I had a very frustrating day at the Kent Archives yesterday!
I had four Kentish Questions that I needed answering:
- I wanted to know the name of a father of an illegitimate baby who was born in Buckland in 1865. There is a slim chance this might appear in the baptism or workhouse records. But for some reason, these records are kept in Canterbury instead. So it looks like a trip to Canterbury features in my future.
- I wanted to solve the mystery of the two Richard and Elizabeth Beales living in Biddenden in the 1700s and work out whether my ancestor married Elizabeth Henden or Elizabeth Newington. I found the baptisms and marriages for Biddenden, but the vicar clearly had not foreseen the bother this would cause 300 years later and had not recorded which Richard Beale married Miss Henden. (Frustratingly, he had recorded the name of her father, which I didn’t need, but not of his). Curiously, two of the baptisms for Not My Ancestor Richard that appear in the index did not appear in the original (which makes me think they may have been written in later – it is hard to find such things on microfilm). The other clue I found was that Not My Ancestor Richard was described as “Mr Richard Beale of Standen” in the baptism record for his remaining child. This information may or may not prove totally useless. All that remains now is to check the register for Wadhurst and hope that more information was recorded for the other Beale marriage.
- I wanted to find any information about the father of Ambrose Whibley Remington. I scoured every record from Horsmonden I could find. Frustratingly, there seem to be no records of money going in to the parish funds (which could include the 18th century equivalence of maintenance payments), only going out – which included “to Riminton” but no other detail. The only clue was that in 1761, the year of Ambrose’s birth, there was a semi illegible entry about payments being made to someone about some “charges on Ambros Wibly”. Charges for the baby, perhaps? But not enough information to be certain. There was no bastardy bond and no other mention of Sarah Remington’s baby or any Whibleys around that time at all. There were, however, so many familiar surnames in the bastardy records and removal orders that I nearly ran out my pencil trying to scribble them all down for future reference.
- I have a loads of mysterious DNA matches who are connected to each other through a couple named Edward and Lydia Jeffery. I can’t figure how this couple are related to me (other than a very distant ancestor who would not account for the closeness of the matches) and figure there must be a Non Parental Event somewhere. The other link to my family is that I found a John Jeffery married a Whibley, but my DNA matches are not descended from this pairing – I also could not work out how John was related to Edward and Lydia anyway (there are a few possibilities due to unimaginitiveness of naming). I hoped the marriage record would give a clue. It didn’t.
Sometimes I just want to go back to the 1700s and find my ancestors and complain to them about their poor record keeping and confusing relationships. It did also occur to me that maybe no one ever knew the answer to some of these questions. What if Sarah Remington was seeing a Whibley and a Jeffery at the same time? Maybe Ambrose Whibley Remington grew up believing he was a Whibley but was in fact a Jeffery? That is one possible explanation. It’s a shame we didn’t have Jeremy Kyle back then, he would sort it all out.