18 August 2016

Who was Jane Wise?

For the past week or so I have been down a figurative rabbit hole, trying to prove that Henry Wise (1653-1738), royal gardener to Queen Anne, was the father of Jane Wise (?-1740), who married Bartholomew Peisley (1683-1727) stone mason of Oxford. I haven't managed to do it, and have thus concluded that without concrete evidence to prove it, Jane's father was not Henry Wise.

Why did I leap to that conclusion in the first place? Circumstantial evidence - he's the right-ish sort of age to possibly be her father, he worked at Blenheim Palace, as did Bartholomew (and also his father Bartholomew as well), plus Jane and Bartholomew had a daughter named Patience - the same name as Henry's wife.

I researched the names of Henry and Patience Wise's children, and found details of eight of a possible twelve children. None called Jane, and perhaps tellingly, none who named any of their children Jane, after a possible aunt. I read wills of family members, including distant relations, and none clearly referred to a Jane as a daughter of Henry and Patience. Both Henry and Patience's wills named all their living children, and grandchildren, none of which included Jane or any of her children. I delved into all the parish records I could, all the historical records regarding the family that I could find, particularly focusing on records of the day, but there was nothing.

And yet, there is still the possibility Jane Wise is related to the family of Henry Wise, though I have concluded it is more likely that she is a niece of Henry's. To explain why I think this, I will set out all the information I know about Jane.

It is not known when or where Jane Wise was born. She married Bartholomew Peisley in 1717, on a date soon after 2 October, when their marriage license was issued in the Diocese of Canterbury. The location of the marriage is unknown, however the marriage is not recorded in the parish records for St Michael's at the North Gate, Oxford (LDS British film 416724), where some of their children were baptised and some were buried. In the table of information for their known children below, dates in italics are inferred dates, and note too that spelling in the parish records is variable.

Date of birth Date of death Name of child Parish record entry
~1717-1718 1718 Bartholomew Burial: 1718, July 3, Bartholomew Peizly, jnr. in ye church
~1717-1719 Apr 1719 Thomas Burial: 1719, April 8, Thomas, son of Bartholomew Peizley, in ye church
1721 unknown Patience Baptism: 1721, June 3, Petience d. of Mr Bartholomew Peisley a stone cutter and Jean his wife
1722 1781 Bartholomew Baptism: 1722, June 10, Bartholomew s. of Mr Bartholomew Piesley, stone cutter and Jane his wife
1724 unknown Richard Baptism: 1724, April 27, Richard son of Bartholomew Peisley, stone cutter and Jean his wife
~1727 1727 Sarah Burial: 1727, November 4, Sarah, dau. of Bartholomew Peisley, infant, in ye church

Jane's husband Bartholomew Peisley died aged only 44, on 29 August 1727. The Oxford diarist Thomas Hearne wrote in August 1727 "Yesterday died of a feavor, or rather (as I hear), of the Gout in the Stomack, after 4 or 5 days illness, Mr Peisley, a noted wealthy mason, that lived in New-Inn Hall Lane in Oxford, leaving a wife (a very pretty woman) and three Children, and his wife is big again. ... This Mr Peisly was looked upon as a very courteous well behaved man." Obviously Jane was pregnant with Sarah at the time her husband Bartholomew died, and Sarah then died in November as well.

When Jane remarried in 1731 in Oxford, to George Huddesford, Hearne wrote "On Thursday last, Mr Hudsford, President of Trinity Coll., was married in that College chappel to the widow Peisly (who has three children living by her former Husband, a Mason) a very pretty woman, of Oxford." Jane and George Huddesford had a son William, born in 1732.

Jane died in Oxford in 1740, and was buried on 2 March 1740, possibly at St Mary Magdalen's churchyard, Oxford.

So why do I think she was related to the Henry Wise family?

Henry Wise's will (dated 1739) mentions a niece Jane Hunsford. I can't work out who that might be, apart from Jane Huddesford, complete with spelling difference.

Jane's brother, Reverend Bernard Paisley (1689-1738), in his will, mentions his nephews Richard and Bartholomew Peisley (Jane's sons), and leaves an amount of money to each of them, and if they are still minors at the time of his death, in trust for them to Mathew Wise Esq and the Reverend Mr George Huddesford. George Huddesford is their stepfather, and Mathew Wise Esq happens to be the son and heir of Henry Wise. So that really does suggest that Jane is related in some way to the Henry Wise family, if Mathew is partially in charge of the inheritances of Jane's sons.

