In October 2012, as the Online Parish Clerk for Plympton St. Mary parish in Devon, England, I had a query from “Paul” who was looking for any information about his 2nd great-grandmother, Mary Elizabeth Callard who he believed had been born in Plympton St. Mary parish, in1837 or 1838. He thought her father’s name may have been John Callard, who had also been born in Plympton St. Mary, around 1804. Paul had encountered a “serious brick wall” in his research. In particular, he had been unable to find them on the 1841 or 1851 censuses, or on any birth or marriage records. How he came to conclude that Callard was the proper surname for his ancestor is documented below.
Paul had begun his research looking for information about his grandfather, Charles James Stephens, who he found, aged 10, on the 1901 England census, along with his parents, Charles and Emily Stephens. Paul obtained the couple’s 1889 marriage certificate on which Emily’s father’s name was recorded as Samuel Eastman.
A further search of census records revealed Great-Grandmother Emily was living at home with her parents, Samuel and Mary Eastman in 1881. The record showed Mary had been born in Plympton around 1838. It also listed Emily’s two brothers, James, born in 1867, and Thomas Henry, in 1876, and a sister, Catherine, born in 1878 – all of the children born in Plymouth. Using this information, Paul went looking for marriage and birth certificates for all of them. He assumed that the marriage of Samuel and Mary would have taken place around 1866 and that all of the children would have the Eastman name. No marriage record could be found before 1867, though, when James was born.
A birth record for Emily Eastman was also not discovered. There was an entry in the civil records for a James Eastman of the right age; so Paul put in an order for that certificate. The register office called to tell him that they could not deliver the certificate because it had been cancelled, due to the fact that there was no proof of a marriage between Samuel and Mary. They would instead send him a copy of one that had been reissued in the name of James Kellow. He later visited the Plymouth record office and asked for a copy of the original registration. The request was refused but the office did apparently confirm that Samuel Eastman was James’ father. Now armed with information about a second surname, Paul then searched and found a record for the birth of Emily Kellow in 1868. He assumed, at this time, that perhaps Samuel and Mary had never married and James and Emily had been given their mother’s name.
A search was then undertaken for Mary Kellow, mother of James and Emily, on the pre-1881 censuses. In 1861, a Mary Kellow, aged 23, and her father, John Kellow, aged 57, were living at 6 High Street in St. Andrew, Plymouth. Both had been born in Plympton St. Mary parish. The address given for Mary Kellow, shown on the birth certificates of her children, James and Emily Kellow, was 7 High Street, Plymouth, which seemed close enough to suggest the census information was for the same person.
Paul did not find Mary Kellow listed on the 1871 census; so he looked, instead, for a womand named Mary, born about 1838 in Plympton, with two children, James and Emily, born around 1867 and 1869, respectively. He found a Mary Callard, aged 33, born in Plympton St. Mary, living in the Union Workhouse in Plympton St. Mary parish. But she had four children: William, aged 9; Louisa, aged 6; James, aged 4; and Emily, aged 2. All of the children had been born in Plymouth. It seemed clear that this was the individual he had been looking for, and suggested that there were at least two family names for which searches should be made.
I found that the four children of the presumed Mary were all recorded in the Plympton St. Mary baptism register on March 15, 1871, with the mother’s name of Mary Kellow. They were in the Union Workhouse in Plympton at the time of their baptism. No father for the children or occupation for Mary was recorded. Armed with the census and baptism data for Mary’s four children, Paul was able to find birth certificates for most of them, as well. All of the births had been registered with the surname, Kellow.
Paul knew his great-grandfather, Samuel Eastman, had died in 1890. On a whim, he decided to see if his great-grandmother had remarried. He found an 1892 marriage between a John Doble and Mary Eastman, in Plymouth. He ordered the marriage certificate and found both John and Mary had been widowed and that, to his surprise, Mary’s father was shown as John Callard.
With this information, a further investigation was made for a marriage of Samuel Eastman and Mary Callard, this time for an extended time period. It was discovered that the marriage was solemnized on November 24, 1874, in Plympton St. Mary parish – right in the middle of the birth dates of the children listed on the 1881 census. The marriage certificate showed that he was a 48 year-old miner and she was 36. Her father was named as John Callard. It also indicated Samuel had been previously married while Mary was a spinster.
