Henry Tarrant – and why blogging works!

I thought Ari’s 5x great-grandfather, Henry Tarrant, was born in about 1793 in Hurstbourne Tarrant, Hampshire.

Hurstbourne Tarrant

But that wasn’t quite right, as the story shows. As I start this blog post I don’t yet know who his parents were. There is a family story that perhaps his name wasn’t originally Tarrant, so there is a bit of a mystery that I’d like to solve.

The first record we have for him is his marriage, to Elizabeth Liddiard, on 5 Oct 1823.

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Wiltshire, England, Church of England Marriages and Banns, 1754-1916, Ancestry.co.uk

The marriage took place at St Michael’s in Aldbourne, Wiltshire, where both Henry and Elizabeth were living. (Aldbourne was used in the early 1970s as the setting for a series of Doctor Who.)


This particular minister seemed to use the words “young man” instead of bachelor. You can see that one of the witnesses was Daniel Liddiard, possibly the bride’s father or brother, and Henry and Elizabeth left a cross instead of signing their name.

This could be a photo of Henry, found on the family tree of a descendant.

Tarrant, Henry - Photo

The couple’s first child, Anne, was born later in 1823, and the baptism record shows Henry’s occupation as labourer:

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Wiltshire, England, Church of England Births and Baptisms, 1813–1916, Ancestry.co.uk

The next child, John, was baptised in 1826, and Henry was still a labourer. Sadly, John died at only three weeks old. Mary was born the following year, then Eliza, James, Thomas and Henry.

In the 1841 census Henry can be seen at Spray Farm, in Ham, Wiltshire, working as a farmer. The box for “born in the same county” is ticked.

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1841 census, Ancestry.co.uk

“The estate known variously as Ham Spray farm, Spray farm, or the Spray originated in a copyhold farm built up in the north-east of the parish in the early 19th century, and in 1847, when it comprised 482 a., enfranchised by Winchester chapter for its tenant William Woodman (d. 1862). Woodman was apparently succeeded there by H. D. Woodman (d. 1915). Charles Wright bought the property in 1869. Ten years later his Ham Spray estate was offered for sale and apparently repurchased by H. D. Woodman. In the earlier 20th century Ham Spray House, from which the estate was worked in the 19th century, and the farm were in separate ownership.” (https://www.british-history.ac.uk/vch/wilts/vol11/pp151-158)


By 1851 Henry is a farmer of 70 acres, at Upton, near Vernham Dean in Hampshire. Here he tells the enumerator that he was born at Minal, Wiltshire, and his age is fifty-five. This puts his year of birth as closer to 1796.

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1851 census, Ancestry.co.uk

By now they have had four more children, although one of the babies, Harriet, is actally a granddaughter, as shown on the next census.

If Henry was born in Minal, maybe we can now find his parents?

I can’t find any baptisms for Minal so I look it up on Genuki and discover that it’s actually Mildenhall, near Marlborough.

So now there is a baptism that fits, and it is unusual in the information if gives:

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Wiltshire, England, Church of England Baptisms, Marriages and Burials, 1538–1812, Ancestry.co.uk

It is dated Christmas Day 1797 but comes at the end of 1796, before the new list of 1797 baptisms, so I think it is a mistake.

St John the Baptist, Minal. The font dates from 1816.

It notes that they were removed from Stitchcombe Mill to Mear Farm. Stitchcombe is part of the same parish. The (new) mill is now holiday cottages.


I have now found out more about Henry’s parents, but that will have to wait!

The 1861 census shows Henry and his family in Hurstbourne Tarrant, but it is not clear exactly where they were. Henry is now sixty-three and an agricultural labourer.

The 1871 census is the one that misled me, by giving Henry’s birthplace as Hurstbourne Tarrant. He is now a widower at Upton, living with his daughter Jane, granddaughter Lizzie Cripps (daughter of Mary), and granddaugher Elizabeth Tarrant (4 months).

