Geoffs Genealogy Update – 30 April 2009

Thursday April 30th, 2009 | Geoff

To return to a constant theme of this blog, “how time flies”!

Yet another month has nearly passed, and as ever, I don’t know where the past 30 days has gone.

Most of my time this month has been spent preparing the June edition of the Shropshire FHS journal. I’ve just about put it to bed now, having reviewed the proofs and given the corrections to our printers. I think this edition will prove interesting and entertaining to our members as, thanks to our contributors, we have lots of interesting content.

So what has happened on the treeing front in the past month?

A few weeks ago I made my long planned sortie to London – a rare opportunity to delve into the archives at the wonderful records offices in the capital. In Shropshire we are lucky to have an excellent rail service which runs from Wrexham to Marylebone, and I took the 6.15 train from Cosford, as that would get me to Marylebone nice and early, allowing me lots of treeing time.

My first port of call was the Guildhall Library, in the City of London, where I spent a few hours researching the fire insurance registers of the Sun Fire Office Insurance company. These registers have been indexed. for the period 1809-1839, and you can search the index online at I had done this before my visit, so travelled with a list of seemingly relevant source references.

I had not used these records previously, so did not really know what they would tell me. I was able to look at records relating to Nathan Archer (1793-1845) and his brothers Thomas Archer (1786-abt 1866) and Samuel William Archer (1790-1870). Also John Collyer (1783-1840), the Carver & Gilder of Frith Street, Soho,and David Price (1774-1840), who carried on his wool trading business at Dowgate Hill.

These entries record people who had fire insurance cover with the company, and tell you the relevant address, the value of the cover provided, and in general terms the nature of the items covered. The addresses can enable you to track a person’s movements, and the valuations enable you to form a view as to their wealth. You can also get an idea of the period in which an ancestor was in business, and the names of their various businesses.

In 1816 my direct ancestor, Nathan Archer, was trading from premises in Long Lane, West Smithfield. The record shows that he was at this address with a certain William Thomas Archer, and that they were trading as printers & stationers. I do not know who William Thomas Archer was – presumably a relation. In 1818 William Thomas & Nathan Archer were recorded at the same address, but by then they were trading as “watch maker & stationer”. I know that Nathan was a printer, so assume that William was a watchmaker, in common with a number of other members of the Archer family.

From 1817 to 1821 Nathan was recorded at 39 Goswell Street. Seemingly he had branched out in business on his own. Note that in the period 1817 to 1818 the registers show him at two addresses simultaneously. Note also that he had married Mary Ann Stephens (1792-1885) in June 1817. In November 1821 he was recorded in Shoreditch, trading in partnership with a certain Arthur Catherwood. We know from an entry in the London Gazette that this partnership was dissolved in 1823, and in November of that year we find a record of Nathan trading at Tabernacle Walk in the parish of St Luke, Finsbury. The last business address for Nathan that we glean from these records was 15 Old Street Road, Hoxton, which is where we find him in January 1839. This was where he was enumerated when the 1841 census was taken, in June 1841.

Hopefully you can see how these records help to build up a picture of Nathan’s business activities, sometimes providing fresh information and at other times confirming information that we already had. I hope that the indexing project for these registers is continued, as I am sure that there must be much more information about my forebears for me to find, and as I rarely get to London it is unlikely that I shall find an opportunity to search the registers in the old fashioned way.

I have encountered a research problem regarding the marriage of Elizabeth Benrose (b 1755), daughter of John Benrose (b abt 1708) & Mary Deane (b abt 1711), to Edward Hymas (dates unknown) in 1783 at St Botolph Aldgate. This marriage is noted in the Bankes Pedigree book, so one assumes that the Haberdashers’ Company must have seen evidence to corroborate it. Furthermore, the fact that these two people were husband and wife was referred to in the Court of Chancery proceedings relating to the Bankes Trust. However, when I looked at the entry in the parish register I found that that bride was described as a widow. This cannot have been correct if she was the grandaughter of Anne Deane, half-sister of John Bankes.

Whilst at Guildhall Library I took the opportunity to look at the Banns entries re this marriage. These confirmed Elizabeth’s marital status as “widow”.

I’m not sure where this leaves us. I do believe that this is the correct marriage, and that the evidence supporting that belief is reliable. I can only think that either the marriage and banns records are in error in this regard, or that Elizabeth had been married previously but her spouse had died and she reverted to her maiden name. This would not be particularly surprising today, but does it seem likely in the late eighteenth century?

If anybody has any views on this do feel free to share them with me.

After enjoying a successful few hours at Guildhall Library I moved on to London Metropolitan Archives, where I researched some parish registers. Apart from having a general search of some parish registers using old fashioned search methods – ie trawling through an unindexed microfilm – I also had a look at a number of entries that I had identified on the IGI as likely to be “ours”. I recorded a couple of Hazeltine baptisms at St Matthew, Bethnal Green dating from the 1870s (the Hazeltines feature on our Guyatt/Smedley line), and also the marriage of Charles Benzoni (abt 1811-1885) to Eleanor (Brannan) Crow (abt 1809 – 1889) at St Luke, Chelsea in 1832. I also had a look at the marriage between James Matthews and Lucy Wildman at St Luke, Old Street, Finsbury in 1825. I’m very confident that this couple were the parents of Lucy Matthews (b abt 1826), who married William Holliday (abt 1818-1874) in 1841, but it would be nice to find further corroboration.

Apart from all this, I also had a look at some of the online records that are available at London Metropolitan Archives, and found a number of eighteenth century adverts for the literary works of Joseph Collyer the Elder (abt 1714-1776). These were in the Burney collection, an archive which is available at certain records offices and libraries.

All in all, a successful day.

Apart from this, I have been delighted to be kept quite busy by three correspondents in the USA who are each studying the life and works of Robert Hanham Collyer (1814-Abt 1890). More on this another time. We are still aiming to get the updated Robert Hanham Collyer Chronology updated to Geoffs Genealogy soon. We’re having a problem with it because the file is now rather large, but hopefully we shall resolve this before too long.

Lastly, for today, I’ll just mention that the Bloomsbury People project, run by Carole Reeves, now includes a section on Dr Thomas Hunt (1789-1879) and his family. Most of the material is derived from Geoffs Genealogy, but Carole has added some more information and presented it all very well, I think.

I wish you all happy treeing!

One response to “Geoffs Genealogy Update – 30 April 2009”


    Artur Ackland Hunt.

    Geoff what a superb piece of work.
    It has helped me in my research for this artist.

    I cant believe the work you have put into this its outstanding.
    I have an original drawing by Hunt.

    Its called the High Street Gate Salisbury.
    It is signed and detailed by Hunt.
    I look forward to any comments you would like to make with regard to this great man.
    It would seem a link exists with Salisbury and hunt and helps to date the drawing to around c1890 -1900c, I cant thank you enough for this very valuable genealogy of the Hunt family, it is fascinating to read and look forward to any other material you come up with regard to the Hunt Family family.

    Deerek C Hatfield

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