Which William of Winfrith?

I have previously written about William Orchard who was born in 1813. I’ve now researched his family back a few more generations.  His father, also William (Ari’s 6x great-grandfather), was born in 1779 in Winfrith Newburgh in Dorset (near Tolpuddle).


But I realized that there were two babies with the same name, both baptised in the same year, at the village church of St Christopher, and I would need to spend some time disentangling the family branches.


One William was the son of Robert and Elizabeth, and one was the son of John and Mary. I assumed that Robert and John were brothers, but didn’t know which couple were the parents of ‘my’ William.

I was greatly helped by the transcriptions of the parish baptisms and marriages available as part of the Dorset Online Parish Clerk project (e.g. at http://www.opcdorset.org/WinfrithNewburgh/WinfrithNewburghBaps1751-1800.htm).

This allowed me to see that a William Orchard (born in 1704) who had married Mary Gretton in 1736 had sons called Robert and John. (The children were William (1738), Anne (1740), Robert (1742), John (1744), Thomas (1746), Elizabeth (1751) and Mary (1756).)

Robert married Elizabeth Rawls in 1773, and John married Mary Rawls in 1770. So I was happy to carry on searching backwards, in the hope that all would become clear. The parents of the William Orchard who married Mary Gretton were Robert Orchard and Anne, and they married in 1694 in Winfrith Newburgh. (So it doesn’t matter for now whether it is Robert or John who is Ari’s direct ancestor, because we can be sure that this Robert – born in about 1674 – is.)

Robert and Anne had six children: John in 1696, Elizabeth in 1697, Thomas in 1699, Edith in 1701, William in 1704 and Mary in 1707.

More to follow …

Nisel Shnaiderovich

Ari’s 6x great-grandfather Nisel lived in Svencionys, Lithuania. Nisel (a variant of Nisn) is a name that was given to boys during the month in which Passover occurs, and Shnaiderovich means ‘son of a tailor’. He is also listed as Nosel.

All we know about Nisel comes from the All Lithuania Revision List Database on JewishGen. This is the family on 30 April 1834 in Svencionys:

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This tells us that Nisel’s father was Shmuila, and gives us Nisel’s date of birth as 1798. We can see that his wife is Gitka, and her father was Girsh. They have four daughters: Raina (14), Tema (12), Sora (10) and Feiga (2). This suggests that they married in about 1819.

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The Revision of 30 October 1850 (above) shows that he had died in 1848. A son, Shmuel, is 16. Who is he living with? Has his mother also died?

Please read this article about what happened in Svencionys in 1941.

Ari, this is how you are related to Nisel:

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Andrew Mullens of Tisbury

Ari’s 5x great-grandfather Andrew Mullens or Mullins was born in 1797 in West Hatch, Tisbury, Wiltshire. It is thought that there was an eighth-century abbey in Tisbury, which is west of Salisbury. “Settlement in the west part of the parish in the Middle Ages was at West Hatch and East Hatch, and in several hamlets or farmsteads. West Hatch manor possibly included c. 15 small farmsteads in the early 12th century” (see http://www.british-history.ac.uk/vch/wilts/vol13/pp195-248). West Hatch is just north of Old Wardour Castle.


Andrew worked as an agricultural labourer. I haven’t found his parents yet. On 7 July 1820 he married Mary Hayward at the church in Tisbury, but the first record we have of him is in 1818, when he appeared at the Wiltshire Quarter Sessions in Tisbury and was convicted and sent to prison in Devizes. (His name is not given in the newspaper report of these Sessions, and I don’t know what his crime was.)

Andrew and Mary’s daughter Jane was born in 1827 in West Hatch. I haven’t been able to find the family in the 1841 census, but there is an Andrew Mullens living with Harriet and more children in 1851, so my theory at the moment is that Mary died and he remarried.

In 1848 Andrew was sentenced to three months at the County Sessions on 4 Jan, for “larceny by servant”, which means that he stole from his employer. He was not whipped though, unlike the next two people on the criminal register:

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Luckily, this time there is a newspaper record (Devizes and Wiltshire Gazette, 6 Jan 1848), so we can see his crime (they all make interesting reading!):

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So it looks as though he was working on a farm near Wardour Castle.

In the 1851 census Andrew is shown as a widower, still working as an agricultural labourer at the age of 64, and living in Chilmark with his daughter Jane and her family.

He died in 1867.

This is Hannah’s first visit to Old Wardour Castle in April 1989!


