Subscriber Articles

Family History Article 8th January 2007 Family History
My maternal great grandparents, Henry & Eliza Jane Roch lived in various places over the years, finally ending up in Abercarn, Monmouthshire, where Henry was the master of the Works School.

Henry had been born in Sheerness, Kent, in 1838, more or less by accident. His father was a shipwright in the Royal Naval Dockyard at Pembroke Dock, but was either sent or volunteered to move temporarily to Sheerness when the yard there had a big order to fulfill in 1838.

By 1840 the family were back in Pembroke Dock, but Henry was a good student and obtained a scholarship to Borough Road Teacher Training School, London, where he qualified in 1857. It would seem likely that whilst in London he met Eliza Jane Seymour, some 9 years older than him, and they married in London in 1859.

I obtained the Marriage Certificate which showed Eliza Jane's father to be William Seymour, stonemason, deceased. Census returns showed that Eliza Jane was born in London, one of them said Clerkenwell.

I paid a researcher to check the baptisms for Clerkenwell and surrounding areas and she eventually found Eliza baptised at St Leonard's, Shoreditch in 1835, along with her sister Martha.

Martha was born in 1835, but Eliza was born in 1830. So neither birth would have been registered, and there were no other baptisms at St Leonard's or nearby for children of William & Elizabeth Seymour.

There was a family story that Eliza Roch (nee Seymour) was from Street in Somerset or had lived there. My grandmother, her daughter, had at one time been sent to live with an uncle in London, but nobody knew where in London nor his name for certain, though it may have been Davies. That was all anyone knew.

I found an entry in the London PO directory for a William Seymour, stonemason, in Kingsland Rd, Shoreditch, in 1846 and thought this must be Eliza's father. I also did a search of the IGI for a marriage for a William Seymour & Elizabeth in London around the 1820s - 30s.

There seemed to be only one likely one, William Seymour and Elizabeth Clevely in 1824 at St Giles, Cripplegate. But, of course, I could not be sure that this was the right one. In fact William & Elizabeth might well have been married anywhere in Britain and finished up in London.

When the 1841 census for London became available from The Genealogist I signed up and excitedly searched for William & Elizabeth Seymour. No such luck. That seemed strange. I tried the 1851 census. No luck again. So I looked for Eliza Jane (trying Eliza, Elizabeth & Jane Seymour) in both censuses. But there were several possibles in 1841, though none living with parents William & Elizabeth.

In 1851 there were a few possibles but none living with William & Elizabeth Seymour. I was rather stumped. I then had the idea of searching The Genealogist for Martha, Eliza's sister. I found a Martha Seymour of about the right age living in Dartford with Hezekiah Cary, stonemason, and his wife Elizabeth in 1841.

In 1851 Hezekiah & Elizabeth were still in Dartford and there was an Elizabeth Seymour, step daughter, living with them. She was shown as born at St Lukes, which I take to be St Lukes, Old St., Finsbury/Clerkenwell.

Hezekiah Cary was born at Barton St David, Somerset, very near Street. So things added up. I then found the details of Hezekiah Cary's marriage to Elizabeth Seymour, widow, daughter of John Clevely, glover. So the marriage I had found for William Seymour and Elizabeth Clevely at St Giles was the right one.

Further researching the children of Hezekiah & Elizabeth Cary I found that their daughter, Emma Maria Ellen Carey, Eliza Roch (nee Seymour's) half sister, married Nelson Davies in 1878 in the Camberwell Registration District, and they lived in Peckham in 1881.

Presumably my grandmother must have gone to live with them at some time between 1881 and 1891.

She was not with them at the times of either census, but as their name was Davies and they were her aunt and uncle I am sure that that proves the family story correct.

I think the moral of this story and others that have researched is "there is nearly always a certain amount of truth in family stories but quite often they have become garbled along the way. They are always worth bearing in the back of the mind".

Incidentally, I cracked that brickwall, but opened another.

Elizabeth Clevely was born in Wellingborough, Northants. About 1805, daughter of John Clevely, glover. Is there an Elizabeth daughter of John Clevely baptised at Wellingborough? Is there heck as like! I am now stuck again. There are Clevelys galore in Wellingborough, even a marriage for a John in 1803 but no sign of Elizabeth, and no sign of a likely John in the censuses.

Bob Sanders
Cardiff

I forgot to mention that on revisiting The Genealogist indexes for Somerset 1841 after I had found the information on Eliza (Jane) Seymour, I found an Eliza Seymour aged 10 living with John Seymour, stone cutter, and Martha Seymour in Street.

This looks very much like my great grandmmother living with her grandparents, and bears out the story that she had lived in Street.

Bob Sanders

Rating:
Please login if you wish to rate this article.