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Thread: Help with English genealogy.

  1. #1
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    Help with English genealogy.

    I've gotten wonderful advice here before so I figured it couldn't hurt to take a crack at one of the most frustrating brick walls in my tree. The mystery man is John Saunders, from the parish of Kings Bromley in Staffordshire, England. The problems are plentiful, to start I do not think that I have an accurate birth date. At the time of Johns death in 1840 (yes, just shy of the census, woe is me) the only person with him was his daughter, Dorothy, who was only five years old at the time and likely did not convey the correct information. On the death registration he is said to be 65 years old placing his birth around 1775. I believe this is incorrect, he would have been having children into his sixties (the last children, Lucy and Henry, being born in 1840). He was married in 1819, his wife, Rebecca, was born in 1799, making John almost 45 years old at the time of marriage. It just seems so unlikely for the time.

    On the marriage ban John is said to be from the same parish (Kings Bromley), usually when I have a look at marriage records and one of the spouses is born elsewhere it is noted as "So and So, from the parish of..." instead of "So and So, from THIS parish...", am I correct to believe he would have been born there? Or is this a huge error in judgement on my part?

    I've been looking at records around the time of his supposed birth (1775, searching 1783 +/- 10 years strictly in Kings Bromley) and only come up with one result, baptized 1778, but upon tracing the line found him to be a different person (he appears on the 1841 census).

    This brings me a geographic question, would it be safe to start looking in Burton Upon Trent? Is this too simplistic? Perhaps Lichfield would be a better start since they lived in Bromley Regis?

    I have DNA matches to this line, a second cousin through my great grandfathers first marriage (I'm a product of his second) so I've been trying to sort out our mutual connections but it's been difficult to say the least. Our highest mutual connection is only 30 cM, I've been able to trace their tree but their Saunders family is from Sussex, a far cry from Staffordshire, and there seems no connection between the two families yet. It doesn't help that I can't find any images of the birth and marriage records from Worth, as it would help to see if everyone is native to the parish.

    Any help and advice would be appreciated. If you've broken through on something like this I'd love to hear how, even if it's a simple "wait for the right match". I've sent in an AncestryDNA kit so hopefully I'll at least get more matches and more clues.

    I don't know if this makes any difference but John passed away of "dropsical". I hate looking into medical conditions so I haven't googled this term yet, I doubt it will help anything but thought I should include it.

    Thanks for reading the rantings of a madman!

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    Quote Originally Posted by BackToTheForests View Post

    On the marriage ban John is said to be from the same parish (Kings Bromley), usually when I have a look at marriage records and one of the spouses is born elsewhere it is noted as "So and So, from the parish of..." instead of "So and So, from THIS parish...", am I correct to believe he would have been born there? Or is this a huge error in judgement on my part?
    Yes, this is an error on your part. The "öf this parish" designation in marriage records only relates to where they resided at the time of the marriage, and has nothing to do with where they were born.

    Since the vast majority of the rural population traveled only short distances during their lifetime, the usual practice is to start searching baptismal entries of parishes within a radius of 25 or 30 miles. However there were exceptions and some people traveled large distances. I would probably start by looking for other instances of the surname in the county in the 1841 census. If you don't turn up anything, you can expand the radius.

    I agree that his supposed age at death is very possibly inaccurate. Listed ages at death are notoriously inaccurate, as the person most likely to know the correct age wasn't available to provide the answer.

    A question you should ask is what may have attracted him to Kings Bromley? Also if you know what his occupation was, that could be helpful. I think Burton-on-Trent is unlikely. Generally people moved from rural areas to towns and not vice versa.

    Moves are the most common cause of brick walls in genealogy. Good luck in your search.

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    Thank you for your insights, I appreciate your response. Since you mention the 1841 census, his wife and children are listed on the same page as another Saunders who I've confirmed to be a brother to another Saunders listed on the very next page, they were born in 1801 and 1803, respectively, both in Kings Bromley, to a John and Hannah Saunders. There is a John Saunders born to a John and Hannah in 1798 but it says Saint Michaels, Stafford, which I believe is Stoke on Trent, but I cannot prove a connection. The family were farmers and John was an agricultural laborer as were the two other Saunders' listed on the same census as Johns wife. I would think that it was as simple as work attracting them to Bromley, my aunt has told me that they were very poor people (she learned a lot from my grandfather who passed while my father was still a boy) but cannot recall ever hearing where the family hailed from before Burton upon Trent and Kings Bromley (after Johns death his son, my 2xgreat, moved to Burton presumably, again, for work).
    Last edited by BackToTheForests; 03-10-2019 at 09:06 PM. Reason: Edit: Needed to tidy up

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    I looked up the census before seeing your last post, and that was my first thought -- that it's worth exploring a connection with the other Sanders/Saunders living near the family. That there's yet another on the next page related to Joseph supports that idea. A John and Hannah (possibly the parents of Joseph, b. 1801) not only had a possible John in 1797 in Enville parish, but a daughter Mary the year before. I'd try to track down all the children of a John and Hannah Saunders/Sanders in each parish to see if the children's birth dates and places suggest they are likely the same people but moved, and similarly look for their marriage records/burial records.

