Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

Researchers into the origins and ancestry of Edward Starbuck of Nantucket (1603/4-1690) may be interested in a new discovery – it’s possible we’ve found his paternal granny … a much-widowed woman, born Elizabeth Pepper, who died in Bingham, Nottinghamshire in June 1611.

On 27 February 1603/4 at Derby All Saints church, an Edward Starbuck was baptised, son of Edward senior. This is thought to be the baptism of Nantucket Edward and is the starting point of the current quest for Edward’s origins.

In 1595, a “tuition bond” was granted by a probate court in Nottingham to Thomas Pepper, granting him responsibility for three people: another Thomas Pepper, Ann Thompson and Edward Starbuck. Legally, these were minors but as guardianship laws stood then, they could have been aged up to 25. 1595 is too early for this Edward Starbuck to be Nantucket Edward but could be his (supposed) father Edward senior.

Starbucks were disinclined to leave Wills in those days, probably because they weren’t very well off, so I widened the trawl by looking at Wills of people associated with them (this is the FAN club approach to research – Friends, Associates, Neighbours). Because of the tuition bond, Thompsons and Peppers seemed a good place to start. I found a partial Will at Nottinghamshire Archives for a Thomas Pepper of Bingham, dated 1595, evidently linked to the 1595 Tuition Bond. But the Will is only one line long, telling us nothing more than the testator’s name and location. But the location detail is critical – I could now look at other testators in Bingham.

Into my film-reader’s sights rolled the Will of John Worthington, written on 6 September 1600 and proved at Nottingham on 22 January 1600/1. He was buried at Bingham on 16 September 1600, only ten days after making his Will. Among his beneficiaries were three “sons-in-law”: Humfrey Bludworth and William and Edward Starbuck, plus his brother-in-law Thomas Pepper. His wife was named Elizabeth.

After restraining my arm from punching the air in Strangelove fashion – mentions of Starbucks in 16th century documents are like hens’ teeth – I digested what this could mean. In 1600, the term “in-law” could refer to a number of relationships – but I started with the most obvious, ie. his wife was sister to Thomas Pepper and she’d had two previous marriages, to a Bludworth and a Starbuck, producing three children from those marriages. John called them sons-in-law where today we’d say stepchildren.

At Bunny in Notts, I found this marriage: 15 Jul 1588 – Edmund Blodworth, of Bingham, & Elizabeth Starbuckle, “of Breeson [Breaston], within the sucken [? Soke] of Sawley, [Derbyshire] married by lic. from thence”. I later found out that Bunny was a Pepper location in the 16th century.

Stitching together the various bits of information, we can suggest the following picture of John Worthington’s wife Elizabeth:

  • She was probably born about 1550-60 and there is a baptism at Bunny on 22 Feb 1559/60 for an Elizabeth Pepper (no parents are named in Bunny baptisms until 1597).
  • She had a brother Thomas Pepper and they were both children of Thomas Pepper senior of Bingham, who died in 1595
  • She first married a man named Starbuck, probably about 1575-80 and probably in Sawley, Derbyshire (for which no parish registers exist until 1640). They had at least two children, William and Edward, before Mr Starbuck departed this life. In a 1566 rental for Sawley, there was a William Starbuck occupying a cottage in Long Eaton with a small amount of land. It’s possible he, or maybe a son of his, was Elizabeth’s husband.
  • In 1588, still a resident of Breaston in Sawley parish, but marrying in her birthplace of Bunny, widow Elizabeth plighted her troth with Edmund Bludworth of Bingham. They had one child Humfrey before Edmund also departed this life, before 1598 when Bingham PRs begin. Sadly, young Humfrey also died soon after his father, buried in Bingham in November 1601
  • Elizabeth married a third time to John Worthington of Bingham, who had also been married before, with several children named in his Will. It seems likely they had little time together as John died in September 1600.
  • Four months later on 19 January 1600/1 in Bingham, thrice-widowed Elizabeth married a fourth time to Clement Clifford. It’s possible that in her early 40s, she had two more children, John and Thomas Clifford, born in Bingham in 1602 and 1604, both of whom died as babies
  • On 8 June 1611, Elizabeth the wife of Clement Clifford was buried at Bingham. She was probably in her early fifties. In her modest half-century of life she had experienced a terrible tally of bereavement, losing three husbands and at least one child, probably three.

This picture of the life of Elizabeth Pepper-Starbuck-Bludworth-Worthington-Clifford needs additional verification of course, as does the deduction that her son Edward Starbuck was the father of Nantucket Edward. It is entirely possible that this Starbuck line is quite separate from Nantucket Edward’s. However, there are so few known Starbucks around in late 16th century Notts and Derbyshire, and even fewer Edwards, that this deduction must be considered reasonable.

