So That's Where I Get It From

February 26, 2011

Surname Saturday: Hilliard

Filed under: BRICK WALLS!!!!!, Surname Saturday — Tags: , , , , , — rootsresearcher @ 11:44 pm

It seems I’m stuck before I really get started on this one!  As those who follow this blog know I often refer to my 6 x great grandfather Cozens Read and for other ancestors I usually say what relationship they are to him.  (This is for me basically so that I know who is who)!

Cozens Read’s brother John Read (1708 – 1750) married Elizabeth Hilliard (b? d1750) at St. Mary Magdalene Church, Oxford City, Oxfordshire, UK in 1740.

Their first child was born in Culham, Oxfordshire in 1741.  The next two children born in Wheatfield, Oxfordshire (where some of my other Reads lived) and the last child I have no idea yet where he was born.

Other than knowing when Elizabeth Read (nee Hilliard) died, I haven’t been able to discover anything else about her.  I had thought that as their first child was born in Culham, maybe that’s where she was from.  I have only found one marriage in Culham of a Hilliard and that was  in 1706.

I’ve looked out for Hilliard in all the fiche/CDs and other things I have of Parish Records, Wills and all sorts, but just don’t seem to come across that name much and certainly nothing that fits with Elizabeth.

As she and her husband died one month apart (or maybe a little less than that) and their children were aged 9 years to 3 years at that time, I have been wondering who would have looked after them.  Maybe Elizabeth’s parents?  But I don’t know who they are.  I had been hoping that if I discovered them I might find Wills which might mention John and Elizabeth’s children and where they were living.

I’ve checked the IGI but there don’t seem to be many Hilliards (and variant spellings) in the county which suggests to me that maybe they are really from elsewhere.  (I do realise the IGI is not complete, but I don’t think that would be the reason for so few Hilliards, compared to other surnames I am researching).

I’ll have to get my thinking cap on (or my Sherlock Holmes detective deerstalker hat) to delve some more into the family of Elizabeth Read (nee Hilliard) … if I can find them!!


February 5, 2011

Surname Saturday: Lavender

I’m not sure yet how this surname of Lavender fits in with my family history, but it is linked to the family of “Digby” Daniel Read whose exact connection with my family I am still investigating.

For those following my blog you will know that I refer to Daniel Read as “Digby” because for a long time I did not know his first name, seeing only Dg or Dy in a document so I gave him that nickname.

Anyway “Digby” Daniel (1731 – 1771) born at Hardmead, Buckinghamshire had a brother called Lavender Read (1734 – 1770) also born at Hardmead, Buckinghamshire (I just so love that name).  I always wondered where the Lavender part came from and have found a few of my Reads have a first name taken from their mother’s maiden name.  So I was thinking that Lavender Read was named after perhaps his mother, grandmother, someone else?

After a bit of ferreting around I also discovered the Will of “Digby” Daniel’s father (also called Daniel) ‘s brother Edward of Hardmead, Buckinghamshire.  Edward Read’s Will was dated 13th March 1733 and proved 21st October 1734.  Edward has three witnesses to his Will and, surprising for me, one of them is Elizabeth Lavender!   So I began to wonder, is Elizabeth Lavender family or a friend and is she or someone in her family why Lavender Read was so named.

Daniel Read senior and his brother Edward had a sister Elizabeth, so I wondered if she had married a Lavender.  But on investigating this further, Elizabeth married Robert Yorke in 1719 at Hardmead, Buckinghamshire so she’s not the one with a connection to the Lavenders.

Daniel senior (brother to Edward and father to “Digby” Daniel) married Rebeka but I have no idea what her surname is.  I have searched throughout Buckinghamshire, Oxfordshire and Hertfordshire and many places in London for Daniel Read senior’s marriage to Rebeka but no luck at all in finding it.  I wondered if she was a Lavender, hence naming one of their sons with that surname.  Still I have no idea.

Daniel senior’s own father was also Daniell Reade and he was born in Moulsoe, Buckinghamshire but he and his wife Sarah Hootton had their children at Hardmead and Daniel and  Sarah both died at Hardmead.  The family are also linked to Emberton, Buckinghamshire so I have searched these places in particular for Lavenders.

After a good few years of searching I am no nearer to finding out who Lavender Read is named after and how the Lavender family are connected to “Digby” Daniel Read’s family.

I’m sure I will find the answer one day, I am a very patient person!!  😉

May 8, 2010

“Digby” Read

Filed under: "DIGBY" READ, "Digby" Read, BRICK WALLS!!!!!, EUREKA MOMENTS!! — Tags: — rootsresearcher @ 3:33 pm

A “Eureka!!!” Moment!!

Not sure how to explain this in the best way so you know just how much this particular thing is a “Eureka!!!” moment and why I am so very thrilled with it. And it is very possible that I might go off at other tangents, while trying to explain it, so please be patient with me.