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    Quote Originally Posted by BackToTheForests View Post
    Thank you for your insights, I appreciate your response. Since you mention the 1841 census, his wife and children are listed on the same page as another Saunders who I've confirmed to be a brother to another Saunders listed on the very next page, they were born in 1801 and 1803, respectively, both in Kings Bromley, to a John and Hannah Saunders. There is a John Saunders born to a John and Hannah in 1798 but it says Saint Michaels, Stafford, which I believe is Stoke on Trent, but I cannot prove a connection. The family were farmers and John was an agricultural laborer as were the two other Saunders' listed on the same census as Johns wife. I would think that it was as simple as work attracting them to Bromley, my aunt has told me that they were very poor people (she learned a lot from my grandfather who passed while my father was still a boy) but cannot recall ever hearing where the family hailed from before Burton upon Trent and Kings Bromley (after Johns death his son, my 2xgreat, moved to Burton presumably, again, for work).
    I think it's very unlikely that St. Michaels, Stafford refers to Stoke on Trent. I would think it's more likely to refer to Stafford, a town located about 15 miles from Kings Bromley. However I can't find a church there called St. Michaels, but there appears to be an area there with that name. I can't find a St. Michaels church in Stoke either. What was the source where you found this information? Also I don't think Stoke is a likely place for a family involved with agriculture to reside, as it was the center of pottery manufacture.

    I also think it's not very probable that there would be two unrelated Saunders families in a small village like Kings Bromley at that time.
    Last edited by GoldenHind; 03-11-2019 at 11:44 PM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by GoldenHind View Post
    I think it's very unlikely that St. Michaels, Stafford refers to Stoke on Trent. I would think it's more likely to refer to Stafford, a town located about 15 miles from Kings Bromley. However I can't find a church there called St. Michaels, but there appears to be an area there with that name. I can't find a St. Michaels church in Stoke either. What was the source where you found this information? Also I don't think Stoke is a likely place for a family involved with agriculture to reside, as it was the center of pottery manufacture.

    I also think it's not very probable that there would be two unrelated Saunders families in a small village like Kings Bromley at that time.
    I am absolutely terrible at this, it is Saint Mary, not Saint Michael. I've been getting mixed up lately because I've been tracing back every John Saunders/Sanders in the vicinity of Kings Bromley (I know, two different surnames but ours changed for some reason upon the move to Burton, it's also extremely common to see the same baptism records alternate spelling, though it will appear as "Saunders" generally when handwritten). Sorry for that. I also agree that it is unlikely that these two brothers, both living so close to Johns widow and each other, are not related to John in some way. With such a wide gap between births of other potential siblings and the 1841 census it will be very difficult to sort out, I feel like I'm mostly relying on dumb luck at this point.

    I have been able to trace others of the same surname in Kings Bromley back to Stoke but I'm not sure how to make a connection, if there even is one to make. Thank you so much for your help so far.

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    Quote Originally Posted by msmarjoribanks View Post
    I looked up the census before seeing your last post, and that was my first thought -- that it's worth exploring a connection with the other Sanders/Saunders living near the family. That there's yet another on the next page related to Joseph supports that idea. A John and Hannah (possibly the parents of Joseph, b. 1801) not only had a possible John in 1797 in Enville parish, but a daughter Mary the year before. I'd try to track down all the children of a John and Hannah Saunders/Sanders in each parish to see if the children's birth dates and places suggest they are likely the same people but moved, and similarly look for their marriage records/burial records.
    Somehow I've missed your comment but thank you! I am following the exact same line of thought, records and all, as you are and I've come to the same conclusion. The difficulty is the huge gap between the births and the 1841 census, it's hard for me to be 100% sure that I'm following the right people. Thank you again, I feel much better about the direction I've taken with the family. If you have a look at the public family trees (searching by John b.1775 d.1840) you will see that some people connect him to Warwickshire. I'm absolutely positive that this is incorrect for many reasons and have messaged most tree creators to express my concerns only to be met with "I've copied the info from another tree, sorry!". Anyway, I'm going to continue on searching for John and Hannah, I agree that this may be the best step to take next. Thanks again!

    Edit: Meant to add that, as well as Mary, they had a "Jane" in 1790, too.
    Last edited by BackToTheForests; 03-12-2019 at 01:45 PM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by BackToTheForests View Post
    I am absolutely terrible at this, it is Saint Mary, not Saint Michael.
    St. Mary's is one of two ancient parishes in the town of Stafford, not Stoke.
    Last edited by GoldenHind; 03-12-2019 at 03:35 PM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by GoldenHind View Post
    St. Mary's is one of two ancient parishes in the town of Stafford, not Stoke.
    The Saint Mary I'm referencing is indeed in Enville, Staffordshire, 03 April 1797. There is a Stafford record too, which has a better chance of being correct IF John is truly related to Joseph and Thomas. I say this because I've found a 1841 census of a John Saunders, in Enville, born there in 1797. Funny enough, he had also married a Rebecca.

    So many John Saunders' born in Staffordshire at the time...It really is a mess.
    Last edited by BackToTheForests; 03-12-2019 at 06:53 PM. Reason: To add details, found a record

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    I suppose the best that I can hope for is to cross reference each baptism record with the 1841 census. I've got 12 census' and a little over 40 baptism records...

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