Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Networking, Genealogy Gods, and a Little Serendipity

I belong to the Lincolnshire (England) mail list on Rootsweb. I can't tell you how long...10 or more years now I guess. I have had many of my questions answered by the experts in Lincolnshire history, genealogy, and records. This has helped me immensely in learning about Lincolnshire genealogical resources, traditions, and information about the county itself. I don't hesitate to add my two cents to a thread either, and have been involved in some interesting conversations to boot. I've been able to network with people on the list as well. Many people don't see the value in an active list, but I have benefited in many ways. Not only have I met -- online -- some of the most knowledgeable researchers, I've also gained a few cousins, too.
A week or so ago, one of the postings was to inform the listers "If you have forebears in the north of the County, you may like to visit this web page: ."

Not being familiar with what constitutes the "north of the county," I sent off an inquiry (off list) to Rex who posted the link. As I'm about to click send, I added my mail list "signature" to the bottom. I almost forgot to add it, too! 

As you can see in the image above, my mail list "signature" contains surnames and the locations [in] which I'm researching; my blog address; Lincolnshire Family History Society (LFHS) member number; and a link to the Porteous DNA Surname Project. Simple, direct, and most helpful in advancing my research -- if someone actually takes the time to look at it as Rex did.

Who would have thought a simple message asking what was meant by "north of the County" would be so rewarding. I guess one could say the genealogy gods were at it again; they made me add the signature at the last minute. Soon I received an unexpected surprise to go with my awaited answer. 

Rex's email enlightened me with a brief geography lesson, a little history lesson and a couple surprises. He wrote:
The county used to be all "Lincolnshire", the second largest county in the British Isles. Then the politicians decided to cut off the northern section and link it to a part of Yorkshire, and call it 'HUMBERSIDE'.
That was hated all round, and in 1992, the Lincolnshire element was returned, but again political influence re-named it to "North Lincolnshire" ... and "North-east Lincolnshire" which is centred on Grimsby.
I will send you a copy of an old Lincolnshire map which might interest you..... but I do have a lot of Lincolnshire data for the northern half of the County particularly.
Your email interested me. I help several people with computer maintenance and sort out problems, and recently was asked by a Messingham resident to help him start computing from scratch, and to use a family tree program. I spotted a name which I knew would be a good start, because it would be around in smallish numbers - unlike the Johnsons in thousands. The name was VAMPLEW.In a coupe of days we took the family back to the first Vamplew in the British Isles - Isaac Vamplew the Hugeunot refugee who came to England in the mid 1600s. All the Vamplews we know about descend from Isaac and his son Peter, baptised in the Huguenot church at Sandtoft.
....So, you see, I know your names!!If you get stuck, tell me a name/date/village and I will see what I can sort out.Regards, Rex
In addition to the Vamplew name, he has PATCHETTs in his line, and went to school with a friend who is a PORTAS! It is truly wonderful hearing from someone like Rex who is willing to go the "extra mile" to help as he stated at the end of the e-mail.

I promptly replied to Rex with some information on my Vamplew lineage, that is, the furthest I have gotten with proof: "My Vamplews can be traced back to Gayton Le Marsh 1719 marriage of James Vamplew and Elizabeth DALES. I'm sure they are connected to Isaac because they had a first son Isaac... " Families in Lincolnshire have been very good about following the naming practices i.e. first son is named after the father's father; second after the mother's father...and the first daughter is after the mother's mother; second daughter after father's mother... this usage is a pretty good indication of ascendancy in most families.

Of course I gave Rex my blog's url and told him where he could find a couple stories about my Vamplews and Patchetts. Click on any of the links for VAMPLEW in the keywords to the right of this posting and it will take you to more information.

To make a long story shortened...I asked Rex to give his Vamplew contact my email address and ask him to contact me. I really wanted to see if I could help him, too.

