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9 Apr 2020

G is for Goodal

In 1710, William Tucker of the parish of Bramshaw, Hants, living at Fritham drew up a will leaving 15 pounds to his son William and 10 pounds to each of his other children - John, Stephen and Sarah.  His wife was to be the executor of his will.  Probate was granted in 1712.  His wife Mary died in 1724, also leaving legacies to John, Stephen and Sarah and the residue of her estate to oldest son William.

But what was Mary's surname?  Some researchers say Peirce, others say Goodal.  Mary Pierce lived in Minstead, Hampshire but Mary Goodal lived in Allington in Wiltshire.

There are good arguments for both Marys.

The (quite ugly) church at Minstead
William Tucker had been baptised at Minstead in the New Forest, a son of
Robert Tucker and brother to other Tuckers who were all baptised at Minstead.  He was born about 1672.  In January 1794 he married Mary Pierce at Minstead.

The following year, a William Tucker of Bramshaw married a Mary Goodal in Allington, Wiltshire.  This village is near Salisbury.

Bramshaw - Fritham - Minstead
Bramshaw is right on the border of Hampshire and Wiltshire and for a long time straddled both counties.  It is approximately three miles from Fritham.  Minstead is approximately 4 miles from Fritham.

Mary Goodal's sister Sarah Goodal had married a Thomas Lock of Bramshaw also at Allington the previous year.  The Goodal sisters were daughters of a John Goodal whose father and grandfather - also John - had inherited land at Allington in 1608 from a kinsmen Stephen Cox.  The name Stephen appears in the Goodal family throughout the 17th century.  Mary and William Tucker also had a son called Stephen, and daughters called Mary and Sarah.

Wills of both Thomas Lock and John Tucker both stated that each lived in Fritham which was merely a hamlet.

Could William have married both Mary Pierce and Mary Goodal?  Another researcher raised the possibility that that could be the case.  No record of Mary Pierce's burial can be found, but it is a significant possibility with such high rates of death in childbirth in 1695.  It could well be that Mary Goodal of Allington had been introduced to William Tucker through Thomas Lock's wife Sarah.

In fact, I think it is very likely.

7 Apr 2020

F is for Fordingbridge

2x ggrandmother Sophia Tucker 
Fordingbridge is a small town just 21 miles west of  Southampton, where my father was born. My father's great grandmother Sophia Tucker, nee Jefferis had moved there in about 1850 from Fordingbridge where she was born in 1834.  My father vaguely remembered her - she died when he was about 8 in 1922.  She had lived in Bell Street, Southampton nearly all her married life.  Sadly Bell Street, off Upper Canal Walk was totally destroyed by bombing in 1940.

She and her husband George remained very poor in Southampton but saw their son George William Tucker (1856-1924) become prosperous enough as a music dealer to purchase two adjoining houses on the outskirts of Southampton by 1901.

Fordingbridge has a long history
Most of the Jefferis family remained in Fordingbridge and my ancestors lived there for generations before that.  Their surnames included Tiller, Rogers, Parrot and Gold.  In the 1831 census, the population was 1114, including 57 people in the Workhouse.  Included in the census were nine Jefferis families and six Tiller households, mostly employed in agriculture but some in various trades. Households named Rogers, Parrot and Gold were not represented.

Ange & Paul outside The Ship Inn
In 2008, during our first visit to England together, we met my fourth cousin Ange who lives in Southampton.  We'd met online and both had husbands who were long-term spinal cord injured.  Ange showed us many places around Southampton and did so again in 2009 and 2012 when I returned on my own. 
Marg & John
Since then, we've cruised to England three times.  Each time, the highlight of our trip has been meeting Ange and Paul, and my cousin Linda and Peter, mentioned in earlier posts.  Ange has been wonderful showing me around my ancestral villages in Hampshire over the years.

