Sunday, August 21, 2016

I Didn’t Know Syllina's Maiden Name Showed Up in Her Last Will & Testament

Remember Syllina “What’s Her Name?” my 7th great grandmother who was married to William Portas – blog post November 3, 2013? Well, I've been doing a little revisiting of previous blog posts and discovered something I hadn't picked up on before.

As we found out in the blog post of July 15, 2014 her maiden name is Birket or Burket/Berket. We uncovered it by UV light on the original Wold Newton, Lincolnshire, Parish Register. Spelling doesn’t mean much because it changes oh so often in these old records.

Recently I revisited the blog post of April 5, 2014 which talks about her Last Will and Testament of 1717. Wills are suppose to give you a good clue to various family members whether they are spouses, children, siblings, or even parents. Most of the time the Testator would “spell” out how they are connected…my dear husband/wife; my son/daughter, etc. Sometimes the Wills bequeath money or belongings or land to friends or servants, but there would be an adjective describing how they are connected…my good friend and partner; my devoted servant. You really have to pay attention to the detail and check out the connections between all of the names and the deceased. Well I did pay attention to two names in Syllina’s Will, but there was no identifier.

Not knowing until July 2014 what Syllina’s maiden name was, I wasn’t aware of a connection of one of the names in her Will until just recently when I revisited the transcript. In my post of April 5, 2014 further down in the text I explained the DISPERSEMENT… I wrote “Sillenia doesn’t distinguish what connection she has to two more people named further on – John Berkett(?) and Elizabeth Smith who received 10 Shillings a piece. Could they have been her servants? They must have been special to her to be named in her Will.” Well, low and behold, John Berkett turns out to be her brother!

Now I’m suspecting Elizabeth Smith could be her sister. I did go through the Parish Reg. pages on Lincs to the Past, and searched and….nothing showed up on any site. The family could have moved away sometime after 1653 prior to Elizabeth being born and when the last “known” child was baptized and buried in Ludborough. I might find her somewhere in my search wanderings, but I suspect not any time soon.

So I’m at a loss for Elizabeth Smith, but I know who John is. That's not bad for a couple hours sleuthing.

St. Mary's church in Ludborough, where John and Margaret Birket's first five children were baptized. According to "The parish church, dedicated to St. Mary, retains elements from the 13th to the 15th century but was substantially renovated by James Fowler in 1858. Following the lengthy closure for renovation the church was re-opened on 1 May 1860." (photos by me)

Named after Syllina’s father John, her brother John was baptized on 7 Feb 1646 in St. Mary's church, Ludborough, Lincolnshire, England. Syllina was baptized 20 Dec 1648 and is buried in Tetney. Hannah was baptized 4 Nov 1651 and Adsolon and Dinah were baptized 2 Jan 1653. Dinah was buried the following March. I’m not sure if Adsolon and Dinah were twins or not, but most likely. Those are all the children I could find for John and Margaret Birket of Ludborough. It’s interesting there isn’t a daughter named Margaret. I guess the family didn’t practice the naming patterns.

Thursday, August 11, 2016

An update: Little Elizabeth Ann Portus Vamplew died barely one year old

I was going through a few images and came across one of my great grandmother's cottage hymn book. On the inside cover is a note "Elizabeth Ann Vanplew Portos  Boarn Ap 27-64 & Departed this life Novem. 16-64" and on the opposite page "Mary Ann Vanplue Portus Tomby Nr Coningsby Lincolnshire"
The book is in the possession of cousin Sharon. I had a photo copy of the inside cover, but I never saw the actual book until I visited Sharon one day and we were looking over her cache of family stuff. I was quite taken by it and couldn't help but think about Mary Ann losing her child not one year old. What a hard time that must have been. No wonder she put the information in her little book as a reminder for prayer.

Elizabeth Ann was the first child born to Mary Ann Vamplew of Tumby Woodside, Lincolnshire, England and John Portus of Tumby which isn't too far away. 

[added 15 Sep] Notice on the "Entry of Birth" just added to this blog, there is no father listed, just the mother – Mary Ann. Elizabeth Ann's birth wasn't registered until 12 May 1864 even though she was born towards the end of April. There wasn't a set amount of days before the registration had to be made until 1874 when six weeks was the deadline. Some people still thought it was the church's responsibility to register. Besides all this, my people in Lincolnshire lived in somewhat rural area; the means of traveling to the Registration office wasn't as easy as it is today; time passed. Horncastle was about 8 miles away from Tumby by buggy. Someone would have had to take off work and that would have taken pretty much of the day for travel.

Little Elizabeth Ann was born 27 April 1864, and on 19 June was baptized in St. Peter's, the Wildmore parish church which is south of Tumby Woodside. 
St. Peter's is also referred to as Parish of Thornton-le-Fen and has been called "Frog Hall" since it is near some drains on the fen and during services the sounds of frogs croaking outside was dominant.
Baptisms solemnized in the Parish of Thornton le Fen in the County of Lincoln in the year 1864.   June 19th / Elizabeth Ann Portus illegit: dau of / Mary Ann / Vamplew / Tumby Woodside / Domestic Servant / S. George Kerr   P. Curate
Mary Ann was a domestic servant and John was a farm labourer. As so many times during my research, I have come across pre-marriage births within my family history. This was no exception except, but when they settled in Lake County, Illinois, they told everyone they were married in 1863, when actually they didn't marry until 1 Sep 1864 five months after Elizabeth Ann was born. I guess settling so far away from home, in a new land, it really didn't occur to them 146 years later, someone would know the truth.

This scenario isn't all that unusual. John and Mary Ann were working and according to protocol, couldn't leave to be married less they forfeit their job and income. I suspect John waited until his indenture was completed and then they married making the child legally his.

1864 Marriage solemized at
Chapel in the Chapelry of Thornton le Fen in the County of Lincoln.
Thursday Sept 1st / John Portus  Mary Ann Vamplew / both of full age / Bachelor  Spinster / Labourer  (note: no occupation for Mary Ann) / Part of Tumby Allot / William Portus (father of groom)  James Vamplew (father of bride)/ both fathers are labourers. The marriage was by Banns.  Witnesses: James Vamplew and Jane Portus

About three months after Elizabeth Ann was baptized, her mother and father married. The family was complete and hopefully happy to be. It wasn't more than two months after John and Mary Ann were married that Elizabeth Ann died.

1864 Death in the Sub-district of Tattershall in the County of Lincoln.
Sixteenth November 1864 Coningsby / Elizabeth Ann Portus Vamplew /
Female / 6 months / Daughter of Mary Ann Vamplew now the wife of John Portus Farm Labourer / (cause) Teething Convulsions not certified / X The mark of Maria Stamper  Present at the death  Coningsby / Eighteenth November 1864 

Many babies in those days died of "teething convulsions" because they didn't know how to treat the high temperatures which caused the convulsions. This must have been devastating for both Mary Ann and John. I can't imagine losing a child and so young, too.

Elizabeth Ann is buried in the St. Michael's churchyard, Coningsby. When Bob and I were there a few years ago, we couldn't find any marker or headstone for her. Cousin Alan searched a wooded area in the churchyard just last year before the leaves came out; he found nothing. So if she had a marker of some sort, it isn't there anymore.

St. Michaels Parish church in Coningsby, Lincolnshire, England
John and Mary Ann had three more children in Lincolnshire before they immigrated in 1870 to the United States and settled in Diamond Lake, Lake County, Illinois. Five years later, John's parents would migrate to the U.S. and settle in Garfield, Kansas.