every gravestone for the CanadaGenweb Cemetery Project. Almost a year later I started to index the photographs and cross-check them against a transcription published by the Niagara Branch of the Ontario Genealogical Society in the early 1980s.

It soon became apparent that there were some issues with the published transcription. There were a number of stones that I photographed that should have been listed in the transcription but were not. The transcription also listed eight gravestones recorded in an 1965 transcription that were unlocated. I had found and photographed six of them. As expected, some dates had also been incorrectly transcribed.

Not surprisingly, there were a few gravestones listed in the OGS Transcription that I could not find. Weathering and vandalism will certainly account for some that are missing. Sometime in the next few weeks I will revisit the cemetery to retake a few photographs and check once more for the missing gravestones.

Monday, May 23, 2011

Captain Peter Hare (1748-1834)

Gravestones, Snure Cemetery, Louth, Lincoln, Ontario

In Snure Cemetery near the village of Jordan, Ontario can be found the gravestone of Peter HARE (1748-1834). Nearby are the gravestones of several of his descendants.

Captain Peter HARE was a company commander in Butler's Rangers, a Loyalist militia unit during the American Revolution. HARE was born in Tryon County, New York on 17 May 1748, the son of John HARE. His first marriage, to Elizabeth PETREE, produced two daughters. Seven children resulted from his second marriage to Catherine GREENWALT, including Major Peter HARE (1794-1856) of the Lincoln Militia, and Deborah HARE who married Joshua BEEBE, son of Sergeant Adin BEEBE of Butler's Rangers (and brother of my gggg-grandmother Charlotte BEEBE). Peter HARE's third marriage was to Margaret BOWMAN, the widow of Solomon SECORD, a cousin of Adin BEEBE.

Butler's Rangers were based at Fort Niagara, located on the east side of the Niagara River where is empties into Lake Ontario. When the regiment was disbanded most of the Rangers were given land on the west side of the Niagara River in what is now Lincoln County. Hare received 3200 acres of land although he only farmed 150 acres near Jordan.

Hare joined Butler's Rangers as a 2nd Lieutenant in 1777 and initially served under Captain William Caldwell. He was most likely present at both the Battle of Wyoming and the Cherry Valley Massacre in 1778. He was promoted to Captain in 1779 and give command of his own company. Many years later he served as Colonel of the 4th Regiment, Lincoln Militia.

Hare died at his home on 6 Apr 1834. Also at Snure Cemetery are the gravestones of his son Peter, his daughter-in-law Magdalene SECORD (1794-1846), and six of his grandchildren.

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Cemetery Transcriptions: Ontario and Devon

Fairfield United Cemetery, Stephen, Huron, Ontario

Those of us with ancestors who emigrated in Ontario have the good fortune of being able to access gravestone transcriptions for hundreds of cemeteries. The wealth of printed transcriptions is the result of the Ontario Genealogical Society (OGS) undertaking to transcribe existing gravestones in cemeteries throughout Ontario. The availability of these transcriptions, which can be purchased from the various OGS Branches, has saved me valuable research time on many occasions.

Walk into the local branch of a public library and you will more than likely find copies of the transcriptions for nearby graveyards. Larger regional libraries often have a more extensive collection. The Canadiana Department of the North York Central Library in Toronto has the most complete collection of transcriptions, and also houses the library of the OGS.

Unfortunately a master index to the transcriptions does not yet exist. The closest to a comprehension index is the Ontario Cemetery Finding Aid. The OGS has also been indexing transcriptions but the project is far from complete.

Some Ontario transcriptions are also available through

Another very useful cemetery resource for Ontario researchers is the CanadaGenWeb Cemetery Project. A notable feature of the Cemetery Project is the availability of photographs. Volunteers undertake to photograph every gravestone in a cemetery. The photographs are submitted to the Cemetery Project, indexed and then uploaded to the website.

In comparison to the wealth of resources available online and in print for Ontario cemeteries, there is very little available for cemeteries in Devon. There does not seem to have ever been a major effort to document gravestones and make this information widely available. Some churches have printed guides available. Other churches have made this information available online. But in most cases determining whether ggg-grandfather has a gravestone requires a graveyard visit. Difficult if you don't live in Devon and time-consuming even if you do.

However, all is not lost. The Gravestone Photographic Resource Project was started by Charles Sale in 1998 to photographically record grave monuments and make the information they contain publicly available via the Internet. 825 English cemeteries have been photographed to date and North Devon is particularly well represented. I have been making extensive use of the Project's resources as I prepare for my trip to Devon this summer. I recently received photographs of three gravestones connected to my MOCK ancestors at St Brannock's, Braunton, and have been using the project to develop an index of pre-1813 monuments at St Peter's, Tawstock.

