Technology. Always a favorite topic of mine! Much of it mystifies me, at least the nuts and bolts of the inner workings which make the magic of it all possible. But I’m definitely a happy “end-user.” Technology plays a huge part in creating the abundance of genealogically rich information I’ve been able to use in my research this last decade. I use it every day in my research, especially for records in England.
A few days ago, I stumbled upon a website that provides statistics on surname concentrations by county in England in the 1880s. To test the waters, I typed in Denchfield, and was surprised to learn that toward the end of the 19th century there were more Denchfields living in Oxfordshire than in Buckinghamshire. I had no idea. But it provided a new avenue for research that hadn’t occurred to me before. Perhaps some of my mysteriously (…more)
And will it help my Denchfield problem?
Having exhausted parish registers and probate records, and followed the land records as far as they could take me, I’ve got a much better sense of who was who among the many Denchfields of North Marston and surrounding villages; however, there are still some holes. As active in the community as this family was, with lives quite well documented, there are still a couple of elusive characters who seem to have mysteriously fallen from the face of the earth, or at least Buckinghamshire’s corner of it:
• Richard Denchfield, baptized in North Marston on 13 February 1637, eldest son of Mathew. Richard was alive in 1660, when Mathew wrote his will, by which Richard stood to inherit half of the family’s homestead. He is mentioned again at the probate of brother John’s estate in 1689, having been asked by his brother to help (…more)
Recently I wrote about using land records to help sort out a confusing family here, and this week I’ve been applying that approach to try to sort out, once and for all, the kinships between the various Richard and John Denchfields of 17th and 18th century North Marston, Bucks.
Here’s what I did:
Created a combined timeline of all the players in an Excel spreadsheet.
Extracted all the references to land found in the Denchfield wills.
Created a Word chart showing all the Denchfield landowners and dates of any land related activity
Here’s a printscreen snapshot of that chart: I love color-coding!
Laying the land transactions out chronologically made everything much more cohesive and confirmed a lot of what I believed to be true based on parish records and wills.
The biggest problem I have with the Denchfield kinships has to do with John Denchfield, iremonger, and his wife Parnell, whose union produced two (…more)
The Church of England began requiring the recording of baptisms, marriages, and burials in 1538 although most parishes did not begin adhering to the rules until around 1600. Still, for a family like the Denchfields of North Marston, who stayed put for the next couple hundred years or so and were important members of their community, those early parish registers are a treasure trove of genealogical gold.
The registers for St. Mary’s, the established church in North Marston, date back to the late 1580s, but they are in bad shape. Before the FHL had a chance to film them, the books sustained water damage, molding the paper and smearing the ink. If that weren’t bad enough, for reasons known only to the culprit, enormous chunks were torn from each of the books, leaving one to wonder what on earth someone was trying to hide. What remained was filmed and (…more)
When John Denchfield, dairyman of North Marston, died in 1799, he left property in North Marston to his sons John and Richard. John inherited the enclosure land which had been allotted to the senior John’s father, John Denchfield, some years before. The fields were situated between the property of Mr. Lewis and Mr. Eaton. Richard, upon reaching full age, was to inherit the John’s messuage near the church, currently occupied by William Buckingham, and the messuage and close John had recently purchased from James Burnham of Winslow. The bulk of John’s estate including, presumably, the house he and his wife Mary lived in, was left jointly to Mary and son John.
Sometime during the next 10 years, this Denchfield family rather inexplicitly relocated to Aston Abbotts. John’s widow Mary, in her 1809 will transcribed here, left small financial bequests to each of her children and grandchildren, with the bulk of her (…more)
A while back, I transcribed the will of Awdry Denchfield, widow of John Denchfield. From the bequests in Awdry’s will, it appears she had been the widow of a Mr. Knowles at the time of her marriage to John Denchfield, and that she was the mother of at least three daughters and one son:
George Knowles, under age
deceased daughter, wife of William French
deceased daughter, wife of John Chandler
From other records, I was able to infer that John and Awdry’s marriage must have taken place after 1677, but the marriage is not recorded in the parish registers for North Marston, where the couple lived until John’s death in 1689, nor did it turn up in a search on FamilySearch. The Buckinghamshire Family History Society ran a search on Denchfield, and its many variants, in their database of marriages from all extant parishes in Buckinghamshire, with no success. (…more)
I’m way late to the party with the 15th week of Tonia’s 31 Weeks to a Better Genealogy Blog series but it’s such a good topic I couldn’t pass on it. The task at hand is to write a post which solves a problem that your readers (or potential readers) have. Tonia discusses six ways to identify such a problem:
Solve your own problems
Look for questions in search referrals
Analyze internal searches
Ask readers for questions
Look for problems on other sites
Get ideas from friends and family
I didn’t even have to look past #1 to find something to blog about today
My main genealogical problem these days is finding time to solve my own problems, at least ancestrally speaking! I’ve got no end of excuses. Lately, aside from the general joys, trials, and tribulations of every-day life, my time has been spent on:
ProGen13 – I LOVE it! this (…more)
In the Name of God, Amen I Mary Dench=
field of the Parish of Aston–Abbots in the County of Bucks
(and Widow of the late John Denchfield of North–Marston~
in the same County Dairyman) being weak in Body but
of sound and perfect memory and Understanding do
make and declare this to be my last Will and Testament,
as follows:— I give and bequeath unto my Son ~~
Richard the Sum of Fourscore Pounds:—I give
unto my Daughter Elizabeth Fifty Pounds:—I give to
my Daughter Sarah, the Wife of John Parrott of East~
Claydon, the Sum of Twenty Pounds:— I give unto my
Daughter Ann, the Wife of William Baker of North–~
Marston aforesaid, Forty Pounds:—I give to Susanna
the Wife of William Curtis (my Daughter) of Denham,
Forty Pounds:—I give unto my Servant and Grand–
son John Chantrel, Twenty pounds, all which before=
mentioned Legacies I desire my (…more)
The very kind Mike Dewey of the Buckinghamshire Family History Society, BFHS, made a visit (several actually) to the Centre for Buckinghamshire Studies, CBS, on my behalf and sent me images of several Denchfield wills today, including this one made by Henry Denchfield of Quainton in 1662. Thank you Mike Dewey!!!! Although the Internet is a wonderful thing, making available all sorts of records from around the world, there is so much more to be had. Over the next several months, Mike will be scanning manorial records, court rolls, court books, terriers, and village surveys dating back to the 1600s, in search of references to my Denchfields and any clues which may help sort out the jumble of Johns, Richards, Marys and Elizabeths which have haunted me for years. I have nearly exhausted sources available online for my Denchfields, including census records, parish register transcripts, some probate records and land conveyances, (…more)
…Mary Denchfield of the Weald Grounds in the parrish of Wing in the County of Bucks Dary Woman Being of Sound mind and perfect memory praised be God for it… made a will on 7 January 1733/34. In it, she made arrangements for her nephew Richard Denchfield and her kinswoman Elizabeth Penn to receive 50 shillings apiece following her death, with the bulk of her estate going to her nephew Mathew Denchfield. The record of her burial at Wing’s All Saints Church on 7 March 1734, described her as a “widow from Cotsloe,” a hamlet just west of the village, which is today known as Cottesloe Farm on Cublington Road.
All Saints Parish Church in Wing
But who was she?
If she really was a widow, she made no mention of it in her will, nor did she acknowledge any living children or grandchildren.