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 … Continue reading Elizabeth Beale: Mystery SOLVED

Henry Bishop: The Alternative Deacon

Henry Bishop is another example of a very distant non-blood relative who has grabbed my interest.  He was my 5th great aunt husband's brother, and lived alongside my Downing Ancestors in Southminster.  I find building a picture of 19th century Southminster, the key figures in the village and how they all interacted with each other … Continue reading Henry Bishop: The Alternative Deacon

Eleanor Hope: An 18th Century Single Mum

Eleanor Hope, 1767-1838 Single Mum and Garden Digger, Frittenden, Kent, and my 5th great grandmother I wrote a little about Eleanor Hope when I told you about her son, Thomas Sharp Hope, the ancestor who took my genes to New York, Kalamazoo and beyond.  Last week I visited the Kent Archives in Maidstone in the … Continue reading Eleanor Hope: An 18th Century Single Mum

Samuel Downing: Man Overboard!

For a long time I believed that Samuel Downing, the first son of Southminster patriach Joseph Downing, had died in infancy.  It seemed the logical conclusion - there was no sign of him in any of the Southminster records or anywhere else in England for that matter and the parish register from the relevant years that would show his burial had been destroyed.  His mother and sister had also disappeared in this period, and his mother was clearly dead, as Joseph had remarried and described himself as a widower.Read more...

Frederick Allen Downing: finding the father of an illegitimate child

Frederick was an obvious choice for a starting point for this blog.  His parentage was the biggest mystery in my family tree, and at one point, I thought it an unsolvable mystery.  It turned out the answer was staring me in the face all along. Read more...