Henry died at Upton on 3 March 1881, before that year’s census. The death certificate shows that he was a farm bailiff.

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He also left a will.

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England & Wales, National Probate Calendar (Index of Wills and Administrations), 1858–1995

The will tells us that he leaves his granddaughter, Harriet Barnes, £5. He asks for all his money, household goods and linen to be equally divided between his eight children.

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Ari, this is how you are related to Henry:

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Elizabeth Mitchener of Goodworth Clatford

Elizabeth Mitchener was one of Ari’s 4x great-grandmothers. She was born in Goodworth Clatford, Hampshire, in December 1840, in time to be in the 1841 census at five months old. Her father was Charles Mitchener and her mother was Mary Henrietta Smith.

Elizabeth was baptised at St Peter’s church in the village.


By the time of the 1851 census, Elizabeth was ten and attending school in the village, along with her little brother Walter. Her father Charles had died when she was only five, and her mother was working as a laundress. Elizabeth’s older brother Henry was already working as an agricultural labourer at the age of thirteen. Elizabeth’s grandmother, Jane, was also living with the family.

The 1861 census shows Elizabeth after she has left home. She is working as a housemaid in the home of Anne Vincent, at Bishop Morley’s College in Winchester. (The college provided residence for widows of clergymen. Anne had been born Anne Esther Larbalestier in Jersey in 1793, and married Frederick Vincent in 1813.)

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Jersey, Church of England Marriages, 1754-1940

In 1863, Elizabeth gave birth to a baby girl who she named Annie. Sadly, Annie died the following year.

On 6 Feb 1869, Elizabeth married John Tarrant at St Peter’s church. The parish record has been transcribed as:

February 6 1869 John TARRANT full Bachelor Labourer Goodworth Clatford father –  Henry TARRANT Farmer  &  Elizabeth MITCHENER full Spinster  Goodworth Clatford father –  Charles MITCHENER Labourer in the presence of  Gabriel WILD  &  Frances MITCHENER

(Frances was Elizabeth’s older sister, who married Gabriel Wild six years later.)

Elizabeth and John had six children: Edward in 1869, Walter in 1871, Albert in 1874, Elizabeth in 1876, and twins Ellen and Frederick in 1879.

In the 1871 census, the family are living in Goodworth Clatford. Two of Elizabeth’s nieces (Emma and Eliza Mitchener) are living with them.

Elizabeth died on 3 November 1880 from phthisis (tuberculosis). She was only 40.

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Her burial took place on the 8th, at St Peter’s. The twins had also died that same year, and Elizabeth’s mother Mary was living with John and the other four children in 1881.

Ari, this is how you are related to Elizabeth:

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Jane Day

Jane Day was a 6x great-grandmother of Ari’s. She was born on 29 January 1773 in Hurstbourne Tarrant, Hampshire (we know this because the baptism record gives the date of birth as well). Her parents were Stephen Day and Martha Iles, and she was their second child and first daughter.

St Peter’s, Hurstbourne Tarrant

There are no records of her life until the 13th of October 1794, when she married an agricultural labourer, Thomas Smith, at St Peter’s Church where she had been baptised.

The marriage was noted in Pallot’s Marriage Index, which gives us a clue that Thomas came from Leckford (now home to the Waitrose farm!).

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Pallot’s Marriage Index, 1780–1837, on Ancestry.co.uk
Free-range chickens on the Leckford Estate

Jane and Thomas had seven children, and they may have moved nearer to Leckford, as all of the children (William, Robert, Hannah, Charles, Joshua, Mary Henrietta and James) were baptised in Chilbolton. (Charles and Hannah both died in 1807.)

By 1841, Jane was in the village of Goodworth Clatford, on a very messy census page.

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The ford at Goodworth Clatford

By the next census in 1851, Thomas had died and Jane was described as a pauper, living with the family of her daughter Mary Henrietta. She died two years later at the age of 79, and was buried at Goodworth Clatford on the 5th of May 1853.


