Geoffs Genealogy Update 13 July 2015

Monday July 13th, 2015 | Geoff

Following on from last month’s entry, in the past few weeks I have continued researching my Archer  line, seeking to build on my recent breakthrough. You will recall that this recent breakthrough was prompted by an email that I received several years ago from Will. Well, Will and I have been in touch during the past few weeks and he has given me an outline of Grace (Miller) Archer (c1727-1794)‘s parentage, which he has traced. However, like me, to date he has not been able to trace the parents of Grace’s spouse – Thomas Archer (c1720-1794), which is a shame. Hopefully, in due course, I shall be able to do this, but in the meantime I have done some more work on tracing the descendants of Thomas & Grace.

So far as I know Thomas & Grace Archer had four children, all of whom married and had children:

Thomas Archer (c1750-1810) married Hannah Bide (c1760-1813) and they were the parents of our my ancestor, Nathan Archer (1793-1845) and another four children.

William Archer (c1752-1820) married, but I have not yet succeeded in tracing the event. We know from his will that his wife’s christian name was Frances, and I have traced her burial at St John, Hackney in 1827. However I have not yet traced William’s marriage. That said, I have noted a marriage in 1777 at St Andrew Holborn, in which a certain William Archer married Frances Thompson by Banns. This could be the entry I seek, but at the moment I have no way of proving or disproving it. So far I have only traced one child of William – Grace Archer (1778-1858). She married William Adamson (c1773-1827).

Grace Archer (c1756-1848) married Thomas Matson (c1725-1799), a Citizen and Haberdasher of London. Thomas had been married previously, and he and Grace did not have any children. He died only eight years after they were married, and she lived on as a widow for another forty nine years after his death. Grace appears as a witness at a number of family events, and interestingly, on the 1841 census she was enumerated living next door to her nephew, Samuel William Archer (1790-1870), in Mare Street, Hackney. Samuel was a brother of the above Nathan Archer.

Rachael Archer (1759-1816) married William Dover (c1764-1837). Interestingly, although William Dover made a will , and probate of his estate was granted in the Prerogative Court of Canterbury to his executors – William Dover (his son) and Mary Dover (his second wife) – shortly after his death, in fact the probate was not then carried ou. In fact his son’s widow re-applied for administration of the estate in 1861, after the death of both executors, and she then carried through the probate. A most unusual circumstance.

So far as I have traced they had three children – Rachel Dover (b 1798), William Dover (1799-1851) and Thomas Dover (1801-1805). I do not know what became of the first named of these children, but have ascertained that William Dover b 1799 married Louisa Mary Blackburn (c1800-1871), and they had at least nine children.

This is very much a work in progress, as I am still researching these people, but if anybody researching this family would like more information I shall be happy to help. You can email me by using one of the email links on the Geoffs Genealogy website.

Another interesting recent development came in the form of a comment on a blog post that I wrote on 1 April 2012, about my research into Alice Lethbridge, who was a first cousin once removed of my grandmother. Alice’s skirt dancing prowess made her was a great star of the Victorian stage. I mentioned in my blog that I had found a marriage in the civil registration index that I thought probably was her second marriage, but was unable to prove this.  The marriage in question took place in 1906 at Marylebone, and the parties to the marriage aere Thomas R St Johnston and Alice Turner. Turner was the name of Alice’s first husband, who sadly died only two years after their wedding.

Earlier in this month Ian made a comment on this matter, saying that he had seen a book  From A Colonial Governors Notebook, written by a prominent diplomat named Sir Thomas Reginald St Johnston, and in it the author stated that

“….my wife’s niece Lady Drummond Hay was the first woman to cross the Atlantic in an airship”.

As we already know that Lady Drummond Hay was Grace Marguerite Lethbridge (1894-1946), who was a daughter of Alice’s brother Sidney Thomas Lethbridge (1868-1937), so we now know that we have found the correct marriage.

I am extremely grateful to Ian for sending me this crucial piece of information, which he followed up by pointing me to the 1948 entry in the probate calendars relating to the estate of “St Johnston, Alice Matilda ….. wife of Sir Thomas Reginald St Johnston KCMG”. Magnificent work!

Having made this connection, we can now further develop our Lethbridge research. We have found that Sir Thomas Reginald St Johnston KCMG (1881-1950) enjoyed a distinguished diplomatic career, which took him to a number of countries, particularly in the West Indies. His wife would have travelled to these places with him. There is a lot of information about him on the internet. He died two years after his spouse, and had authored a number of other books in addition to From A Colonial Governors Notebook. One of these was his History of Dancing (1906, London, Simpkin, Marshall, Hamilton, Kent, &​ Co), recounting the history of dancing from ancient times to the early 1900s. In one chapter of this work he writes about the career of Alice Lethbridge, adding a great amount of detail to what we already knew.

As ever, one discovery leads to the next. That’s the way it is with family history, which is why it is such a fascinating activity. I can only assume that my grandmother did not know of her connection to these people, as I cannot imagine that she would have kept the information to herself.

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