Old buildings
Marg, Ange & Paul

6 Apr 2020

E is for e-Learning

Transcribing a Tucker will for Pharos
I could suggest that E is for Edsall, some ancestors in Downton, Wiltshire - the very place I wrote about yesterday. Sadly I know nothing about them.  I do have DNA matches suggesting our link is through the Downton Edsalls.

They could well have been agricultural labourers, but since my Edsalls were baptised, married and buried in the 17th century, I simply do not know.

So today's topic will be e-Learning.

From the mid-1980s, I was an early adopter of computer technology both at work and at home. Being an ex-librarian, I could see their value.  In retirement, I studied an IT Certificate III at Baulkham Hills TAFE with students 40 years my junior in 2004-5. The previous year, I had completed my first e-Learning certificate in accessible web design through an American company.

Learning about indentures with Pharos
So it was a natural progression to find some online genealogy courses.  By 2014, I'd completed a Pharos Certificate in Family Skills and Strategies (Intermediate) Level.  Based mostly on English family history, this was the most relevant course for me since my ancestors within documented timescales are all English or Scottish. I loved these units and completed not only assessable courses leading to the Certificate qualification but also others which attracted my interest.

There is also an Advanced Certificate on offer, but currently, it includes the necessity to spend time in English archives, so is impractical at the moment.

After completion, I looked elsewhere and came across the National Institute for Genealogical Studies (NIGS).  This is based in Canada but the lecturers include many Australian and English genealogy experts whom I have come to know and respect.  I was well on my way to earn a basic certificate with NIGS when I heard about the University of Tasmania's new online course Introduction to Family History.  It was just one course at the beginning but soon turned into a Diploma.  I simply couldn't resist the units on offer, so put aside my NIGS studies.  I can always go back to it.

UTAS online learning mates at Sydney conference
By 2017, I had completed my Diploma of Family History at the University of Tasmania, all online.  This course focussed on Australian family history, but much of the information can be useful for any research.  Whilst I didn't go to Hobart for the graduation, or attend a later one in Sydney (April 2018),

Jacqui & Marg meet in person
I have made a great number of like-minded friends through this course.  For each unit, we had both official support groups as well as student-driven groups on Facebook.  I have met many of these "friends" at conferences and seminars since then.

Meeting at Western Sydney - Xmas at IKEA
Additionally, geographically based study and sharing groups have been set up, and I regularly meet with a dozen or so graduates and students for coffee in Western Sydney.  We share our successful discoveries, family stories and photo books.

Sadly, we cannot meet face-to-face at the moment due to the pandemic, but make the most of Facebook.

4 Apr 2020

D is for Downton

Downton in Wiltshire
In 2002, I retired from the NSW Public Service but for a number of years, worked part-time for the Australian Seniors Computer Clubs Association and assisted my husband John with his busy consultancy.  So it was 2008 before we were able to go overseas for the very first time as a couple.  Our travel had been limited to every Australian state prior to that.

By 2005, I'd commenced researching our family history, so planned our first overseas trip to the lands of our ancestors. I was very keen to meet Linda, my second cousin who shared my maiden name and John, being 75% Irish heritage, wanted to visit Ireland.

Not set up for a wheelchair driver
We hired a wheelchair-accessible motor home for 11 weeks and toured both England and Ireland. Unfortunately, I had to drive - five on the floor and huge - but only nearly killed us twice.

Downton is a village where many generations of our Tucker ancestors lived so we timed our visit to the annual village Cuckoo Festive, held in early May. My cousin Linda who we'd met in London for the first time a few days earlier was also keen to go. So she and her husband drove two hours to our campsite from Horsham, West Sussex and we all went together in the motor home.  I only jumped the clutch once.

Great day out for all ages
We found parking quite easily in the schoolyard (disabled parking only) and joined thousands of others in the village.

Morris dancing

Hoop dancing
We missed the maypole dancing but caught the hoop dancing and the Morris dancing.

