Tuesday 11 February 2014

Children of Samuel and Catherine Williams/Lewis

As I indicated in my last post, the children of Samuel and Catharine also used different names in various documents.

Samuel and Catherine’s oldest son was shown as Samuel Lewis Williams on the record of his marriage to Louisa Smalridge, in 1839, in Ugborough Parish, Devon. There is no hyphen in the name so it is not known whether he considered Lewis as a second forename or as part of his surname. His father was also shown on the record as Samuel Lewis Williams. Samuel Junior had been baptized, as seen above, as just Samuel Williams. He went by the surname, Williams, throughout his life, as did his direct descendants in Australia, where had he emigrated in 1846. It was one of these descendants that originally contacted me about the family. Samuel and Louisa’s first child, Louisa Smalridge was born in Ugborough, in 1840, and baptized with the name, Williams.

In 1841 and 1851, Samuel, Catherine and members of their family were recorded on the censuses with the Williams surname (see previous blog post). It has already been noted that the surname of the children born between 1823 and 1837, was Lewis in the baptism register. Shown on the 1851 census, with Samuel and Catherine, was a daughter, Mary Ann Willcock, and her husband, Walter Willcock. A Mary Ann Lewis married a Walter Willcocks in Charles the Martyr Parish, Plymouth, Devon, in January 1851. Her father was shown on the marriage record as Samuel Lewis, miner, which fits with the baptism data but not the census..

On the 1861 census, a daughter by the name of Mary Ann Pitt was living with Samuel and Catherine Williams Lewis, probably the same individual shown as Mary Ann Willcock in 1851. A Mary Ann Lewis Williams married Edward Pitt, a seaman with the Royal Navy, in Plymouth, in 1855. Her father was identified as Samuel Lewis Williams, tin miner - opposite to what surname the census and baptism record  indicated. There is no hyphen shown in either name. Perhaps Walter Willcocks had died by then but, in that event, it is curious why she would not have used the Willcocks name on the marriage record. It may be that their marriage was annulled and she went back to using her maiden name before marrying a second time or the family just chose to forget about Walter for some reason.

A grandson living with Samuel and Catherine in 1861 is likely the one baptized as William Edward Williams Lewis, in Plympton St. Mary Parish, in 1858. His mother, Martha, was not married at the time so it is possible to observe the use of the surnames in a third generation. On this entry both Williams and Lewis were written in the surname space. As shown previously, she had been baptized with Williams recorded as part of her forename but only Lewis as her surname.

There is additional confusion with the records for this grandson. His baptism entry contains a note saying he was born in November 1853. The registration of his birth, as William Edward Lewis, took place in 1856; so the note about birth date on the register was probably written in error. The birth registration information for William Edward coincides closely with the information on the 1861 census, taken four and a half years later, when he was indicated as being four years of age on his last birthday. He was recorded then as “William Williams Do”. I believe the ditto abbreviation, Do, stands for Lewis rather than Pitt, the surname written above his on the census. He appears to be the same individual listed on the 1871 census, aged 14. On that census, however, only the surname of Lewis was shown for the family.

Martha married William Richard Stevens in 1857, in Plympton St. Mary Parish, and was recorded as Martha Lewis Williams, with her father shown in the register as just Samuel Williams. This is the same name her sister, Mary Ann, used in 1855. But it was different from the surname both were baptized with – Lewis. The 1858 baptism entry for Martha’s son lists her as the only parent, with both of her maiden surnames. This may have been because he was born before her marriage, and she (and/or the Vicar) saw no need to have his biological father or her married name recognized, even after the nuptials. William ended up living with his grandparents growing up, not his mother.

Following her husband’s death, Martha married again, in November 1860, to Thomas Elford. On this entry her name is shown as Martha Lewis Stevens with her father’s name again given as Samuel Williams. It appears she saw Lewis as a second forename at this time, and not part of her surname. She married a third time, in 1868, after her second husband’s death, to Richard Ball, this time showing her father as Samuel Lewis, now confounding the idea that she considered her maiden name as Williams.

In 1858, Caroline, another daughter of Samuel and Catherine, married Nathaniel Brown Lightfoot, in Plympton St. Mary Parish. She and her father were both shown with the names Williams Lewis, possibly the compound name under which she had been baptized and which the family was using, at least as the time of the 1861 census.

Another son of Samuel and Catharine, Robert, died in 1856 at the age of 27, and was buried as Robert Williams Lewis. Robert had married Eliza Floyd in 1849, in Buckland Monochorum Parish, Devon, using only the surname Williams. His father was shown as Samuel Williams on the marriage record. Robert and Eliza appeared on the 1851 census under that surname as well. Their oldest son, John Thomas, was baptized in Plympton St. Mary Parish, in 1855, with the surname Lewis with his father’s forenames shown as Robert Williams. Eliza is shown as Eliza Williams Lewis on the 1861 census, a widow with two children, John T. W. and Elizabeth W. No doubt the W stands for Williams in the children’s names but is it strange Eliza was known as Lewis. She had two additional children, after her husband’s death – William in 1864, and Jane Ann in 1865, both baptized with the Williams surname. She later married Thomas Rabbich, however, her children continued to be shown as Williams on subsequent census records.

This story is a good example of using all of the records available to sort out family relationships, over three generations. And yet there are still brick walls to break down with respect to the origins of their surnames!

Wayne Shepheard is a volunteer with the Online Parish Clerk program, handling four parishes in Devon, England. He serves as the Editor of Chinook, the quarterly journal of the Alberta Family Histories Society. Wayne also provides genealogical consulting services through his business, Family History Facilitated.