William Payne Curtis of Warminster

One of Ari’s 5x great-grandfathers was William Payne Curtis, son of Thomas Curtis and Rachael Pain. He was born in Warminster, Wiltshire, in about 1802, and baptised onĀ  September 19th at the church of St Denys.


On 14 March 1822 he married Elizabeth (Betsy) West, of the nearby village of Norton Bavant. The marriage was announced in the Bath Chronicle and Weekly Gazette:

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(This is the only record I have found where he has the middle name Payne.)

In the 1841 census they are living in South Alley, Warminster, and William is working as a butcher’s labourer.

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Six children had been born by this date but the first daughter, Eliza (who would have been 9), is missing from this census. It looks as though another Eliza was born later that year.

There is some untangling to do with this family. In addition to the fact that William’s parents seem to have had 19 children, there is another William (born in 1790), and the later census records do suggest that William and Betsy had a ten-year age difference. I don’t yet have a reliable death date for William. Also, I have a note that William was in the Union workhouse in 1838 but I now have no idea where that came from. (Very frustrating, but a good reminder that keeping a note of sources is worth doing!)


The workhouse had been built in 1837 and was designed in a hexagonal shape. See more details here. It closed in 1929, and now provides some very nice-looking accommodation!



Ari, this is how you are related to William:

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Shaya Hatskelzon

Ari’s 5x great-grandfather Shaya Hatskelzon (or Khatskelzon) was born in Silale, Lithuania, some time in the 1820s, and we know that he was still there in 1896 when he was recorded as a tax-payer.

What else do we know about him? The main evidence is the Lithuanian tax and voter lists on JewishGen:

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This shows us Shaya in Silale in 1877, 1885, 1892 and 1896.

Shaya had married Jennie in about 1843.

The fourth record is obviously a relation, and it turns out that Basia Ziv (or Sive) married Shaya’s second son, Zusman. They emigrated to South Africa. (He died in 1931 and she died in 1933. They are buried at Brixton Cemetery, Johannesburg.)

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They left a joint will:

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The Revision List (census) taken on 29 May 1858 gives us another clue about Shaya:

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The first entry is for Shaya’s oldest son Yankel in 1897, but the second tells us that his father’s name was Hatskel. If you are interested in the process by which names became surnames, there is a really good article here.

Ari, this is how you are related to Shaya:

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William Williams

William was Ari’s 6x great-grandfather, the husband of Frances. He was born in 1782 in Cawston, Norfolk. William White’s History, Gazetteer, and Directory of Norfolk (1845) tells us that Cawston “is a considerable village and parish, 2 miles E. of Reepham, and 4 miles W.S.W. of Aylsham. … Three FAIRS are held here annually on Feb. 1st, and the last Wednesdays in April and August; the latter of which is a large sheep fair. W.E.L. Bulwer, Esq., owns a great part of the soil, and is lord of the manor, which he holds in free soccage of the Duchy of Lancaster.”

St Agnes’ church, Cawston, and rooftops in the distance.

William was the son of Robert Williams and his wife Hannah, and we can see his baptism here:

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Norfolk, England, Church of England Baptism, Marriages, and Burials, 1535-1812

He must have married Frances in about 1806, and their first child, John, was born in 1807 in Cawston.

I don’t know whether they met and married in Norfolk or Derbyshire, but I would love to find out!

In the 1841 census he is not listed with the rest of his family (where was he?), but the previous April when his son Samuel got married, his occupation was given as pig dealer. The 1849 Post Office directory for Derbyshire lists him as a pig and cattle dealer:

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At the time of the 1851 census William and Frances are living in Buxton Road, Ashbourne, with three of their five children still at home.

Looking down on the Buxton Road, Ashbourne

In 1857 their son Thomas got married, and William was described as a pig jobber (another word for a dealer).

In the 1861 census we can see William at the age of 80 listed as an almsman (someone receiving alms), at Church Yard in Ashbourne, and he died there at the age of 86 {from “natural decay”) on 14 March 1868. He was buried at St Oswald’s, Ashbourne, on the 19th.


Ari, this is how you are related to William:

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Anne Wright of Wirksworth

Anne was Ari’s 7x great-grandmother. She was born in Wirksworth, Derbyshire, in about 1752. (There is a possible baptism in 1754, of Ann, daughter of Job Wright of Bolehill, and this family seem to have left wills, so plenty to investigate.)


On 29 December 1774, Anne married John Frost at St Mary’s in Wirksworth.

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Derbyshire, England, Church of England Marriages and Banns, 1754-1932

Anne and John had three daughters: Jane in 1774, Mary in 1776, and Hannah in 1779.

Anne died in August 1815 at the age of 63, and was buried on the 20th of that month at Wirksworth.

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Derbyshire, England, Church of England Burials, 1813-1991


The burial record shows that she was living in Bolehill, known for its lead-mining.


Ari, this is how you are related to Anne:

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