Well here goes! In 2001 I received from an archive in America, a copy of a document concerning people and land in the UK, dated April 1753 which was just sort of entitled “Memorandum” and it is really about my 6 x great grandfather Cozens Read taking over some extra land for the next ten years. These extra acres were being leased from the Duke of Buckingham (or Earl Temple as he was then) by another gentleman who they referred to in this Memorandum as Dg (or Dy) Read.

It was very difficult to actually get what the shortened name was no matter how many times I looked at it or anyone else looked at it. Because of that difficulty, I nicknamed this gentleman “Digby” Read, so I would know who I was talking about if this particular document came up in conversation at any time.

The Memorandum makes it clear that ”Digby” Read had been ploughing up mounds, which it seems he shouldn’t have done, as this made his Agreement void. So, in effect, Cozens Read was taking over the 49 acres that “Digby” Read had, to add to his own acres that he was already renting for more than £300 a year. I think it is fairly safe to assume that “Digby” Read and Cozens Read were related to each other because the land was at a place that I now know was in my family’s occupation for at least 150 years, possibly longer. (And I have been there, been in the farm house and wandered around there, but that is another story to tell later in this blog)!

(Photo of the READ family home/farm for at least 150 years. Cozens Read there from 1735.  House built before 1650 and still extant)

My own photograph taken in 2000 - Lower Winchendon copyright 2010

“Digby” Read does not sign this Memorandum at all but it is signed by Cozens Read and other representatives of the Earl Temple. It’s almost as if the whole deal is done without involving “Digby” Read in any way. They agree that Cozens Read will pay a total sum each year for the land he already holds together with what was “Digby” Read’s land. The Earl Temple will provide ‘ruff timber’ and Cozens Read will make sure that everything is kept in good repair. “Digby” Read will be allowed to plough certain hedge mounds that the Earl or his agents think is ok for him to do, and for this Cozens Read will be allowed ten pounds (sterling) per annum.

So, to me it is almost as if “Digby” Read is an older but very much respected gentleman, who has been ploughing things he shouldn’t have, but they will allow him to plough a certain part of the land which Cozens Read was now taking over from him, and for this Cozens Read was being given an allowance (possibly a reduction in the rent for all the land he paid for each year). As “Digby” Read does not appear to be involved in any way with this Memorandum I feel that Cozens Read and the others involved in this are just dealing with the situation without “Digby” Read’s knowledge, but letting him continue as he has been doing for a while.

Since I received this copy of the Memorandum in 2001, I haven’t been able to find out who “Digby” Read was or how he was related to Cozens Read. I have been stumped by the shortening of the first name, which was either Dg or Dy. I did wonder at some stage if it was Dr. which would maybe mean he was a Doctor of medicine or a Doctor of Divinity or maybe another kind of Doctor. I have hunted everywhere since discovering “Digby” Read to see if I can find anything that would show who he was.

I know all of Cozens Read’s children (well 20, maybe 21 of them) and I know who his siblings are, but maybe not all of them. I know who his parents are and his grandparents. I know who the siblings are of his father. “Digby” Read just does not fit in anywhere as any of these people. So, I am thinking maybe he is an Uncle, Great Uncle or cousin.

I have always wondered why Cozens Read went to Buckinghamshire when all his family were in Oxfordshire. I always had at the back of my mind that maybe he went to join another relative in Buckinghamshire or went to work for another relative there. So, if I am a little correct in that maybe “Digby” Read is an older gentleman, maybe the younger Cozens Read went to help him on his farm, which he gradually ended up taking over?

The Parish Registers for their village show that the only Reads in the register are the children and grandchildren (and their spouses) of Cozens Read along with him and his wife Elizabeth. There is no other Read that I can’t account for and certainly no-one that could be “Digby” Read. So, when he died, he must have been buried elsewhere. Having also checked the Oxfordshire and Berkshire Registers for all the family of Cozens Read, I haven’t come across anyone who could be “Digby” Read.

Now for the Eureka moment!!

Well, thanks to modern technology and advances in the internet and the things we can now do sitting at our PCs or laptops, I started entering all the documents, certificates, parish register entries, land tax assessments, census information, and many other things I have collected over more than twenty years of serious research into the family, into a filing system on the internet.

Then I came across my scanned copy of the April 1753 Memorandum on the computer (which I had looked at quite a number of times over the years since 2001, but just with my own eyesight as it wasn’t on the computer then) and started to copy the details of it into my new filing system in cyberspace. Because I now have this on my computer, for the first time,  I zoomed in to make the writing clear to be able to copy it and also for the first time I properly noticed that the word Michaelmas was shortened to Michl. I had never really payed it any attention before, because I knew it was the word Michaelmas so didn’t need to really look at it hard to make it out. However, now that I had zoomed in on the document, I noticed with mounting excitement that the end letter of l (el) was exactly like the letter that was after the D which was given for “Digby” Read’s first name.


“Digby” was Dl Read and Dl is short for Daniel!! Eurekaaaaaaa!!!!!!!

 I am so thrilled, because that now narrows down the field somewhat because through my experience of poring through hundreds of parish registers and noting all Reads I come across, there are really not that many called Daniel.