We had a beer in the King's Arms where a secret passage led to the neighbouring St Laurence Church.  During Tudor times, the Catholic priest could be hidden in the pub if necessary.

St Laurence Church (1150) is very interesting. My 5th great grandfather William Tucker was married here in 1761, and many of my ancestors and their siblings were baptised or married there.  

Linda and Margaret (both nee Tucker)
Linda and I have ancestors from Downton with surnames Tucker, Goulding, Rice, Shergold, Bailey/Bayley, Curtis, Hill, Edsall, Humby, Wheeler.  I'd say many of them are buried at Downton too.
St Laurence Church - 12th century

The village is very picturesque and the villagers obviously very proud to live there.  Being close to Salisbury, many well-off retirees have probably moved there, and younger people commute either to Salisbury or to the south coast cities for work.

It was one of the highlights of our first big trip.

3 Apr 2020

C is for Corfe Castle

Linda & Margaret at Corfe Castle
After a very interesting couple of days in Weymouth, where we had been joined (in separate accommodation by second cousin Linda and her husband Peter, we all decided to head back east to Sussex (Linda) and Brockenhurst, Hampshire (John and me).  However, it was the perfect opportunity to visit the village where one of our mutual ancestors lived.

It's a steep climb to the Castle
A medieval market re-enactment was taking place on the day we visited in May 2014.
Playing medieval games

Aaron Hardy's birth village

My 2xgreat-grandfather, Aaron Hardy, a mariner was born in Corfe Castle, Dorset in 1826 to William Hardy, a labourer and his wife Mary (Whiterow/Whitrow). His mother died less than three years later.  William continued to live there and was a carpenter in 1850.

Corfe Castle was built by William the Conqueror as a fortification on the Purbeck peninsular, and the village below has the same name.  In Elizabeth 1's time, it passed into private hands. During the English Civil War, Cromwell's men "slighted" the castle by destroying much of it, making it non-functional as a fortification.

Today, many tourists arrive by train for day-trips.

By 1841, young Aaron was a male servant in Radipole, Dorset. From there, it was less than a two-mile walk to Weymouth Harbour, so it is easy to imagine Aaron meeting Amelia Billett at the Old Harbour before 1850 when they married.  By then Aaron, like his father-in-law William was a mariner.

Sometime between 1852 after their first two children were born and 1856, the family moved to Southampton.  This, of course, was a bigger port by then.  His daughter Agnes Mary (1858-1912) married George William Tucker (1856-1924) in 1881.

Our great grandparents Agnes and George W. Tucker must have been mortified when two years later Aaron was charged with being drunk and disorderly, having been held in the police lock-up overnight.  By then he was a labourer, not a mariner.  I have not yet been able to find records of any ship he served on.

Both Aaron and Amelia Hardy lived long lives in Southampton until Edward V11's reign.

2 Apr 2020

B is for Billett

Dreamy days in Dorset 30: Broadmayne cc-by-sa/2.0 - © Basher Eyre
My Father's maternal grandmother's maiden name was Billett. Amelia Billett was born in Weymouth, Dorset in 1828, the daughter of William Billett, a mariner. She married Aaron Hardy, another mariner from Castle Coombe, Dorset in 1850 in Weymouth. The Hardy family moved to Southampton sometime in the 1860s.
It is unclear when William Billett moved to Weymouth, but he had married his wife Elizabeth Cox in Poxwell, Dorset in 1815. Poxwell is between Weymouth and the Billett's village of Piddletrenthide, much further inland. William was the oldest in his family, possibly born in 1791 but not baptised until 1797 with a younger brother. He had at least three brothers, and I have been fortunate enough to connect with other Billett descendants through Ancestry DNA matches.

William's father Joseph (1759-1841) was likewise born in Piddletrenthide but married his first wife Elizabeth Spinney in Broadmayne, Dorset where both families lived prior to Piddletrenthide. Billet/t families were well established in Broadmayne from the early 18th century and probably much longer. Broadmayne - only two miles from Dorchester - is tucked away in a valley and its layout is a ribbon development. Apart from agriculture, brickmaking employed many villagers.

