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Week 24: Handed Down

Week 24: Handed Down

I have already got a post about my “hand-me-downs”, so I have recycled that one this week. It traces the story of Suie Gillett, my maternal great grandmother and shows how easy it is to get things wrong when tracing your family history!

The Gillett Spoons

Since I wrote this article, originally  for the Family Tree Forum Online Magazine I have also inherited this photograph of Suie (according to her daughter, with her nurse).

The photo will date from 1863 when Suie was born and is on glass which has been coated with black varnish on the back which has some scratches on it. This has a thin metal oval surround, set behind more glass and it is all in a metal frame which is beginning to come apart.

According to  Colin Harding’s website  it is a collodion positive or ambrotype. We don’t have a case, just a rather elderly envelope!!

 

Week 30: The Old Country

Week 30: The Old Country

Because we moved around a lot when I was small, it wasn't until I was about 7 years old that we settled in one place when my parents bought a new build bungalow in Rockdale Drive, Grayshott. Four years later they moved on to nearby Headley and then on to...

read more

Week 27: Solo – choice or circumstance?

Catherine Godfree, born in 1844, was the youngest child of George and Mary Ann Godfree of Great Rissington. She had three older brothers and seven older sisters. Five of the sisters married and had large families, two sisters married but had no children, while two of the brothers never married and the one that did had emigrated to Australia following the death of his father.

read more
Week 10: Strong Woman

Week 10: Strong Woman

I have been fascinated by the story of my great x2 grandmother, Catherine Whitehill, born in Glasgow on the 31st May 1847. She had a tough life judging by where she lived, yet she raised 9 children to adulthood in 3 cities, Glasgow, Edinburgh and London, at a time when infant mortality was high.

read more
Week 15: From Fire to Form

Week 15: From Fire to Form

A quick query of my family tree software shows me that of those who have an occupation entered, I have 32 smiths or related occupations of whom 8 are blacksmiths, 2 gunsmiths, 3 silversmiths, and 4 whitesmiths and also some charcoal burners.

read more
Week 24: Handed Down

Week 24: Handed Down

I have already got a post about my "hand-me-downs", so I have recycled that one this week. It traces the story of Suie Gillett, my maternal great grandmother and shows how easy it is to get things wrong when tracing your family history! The Gillett Spoons Since I...

read more

Week 6: Same Name

When I saw this prompt, I immediately thought of Jessie Ann Lewcock, who baptised and buried five babies, three of them called Seth, their father’s name. Only her two oldest children survived to adulthood, a daughter, Grace Agnes, and Lewis named for her brother. Her...

read more

Week 23: Wedding

Marrying the sister of a deceased wife was illegal in Victorian England. " ...under the Marriage Act of 1835, which had the support of the established Anglican church, it was prohibited for a widower to marry his wife’s sister on the grounds of a passage in Leviticus,...

read more

Week 16: Air

Flying, civilian pilots and air crew, RAF & Fleet Air Arm, ornithologists, fresh air .... When I saw this week's prompt I wasn't sure I had anything to really write about and was intending to write about fresh air as most of the world including me are under...

read more

Week 9: Disaster

William George Lewcock 1839-1887. St George's Churchyard, Hanworth. William George Lewcock died on the 3rd May 1887 leaving a wife and 8 children, three of whom were under twelve years old. If we have connected the twigs and branches correctly, he is a very distant...

read more

Week 12: Very “historical” fiction

While I am doing my research I am mentally visualising the people I am looking at in the census or on a certificate and trying to imagine what their life was like; their house, the street, what they were wearing and how they spent their time. Because I read, and still...

read more
Week 5: So far away … from “home”

Week 5: So far away … from “home”

........ a light hearted look at genetic heritage. Both my grandmothers were Essex girls, but that is nothing to do with why I support West Ham! The theme tune for Sports Report (right click for the appropriate background music) brings back memories of being...

read more
Week 11: Serendipity

Week 11: Serendipity

Researching our family history depends on careful research over time, but is often progressed by a large slice of luck! I have had two major ones - both when I was looking for something else, one for my paternal line and one on the maternal. Maternal lucky find My...

read more
Week 8: Prosperity

Week 8: Prosperity

George Godfree was my great x2 uncle, the sixth child and second son of George and Mary Ann, nee Smith, Godfree of Great Rissington. His father died in 1850, leaving the farm to Mary, "if she wants it", and then to George's older brother. Like many other younger sons...

read more
Week 7: Favourite Discovery

Week 7: Favourite Discovery

I can't write in great detail about my favourite discovery as it involves living people, but it was very early on in my genealogy research days when I was one of the first members of Genes Connected as it then was. My family had lost touch with a paternal first cousin...

read more
Week 4: Close to Home

Week 4: Close to Home

​When I decided to take early retirement and come back to England after 32 years living and working in Belgium, I toyed with several places to live. I wanted to be nearish the coast, my parents were living near Ely at the time so investigated Norfolk and Suffolk but...

read more
Week 3: Long Line

Week 3: Long Line

I was wondering which ancestors to choose this week, but ​I have decided to interpret Long Line as Long List. As soon as you start your family history research, you start collecting bookmarks, favo(u)rites – whatever your browser of choice calls them. The list gets...

read more

Week 2: Favourite Photograph

This is a hard one. Should it be the picture of Sarah Jane Tompkins née Godfree, a maternal great x2 grandmother, which I see every day as it is hanging over my mantlepiece? She also appears at the top of every page of this website. Perhaps it could be the group one...

read more

Week 1: Fresh Start

Where to begin? I could write about my personal disappointment about the UK's fresh start tomorrow, or I could write about my own fresh start when I first took advantage of FOM in 1976 and moved to Belgium to work or when I came back to England in 2008. However, I...

read more

52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks

For some time, I had spotted references to Amy Johnson Crow's genealogical writing challenge, 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks, and often thought it would be a good idea but simply never got round to it. This year I saw another reference and as it was at the end of December, ...

read more

Schooldays

The de Fraine, Tompkins and Gillett families often sent both their sons and daughters away from home for a few years of education, and I have several times spotted familiar surnames on lists of pupils, which when I have tracked them through other census returns and through birth registrations have turned out to be related to the name I was originally looking for.

read more

Week 11: Serendipity

Week 11: Serendipity

Researching our family history depends on careful research over time, but is often progressed by a large slice of luck! I have had two major ones – both when I was looking for something else, one for my paternal line and one on the maternal.

