27 September 2010

Research Diary: Weaverthorpe, Yorkshire

This post is a report on how my research on ETHELLs and GRICEs of my last First Friday Folder post is going.  Ah, the unexpected things I learn....

Having reviewed my folder on great-great-great-grandparents Joseph Ethell & Rachel Grice, and feeling well-prepared for my research, I arrived at the local Family History Center and set myself up at a microfilm reader.  My goal was Item 3 of FHL # 990,896: Bishop's Transcripts for Weaverthorpe, 1631-1852, Church of England, Parish Church of Weaverthorpe in Yorkshire, England.  My first thought was 'How inconvenient that I'm going to have to scroll through 2 whole items to get to the one I need, drat!'

I am still compulsive enough that I at least write down the title of every item on a film and annotate my notes about whether or not I read an item.  First, I wrote down the film number and what my general goal was: birth and marriage data on Joseph, Rachel, and their children.  Then, I wrote out the title entry for Item 1 and my note that I was not reading this one at all: whoever even heard of 'Helperthorpe'?  I need Weaverthorpe and so there. 

But the compulsive me, while rapidly scrolling through Item1 on my to Item 3, did a random stop and read one page.   And, there was a GRICE!  This is not a super common surname so I figured I'd better check this out before I went any further.  I ran Google maps on one of the FHC's computers and found that, wonder of all wonders, Helperthorpe is only 0.8 mile from Weaverthorpe! 

I had broken one of the cardinal laws of genealogy: know your geography before you do serious research!  Fortunately, the Genealogy Elf had given me a GRICE on my random stop.  Otherwise, I probably would have sent the film back to Salt Lake without knowing what I had in my hands.

Quickly reading backwards just 3 pages from my random stop yielded 4 more GRICEs, but the year was much to early to be of use to me now, so I went forward to an intermediate section title page which said "Helperthorpe -- 1790-1807, 1802, 1809-1812." As 1790 was where I had decided I would focus my reading in Weaverthorpe, this seemed like a good place to start my notetaking for Helperthorpe.  I saw that Helperthorpe must be a pretty small place because there were only 3 baptisms and no marriages nor burials for the entire year from Lady Day 1790 to Lady Day 1791.  I also found a notation for one year specifying that the marriages and burials for that year were recorded at Weaverthorpe.  So, clearly, these two locations are linked and I must consider them both in my ETHELL / GRICE quest.

I read through to 1850 in Helperthorpe and found 15 GRICE entries (including 3 children of a Wilson/Grice couple.  I can't yet connect any of these to my lines, but I've just begun!

Before I left for the FHC, I went to the GENUKI website and ran Weaverthorpe through the church database.   I searched for all churches within 6 miles of Weaverthorpe.  I quickly got a list of 26 churches (18 Church of England and 8 Methodist of one sort or another).  Here's a snippet of those search results:

I'm already pretty confident that my GRICEs & ETHELLs are connected to Weaverthorpe and to Lutton.  Now, I see that if I had run this search earlier when I should have, I would have also known to search in Helperthorpe and Butterwick.

At the FHC, I scrolled ahead to Item 3 to read Weaverthorpe. [I had already run Google maps on Hornby of Item 2 and found that it was 60 miles away and I don't feel a need to read it yet!]    I started reading/notetaking in the third section, dated 1760-1775.

There are more GRICEs here, but the script is different and it appears to be spelled 'grifse,' which I think is GRISSE, a possible alternative spelling.  I was hoping I was making a good assumption when I found this marriage record:
Banns of Marriage between Richard Grice & Ann Kellington were published on Tuesday ye 12th ye 19th & ye 26th of May by Mr Geo Lawson Mininster. / The above Richard Grice, spelled Grifse in ye Baptismal Register of Lutton, Batchelor & Ann Kellington also of Lutton Spinster, were married in ye Chapel of West Lutton by Banns on Wednesday ye twenty ninth day of May in ye year of our Lord one thousand seven hundred & eighty two by me...

Wasn't that nice of the minister to specify the exact name he wanted!  Altogether, I extracted 14 more GRICE entries this day.  I still can't confidently claim any of them, but I am starting to form family groups.  Once I get to the 1830s, I hope to find the link I need.

Whoops! I woke up with the sudden realization that I wasn't looking for GIB/GIBS/GIBB/etc.  That's the surname of Rachel's possible mother.  I think I would have come to my senses if I had seen a GIB, but it bothers me that I hadn't actually include the surname in my goal statement.  The little research I've done before on Rachel has never found any GIB (etc.) families anywhere near a GRICE or ETHELL.  

