Geoffs Genealogy Update 3 September 2013
Tuesday September 3rd, 2013 | Geoff
We spent the first weekend in August in Carmarthenshire. Nothing unusual in that, as we usually visit this beautiful part of Wales several times each year, sometimes looking for family history information and at other times just enjoying the wonderful countryside.
On this occasion we had a really smashing time. We broke our journey on 2 August at Tredegar House, a National Trust property near Newport. The weather was splendid, and we enjoyed spending a few hours exploring this quite magnificent pile, situated close to the M4 motorway. I would definitely recommend a visit to this site.
Saturday 3 August was the day of the annual Maliphant Jamboree, which this year was held at Kidwelly. Kidwelly is where my mother in law was born and spent some of her formative years in her family home, so it is a place that we have visited quite a number of times over the years. On this occasion our party took over the Masons Arms pub for a large part of the day, 68 of us enjoying a buffet lunch in this hostelry and also some time in the garden.
After meeting in the pub, and some serious mingle time, the day’s events started with a tour round Kidwelly Castle, guided by a man from Cadw. We have looked around this lovely castle many times over the years, and I have long thought it extremely under-rated. When people alk of impressive Welsh fortifications they speak of Harlech, Caerphilly , Caernarvon etc, but for me Kidwelly is right up there. Anyway, it was great to learn a bit about the history of the castle, and to hear that there are records to show that Maliphants played a part in its construction, if only in a fairly menial way.
After this tour our party moved on to Kidwelly’s church – St Mary’s – where we all enjoyed a very interesting talk from the vicar on the history of the church. No real Maliphant content to this, but very interesting, as Jan’s Maliphant tree contains some baptisms, burials etc that took place in this church. As most of the attendees were family historians there was then the inevitable perambulation around the churchyard, seeking all those Maliphant graves, before we all adjourned to the pub for a cup of tea to round off the day.
This was a lovely day on a number of levels. It was a chance to meet family members, some of whom we have not met up with for a while, whilst at the same time being an opportunity to gather more family history information. On top of that, the talks were very informative, and interesting in their own right, and the chance to explore this lovely Welsh town was not to be missed.
Congratulations to Pauline, Bruce, and all the people who worked to put on this event. It will certainly be a hard act to follow.
As far as my research goes, during August I have spent quite a lot of time gathering information about our Jacobson forebears.
James Jacobson married Mary Mitchell in London in 1722, and they then lived at King Street, in the parish of St Botolph Aldgate. I had previously found entries relating to them and their children in the registers of that church. I also knew that when James died his will (probate 1759) stated that he lived in Peckham, then a rural retreat in South London but now a bustling part of South London. I have tended to assume that Peckham was James’ rural retreat in his last years, and was interested to find out how long he had lived there.
With this in mind I searched the Land Tax records that are available online, and found a large number of records dating from 1731 to 1754, all showing James living at King Street. The only record relating to James that I found after that was dated 1758, and it stated that the property previously occupied by James Jacobson was empty. Thus, I surmise that he probably moved to Peckham around 1757. I don’t actually know when he was born, but based on the information we have my working hypothesis is c1692, on which basis he would have been over 60 when he moved to Peckham. A good age for a man in the 18th century.
There are a couple of other things I have recently discovered about James. I may have mentioned some of them previously, but will quickly mention them anyway, as I think they are interesting. I had long been aware that James was a Broker, but from his son’s apprenticeship agreement and a couple of other sources I can now say that he was a Pawn Broker. Probably not the most popular man in King Street!.
I have discovered that he served on the Parish Vestry Committee from at least 1731. The last entry I found that included him was dated 15 November 1754. I found these records on the wonderful London Lives website, which has also provided me with the following information about the Vestry Committees:
The vestry formed the fundamental unit of decision making for each parish, and acted as a miniature legislature for parochial government. Vestries took a number of different forms, including open vestries in which all inhabitants had at least a theoretical right to participate, and a wide variety of closed vestries, in which membership was restricted by wealth, local standing or local tradition. Many closed vestries recruited new members to a specific number (frequently twenty-four) on their own authority, creating a kind of self-perpetuating oligarchy.
The vestry had a number of legal obligations, which are reflected in their minutes. The vestry was responsible for appointing parish officers, including churchwardens, overseers of the poor, sextons and scavengers. Depending on local arrangements the vestry could also be responsible for constables and nightwatchmen (in the City of London these officers were appointed at ward level).1 It was the vestry that approved the annual church and poor rates, and to which accounts were submitted at Easter each year (though in the case of poor law accounts, these needed the additional approval of a Justice of the Peace).
So, you will see, our James was a pretty important man in his community.
I’ve found out quite a bit more about various members of the Jacobson clan, but as I’ve probably rambled on for quite long enough at the moment I think I’ll leave it until my next blog entry before revealing more.