Showing posts with label 1861 census. Show all posts
Showing posts with label 1861 census. Show all posts

Saturday, 5 January 2013

Bombay Love Story

After receiving an email asking whether Drusilla WREFORD (the 14 year old innkeeper originally mentioned in my post Pub Crawl) met her husband, Thomas WILLS on the voyage to NZ, I delved further into this family.  It was a good question and one I hadn't really thought of since she was not my direct ancestor and I have so much to research on my genealogical plate.  However, my curiosity was piqued and I donned my detective cap to find out more.

After some apparent hard times, George & Harriet WREFORD, who had apparently ran the Hare & Hounds Inn in Witheridge, Devonshire (c1861), emigrated with their 8 surviving children to New Zealand aboard the Bombay on the 26 Nov 1864.  Sadly, their youngest daughter, Mary Ann died on the voyage, aged 2.

My first step was to consult the 1864-5 passenger list for the Bombay voyage these WREFORDS took and funnily enough there was a Thomas WILLS on board aged 23.  Drusilla was 17 at the time so quite possible they could meet and take a fancy to one another.  Or perhaps they were already betrothed before leaving England?  I diverted course to search for Thomas on the UK censuses but without having any more information about him abandoned that search and turned instead to the fabulous NZ Papers Past website.

Sisters Augusta, Drusilla and Sarah Grace
nee WREFORD
Although I was initially searching for marriage notices, most of my day has since been spent reading the articles and snippets which mention my ancestors and their neighbours, revisiting old avenues of research and getting to know the other members of this family.  My search also led me to the NZ Births, Deaths & Marriages online where I was able to locate the WREFORD sisters' marriages (or at least their registration numbers).

WREFORD sister marriages including Drusilla's to Thomas WILLS

So proof that 14 year old innkeep, Drusilla married somebody called Thomas WILLS.  The 1865 marriage made it seem likely but there was still no real evidence to suggest it was the same Tom on the Bombay with the family.

Drusilla's Death Notice
(also mentions sister Sarah Grace)

Until... serendipity stepped in.  Tweaking the newspaper search words to 'bombay' and 'wreford' led me to the obituary notice for Drusilla

Obituary Notice for Drusilla WILLS (nee WREFORD)
transcribed below
(Auckland Star, Volume LXV, Issue 140, 15 June 1934, p3)

The death occurred on June 13 at Onehunga of Mrs. Drucilla Wills, aged 89 years.  She was a daughter of the late Mr. and Mrs. George Wreford, and came to New Zealand with them when a child in the ship Bombay.  Her late husband, Mr. Thos. Wills, was a passenger on the same vessel. They were married at St. Peter's Anglican Church, Onehunga, by the late Rev. Dr. Purchas, and settled at Awhitu, where Mr. Wills engaged in the gum trade for many years.  When he retired from business Mr. and Mrs. Wills went to reside at Onehunga.  Mrs. Wills is survived by two children. Mr James Wills and Mrs. D. Evans, and 15 grandchildren, and 20 great-grandchildren.

Ta - dah!

Monday, 25 October 2010

Kissing Cousins?

I'm still reading Roy Buchan's fabulous 'From Peterhead to Passchendaele' which has thrown up some more avenues of research but have been wondering about Jessie's husband who was also a BUCHAN.   John's parents, Arthur and Christian BUCHAN sounded familiar but the same names do keep cropping up in these fishing villages.  How closely related were they?

The first step was to download their marriage certificate to prove the parents of John.


Marriage of John BUCHAN and Jessie BUCHAN
(8 Nov 1883 - 4 Port Henry Lane, Peterhead (bride's home))

Then I located the family on the 1861 census. Christian was deceased and 2 of her sisters were living with Arthur - most likely helping with the 2 young children.

Arthur BUCHAN and his young sons, John and Arthur on the 1861 census at 21 West Row, St Combs

I suspected she died during childbirth but she actually died shortly before the census was taken of consumption and pneumonia.


Death of Christian BUCHAN  -  2 Mar 1861
I then looked to the transcribed 1851 census.  Christian and her sisters were there and again appeared in 1841 with their other siblings. Which I will soon look closer at as a study of the village of St Combs.

Roy lists other children of Arthur and Christian but mentions that he believes some are half brothers and sisters and therefore children of another union after Christian died.  Before I look further into the BUCHAN - BUCHAN connection, I'd like to find out more about this second union.