Well, I'm eager to get on with reading the Weaverthorpe film, but I won't make it to the FHC today after all.  Life gets in the way sometimes....  But, I've sat here instead and reviewed all the notes I've made so far.  I'll try again on Thursday!

  • Always run the church locations before reviewing any church records in England.
  • Always look at a detailed map and see the nearby towns, too.
  • Make sure the goals I specify for reading any film have all the surnames I'm looking for.

There are no page numbers in either of the two Bishop's Transcripts used here.  All the records are in rough chronological order.  The film is unusually clear and easy to read for the most part.

25 September 2010

Irish Genealogy Tip: The Irish Times

ProGenealogists recently posted a brief mention by Kellie Scherbel about a tool for finding variant spellings for Irish surnames.  It's a great tool, hosted by the Irish Times.  But, I quickly found that they have a LOT more at their site for those of us trying to research Irish ancestors.

The Irish Times home page, under the 'More' section, the drop-down menu includes an option for 'Irish Ancestors.'  The Surname Search button there yields a search box and this explanation:
"Enter a surname in the box above, and find out:
  • the number and location of households of the name in Ireland 1848-64;
  • variant spellings or associated names;
  • surname dictionary entries;
  • surname histories;
  • the number and location of births of the name in 1890;
  • published or printed family histories;
  • a possible coat of arms associated with the name."
It all works beautifully!  I got quite a lot of information on KEATING and less, but still useful, on DOOLEY. 

There are also options for placename info, research outlines, immigration, and full text archives of a regular Irish Times genealogy column by noted genealogist John Grenham, beginning from Jan 2009!  And, there are more links to additional helps at this page.  I think it's a real treat to be able to read regular articles by Grenham!

Thanks to ProGenealogists for this tip.  Now, I just wish I could find some little lead somewhere about specifically where my Irish great-grandparents originated ....

I read the ProGenealogists blog regularly and love the info available at their website, but I have no other connection to them at all.  

I receive no consideration from the Irish Times, but I will start visiting their Irish Ancestors webpage regularly now that I know about it!  Warning:  There is an option to subscribe for full access to Irish Ancestors.  But there are oodles of free goodies available.

15 September 2010

PORTER Descent

"In the proliferation of Porters in colonial Connecticut, several large and unrelated families can be sorted out.  Significant among them are the descendants of John and Anna (White) Porter of Windsor; of Dr. Daniel, Thomas and Robert Porter, all of Farmington; and of Richard Porter of Weymouth, Massachusetts." 
This quotation is from The American Genealogist article 'Some Connecticut Descendants of Richard Porter of Weymouth, Massachusetts' by John A. Leppman [1].  Unfortunately, I am not a descendant of Richard but of Dr. Daniel, and there is not as much written about him.  It is, however, reassuring to see a published article in a reputable journal saying that these several PORTER families are unrelated.

On the other hand, my PORTERS were somewhat prominent and left many records in the Hartford, Connecticut area and later in New Haven. It becomes just a bit harder to separate them when they left Connecticut for Vermont in about 1797.  But, I am blessed with one of those probate documents that you read about in a journal and ask, 'Why didn't my ancestor's leave a record like that?'  !

Thomas Porter (husband of Abigail Bates) appeared 20 February 1799 at a probate court in Waterbury, Connecticut on behalf of his father Ashbel to settle the estate of his grandfather Thomas Porter [2].  Thomas, the grandson, and his father Ashbel are both specified as being 'of South Hero in the County of Chittenden State of Vermont.'  Finding one document that clearly lays out three generations in two states for this common surname settled many of my concerns about correctly connecting PORTERs!

Probate records can be wonderful finds, especially for common surnames in colonial New England.  Maybe someday I'll attempt to find Dr. Daniel's English origins, but I think that will take a lot of work and a lot of luck!

This line of descent is:
Dr. Daniel Porter (American immigrant prior to 1644) =  Mary
Dr. Daniel Porter  =  Deborah Holcomb
Capt. Thomas Porter  =  Mary Welton
Ashbel Porter  =  Hannah Norris
Thomas Porter  =  Abigail Bates
Homer Thomas Porter  =  Dolly Ann Bates
Celim Homer Porter  =  Clara Evelene Davison
L Willis Porter

[1] The American Genealogist, 1977, vol 53, p. 31.
[2] Waterbury, Connecticut: Register of Probate Records. FHL film #6,139; Item 2: Volume 3, 1799-1820, p. 118. (Note: there are many other Porter entries throughout this film.)