Every year gravestones are lost due to vandalism or become unreadable due to weathering. Any effort to transcribe inscriptions or photograph gravestones should be encouraged.

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Unconventional Resources

A few months from now I'll be in Devon, visiting far too many churches, churchyards and cemeteries, and spending far too many hours in libraries and record offices. This is definitely a research trip, but there will be time for sightseeing as well. Still, a considerable amount of groundwork is required beforehand.

In researching my own family history, as well as the history of St Giles in the Wood, Yarnscombe, High Bickington, Atherington and Tawstock, I've had occasion to use some unconventional resources.

Many people upload their photographs to Flickr. St Peter's, Tawstock in particular is well represented on Flickr, as is the Stevenstone Library, a Landmark Trust property in St Giles in the Wood.

Geograph aims to collect geographically representative photographs and information for every square kilometre of Great Britain and Ireland. Because of Geograph I've been able to access photographs of many properties connected to my ancestors. I've also contributed a few photographs of my own.

Images of England is a photographic library of listed buildings. The homes of many of my ancestors still exist and are listed. Images of England provides architectural details and photographs. The list is not limited to buildings, however. Gravestones frequently make the list, including the St Giles in the Wood gravestone of my ggggg-grandfather Michael COOKE (1707-1777).

Finally, there's Nestoria, a site useful for learning if your ancestor's home is currently for sale, and is again a source of photographs. The realtor may have also produced a PDF brochure about the property.

Friday, March 18, 2011

The Snow Has Melted

Hick's Bible Christian Cemetery (Abandoned), Stephen, Huron, Ontario

A lot of snow melted this week, so I decided to visit some of the cemeteries near Exeter, Ontario, and hopefully cross some gravestones off my "to be photographed" list. It was quite blustery and not as sunny as had been forecast, but it was warm for mid-March. Most of the snow had melted, and there was some puddles and mud to avoid, but I did find most of the gravestones I was looking for.

One cemetery I had not visited before was the Hick's Bible Christian Cemetery in the southeast corner of Stephen Township. While the cemetery was quite easy to find, I was less than impressed with what I found.

Abandoned pioneer cemeteries in Ontario have suffered a number of different fates. Many have been subjected to "restoration." Sometimes the stones are set closely in a row. Sometimes a cairn is built and the stones placed in the cairn. If done carefully the stones are still readable if no longer in situ. At the Hick's Bible Christian Cemetery a concrete pad was poured and the stones placed so as to take up the smallest area possible. Makes it easier to mow the grass I suppose, but it certainly does not make the stones easy to read and photograph. The cemetery has also been subjected to some vandalism with several of the outer stones damaged.

Fortunately, the two stones of interest to me were still intact and fairly accessable. As well a transcription made by the Huron Country Branch of the Ontario Genealogical Society was done before much of the vandalism occured. Still, I will attempt later this year to photograph all the remaining stones for the CanadaGenWeb Cemetery Project.

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Waiting for the Snow to Melt

Woodlawn Cemetery, Guelph, Wellington, Ontario

A Canadian cemetery in winter is a special place, especially after a recent snowfall. Of course, finding a gravestone while wading through a foot of snow can be an interesting challenge. Transcribing an inscription while avoiding frostbite is also quite the thrill.

A cemetery visit in winter can be aesthetically rewarding, but for genealogical research it's probably best to wait for spring. Early spring is an excellent time for cemetery visits. Gravestones do not yet lie in the deep shadow of trees. The sun is still low in the sky for most of the day, creating better contrast for reading inscriptions and photography. Flowers, shrubs and grass which can obscure gravestones in summer have yet to make an appearance.

The gravestone of my ggg-grandmother Elizabeth LEWIS née STEVENS (1815-1885) is an excellent example of the advantage of cemetery visits in the early spring. I first visited her gravestone at Exeter Cemetery near Exeter, Ontario, several years ago at the end of June. Her gravestone and that of two of her children, was completely surrounded by a mass of orange day lilies. Quite picturesque, but I don't think anyone would have appreciated my stomping of the lilies to get close to the stone. A few months later, I did wade through the decaying remains and was able to take some adequate photographs. But it wasn't until a visit two years ago this month that I finally got the photograph I wanted — the complete stone, every carved word and symbol cleanly and clearly detailed.

