Geoffs Genealogy Update 2 August 2012

Thursday August 2nd, 2012 | Geoff

In my efforts to find about my Rand forebears I often revisit lines of research that I have looked at previously, to see whether I can learn anything that I missed when I originally looked at them. With new sources appearing on the internet all the time, this seems a good idea. As an aside, many of the items that I looked at in the past in London repositories have now appeared online, leaving me with the thought that many of those trips to London over the past 20 years or so were unnecessary! Still, 20 years ago none of us had any idea that in the fullness of time all those London records would be available to us from the comfort of our own homes, and we did enjoy visiting the metropolis from time to time.

Anyway, recently I’ve been looking at Mary Rand (abt 1699-abt 1743), daughter of Joseph Rand (abt 1665-abt 1708) and Deborah Swindall (abt 1665-abt 1737).

Prior to the last few weeks all I knew about Mary was gleaned from the Bankes Pedigree Book kept by the Haberdashers’ Company in London, supplemented by some references to her and her family in various legal documents and witness evidence in the Court of Chancery proceedings relating to the Bankes Trust. I had worked out that she was born around the turn of the 17-18th centuries, probably in London. Using records of payments to Bankes Trust beneficiaries I estimated that she died in about 1740, I assumed in London. I knew that she had two spouses – a certain John Smith and Robert Adams, and as far as I knew she had one daughter – Catherine Adams, whose birth date was a bit vague. I believed that she had married Mr Smith first, that he had died, and she subsequently married Mr Adams. I also knew that sometime before 1720 she moved to Maryland, America – then a British colony, of course. Court of Chancery records told me that she was a spinster when she embarked on her life in the New World, but I had also deduced from other documents that she may well have married John Smith in America. The fact that her daughter – Catherine Adams – lived in England suggested that Mary had returned to the Old Country at some time, and I tended to believe that she married Robert Adams in England – probably in London.

That was quite a lot of information really, considering I had very few sources to draw on. However, it certainly was short on factual detail, so I embarked on the task of adding flesh to these bones.

My first stop, as is usually the case, was the Family Search website, which I searched for both UK and US records relating to Mary Rand and John Smith. Low and behold, it came up trumps, with the following reference:

Groom’s Name: John Smith 
Bride’s Name: Mary Rand 
Marriage Date: 25 Apr 1721 
Marriage Place: Saint JohnsParish,PrinceGeorges,Maryland
Indexing Project (Batch) Number: M50777-1 
System Origin: Maryland-ODM 
Source Film Number: 14303 
Reference Number: 

 Source Citation
“Maryland, Marriages, 1666-1970,” index, FamilySearch (

The fact that the date and location of this record were both pretty well in line with my expectations made me think that this was the marriage record I sought. I now needed to see whether I could see it online.

Many of you will know that through the network of LDS Family History Centers across the world it is possible to order microfilm copies of records that you can use in your local FH center for a few weeks. This service only costs a small fee, and enables you to view records from far away in your locality, and has proved very useful to me in the past. However, knowing that many records are available online, I decided to try my luck at searching the internet to see whether there anything online that I could use free of charge, To my amazement, what came up was the Maryland State Archives website, which includes the parish registers for Prince George County. Unbelievable!

The full title of the source is:

Piscataway Parish & St John’s Parish, Prince George County, Maryland, America  -Parish Registers 1689-1801 and Vestry Minutes 1693, 1779 & 1789

These records are not indexed, so you have to search them in the old fashioned way. I realise that to many people this process is simply too laborious, but I find that the work and time involved in browsing the records is usually rewarded by the interesting content you encounter during the process. In this case, a view of the community in which Mary and John lived, all those miles away in the American colonies.

It took me about 90 minutes to find the entry I wanted, which reads as follows:

John Smith son of John Smith & Mary Rand both of
this parish were joined in Holy Matrimony the twenty fifth
day of April Anno Dom 1721 before ye Revd Jno Fraiser

So there we have it. We now not only know when and where the couple were married, we actually have a copy of the parish register entry as well. Fantastic!