I soon got an email from Laurence with a short rundown on his lineage and what all Rex had helped him with. He is connected to the VAMPLEWs through a female side. I was so excited as I read his email message, because now I have the missing link back to the first Vamplew -- Isaac. I will follow up on that lead. As I read, part of his email stuck out like a sore thumb! Hey! Those are my family names! I have bolded that part in the paragraph below:
"Isaac Vamplew married Jean Duvertier in1665 (it is not known yet if this marriage was in Sandtoft or France in 1666 they gave birth to Piere Vamplew at Sandtoft who in turn gave birth to Peter 1690/1695 ( have no marriage detail as yet) from peter came James Vamplew who married Elizabeth Dales who died in 1725 more research is required on James's 1st and 2nd marriage James had a son called Isaac who married Ann Cuthbert in 1746 on this direct line came Jacob Vamplew born in1750 at Muckton nr. Louth and only a few miles from Gayton le Marsh. Jacob married Elizabeth (surname to find) then came James in 1790 and was born at Kirkby upon Bain also in the Louth district and married a Mary Dixon (more details to find on her) they produced a son called John born1829 at Skidbrooke also in the Louth district Married Mary Ann ????....Gayton le Marsh does come up a few times during my research but as yet have not put this on file but I shall be happy to help here. incidently Gayton le Marsh is a very pretty village with a lovely old Church"  
This triggered a nice round of emails. It is great he has Rex to help him through all that is available to him online. Rex is one of those very knowledgable people who monitor the list and is always there to help.

I've been researching the VAMPLEW family and the PORTAS family of Lincolnshire for almost 20 years. Although I have focussed on the Portas name and not so much on the Vamplew name, I do have many notes, images, and much information I've accumulated on them over the years. You can see the green type in the paragraph above (surname to find) -- information neither Rex nor Laurence found to that point. It took me a long time to find her name, too. I do have it in my files now and was happy to send him that little gift. Jacob Vamplew married Elizabeth ENGLAND

I wish I could supply him with the name of the Mary Ann who married John. I may find it in my notes from all my hunting and gathering at the Family History Library in Salt Lake City. 

I stressed to Laurence to "trust but verify" for himself everything I give him, hoping if he finds I am wrong, he will tell me and I can correct it. It is important to me to have accurate information with the source citations also, but sometimes I find my early research is without and with that I do tell my contact to use it as a guide. Speculation also takes into account some iffy information and I don't like handing that out without stressing it as such.

It has been a nice couple weeks learning more about the Vamplews. As Laurence gets more acquainted with research and the computer and all its resources, I hope to introduce him to several other Vamplew cousins living here in USA, Canada, and across the pond in England. Such fun getting to know Laurence, too.

My cousins list is growing with a little help from networking and the genealogy gods with a sprinkling of serendipity!

Sunday, November 3, 2013

Church Record Sunday - Syllina "What's-Her-Name?" Married William PORTAS 1679

Over a week ago, I got back from my annual ten-day trip to Salt Lake City. Yep, it's that time again when duty to my research calls to me. I take this trip with a great group of researchers with the Lake County Illinois Genealogical Society. We have a wonderful time with lots of time to research and time to socialize, too. We stay at a nice older hotel a couple blocks from the library. It is close enough anyone who wants to walk can stroll through Temple Square along the paths lined with least a day or two until all are ripped out in exchange for millions of spring bulbs and winter pansies. 

Our gang stakes their claim to tables or computers on several floors covering different countries such as B2 (second level in basement) where all British Isles is located. Some of us do nothing but British research. I am one of the British researchers. I, as you have read before, am a "hunter-gatherer" -- I only work on the microfilm when I'm at the Family History Library. Now some may think that is unorthodox for a family history researcher, and I should be looking at books, wills, probates, newspapers, etc., but not for a hunter-gatherer. I only do that as I'm filling in on my direct ancestors.

I concentrate on one family in one county in England -- PORTAS in Lincolnshire. I include spelling variations of which there are many. My quest is to connect all the Portas families to mine. So far, so good. There have been some hick-ups, but I've worked a lot out. I am also have another Portas researcher in England as my "other pair of eyes and mentor"; Margaret and I connected our Portas families during my trip in 2012; we keep each other honest. 

After last year's trip I wrote about the fantastic find -- 5x great grandfather Joseph's baptism of 1716. We finally filled the gapping hole in the list of children for William and Isobel (Salmon) Portas in Margaret's family tree.

