Continuing my review of Ancestry’s ThruLines suggestions as to my ancestors. This time it’s fourth great grandfather Benjamin Wildman, father of Mary Wildman, whom I considered last time. I already had a Benjamin Wildman in my tree, too, based on the baptism of Mary, but, while I had a birth date of 1750, ThruLines led me to others who had 1752, and with different parents. Obviously, both could not be right, so what is the truth?
The two baptisms appear in the record of Leicestershire Baptisms, which I accessed via Findmypast. This provides facsimiles of the original parish records. Both were registered at Measham (Anglican: therefore St Laurence), then in Derbyshire. Here are the relevant lines and transcripts:
Each makes it’s own sense. Unlike later records there is no information about abode or father’s occupation that might be of help, so how to decide which was Mary’s father?
One obvious route is to find a burial and work backwards from age at death. According to the parish records there were just four burials of people named Benjamin Wildman at Measham in the relevant period:
- 26 Feb 1753. No age is given, but no parents’ names are, so this would be an adult and therefore too old to be “the” Benjamin.
- 19 Jan 1777 son of Samuel & Anne. Again, no age is given, but recording parents indicates that the deceased was a minor and is therefore not a third candidate.
- 26 Apr 1802. Again, no age, but this seems to be the only possibility. (The Sherlock Holmes principle.)
- 31 Jul 1804 son of Henry & Ann Wildman, so not a candidate, either.
1802 it is, then, and others have reached the same conclusion. When I visited Measham St Laurence few memorials remained, and my recollection is that most were illegible. My experience is that memorials over two centuries old can rarely be read, especially if they are to ordinary working folk.
I am no closer to identifying Mary’s father. Perhaps his marriage would help?
From Mary’s baptism it is apparent that Benjamin’s wife was Dorothy. There was only one wedding that fitted: to Dorothy Cooper on 11 September 1785 at Measham (see below). One interesting bit of information was that Benjamin was a widower: he had been married before.
Again, there was only one marriage to fit: to Anne Jones on 30 Nov 1778, also at Measham. This was Benjamin’s first marriage.
For both, Benjamin would have been of full age, so, once again, there is no help towards date of birth.
Maybe births of children would give something away?
In all, Benjamin had six children who were baptised. The first was John in 1779 (with Anne, who died in 1783), and the last was Sarah in 1792 (with Dorothy). There is no further information.
There really is something about Benjamin
The first thing to note is the baptism record for Benjamin Wildman born 1784:
Benjamin’s parents were married, right?
Now see the marriage record for Benjamin and Dorothy:
Clearly, when the banns were read in July 1784 Dorothy was pregnant, and it probably showed, as Benjamin (jnr.) was born that September, but his parents were not married for another year. I find it odd that the baptism was recorded as though they were married.
The case is not closed
I am still no closer to working out which Benjamin was the father. I have been unable to find a baptism that could relate to a Benjamin Wildman, or similar, that could be the father of Benjamin baptised in 1750, though there is a record of baptism for Thomas Wildman, father of the Benjamin baptised in 1752. Maybe that is why the others have plumped for 1752. Unless there is something I have yet to discover.
It is not possible that there was just one Benjamin because wives Mary and Dorothy overlapped. Bigamy would not have been possible in so small a market town as Measham, where everyone would have known everyone else.
DNA is not conclusive
To close, I return to ThruLines and DNA, which suggests a genetic connection with Thomas Wildman (1716-1764). Because this is influenced by others’ family trees, it cannot be assumed that the link is direct: Thomas may simply be a brother, or other relative of my fifth great grandfather, who could still, going on the records, be Benjamin, whose baptism has yet to be discovered.