Maternal lucky find

Gloucestershire Archives; Gloucester, England

My great x2 grandfather, John Gillett, was baptised in Stow-on-the-Wold in 1835, before civil registration of course so no idea of his mother’s maiden name. He was the oldest child and even had his birth announced in the the newspapers, but with no clue there either. Richard Gillett his father had come from Brize Norton and as a tenant farmer, could have been married anywhere and there were several possibilities in various locations. It didn’t  help that the place of birth varied for her in the census returns and could even have been two different wives called Anne – she is also listed as being deaf in one census.

I bit the cost bullet and sent for the birth certificate for the next child, born in December 1837,  which said that her mother’s maiden name was Wood. Given my doubts about whether there might have been two different wives called Anne I still wasn’t sure. Even when the GRO eventually allowed searching by maiden names more recently and all the children came up with the same maiden name, I still wasn’t 100% convinced. Whenever likely counties records came on line I would look for this marriage but no joy.

Anne Gillett

As everyone does, every so often I randomly google the names or locations in my tree to see what pops up, and last summer, I came across some Oxfordshire records which I’d not seen before, the Index of Oxford Diocese Marriage Bonds and Affidavits, 1661-1850 and as usual went to the page for G and there it was – the missing marriage!! Thank you to Donnette Stringham Smith who had paid $200 for three rolls of microfilm to be filmed in June 1976.

Anne would have been about 18 years old then and Richard was 24. I can see from the index that John’s future wife’s grandparents (my 4x great grandparents)  also appear on the index so I have more work to do yet on this set of documents.!

G 265
Gillett, Richard, 21 a.u. of St. Aldates, Oxford
Wood, Ann, under 21 of Hawling, Glos.
At St. Aldates, Oxford 14 Oct 1831
d. 47
f. 312

In some ways that serendipitous discovery has taken me no further since tracking down her parents is proving a challenge but I have found out a lot about the Wood family from the Stow-in-the-Wold and Naunton area of Gloucestershire and it was very satisfying to have found out my great x3 grandmother’s maiden name, It is possible that I have a picture of her as we do have pictures of John and a man believed to be Richard and we have also one of Susan Gillett’s grandmother, Anne Gillett – trouble is, both her grandmothers were called Anne Gillett.


Paternal discovery

Thanks to work done by Neville Lewcock I had a rough outline of my recent paternal family history and through work done by John Manning and Phyllis de Fraine, I had a fair idea of the bare bones of my maternal side. Their work was done by visiting archives and family memories but I was lucky in that when I was able to start my own research in 2002 there was already some online and more and more arriving all the time.

Thanks to the IGI and an unusual surname, I was quickly able to confirm Neville’s research back to Samuel Lewcock. baker, and his marriage to Sarah Taphouse in Farnham, Surrey in 1793 and the baptisms of their children. Through Genes Connected, I was soon in touch with other Lewcock researchers. Early on we had realised that there were distinct pockets of Lewcocks and Lucocks across England.

The nearest to Farnham were a family group in Pyrford, Surrey who were sometimes recorded as Lewcock. but mostly as Lucock and another group in Odiham, Hampshire who were generally recorded as Lewcock. Give the numerous possibilities of variant spellings with the name I had learned every quickly not to get precious over the spelling!

Will of Samuel Lewcock, baker, of Farnham. National Archives.

I had learned early on of the value of wills and my first foray took me to Samuel’s own will and also those of his daughter-in-law’s ancestors.

There was a baptism of a Samuel Lewcock in Odiham but the dates weren’t quite right so a tentative place of birth was recorded for him along with his potential family group but it was a few years before we could get much further with any confidence – unfortunately he had died before 1841 which didn’t help and the putative father had died quite young.

In the meantime, George Lucock’s family in Pyrford were being followed up and I added them to the tree in the hopes that one day I would find the join if there was one. By then we had been tracking Samuel’s possible siblings and there was a possible ink to a family in Hampton, Surrey.

So, we had a John Lewcock born c. 1767 born out of Surrey in 1841 in Hampton and a John Lewcock baptised in Odiham in 1867, possible brother of our Samuel, and their father Richard. Richard was baptised in Odiham, the son of George and Barbary Lewcock. We also had George Lucock of Pyrford, son of another George who had married a Jane Chitty. His age at burial was about the same as a George who was the son of George and Barbary of Odiham.

The Hampshire Baptism CDs were gradually being published along with various Surrey CDs and the possible family groupings for all three branches were being firmed up along with checking with the wills available. And then when I was exploring origins.net just to see what they had for another family entirely, I came across their new collection of wills from Surrey. And there it was – the missing link! (some of the correspondence appears here.)

Surrey & South London Will Abstracts  1470-1856  – now available on findmypast.

Samuel Hare of Farnham, carpenter, indisposed 28 Mar 1758
to my brother Richard Hare all my two freehold tenements in Cove, Hampshire in the occupation of Thomas Gardiner and Thomas Wooldridge for life and then to my nephews Richard Lewcock and George Lewcock sons of my sister Barbara Lewcock; to my said nephews Richard and George Lewcock all my messuage in Castle Street, Farnham on east side in my occupation paying to my said sister Barbara £10, to my sister Mary Gregg, widow £5, to my nieces Mary Humphreys and Sarah Hare daughters of my brother Richard £10 each, to my nephews and nieces Samuel Lewcock, Thomas Lewcock, Mary Lewcock and Barbara Lewcock children of my sister Barbara £10 each, to my nephew and niece William Vice and Ann Vice children of my sister Ann Vice £10 each; to my nephews Richard and George Lewcock all my goods, execs.
Witnesses: John Crook; George Smith (X); John Lacy
Proved: 5 Apr 1758 to execs. 
 

By now I had also acquired the fiches for Odiham – they were really hard to read and it took some time, but I did eventually find George’s marriage to Barbara Hare. Lewcock was mis-transcribed as usual but I had found what I needed without even deliberately looking! I remember being really excited and telling anyone who cared to listen.

It also took me a few generations back as the Hares were very good at leaving wills. Finding George’s baptism to get that line back further was tricky though and needed a trip to Winchester to look at their copies of the fiches – but we found it – for George Leeucock, son of yet another Richard.

We’re still looking to see if we can “find the join” with another group of Surrey Lewcocks from the Dorking area, but hopefully one day I will stumble upon it.

Week 30: The Old Country

Week 30: The Old Country

Because we moved around a lot when I was small, it wasn't until I was about 7 years old that we settled in one place when my parents bought a new build bungalow in Rockdale Drive, Grayshott. Four years later they moved on to nearby Headley and then on to...

read more

Week 27: Solo – choice or circumstance?

Catherine Godfree, born in 1844, was the youngest child of George and Mary Ann Godfree of Great Rissington. She had three older brothers and seven older sisters. Five of the sisters married and had large families, two sisters married but had no children, while two of the brothers never married and the one that did had emigrated to Australia following the death of his father.

read more
Week 10: Strong Woman

Week 10: Strong Woman

I have been fascinated by the story of my great x2 grandmother, Catherine Whitehill, born in Glasgow on the 31st May 1847. She had a tough life judging by where she lived, yet she raised 9 children to adulthood in 3 cities, Glasgow, Edinburgh and London, at a time when infant mortality was high.

read more
Week 15: From Fire to Form

Week 15: From Fire to Form

A quick query of my family tree software shows me that of those who have an occupation entered, I have 32 smiths or related occupations of whom 8 are blacksmiths, 2 gunsmiths, 3 silversmiths, and 4 whitesmiths and also some charcoal burners.

read more
Week 24: Handed Down

Week 24: Handed Down

I have already got a post about my "hand-me-downs", so I have recycled that one this week. It traces the story of Suie Gillett, my maternal great grandmother and shows how easy it is to get things wrong when tracing your family history! The Gillett Spoons Since I...

read more

Week 6: Same Name

When I saw this prompt, I immediately thought of Jessie Ann Lewcock, who baptised and buried five babies, three of them called Seth, their father’s name. Only her two oldest children survived to adulthood, a daughter, Grace Agnes, and Lewis named for her brother. Her...

read more

Week 23: Wedding

Marrying the sister of a deceased wife was illegal in Victorian England. " ...under the Marriage Act of 1835, which had the support of the established Anglican church, it was prohibited for a widower to marry his wife’s sister on the grounds of a passage in Leviticus,...

read more

Week 16: Air

Flying, civilian pilots and air crew, RAF & Fleet Air Arm, ornithologists, fresh air .... When I saw this week's prompt I wasn't sure I had anything to really write about and was intending to write about fresh air as most of the world including me are under...

read more

Week 9: Disaster

William George Lewcock 1839-1887. St George's Churchyard, Hanworth. William George Lewcock died on the 3rd May 1887 leaving a wife and 8 children, three of whom were under twelve years old. If we have connected the twigs and branches correctly, he is a very distant...

read more

Week 12: Very “historical” fiction

While I am doing my research I am mentally visualising the people I am looking at in the census or on a certificate and trying to imagine what their life was like; their house, the street, what they were wearing and how they spent their time. Because I read, and still...

read more
Week 5: So far away … from “home”

Week 5: So far away … from “home”

........ a light hearted look at genetic heritage. Both my grandmothers were Essex girls, but that is nothing to do with why I support West Ham! The theme tune for Sports Report (right click for the appropriate background music) brings back memories of being...

read more
Week 11: Serendipity

Week 11: Serendipity

Researching our family history depends on careful research over time, but is often progressed by a large slice of luck! I have had two major ones - both when I was looking for something else, one for my paternal line and one on the maternal. Maternal lucky find My...

read more
Week 8: Prosperity

Week 8: Prosperity

George Godfree was my great x2 uncle, the sixth child and second son of George and Mary Ann, nee Smith, Godfree of Great Rissington. His father died in 1850, leaving the farm to Mary, "if she wants it", and then to George's older brother. Like many other younger sons...

read more
Week 7: Favourite Discovery

Week 7: Favourite Discovery

I can't write in great detail about my favourite discovery as it involves living people, but it was very early on in my genealogy research days when I was one of the first members of Genes Connected as it then was. My family had lost touch with a paternal first cousin...

read more
Week 4: Close to Home

Week 4: Close to Home

​When I decided to take early retirement and come back to England after 32 years living and working in Belgium, I toyed with several places to live. I wanted to be nearish the coast, my parents were living near Ely at the time so investigated Norfolk and Suffolk but...