In 1817, after my 3x great-grandfather William had left home and married, his father Joseph - mentioned above - stepmother Elizabeth (nee Hippert) and two of his younger brothers, James and Thomas were served with removal orders by the parish of Fordington (pin-pointed on map) to their village of settlement, Piddletrenthide.

Walking to Weymouth from Piddletrenthide
Piddletrendthide, where my subsequent Billett ancestors lived, is still a very quiet village.  In 2014, whilst staying at a bed and breakfast cottage in Weymouth - wheelchair accessible - hallelujah - I drove there to take a look. It took me about 30 minutes to drive there - following the route many Billett ancestors probably walked.

Piddletrenthide is at the very top of the map. The vast majority of the population were agricultural labourers.  Although William chose a sea-faring life, his brothers James and Thomas remained agricultural labourers there in the 1840s and beyond.

Red Lion, Hope Square
We don't know when William went to sea, but in 1841 he was living at 92 High Street, Weymouth and was an able seaman on the Royal Naval vessel Illustrious.  In 1851 he was a bondsman on the Royal Naval ship Cumberland and his wife Elizabeth (Cox)'s address was 11 Maiden Street, Weymouth.  By 1861 he was aged 70, a mariner and living with his wife Elizabeth and a grand-daughter Frances at Hope Square, Weymouth.  He died the following year.  By this time, his daughter Amelia - my 2x great-grandmother had married another mariner, Aaron Hardy and had moved to Southampton.

Linda & Margaret
In 2014, my second cousin Linda and I visited Weymouth - me for the first time - and spent a day wandering around the streets near the Billett 19th century residences.  Many of the buildings have been maintained and or restored, some repurposed such as the old brewery which is now Brewer's Quay, a pub and many small shops. 
Linda & Margaret

There is a fascinating museum to visit and the whole area where the Billett's lived is a considerable tourist attraction.
Peter, Linda & Margaret exploring Weymourth Old Harbour
Much of Hope Street was reclaimed land in the late 18th century.

1 Apr 2020

A is for Alderbury Union Workhouse

My ancestor George Tucker was lucky enough to survive until age 83 when he passed away at the Alderbury Workhouse in Brixton, Wiltshire in 1886 of 'old age'. However, in most aspects of life, I considered him my unluckiest ancestor. I have more fully described his life as an agricultural labourer in that blog, written in 2011. His wife had passed away in Downton in 1872. Prior to the 1870s, he'd lived on the land at Hamptworth, a rural district between Landford and Downton in Wiltshire on the border of Hampshire and was employed as an agricultural labourer, presumably by freeholders and tenant farmers within the manor of Hamptworth.
By 1871, he lived in the village of Downton where he had many relations and was described as a general labourer.
During the 1850s, both of his sons had left Wiltshire, one to become a coal porter in Southampton, the other to become a fireman in London. So no help was available from them. I do wonder why one of his daughters - Ann Dibden or Mary Bundey- could not have cared for him. They had both married locally, but maybe they could barely look after their own families. Or maybe George was a stubborn old man.
Whatever the cause, he was listed in the 1881 census as an inmate and gardener at the workhouse which covered Downton parishes as well as many others around Salisbury.
In those days, there were no nursing homes or care homes like there are today. Workhouses became a substitute for people in old age who were frail, infirm or had dementia - a miserable existence.
My Tucker blog concentrates on my Tucker ancestors, my maiden name. My dad came to Sydney in 1925 with his war-widowed mother and his ancestors can be traced back to at least 1642 in Minstead in the New Forest.
Alderbury Union Workhouse has been fully documented by the amazing Peter Higginbotham who has documented the history of many workhouses.
This is my first post for the 2020 A to Z Challenge. My theme is described in my previous post, where I asked for some technical and marketing advice.