I wondered whether this source would also contain a record of John’s death, but if it did I couldn’t find it. Neither could I find it in any other sources that are available on the internet, so this will have to be put in the “To Do” folder. I understood from the Court of Chancery records that Mary & John had no issue. This doesn’t necessarily mean that they had no children, as they could have had some children who died young, but my search certainly didn’t bring to light any children of the couple.

Thinking that I’ve probably done as much as I could for now on Mary & John Smith, I then turned my attention to Mary’s second marriage, to Robert Adams. I went back to Family Search, and found a likely looking marriage in Westminster. Although the date and names of the bride & groom fit the bill, give or take a spelling difference, I need to look at the actual parish register entry to see whether that can help me to decide whether or not it is the entry I seek:

Groom’s Name: Robert Addoms 
Bride’s Name: Mary Smith 
Marriage Date: 24 Dec 1727 
Marriage Place: Westminster, Middlesex, England 
Indexing Project (Batch) Number: I01213-9 
System Origin: England-ODM 
Source Film Number: 814104 
Reference Number: 

 Source Citation
“England, Marriages, 1538-1973 ,” index, FamilySearch (

My trips to London are rather infrequent these days, so I shall probably have to hope that the relevant parish register appears online before I can check this out.

I have also spotted a couple of likely burial entries for Mary and Robert but, again, at present I have no way of ascertaining whether or not they are relevant to my research. They both took place at St Andrew, Holborn:

Robert Adams Hatton Garden            26 Feb 1743
Mary Adams   Hatton Garden            16 March 1743

Source Citation:
London Metropolitan Archives, St Andrew Holborn, Register of burials, 1739 – 1755, P69/AND2/A/010/MS06673, Item 010.

It seems reasonable to believe that these two burials, which took place within less than three weeks, refer to two people who lived in the same abode. Very likely the house was visited by disease and both Robert and Mary Adams succumbed. Apart from their names, the date of their deaths also leads me to suspect that these people could have been “our” Mary and Robert. My research into payments made under the Bankes Trust to beneficiaries in the 1740s shows me that there were no more payments to Mary and Robert Adams after 14 January 1743/4. On 1 August 1744 the annuity was paid to Deborah Rand, sister to Mary, and Guardian of Catherine Adams. “The only child of Robert Adams and Mary his wife, both deceased”.

I have looked for a Will of Robert Adams or Mary, but without success so far. There were many probate jurisdictions in operation in London at the time, and it is possible that a will may come to light at some future date.

My search for further evidence of Robert or Mary Adams has led me to look at London land tax records, which have recently appeared on the Ancestry website. I have found Land Tax Register entries for Robert Adams of Shoe Lane, Farringdon Ward, London dated 1730 – 1734. Shoe Lane lies very near to Hatton Garden, and very close to the church of St Andrew, Holborn. I am confident that this was probably the man who was buried on 26 Feb 1743, but am no nearer to proving conclusively that he was the spouse of Mary Rand / Smith / Adams.

One last thing. I need to find the baptism of Robert & Mary Adams’ daughter – Catherine. She later married Thomas Atkinson, with whom she had at least three children. Once again, the Family Search website gave me a likely entry:

Name: Catherine Adams 
Gender: Female 
Baptism/Christening Date: 10 Dec 1733 
Baptism/Christening Place: St. James, Westminster, Middlesex, England 
Birth Date: 27 Nov 1733 
Father’s Name: Robert Adams 
Mother’s Name: Mary 
Indexing Project (Batch) Number: C13552-7 
System Origin: England-VR 
Source Film Number: 1042308 
Reference Number: 2:3M5QPJV 

Source Citation
“England, Births and Christenings, 1538-1975,” index, FamilySearch (

This could easily be the entry I seek, but, again, I cannot prove it. The fact that both the above marriage entry for Robert & Mary Adams and this entry, were  at St James Westminster may suggest that the same couple was involved in both entries, and certainly  the date of this baptism can be accommodated in the time frame suggested by other sources. However, I have no evidence to link Robert and Mary to the Westminster area.

I have explained all this in considerable detail, and hope that I have not bored you too much in so doing. With a bit of luck somebody reading this may be able to cast light on this research, or suggest a way of advancing the research. If so, I’d love to hear from you!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *