Saturday, August 25, 2012

Puzzle Piece Payoff Started With The UK Censuses

There are so many things I could talk about when it comes to my family history research. There have been advances and setbacks, not to mention those formidable brick walls. I've had my share of spending money ordering certificates only to find out the information I received a few weeks later wasn't connected to my family. I've had my share of the opposite: when the precious envelope came in the mail it contained a revelation of parents name therefore thrusting my research back another generation or more!

Of the many trials and revelations, one find stands out. It was one of my many puzzle piece payoffs. I was getting to know my g-g-grandfather James Vamplew. Besides wanting to know who his parents were, I wanted to know more about his family, children, siblings, etc. This seemed like a good time to hunt because pieces of information were starting to come together, but there were mysteries to solve, too. The more I dug, the more I wanted to know.  

James lived in Tumby Woodside, Lincolnshire, England. He married Anne Rouse in 1838 and they lived in District 4 of the Tumby parish. Their second child is my great grandmother Mary Ann who married John Portus and eventually settled in Illinois. James and Anne had 10 children, all of which lived to adulthood; that was not as common as we'd like to think. 

The James and Anne Vamplew cottage in Tumby Woodside, Lincolnshire, England as identified
by cousin Maurice who descends from youngest son George Wright Vamplew's line and  lives
about a mile away from the site. The cottage no longer exists. The two girls in front are 
unidentified, but could be the youngest girls Matilda and Lucy Ann. Date of taking unknown.


From 1841 to 1901 census, I could start piecing together most James' life. Even though indexed with various spellings, I eventually found them by entering in the search field "Tumby" and looking at each district; each page and each line of that district. Of course that takes time, but it did have its benefits – I found other family connections at the same time. As research goes on over the years, I have seen the surname spelled more ways that your head is spinning. The most common way is VAMPLEW in England; in USA it is VanPlew.

James VANFLEW - age: 24  born: Y [in county]
1841 UK Census - HO 107 / 638 / 25
Kirkby Upon Bain, Lincolnshire, District 4 ( image pg6)

James Vamplew - age: 35  born: Ranby
1851 UK Census - HO 107 / 2108
Tumby, Lincolnshire, District 4 ( image pg. 17)

James Vamplew - age: 44  born: Ranby
1861 UK Census - RG9 / 2370
Tumby, Lincolnshire, District 4 ( image pg. 13)

James Vamplew - age: 54  born: Martin
1871 UK Census - RG10 / 3384
Tumby, Lincolnshire, District 4 ( image pg. 10)

James Vamplew - age: 64  born: Ranby
1881 UK Census - RG11 / 3252
Tumby, Lincolnshire, District 4 ( image pg. 11)

James Vamplew - age: 74  born: Ranby
1891 UK Census - RG12 / 2600
Tumby, Lincolnshire, District 4 ( image pg. 19)

James Vamplew - age: 84  born: Ranby
1901 UK Census - RG13 / 3071
Wildmore (Tumby), Lincolnshire, District 4 ( image pg. 12)

What did I find out from the census besides who was in the household, where all were born, and how old they were? Well, I found out on six of the seven census years, James was born in Ranby, but on the 1871 census he said he was born in Martin. Most probably he was born in Ranby because that is what he said most of the time, but I can't assume until I get his birth record. I searched the web for James b. 1815-1820, Ranby. No luck. I tried various spelling, still no luck. I gave up. I also contacted a couple other researchers in Lincolnshire to ask advice on how to find the father's name... still no luck. I set it aside. Time will tell. 


I already had his death record, but not his marriage record. I sent to the RO in England and received the marriage record – at least I'd have his father's name, right? That's a start.

1838, Marriage solemnized by Banns in the Parish of Kirkby in the County of Lincoln
When Married: May 15; Name and Surname:
James Vamplew; Age 21;
Condition: bachelor;
 Rank or Profession:  Laborer; Residence at the Time of Marriage: Tumby;
Father's Name and Surname:
James Vamplew; Rand or Profession of Father: Laborer
Married in the Parish church according to the Rites and Ceremonies of
the Church of England by me, Thomas Best
Bride and groom signatures; Witnesses: John Southwell and John Lenton 

I had planned my first trip to Salt Lake City, Utah, Oct. 2006. The baptism record would have to wait until I was in the Family History Library and could look at the mother lode of parish records on microfilm. 

