Today’s searches in Leicester Record Office put me in mind of that children’s rhyme:
Here’s the church, here’s the steeple, look inside and here are the people
Apart from – there were no people. I just wasn’t finding anyone in the baptism or marriage registers today, not even getting warm with an ancestral sibling or cousin to cheer me along, so I’m going to have a little moan about it, and hope that a long-lost relation out there somewhere will stumble on my cry for help – and help!
I’ve found trees on Ancestry mentioning my folk and everyone else seems to be happily gadding back to the late 1700s. But I’m well and truly stuck in 1857 with the birth of my 2x great-granny Helen Mary Spencer in Hawick, Scotland. The marriage of her parents (Henry Spencer and Mary Jarman/Jerman/German) remains elusive, as do their baptisms (c1827 and c1832, based on the census returns).
Oh yes, the census. Well that has been a genuinely interesting journey for me as I’ve used it to plot Henry and Mary’s citings in Leicestershire and Roxburghshire in 1861 and 1871, seeking employment as framework knitters where best it could be found, before, by 1881, they seem to finally settle down in Scotland. But the census has thrown a few spanners in the works too. Such as why are my Mary and her children sometimes living with a Daniel Spencer, and other times with Henry? My Henry did have a little brother Daniel, and we can find a marriage of a Daniel Spencer and a Mary Jarman, if not a Henry-Mary one, so maybe she married one brother, then the other? Or are there two Leicestershire-born Mary Jermans of the same age?
All this fruitless skimming round the registers had taken about 5 hours and my eyes had fiche-burn, so I thought I’d treat myself to some idle browsing of the Leicester Journal. As luck would have it, the years I wanted to view hadn’t been filmed so I had the luxurious ‘hardship’ of using the originals. And one item I particularly wanted to read was the bankruptcy notice for William Spencer of Whetstone in the Leicester Journal for 28 December 1810, which mentioned the auction of ‘household furniture, books on Methodism, hose, yarn, counters etc’. Wait, what’s that? Books on Methodism? This William Spencer could be a total red herring, as I’ve not proven he’s mine, but I think I’ll be taking a look at the Nonconformist baptisms next.
And just in case there is a long-lost relation out there who’d like to get in touch about these ancestors, here are the details I have so far, and I would love to hear from you:
Henry Spencer (details according to census entries bc 1827, Whetstone, Leicestershire) married Mary Jerman/Jarman/German (likewise, details according to census entries bc 1832, Hinckley, Leicestershire). My ancestor is their daughter Helen Mary Spencer born in Hawick, Roxburghshire 1857. Their other children are Emma/Emily (born 1862, Leicester), James H Spencer (born Leicester, 1860), a daughter age 5 on the 1871 but I can’t read her name, and Alfred? (born 1869, Leicester).
I think that Henry Spencer’s parents might be William Spencer and Ann (from piecing together the Spencer family in Whetstone in the 1841). The other people online have Mary Jerman’s father as Job Jarman, and Mary born in Ashby de la Zouch. But my feeble census leads say Hinckley, and I just can’t make the connection to Ashby de la Zouch.
And now I’ll wait patiently and hope to hear from someone sometime or other… :)