As usual, research during the winter months has generated a long list of gravestones to photograph, but here in Ontario we're still waiting for the snow to melt.

Friday, March 11, 2011

Researching SMITH

Inevitably, anyone with English ancestors will discover that one of their ancestors bore the name of SMITH. In my case I have two great-grandmothers named SMITH: Rose Broom SMITH (1866-1934), whose photo is to the right, and Edith SMITH (1868-1953).

Rose Broom SMITH was born in Greenwich, Kent, England, the daughter of William Broom SMITH (1834-1908) and Elizabeth Ann WALL (1837-1909). According to census data, William Broom SMITH was born in Lambeth, Middlesex. William joined the Royal Navy and was an engineer serving aboard HMS Ajax when he married Elizabeth Ann WALL in 1857 in Stoke Damerel, Devon. According to his daughter's obituary, William later served aboard the cable-laying ship SS Great Eastern. Three of their six children were born in Stoke Dameral and the other three in Kent. According to his marriage certificate, William Broom SMITH's father was also named William Broom SMITH, but I haven't been able to trace this line back any further.

On the other hand, Edith SMITH's father, Henry SMITH, was born in Dolton, Devon in December of 1834. He was the son of Thomas SMITH (1807-1841) , a cooper, and Mary Field BULLEID (1809-1894). After Thomas SMITH died, Mary Field BULLEID married William HALLS (1813-1893), a builder from Merton, Devon. In 1873, Henry SMITH, his wife Elizabeth Tucker BUDD and four small daughters left Devon for Ontario, Canada and settled in the hamlet of Elimville in Usborne Township, Huron County.

But why did Henry SMITH choose Elimville?

Henry SMITH's father was baptised in Merton, Devon in 1807. As I researched the SMITH's of Merton, I made an interesting discovery. It appears that Mary Field BULLEID second husband was the cousin of her first.

Thomas SMITH was the son of Thomas SMITH (1779- ?), a cooper, and Elizabeth SCRIGGINS (1779- ?). Both Thomas and Elizabeth outlived their son. Thomas was the second youngest of the five children of John SMITH (1744-1815) and Mary FRAINE (1743-1810). The youngest child was Jenny SMITH (1787-1846), who married Philip HALLS (1791-1846) in 1810. Of their six sons, only the second oldest, William HALLS, stayed in Devon. The rest emigrated to Canada during the 1840s. Three of them settled near Elimville in Usborne Township, Huron County, to be joined many years later by their step-nephew, my gg-grandfather, Henry SMITH.

Sixteen years after arriving in Canada, Henry and family headed west to Manitoba. By that time the family had grown to nine children — eight girls and one boy. Three of the four oldest girls stayed behind in Ontario. Eight of Henry SMITH's children married and produced 27 grandchildren. Most, however, never knew their grandfather, as Henry SMITH died in Hamiota in 1903.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Researching Gravestones

One of the features of my website is the photographs and transcriptions of gravestones and monumental inscriptions from the North Devon parishes of St Giles in the Wood, Yarnscombe, High Bickington, Atherington and Tawstock. With each photograph and transcription, I have included some basic biographical information. Surprisingly, the research required is usually fairly straightforward and actually takes only a few minutes.

Consider the photograph of the gravestone of Richard CONGRAM (1787-1858) of Atherington which was recently added to my website. The first step was to check the transcription of Atherington burials available online through Devon Heritage. The burial register usually confirms the information on the gravestone but sometimes there are descrepancies. For example the year on the gravestone may not match the year in the burial register. In Richard's case, he was buried five days after his death and was 71 years of age when he died.

The next step was to check census data to find out where Richard was born. According to the 1851 Census he was born in the neighbouring parish of Chittlehampton. Armed with a location and an approximate year of birth it was time to use the International Genealogical Index (IGI) to find a baptism. While the IGI can be accessed directly online, it was more effective to go through Hugh Wallis's website and search by surname and batch number. Sure enough I found a Richard, son of William CONGRAM and Margareth, baptised at Chittlehampton in 1787.

Whenever possible I also try to include information about the parents. Using the Deanery of Barnstaple CD published by the Devon Family History Society, I found a 1781 marriage at Chittlehampton between William CONGRAM and Margareth SQUIRE, but unfortunately was not able to learn much more. There is a baptism at Chittlehampton for Margareth SQUIRES in 1757, but I did not find a likely candidate for William CONGRAM. It also seems likely that both of Richard's parents died before 1813 since neither burial is listed in the Deanery of Barnstaple CD.

