In my last little write-up I spoke of the problems you can encounter when you research your family tree. The worst search result of course is the “dead-end”. This is when there is no apparent course to follow to get back to another generation. This situation suggests, logically, that the last person you found must have moved into that area. How could you find out where he came from?. Was he a tradesman of some sort or a serf / servant / member of the ‘Big House’ staff. Then there is a possibility that he came to where he is when his employer moved to where you found your ancestor. Sometimes he may have just been from a nearby parish. Many marriages would be in the bride’s parish and the groom from another usually about four miles away. So remember to search through all your local parishes.
I believe that my line of RAYNERs started in Great Maplestead, just about 2.5 miles NNW of Halstead. My first earliest identified RAYNER was possibly an employee of the local 16th century hierarchy ie: The DEANE Family, who were “The Lords of the Manor of Great Maplestead”. However, DEANE is a quite common name (see Wikipedia) and if any domestic records were made in those early days they are now hard to find. Any that might be deep in the Essex County Archives are written with a quill pen and difficult to read.
When trying to find some STOCKDEN names I even went to Liverpool RO to see what I might find. There had been a marriage between a Bathsheba STOCKDEN and a William TAYLOR in 1859 in Liverpool. But nothing more was found. Perhaps they left on a White Star liner of the day, to distant shores. Others that I turned up were misnamed as STOCTON, STOCKTON and STOCKDON, I had to then find the evidence to prove they were STOCKDEN. Find the census, baptism and PRO records and they will give you the proof you need to correct any mistakes that were made long ago. But sometimes you will never get the answer.
In 1883, in Cardiff, a Jane STOCKDEN, daughter of a George Brayley STOCKDEN, married Samuel BROOKS. Their address was the same – a boarding house perhaps – and no more evidence could be found of their past or future. Perhaps they were STOCKTON and as suddenly as they appeared they were gone!. So whatever you find as ‘evidence of identification’ for a person on your search list, keep it safe as you will need it later. I also searched the Swansea RO and found B,D,M’s that I had not found at KEW PRO.
When a family stays in one area and uses the same church for baptisms of their children a different vicar or curate may carry out the service and spell the family name differently. One RAYNER family I found had several different spellings of RAYNER. For example : RAINER, RAINOR, REYNOR, REYNAR, It could have depended on whether the vicar thought he knew best how to spell names, or the family accent which could make the name sound different to how it could be written down. This often happens when the parents of the child being baptised are unable to read or write. Another example of keeping the evidence to help you sort out the right results of your search.
Remember that Family History is addictive. Follow the three guidelines of Plan, Prepare and then Produce your results in a way that your relatives will appreciate your final work.