I had always safe guarded an old reel-to-reel tape recording that I remembered my Father making in the late fifties. It was his attempt to interview his older sister Fan, born 1893, about her Family memories. Fortunately 50 years on and I was able to have the tape written to C.D. and then my journey began in earnest.
James was the illegitimate son of a Saville Row tailor named Poole. His mother who had been in service was sent away to the country to have the baby and his father arranged for him to be brought up by a family who had a small holding in Harrow Road up near The Prince of Wales. He took his mother’s surname of Bumpus. Later she married a farmer and did well for herself.
James married the girl next door. Grandmother used to say that when she was a child, she could remember Grandfather looking after her.
Grandmother’s father was an Estate gardener from Oxon named Richard Edden.”
Not a huge amount to go on but I did also have a Bible page and a Marriage Certificate.
The Bible page told me that James was born in, or connected, to Stonesfield in Oxon, it also had a list of names which slowly made more sense.
The Marriage Certificate told me that James’s father was John Bumpus, glover and that his wife was Emily Ann Edden, whose father was a gardener.
The couple were both of full age and were both living in Harrow Road at the time, and I had discovered that there were lots of glovers in the Stonesfield area so everything fitted together nicely…or did it!
What about Fan’s story about James the illegitimate child? Now we know that memories can be very unreliable and that stories can be enhanced but to get something that way off the mark was a bit unlikely and if the story was true then James’s Marriage Certificate wasn’t correct.
I still didn’t know James’s mothers first name so I had to search every available site to find out whom she might have been. Luckily I found a site which specialized in the Bumpus name and spent months trying to find her or James but no luck.
I spent days at the local Family History Society and ordered fiche and films by the score from The Latter Day Saints, scribbled notes filled my desk and overflowed onto the floor and throughout the house, house work and hot meals were things of the past and my poor husband kept muttering O.C.D.
I couldn’t find any Marriage which would have fitted James’s Mothers story so I no longer had her first name or surname.
James turned up in Census and other records under the names Bump, Bumper, Bumpas, Bumpasse, Bompas and gradually his family grew and as it grew I kept track on the bible page which though hard to read was proving very accurate. There were however a couple of death entries that didn’t seem to fit. Who was Maryann and who was Fanny?
James was an enigma and so were those surrounding him. His parent’s in law, the Eddens from Oxon couldn’t be found…Was this the end of my father’s story. (Sadly Dad’s father’s line had disappeared in Renfrew Road Workhouse and now this)
Every few months I would flash back to James and go through the same old stuff looking for new clues. James had died a labourer, no grand inheritance there so I suppose I had inherited the frugal streak but two days ago I decided to give myself a bit of a treat and sign up with The Genealogist and after an initial sadness that I couldn’t access the birth registers that I had hoped for, things just started falling into place.
I can’t tell you in which order things happened, it was quite late at night but by morning the whole village knew that I HAD FOUND JAMES!
All my old notes had suddenly been brought together as if by some magical intervention.
Richard Edden had come from Winchcomb or Sevenhampton in Gloucestershire not Oxon and his wife was Maryann Nelson.
James turned up in the 1851 Census described as a relative, living or staying at the house of John Maycock in Charlbury Oxon and John Maycock’s wife was Elizabeth born in Stonesfield. Yes she turned out to be Elizabeth Bumpus whom I had noted years earlier as being born on 27 Jan 1799 and one of the only two possible mothers if James’s mother was actually from Stonesfield.
So it would seem that Elizabeth Bumpus became pregnant and went away to have the baby whom she called James Bumpus.
James was brought up by a family who lived in or near Harrow Road. Elizabeth went on to marry John Maycock and have more children including one called Maryann and one called Fanny. Remember the Bible page and the sad deaths of these two girls but maybe the happiest part of the story is that James must have stayed in touch with his mother.
So my aunt’s memories were mostly correct. The Marriage Certificate did not give the whole truth and I still have to find out about the Poole connection.
The next part of the puzzle is just about to begin.
The only listed birth for James that I have found is 19 Jan 1824 Ashchurch Glos. mother Elizabeth Bompass (no father) Could this be our boy?
Strange...Richard Edden came from near there.
Were the Eddens and the Bumpuses connected? Could they have looked after James in Harrow Road and then he went on to marry their daughter?
Or maybe the Eddens and Poole were connected!
To be continued:
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