It’s been a while since I posted, but I have been very busy researching parts of the line, and it occurred to me that I could talk about some of the ongoing research so that anyone interested can see the progress, or possibly even make a contribution! A family history is never static and is more likely to flourish when treated as a collaborative effort rather than an individual pursuit. So here goes……the puzzles that are currently consuming me Feel free to jump in any time!!
It’s the start of a new year, and with that I have decided to take another look at the problematic William TURNER of Caversham - husband of Miss Anne WELLSs, GGG Grandfather to my Grandfather Ted, and progenitor of the Caversham and Winslow TURNERS.
William’s marriage was solemnized at St. Peter’s Church in Caversham, Oxfordshire on 25 September 1769. The entry in the parish register transcription had the bride’s name originally typed as Sarah. This is crossed out and ‘Mary’ is handwritten in. I believe this to be a recording error. There appears to have been no Sarah Wells living in the area at this time. There was a Mary WELLS born to John and Mary WELLS in Caversham, but she died as an infant. Her sister Anne, was baptized at St. Peter’s on 10 February 1749. As Anne’s mother’s name was Mary, it’s possible she acted as a witness to the marriage and the recording clerk wrote the wrong name in as bride. How Sarah came to be entered first is anyone’s guess. This type of error is seen from time to time, especially in larger parishes such as Caversham, where the clerk responsible for keeping the register up to date might not have known the members of the wedding party and may have been recording a lot of events at one time and had simply written the name in wrong. There is no other mention in the parish register of a William and ‘Mary’ TURNER, but William and ‘Anne’ began baptizing children soon after the wedding.
One other point worth mentioning is that after much research, I now believe that, contrary to what many online genealogists have assumed to be true, this William TURNER did NOT marry Anne HUMPHRIES on 23 May 1767 in Buford. That couple stayed living in Buford, baptizing quite a number of children at the very same time our William and Anne were baptizing theirs in Caversham. Clearly there were two distinct couples sharing the same names.
Of the seven children produced from William and Anne’s union, five were sons. James died at 23, but the other four (William, Thomas, Richard, and John) all worked as carpenters, which suggests William was also a carpenter. Those four surviving sons married and all had large families to carry on the Turner name. But what of William’s beginnings? That’s what I’ve been working on the last couple of days.
According to the St. Peter’s burial register, William was 83 years old when he died in 1824 which gives us a birth date of ca 1741. There is an entry in the published transcription of the St. Peter baptism register for William TURNER FARNER, son of Richard & Mary, on 9 June 1742. Yeah. More confusion. The baptism is indexed under FARNER in the parish transcripts, but is recorded as TURNER in the extracted parish records available in the Church of the Latter-day Saints’ online familysearch.com website. There is a record in the parish transcripts of a marriage between Richard TURNER and Mary STEVENS in Caversham on 7 April 1742, but nothing for a Richard FARNER. The baptism of William FARNER in 1742 and Mary FARNER in 1744, occurred during a time when the register is described as having been written in “an illiterate hand,” suggesting that FARNER was the transcriber’s interpretation of an illegible entry. An entry for a baptism of Elizabeth FURNER in 1745, followed by three more baptisms of Richard and Mary TURNER’s children between 1748 and 1753, lead me to conclude that the FARNER/FURNER names were simply transcription errors.
My educated guess is that our William TURNER was the son of Richard TURNER and Mary STEVENS, and was baptized in Caversham on 9 June 1742. I’d feel a lot better about it if I could find some concrete evidence though.