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1 Jun 2011

the Wells Tavern meeting

the public house in Well Walk, Hampstead was in the family in the 1881 census and a few years either side of this. If the following headline from the Hampstead Voice spells truth then that well known Irishman President O'Bama has also popped in for a recent schnifter. I can't imagine why. It looks pretty fine at night in winter as you approach it from the west, but the mahogany veneer interior is tinny and oppressive. Despite terrible reviews on findmybeer.com, we had friendly if rather scared-looking waiting staff last night.
Amid our tasty pub grub lay the papers of a hundred years. Death dates were recorded back to dear Mary Tayler in 1835. We had a choice of two baptisms for Mary, 1775 at Mere Wiltshire or 1778 at Leigh in Worcestershire. I had always burnt a candle for the Mere child. She was being carried by her mother at the time of her grandmother's murder in Ansford, June 1775, which is so significant I'd like our Mary to have had that honour. The Leigh baptism is quite likely unrelated though could well be a second baptism for the same child. The evidence was Mary's death listed in Lambeth as 1835 age 59.
Right at the end of the evening cousin Ann remembered something else, as a child she'd had a penpal in Bronte Sydney who was a cousin. Ann even remembered the name. Sure enough Polly Bailey's second son Charles did sail for Sydney in 1914. A profitable evening.

hi Viscount

from the stormy seas of the Haine family I think I see security, a stronghold, a comfy seat and a sunny spot in the mountains. Yes it's the 8th Viscount Exmouth! He's only just visible through the foliage of other family trees but hello anyway. Those familiar with my Haine's will know I have two. One resulted in a website, a book and two trips to the States. The other resulted in Emily Grace Lister a ward of Chancery, barrister's daughter, descendant of Edward III and defendant in the celebrated Lister v. Lister trial of 1864 which her lawyers lost but which remains as a key ruling in estate law. She then got married and at her death is listed as resident of Pau, Basse-PyrenĂ©es. However all this comes to an abrupt terminus at Chandernagore where the Haine's only fruit drops dead at 22 and we all cast about for some other project to fulfil. As did her husband. He was in the 12th of Foot and has a son by a German woman in 1870 for whom he provided. Emily leaves nothing to her mother but instead her sister in law Mary Elizabeth Bagnell is the second residuary legatee. Mary was mother of the Viscount. I only found this out when googling the name of her father, priest in the Church of Ireland in Co Tipperary. As a twist another of the Count's uncles married Miss Cocks of Leigh in Worcestershire relative of a colleague of mine. So we have gone halves on the nobleman. Though he only got the title after a lifetime in France aged nearly 80 so is unlikely to reply were I to say 'hi Viscount'.

Faith, Hope and Ancestry

I'm just so glad to have solved this puzzle, and found a title for the post which really does fit the facts, as you'll see.

I don't care if it seems I'm singing the praises of Ancestry.com. Because perhaps I am! Much as I'm annoyed with the cynical moneymakers at an extraordinary url in itself,
The proprietors of mf.com (that's Ancestry) have run a pretty effective dragnet over the 19th century. Your ancestor was living in a cave with no roads nearby to escape any entry in their database.

My three Welch sisters ran the water mill at Alhampton maybe 15miles south-west of Bath after their widowed father's death (1880), then they drop right off the radar in 1884. It was all change. Eldest girl gets married and kind of retires, dying with no clues. One girl marries (age 31) and my guess is emigrates somewhere although with the other sister.

I was beginning to wonder which uninhabited island they'd colonised when the answer came from searching All Names on Ancestry . . . New Zealand!

Middle girl Jane (thank goodness) pops up on the newly released electoral rolls down there, as, on closer inspection does her married sister Louisa Ann Smith. Yeh - I'd not have spotted her so easy.

But Louisa was my real target. Just 31 when she married there was a real hope that she might have family. Considering her backstory, I really needed her to have family.