read more
Week 3: Long Line

Week 3: Long Line

I was wondering which ancestors to choose this week, but ​I have decided to interpret Long Line as Long List. As soon as you start your family history research, you start collecting bookmarks, favo(u)rites – whatever your browser of choice calls them. The list gets...

read more

Week 2: Favourite Photograph

This is a hard one. Should it be the picture of Sarah Jane Tompkins née Godfree, a maternal great x2 grandmother, which I see every day as it is hanging over my mantlepiece? She also appears at the top of every page of this website. Perhaps it could be the group one...

read more

Week 1: Fresh Start

Where to begin? I could write about my personal disappointment about the UK's fresh start tomorrow, or I could write about my own fresh start when I first took advantage of FOM in 1976 and moved to Belgium to work or when I came back to England in 2008. However, I...

read more

52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks

For some time, I had spotted references to Amy Johnson Crow's genealogical writing challenge, 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks, and often thought it would be a good idea but simply never got round to it. This year I saw another reference and as it was at the end of December, ...

read more

Schooldays

The de Fraine, Tompkins and Gillett families often sent both their sons and daughters away from home for a few years of education, and I have several times spotted familiar surnames on lists of pupils, which when I have tracked them through other census returns and through birth registrations have turned out to be related to the name I was originally looking for.

read more

Week 2: Favourite Photograph

This is a hard one. Should it be the picture of Sarah Jane Tompkins née Godfree, a maternal great x2 grandmother, which I see every day as it is hanging over my mantlepiece? She also appears at the top of every page of this website.

Perhaps it could be the group one from my paternal great grandparents, William and Kate Bradley, Diamond Wedding Anniversary Party where I am centre stage sitting on my mothers’ lap next to the happy couple?

Or maybe the picture of the double wedding in September 1890 in front of Aveley Hall?

Perhaps the glass one of my great grandmother, Susie Gillett with her nurse, from 1863?

Double Wedding. Aveley Hall. September 1890.

I think it has to be the third one. I vividly remember Granny showing me the picture as a young child and her telling me the story behind it and in part this is why I became interested in researching my family history. Thanks to her, whose parents’ wedding it was, I know who all the people are and have since worked out where they fit into the tree apart from one person, who I am told Granny referred to as “the interloper” – whether she meant anything derogatory or just because he was not family, I have no idea. When she died we came across the newspaper cuttings about the wedding too and writing this up will spur me on to transcribing those one day. 

Girls from left to right:
Florence Tompkins – Osborne’s half-sister. (Emma’s daughter. Never married. Was known as Aunt Floss.)
Can’t place her.
Frances (Fanny) de Fraine – Tom’s sister. (Married Cecil Knight in 1909.)
Katie Tompkins – Osbornes’ half-sister. (Emma’s daughter. Married Herbert Manning in 1907.)

Men standing behind left to right:
George de Fraine – Tom’s brother. (Became proprietor of the Bucks Herald.)
Herbert (Bert) de Fraine – Tom’s brother. Worked at the Bank of England.
George Parrot – “an interloper”
Joseph Tompkins – Osborne and Nellie’s brother. 

Bridal party left to right:
Ada de Fraine – Nellie’s bridesmaid. (Tom’s sister. Became Mrs Arthur Barton. Their daughter married Guy Dodwell and went to the USA.)
Mary Tompkins – Nellie’s bridesmaid. (Sister to Nellie and Osborne, married Henry Miles, brother of Arthur, and went to Canada.)
George Turner de Fraine – Tom’s father. (Bucks Herald )
Mrs George de Fraine (Henrietta) – Tom’s mother.
Rosa Ellen (Nellie) Tompkins – Bride. (Daughter of John Tompkins and Emma’s sister Sarah.)
Thomas Turner de Fraine – Groom. (Son of George Turner and Henrietta de Fraine.)
Susan Gillett – Bride. (Stepdaughter of Emma Tompkins née Godfree from her first marriage to John Gillett. The Gillett Spoons)
Osborne Tompkins – Groom. (Son of John Tompkins and Emma’s sister Sarah.)
Emma Tompkins – Osborne and Nellie’s stepmother and maternal aunt
John Tompkins – Osborne and Nellie’s father.
Emily Brookes – Susan’s bridesmaid. (Niece of Emma Tompkins née Godfree.)
Clara Hambidge – Susan’s bridesmaid. (Niece of Emma Tompkins née Godfree. Daughter of Robert Hambidge, Ascott Martyrs.)

Standing at the back in front of the porch:
Auntie Dolly – (wife of Godfree Tompkins)
Godfree Tompkins – (Osborne and Nellie’s brother. Gave Susan away at the wedding)
Arthur Miles – husband of Annie.
Annie Miles – (Osborne and Nellie’s sister)
Mrs Robert Tompkins (Louisa)
Robert Tompkins – brother of John Tompkins. (Auctioneer of Reading.)
Albert Tompkins – Osborne’s brother.

“This was compiled by (Molly) Kathleen Mary de Fraine née Tompkins, younger daughter of Osborne and Susan.”

She did not know how some of the younger girls were related but I managed to track them down and as I was adding some of the relationships to Granny’s comments just now, I realised that I have DNA matches with descendants of Ada de Fraine so I must contact them and see if they have this picture!

 

Week 30: The Old Country

Week 30: The Old Country

Because we moved around a lot when I was small, it wasn't until I was about 7 years old that we settled in one place when my parents bought a new build bungalow in Rockdale Drive, Grayshott. Four years later they moved on to nearby Headley and then on to...

read more

Week 27: Solo – choice or circumstance?