Ari, this is how you are related to Jane:

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Joanna Collins of Upper Clatford, Hampshire

Joanna Collins was born in about 1745, and was Ari’s 7x great-grandmother. On 10th October 1765, she married John Holloway and they had four daughters. Joanna died in April 1797 and was buried on the 14th at All Saints, Upper Clatford in Hampshire.


I had thought that this was all I knew about Joanna, but I have just found this website, which tells me that she was baptised on 19th July 1744, and was the daughter of William Collins and Joanna Bendal, who went on to have another six children. So we have a new surname and more direct ancestors we can name, to add to Ari’s collection (he now has 508!). Thanks to Elizabeth Kipp for transcribing the parish records and putting them online.


Ari, this is how you are related to Joanna:

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Mary Henrietta Smith of Chilbolton

Ari’s 5x great-grandmother Mary Henrietta Smith was born in 1811 in the village of Chilbolton in Hampshire.

The River Test between Chilbolton and Wherwell

She was the fifth child of Thomas Smith and Jane Day, and was baptised on the 2nd of June at the church of St Mary the Less.


There are no other records for Mary until 1832, when she married Charles Mitchener.

They lived in Goodworth Clatford, where they had four children. Their first daughter, Frances Mary Edith (known as Fanny), had two daughters, Emma and Eliza, before she married Gabriel Wild, a shepherd. She lived until 1907.

Mary Henrietta’s first son, Henry, was born in 1838 and went into the army in 1857, signing up to the Rifle Brigade. He served in China, Malta, Gibraltar, India and the East Indies. He was discharged in 1870 with heart disease, and became a Chelsea Pensioner.

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Henry went to live with his sister Frances (Fanny), and then to the workhouse in Andover, where he died at the age of 44 in 1882.

The second daughter was Elizabeth, who married John Tarrant and became Ari’s 4x great-grandmother.

The second son, Walter, married Mary Alexander in 1866. They had two children who both died as babies, and then Walter himself died in 1869 at the age of 26.

By the time of the 1851 census, Charles had died and Mary Henrietta was a widow. She was working as a laundress and living in Goodworth Clatford with the three youngest children and also her mother Mary.

By 1861 she was working as a charwoman. Her son Walter was with her in the census, and a granddaughter, Emma (2), the daughter of Frances.

1871 saw Mary Henrietta living at the Post Office in the village and working as a housekeeper in the home of William Downs.

In 1881 Mary was living with her son-in-law, John Tarrant, no doubt helping to bring up the four children after the early death of her daughter Elizabeth.

Mary died on 30 December 1885 and was buried on January 3rd.

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Hampshire Chronicle, 2 Jan 1886

Ari, this is how you are related to Mary:

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John Holloway of Hampshire

John Holloway, of Upper Clatford in Hampshire, was Ari’s 7x great-grandfather.

The village of Upper Clatford is described as “long and straggling, lying on both sides of the Andover road” (http://www.british-history.ac.uk/vch/hants/vol4/pp359-365). The parish registers go back to 1571.



On 10 October 1765 John married Joanna Collins at All Saints’ Church. This puts his date of birth at approximately 1744.

John and Joanna had four daughters: Elizabeth, Joanna, Mary (who died as a baby), and Sarah.

There is a burial of a John Holloway in the village on 12 August 1780, but is this him? Hoping to find out more!

Ari, this is how you are related to John:

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Asher Butt of Christchurch

Ari’s 5x great-grandfather Asher Butt lived in Christchurch, Hampshire (now Dorset).

