Q is for …

… more questions than answers.

Well, there are 3,658 persons in Andrew’s Kindred, my family tree, or “hedgerow”, but none has a family name beginning with “Q”.  Nor, even, a first name beginning with “Q”.  And there is no royalty, so none of our queens is featured.

cheshire fields 171201 s
Andrew’s Kindred is more akin to this type of landscape than the traditional, regular tree-shaped view. Many ancestors lie in shadow, there forever to remain.

I have a number of women in my tree whose family names are unknown to me.  This is because I know their first names from censuses or baptisms.  Sometimes baptism records include something about the mother’s family, such as “daughter of William Smith”, but in most cases only the mother’s first name is given.  One more Mary among the throng.  Marriage records usually record maiden names, or at least father’s name, but sometimes a record cannot be found, or at least one that clearly relates to the correct William Smith and Mary.

So why can I not find (re-find) the marriage of William Smith to Mary on 26 September 1806 at Measham, (at the time) Derbyshire?  I must have found some record of this to have such a precise date, but did not note the bride’s maiden name.  The connection is tangential, so it is not worth much time.  Their daughter, Mary, was baptised on 6 October 1813 at Newton Burgoland, Leicestershire, and, on marriage to Joseph Dennis was confused by some, including me at first, with another Mary, also married to a Joseph Dennis.  These are the false trails that can lead to mistaken ancestry, attaching the researcher to more glamorous or infamous characters.

The Joseph I am interested in was older brother to my second great grandfather Henry Dennis, born 1814 at Measham.  Here is what I wrote on Ancestry:

Mary Smith or Mary Hart?

Fellow researchers have Joseph 1812 married to Mary Smith on 15 October 1833 at Measham. At first sight this makes much more sense than a marriage to Mary Hart at Church Gresley.  However, Joseph 1850 was born to Joseph Dennis and Mary Hart (I have the entry of birth) and he is recorded in the 1851 Census at Bagworth with older brothers and sisters, all of whom were born at Bagworth, and those for whom [Familysearch] supplies records were christened at Measham (Wesleyan) or Bagworth.  Bagworth is consistent with Joseph being brother to Henry 1814 and William 1805, as is the move to the Cannock Chase coalfield in about 1852.  Therefore, Henry’s brother Joseph married Mary Hart.

The 1841 Census has another Joseph Dennis (30) and Mary (25) at Ashby Woulds with children William (5) and Fanny (1). William was baptised on 20 December 1835 at Measham (Wesleyan) to Joseph Dennis and Mary Smith.  The same family appears in the 1851 Census at Donisthorpe (HO107/ 2084/585/10) with further children including Joseph (2); this Joseph cannot be the same as Joseph 1850, the son of Mary Hart. Crucially, the Census records this Mary’s birthplace as Newton Burgoland and a Mary Smith was christened there on 6 October 1813 [Familysearch].  This family appears to belong to Joseph Dennis (1807) and Mary Smith. In 1851 they were next-but-one to the Navigation Inn, Measham.

That was in 2011.  Since then, records have turned up on Findmypast, whose images sometimes add more certainty.  The fact of baptism in Newton Burgoland, even though they were of the parish of Swepstone, indicates Mary (mother) had some connection, but I suspect she is one that will remain in the shadows.

mary smith bp 1813 newton burgoland c
Baptism of Mary Smith at Newton Burgoland on 6 October 1813.
william dennis bp 1835 measham
Baptism of Mary’s son, William Dennies, 20 December 1835, Measham – note that his wife Mary was the daughter of William and Mary Smith.



Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s