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What was the name of Samuel Wheatley's father

Discussion in 'General Genealogical Queries' started by peter, Nov 20, 2020.

  1. peter

    peter Administrator Staff Member

    My ancestor Samuel Wheatley remarried in 1840 but the father's name shown in the marriage register is indecipherable. I bought the GRO certificate but it isn't much better. Any suggestions?



    I'd like it to say Jas (James).
  2. Pauline

    Pauline LostCousins Superstar

    Having looked at the register image at Ancestry, I'm a bit doubtful about this being 'Jas'. The father in the entry below is a 'Jas' and looks different from this.

    In the register, the first letter looks more like an 'R', particularly when compared with Rebecca in the lower entry on the facing page, and I wondered about Robt.

    EDIT: Looking again at the register, although the first letter of the name is a bit indistinct, the rest is very like Sarah Ann's father's first name, and that does look like Robt.
    Last edited: Nov 20, 2020
    • Agree Agree x 1
  3. At home in NZ

    At home in NZ LostCousins Star

    I have also looked at the image in Ancestry and agree with Pauline, it very much looks like Robt. Although Ancestry transcriptions are not always accurate, this one has been transcribed as Robt.
  4. Pauline

    Pauline LostCousins Superstar

    I didn't actually look at the Ancestry transcription but maybe this is one they have got right! Looking at the name on both the certificate and in the register, the second letter (the vowel) starts its continuation to the next letter from the top, which does suggest it is more likely to be an 'o' rather than an 'a'.
  5. peter

    peter Administrator Staff Member

    I don't think that what Ancestry's transcriber came up with is particularly relevant - after all, they thought that the bride's father was called Robt Clunch. (The church register image is much less clear than the GRO register.)

    Sarah's father was indeed called Robert Church, although it took me a while to find her baptism in Netteswell, Essex as it took place in 1829, by which time she was 27 years old and already married to her first husband John Hubbard. At least I know from this that Sarah's age (49) shown in the 1851 Census is correct, which makes it more likely that Samuel's age of 60 in 1841 , 70 in 1851 and 77 on his death in 1858 are also correct.

    I'm only interested in Samuel (Sarah was his second wife), but I can't find a baptism for a Samuel born c.1781 City of London with father's name Robert.

    In fact, there isn't a baptism for a Samuel with father's name James, either, but there is a William Samuel baptised to James and Penelope at St Andrew Holborn at the right time, and as one of Samuel's grandchildren (my great-great grandfather) was christened William Samuel, but appears in some records as plain Samuel, the William Samuel baptised in 1781 seems like a good bet. James and Penelope named their eldest son (b1763) Samuel, but there is no evidence that he survived to adulthood.

    Samuel is a bit of an enigma - he was a grocer in Bristol, but became insolvent and returned to London. My 3G grandmother was born in Bristol, and for a long time I was focusing on that area. The only sons I know about were called William and Samuel, but as I only know about two children between 1804 and 1819 there could be some sons missing. Samuel's marriage to Elizabeth (?Potts) hasn't been found.
  6. At home in NZ

    At home in NZ LostCousins Star

    That is mostly what I found but didn't say so because I thought you'd figure it out for yourself. I know how you feel about it, being unable to find a direct ancestor's baptism record is extremely frustrating.
  7. peter

    peter Administrator Staff Member

    I'm fairly confident that James is the father, but it would have been good to see that confirmed by the marriage certificate. Now I'll have to wait to see whether DNA will prove it.
  8. At home in NZ

    At home in NZ LostCousins Star

    Good luck.
  9. Pauline

    Pauline LostCousins Superstar

    I guess it would be good as well to find some explanation as to why, if his father was James, Samuel gave the wrong name for him on this marriage certificate - or at least, to have something else to link your Samuel to that particular baptism.

    I presume you have been able to eliminate the possibility that the Robert Wheatley at St Augustine Watling Street was Samuel's father? I only had a very quick look and didn't see what happened to the family after 1779, but there is always a possibility that this Robert had a son Samuel in 1781 who wasn't baptised, or whose baptism isn't showing up in a search for one reason or another.
  10. peter

    peter Administrator Staff Member

    It's not unusual to give the wrong forename for a deceased father (James had been dead for 33 years), and since Sarah's father was Robert it could in fact have been a clerical (literally) error.
    I can't rule out that possibility, but without a baptism, and without DNA evidence, it would be difficult to prove that he is my ancestor. The best hope would be to find him as a marriage witness, or mentioned in Robert's will.
  11. canadianbeth

    canadianbeth LostCousins Member

    Even if he was not deceased. My grandmother put an entirely incorrect name for her father when she married, and said he was deceased. In her defence however, she was sent to a workhouse at the age of six and left at sixteen, never having had her parents return for her (they went on to have several more children) so probably did not really know her father's name. She did know he had been a milkman though. :) She married my Dad's step-father in 1918 and then emigrated with him to Canada so it is doubtful she ever saw or heard from her parents or even siblings again. Her father actually died in 1937 and her mother in 1940.
  12. jorghes

    jorghes LostCousins Superstar

    My great-great-grandfather put his step-father on his marriage documentation. As he was illegitimate, his step-father probably had been his father figure. I doubt that he knew his own father (he was illegitimate) but I can't say if he knew his name.
  13. Pauline

    Pauline LostCousins Superstar

    Yes, sorry, I hadn't intended to imply otherwise, only to say that there needs to be something to confirm that the name is wrong - beyond simply being unable to find a baptism to fit, that is. Most of us will have examples of the wrong father's forename and/or surname being shown at a marriage.

    I guess it doesn't really help either, that although Samuel's approximate year of birth seems fairly reliable, his place of birth given in the 1851 census is rather broad and vague. Broad in that although the 'City of London' was geographically small, in terms of population and number of parishes it was huge, and vague because it's often unclear if it refers only to the 'square mile' or includes parishes on the fringes, such as Holborn, much of which was in Middlesex.
  14. peter

    peter Administrator Staff Member

    City of London is fairly precise - while there were a lot of parishes the numbers in many were small. I can't find a figure for the population of the City of London in 1780, but it would have been a small fraction of the total population of London, which was then around 750,000 (in 1851 the square mile accounted for 5% of the population of London, though I suspect it would have been more like 10% in 1780). The accuracy and consistency of his age in the censuses, on his death certificate, and in his burial record, suggest that he had a written record of his birth/baptism, possibly a consequence of his insolvency.
  15. Pauline

    Pauline LostCousins Superstar

    I can't find anything online at the moment but broad general estimates I've seen previously for the late 18th century suggested around 80,000 - 100,000. But one of the recognised complications in making such estimates is finding population indicators which related only to the City of London itself, without including everyone from those parishes which were only partly in the city, for example.
    Last edited: Nov 24, 2020
  16. peter

    peter Administrator Staff Member

    St Andrew Holborn, where William Samuel Wheatley was born is one of them - but his birthplace was in the right part of the parish.

    I can't find any records for William Samuel Wheatley at Ancestry other than his baptism, so there is a good chance that he dropped one of his forenames.
  17. At home in NZ

    At home in NZ LostCousins Star

    There is more than one child baptised in this parish with the same parents names, i.e. James and Penelope Wheatley:
    Edward on 30 Jun 1776, address is Whyte Fryers.
    Penelope Ann on 22 Feb 1778 address is Shoe Lane.
    Penelope Jenny on 18 Sep 1774, address is Fetters Lane

    They moved around a fair bit but that wasn't unusual.

    The address for William Samuel is Fleet Market and I notice the next entry for James Norman is Laystall Street. I lived in Laystall Street, Holborn in 1969/70. What a coincidence, I bet the street was nothing like the way I knew it.:)

    There is a William Wheatly in Holborn the 1841 census, in FamilySearch
  18. peter

    peter Administrator Staff Member

    Thanks - I have so far found 11 children born to this couple: William Samuel is the youngest, Samuel the eldest.
    He's shown as 56 and not born in Middlesex - the William Samuel baptised in 1781 would have been at least 60 at the time of the census, and was born in Middlesex. I don't think there is any connection.

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