Sunday, 20 June 2010

Pub Crawl

Inside the Hare & Hounds, Witheridge c1940s

On the night of the 1861 census, in the Devonshire village of Witheridge, 14 year old Drusilla WREFORD 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. I knew they weren't dead, as George WREFORD and his family emigrated to New Zealand in 1864. So where were they?

12 Fore Street, Witheridge - 1861 census

This remained a mystery for some time until a chance search led me to discover that George WREFORD was in jail for bankruptcy at the time (you can read my post about that discovery here and here). I still haven't been able to locate the parents on the 1861 census but I'm still keen to find out more about the business.

George was recorded on bankruptcy notices as an innkeeper, butcher and farmer but I haven't been able to discover which inn George (and Drusilla) was keeping.

On my last visit to Witheridge (I've been twice), I picked up the 'Witheridge Village Trail & Local Walks' pamphlet which mapped some of the pubs (old and current) in the village.  Armed with this pamphlet, I used Google Maps to pinpoint the pub locations.

Witheridge Pub Locations

Assuming the family lived in/above the inn being kept, the map indicates the pub was the Hare and Hounds (in Fore Street).  According to the pamphlet, "it burnt out in 1995 and was rebuilt".  I was able to find this picture of the Hare & Hounds Inn circa 1955 from the excellent Historical Witheridge site:


Here is a picture of Fore Street today from a similar location and perspective via Google Street View:


I'm now in the process of trying to find a directory closer to 1861 which will hopefully attach George's name to the correct pub.

UPDATE
I have found evidence that they actually kept the Commercial Inn - see post here

Next Steps:

  • check for 1860 directories

  • obtain a copy of  'Researching Brewery and Publican Ancestors' by Simon Fowler for more information

Saturday, 15 August 2009

Curious George

I have returned from my holiday/family history mission in Devon. While there, I located the homes and farms of my ancestors, visited their churches and in some cases burial grounds and generally got a feel for the layout of the places they lived.
I also got to spend some time in the West Country Studies Library in Exeter - 4 and a half hours worth of time to be precise! I looked through parish records to firm up some sources and dates and browsed through some microfiche of the Exeter Flying Post to get a bit more detail.

I'll be posting my findings over the next few days to help me collect all my information and thoughts. To start, I think I'll flesh out the story of my bankrupt ancestor George WREFORD.


Exeter Prison (August 2009)
George may have been an inmate here in 1861

Last month, I discovered my 3rd great grandfather, George, was not found in the 1861 census partly because he was in jail for bankruptcy. You can read the story so far in my post Ancestor Found (almost).

Unfortunately, I have still not been able to locate him on the 1861 census. After eventually finding Exeter Gaol in the census records, I also found the prisoners were listed by initials only. 'A-ha!' I thought, 'That explains why I couldn't find him through a name search' - but I couldn't find any prisoner with the initials G.W. Not to be deterred, I then combed the entire list of prisoners by their age and birthplace looking for suitable or even approximate matches but I have still not found George WREFORD.


I am aware there was a debtor's prison in Cowick Street but I learned on the Exeter Memories site that "the last prisoners were moved to the County Gaol in January 1855 and the facility was closed" - 5 years before George was held.

But I did find some nuggets of information in the Exeter Flying Post.




Exeter Flying Post - 10 April 1861
Another reference to his upcoming hearing at the county court at first seemed identical to the notice in the London Gazette EXCEPT, it claims he was a journeyman baker in Chulmleigh - this may be another lead or a Victorian typo. (The London Gazette referred to him as 'Journey-man Butcher', which is more likely).

More importantly, upon rereading, I noticed that it mentioned George was "to be holden at the Castle of Exeter". This could explain why he was not in the County Gaol on the 1861 census! Census night was 7 April 1861 - this excerpt was from the 10 April 1861 edition of the newspaper.

The next 'clipping' concluded what must have been a very difficult time in my ancestor's life.
The insolvent was supported by Mr. Laidman, and, being unopposed, he was declared entitled to the benefit of the act, and ordered to be discharged.

I am aware that the laws surrounding bankruptcy changed in 1861 but if anyone can explain simply to me what the change was, I would love to know. I would also like to know what being supported by someone meant. I have a feeling, old George was quite lucky to have his case heard in this particular year.
Exeter Flying Post - 24 April 1861
Next steps:
  • Search the 1861 census for 'the castle' and its inmates
  • Find a simple explanation for the Bankruptcy Act

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
.