Geoffs Genealogy Update 8 January 2016

Friday January 8th, 2016 | Geoff

Ancestry announced recently that from 1 January 2016 they are no longer going to sell the Family Tree Maker (FTM) software that they have developed and marketed for the past few years. They say that inreviewing their activities they  have “taken a hard look at the declining desktop software market and the impact this has on being able to continue to provide new content, product enhancements and support that our users need” and concluded that they are better off without FTM.

I have used FTM to store my genealogy data for about 20 years, and although I’m sure that there are other products on the market that do the job just as well, I have found that this program has suited my requirements pretty well. An fact Ancestry have only owned FTM for a few years, and it is fair to say that in that time they have developed the product in ways that had not happened previously. The most obvious of these was the facility to search the Ancestry website for sources relating to an ancestor by clicking on a leaf symbol on the ancestor’s record page. If this process leads you to some relevant information you can attach it to your individual at the click of a mouse – a very simple process, and a very effective one, also. I have never actually made use of this search facility, preferring to do things my way, but I am aware that many people find it very useful, and use it a lot, and when Ancestry cease to support FTM they will certainly miss it.

For myself, as I’m not dependent on FMP for my internet searches I am not concerned about the impending loss of this function. My concern is more about how completely I shall be able to transfer my FTM data to another Genealogy program. As the transfer is almost certain to be effected by means of a Gedcom file I fear that I shall not be able to transfer all the data fields I have at present, and if that is the case I may well be faced with a lengthy and tedious process to create the necessary fields in whatever program I choose to use, and then entering my data in them. Not only that, but if I have to do some of this work manually, rather than through an automated process, there is always the possibility of errors creeping in. I always assume that everybody’s research contains a certain number of errors, and mine is no exception, but I certainly don’t want to increase the possibility of errors creeping in.

Apparently, one of the reasons for the diminishing market for genealogy software is the growing number of people who use online facilities such as Ancestry Family Tree to store their data. Personally, I have always avoided putting my research on any of these platforms. I do see the value in letting others know about your research interests, and as visitors to this blog will know, I am more than happy to share the results of my research with other researchers who have the same interests, but I prefer to display my research in my own way.  I accept that I am probably in a minority in this. When I am researching online I often look to see whether there are any relevant trees online, but experienced researchers will not need me to tell them that we need to use any information found in this way with more circumspection than usual, as it often contains significant errors. I couldn’t tell you how many times I’ve found chunks of the Bankes pedigree attached to a tree that had no connection with our benefactor.

What Helen & I have decided is that we will look at other programs to replace Family Tree Maker but, until we come up with what we think is a suitable solution to these issues, we will stick with FTM. After all, the program works ok (touch wood), and unless we start using an operating system that can’t run FTM there is every chance that we shall be able to use it well into the future. Obviously, we will no longer get updates to the software, but we have to accept that.

Now for a change of subject.

I expect you would excuse me for having done less genealogy work than usual during December, given the Christmas festivities, but in fact I’ve still been pretty active, as I have been looking at the apprentices of John Bankes, Citizen & Haberdasher (c1650-1719). I had traced four such apprentices in the past, but as the Register of Apprentice Bindings and the Register of Freedom Admissions for Bankes’s era are now available to search on the Find My Past website, I decided to have a further look at this topic.

This piece of research was most successful, as I traced a further six apprentices to Bankes. The earliest was Thomas Smith, son of Thomas Smith of Hampton, Gloucestershire, who was, so far as I know, was the first apprentice that JB had, his binding being dated 1676. I mentioned him in the Bankes Biography page of the Geoffs Genealogy website. Ther last apprentice to the great man that I have found was Nathan Crow, son of David Crow of Cumberland, who was bound in 1714 and received his Freedom in 1721 – two years after Bankes’s death. I had already encountered Nathan in my research, in a Court of Chancery document recounting some of the evidence given by John Cartlitch, Banks’s friend and executor on his death:

“John Cartlitch believed that the said Mrs Banks at first employed Nathan Crow the Testator’s servant to assist her in selling and disposing of the testator’s goods and stocks at his wharf and to receive and gett in some of his rents and debts and that she afterwards employed Thomas Russell … therein.” (The National Archives source ref C11/2792/9).