Catherine Godfree, born in 1844, was the youngest child of George and Mary Ann Godfree of Great Rissington. She had three older brothers and seven older sisters. Five of the sisters married and had large families, two sisters married but had no children, while two of the brothers never married and the one that did had emigrated to Australia following the death of his father.

read more
Week 10: Strong Woman

Week 10: Strong Woman

I have been fascinated by the story of my great x2 grandmother, Catherine Whitehill, born in Glasgow on the 31st May 1847. She had a tough life judging by where she lived, yet she raised 9 children to adulthood in 3 cities, Glasgow, Edinburgh and London, at a time when infant mortality was high.

read more
Week 15: From Fire to Form

Week 15: From Fire to Form

A quick query of my family tree software shows me that of those who have an occupation entered, I have 32 smiths or related occupations of whom 8 are blacksmiths, 2 gunsmiths, 3 silversmiths, and 4 whitesmiths and also some charcoal burners.

read more
Week 24: Handed Down

Week 24: Handed Down

I have already got a post about my "hand-me-downs", so I have recycled that one this week. It traces the story of Suie Gillett, my maternal great grandmother and shows how easy it is to get things wrong when tracing your family history! The Gillett Spoons Since I...

read more

Week 6: Same Name

When I saw this prompt, I immediately thought of Jessie Ann Lewcock, who baptised and buried five babies, three of them called Seth, their father’s name. Only her two oldest children survived to adulthood, a daughter, Grace Agnes, and Lewis named for her brother. Her...

read more

Week 23: Wedding

Marrying the sister of a deceased wife was illegal in Victorian England. " ...under the Marriage Act of 1835, which had the support of the established Anglican church, it was prohibited for a widower to marry his wife’s sister on the grounds of a passage in Leviticus,...

read more

Week 16: Air

Flying, civilian pilots and air crew, RAF & Fleet Air Arm, ornithologists, fresh air .... When I saw this week's prompt I wasn't sure I had anything to really write about and was intending to write about fresh air as most of the world including me are under...

read more

Week 9: Disaster

William George Lewcock 1839-1887. St George's Churchyard, Hanworth. William George Lewcock died on the 3rd May 1887 leaving a wife and 8 children, three of whom were under twelve years old. If we have connected the twigs and branches correctly, he is a very distant...

read more

Week 12: Very “historical” fiction

While I am doing my research I am mentally visualising the people I am looking at in the census or on a certificate and trying to imagine what their life was like; their house, the street, what they were wearing and how they spent their time. Because I read, and still...

read more
Week 5: So far away … from “home”

Week 5: So far away … from “home”

........ a light hearted look at genetic heritage. Both my grandmothers were Essex girls, but that is nothing to do with why I support West Ham! The theme tune for Sports Report (right click for the appropriate background music) brings back memories of being...

read more
Week 11: Serendipity

Week 11: Serendipity

Researching our family history depends on careful research over time, but is often progressed by a large slice of luck! I have had two major ones - both when I was looking for something else, one for my paternal line and one on the maternal. Maternal lucky find My...

read more
Week 8: Prosperity

Week 8: Prosperity

George Godfree was my great x2 uncle, the sixth child and second son of George and Mary Ann, nee Smith, Godfree of Great Rissington. His father died in 1850, leaving the farm to Mary, "if she wants it", and then to George's older brother. Like many other younger sons...

read more
Week 7: Favourite Discovery

Week 7: Favourite Discovery

I can't write in great detail about my favourite discovery as it involves living people, but it was very early on in my genealogy research days when I was one of the first members of Genes Connected as it then was. My family had lost touch with a paternal first cousin...

read more
Week 4: Close to Home

Week 4: Close to Home

​When I decided to take early retirement and come back to England after 32 years living and working in Belgium, I toyed with several places to live. I wanted to be nearish the coast, my parents were living near Ely at the time so investigated Norfolk and Suffolk but...

read more
Week 3: Long Line

Week 3: Long Line

I was wondering which ancestors to choose this week, but ​I have decided to interpret Long Line as Long List. As soon as you start your family history research, you start collecting bookmarks, favo(u)rites – whatever your browser of choice calls them. The list gets...

read more

Week 2: Favourite Photograph

This is a hard one. Should it be the picture of Sarah Jane Tompkins née Godfree, a maternal great x2 grandmother, which I see every day as it is hanging over my mantlepiece? She also appears at the top of every page of this website. Perhaps it could be the group one...

read more

Week 1: Fresh Start

Where to begin? I could write about my personal disappointment about the UK's fresh start tomorrow, or I could write about my own fresh start when I first took advantage of FOM in 1976 and moved to Belgium to work or when I came back to England in 2008. However, I...

read more

52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks

For some time, I had spotted references to Amy Johnson Crow's genealogical writing challenge, 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks, and often thought it would be a good idea but simply never got round to it. This year I saw another reference and as it was at the end of December, ...

read more

Schooldays

The de Fraine, Tompkins and Gillett families often sent both their sons and daughters away from home for a few years of education, and I have several times spotted familiar surnames on lists of pupils, which when I have tracked them through other census returns and through birth registrations have turned out to be related to the name I was originally looking for.

read more

Gilletts of the Cotswolds

Susan Gillett was the mother of Molly de Fraine née Tompkins.

Both of Susan Gillett’s parents were Gilletts. Her father, John, was the son of Richard and Ann Gillett and her mother, Susanna, was the daughter of George Gillett and Ann Andrews. 

John and Susanna were second cousins, the great grandchildren of Thomas Gillett and Elizabeth (formerly Bryan née Unknown).

The Gillett Spoons tells her story as well explaining how Molly and Leigh de Fraine were first cousins.

