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24 Aug 2013

padding around in the Padfield history

I'd taken a 15 year break from the Padfields as they weren't quite what I expected.  My Benjamin, the youngest of the tribe, was a yeoman farmer as were all his offspring.  This was because he'd inherited the family farm from his father, and despite a maid burning the farmhouse down (about 1857), he was able to maintain his position in the parish leaving nearly £1000 at his death.

He also left a journal filled with writings, notes and recollections of his father - and these are wonderfully golden and detailed, it was unlikely, living nowhere near, that I'd be able to find anything more of significance to add.

Then came the disappointments - none of Benjamin's new siblings had any children.   The ones that got uncovered seemed to have none of Benjamin's personality, longevity or standing.  They were just dropping off the social cliff.  I then found that his mother was a Hill; there was doubt over his half-sister's children, and family refused to accept the findings that the journal didn't 100% match the reality of the parish registers.  I didn't feel that the patchy Padfield family as shown in the records matched my imagination of generations of popular Padfields toiling the Somerset soil.

Also the other researchers had no names that matched at all, and a lot more miners and a lot fewer friendly faces.

Rays of light came in, though - dear Joseph the young man felled by a slocket, left an unborn baby boy according to the registers.  A new half-sister had a boy called Eli (very significant) too.  A cousin found some papers which named, surprise indeed, both Robert and his boy Francis Padfield - names from the registers and missing from the journal.

Today, about 20 years later, I again scouted out these branches.  Benjamin's sister Ann Wilcox looks pretty secure and her family were as fun as I remembered and more so (a travelling salesman added to the loop today).  Benjamin's other sister Betsy is sitting there with a tribe of descendants waiting to be unearthed and no real problematic gaps.  The Hill mother turned out to be much more than met the eye (shouldn't have been a snob about the very ordinary name) - a nephew was a vegetarian Belgian confectioner who liked writing to the papers.  The older Padfields are almost all now slotted in - and Robert and Francis were progenitors of very varied Padfields.  None farmed the soil and none led me to the Essex lines, but we have some worsted weavers in Bradford and lots of new researching cousins, which was just the tonic needed.

23 Aug 2013

Evans above, Bassaleg

Have been very lucky with the above.  My forebear Margaret Evans listed as born about 1792 'Basilica' in the census - and this was the name some people called Bassaleg.  Couldn't find her baptism at all till signing up with MonGenes and there she was in 1792 and with a twin Blanche to boot.

Blanche was the name of Margaret's first child (my direct line) and the name has carried on down the generations in Pennsylvania and in Bargoed, near Merthyr Tydfil.

I didn't expect to find anything much about the siblings of Margaret but it turns out one of them - Mary - was listed on Ancestry as having married secondly in 1837 in Newport.  This was really helpful as in 1837 the father's name (Charles Evans, fireman) was given, so proving she was my Margaret's sister  - the age and birthplace in the census helped to match all that together.  This meant Mary must have been the Mary who'd married Rees Edmunds.

Then - on MonGenes I had the bright idea of searching under father's name.  This enabled me to find marriage of Rachel (widow) to Mr Wixey in 1887 at Bassaleg, with her father's name given as Rees Edmunds.  This meant she was a child of Mary, even though there's no baptism at all.  Rachel's first marriage (found on findmypast) also says the father was Rees.

So there are some twigs and pieces of the Evans line and details of the occupation of Margaret's father which isn't bad at all.  Plus it appears that her mother (and a stepfather?) witness her marriage in 1810 (age 18) which would fit - as the birth of Blanche (though not baptism) follows shortly after, I'll assume she was expecting and the parents stood over her to watch the marriage happen.

No word of what happened to the twin.