Tuesday, 28 July 2009

Ancestor Found (almost)

For a long time, I'd been searching for one of my WREFORD ancestors on the 1861 census without luck.

On the night of the 1861 census, in the Devonshire village of Witheridge, 14 year old Drusilla was recorded as head of the household and her occupation as 'Innkeeper ?' (note the question mark). Also in the household were 4 siblings aged 7 and under (including my direct ancestor, Augusta Harriet), and a 17 year old servant, Emily Cheriton. Their parents, George and Harriet, were nowhere to be seen.
Wreford Family on 1861 Census - Witheridge

I knew they weren't dead, as George Wreford and his family emigrated to New Zealand in 1864. So where were they? For years this question has been unanswered until only a few days ago, when I happened to do a random search on The London Gazette website.
London Gazette, April 9, 1861
COURT FOR RELIEF OF INSOLVENT DEBTORS.
...
Before the Judge of the County Court of Devonshire, holden at Exeter, on
Tuesday the 23rd day of April, 1861.

George Wreford, late of Witheridge, in the county of Devon, Inkeeper, Butcher, and Farmer, also farming an estate at Tiverton, in the same county, previously of Withley Goodman Farm, in Tiverton aforesaid, Farmer and Butcher, formerly of Chulmleigh, Devon, Journey-man Butcher.
A deeper look at the search results yielded:

COURT FOR RELIEF OF INSOLVENT DEBTORS.
...
ORDERS have been made, vesting in the Provisional
Assignee the Estates and Effects of the following Persons:
On their own Petitions.
...

George Wreford, late of Witheridge, Devonshire, Innkeeper, Butcher, and Farmer.—In the Gaol
of Exeter.


(London Gazette, March 26, 1861)

So there he was - bankrupt and in jail.

The census was taken for the night of April 6th, 1861. This now explains where George was that night. I presume his wife, Harriet had travelled to Exeter with him for moral support.


I now know where to look for them. This is brilliant, except my searches of the census are still not bearing fruit. My next step is to find 'Exeter Gaol' on the census and browse from there
.

2 comments:

  1. Just found my grandfather listed in the London Gazette for being appointed to his first job in the post office, aged 16.
    I always thought the London Gazette was mostly useful for finding out about military awards and other important deeds but your post shows what a useful resource it can be.
    I look forward to reading your posts.

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  2. Hi there! I've only just seen your comments - Thankyou. :)
    To be honest, I didn't know much about the London Gazette at all but it's definitely on my radar now.

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