And then there is the naming of Patience Peisley, perhaps after her maternal great aunt.

I shall keep searching for links between Jane Wise/Peisley/Huddesford and the Henry Wise family, but I think I may have exhausted all current evidence available on the internet. Further research I'd like to do at some stage is to visit graveyards in Oxford, and also to thoroughly scour Oxford parish records for information relating to the Peisleys and Wises.

03 August 2016

The burial place of Thomas Ball

Thomas Ball, my 4x great grandfather, died on 12 January 1873, at his residence - Francis Cottage, Highgate, England. I have been unable to find a record for his burial, but I have always suspected that he might have been buried in Highgate Cemetery, mainly because of the close proximity of his home to the cemetery. 

The Highgate Cemetery website requests a payment of £40 to look up a burial for someone. Considering I was looking for Thomas, and also hoping that his wife Sarah might also be buried there, I wasn't about to spend £80 on just a hunch. 

There was one other option though: the Camden Local Studies and Archives Centre at the Holborn Library holds burial and grave registers for Highgate Cemetery. And you can visit a library for free! Perfect. 

The indexes to the burial registers are ordered by year, and are partially in alphabetical order - only to the first letter of the surname. And I found Thomas relatively easily, because I knew the year he died. 

The entry in the index said that Thomas' burial number was 42405, his grave number was 4383, and that his place of death (abode) was Pond Square, Highgate, St Pancras. 

The following is the entry in the burial register: 


The entry in the grave register contained a lot of information, including all the other people buried in the same grave. Unfortunately, that didn't include Thomas' wife Sarah. Seven people in all - mostly Thomas' grandchildren, with the following comment written at the bottom "This grave is quite full." I'll say.


The final thing I was able to find out was the actual location of the grave in the cemetery. 


The grave register noted that the grave was in section 53 of the Old Ground. This is in the West Cemetery, which you can only access by appointment, and if you give them two weeks notice they can go and find the grave, clear access to it, and then take you to it. Perhaps one day I'll be able to organise that. 

The problem with Thomas' wife Sarah not being there (it would have been really convenient if she was) is that I can't actually find her death date. She must have died between the 1861 Census and the 1871 Census, but that's as much as I've been able to narrow it down. And if she's not buried with her husband, who IS she buried with? Her parents? Her daughter? I'll have to keep looking.

29 July 2016

The Monument to the Joynes family in St Marys Churchyard Hendon

"...my Will is that I may be buryed in London Church Yard in the said County of Middlesex at the East End of the Chancell Building in a Grave of eight ffoot in depth to lye next to the Coffin of my late dear and beloved Wife Mary Joynes who was buried there in the beginning of September 1746 and that a Monument of Portland Stone may be set up there according to a draught prepared by me..."
So willed my 5x great grandfather Henry Joynes (abt 1684-1754) before his death. I had the opportunity recently to visit St Mary's Churchyard Hendon, where this monument now stands. I guessed it was a reasonable sized monument and it has Grade II listed conservation status, and therefore I was hopeful that I would be able to find it. And I did!

St Marys Churchyard Hendon
I spent some time transcribing the inscription on the monument, which actually commemorates five members of the extended Joynes family. I'm glad I managed to do this, because the inscription for Henry Joynes was extremely weathered and very difficult to see - I had to use my fingers to gently trace the shape of the letters to work out what they were. And the weathering will only get worse. It had also sunk on an angle, but at least didn't look likely to topple over any time soon.

The southern-facing side of the monument was dedicated to Henry Joynes himself:
Near this place lyes the Body of
HENRY JOYNES Esqr.
He was Comptroller and Conductor
of the Building of Blenheim House
in Oxfordshire from 1705 to 1715.
He was Surveyor of
Kensington Palace and Gardens
from 1715 to the last of his Days.
He was Many Years Surveyor of
the Sewers in Westminster.
He departed this Life the 2nd Day
of July 1754, Aged 70 Years.
The side facing east had the most inscribed on it. In the top section was an inscription for Henry's daughter Frances:
FRANCES JOYNES, Departed
this Life the 3rd Day of May
1749, Aged 28 Years
In the lower section of the east-facing side was an inscription in honour of Henry's wife Mary, and below that, her sister Elizabeth (noted as Henry's sister, but technically his sister-in-law):
Westward of this monument
lyes the Body of MARY
the Wife of HENRY JOYNES Esqr
who Departed this Life
the 29th Day of August 1746,
Aged 60 Years,
leaving three Sons,
SAMUEL, THOMAS & HENRY,
and two Daughters FRANCES & MARY.
Also the Body
of ELIZABETH PEISLEY, his sister,
who Departed this Life
the 30th Day of September 1746,
Aged 63 Years.
On the northern side of the monument, in the top section, was an inscription for Henry's son Thomas:
THOMAS JOYNES Departed
this Life the 14th Day of Dec
1750, Aged 28 years.
This news article from the London Evening Post (Dec 13-15, 1750) explains the sorry circumstances of Thomas' death:
"On Thursday Night last, between Ten and Eleven o'Clock, Mr. Thomas Joynes, Son of Henry Joynes, of Kensington, Esq; and Brother to Mr Joynes, of the Middle-Temple, going along the Strand, some Villains stopp'd him, and took from him his Hat and Wig, then knock'd him down, and robb'd him of what Money he had in his Pocket. He got home to his Lodgings, went to bed, and the next Morning, the Family not hearing him stir at the usual Hour, went into his Room, and found him dead in his Bed."
These are not the only family members buried in the churchyard at Hendon, but disappointingly, I was unable to locate the others, being Samuel Joynes, son of Henry and Mary - "Mr Joynes, of the Middle-Temple" noted above, and also Mary Baumgarten née Joynes, daughter of Henry and Mary Joynes, and her husband Samuel Christian Frederick Baumgarten. There are many gravestones which are too weathered to read, and perhaps some of these commemorated these other ancestors. 

20 July 2016

The Battle of Fromelles


This is the gravestone of Amy Selina Weiss née Blanch, and Walter Herbert Weiss, her husband, in Rookwood Cemetery, Sydney. The gravestone also commemorates three of their sons - Frederick Albert Weiss and Erle Victor Weiss, who both were killed in action in World War 1, plus Harry Blanch Weiss, a POW in World War 2, who died while working on the Thai Burma Railway.

I am focusing here on Frederick Albert Weiss because he died in the Battle of Fromelles, which took place 100 years ago. Fromelles is a small village in France which, in 1916, was behind German lines. On the evening of July 19 1916 Australian and British forces attacked the German forces at Fromelles. By 8am the next morning the Allied forces withdrew, after the loss or wounding of some 5500 Australian and 1500 British soldiers. 

Private Frederick Albert Weiss, service number 3578A, was born at Anna Bay, NSW, in 1892, the second child and eldest son of Amy and Walter Weiss. Like his father, Fred was a school teacher - at the time of his enlistment he was an associate teacher at West Wyalong Public School, where his father was the headmaster.

He joined up at age 22 and he embarked for The Front in September 1915. After spending some time in northern Africa, Fred arrived in Marseilles on 28 June 1916. He was killed less than a month later on July 19th. An eyewitness from his battalion, Percy Dickson, stated that Fred was shot in the stomach, and then was probably blown up by the enemy's heavy shelling. They were unable to retrieve his body at the time due to the shelling. He was officially listed as missing in action on July 28, and this was updated to killed in action on September 2, 1917. His body was never recovered. DNA testing is being carried out on remains found in mass graves at Fromelles, and DNA from two Weiss family members has been submitted.

I am pleased that yesterday a close relative of mine was able to visit VC Corner at Fromelles, where Fred is officially commemorated, on the 100th anniversary of his death to pay her respects.

15 July 2016

Hints and Tips: Latin word resources for family history research

I've had photos of German Roman Catholic parish registers for ages that I've been meaning to go through and translate, and I'm finally getting around to it. Many old Roman Catholic registers are written in Latin, as are these.

My Latin knowledge extends mainly to those words used to describe plants (I'm a botanist), but not so much to those words which might be used in a parish register. However, I've found three very useful resources, which used in conjunction, I have been able to make sense of much of the entries I've been looking at so far.

The first one is the Latin Genealogical Word List from FamilySearch. It gives a great general overview of words that might come up in your family history research. 

The second one is a list of Latin place names. Without that I would never have guessed that Moguntiae actually meant Mainz, Germany.

The last one is Parish Register Latin: An Introduction, by C. Russell Jensen, available on Internet Archive. This one is a lot more comprehensive than the first resource listed here, and you could possibly teach yourself how to read the Latin reasonably well with it, if you had the time or inclination. For me though, the most useful part was the Latin-English Word List, starting on page 385. Often I can work out some of the letters in a handwritten word, and being able to look at words which might be used in the same context and/or start with the same letters can often help me decipher the likely word. 

Hopefully these resources might help you to make better sense of your Latin parish register entries as well!

14 July 2016

The Beringer mill

We were visiting friends up north, and on the way back we took a detour to visit where the Beringer family came from, in the Eltville area near Wiesbaden.

We found the old mill that used to be in the family on a street named "An der Lochmühle", on the way into the resort town of Schlangenbad. It has been rebuilt since my ancestors lived and worked there, though the general layout of the buildings on the land is very similar to what it once was. However it was good to see where it was, and imagine my ancestors there, and to walk past the creek that young Beringer children might have played in in summers of years gone by.



This plaque was on the side of the building behind the mill wheel. It reads:
"Lochmühle 
Als Mahlmühle erbaut 1698
Neu errichtet 1937 durch
Hein A. Moeller"
which translates as "Lochmühle. Built as a grist mill 1698. Newly built in 1937 by Hein A. Moeller."

As well as seeing the mill, I checked out some of the local cemeteries, to see if there were any remaining headstones of long gone relatives. I wasn't expecting much, because in Germany graves can be recycled every 30 years or so, but I was rather hoping they might have kept old headstones. I checked three local cemeteries - Rauenthal, Martinstal and Schlangenbad, but sadly nothing there appeared relevant. Rauenthal had only new headstones, Martinstal had a couple of older ones amongst all the new, and Schlangenbad was a very quiet cemetery, way off up the hill from the town, with a number of headstones remaining from the time of my Beringers, but still there was no luck. 

I could have done much more exploring in the area, but we still had a good number of hours' drive before we would be home, and the kids were getting restless so I had to leave it at that. Maybe another time... 

06 July 2016

Walter McIndoe part 2

I'm still trying to sort out Walter McIndoe. I truly suspect that the Walter McIndoe born to Robert McIndoe and Bethia Duncan in Strathblane, Stirlingshire on 7th July 1763 is NOT the Walter McIndoe who lived and worked on Ladrishmore Farm, Kilmaronock, Dunbartonshire.

The Parish of Strathblane and its inhabitants (Smith, 1886) states on page 46 that "Walter McIndoe, son of Robert McIndoe and nephew of James McIndoe, last [laird] of Carbeth, was a merchant in Virginia, US, and died unmarried." 

According to A Dictionary of Scottish Immigrants to the USA (Whyte, 2009, p286), Walter McIndoe, nephew of James McIndoe of Carbeth, Stirlingshire, settled in Petersburg, Virginia, before 1821, and worked as a merchant. 

Walter McIndoe is listed for Petersburg in the Personal/Property Tax Lists for 1790 and 1799. As a result of the American Revolution a Loyalist Claim was placed by a W. McIndoe in Virginia in 1806 - it wouldn't be unheard of for a Scot to side with the British Crown. Walter McIndoe was still living in Petersburg, Dinwiddie County, Virginia, in the 1830 US Census, but no longer there by the 1840 Census, presumably because he died during that decade. Although none of these particular records  confirm this Walter McIndoe is Scottish, it all certainly fits in the timeline.

So, I am willing to provisionally accept that Walter McIndoe, son of Robert McIndoe and Bethia Duncan, did emigrate to America, and therefore that Walter McIndoe of Ladrishmore Farm is not the son of Robert McIndoe and Bethia Duncan. 

So this means I need to make some adjustments to my family tree, and find new parents for Walter McIndoe of Ladrishmore Farm. I'm not expecting it to be easy!

22 June 2016

Walter McIndoe

I've never really done a lot of research on the MacIndoe/McIndoe family in Scotland, because I am aware of so many others who have done the research already. However, I've been going through my family tree, checking info, just to make sure there is enough evidence, in my mind, for these people.