03 September 2010

First Friday Folder: Joseph ETHELL & Rachel GRICE

I selected the folder of this set of great-great-great-grandparents because a film of Bishop's transcripts for Weaverthorpe in East Yorkshire, England has arrived for me at my local Family History Center and I need to get ready for starting this research project next week! 
The Couple
Joseph ETHELL was probably born 7 April 1816 in Huttons Ambo, North Yorkshire, and probably died 18 Jan 1889 in North Yorkshire.  Rachel GRICE was probably born 2 June 1816 in West Lutten, Weaverthorpe, North Yorkshire, and died about March 1895 in Castleford, West Yorkshire.  They were perhaps married 16 July 1835 in Weaverthorpe and at least 2 of their 10 children were probably born there, too.  These dates/places are from two, usually very thorough, family researchers who were kind enough to share with me. Unfortunately, I have no record of the exact sources they used, nor do they agree exactly with their details.

I have Joseph and Rachel together in the following censuses, all in Yorkshire:
1841  -  South Elmsall, South Kirkby
1851  -  Glass Houghton
1861  -  HIghtown, Castleford
1871  -  Gow Close, Glover's Row, Whitwood
1881  -  Discomb Row, Welbeck Street, Castleford
Obviously, there should be a good deal of information about this family in the Bishop's transcripts of Weaverthorpe.  On the other hand, the family could have really been in one of the little, adjacent parishes and not have used the Weaverthorpe church itself.  Another caution is that I know they were members of a Primitive Methodist Chapel by 1849.  Their marriage should still be recorded in the parish church, but the early baptisms might not.  At any rate, I need to see this film and I am hoping it will give me some "real" sources!  And, if they are not there, at least I'll know to start looking in neighboring parishes.

The Folder
The organization of the folder is in pretty good shape.  It includes a family group sheet, census summary and images, and a few other copies of records.  (I am missing a few censuses for some of the children, but I think four of them may have died young.  Perhaps I can find death info in the film next week.)

There was just one 3-page printout from GENUKI in 2006 on "The Ancient Parish of Weaverthorpe" that my current system files under the location rather than in a couple's folder.  Reviewing the three pages before moving it to my Yorkshire notebook, I saw that the website included a link to the 1834 Electoral Roll for Weaverthorpe and I don't remember having tried it before.  Unfortunately, a quick visit there showed no Ethell, Grice, or anything close in the surnames.  But, I did see that they have more maps and have added 8 church photos.  Clicking on the link to the Methodist Chapel leads to a nice photo and a database search for other nearby churches that very quickly showed me that there are 6 churches within three miles of the chapel.  GENUKI is a wonderful thing!!

The Biggest Problem: Geography
Is it just me or does anyone else have trouble keeping Yorkshire place names straight?  It may be 'English' but it usually feels like some language I have never, ever seen....

There is a Huttons Ambo (High Hutton & Low Hutton) only about 16 miles from Luttons Ambo (East Lutton, West Lutton, Lutton).  There is also a Sutton in North Yorkshire.  With different scripts in that time period, I think these locations could be mixed-up.  Also, sometimes they seem to be giving a local neighborhood name but the larger city sometimes.  For instance, I have one notation that Rachel was born in West Lutten and one that she was baptized about two miles away in Weaverthorpe.  And, I also have that daughter Jane may have been born in Elmsall or in South Kirkby, which are only about a mile apart from each other (and only about 60 miles from Weaverthorpe).  Where these seem to be different places, it could just be someone referring to a larger or smaller neighborhood name for one location.  I need to keep a map handy and to keep an open mind!

  • GENUKI is a wonderful resource for anyone researching in England.  The aids to finding nearby parishes are outstanding.  The site is continually adding info: I need to check back more often!
  • I must pay continual attention to place names and geography, especially in Yorkshire.  Keeping civil and ecclesiastical parishes sorted is hard enough, but when the names themselves are so similar, it is even worse.
  •  I still need real sources for the basic events in this couple's life.  I hope that my having reviewed this folder before starting to work on the microfilm will help me focus my search and keep the locations straight.
Line of Descent
Joseph Ethell = Rachel Grice
Jane Ethell = William Carr
John Henry Carr = Ann Matilda Causier
Bertha Carr