Sunday, May 2, 2010

Family fortunes

I needed a break from the screen yesterday, and so I started sorting out the pile of miscellaneous correspondences and photographs which has been accumulating in my boxes. This is the stuff which I want to keep, but hasn't found a home... it doesn't need any actual action, but needs to be dealt with.

In among the filing were a group of things which have been on my conscience, in some cases for *years*. There's the book I am almost sure belongs to a friend, the card which includes new addresses for a friend of my husbands, and a card which announces the marriage of one of my oldest friends. In among that lot were some typewritten notes from a family history contact, who was expecting something in return which I have not found and sent to him. Unfortunately my son Ali was very ill at the time - which means it was five years FIVE YEARS ago that I promised it.

I decided I must do that this weekend, and so in normal fashion, a simple task of filing had rapidly transmuted into a long list of things to do, not least to track down the document I need to send. It's a freedom of the city, which I need to copy before I send it. That's been the hiccup, as it is too long for my scanner. But in the five years FIVE YEARS I have been prevaricating about doing this, I have learned how to scan in and splice together images.

In the course of looking at the family history, I realised that I had had more information about this branch of the family than I had thought, but because I hadn't fulfilled my part of the bargain - and still haven't - it didn't seem right to use the information. Having looked in more detail, I can see there is a problem with it.

This particular ancestor was a relatively well known one. His name was Charles Jearrad, and he was an architect, who with his brother Robert, is most famous for the architecture of Cheltenham. Much of the Regency architecture in and around Cheltenham was designed by Robert Jearrad and his brother Charles.

Charles Jearrad seems to have been a fairly colourful character. He married my great great great great great grandmother Margaret Doyle in 1800, when she allegedly eloped from her boarding school. It may be this fact that persuaded him to allow his daughter Christiana Jearrad, to marry as a minor to my great great great great grandfather, John Walton Robey.

I discovered that Margaret Doyle died after a long illness, in 1817 and Charles Jearrad remarried, to a Letitia Nash. However, on looking at the registers, there are two marriages for Charles Jearrad and Letitia Nash... one in 1808, and one in 1817. There is also a list of entries for births between Charles Jearrad and Letitia before 1817.

It looks at present as though Charles Jearrad had two families, and went through a bigamous marriage with Letitia while his wife was still alive, and then another when she died, to make quite sure that his children were legitimate. It's very odd and demands further research.

It also looks as though Margaret Doyle was a member of the famous Doyle family from Bramblestown, Kilkenny. This is a very strange coincidence, as this is just outside Inistioge, the small town that I recently discovered was home to my Father's mother, who I had been searching for, for 20 years. This Doyle family produce six Major Generals in the course of a few years, have connections to many families. At resent it seems certain that Margaret's grandfather was Charles Doyle, of Bramblestown, but what I cannot yet discover is which of Charles Doyle's six sons was her father. That requires a lot more research too.

Looking for information on Charles led me to the knowledge that many of the registers of St George's, Hanover Square, are now available as digitised books on the Internet Archive. I love the internet archive. But I must tear myself away now.


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