And I've come across Walter McIndoe, my 4x great grandfather, who was married to Jean Andrew, and lived in Dunbartonshire, but was supposedly born in Strathblane, Stirlingshire, to Robert McIndoe and Bethia Duncan, on 7 July 1763. Jean Andrew was allegedly born in New or East Kilpatrick, Dunbartonshire, to William Andrew and Jean Reid on 7 August 1761.

However, I want evidence. I can't find a marriage record for Walter and Jean, which might have given me further information on where Walter was from (though quite possibly not). I also can't find a death record, nor any will which might list brothers and sisters and where they live, and thus show any links to Strathblane.

The children of Walter and Jean that I have found records for are in the table below (with some large variations on the spelling of the surname!):

Date Name Parents Location
23 Jan 1784 Jean Walter McIndoe, Jean Andrew Cloberhill
28 Apr 1789 Margaret Walter McAndue, Jean Andrew Ladrishmore
10 Sep 1791 Walter Walter McAndue, Jean Andrew Ladrishmore
14 Sep 1793 Walter Walter MacIndoe, Jean Andrew Ladrishmore
12 Feb 1794 William Walter Macanduie, Jean Andrew not specified in record, but recorded in Kilmaronock parish
5 Feb 1796 Hugh Walter Macanduie, Jean Andrew not specified in record, but recorded in Kilmaronock parish
2 Mar 1801 Agnis Walter Macanduie, Jean Andrew not specified in record, but recorded in Kilmaronock parish
8 Apr 1805 John Walter McCandie/Macandie, Jean Andrew Ladrishmore

I am reasonably willing to accept that the Jean Andrew married to Walter McIndoe may well be the one born in 1761 to William Andrew and Jean Reid, partly because one of the kids is named William, but largely because the first (known) child was born in the same parish as where Jean's parents lived. Cloberhill was a farm in East/New Kilpatrick, situated on current-day Cloberhill Road, Glasgow.

Within five years the family had moved to the Kilmarnock parish, as the tenants on a farm named Ladrishmore (or Lederishmore), almost next door to the farm where their son Walter built Ashfield House years later.

There is nothing in the records that I have found that points to Great Great Great Great Grandfather Walter McIndoe being the son of Robert and Bethia McIndoe. In fact, I tend to think that the absence of any children of Walter and Jean's named Robert or Bethia supports my guess that they may not be Walter's parents. There is also information that I have found saying that Walter McIndoe, son of Robert and Bethia, actually emigrated to the US.

I haven't located any other potential parents for my Walter McIndoe, but that doesn't mean there weren't some. I'd be interested to hear from anyone who could prove or disprove this theory of mine. Please get in touch if you think you can help!

06 May 2016

James Sheldon's ancestry

I love it when everything falls into place, after struggling to make sense of something!

A distant relative contacted me recently - a descendant of James Sheldon, who was married to Adelaide Catherine Gustavia Martha Weiss, the first child of Charles Nicholas and Benigna Catharina Weiss. James Sheldon was a Church Missionary Society missionary in Kurrachee, India (now Karachi, Pakistan). I've been able to find out a reasonable amount about him and his family in India, and then in England, after they returned from the mission field, but not much of his ancestry. Just that he was from Walsall, Staffordshire. So armed with a little bit more information from James' descendant, I went digging.

I collected so many bits of information from all over the place that I put it all into a timeline in a spreadsheet, to try and make sense of it all. I coloured-coded information about different people, to make it easier to note where the information about a certain person seemed to end (helps to target a timeframe for a death/burial notice).


We knew that James Sheldon was born in Walsall on 7 Oct 1828, and from his marriage record, that his father's name was also James Sheldon (henceforth "James Sheldon senior" here). We also suspected his mother's name was Ann Hannah Middleton. I had found him in the 1841 Census living with James and Ann Bullock, and his sister Mary, and brother Humphrey Jarvis. Humphrey was still living with James and Ann Bullock in the 1851 Census, and was named as their grandson. I also found information that suggested James Sheldon had a brother called John.

So we had to make sense of the surnames of Sheldon, Bullock and Middleton. On FreeReg I found baptism records for the four known Sheldon children, which confirmed that their father was James Sheldon, publican, their mother was Ann, and they lived in Park St during the period those children were born. The Sheldon family seemed to be involved in running pubs in Walsall (of which there were many), so I focused on that. I found information from historical directories - it turned out there were Middletons and Bullocks running pubs too - and put it all in my timeline. I also found info on a very helpful website about the historical pubs of Walsall (and other areas in Staffordshire). 

