Geoffs Genealogy Update 5 November 2013
Tuesday November 5th, 2013 | Geoff
So, here we are, on Guy Fawkes Night 2013.
It seems a bit brutal to still be celebrating that revolutionary group of Catholics who tried to assassinate King James I in 1605 by blowing up Parliament, but successive generations since 1605 have perpetuated the celebration, which was been initiated by James I himself, when he passed an Act of Parliament making 5 November a day of celebration for his deliverance.
In the days of James Jacobson (c1692-1759) the celebrations did not always pass off as peacefully as they do today, and they often involved anti-Catholic demonstrations. In those days, of course, Catholics were barred from public office.
Now known as Bonfire Night, this evening of celebration is an established part of our culture, and no doubt brings the same excitement to young children today as it did to my generation when we were young.
Mention of James Jacobson leads me to tell you that over the past few weeks I have done some more research into my Jacobson forebears, having another crack at solving one or two long standing conundrums. You may be interested to learn about a character bearing the unusual name Element Jones.
I mention Element on the James Jacobson Broker page of the Geoffs Genealogy website, He was the chap who married a certain Elizabeth Jacobson, in 1734 at St Benet, Paul’s Wharf in the City of London. Elizabeth was aged 20, and both her parents were dead, so her Guardian – James Jacobson – gave his written assent to the marriage. Yes, this was definitely James Jacobson, pawnbroker of St Botolph, Aldgate.
The poser preented to us by these facts is to identify Elizabeth. If she really was a niece of James she was presumably a daughter of one of his male siblings, and at the start of this research we only knew of two brothers to James – Esco Jacobson (c1690-1744) and Henry Jacobson (1690-1760). Neither of these men have been the father of Elizabeth, as they were both alive in 1734, which meant meant that we were looking for another brother of James.
My next step was to look at the baptisms records on Ancestry.co.uk, and I found a couple of interesting looking entries.
Firstly, there was Elizabeth Jacobson, baptised 23 January 1714 at St Botolph Aldgate, the daughter of Antony Jacobson. This looked promising at first, as she was baptised in James’ home parish. However, when I looked into Antony’s life I found that he was still alive in 1734, so had to rule his daughter out of the equation.
I searched further on a number of websites – Ancestry, Find My Past and Family Search – but could not find another Elizabeth Jacobson who fitted the bill on any of them. However, I did find one entry that I think may refer to our Elizabeth:
Baptism at St Nicholas, Deptford, 13 October 1714 Eliza, daughter of Benjamin Jacobson Mariner in Butt Lane
True, the name is not exactly Elizabeth, but that is not necessarily significant, as Elizabeth can easily become Eliza when written in a parish register. It was quite usual for these records to be updated after the event, drawing on handwritten notes, and errors often occurred. I have looked for other records relating to Eliza jacobson born c1714, but found none.
For the next piece of the puzzle I had to refer to research I carried out some years ago. In making a sweep of the eighteenth century Jacobson wills proved in the Prerogative Court of Canterbury I found a will dated 1728 relating to Benjamin Jacobson, Shipwright of His Majesty’s ship Plymouth. Probate was granted in July 1730.
Benjamin’s will did not mention his spouse, which probably indicates that she had died before he made his will. Either that, or he didn’t like her! Let’s assume she had died, as that seems the most likely explanation.
This will mentions two daughters – Elizabeth and Rebeccah – who were each to be paid £200 when they reached the age of 21 years, or at their day of marriage. There was also a son – Richard – and the testator left money to be used to put him to an apprenticeship at the appropriate time. This indicates that Richard was probably under 14 years of age in 1728, which may be a guide to the age of his daughters.
The testator’s brother was named as James Jacobson, and he was to act as executor. Unfortunately there is no way of saying whether or not this was our James, but the possibility is certainly there. In fact in all my 26 years of researching, I have only recall finding a couple of James Jacobsons in London in the first half of the eighteenth century – our man, and his nephew, who actually settled in Kent, and lived out his life there.
Benjamin Jacobson married Rebeccah Fulton at St Nicholas, Deptford, on 24 September 1712. In his marriage licence allegation, which he swore at the Faculty Office on the same day, he stated that he was aged 28 and of Gosport. His bride was aged ‘above 21 years’.
Although I lack absolute proof of these relationships, I do tend to think that I am on the right track with this; that Benjamin was James’ brother and Elizabeth was Benjamin’s daughter. Will I ever know for sure one way or the other? Quite possibly not. In the interests of accuracy I am reluctant to add all this to my family tree, but how I wish there was a way of doing that which would enable me to include this section whilst indicating to viewers that it is not 100% proven.
Anyway, to complete the picture, in the past few weeks I have gathered quite a lot of material about Element Jones, and I have added him to my family tree file, as a detached individual. He was born c 1709, probably in Great Marlow, Buckinghamshire, the son of Alexander Jones, a Yeoman, and apprenticed in London in 1724 to John Boucher, Citizen & Haberdasher. Although Element evidently became a freeman of the Haberdashers’ Company, he was by trade a carpenter.
In 1734 Element married Elizabeth Jacobson, as stated above. In 1735 the couple produced a son named Alexander. He was baptised at St Margaret Lothbury, London in January 1735, but buried in March of that year. A second son followed, baptised in April 1737 at St Christopher le Stocks, London, and he, also, was named Alexander. I know that he survived to at least 14 years of age, as he was apprenticed in 1752.
Sadly, Elizabeth (Jacobson) Jones was buried at St Christopher le Stocks in January 1740, at the tender age of 26. Element remarried on 1 September 1744, his second bride being Ann Shippey. Ann and Element had a child named Mary, who was baptised in September 1745 at All Hallows, London Wall, but sadly, Element died in August 1746, being buried in the churchyard of All Hallows, London Wall. I do not know what became of his widow, or his surviving children.
Element appears to have died intestate. It is apparent from the records of the Carpenters’ Company that he earned his living as a carpenter up to the time he died, and as he features in the Land Tax records for London for many of the years in the period 1734-1742 we can see that he lived for this period in the parishes of St Margaret Lothbury, St Christopher le Stocks and All hallows, London Wall.
One final snippet about Element. In May 1742 he was included in a list of insolvent debtors that was included in the London Gazette. He was incarcerated at the King’s Bench Prison in Southwark, and was due to appear at the next Quarter Sessions, at which time his claim for insolvent debtors relief under the Act for the Relief of Insolvent Debtors that had been passed in that year was to be heard.
All in all, an interesting and enlightening piece of work. All I need now is that final piece of proof!