View from the castle

Christchurch was originally called Twyneham, and this story from the National Gazetteer of 1868 explains how it got its new name:

“This circumstance is accounted for by the monkish legend which relates the history of the building of the church. In order to expedite so good a work, Heaven aided the bishop with supernatural assistance, a supernumerary workman being always observed during the hours of labour, though at the times of refreshment and receiving wages only the stated number appeared. By his aid everything prospered till the fabric was nearly finished, when on raising a large beam to a particular situation where it was intended to be fixed, it was found to be too short. No remedy appearing, the embarrassed workmen retired to their dwellings. On returning to the church the ensuing morning, they discovered that the beam had been placed in its right position, and was now extended a foot longer than was requisite. Speechless with surprise, the additional workman recurred to their thoughts, and on recovering their tongues, they agreed that no other than our Saviour could have thus assisted them; and on this account, concludes the story, was the edifice dedicated to Christ.” The miraculous beam is still pointed out by the finger of credulity, though but a small portion of the original structure remains, the greater part of the present edifice having been rebuilt in the 15th century.”

Asher was born in 1785 and baptised on 26 June. His father was also called Asher, but his mother’s name is not known for certain, although there was a marriage in 1778 between Asher Butt and Anne Drodge.

On 20 Oct 1808 Asher married Elizabeth Thomas in Christchurch. Seven children were born and baptised in Christchurch between 1809 and 1825: Charlotte, Hannah, Sarah, William Thomas, Emma, Mary and George. The 1841 census shows Asher staying at the King’s Arms Hotel, Bridge St, aged 50, a Post Boy. (Asher’s wife and two of their children are at an address in Bargates.)


Asher appears on the marriage certificate for his son William on 10 Sept 1844, described as a postman, and also on the marriage record for his daughter Hannah in 1849 (after his death), where he is described as a servant.

He made the newspapers twice, once in 1839 because of an accident:

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Salisbury and Winchester Journal 18 November 1839

And then in 1841 when he was sent to Dorchester Gaol for a month:

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Dorset County Chronicle 28 January 1841

The Prison Admission and Discharge Registers, 1782-1901 are available to browse on Ancestry.co.uk, and also some prisoner photographs for later years. I wasn’t able to find him in the registers.

Asher died on 2 October 1844 at Christchurch, with the cause of death given as facial cancer. His wife Elizabeth was present at the death.

Ari, this shows how you are related to Asher:

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Charles Mitchener of Goodworth Clatford

Charles Mitchener was one of Ari’s 5x great-grandfathers. He died young, and sadly very little is known about him. He was the youngest son of Richard Mitchener and Elizabeth Holloway, born on 1 Nov 1810 in Goodworth Clatford, Hampshire, and baptised on the 11th (the notes in the Hampshire baptisms collection on Findmypast say “11 days, nee Holloway, lab”).

On 19 May 1832, Charles married Mary Henrietta Smith at the village church of St Peter.


Charles and Mary had four children. In the 1841 census, Charles is described as an agricultural labourer. He is also described as a labourer on all his children’s baptism records (http://www.knightroots.co.uk/transcriptions/Parishes_G/Goodworth_Clatford/Baptisms/baptisms.htm). When his daughter Frances Mary Edith Mitchener married Gabriel Wild in 1875, she described her late father as a ‘woodman’.

Charles died on 26 Aug 1845, at the age of 34, and was buried on the 28th in the churchyard. The cause of death was “inflammation of the leg”, and the informant was his wife Mary, who was present at the death.


Ari, this shows how you are related to Charles:

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Ari’s Ancestors


A blog about finding all of the direct ancestors of my grandson Ari, and learning as much about them as I can.  His birth has given me an opportunity to focus on part of the family tree, looking again at all the records I have and searching for new ones.

I know at least a little bit about 547 of his direct ancestors. They lived in places as far afield as: Memel (now Klaipeda); Grafton Flyford in Worcestershire; Middleton by Wirksworth in Derbyshire; Corfe Castle in Dorset; Barrowden in Rutland; Kalisz in Poland; Svencionys in Lithuania; Johannesburg; Gritsev in Ukraine; Parichi in Belarus; Fonthill Bishop in Wiltshire; and Hurstbourne Tarrant in Hampshire.

Alphabetically, their surnames range from ABBOTT to WRIGHT (and some I don’t know yet), and first names range from Abraham to Yosel.