Archive for the ‘Research tips’ Category

Meet the Shephards

I have recently posted a new page about my Shephard ancestors. My Shephards can be summarised as: from Birmingham and later from London; mainly brass founders; and Quakers. Do go have a look!

I must admit that I go into more detail about where Quaker (or Society of Friends) records can be found than about the Shephards themselves, as Quaker records are very useful for family history research before 1837.

My favourite Shephard family so far is that of Richard Shephard (c1743-1800) and Mary Jarrett (c1742-1820). They married on 30 November 1770 at the Publick Meeting House in Eatington (now Ettington), Warwickshire. This was after a two month period of seeking permission to marry, and being checked by members of the Society. A quote from the Meeting’s Minute Book illustrates this (see note 1 for full reference):

At our Monthly Meeting held at Long Compton of 29th of ye 10mo 1770 …

… Richd Shepherd and Mary Jarrett continuing their Intention of Marriage and no obstruction appearing they are left to their Liberty to accomplish the same according to good order, and we appoint Wm Marshall and Jn Bevington to attend on the day of Marriage to see that good order is Preserved and Report the same at our next [meeting]

Richard (a brass founder) and Mary duly married, lived in Hill Street and Litchfield Street in Birmingham, and had nine children.

They chose an interesting mix of names for their children (one of the reasons I find them interesting): Mary, Sarah, Martha, Rebecca (died age 1), Gulidina twice (both died under a year old), Kerenhappuch, Richard (died at 6 weeks), and Hannah.

Most of the names are obvious family or biblical names. Of the others, Kerenhappuch is also bibilical (she was a daughter of Job), and I haven’t managed to trace any information on Gulidina… so if you know something, please let me know!

Note 1: full reference for 29 Oct 1770 quote from Minute Book

Warwickshire South Monthly Meeting Minute Book, Ref No. 142 Vol. 1704-1779 (no page numbers, entries in date order); from Microfilm copy held at Birmingham Central Library, Microfilm Ref: PG 3568.


Google Book Search & George Boddy

My ancestor George Boddy (c1761-1834) was a shipwright and Timber Master in the Royal Navy Dockyards for 57 years. I have traced his long career using various resources, but one of the most helpful has been Google Book Search.

When I heard about this new search function last year, I tried the names of various ancestors – I thought that maybe one would appear in a book published in 1850, or some such.

Amazingly, George Boddy scored hits in books published in 1983 and 1999 on naval dockyard history. As the books are still in copyright, there were only two line snippets in the results, but I was able to order both from my local library for the bargain inter-library loan price of £1.75 each 🙂

So I discovered the work of a naval dockyards historian called Roger Morriss, including the precise references to George Boddy in Admiralty and Navy Board papers at The National Archives, Kew and the National Maritime Museum, Greenwich. Who knows if I would have ever identified these papers for myself – but Roger Morriss’s work found via Google Book Search gave me a very welcome short cut.

This July I visited The National Archives, Kew, and read, photographed and transcribed the letters from & about my ancestor – a real thrill for me and my mum who was visiting the Kew archives for the first time.

I now know, in George’s own words, about his career moves from dockyard to dockyard, his invention of a tool to remove broken pintles (don’t ask, but he was hoping for money from the Admiralty!), and about struggling to provide for his eight children.

Note 1: The National Archive references are:

ADM1/4379  a box of loose letters; specifically letters numbered Pro B300, Pro B301 & Pro B302;

ADM1/4379 letter Pro B300 Page 3 letter from George Boddy to Sir Evan Nepean July 1805 This image is Crown copyright.

ADM106/2227 a book of copy letters from the Navy Board to the Admiralty; page 385.

Note 2: the two naval dockyards history books are:

The Royal Dockyards During the Revolutionary and Napoleonic Wars, by Roger Morriss. Pub. 1983 by Leicester University Press. ISBN: 0718512154

History of Work and Labour Relations in the Royal Dockyards, edited by Kenneth Lunn & Ann Day. Pub. 1999 by Routledge (UK). ISBN: 0720123496