Now I am searching for a burial of a Daniel Read after 1753 and it is going to be so good to be able to find out exactly how he is related to Cozens Read and to maybe discover why he isn’t buried (nor seems to have any of his children, wife, grandchildren buried) in the village he was living in for maybe many years. Certainly Cozens Read was there from 1734 until he died in 1783 and if he went there to help “Digby” Read on the farm, I just wonder why “Digby” Read or his immediate family aren’t shown in the village parish registers at all?  So the search goes on!!

I will update this when I make more discoveries of “Digby” Daniel Read!!!

April 18, 2010


Filed under: BRICK WALLS!!!!!, COZENS READ, Cozens Read, EUREKA MOMENTS!! — Tags: , — rootsresearcher @ 5:43 pm

I suppose this has to be the main, worst Brick Wall that I have come across so far.

I mentioned in a previous post that it took me just short of ten years and a search of 300 or so Parish Registers and other documents before I found Cozens READ’s baptism and which then gave me his parents.  I already had an idea of who his parents might be, by going through a very long process of elimination (and through my various databases I have made to find who is who and where they are and so on).  I also mentioned that when at last finding Cozens READ’s baptism it threw up another little problem, just a little one, as he was called the daughter of William READ.  Daughter!!

I can remember the moment exactly when I found the baptism.  I was thrilled, delighted, excited, ooh there are just not words enough to explain it.

I had had what they called a small stroke a few months before this “find” and luckily it left me with no problems apart from a complete lack of motivation, which was just not me.  For quite a while I did not do any family history at all, just not motivated because of the small stroke.  I got a bit fed up with being like this, so decided to do something about it.  Although not motivated at all into doing any of my family history research, I decided that I was going to buy some microfiche and push myself into the search for the baptism of Cozens READ.  I hadn’t done all those years research for it to just give up looking because I wasn’t motivated!!

I bought about about ten microfiche from the Oxfordshire Family History Society and proceeded to work my way through them (I was working my way through all the parish churches in Oxfordshire to find the baptism).  I had to do this in the evenings to read from the microfiche reader better when the room was in near darkness.  I had worked my way through the fiche over several evenings and there I was, sat in the dark kitchen at the ironing board (just the right height for placing the microfiche reader on and with room for my notebooks etc)., and was on the very last of the ten or so microfiche I had bought.

I have no idea why, but as I put the first fiche into the reader I just felt that this could be good!  I had been through so many fiche and CDs and actual Parish Registers and never had a feeling like that although I always hoped I would come across the baptism I really wanted.

The first READs appeared in the very early 1600s (I note all those I come across wherever they are) so I noted those. Suddenly there was a baptism for a female READ in 1703 (I can’t remember the correct order as I write this) but when I saw the name Elizabeth I knew it was looking promising. From my process of elimination I had found a marriage of a William READ to an Elizabeth COSENS in 1703 but in a different place.  So this baptism wasn’t at the wrong time!!  Next came a baptism for Mary READ and because I had found a  Mary READ mentioned as the sister of Cozens READ on the huge ROSE Family tree book (details elsewhere on the blog later) this baptism also looked good.  I think it was 1704 0r 1705.  I thought to myself that if the next READ was Rachel then I knew I had the right family (because it was the Discharge of Legacy document I found in the huge ROSE Family Tree book (again details elsewhere on the blog later) for Rachel READ which enabled me to get her Will and then find Cozens READ’s other siblings), so I was getting just a tad excited!!

Well, it wasn’t Rachel READ that was next in the register, it was Coessens READ the daughter of William!!!  That’s when I got so excited, it was a real Eureka Moment, it was delightful and if I had been fitter than I am, my head would have been hitting the ceiling as I would have been bouncing about all over the place with excitement!  And, it certainly didn’t worry me at all that this entry said “Daughter”.

As mentioned in another post, I did search for the burial of this daughter and another baptism for a son, but there is none.  I put the error down to the Clerk not taking as much care as he should have done writing the entries, but then he knew no-one was really going to see anything he wrote.  He certainly did not think about those of us a few hundred years later looking at the Registers!  So this was the baptism of Cozens READ my 6 x great grandfather and the Brick Wall broken through after an almost ten year search.  Pheeewwww!

And, I got my motivation back!!  😉


Filed under: BRICK WALLS!!!!! — Tags: — rootsresearcher @ 5:05 pm

Oooooh, we all seem to come across those awful Brick Walls don’t we?

I don’t suppose any of our ancestors had any idea that while they pottered about with their daily lives they would move or be naughty and get transported or something like that and then leave their descendants searching everywhere to find out what happened to them.

I have been seriously researching for over 20 years now and seem to have many more Brick Walls to knock down than I did even five years ago.  It  seems to me that just when you get the answers to some things they then pose even more questions and bring you right up to a Brick Wall.

I just put my detective hat on (my other half tells me he wants to buy me a deerstalker hat, a large magnifying glass and a curved pipe – a la Sherlock Holmes) because frequently I am telling him “I am on the trail” and then he gets that glazed look in his eyes (you know, the look that those not so interested in genealogy get) when I then tell him what trail I’m on – and it could be one of many!!!  😉

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