Ancestors of Susan Gillett

Week 24: Handed Down

Week 24: Handed Down

I have already got a post about my "hand-me-downs", so I have recycled that one this week. It traces the story of Suie Gillett, my maternal great grandmother and shows how easy it is to get things wrong when tracing your family history! The Gillett Spoons Since I...

read more
Week 11: Serendipity

Week 11: Serendipity

Researching our family history depends on careful research over time, but is often progressed by a large slice of luck! I have had two major ones - both when I was looking for something else, one for my paternal line and one on the maternal. Maternal lucky find My...

read more

Week 2: Favourite Photograph

This is a hard one. Should it be the picture of Sarah Jane Tompkins née Godfree, a maternal great x2 grandmother, which I see every day as it is hanging over my mantlepiece? She also appears at the top of every page of this website. Perhaps it could be the group one...

read more

Gilletts of the Cotswolds

Susan Gillett was the mother of Molly de Fraine née Tompkins.Both of Susan Gillett’s parents were Gilletts. Her father, John, was the son of Richard and Ann Gillett and her mother, Susanna, was the daughter of George Gillett and Ann Andrews. John and Susanna were...

read more

The Gillett Spoons

My parents had a motley collection of cutlery with various monograms, which had been passed down to my mother. This includes two incomplete sets of rather worn silver plated spoons, which are used every day. One set is monogrammed GAG, the other JSG but we weren’t...

read more

George and Ann Gillett

  George Gillett of Brize Norton married Ann Andrews, daughter of William Andrews, butcher, by licence, on 16th August 1836 in Bampton. Thomas Burrows officiated and the witnesses were George Andrews and Mary Smith. [George Gillett has a niece called Mary Smith...

read more

The Gillett Tree

  I was contacted through an earlier version of my site by JG who has offered me his own collection of Gilletts to add to mine. He has been lucky enough to be close to the Gloucester Records Office and so has seen the original documents!! I am really pleased that...

read more

Butcher (and gentleman) of Bampton

  William Andrews, butcher (and gentleman), was the maternal great grandfather of Susan Gillett, future wife of Edwin Osborne Tompkins. He was the son of Charles Andrews, of Eynsham, who was a collar maker, and Elizabeth Lawrence, who married in Stanton Harcourt...

read more

Schooldays

The de Fraine, Tompkins and Gillett families often sent both their sons and daughters away from home for a few years of education, and I have several times spotted familiar surnames on lists of pupils, which when I have tracked them through other census returns and through birth registrations have turned out to be related to the name I was originally looking for.

read more

The Gillett Spoons

My parents had a motley collection of cutlery with various monograms, which had been passed down to my mother. This includes two incomplete sets of rather worn silver plated spoons, which are used every day. One set is monogrammed GAG, the other JSG but we weren’t 100% sure who they had belonged to although we thought they had originally belonged to my great grandmother’s parents and grandparents. Apart from being very useful to stir one’s tea, they also helped me sort out some of my maternal family tree.

I knew that my great grandmother was born Susan Gillett, that her father’s name was John, that she was orphaned early, so she was initially brought up by one of her grandmothers and then later by John Tompkins as his ward. Susan married John’s son Osborne Tompkins and Osborne’s sister, Rosa Ellen, married Thomas Turner De Fraine in a double wedding in 1890. Later, the daughter of Osborne and Susan, Kathleen Mary Tompkins, married the son of Thomas and Rosa, Thomas Leigh De Fraine. They are my maternal grandparents.

We had a partial family tree drawn up by John Manning, a grandson of John Tompkins from John’s second marriage, but it didn’t go into any detail about the Gilletts, so some detective work was needed to fill in some gaps.

I remember my grandmother showing me the picture of the double wedding and talking about brothers and sisters marrying and mentioning adoption when I was little, but of course I never really took it in. In fact I had a very confused mental picture of two brothers marrying two sisters after one lot of parents dying in a car crash!!  Given the dates I now know, I don’t know where a car crash came into it. Stow-on-the-Wold was important somewhere in the story.

A Susan Gillett, aged 8, appears with John and Emma Gillett in 1871 in Maugersbury, Glos, listed as daughter. The 1881 census shows Susan living at the home of John Tompkins in Aveley, Essex and described as his ward – his wife’s name on this was Emma. We have a portrait photograph of John Tompkins wife – we knew that her name was Sarah Jane and that she was the mother of Osborne and Rosa, so Emma must have been his second wife.

The assumption from this would be that Emma was Susan’s mother. If you try to find Susan’s baptism on the FamilySearch website you would also assume from the Pedigree Resource File entry that her parents were John and Emma Gillett. Since I was fairly sure that Emma was not Susan’s real mother from what little I remembered from my grandmother, I had a strong feeling that this was wrong and it fact it proved to be so.

To be sure, I had to send off for her birth certificate. From the census entries, I knew Susan’s year of birth, and a trawl through the FreeBMD site gave me the birth reference.  The birth certificate named her parents as John Gillett and Susanna Gillett formerly Gillett which of course matched the JSG on one set of spoons, but which set of Gillett parents had owned the other set? (I was intrigued by her also being a Gillett, but that is another story of sets of cousins marrying and has been just as difficult to disentangle.)

I knew that Susan had been orphaned which was why she was taken in by John Tompkins and luckily a very short trawl through what was then called the 1837online indexes, now  findmypast, gave the reference for the death of Susanna, which when I had received the certificate gave me her age to work back from. I was very sad to see that Susan’s mother had died only 13 days after Susan’s birth on the 19th January, 1863 aged 25, of consumption which she had suffered from for some time.

I found a baptism for Susanna, as an extracted entry on the  International Genealogical Index (IGI), in 1837, daughter of a George and Ann Gillett in Brize Norton. This was unfortunately too early in the first year of Civil Registration to be able to obtain her birth certificate but remembering about the GAG monogram on the second set of spoons made me think that I had found my great great grandparents. To be as sure as I could, I sent for the marriage certificate for John and Susanna and this confirmed that her father’s name was George Gillett, farmer of Brize Norton.

