Elizabeth Beale: Mystery SOLVED

My fourth cousin Geoff and I had reached different conclusions as to the identity of our 6th great grandmother, as discussed in this post.  A quick summary is that in 1705, there lived three Richard Beales – our ancestor (Tombstone Richard), his cousin (Other Richard) and some random Richard in Wadhurst (Wadhurst Richard).  One of them married Elizabeth Newington, one married Elizabeth Henden, and no one knows what happened to the third.  I was convinced that Tombstone Richard married Miss Henden, Geoff thought he married Miss Newington.  There was some evidence for both theories, but a square eyed day chugging through microfilms at the Kent Record Office failed to seal the case either way.

Richard Beale 1757 ii
Tomb of Richard Beale and Elizabeth NEWINGTON

It turns out that, as so often is the case, the answer was right in front of my nose.  But not on my nemesis the microfilm, but an actual document languishing in the record office.  Behold, from the Kent Archives online catalogue:

  • Description:  Between Samuel Newington of Wadhurst, William Beale of Biddenham and Richard Beale, his son, on the occasion of the marriage of Richard Beale and Elizabeth Newington, of a messuage with 72a. in Woodhcurch
  • Held At:Kent History and Library Centre
  • Document Order #:TR/1711/1
  • Date:(1705)
  • Level:file
  • Extent:1 doc
  • Language:English
  • Access Status:Open
  • Contact:Kent History and Library Centre,

Bollocks!  How did I miss that?  I can only assume that I must have been searching for Beale in Biddenden and not the misspelt “Biddenham” it evaded my search techniques.  You would think with all the archaic spellings and deliberate attempts to deceive I have found amongst my ancestors I wouldn’t have made such a schoolgirl error, but there you go.  Geoff was right and I was wrong, and now I have to eat humble pie and spend the rest of the evening removing Hendens from my tree and adding Newingtons.

The one piece of the mystery that remains is how I came to have a 22cM (approx 4th to 6th cousin) DNA match with a descended of Elizabeth Henden’s brother.  The answer to this is probably boring: we probably match somewhere else in the tree, a part that at least one of us has not yet researched.  We both have many ancestors from Kent, so it is highly probable.  A 22cM match is extremely unlikely to be false, but it could come from a lot further back.  A slightly more juicy explanation would be that one of my Beales had an affair with a Henden, or vice versa, thus throwing the entire tree into disarray with the dreaded Non Paternal Event.  I have no evidence for this whatsoever.

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