First thing in the FHL – I searched through the Ranby microfilm to no avail. There was nothing! Not to let my research trip go to waste, I decided I to look through other films for some of my PORTAS family. It was later in the day and I was getting very groggy from looking at the whirling film on the reader the darkened area. I was on my last box of film – the Thornton parish. I was searching "P" for Portas when a "B" popped out at me. I spotted it! Mary BAMPFLEW! I think everyone on the British Isles floor of the library knew I struck gold! It was probably a good thing we were two stories down in the basement for fear all of Salt Lake City would have heard. There it was – six rows down...who would have thunk? I was floating higher and higher! My sister-in-law was next to me...she knew it was a special find.

It's was hard to read. I looked closely to what was written  Novr 10, [1816], James [daughter crossed out] Illegitimate son of Mary Bampflew [baptized] at Thornton and born at RanbyHe WAS born Ranby, he was illegitimate and the Curate had enough sense to give me all that information!

St. Wilfred's Church, Thornton, Lincolnshire. Thornton is a small hamlet. The road to the church looks like a driveway, because you have to go between two houses and hope you don't knock over the garbage cans. The church dates back to the 15th century and is a listed building. 

No father's name. Even though he was illegitimate, sometimes a father is written on the baptism record. So, who is the "James" on his wedding certificate as his father? More questions. Was Mary single or was she married to a James Vamplew? I was on the hunt and found Mary was daughter to Jacob. She was single at time of the birth. 


Back in 2006, I didn't think about "Bastardy Cases" where the single mother would ask the Justices of the General Quarter Sessions for payment from the father for upkeep on her child. I had emailed a Vamplew researcher in Australia to tell her my mystery. She was the one to mention Bastardy Recognizances. She explained what these were and sent me a sample of what I should be looking for. Unbeknownst to her, the clipping she sent me was Mary's request! I hadn't told her who I was looking for! Luck be with me for sure!

Looky here! Mary Vamplew single woman of Ranby. Putative father: James Patchett...well, the father's name was James. Could it have been when g-g-grandfather got married, the Curate was told my James' father was also "James" whereas the Curate "assumed" his father was also Vamplew? Maybe my g-g-grandfather thought his father was (as if turns out) his uncle James? 

I noticed I could send for the Bastardy Certificate. I ordered it from Lincoln Archives and waited in great anticipation for the papers. I was so excited when I was reading the certificate because it mentions the day he was born... "Bastard Child, on Sunday the sixth day of October infant..."

I learned something new. The Recognizance announces the father and his surety and the certificate gives details. I don't know if there is another paper to order, but this is enough for now. It gives me the important answers I have been searching for. 


I had wondered if Mary ever married James Patchett, but further investigation showed they did not. Son James went to live with Mary's mother and her brother James. She married a Bartholomew Voucher in 1818, and passed away at age 26 in 1822. They had one daughter. James Patchett married a Mary Brown, and he died in 1867. They had nine children.

My g-g-grandfather James Vamplew b. 1816, m. 1838, d. 1905. Anne, his wife, passed a year later. They were married 72 years and lived their whole married life in Tumby Woodside. Anne was born in Tumby, and from what I can tell James had lived within a five-mile radius all his life.

James Vamplew, died 21 October 1905 at age 89 of Epithelioma of Ear. Exhaustion. Certified by T.W.S. Mann M.R.C.S.; Informant: George Vamplew, Son.
James and Anne (Rouse) Vamplew are both buried in St. Peter's of Wildmore churchyard. I couldn't find any headstones, so just took a picture of the church and grounds... they have to be there somewhere.

"Frog Hall" is what the locals call it, but actually it is St. Peter's in Wildmore Parish.
It is a listed building, built in 1816, and is known as a "fen church."

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