29 February 2008

Oh Oh! I Think We Have a Problem: The Dilemma of Same Name Individuals

I was sitting with a client the other night, when suddenly I noticed a big problem in her pedigree. We were in the process of establishing a link with a distant cousin, when I noticed that we had two individuals by the same name. These two men appeared in the 1850 Census living in adjacent counties. They shared the same name, John, and each had a son named Jesse, who was 7 or 8 years old. The questions become, which Jesse is the correct Jesse, and how do the two Johns connect? (The cousin assures my client that they a very closely related, sharing multiple family lines.)

Few vital records are available in this time period in America, so I turned to the census records. I searched for both families in every census where they appeared, solving the first question easily. Each father, John, lived in the same county where I first found them in 1850. One son, Jesse, stayed in the same county and town as his father. In the 1880 census, father and son were living next to each other. Looking at the names of grandsons proved convincing evidence that the cousin's ancestor, Jesse, was not the brother of my client's ancestor as was believed.

The second question remains unanswered at this time. It is obvious that the relationship between the two families goes back at least one more generation as none of my client's ancestor's brothers had a son named John. Hopefully, a little more research in family records will prove the relationship between these families.

Mixing generations is another common problem associated with same name individuals. Sons listed as their mother's spouse, a brother listed as the child of another brother, etc. Careful attention to dates and places is needed to prevent the mixing of individuals and generations. Analyze your records for similar errors.

22 February 2008

How Can I Help You?

Do you need advice, or can you offer advice? If so post your question--someone may have an answer. I am willing to post information from you.
Do you need a quick look-up from a parish register? If the parish is located near Aston Rowant, Oxfordshire, I may have the fiche.
Do you also have an interest in John Loader, born about 1718, and living in Aston Rowant? I can tell you what I have searched in my efforts to locate his parents which could save you hours of research.
Are you interested in the Quartermain family of Lewknor? I can forward my extracted list of baptisms, marriages and burials from about 1740-1810. I also have lists of Britnell's, Croxford's, Dutton's, Filbee's and Floyd's from Chinnor, Crowell, Lewknor, Sydenham, and Thame.
I am happy to share what I have, and willing to negotiate for more extensive needs.

21 February 2008

My Favorite British Research Aids

Aside from the Vital Record’s Index, Census records, and the International Genealogical Index (IGI), my favorite research aids include the following books (listed in no particular order):

1) The Victoria History of the Counties of England, edited by R. B. Pugh.
This multi-volume collection provides information on the cities, towns, villages and hamlets of the counties of England. Some volumes include historical village maps, photographs, architectural information about the local church and manor house, prominent people (including the vicars, local gentry, and other notables), and agricultural and manufacturing practices of the area. (I own just one volume of this set.)

2) Some Special Studies in Genealogy, edited by Chas. A. Bernau.
A friend gave me this tiny reference book published in 1908. It is full of little gems of knowledge about the different record types of value to the genealogist. The archives and payment fees are out of date, but the rest of the information in as current today as it was 100 years ago.

3) Child’s History of England, by Charles Dickens.
This charming history starts with the Romans and concludes with the year 1887. Here is a little sample:
“With the exception of occasional troubles with the Welsh and with the French, the rest of the King Henry’s reign was quiet enough. But, the King was far from happy, and probably was troubled in his conscience by knowing that he had usurped the crown, and had occasioned the death of his miserable cousin.” (Dickens, p. 175)

4) Nineteenth-Century Britain: A Very Short Introduction, by Christopher Harvie & H.C.G Matthews. Very short indeed, this volume is 177 pages including the index, but here you will find politics, religion, wars, economics, and people of the 19th century.

5) Ancestral Trails: The Complete Guide to British Genealogy and Family History, by Mark D. Herber. If you want to know about a topic, you will find it in this volume. He discusses record types, and archives. There are even illustrations in this great book.

6) Genealogical Research in England and Wales, volumes 1-3, by David E. Gardner and Frank Smith. I am lucky indeed to own all three volumes. The last volume includes paleography lessons, and a guide to Latin names and terms commonly found in Wills and church records.

7) The Phillimore Atlas & Index of Parish Registers, edited by Cecil R. Humphery-Smith.
This is my all time favorite research aid. This book has pre-1832 county maps which show the parish bounderies. It also includes an index of parish registers--the time period covered by the registers, their availability, the civil registration district of each parish, if marriages were indexed by Boyd's or Pallot's, and the time period of the registers included in the IGI. It is almost impossible to do British research without this book. This book was well worth every penny that I spent to aquire it!

12 February 2008

Francis Britnell's Will and the Dossett Children

In 1718, Francis Brudnell (Britnell), christened 11 Aug. 1631 at Chinnor, Oxfordshire, England, wrote a Will naming his living children and grandchildren. He named them as follows:
Francis, his son, and grandchildren:
Francis, and Francis’ daughter Mary

Thomas, his son, and grandchildren:

William, his son, who was deceased, and grandchild:

His grandchildren, no parent named:
Richard Dossett
Mary Dossett
James Dossett

Although he named his son, William who was deceased, he failed to give us the name of the parent of the Dossett children.

Elizabeth, christened 16 Dec. 1656 at Chinnor, is the only identified daughter of Francis and his wife, Susannah. We assume that she is the parent of the Dossett children listed in the Will. However, no marriage is found in Chinnor or nearby Radnage, Buckingham. The Britnell families lived at Spriggs Alley on the south end of Chinnor Parish. Radnage is the nearest parish to Spriggs Alley (also known in earlier records as Alliver or Ollivers Alley).

An IGI search located marriages for two Elizabeths who married Dossetts in the surrounding area. John Dossett married Eliz. Cossendon, 27 Dec 1679 at Princes Risborough, Buckingham. The second couple was Thomas Dossett who married Eliz. at Bledlow, Buckingham.

Thomas and Elizabeth, maiden name unknown, were the parents of Elizabeth, c. 1694; Ann, c. 1695; Robert, c. 1700; John, c. 1704; Ralph, c. 1707; and Martin, c. 1709. All were christened at Bledlow.

An IGI search of children born to John and Elizabeth Dossett in Oxfordshire or Buckingham located seven potential candidates christened in Radnage. They are: Elizabeth [listed as Dorsett], c. 1662; Edward, c. 1664; Susanna, c. 1684; Francis, c. 1685; Richard, c. 1687; Susannah, c. 1689; Mary, c. 1692; James, c. 1694.

The first couple, Thomas and Elizabeth, can be eliminated. The names of the children do not match those given in the Will. Also, Elizabeth Britnell was born in 1657—making her a little old to be the mother of these children.

The second couple, John and Eliz. Cossendon, are obviously not the right couple, but are they the parents of the children christened in Radnage? The first two children christened in Radnage were born too early to be the children of Elizabeth Britnell or Eliz. Cossendon, but the other six children could be Elizabeth Britnell’s or the John and Eliz. Cossendon Dossett’s who married in Princes Risborough.

The names of three of the children match those found in the Will and Francis and Susannah are the names of Elizabeth Britnell’s parents.

So, was Elizabeth Britnell married to a John Dossett? Are the children christened at Radnage her children? Further research is needed to locate a marriage record if it exists. What do you know about this family?