So how did Susan end up as the ward of John and Emma Tompkins? Susanna had died in January 1863 and John Gillett married Emma Godfree in May 1864. He died himself in December 1871 when Susan was aged 8. Sarah Jane Tompkins had died in January 1872 leaving John with 10 children to raise and in September 1873 John married Emma, who happened to be Sarah Jane’s younger sister (!), and took her step-daughter in to his household.

My grandmother died in 2003 (aged 105) and recently, my mother discovered that Granny had kept a spoon which had once belonged to Susan. It is a well worn baby’s feeding spoon and the engraving reads:-

 “In memory of 
Susan Gillett  
died 19th Jany 1863

 Aged 25 Yrs.”

Had I known earlier about the existence of this particular spoon the detective work would have been a whole lot easier!

Also, tucked away in Granny’s writing case, there was a newspaper cutting reporting on the double wedding, which listed the wedding gifts and named the donors. My mother and I once spent a fascinating afternoon matching up the rest of the cutlery collection, and other bits and pieces which had been passed down through the family, with the list of gifts!

Sorting out Susan’s parentage is a tangled story which needed the BMD certificates to sort out and made the point to me very early on in my research about how important it is to confirm your sources. Unfortunately, once uploaded, mistakes are impossible to correct, so the error in the Pedigree Resource File may well be perpetuated by other researchers. This was a case of just relying on census returns and is an understandable mistake to make. Without the picture of Sarah Jane and the spoons, I too might have assumed that Emma was my great great grandmother and left it that.

 

An Important Envelope

Another piece of paper which Granny had tucked away, was an empty black edged envelope. It had been in my grandmother’s writing case with other seemingly insignificant bits of paper, some of which had been her mother’s. Unfortunately the envelope was empty, but even so, any family historian would understand my excitement when I saw it.

The sender was obviously in mourning, hence the black border, but why? A comparison of the postmark and my tree showed that a great(x2) great-uncle, Joseph Gillett, had died in the first quarter of that year. His mother, Ann, was living in Bampton at the time.

What was particularly exciting, was that I hadn’t been 100% sure that I had found the correct Gillett relations for my great grandmother, Susan Gillett,as by this time she had been taken in by the family of her stepmother’s second husband, with whom she was living in 1881. The letter had been addressed to her at the address of her paternal aunt where she was presumably visiting her grandfather!

Since then, I have found the announcement of Joseph’s death in Jackson’s Oxford Journal. He died on the 13th February 1882, the letter was sent on 17th February. The collection of postmarks on the back also show the way the letter travelled – postmarked the 17th in Bampton, Oxfordshire, travelling via Brize Norton and Moreton on the Marsh on the 18th to arrive in Maugersbury, Stow on the Wold also on the 18th.

Even though it is ‘only’ an empty envelope it tells me several stories and, more than likely, I also have an example of my great great great grandmother’s handwriting.

Week 24: Handed Down

Week 24: Handed Down

I have already got a post about my "hand-me-downs", so I have recycled that one this week. It traces the story of Suie Gillett, my maternal great grandmother and shows how easy it is to get things wrong when tracing your family history! The Gillett Spoons Since I...

read more
Week 11: Serendipity

Week 11: Serendipity

Researching our family history depends on careful research over time, but is often progressed by a large slice of luck! I have had two major ones - both when I was looking for something else, one for my paternal line and one on the maternal. Maternal lucky find My...

read more

Week 2: Favourite Photograph

This is a hard one. Should it be the picture of Sarah Jane Tompkins née Godfree, a maternal great x2 grandmother, which I see every day as it is hanging over my mantlepiece? She also appears at the top of every page of this website. Perhaps it could be the group one...

read more

Gilletts of the Cotswolds

Susan Gillett was the mother of Molly de Fraine née Tompkins.Both of Susan Gillett’s parents were Gilletts. Her father, John, was the son of Richard and Ann Gillett and her mother, Susanna, was the daughter of George Gillett and Ann Andrews. John and Susanna were...

read more

The Gillett Spoons

My parents had a motley collection of cutlery with various monograms, which had been passed down to my mother. This includes two incomplete sets of rather worn silver plated spoons, which are used every day. One set is monogrammed GAG, the other JSG but we weren’t...

read more

George and Ann Gillett

  George Gillett of Brize Norton married Ann Andrews, daughter of William Andrews, butcher, by licence, on 16th August 1836 in Bampton. Thomas Burrows officiated and the witnesses were George Andrews and Mary Smith. [George Gillett has a niece called Mary Smith...

read more

The Gillett Tree

  I was contacted through an earlier version of my site by JG who has offered me his own collection of Gilletts to add to mine. He has been lucky enough to be close to the Gloucester Records Office and so has seen the original documents!! I am really pleased that...

read more

Butcher (and gentleman) of Bampton

  William Andrews, butcher (and gentleman), was the maternal great grandfather of Susan Gillett, future wife of Edwin Osborne Tompkins. He was the son of Charles Andrews, of Eynsham, who was a collar maker, and Elizabeth Lawrence, who married in Stanton Harcourt...

read more

Schooldays

The de Fraine, Tompkins and Gillett families often sent both their sons and daughters away from home for a few years of education, and I have several times spotted familiar surnames on lists of pupils, which when I have tracked them through other census returns and through birth registrations have turned out to be related to the name I was originally looking for.

read more

George and Ann Gillett

George Gillett of Brize Norton married Ann Andrews, daughter of William Andrews, butcher, by licence, on 16th August 1836 in Bampton. Thomas Burrows officiated and the witnesses were George Andrews and Mary Smith. [George Gillett has a niece called Mary Smith who is the daughter of Thomas Smith and Elizabeth Gillett].

