Wednesday, 24 June 2015

Progress - one more generation.

I have been stuck for ages at the brick wall of the Robert Fletcher that married his "cousin" Muriel Fletcher in 1813. In a very round-about way using some information I had about a Robert Robbins Fletcher who was a very distant connection of the family in the Honeybourne area (he married Mary Ashwin, a sister of Phoebe Ashwin who married another Fletcher, Richard, also of Honeybourne), I was able to work backwards to the origin of the Robbins name. Why I thought that following that line would be helpful I don't it a hunch! William Fletcher of Moreton in Marsh married Elizabeth Robins of Blockley in 1758. They had at least three children Thomas, Robert and Joseph. Thomas was the father of Robert Robbins Fletcher and his brother Robert, son of William, was the Robert who married Muriel. Wills, some online legal documents, and a whole lot of BDM data all seem to tie this in. It just seemed to be such a convoluted way to work one generation back; but when the direct way seems blocked I suppose there is no alternative but to try to sneak around it by a more circuitous route!Anyway, I felt very jubilant about cracking the puzzle!

Wednesday, 17 June 2015

I love monumental inscriptions!

And of course, the people who trudge around churchyards making transcriptions of aged and weathered headstones. Hats off to you, because they are such a boon to the family historian. After finding Ann Fletcher's marriage to John Jackson, I thought I had better check out this "Norton" from whence he came (great phrase that!) Turns out to be a place called Norton Lindsey in Warwickshire with the Jacksons being a prominent farming family of the time. The inscription for Ann Jackson very kindly identified her as a "daughter of Richard Fletcher of Charringworth" Another document I found courtesy of Dear Google indicated that her death was recorded by the coroner as "a Visitation from God", the modern equivalent being of natural causes.

Susannah Fletcher died 1814

I have been trying to get the last few details about the children of my 4X great grandparents, Richard Fletcher and Muriel Smith. They had seven children and four of those survived to adulthood. Yesterday I discovered what became of their daughter Susannah, baptised at Ebrington in 1786. Dear Google threw up a snippet from an old book published in 1814 that mentioned a Miss Fletcher, daughter of the late Rch. Fletcher of Weston Subedge, who die at Bath in 1814. A quick search through the National Burial Index gave me Susanna Fletcher buried at Walcot (near Bath) in Somerset. Quite what she was doing there I don't know. Had she been poorly and gone to Bath to "take the waters"? She had received a bequest in the will of her father who died in 1813. Maybe she used some of the money to express her independence and travel away from home. The only child still eluding me is daughter Ann. I have not yet found a baptism record for her, but she is mentioned in both the wills of her parents and also in some legal documents arising from the inheritance disputes connected with those wills. She married a Mr John Jackson of Norton in Warwickshire in 1817 and in 1824, according to the legal documents, was still without children. More work required here!

Sunday, 14 June 2015

John Fletcher - a twisty tale.

I am surprised by how mobile some of our ancestors were. We tend to think of people staying put for generations in a single town or village, and yes, sometimes this is the case. But sometimes the paper trail reveals a series of moves that can take a lot of painstaking unpicking before the puzzle pieces fall into place. This seems to be the case with my 6 x great grandfather John Fletcher. He was born in Ebrington in 1669 and it was there that his first child was born in 1695. The register does not mention a name for the mother. This child went on to become Mary Pool of my previous posts. The next journey for this little family appears to take them to Harvington, near Evesham, where four more children were baptised. However, before I discovered the Harvington connection, I had found a baptism record in the Wellesbourne register for Elizabeth Fletcher 1704, daughter of John and Ann Fletcher of Harvington. The dates seemed to fit so I investigated the Wellesbourne registers more closely and found two more baptisms, one for Robert in 1709 and one for Richard in 1712. I was particularly excited by this as the will of Richard Fletcher of Ebrington 1779, indicated I should be looking for him belonging to a family with siblings called Mary, Robert and Thomas. His burial record also indicated that he had been born abt 1712! So, with Mary and Robert in hand, I knew that if I could locate an appropriate baptism for a Thomas Fletcher I would be in the ball park. Time to follow up the Harvington clue. Dear Google led me to a website of the Harvington History group that has, with all the appropriate permissions, made freely available transcriptions of the Harvington parish registers. A quick search of these and I had my Thomas, as well as a William, Ann, and another Richard. Their births all slotted neatly into the gaps between the Wellesbourne baptisms, although my heart did sink momentarily when I discovered the second Richard. However further investigations revealed his burial the year after his birth. So my John Fletcher - born in Ebrington, lived in Harvington and Wellesbourne, where he died in 1725. What he did that took him to these places I don't know, but I would certainly love to find out! My next task will be to find out who Ann his wife was and where they were married.