Ari, this is how you are related to Andrew:

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Joseph Sheppard of Worcestershire

Joseph Sheppard (or Shepherd) was one of Ari’s 6x great-grandfathers, born in 1752 in Worcestershire, possibly in Hanbury, as that is where he was living at the time of his marriage.

St Werburgh’s Church, Hanbury – monument to Sir John de Hanbury (detail)

No baptism for him has been found in Hanbury, which is near Droitwich.

When he was 33, Joseph married Ann Day in Huddington, as shown in the parish register:

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They had nine children between 1786 and 1806, the youngest of whom was also Joseph, Ari’s 5x great-grandfather.

Joseph senior lived to the age of 83, and was buried at the church of St James in Huddington on 20 December 1835.

No will has been found yet, and I don’t know what his occupation was. My next step is to follow up the children to see if there are any clues.

Ari, this is how you are related to Joseph:

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William Cawthorn of Pinchbeck

Pinchbeck in Lincolnshire was home to one of Ari’s 5x great-grandfathers, William Cawthorn.


William was married to Mary Chapman on 12 May 1793 at St Mary’s Church, and their six children (Martha, William, James, Frances, Robert, and another James) were all christened in Pinchbeck – the first four at the church and the last two at an independent chapel.


The youngest child was born in 1804, so we know that he died after 1803, but I am not sure when. A possible burial is 9 August 1832, of a William Cawthorn who is 76.

I hope that following up on the children may provide some more clues.

Ari, this is how you are related to William:

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Seventeenth-century ancestors

Recent research has allowed me to find a few ancestors of Ari’s who lived in England in the seventeenth century, some in Dorset and some in Derbyshire.

I thought it might be interesting to look at the historical context, focusing on one of these ancestors, William Tomlinson. William is Ari’s 11x great-grandfather (one of two that I have found so far).

He died on 3 March 1693 in Duffield, Derbyshire, and must have been married in about 1660 (based on the baptism dates of his children), which puts his birth date at about 1640.


Charles I was on the throne at this time, and the English Civil War was just about to unfold. A PhD by Heather Falvey examines Duffield as part of a study of “custom, resistance and politics” in early modern England, and her thesis is available online. The parish of Duffield was part of the duchy of Lancaster, administered by a steward on behalf of the Crown. As well as farming and weaving, men at this time made their living by extracting iron ore, smelting, quarrying stone, mining coal, making charcoal, and making wire. (The occupation of wire-drawing involved turning metal into wire by drawing it through different-sized holes in a template.) Later, nail-making became more important in the area. Sources for this information in Heather’s PhD include the wills and inventories of some of these men. She also mentions a militia list from 1638 held in the National Archives, and of course men paid taxes, so there are hearth tax lists to consult. Heather uses the inventories of Duffield inhabitants to work out how many rooms they had and how wealthy they were, and we can do the same for Ari’s ancestors.

The inhabitants of Duffield had certain rights, and were entitled to use the forests, for example to feed their sheep and cattle, or to provide firewood and wood for making fences. This is what led to riots and resistance when some of the land was enclosed under Charles I. After a period of sabotage and non-compliance, actual rioting broke out in 1642. Evidence for these riots comes from court papers held in the National Archives, with 217 local people being named. They started by pulling down fences and destroying hedges “in a violent & tumultuous way”, and then drove their own cattle onto the king’s land.

This is the world that Ari’s ancestor William Tomlinson was born into, and it might even be possible to discover if his parents were involved. When William died in 1693 his estate was appraised and administered, and the records are part of the Findmypast collection called Staffordshire, Dioceses Of Lichfield and Coventry Wills and Probate 1521–1860. The first page starts in Latin, but then uses English to tell us that William’s surviving wife is called Anne. This page is signed by Anne, Samuel Tomlinson (William’s son), and Samuel Eyre, husband of William’s daughter Hannah.

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The next page gives us the inventory:

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From this, we know that he left property valued at £21, 16 shillings and 6 pence. The items were:

  • A purse and apparel.
  • In the house: five irons; three pewter dishes; one candlestick; a tankard; three bottles; a brass pot; an iron pot; a table; a form; a cupboard.
  • In the parlour: an old bedstead; a rug; curtains; two chests; one little table.
  • In the chamber: one half-headed bedstead with one flock bed and two blankets.
  • One flitch of bacon
  • In the shop: two looms(?) with materials belonging thereunto
  • Linen and lumber
  • Two cows and one heifer; two year-old calves.

This suggests that he may have been a weaver by trade. William was buried on 5 March 1693 at St Alkmund’s Church in Duffield. Even though he lived over three hundred years ago, there is still a story to be told and more to discover.

Ari, this is how you are related to William:

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