Documentary evidence and additional information about Peppers, Thompsons,  Bingham and Bunny can be requested by emailing me: celiarenshawATgmail.com.



Read Full Post »


All my life I’ve remembered the name of the house where my great-aunt and uncle Hilda & Harold Turney lived, though I’ve never known why they chose that name for it. They had it built in the thirties on Pond Lane in Knapton near Mundesley, Norfolk.

I have one memory of visiting Kimaggan as a child, probably aged about 7 or 8, and a vivid picture of standing with aunt and mum in the middle of a sunken lawn with sloping sides, part of a very big garden around an old-fashioned bungalow.

My great-aunt, who was born Hilda Eva Tyler on 3 March 1899, married Harold William Turney on 4 April 1935 in Erpingham Register Office. She was 36, a career nurse, and he 41, a shipping rep and former purser in the merchant navy. After retirement with disability, he worked as an optician, which seems a rather odd turn in life. They did not have children. Hilda died first in March 1979 and Harold on 8 March 1983.pond-lane

Skate forward to 19 Oct 2016 and I have the first chance to revisit Kimaggan. My friend and I found the place, still rather isolated in its acre of garden on Pond Lane in Knapton – I recognised it instantly – but now called North Acre. And it still had a sunken front lawn with sloping sides!

The present okimaggan1wner showed us round the gardens and, being a local born and bred, gave us loads of information about aunt and uncle, and the history of the bungalow, now considerably extended. He also took us into his work-shed and showed us the old house-name ‘Kimaggan’ nailed to a beam.


A rather tame little story perhaps? It’s hard to convey in writing how full of  excitement and pleasure I was to rediscover this place of my memories… happy memories because aunt Hilda was fun and my mum loved her. Tragically for mum and me, her Tyler families were long-distant from where we lived in Stony Stratford, now part of Milton Keynes in Buckinghamshire.

Grandfather Walter Henry Tyler (Wal to family and friends) was a London boy. Three of his seven sibs died young, and his parents departed this life early too within months of each other in 1903, when Wal was 16. He joined the Army shortly after. The other surviving four children were scattered among nearby relatives and later settled in various parts of Britain: Wilfred in Billericay after an Army career; Horace in Stratford (slap bang where the Olympic site now is); Louise with her head waiter husband Jacques Jaeger in St Anne’s on Sea; and Hilda with Harold in Norfolk. All of them too far away for more than occasional get-togethers.

My visit to Kimaggan last week brought some of my barely-known Tyler relatives back into my heart and gave me new memories to treasure. With many thanks to the present owner of North Acre for making this gift to a complete stranger turning up on his doorstep.

Read Full Post »

I have just rediscovered a piece I wrote in 2012 and completely forgotten about. I hope it will bring a smile, much-needed in our troubled times perhaps.  Imagine a small, community evening class of family history beginners, and a well-intentioned tutor…

Right class, so where do we always start in genealogy?
Not with a G, Kenneth – oh, Ken, sorry – and no, not with a J either.  Anyone else?

No, Lisa, ha ha, we don’t start with William the Conqueror!!
What’s that?  Your 4th cousin twice removed in America has got your surname going back all the way to the Conk?  Oh, to Charlemagne, indeed, well, we’ll see…

Maisie?  I know, they’re being a bit loud aren’t they?  You’ll have to speak up!
Class!  Would everyone take a breath please, you’ll all have a chance to tell your stories.

OK Maisie?
Well, dear, gooseberry bushes have gone a bit out of fashion, wouldn’t you say?  Oh, your mum always said it’s where you came from………….

George!  Where do you think we should start?
In bed? Ha ha, that’s one way of looking at it.
Or in your case on the wrong side of the blanket?
Now now, everyone, this is a serious point actually… these days we’re a bit more polite, we say “out-of-wedlock” instead… no, not illegit…. not bast…!
Not spawn of Satan either…

Rosemary, I can see you’re waving a piece of paper there, is it something you want to share?  It says your Scottish grandmother was born in fornication… yes, well, that’s the Scots for you…
Hang on, don’t start shouting, I CAN say that, I’m half-Scottish!

Which brings me back to my first question – how do I KNOW I’m half Scottish?
Thank you Henry, not because one leg is shorter than the other and I run round hills.
No Sophie, I don’t start fights in pubs and eat chips every night
[Only every other night, hehe…]

I’ll give you a clue.

When you’re starting out in family history, you always begin with [pointing] ……


You start by writing down everything you know about yourself.
And then your parents….