After I had found all the information I could about who ran which pub, I started searching in historical newspapers for any information on either Joseph Middleton (who apparently ran the Royal Oak before James Sheldon senior took it over), James Sheldon (senior), and James Bullock. And that was where I really struck gold. Advertisements about James Sheldon senior selling land, pubs, goods, going bankrupt, then dying "in the prime of life", and then Ann taking over the pub he was running before he died. Apparently James wasn't too good at running a business, and perhaps the stress of it killed him. 

Further research revealed an application for a marriage license for Ann Middleton, widow, to marry James Bullock. Ann Middleton was widowed... who was she previously married to? The penny dropped... Joseph Middleton? Had he already died by then? Yes! I searched for a marriage record... yes! Was the Ann who was married to James Sheldon senior actually Ann Middleton, daughter of Ann and Joseph Middleton? Yes! I haven't found any information on her having a middle name of Hannah, so we'll discount that middle name. I searched further and found marriage and birth records to corroborate what I suspected. I also found that James Sheldon senior's widow Ann remarried, to a Charles Holmes, and they went on to have children of their own. This helps to explain why her children with James weren't living with her in 1841, but instead with her mother and stepfather. I also discovered that the maiden name of Joseph Middleton's wife Ann was Jarvis. And she happened to have a brother called Humphrey - there's the answer to the mystery of the strange name of James Sheldon's brother "Humphrey Jarvis Sheldon".

Now I just have to work on James Sheldon senior's branch of the family tree. I suspect his father was John Sheldon, and his mother Margaret, but I haven't yet found proof.




12 December 2015

William Rich, Crimean War Veteran

My great great grandfather William Rich was, according to his funeral notice, a Crimean War veteran.

Sydney Morning Herald, 27 April 1927, p11.

And according to the funeral notice under the one his family placed in the paper, he was also a member of the United Imperial Navy and Army Veterans' Association of NSW. What was that? I've never heard of it!

I did some research on Trove, and also in the Sydney Morning Herald archives (1955-1995). The first mention in the Sydney Morning Herald of the the United Imperial Navy and Army Veterans' Association of NSW was in 1908, and the last was in 1960.

From the research I have done, it appears that the organisation pre-dates today's Returned Services League (RSL), which was formed in 1917. The RSL is for those who served or are serving in the Australian Defence Forces, whereas The United Imperial Navy and Army Veterans' Association of NSW appears to have been for any British veteran who had seen service up to and including 1885. Members of the latter organisation had served in many different conflicts including in the Crimea, the Sudan, and India. I contacted the RSL and they confirmed that they are unrelated to the United Imperial Navy and Army Veterans' Association of NSW. It seems to me that the United Imperial Navy and Army Veterans' Association of NSW possibly just died out once all the old veterans had died.

A write-up of the Veterans Christmas Dinner of 1923 mentions William Rich; "Nine of those present were over 80 years of age, two of the oldest being Mr. William Rich, 89, who fought at the Crimea in 1854, and Mr. Charles Kidd, 80, who fought in the Indian mutiny three years later." (Sydney Morning Herald, 24 December 1923, p10). At a veterans gathering for Empire Day in 1926 "The Governor General was the principal speaker... [and] hailed as "comrade" the hardy old soldier, William Rich, who served in the Crimea, and is marching - if more feebly than of old - towards his centenary." (The Telegraph, 29 May 1926, p12.) At the Christmas dinner after William Rich died he was mentioned: "Since the last dinner their oldest member, William Rich, who had served in the Crimea, and almost reached 100 years, had died" (Sydney Morning Herald, 19 December 1927, p10).

From these articles we learn that William Rich was in the Army, not the Navy, as he is referred to as a soldier, not a sailor, and that he fought in the Crimea in 1854. One wonders why it was only 1854, as the British were still in the Crimea in 1855 - was he invalided out?

I also learnt in my research that William Rich lived at the Veterans' Home at La Perouse, on Bare Island. This explains why he did not live with his wife towards the end of his life - a question that I have wondered about for some time. 

The gravestone of William Rich, at Waverley Cemetery, Sydney.