Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Fifth Great Uncle Joseph Portas a Shepherd

Ever since I met Margaret – Portas researcher – I pretty much stayed away from gathering Portas families from her parishes. Why bother when she had it all and I could always reference to her? And then this e-mail came which changed my family tree.

On Sep 29, 2012, at 06:03 AM, cousin Margaret wrote:

Hi Karen,
I hope I can catch you with this before you go to SLC, you didn't say what date you were going, but I know its usually in October. Well here goes.
Guess what.  The Joseph and Ann that I gave you last time, with a son William born Kelstern who married Susannah Wightman...

Well  it turns out that this Joseph is actually yours, son of Joseph and Elizabeth Moore.
Joseph (M) Ann Butters on 25.5.1780 at Marshchapel by Banns wit. John Butters and Thomas Swaby.
Ann Butters was born c.1752 buried 30.12.1844 age 92 at Fulstow.
Joseph and Ann had 8 children (I am sure you have them. 5 of which were bap. at Marshchapel. but the last Three i.e. William 17.11.1793 who married Susannah Wightman was bap at Kelstern.  Thomas 11.5.1796 was bap at Beelsby and Ann 17.6.1799 was bap at Binbrook, she was buried 2.8.1803 age 3 at Kelstern.
Joseph Portas was buried 21.9.1801 age 50 a Shepherd of Lambcroft (Kelstern).
1841 Census. Fulstow
Ann Portas 89 living with Richard Dixon 64 and Bridget Dixon 56.

I was going on my annual Salt Lake City family history library trip a little over a week later. The e-mail came just in time for me to add it to my priority "To-Get" list. For a long time I was hoping to find Joseph's burial information and this e-mail couldn't have come at a better time. I still don't know what prompted her to send it. I was feeling lucky...the genealogy gods were looking down at me!

Who would have thought an e-mail as innocent as this one would ultimately solve a couple mysteries on the same day and in the same roll of film. Not only did it clear up a mystery of how Joseph Portas who married Ann Butters was connected to my family, but I found the long-time hunted 1716 baptism of another Joseph Portas – my 5x-great grandfather and gained a 7th cousin – Margaret!

Back in the 18th Century, the hamlet of Kelstern evidently administered religious rights to Lambcroft. The present-day Kelstern, tucked into the Wold Hills, really isn't more than a few houses, a manor home, and parish church. It is the village cousin Margaret's Portas family had connections. I was hoping to find my connection to Margaret's family, too. Her family had a sizable-year gap – 1711-1718 – between their children and we believed my 5x great grandfather would fit nicely into that slot. Anyway, you can read about the results of my 8-year-plus quest for his baptism here.

This is the only map that shows Lambcroft. There seems to be a couple cottages there.
From the 1824 ordnance survey map put out by Cassini Historical Map, Old Series #113. 

With the revelation that Joseph was the son of Joseph and Elizabeth (Moor) PORTAS, he has moved into my family tree as my 5x great uncle. Joseph was baptized 18 Aug 1752 in Marshchapel. He is brother to my 4th great grandfather William (Elizabeth Knight)

According to his 1802 burial record at St. Faith's churchyard in Kelstern, he was a shepherd at Lambcroft which is no longer a hamlet and possibly wasn't much of one either back in 1802. Joseph was buried on 21 Sep 1802 at 50 years of age.

Note: above his burial entry is daughter Ann's, 3 yrs old buried 2 Aug.
St. Faith's church. Image by Paul Fenwick and can be found on
Lincolnshire Church Photographs.
Joseph married Ann BUTTERS by Banns on 25 May 1780 in Marshchapel at St. Mary church. And it is there, in Marshchapel, they had five of their eight-known children. 

Hard to see the date, but it is a 25.
St. Mary church. Image by Paul Fenwick and can be found on
Lincolnshire Church Photographs. 
Ann Butters was baptized at St. Leonard parish church in South Cockerington on 4 Apr 1756 to Thomas and Eleanor. South Cockerington is a "marsh" village about 12 miles south of Marshchapel.
Baptism record on Lincs to the Past a website owned by the Lincolnshire Archives.

St. Leonard church. Image by Paul Fenwick and can be found on
Lincolnshire Church Photographs.
Joseph and Ann were married 22 years. They had eight known children: Mary, Elizabeth, Dinah, David, John, William, Thomas, and Ann. There is one gap of five years between fifth and sixth child where one or more could be born, but I haven't found any to fill the spot(s) yet. Their first five children were baptized in Marshchapel, the sixth child William was baptized in Kelstern, the seventh Thomas baptized in Beelsby, and their eighth Ann was baptized in Binbrook.

I have no idea what became of Ann during the 39 years after Joseph died. I know a few of her children moved away to other parishes. It appears Ann did not remarry because in the 1841 UK Census taken in Fulstow we pick up again with Ann Portus. She is 89 years old and is living in the Richard and Bridget Dixon household. At first thought, Bridget could be a daughter, but in Margaret's e-mail she said Bridget was from the family MASON and not a PORTAS. Since I also have no record of a daughter Bridget, I can only guess Ann is living with the Dixons possibly as a housekeeper or just as a benevolent jester on the part of the Dixons. She is not listed as a "pauper."

Ann is buried in the churchyard of St. Lawrence in Fulstow on 30 Dec 1844. She is 92. Perhaps no one knew her husband was buried in Kelstern.

Ancient church dedicated to St. Lawrence. It is believed this church
dates back to the 1200s. Below in the porch, on either side of the doorway,
stand two effigies, one of a knight and the other of his lady.
Images by me on a 2014 trip.

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