On reading this source I had believed that the use of the term “servant” indicated that Nathan Crow was some kind of house servant to Banks, but it is now clear that this was not the case and he was an apprentice. Nathan Crow’s term of apprenticeship ended in 1721, when he was made a Freeman of the City of London. It does not appear that his apprenticeship was turned over (ie transferred) to another master, so presumably he was able to complete his apprenticeship working in Bankes’s business.

I’ve often seen it assumed by people today that their seventeenth and eighteenth century contemporaries did not travel far, but  this small piece of research provides evidence that this was not the case. You will have noted that the two apprentices mentioned above hailed from Gloucestershire and Cumberland, and in fact only two of the ten apprentices I found came from London.  Two came from places in Surrey that were just outside the capital, but the others hailed from Oxfordshire, Sussex, Norfolk and Gloucestershire (making two from that county in total). In late seventeenth and early eighteenth centuries London was a magnet for migration, just as it is now. In the aftermath of the Great Fire in 1666, and the plague that preceded it, there was a great need for people to rebuild the city and replace those who had died in those disasters, and thus a very real hope that a man could make his fortune in the City of London, as was the case with Bankes.

I have saved the most interesting result of this research until last.

In my blog entry of 1 May 2012 I mentioned that I had traced the apprenticeship  of  John Rand, a Barber Surgeon, who we believe was a nephew of Bankes, born about 1684. On his apprenticeship document John was said to be the son of Samuel Rand of Chichester, deceased, but I had drawn a blank in finding any information about Samuel. I was, however, confident that this John Rand was our man, as this was the only one record of a John Rand becoming Free of the Barber Surgeons’ Company in that period. Furthermore, I know that John Rand, Barber Surgeon of London, had a son named Samuel, who was presumably named after his father. Alas, the child did not survive infancy.

Bearing that in mind, imagine my delight when I found that one of John Bankes’s apprentices was a certain John Rand! Details of the entry were as follows:

London Metropolitan Archives Source Ref CLC/L/HA/C/011/MS15860/007, fo 184

Joseph Rand son of John Rand late of Chichester in the County of Sussex Gent decd
bound to John Banks Citizen & Haberdr of London for Seaven yeares from
the date dated [……]

So here we have another Rand whose father was a Chichester man, and as he was apprenticed to Bankes, and the names Joseph Rand and John Rand very much fit with the names of Bankes’s Rand relations, there must be a very strong possibility that there was indeed a link between Bankes’s half siblings and the City of Chichester in Sussex. Maybe Samuel Rand and John Rand were brothers.

I am particularly excited about this lead because for all my interest in Bankes, in fact it was Mary (Rand) Mitchell, his half sister, who was my direct ancestor. Much as I would love to trace Bankes’s parents, the greater prize is to trace the Rand line back beyond Mary. I really do think that this is my best lead yet.

I have searched online for information about these Rands, without any success, so I now need to work out how I can advance this research at minimum cost. If anybody reading this has any ideas please do let me know. I am even thinking of including Chichester in this year’s holiday plans, so that we can visit the records office.

Thanks for reading this rather lengthy blog entry. I hope that some of it, at least, has interested you, and hope that 2016 is good to you.

2 responses to “Geoffs Genealogy Update 8 January 2016”

  1. Howard Jones says:

    Geoff, could not this Joseph Rand be John Bankes’ half-brother? He would have been about 20 or younger in 1685. His father John Rand of Chichester might well have been Bankes’ mother’s second husband. Or is this too simple a solution?

    • Geoff says:

      Hi Howard. Thanks for your comment. Yes, I agree that this is the most likely scenario. The birth date I use for Joseph, half brother of Bankes, (c1665) is an estimate only, based on the information we have about the Rand half siblings. It could easily be out by a few years. Apprenticeships usually started at age 14, but not necessarily. If we assume that Bankes’s apprentice was aged 14-20 in 1685 that would place his date of birth at 1665-1671, which would fit pretty well.

      Of course, if Joseph’s father was Bankes’s step-father it seems possible that Bankes may have originated from the Chichester area. We know that he went to London after the fire of 1666. In this case, possibly there may be a reference to Mrs Bankes’s second marriage in the West Sussex archives. Of course, we also want to know who Samuel Rand was. He definitely fitted in somewhere. Possibly John’s brother.

      All very interesting, and tantalising! Maybe we will get the answer one day.

      Thanks again.

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