Sorry, Maggie, say that again?  Ah, you were an orphan.  And Bob?  Adopted.  Well those are two very good reasons for wanting to find out…..  yes, I understand, I do, here’s a tissue, don’t upset yourself dear, we’ll see what we can do…

Tom – what’s that?  Your dad was a sailor… OK?  A wife in every port, I see

Deirdre… Your mum loved cooking?  That’s good… ah, gas oven… her head, well let’s not go too far down…

Class!  Time’s up for today.  I think we can safely say there are two things to remember when we start genealogy … don’t believe anything you hear (not unless you have three lots of documentation to back it up) – and always expect the unexpected!


Read Full Post »

It would be a glorious understatement to say that the surname Starbuck is well-known. But the exact opposite was true when Edward Starbuck left our shores for New England in about 1635.

In his day Starbuck was one of the rarest names in England. The few there were clustered mainly in the wet and marshy area where the counties of Derbyshire, Nottinghamshire and Leicestershire meet. They were in Wilne, Draycot, Attenborough and Toton, by the rivers Derwent, Trent and Erewash. There were offshoots in London and Kent, where the men were Thames watermen, but the soggy East Midlands was the Starbuck homeland in the 16th and 17th centuries.

The story of the surname is a kind of rags to riches one and from the start was associated with water. It comes from the village of Starbeck near Harrogate in Yorkshire, and that name was Norse for ‘Great River’.

Edward Starbuck, reputedly born about 1603/4 in Derby, settled for a while in the area that’s now New Hampshire, where he was appointed one of Dover settlement’s rivermen and fishers, responsible for providing a regular supply of fish to the colony. But, after a dispute with the Puritan authorities on the issue of infant baptism, he sailed with some companions the dangerous 18 miles to Nantucket island. Then he went back for his wife and children.

And so it was they became one of the first white families on the island. Edward’s daughter Mary Starbuck Coffin introduced Quakerism there and between them they created most of Nantucket’s Quaker whaling dynasties of the 18th century.

In 2015, Natucketers starred in a blockbuster film ‘In the Heart of the Sea’, based on Nathaniel Philbrick’s book which investigated the sinking by a whale of the Nantucket whaler ‘Essex’ in 1820. Herman Melville famously based his 1851 book ‘Moby Dick’ on that event and he included a character named Starbuck as first mate of Captain Ahab’s ‘Pequod’ in the story.

Skip forward to 1971, Seattle, USA and the founders of a new coffee business are looking for an appealing brand name. They settle on Starbuck, remembering the name from Moby Dick, and the rest, as they say is ….. So the omnipresent Starbuck’s coffee shops have no relationship at all to Puritan Edward Starbuck and his Nantucket descendants, but the company has surely carried the endearing surname into world history.

The job I have volunteered for now in 2016 is to find good evidence that Nantucket Edward’s roots really were in Derby in 1603/4 and to find his ancestry. It seems likely he was the son of another Edward Starbuck and Anne Barnes who married in Nottingham in 1603. He may also have had a brother William (bap Derby 1607) and sister Elizabeth (bap Nottingham 1608). But that’s as far as the likelihoods go so far.

Judging by their surname’s history, the two Edwards probably travelled about the rivers and seas of Britain leaving few footprints for us to find four hundred years later on the banks and shores.



Read Full Post »

Irish roots

When I was a teenager, I used to dream that I was Irish. We weren’t taught Irish history at school but I was reading books about it from the library. Tales of the 1916 Easter Uprising were especially affecting. But nothing my parents said about their families suggested any Irishness in our genes. My dad was Scottish, from Clydebank and Glasgow, and I didn’t realise then that this could mean Irish too. Over the years, my romantic ideas about Ireland faded – but they shone again a few years ago, when I discovered via Scotlands People and the GRO in Edinburgh, that I really did have Irish ancestors.

I calculate now that I am at least 1/16th Irish, from my great-great-grandmother Susan Kelly who said she was born in Monaghan. Her Scottish death certificate names her parents as James Kelly and Sarah Ferguson, both born in Ireland. Susan would have been born about 1825.

However, I like to claim an eighth Irishness really, because Susan’s husband, James Inch, only just managed to be born in Scotland in 1816. His parents Ronald Inch and Mary McLaughlin were both Irish and must have migrated to Thornliebank, Renfrewshire (now a suburb of Glasgow) only a couple of years before James arrived.

All my research so far into my Irish families has focussed on their lives in Scotland from about 1810 onwards. It seems possible they were brought over by the industrialist Crums of Thornliebank who, in the early 19th century, established a model printworks and village there, and hired many Irish workers as well as local Scots. Inevitably it led to anti-Irish sentiment and sectarian issues, sometimes violent, despite the fact that many of the Irish were Protestant – either Presbyterian or Episcopal – including my own folk.

