Goacher hell!

There really is some rubbish work on genealogy websites!  Taking up more Thrulines, I look at the family Goacher, sometime of Coleorton, Leicestershire, and Measham, Derbyshire (in the mid eighteenth century).  The main source of records for this post is Findmypast’s collection of parish records for these places, with some help from Ancestry.

I will begin with a tree to explain my connection:

Catherine Goacher tree Henry
At the top (black ground) is my fourth great grandmother Catherine Goacher (1746-1799), and ringed my great great grandparents, Henry and Dorothy Dennis, who moved from the Leicestershire to the Cannock Chase coalfield.

For a long time, Catherine was just a name, the wife of Thomas Hogg.  This is all very straightforward, but the next generation is anything but.

And there is a mysterious Letitia, who some suggest was Catherine’s sister, but that seems to be something of a mirage!

The first challenge was Catherine’s baptism.  I knew of the marriage between Thomas Hogg and a Catherine from the baptisms of a number of children.  The only wedding that fits was on 15 Oct 1769 at Normanton le Heath, Leicestershire: Catherine was recorded as “of the Parish of Normanton”.  On that basis baptism ought to be in the same place, but the only one I could find was at Coleorton on 20 Apr 1746 at Coleorton.

Goacher Catherine bp 1746
Christenings Parish of Coleorton in 1746 … (bottom line) Catherine Daur of Edward & Mary Goacher April Ye 20.

This fitted neatly with marriage of her parents, Edward Goacher and Mary Newberry at Coleorton on 7 Sep 1743, and baptism there of older sister Anne in 1744.

Goacher Edward Mary Newberry m 1743
Marriages in the Parish of Coleorton in the Year of our Lord 1743 / 1 Edward Goacher & Mary Newberry both of this Parrish (sic) by Banns September the 7th.

It was easy enough to trace further siblings, and even the burial of Edward on 13 Mar 1768 at Coleorton:

Burials Coleorton 1768
Burials in the Parish of Coleorton in 1768. Note at top the sequence of months (under 1767) Nov, Dec, continuing through Jan, Feb, Mar, before the 1768 heading and next record in June.  What an idiotic way of recording sequential events!
Catherine Goacher tree siblings
Catherine Goacher’s siblings and parents.

After that things get murky.

Let us not deceive ourselves

A number of trees and other items online include Letitia Goacher, baptised at Coleorton on 5 Apr 1752 as a full sibling of Catherine, but it is clear that her parents were Edward & Anne Goacher.

Letitia Goacher bp 1752
Under Baptisms 1752: … Apr … 9 Letitia Dau of Edwd & Anne Goacher … 5.

Note that Edward and Mary had four more children after this.  So, unless, the first Edward married Mary, then Anne, then another Mary, and there are records of marriage and burial to fit, there must have been two Edwards.  Moreover, there are records for the burials in 1896 of Ann, wife of Edward Goacher, on 16 May, and, soon after, Letitia, daughter of Edward Goacher, widower, on 9 July.

Letitia Goacher bu 1796
Under Burials 1796: July 9th Letitia, Daughter of Edward Goacher, Widower, buried.

Letitia was therefore not a sister of Catherine.

The fact that Letitia at burial was recorded as daughter of Edward means she did not marry, and probably had no children.  So, if your tree has you descending from Letitia Goacher baptised on 5 Apr 1752, you probably have the wrong Letitia.

There was another Letitia Goacher, who married James Kirby, of Measham, at Packington on 29 Feb 1778.  This Letitia, then of Moira, was buried at Measham on 11 Sep 1835, aged 89, therefore born about 1745-46.  I have not found a baptism, but it is clear that two different women named Letitia Goacher existed.

And there was a third:

Letitia Goacher bp 1796
Under Baptism 1796: May 1st Letitia & Rebecca, Twin Daughters of Edward & Ann Gocher, baptized.

This would be the Edward baptised in 1753 and his wife Ann Thompson.

Edwards’ origin

The records for Coleorton go back to at least 1604, but the first baptism of an Edward Goacher in the area was in 1753.  I have not found any records of people who could be parents or siblings of either Edward.  From this I conclude that the Edward who was Catherine’s father must have arrived before marriage to Mary Newberry in 1743, and that the other Edward must have arrived with his wife, Anne, prior to baptism of Letitia in 1752 (there may have been older siblings).  Where they came from is anyone’s guess.


If there is a moral to this story, then it must be: “Don’t believe everything you read”.  And that includes the above: don’t take my word for it, don’t be lazy, test it against the evidence.




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