I found a possible baptism entry in the Plympton St. Mary register for Mary’s father, dated November 16, 1803, under the name John Kellar, son of Matthew and Betty Kellar. If correct, we now had a third surname for the family! The couple apparently had other children baptized in the parish as well, including: Ann, daughter of Matthew and Betty Kellow, baptized in 1800; James, son of Matthew and Elizabeth Keller (a fourth spelling), baptized in 1806; Mary, daughter of Matthew and Elizabeth Callard, baptized in 1813; and William, son of Matthew and Elizabeth Kellar, baptized in 1816. In spite of the variance in spelling of their surname, we were confident that they were all of the same family.
I did find the marriage for Matthew Kellow and Betty Turpin, in Sheepstor parish, in 1800. I also found the baptism of Matthew to John and Jane Kellow, in St. Germans parish, Cornwall, in 1678. The date and birth place fit with the information for him on the 1851 census where he was shown as Matthew Callar.
A marriage entry was found for John Kellar and Emma Goad, in the Plympton St. Mary register, in 1830, that seemed to fit the family. He signed the marriage register with that name while she made her mark. There were also entries in the Plympton St. Mary baptism register for three children of John and Emma, including: Emma Jane, daughter of John and Emma Kellar, baptized in 1831; Louisa, daughter of John and Amy Kellar, baptized in 1833; and Ann Eliza, daughter of John and Amy Kellar, baptized in 1835.
But there was still nothing for Mary Elizabeth! We assumed that the family had moved out of the area prior to 1838, the year the censuses suggested she was born.
On the 1841 England census, the family was found living in Charles, Plymouth and shown as John and Amey Killar, with children, Emma, aged 10, Louisa, aged 8, Ann, aged 5, Mary, aged 3, and James, aged 6 months. No information was given as to their birthplace, other than in the County of Devon, but the ages of Emma, Louisa and Ann did fit the baptism dates in Plympton St. Mary. By 1851, the family was living in St. Andrew, Plymouth. Amey had died by then – in Plymouth, in 1844. John Kellar had three children living with him in 1851 – Emma, Mary and James. John and Emma were indicated to have been born in Plympton, Mary in Shaugh parish and James in Plymouth, the latter two giving in indication where the family had travelled and worked since leaving Plympton St. Mary parish. On all censuses John was shown as a labourer.
A reference for a birth was finally found for Mary Elizabeth Kellar on the civil registration index, in the April quarter of 1838, in the Plympton St. Mary Registration District. A search of the FamilySearch website resulted in a hit for a baptism record for Mary Elizabeth Keller, on April 20, 1838, at St. Andrew Ebenezer Wesleyan Chapel, Plymouth. Her parents were shown as John and Emma.
We seemed to have completed a circle of names at this point and could conclude that Kellow, Kellar, Callard and some other minor variations, were all surnames of individuals of the same family.
The pedigree for Paul’s grandfather, Charles James Stephens, along with the many different spellings of names for various individuals, now looked like this:
John KELLOW = Jane STEPHENS (m. 1751, St. Germans, Cornwall)
| 12 children baptized as KELLOW
| John buried probably as KELLOW
Mathew KELLOW = Betty/Elizabeth TURPIN (m. 1800, Plympton St. Mary)
| Matthew married as KELLOW
| Two children baptized as KELLAR, one child baptized as KELLER,
| one child baptized as KELLOW, one child baptized as CALLARD
| Matthew shown as CALLARD in 1841 and CALLAR in 1851
| Mathew buried in 1852 as KELLAR
John KELLAR = Amy/Emma GOAD (m. 1830, Plympton St. Mary)
| John married as KELLAR
| John shown as KILLAR in 1841, KELLAR in 1851,
| KELLOW in 1861 and CALLARD in 1871
| John’s death in 1877 registered as CALLARD
Mary Elizabeth KELLAR = Samuel EASTMAN (m. 1874, Plympton St. Mary)
| Mary’s birth registered as KELLAR
| Births of four children registered as KELLOW
| Children all baptized as KELLOW in Plympton St. Mary
| Family shown as CALLARD in 1871
| Mary married as CALLARD
Emily KELLOW/EASTMAN = Charles STEPHENS (m. 1889, Plymouth)
| Emily married as EASTMAN
| One brother continued to be known as CALLARD
Charles James STEPHENS