Geoff’s Genealogy Update 09 August 2010

Monday August 9th, 2010 | Geoff

I’ve just returned from a week in the wonderfully beautiful Aveyron department of France. Mostly good weather, lovely food and lots of interesting places to visit. What could be better?

Treeing has taken a bit of a back seat in the past few weeks, but I have one or two items that hopefully may interest you.

A few months ago I bought a new genealogy computer program, with a view to updating the software I use to keep my family history records. I have always used Family Tree Maker, which I have found to be very user friendly. I have, however, always had reservations about its reporting features, as I have found them rather limited. My new acquisition is Family Tree Maker 2010. This version of FTM is radically different from the 2006 version that I have been using, so much so that I have shied away from using it, fearing that my precious treeing time will be taken up in getting accustomed to it.

Well, as an intermediate step I have put the new program on my laptop, and having played around with it for an hour or so my initial impression is that it seems an improv ement on previous versions. It will take a few days to find my way around it properly, but the reports appear to offer much more flexibility, and the on-screen space is used far more effectively than previously. The program also offers a number of new tools, such as a mapping facility to show you where your forebears lived. I feel fairly confident that I shall be using this program as my main genealogy package before too long.

It may be of interest to you if I mention acouple of websites that have recently come to my attention, which I think could be of great help in our research.

Firstly, not exactly new, but of great value is the online Welsh wills section of the National Library of Wales website. Here you can see the actual wills of your Welsh ancestors whose probates were dealt with in the Welsh ecclesiastical courts up to 1858, free of charge. The search mechanism is easy to use, and you can view and / or print out the wills free of charge. I’ve already found a few interesting specimens that relate to people on the Welsh branch of the Bankes Pedigree.

Actually, I have a bit of a problem with one of these wills. Information from the Bankes Pedigree Book tells me that Charles Davies, spouse of Elizabeth Price (Abt 1753-1833), daughter of John Price and Deborah Rand, died in October 1817. I have found a will that seems to fit with that information. However, the frustrating thing is that there is a distinct shortage of names mentioned in this document, so it is not possible to say positively whether or not this was our man. I don’t think this will was drawn up very well, as it was very loosely worded and lacked personal detail to identify the beneficiaries, but presumably it served the purpose.

London Lives 1680-1800 is a really great user-friendly website for those of us whose interests lie in the Capital in the eighteenth century. To quote from the website:

“London Lives makes available, in a fully digitised and searchable form, a wide range of primary sources about eighteenth-century London, with a particular focus on plebeian Londoners. This resource includes over 240,000 manuscript and printed pages from eight London archives and is supplemented by fifteen datasets created by other projects. It provides access to historical records containing over 3.35 million name instances. Facilities are provided to allow users to link together records relating to the same individual, and to compile biographies of the best documented individuals…”

I’ve done some preliminary searches on this site, and found some references that I’m pretty sure relate to my ancestor – James Jacobson (Abt 1692-1759) in the parish chest records of St Botolph, Aldgate, so it’s well worth giving this a go.

My mention, in my last blog entry, of my search for the Gearys in the censuses and civil registration records led my cousin Pat to do a bit of delving – with very successful results. Thanks to Pat I now know that in 1911 Thomas Geary was living in Bath, Somerset, in the household of Frances Hill, a spinster neice, who was aged 72. In fact, apart from Thomas and two female servants, the household consisted of three other spinster relations, ages ranging from 46 to 71. The entry showed that Thomas was a widower, thus giving me a starting point in the search for the death of his wife – Louisa (Hunt) Geary.

I found what looks like Louisa’s death entry in the civil registration indexes in the March quarter of 1903, the death being registered at St Albans, Hertfordshire. Due to the prohibitive cost of B/M/D certificates I have not sent for the certificate, but I would be amazed if this were not the relevant entry. There are no other entries for a Louisa Geary in the period 1901-1911, and the age ties up as well. I wonder what the Gearys were doing in St Albans. maybe there were more relations in that area.

Next I set out to find the death of Thomas Geary, sometime after March 1911. I looked at The Times Digital Archive Online website, which is often accessible via your local library, and although I could not find a death announcement, I did find a most interesting item in the Points from Letters column of 27 May 1922. Headed A Link With 1770, it reads:

‘Lieutenant-Colonel Drage’s account of his link with 1787 is an interesting one, which I can comparewith that of my own great-uncle, Mr Thomas Geary, barrister-at-law, who was born in 1828 and died at Bath in 1916. His father was born in 1770, and the two lives, therefore, covered a period of 146 years between them. Should my youngest brother, Rev B H Geary, VC, or any of the younger members of my father’s family, reach an advanced old age, a period of over two hundred years will have been covered by the three lives, as the above brother is only thirty-one now. – Mr A Bernard Geary, Sports Club, St James’s-square, SW.’

This set me off looking for Thomas Geary’s death entry in the civil registration indexes. I found it in 1914, not 1916. His death was registered in Bath during the March quarter of that year.

So there we are, another gap in the Bankes Pedigree is filled in.

Happy hunting to one and all until the next time.

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