George was the fifth son and youngest of the nine children of John and Susanna Gillett née Wright and was baptised in Shilton, Berkshire on the 21st December 1804.

Ann and George were living at Astrop Farm, Brize Norton in 1841 and 1851. They had  four children, Susanna 1837,  William 1839, John 1840 and Joseph 1842.

This picture is believed to be of Ann c1870.

George died at the farm on the 24th April 1858 after a long illness (disease of the liver and brain paralysis), aged 54.

On 7th April 1861 Ann was a farmer of 280 acres employing 8 men 5 boys in Brize Norton. The address was Lower Astrop Farm House. Ann outlived all her children. Her daughter, Susanna, died in January 1863, her son, John, in March of the same year and her grandson, William’s son George Horatio, died in May. Ann’s son William died in 1868, leaving a daughter, Elizabeth. Joseph, their youngest child took on the farm. He married Elizabeth Woodbridge in 1869 and they were living at Astrop Farm in 1871 and 1881. In 1881, the farm was 288 acres and he employed 5 Men 4 Boys. They had four children. Joseph died in 1882.

Ann was still living in Brize Norton in 1871. Also in the household was Amy Monk, a visitor aged 76 born in Shilton, who was Ann’s sister-in-law (She married James Monk). In 1881 and 1891, Ann was living in Broad Street, Bampton. Also living with her were her granddaughters, Emilie Gillett, daughter of Joseph, and Lizzie Gillett, daughter of William. Ann was recorded then as a retired farmer. She died suddenly during the night of “disease of the heart” on 20th April 1891 in Bampton. She was buried on the 33rd anniversary of George’s death.

SUDDEN DEATH – We much regret to announce the death of Mrs Ann Gillett, of Broad-street, the widow of the late Mr. George Gillett, of Astrop Farm, Brize-Norton. Mrs. Gillett retired to bed apparently in her usual health on Sunday night, but on Mrs. Warner, a neighbour, who was sleeping in the house, going into her room on Monday morning, the poor lady was found to beb dead, having evidently passed away peacefully in her sleep, for there was not the slightest evidence of any pain or any disarrangment of the bedclothes. – An inquest (of the most formal character) was held on Monday evening, when a verdict practically in acordance with medical testimony was give, viz,. “disease of the heart” in conjunction with old age. Mrs. Gillett will be greatly missed in the town where she has resided for many years. She was much respected, and nothing but a feeling of regret is manifested by her friends, altho’ that regret is somewhat alleviated by the knowledge that the end was so peaceful. The remains were interred at Shilton to-day (Friday), the Rev. E. G. Hunt, vicar of Bampton, officiating. Many relatives and friends followed the cortége. The deceased was 77 years of age.
Jackson’s Oxford Journal (Oxford, England), Saturday, April 25, 1891; Issue 7205.

Ann had her estate probated in Oxfordshire. Personal estate: £69 2s. Sole executor: Edmund Robert Farbrother, of the Grammar School Bampton, schoolmaster.

Descendants of Ann Andrews and George Gillett

 
Week 24: Handed Down

Week 24: Handed Down

I have already got a post about my "hand-me-downs", so I have recycled that one this week. It traces the story of Suie Gillett, my maternal great grandmother and shows how easy it is to get things wrong when tracing your family history! The Gillett Spoons Since I...

read more
Week 11: Serendipity

Week 11: Serendipity

Researching our family history depends on careful research over time, but is often progressed by a large slice of luck! I have had two major ones - both when I was looking for something else, one for my paternal line and one on the maternal. Maternal lucky find My...

read more

Week 2: Favourite Photograph

This is a hard one. Should it be the picture of Sarah Jane Tompkins née Godfree, a maternal great x2 grandmother, which I see every day as it is hanging over my mantlepiece? She also appears at the top of every page of this website. Perhaps it could be the group one...

read more

Gilletts of the Cotswolds

Susan Gillett was the mother of Molly de Fraine née Tompkins.Both of Susan Gillett’s parents were Gilletts. Her father, John, was the son of Richard and Ann Gillett and her mother, Susanna, was the daughter of George Gillett and Ann Andrews. John and Susanna were...

read more

The Gillett Spoons

My parents had a motley collection of cutlery with various monograms, which had been passed down to my mother. This includes two incomplete sets of rather worn silver plated spoons, which are used every day. One set is monogrammed GAG, the other JSG but we weren’t...

read more

George and Ann Gillett

  George Gillett of Brize Norton married Ann Andrews, daughter of William Andrews, butcher, by licence, on 16th August 1836 in Bampton. Thomas Burrows officiated and the witnesses were George Andrews and Mary Smith. [George Gillett has a niece called Mary Smith...

read more

The Gillett Tree

  I was contacted through an earlier version of my site by JG who has offered me his own collection of Gilletts to add to mine. He has been lucky enough to be close to the Gloucester Records Office and so has seen the original documents!! I am really pleased that...

read more

Butcher (and gentleman) of Bampton

  William Andrews, butcher (and gentleman), was the maternal great grandfather of Susan Gillett, future wife of Edwin Osborne Tompkins. He was the son of Charles Andrews, of Eynsham, who was a collar maker, and Elizabeth Lawrence, who married in Stanton Harcourt...

read more

Schooldays

The de Fraine, Tompkins and Gillett families often sent both their sons and daughters away from home for a few years of education, and I have several times spotted familiar surnames on lists of pupils, which when I have tracked them through other census returns and through birth registrations have turned out to be related to the name I was originally looking for.

read more