Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Hunting and Gathering in the Family History Library

Back now from Salt Lake City. I spent six days in the family history library and didn't find the baptism or burial of my 5x great grandparents, my brick wall. There were a few loose bricks in that wall and now I have several new names to build on.

My Portas folks are mostly from the northeastern part of Lincs, mainly the marshes and wolds with some located around the northern part of the fens.

The time period I'm mainly interested in is 1695-1780 – more or less. I have found a nice concentration of early Portas families up in the marsh towns – Marshchapel and North Coates, and edge of the wolds – Wyham cum Cadeby. This is the area 5x great grandparents Joseph and Elizabeth are from.

It is beautiful in northeast Lincs, with rolling hills that look like a billowing patchwork quilt of fields and forests. As we drove up and down the hills, occasionally a pheasant would cross the road and scurry into the hedge row. On the rise above Wyham cum Cadeby parish church, in the distance you can see the marshes meeting the North Sea.

I hunt and gather PORTAS families in (and from) Lincolnshire, England. My style of research is a little unorthodox, but it can be exhilarating and rewarding. I harvest all I find, hoping to connect them with my lineage. I've made many connections and I've produced as many mysteries and questions to boot.

A few years ago on a trip to Salt Lake City, I found the marriage record for Joseph PORTAS and Elizabeth MOOR. They were married in 1740 in All Saints parish church of Wyham cum Cadeby. Now I know when and where they were married, but that's it! I don't know their baptism or burial dates or places! That is my quest. If I could find these places and dates, I would have their parents' names and could move backward. Currently I'm stuck!

"A Copy of the Regester for the Parish of Wyham cum Cadeby from Lady Day 1740 to Lady Day 1741 Joseph Portas & Elizabeth Moor married May 6" (Lady Day is March 25) [Image: parish record Wyham cum Cadeby, Lincolnshire, England]

The parish church is still next to the parsonage and manor house but there is no village. There is a parish history at <>. When Bob and I drove to the church to get a picture, it was hard to find because the road leading to the church looks like a private driveway. We originally found ourselves on that gravel farmer's road in the picture above; we asked directions from the farmer how to get to the church and he said we should drive down the hill, turn left on the drive, go through the farm buildings until you see the church.

The church is small and ancient. I would love to have gone inside, but the church was locked. Next time we are there, I'll get in, I want a picture of the baptismal font, too.

Finding Joseph and Elizabeth has been a challenge. Sometimes I think I am close only to have my hopes dashed after sending for high resolutions of one document or another. I have looked at Settlements, Parish Records, and Wills. I have two lists of parishes, one that is within five miles and to other 10 miles of Wyham cum Cadeby. I am whittling down those lists each time I go to the Family History Library. This current trip, I believe I have the strongest possibility of where Elizabeth was baptized and buried, but I'm not yet sure.

The last couple trips to the Family History Library have been fruitful. My harvest of Portas families has yielded a bumper crop of names and connections. Yet none have moved me closer to Joseph and Elizabeth. I have hope. Their information will come to me when I least expect it.

In the meanwhile, I will continue to hunt and gather Portas families. With all my information on Lincolnshire Portas families, I may be able to help others find their connections, too. I won't give up on my 5x great grandparents B & Ds... I will seek different avenues to search. There has to be something I haven't searched through yet.
Now I have to get going on entering all that I found during this trip. Maybe something will light up the lightbulb in my head and I will get closer than I was before the trip. One can only hope!

Maybe I'll work on my mother's FOWLER family...hmmm.

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