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.

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