I haven’t yet ventured into Irish genealogy, though much more information is now available online. I do hope to visit the Republic and Ulster before too long.  Monaghan will be in my sights for Kellys (my heart sinks at that prospect) and the area round Derry for the much less numerous Inches, as that appears to be their homeland. And of course I hope to re-visit the Post Office in Dublin, which I managed to see on a flying visit some years ago. Even though I understand the complexities of Irish history far better now, I can’t deny a little of that old romantic feeling from years ago.

It would be great to hear from anyone else researching these names in Ulster and its neighbouring counties:

GGGG-grandparents, all born about 1750-65, probably lived & died in Ireland

Rendall INCH & Margaret Ross
Samuel KELLY & Susan WILSON

GGG-Grandparents, all born in Ireland about 1780, migrated to Thornliebank, Renfrewshire in 1810s and 1820s, and died there



James INCH (bn Scotland c1816) & Susan KELLY (bn Monaghan c1825)





Read Full Post »

Back in 2011 and 2012, I posted three articles about ‘Scotch Chapmen’ who settled in the 17th century lace centre of Newport Pagnell, Bucks. Despite knowing that these merchants and dealers travelled throughout England, it came as a surprise to find in an 1872 Trade Directory for my adopted town of Chesterfield this list of Travelling Drapers (grouped separately from Drapers who were clearly non-travelling):

BELL James, 30 Spencer Street
BROWN David, Lordsmill Street
FINDLEY David, 23 & 25 St Mary’s Gate
McKAY Benjamin, 13 Holywell Street
McLACHLAN Hugh, 19 Knifesmithgate
McNAE William, 77 Saltergate
MILLIGAN George, 11 Eyre Street
MULLARKY James, 66 Soresby Street

My immediate thought: those are all Scottish names! Yesterday, I looked for them in the Chesterfield 1871 and 1881 census and found vindication – every one in the list except James MULLARKY was born in Scotland (and he was born in Ireland). I even found an extra one in the 1871 census: Fergus WILLIAMSON, travelling draper born Scotland. There could easily be more.

So, 200 years after the ones I researched in Newport Pagnell, the ‘packmen’ were still on the trudge. These had all married English girls from Chesterfield, Sheffield or Nottingham and had children locally too. It will be interesting later after more research to see if they trudged (or more likely steam-trained) away again, or if they put down permanent roots.

Perhaps it shouldn’t be a surprise to see this tradition maintained for so long. Going backwards in time from the 17th century, histories of Scottish trade and economy report that the Scots merchant families were sending their young bucks off peddling throughout Europe, as well as south into England, at least from medieval times. One commentator in 1620 said there were 30,000 Scottish families in Poland. There were also significant Scottish communities in Scandinavia and across the German states. Another historian comments that the 16th century word in German for ‘pedlar’ was ‘Scot’.

At the point of Union between England and Scotland in 1707, nearly three thousand Scottish pedlars were plying a gainful trade over the English counties.

Packman & horse

You might start to think that travelling about to make a buck was built into Scottish DNA. You had to be rough, tough and determined to trudge through all weathers and terrains before roads were invented, often with your shop on your back, or the back of a single packhorse, or (more often than is usually imagined) with a string of up to a hundred horses behind you. So maybe it was the most itchy-footed and enterprising genes that won out over many generations of trudging, and which brought Scottish drapers to Chesterfield.

Sheffield, it turns out, was the bigger hub for packmen, especially in the 18th century at the start of the industrial revolution before roads were turnpiked and canals dug. They provided the essential transportation for raw materials and finished goods to and from the west coast across the Peak, east to river landings for Hull and London and down all routes south. Anyone who enjoys a bevvy after a bracing walk in the Hathersage area will know the Scotsmans Pack public house, a present-day reminder of those lost days in the Derbyshire Peak, and a good study of the county’s tracks has been written by local historian David Hey – Packmen, Carriers & Packhorse Ways, published by Landmark 2004.

As far as I know, however, no-one has researched and written any detailed histories of the Scottish men and women (yes there were packwomen too) who passed through and stayed in Chesterfield… so a new challenge awaits.

Read Full Post »

Today I watched a TED talk given by A J Jacobs about the importance of genealogy, one of the most entertaining presentations I’ve ever seen. It lasts a matter of minutes, definitely a coffee-break choice. I agree 100% with his wonderment and enthusiasm for the fact that we are all related!

You can find the talk here and also see his plans for the biggest ever family reunion. Sounds like great fun, and I hope he’s organising a virtual event too for those of us who can’t get to New York next year (though how I wish I could!).

Read Full Post »

Older Posts »