Richard's son, Thomas CONGRAM (1823-1903) is also buried at Atherington.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Thomas Moore (1782-1832)

The memorial to Thomas STEVENS (1782-1832) in Little Torrington, Devon only tells part of the story. Thomas, the son of the Reverend Thomas MOORE (1740-1802) of Bishops Tawton, was the grandson of Henry STEVENS (1698-1748) and Christian Maria ROLLE (1709-1780), aunt to John, Lord ROLLE of Stevenstone (1751-1842). Thomas changed his name to STEVENS as a condition of the will of his cousin Elizabeth CLEVELAND née STEVENS and it is this name that his monument bears. What the monument does not say is that Thomas committed suicide by cutting his own throat with a razor.

Newspaper accounts of his death were far less restrained. One death notice was printed in the 1832 Annual Register:
14 Jan. At his seat, Cross, near Torrington, Thomas Stevens, esq. recorder of Exeter, Barnstaple, and Torrington, and a major in the North Devon regiment of Yeomanry cavalry. Educated for the bar, he early displayed talents of a superior order, and in 1826 he was elected by the chamber of Exeter to fill the honourable and responsible office or recorder of that city. On Monday, January 9, Mr. Stevens sat in the court of quarter sessions in Barnstaple; and on Tuesday, at the quarter sessions in South Molton; and, on each of those days, he complained of indisposition in his head. A tumultuous assemblage of people at Torrington on the following days, called forth his active exertions both as a magistrate and an officer, and probably increased the excitement which disease had previously begotten in his mind. On Friday evening he wrote a letter to a gentleman, which bore strong indications of great mental agitation. In this perturbed state he retired to his room on the evening of Friday. In the morning was heard from the dressing room, which induced Mrs. Stevens to hasten thither; and, on entering she caught her husband in her arms, deluged in blood flowing in torrents from a wound inflicted in his throat, which caused his death within a very short period.
The diaries of Thomas's wife, Sophia LE MARCHANT (1798-1860) are held by the North Devon Record Office in Barnstaple. Unfortunately a large gap exists around the time of her husband's death.

Thomas's brother John MOORE (1784-1865) also changed his name as an inheritance condition, becoming John MOORE-STEVENS. John was the Vicar of Otterton and was apparently under the impression that, as the closest male relative of Lord Rolle, he was going to inherit the Rolle Estates. The estates, however, went instead to Mark George Kerr TREFUSIS (1835-1907), the six-year-old nephew of Lord ROLLE's second wife.

Sunday, January 2, 2011

Daniel Tanton: A Gruesome Death

Daniel TANTON's untimely death in 1797 at St Giles in the Wood in Devon is described in gruesome detail on his gravestone. This Grade II listed monument was the starting point several years ago of my research in the TANTON family— research that has taken me from St Giles in the Wood to the neighbouring parishes of Beaford and Great Torrington, to the seaports of Bideford and Stoke Damerel, and across the ocean to Prince Edward Island and Ontario.

Daniel, the youngest son of William and Elizabeth TANTON, was baptised at Bideford in 1779. In about 1790, William TANTON moved from Bideford to St Giles in the Wood with his wife and several of his children. The earliest record of the TANTONs in St Giles in the Wood is the baptism of a nephew of Daniel TANTON in 1791, although Daniel's brother James TANTON (1768-1853) married in the neighbouring parish of Beaford in 1788. William TANTON first appears on the Land Tax Assessments in 1794, occupying Ley, Great Huish and Collamore — part of the ROLLE estate.

After William TANTON's death in 1800, Daniel's eldest brother John (1761-1824), became the patriach of the family. John had previously established himself elsewhere so occupancy of Ley Farm passed to John's brother Thomas TANTON (1772-1835). Descendants of Thomas TANTON continued to live in St Giles in the Woods well into the 20th century.

According to his gravestone, John TANTON left, "a widdow and 12 children to lament their loss." Sometime before his death he moved to Ward Farm in St Giles in the Wood. When John died, occupancy of Ward then passed to his son Thomas TANTON (1796-1861). At least seven of Thomas's eleven children emigrated in the 1860s from St Giles in the Wood to Middlesex County in what is now Ontario.

Another of Daniel's brothers, George TANTON (1766-1848) emigrated to Prince Edward Island with most of his children in 1819, having first lived in Bideford then Stoke Damerel. One of George's sons, George Davies TANTON (1795-1844) was a bailiff who was murdered while boarding a vessel to serve a warrant on her master for trading illegally in oysters.