There isn't that much to tell about John. I know when he was baptized, who he had married, and what census he is listed, but I don't know when he died or where he was buried. That's not a lot, but it is something.
There are a couple Ancestry.com family trees who have a John Portass burial as April 1900 in Holton le Clay. I believe they are wrong. The Holton le Clay John was baptized around the same time as my John, but in Grainthorpe and he married Rebecca BINGHAM. That HLC John is the illegitimate son of Dinah, Joseph's sister.
Three-times great uncle John was baptized 25 Mar 1810 at St. Helen's parish church in Mareham le Fen, Lincolnshire, England [not Grainthorpe]. He was the eldest son and first born to Joseph and Mary (Dennis) PORTAS.
Some Ancestry.com family trees has a Samuel born to them first, but he is actually the son of a PORTER living in Mareham le Fen. Sometimes the PORTAS and PORTER(s) names get confused, but in this case not. There might be a first son other than John; I have yet to find him. Besides, there are not too many Samuels in the PORTAS family at large.
On one of my trips to the Family History Library in Salt Lake City, I found the St. Helen's Bishop's Transcript. It has "Ann" as John's mother, but the original parish record has his correct parents – Joseph & Mary Porteus. (Remember spelling of surnames makes no difference.)
|Bishop Transcript - Parish of Mareham le Fen, Lincolnshire, England.|
I'm going with the original PR below. I can barely make out the Mary; I can see how the "Ann" came about. If you look for another name that starts with "M" you can definitely see it is Mary not Ann. I think the curate got confused because there is a Joseph and Ann a couple entries below John's entry.
|Original parish register entries for John son of Joseph & Mary Porteus - March 25th 1810.|
|St. Helen's Parish Church. Image taken by me.|
|Baptism font at St. Helen's church in Mareham le Fen, Lincolnshire, England. |
Image taken by me.
John married Susannah JACKSON on 5 Aug 1832 - Mareham le Fen. Witnesses were Richard KIME and Benjamin JACKSON. In this marriage there was one child, Benjamin.I have been under the impression Susannah died shortly after she gave birth to Benjamin. In my database, Susannah was buried 1833, but I don't know where I got that from. Doesn't pay not to have any source. Evidently this entry was during my research's infancy. I didn't think to put one it or part of when through a glitch in the program all my sources were lost.
Her burial date might be true, but could there also be another Susannah? I checked FamilySearch.org and found a burial for a Susanna Portas 15 Oct 1833 - St. James, Louth. (I think that is where I got the date.) Louth is a distance north from Mareham le Fen so that seemed a little odd. As it turns out, that Susanna's burial was for an "infant." I checked the Louth parish record on the Lincs to the Past website. Other than that, I can't find any burials around that time with Susannah's name on the register. The Ancestry.com family trees will have to correct their entries for her, I guess.
A little mystery? I am leaning towards Susannah and John's marriage breaking up with her retaking her maiden name. I have no idea how long they were married – it could be a year or nine. It wasn't that uncommon for a wife to lose favor with her marriage or that her husband didn't want her anymore and they would just split up. She could also have abandoned her husband and son and pretended not to have been married at all. Oh, well, will I ever know for sure?
Divorce was not something that occurred often. Were they granted a divorce? Abandonment happened sometimes, but there was punishment to one or the other spouses. Yet, there does seem to be a separation of sorts because on 11 Jan 1838, a Susannah Jackson marries an Edward SPIKIN a widower; it was witnessed by a Benjamin JACKSON who also, by the way, was the name of the witness to Susannah and John's marriage. Susannah's marital status was listed as "single." I still think this was her second marriage I found on FamilySearch.org. I also found a burial record for Susan Spikins, 25, on 21 Jul 1838 Mareham le Fen. It says she was born 1813. That birth date is about right. I do believe this to be the correct scenario...
By the 1841 census - Mareham le Fen, we find John, 30, and his son Benjamin, 8, were living with John's parents and his niece Mary, 6. John is an Agricultural Labourer. Since the 1841 census is somewhat barebones, there is no mention of him being widowed or married.
