3 February 2009
I have just been googling for my family and have some conflicting information. Supposedly Thomas Reynolds married Lucy Chopping around 1822 in Mountnessing. According to the 1851 census he was born around 1801 in Stondon and in 1861 it says he came from Blackmore, his first child was born in Ingatestone and then they moved to Navestock and finally Lewisham.
I am confused as to how this all works are these places close by each other, how would I find out where in fact he was born??
Perth, Western Australia
3 February 2009
I too have experienced similar difficulties locating the birthplaces of my ancestors because of inconsistencies in data contained in decennial Censuses. In my case the family lived in the Colchester area of Essex so I thought a birthplace of Hadleigh, in the south of Essex, to be somewhat implausible. It turned out that my ancestor was born in Ardleigh. The recent release of the 1911 census said my great grandmother was born in Colchester but the 1901 census said she was born in the nearby village of West Bergholt. I had already established the West Bergholt link by looking at the Baptism registers for the parish.
Mountnessing, Stondon [Massey], Blackmore and Ingatestone are all neighbouring parishes to one another. Navestock is still within what is now designated the Brentwood Borough Council area. It’s only about five miles distant. If you are interested in seeing an old map of the area, go to the home pages of either of my websites.
The move of your family to Lewisham in south London could be something to with the agricultural depression which particularly affected the county in the late 1870s – although my research suggests that in terms of wages the agricultural labourer was worse off in about 1860. I digress. It would be interesting to know what your family did in these mid Essex parishes before migrating to London.
To find out where your ancestors were born you will need to look at the Baptism Registers of the respective parishes, microfilm copies of which are at the Essex Record Office in Chelmsford. There is a project under way to digitise the Registers for view on the Internet.