Friday, 12 June 2015

Mary Fletcher married John Pool

Today I discovered that Mary Fletcher, mentioned in the previous post, married a chap called John Pool in Chipping Campden in 1724. They went on to have at least six children baptized in Chipping Campden - Charles (who was mentioned in Richard Fletcher's 1779 will) as well as John, Thomas, Mary, Elizabeth and Joseph. I wonder if the other children were not legatees because they had died before the will was written or whether they had been provided for in other ways? Hopefully some further investigation of Chipping Campden registers may go some way to answering that question. And while Mary Fletcher is not a direct ancestor of mine, but is a many times great aunt, I find that it is often useful to sort out the sidelines to narrow down the candidates for the direct line! Well....that is my theory. Oh dear, I am starting to sound like Ann Elk! For a little Friday Funny, here is Ann Elk herself!

Wednesday, 10 June 2015

Fletcher family of Ebrington

I finally feel as though I am starting to unwind some of the convolutions of this family. My grandmother Isabella Sheaf of Honeybourne was descended twice over from the Fletchers, with the marriage of Robert Fletcher and his cousin Muriel Fletcher in 1813. They were her great grandparents. The Fletchers are an important part of the Sheaf story not just because of this double line, but also because Isabella's childhood home at Honeybourne Manor Farm came into the Sheaf family through this marriage. Muriel Fletcher's parents were Richard Fletcher and Muriel Smith who were from the Aston Magna area near Ebrington in Gloucestershire. Richard was a child of Richard Fletcher and Sarah ? also of Ebrington. By collating all the BDMs I can find from the Ebrington registers and online indexes etc I have come to the conclusion that Richard Fletcher 1712-1779 (Muriel's grandfather) was a son of John Fletcher born Ebrington abt 1669. At this stage I have John's other children as Mary (born 1695 Ebrington), Robert and Thomas. Mary married Mr Pool and they had a child Charles. Thomas married somebody and had at least three children Thomas, Richard and Robert but as yet I have not narrowed down any specific dates for them. These are all named as legatees in an abstract of Richard's will 1779. Richard's 1779 will also mentions a niece, Mary Holtham wife of Abel Holtham of Wellesbourne. They were married in Wellesbourne in 1762. She must be a daughter of either Robert or Thomas, but at this point in time I am not sure which. Richard appears to have acquired considerable amounts of farmland in his lifetime, mentioning land/property in Ilmington, Ebrington, Hidcote and Saintbury. These are the leads I am currently following in order to find out more.

An introduction...

I have started this blog in the hope that firstly, it will help me clarify and organize my genealogical research into the Sheaf families of Kent, Worcestershire, Warwickshire, Gloucestershire and London and secondly, that it might put me in touch with other researchers or descendants of these families with whom I can share information and stories. I have been puddling away with my research for a couple of years now, building on earlier research from my mother and my Aunt. Some family lines are quite detailed and others are much more sketchy - a typical work in progress I would say! Anyway, I am going to dive right in and publish snippets as I go, depending on what I am looking into at the time. At the moment, for instance, I am untangling the Gorgon's knot of Fletchers from the Ebrington, Blockley, Ilmington region of Gloucestershire and Worcestershire.....but more of that in the next post!