After finding Joseph's baptism last year, I have been spending my time verifying and filling in the rest of the family information. I continued to add to my "ToDo" list and tried to keep my research strategy list up to date in ready for my trip this year.  

One of the things I wanted most this year was to verify the marriage date of Joseph's grandparents William Portas and Syllina What's-her-name? along with finding her maiden name. According to the information I had, they were married in Wold Newton, 26 Jan 1678. Wold Newton is a small Wolds parish not far from Kelstern where Joseph was baptized, and Wyham Cum Cadeby where he married. 

At the Family History Library, I pulled the Wold Newton microfilm from a drawer in the stack, set it up on the reader and proceeded to crank away. It takes me awhile to look at a roll because I don't go right to particular dates. I like to start at the beginning of the parish register section and proceed year by year, line for line, until I reach my destination which in this case was 1678. I go slowly looking for other Portas families in that parish that may have been there earlier on. I can add them to my collection. I document and take digital images of everyone I find. 

I finally arrived at the 1678 page where I found William Portus and Syllyna What's her name? entry. Most of it was very faint. I marked my spot with a 3-M post-it arrow and snapped the picture projected on the reader bed. For your viewing I enhanced it to be more readable, but you can see what isn't readable.

"Wm Portas et Syllyna    .....bert   Solu...  nup..... Ju 26" and below the 26 is "79." That's interesting because I can clearly see 1678 at the top of the page... yet, there are a couple other 1679s in the entries above in the "Baptismata" section.

I wasn't satisfied with the quality of the film and was told to use one of the computers which will enhance the image and will printout the selection. I also took my memory stick and got a copy of the enhancement along with a paper copy. While at the computer, the British expert came over to help read what Syllyna's maiden name was. The last four letters look like "bert" or maybe "lvert" -- a slanted "l" along with a "v" could be what we are seeing. More investigation was needed. I went to the microfiche files and pulled out a little sheet of film that had a list of all the surnames found in that parish record film. Colvert or Calvert were the two that fit the "ert" ending. No others came close. Am I safe in concluding Syllina's maiden name is one of those?

I also went to the Bishop's Transcript film for Wold Newton and surprisingly, the entry wasn't there! So now I think my Wm Portus and Syllyna What's her name? was added after the BTs were sent off. And maybe that is why there is confusion on why 1679 was on the 1678 page entries. Hmmmm.....

I'm not so sure of Colvert or Calvert being the name. I mentioned the possibility to Margaret in a hasty email that evening. She replied next day of the possibility; the Colverts were in Wold Newton, but not in that timeframe. Well, back to the drawing board.

When I got home I went online to Lincs to the Past website. This is an nice website maintained by the Lincolnshire Archives, but a little hard to understand how they index items one is searching for. I am one who likes to go right to an item or get as close as I can, but not on this site... you have to get used to using it, I guess. I'm not, so I just type in my parish name and hope for the best. Once I found the page for 1678 I made sure it was the one I wanted before I ordered a high resolution image. That was the easiest few minutes on that site I have had. My order was processed in British pounds and the image was sent to me by e-mail for downloading with in a day or two. Better than having to wait a couple weeks like a couple years ago.

Hurriedly, I opened the file and looked it over...hoping the high resolution image would give me more to look at. I darkened the area where W & S's entry is. Nothing is conclusive. But if you look at the space the maiden name takes up, it seems to be more space than "Co" would take up ahead of the "lvert" if it were Colvert. The other night, I suddenly thought of another surname which shows up in the area around where my Portas families lived in Lincolnshire -- Cuthbert. Well, if nothing else, we see an "ert!" More sleuthing is warranted. Any ideas?

All Saints church sits high above a horse pasture. The only way we knew to get to the church was to pass through a gate next to the "Church Path Cottage," walk the path up to the church's covered gate, enter the churchyard and climb a little more to the church.

Church Path Cottage

Our traveling companion entering the path in the pasture. You can see the railing on the steeper part of the climb just before getting to the covered church gate.

Looking back at the undisturbed horse grazing oblivious to our adventure.

All Saints church, Wold Newton, Lincolnshire, England

Other end of the church around from the entrance porch on the side.