July of 1848 John marries for the second time to a Mary Ann WHITE of Hagworthingham. It is interesting he is listed as "widower." That is what originally lead me to believe Susannah had died, but it was also common to say that because of the stigma of a separation of sorts. The marriage was witnessed by John's younger brother Richard and his wife Ann.
Of this second union, there were six (known) children born between 1850 and 1863: Dinah, Olive, Emma, Tom, Fred, and Jane.
You will note that Benjamin is not on any. He would be about 18 and working. By the time youngest sister Jane was born in 1863, Benjamin would be 30 years old.
HO 107 / 2108 - Mareham le Fen
John head 48 Agricultural Labour born MLF
Mary Ann wife 22 Labourer wife born Hagg
Dinah daur 1 at home born MLF
Dinah daur 1 at home born MLF
RG9/2370 - Mareham le Fen / Shop Hill
John head 45 Ag Lab b. Mareham Le Fen
Mary A wife 29 b. Hagg
Dina daur 11 Scholar b. Mareham le Fen
Ollive daur 5 Scholar b. Mareham le Fen
Emma daur 4 Scholar b. Mareham le Fen
Tom son 1 b. Mareham le Fen
RG10/3385 page 26 - Mareham le Fen / Mumby Bridge
John [PORTER?] head Mar 63 Ag Lab b. Mareham le Fen
Mary A wife Mar 39 b. Mareham le Fen
Dina daur Unm 22 b. Mareham le Fen
Emma daur 13 b. Mareham le Fen
Tom son 10 b. Mareham le Fen
Fred son 9 b. Mareham le Fen
Jane daur 8 b. Mareham le Fen
Sarah gr. daur 2 b. Mareham le Fen (probably Dinah's daughter)The 1871 is the last census I found John on. I have not found him on any other nor have I found his death date. I will keep looking. It only took me about 10 years to find the baptism of John's great grandfather Joseph.
I'm hoping for a little serendipity or for the genealogy gods to intervene. I have it on my TO-DO list for my next trip to a Family History Center or Salt Lake City Family History Library.
BENJAMIN - FIRST COUSIN THREE TIMES REMOVED
This picture got me interested in doing a little research and writing this blog post. My cousin Sharon brought it and other pictures to a genealogy meeting. We identified him as John's son rather than my grandfather's brother, great uncle Ben who was born in 1885. By the looks of his clothing, this image was taken about that time or a little earlier because cousin Benjamin died in 1882. It could only be cousin Benjamin because uncle Ben would have been much younger looking...he would have been a baby!
Benjamin was baptized 9 Jul 1833 at the Chapelry of Carrington which is a short distance south of Mareham le Fen. This could be a "chapel of ease" because their "abode" was Miningsby Allotment which is on the north end of the West Fen near Mareham le Fen.
We know where he was living from the 1841 census. On the 1851 Census for Mareham le Fen, Benjamin, 17, was still living with his grandparents and his 16-year-old cousin Mary. He is a labourer, born Bolingbroke.
On the 1861 Census, we see Benjamin, 29, again living with his grandparents in Mareham le Fen on The Green. He is an Agricultural Labourer and was born Mareham le Fen.
The 1871 Census shows us that Benjamin, 37, is living in the KIME household. It also has his birthplace as the Sibsey Northlands, not Carrington, nor Bolingbroke, or Mareham le Fen. That really doesn't matter much because they are in about the same area. He is still an Agricultural Labourer.
The 1881 Census is the last we will see Benjamin, 47, back in Mareham le Fen on The Green, living with his aunt Elizabeth (Portas) SANDERSON and cousin William. He is still an Agricultural Labourer, born in Mareham le Fen.
The discrepancy of where Benjamin was born could be from whoever gave the information to the enumerator. They did get the approximate location which is interesting. Yet, we have to realize "where he was born" and "where he was baptized" could be different. We do know he was baptized at the Chaplery of Carrington.
Benjamin died at age 49, just 11 months after the 1881 census was taken. He was buried 12 Mar 1882 in St. Helen's parish churchyard in Mareham le Fen.
So that might be the end of this story...for now. Oh, genealogy god, grant me the fortitude to continue my quest to find what I am yet to know...huh?