(Her own mother, a lifelong family servant was never supposed to get married but at pushing 40 'stepped in' to help her sister's widowed husband out and ended up married, but also ostracised. Louisa the youngest was taught her letters and helped run a school in Stroud before taking on the watermill.  Atta girl.  But where were they?  Was this the end of the road)

Meanwhile in New Zealand,...
Hope arrived. What an apposite name for the Smiths's eldest child. We now see that Jane, Louisa and Mr Smith sailed almost immediately the minister closed the wedding service. Paperspast tells us they arrived in Christchurch 1884 only to jump on board another vessel going along the coast to Lyttleton. Mr Smith was I believe a grocer.

The NZ birth indexes to my joy listed Hope and Faith as the names of the first two Smith babies. Then followed Ruby and a fourth daughter - with a somewhat less exciting name, sadly.

The trail limped on (I'm not sure how) to Sydney, where I finally arrived at the door (via Facebook) of a descendant.... Huzzah.

Update: I'm meeting one in England in six weeks [August 2015], who was held as a baby by her great grandfather, the very Mr Smith who emigrated with Louisa in 1884.

Note: Ann Feltham (1810-1862) is a Cinderella story. Whilst her daughter Louisa must have had it tough losing mother age 8, going on to school in distant Stroud, and then running a watermill with her sisters, now orphans, in her 20s, she was a true Victorian - setting out for New Zealand in 1884. The story nearly never began. Ann Feltham (her mother) witnessed almost every single marriage going - cousins, aunt, younger sister. She's shown in old letters as caring for her aged uncle. But when her sister dies, suddenly in 1844 marriage comes a-knocking. She settles at Broadfield Down as a farmer's wife, where Louisa arrives in 1853. But Ann was almost certainly banned from returning to Ditcheat, where she had buried a child, and where her own mother had wobbled up the aisle just 8 days before her own birth. Visiting another big farmhouse, this time in Kent, as a guest, not as a servant, she likely had too much cream and died. Ironically it was a 15 year-old domestic servant girl who found her, the rest of the family being out.

Crimes and Rimes

Mary Creed was born in a village near Glastonbury in 1810. She was the last of her siblings to fall to the power of a findmypast search. I found a possible marriage at Pylle, Street on the Fosse, a parish which does not hand across data readily. I ran some possible names through findmypast, and Rimes came up with a matching entry. Mary had married Daniel Rimes, likely while in service in the village. They'd had a large family and bounced around the villages seemingly getting poorer with each passing census. I realised that Julia Amelia one of their several girls was known to me, being housekeeper for many years to Rufus Maidment in fact we now know they were cousins. In the fuss of the 1901 census release I never looked at the original document scans and so missed Julia here, where she's clearly listed as cousin. In fact her middle name was Creed which would have been a big giveaway, had she used it. Grandson Ernest Rhymes was on the board of a Seventh Day Adventist sanitorium in Napa Valley California living in the idyllic surrounds of St Helena later running a small business I think selling smoothies. The grandsons in Australia did the name proud played cricket entered themselves clearly on Trove the newspaper archive, and have lately held reunions between the Sydney and Adelaide branches of the family. In short it is a series of research crimes which kept me from knowing this family sooner!

Mines of Solomon

for years clues have been waiting for me to run and catch up. Rev'd Thomas Martin my ancestor left no trace of his family but did write a fat load of poetry. In his 1833 book, the Stranger at Home he writes about his brother Edward now passed away - at sea - and Mr Solomon Martin is one of the subscribers who promised to buy a volume. I fretted over these details for a decade or two but the answers have just broken through the cloud of poor deduction. Solomon lived in Devonport near Thomas and gave his two daughters exactly the same fanciful names as Thomas's: Maria Thanetta Martin, Caroline Matilda Martin.  He also confessed to being born in Penryn which is just a splash from the mouth of the Fal and Thomas's declared natal place. This data is being mined further. As a fan of Ned Kelly, the Australian Irish outlaw and scourge of law enforcers, or at least the Carey version, I was appalled to learn that Solomon's grandson Edward Castidine Martin of the Age newspaper had elbowed his way to Kelly's execution and thus an exclusive for his paper. He witnesses the death as do a lot of happy lawmen and compounds the ghoulishness by putting on a sellout play. But I'm glad this long pending mystery is now resolved thanks to the mines of data about Solomon.