I’ve wanted to delve more into my UK ancestry for some time and if I wanted to continue I had to at least think about how I was going to do that, So on Thursday, I signed up for the premium monthly subscription through the www.ancestry.co.uk (which is where my original account was set up). So there, I did it even though I was hesitant about hitting the submit button.
Anyway, I digress from the original topic of this post. Please be with me, as this is a long post, but I just had to write down my research and notes as I went along over the last couple of days. Hope it’s not too confusing and overall the end should show some true findings on the Baldwin, Baker, King and Rice Families connections in Suffolk, England. The sites I used were as follows:
Whilst searching for information on my ancestor, William George Baker (c1836-1881) and his wife Susan Baldwin (1842-1920), I saw that a number of trees had Susan’s parents different to what I had.
Most of the trees I found, had Susan’s mother to be Sarah Munnings, one has Sarah (no surname) and another Sarah Chambers and most also have the same ’6′ children attached to them. There is a marriage in Dec 1825 between a John Baldwin & Sarah Munnings and from what I can see on the census records, John & Sarah Munnings had 6 children, one a Susan Baldwin born in 1845 in Suffolk, which is why there is some confusion. I do believe that this marriage and the associated children are not connected to my John & Sarah Baldwin. (The children were: John 1832, Charles 1836, Ann 1840, David 1843, Susan 1845 and Mary 1850).
I do think the following marriage between John & Sarah is the more likely marriage for my ancestors:
Parish Records Collection: 1538-2005
- Date: 26.11.1826
- Parish: Bures St Mary
- Place: Newtown
- County: Suffolk
- Source: Suffolk Marriage Index: 1813-1837 (FindMyPast)
I have not found a record for a marriage between a John Baldwin & Sarah Chambers.
Here is a list of information that I already had:
- Records in Australia show that Susan’s parents were John & Sarah Baldwin and she was from Bures, Suffolk and born around 1844.
- On the shipping record for when William George & Susan Baker arrived in NSW in 1865, William is listed as having an ‘Uncle George King’ already living at Bundarra. I’m yet to find any shipping record of a George King arriving here prior to 1865 but there is a George King living at Bundarra in 1872.
- On the marriage certificate of William & Susan in 1863, one of the witnesses is “MaryAnn Rice”.
- For William Baker, his parents were Samuel Baker & Sarah King. A marriage was found in 1831 at Boxford, Suffolk.
- I have a death certificate for a Sarah Baldwin died 4th June 1856 at Bures St Mary, Suffolk. She was 54 years and was the ‘wife of John Baldwin, agricultural labourer’. Now that I’m looking more into this, I did find another two deaths for “Sarah Baldwin’” in the same area of Suffolk, both in 1859. One in Sudbury (4a/285) and the other, Bury St Edmonds (4a/337). I’m thinking now that maybe the death in 1856 is not the death for my Sarah. I’m thinking the one in Sudbury is the more likely one. Sarah would have died after 1851 & before the 1861 census, as John is listed as a widower in 1861.
- I can find no record of John & Sarah in the 1841 UK Census
- John & Sarah appear in the 1851 UK census, along with two daughters:
- John Baldwin (46) Born Bures, Suffolk – listed as ‘Pensioner – Chelsea’
- Sarah Baldwin (47) Born Boxford, Suffolk
- Maryann (11) Born Bastead, Suffolk
- Susan (8) Born Stoke, Suffolk
- John appears in the 1861 UK census along with daughter Susan
- John Baldwin (55) Born Bures, Suffolk –listed as ‘Chelsea Pensioner’
- Susan (17), Born Stoke By Nayland, Suffolk
- In the 1871 UK Census, John Baldwin is shown as being a lodger with James & Mary Ann Rice at Assington, Sudbury, Suffolk and is 65, occupation is ‘Soldier – Pensioner’ and was born in Bures, St Mary.
John Baldwin died 28th June 1871 at Assington, Suffolk. He was 65 and his occupation is listed as ‘Chelsea Pensioner’. I found John’s military record over at FindMyPast the other night and even though it is a little hard to read he states he was 18 years old and was born at Bures, St Mary and enlisted on the 14th November 1825 and served until 1846, which is probably why John & Sarah are not in the 1841 UK census as he served in the East Indies for almost 12 years, though I’m not sure of the date he left & returned at this stage.
- James Rice married MaryAnn Baldwin in 1860 (4a/629) at Sudbury, Suffolk.
Further research on Ancestry and FamilySearch shows:
- James Rice christening information:
- Name: James Rice Gender: Male Birth Date: abt 1838
- Christening Date: 28 Jan 1838 Christening Place: Assington, Suffolk, England
- Father’s Name: Samuel Rice Mother’s Name: Mary
- James married Maryann Baldwin in 1860 at Suffolk
- A number of public trees have James’ parents as Samuel Rice & Mary King. On one particular tree, Mary King’s parents are listed as:
- John & Sarah King and they had the following children:
- George King (1809)
- Sarah King (1809) born Boxford, Suffolk
- Eliza King (1811)
- Mary Ann King (1812-1855)
- Phoebe King (1815)
- John & Sarah King and they had the following children:
I find the surname of King of interest here, seeing that William Baker had an Uncle George King already living in the colony, when he arrived in 1865. As yet, I have not found a shipping record that matches to this George King but I do think that this King family is related as Samuel Rice & Mary King were married on the same day in Boxford, Suffolk as Samuel Baker & Sarah King, the parents of William George Baker.
|Name: Samuel Baker Gender: MaleSpouse’s name: Sarah KingMarriage Date: 18 May 1831Marriage Place: Boxford, Suffolk, EnglandRecord source: Suffolk Marriage Index (1813-37) Data provider: Suffolk Family History Society||Name: Samuel Rice Gender: MaleSpouse’s name: Mary KingMarriage Date: 18 May 1831Marriage Place: Boxford, Suffolk, EnglandRecord source: Suffolk Marriage Index (1813-37) Data provider: Suffolk Family History Society|
So from these two marriages I conclude that:
- Sarah King (1809) & Mary King (1811) were sisters.
- William George Baker (bc1836) and James Rice (bc1837) were cousins and they married Susan & Maryann Baldwin who were sisters.
So in all, a rather productive few days of research on my UK ancestors. I’ll write more on the King and Rice connections another day.
I know that some people will not agree with what I’m about to write but the way I see it, if someone reading this learns from my experience then I’ve done my job.
I don’t like Ancestry.com.au
Why you ask? I have really not been a fan of the Australian content on Ancestry at all. From past experience I don’t think the information or indexes are that accurate and I do think that to do your family history in Australia (especially NSW) you have the resources you need at the local library, State Records and other places, not just Ancestry.
I used to use the site to view UK records but as only as ‘pay per view’ subscription but it seems that there is a lot of data that as a ‘pay per view’ subscriber I still cannot see. I also don’t like the fact that a number of records I saved in my ‘Shoebox’ I can longer access as I don’t have a monthly subscription. I really don’t like the idea of having to pay for something I know I can get elsewhere for free. Take for instance the latest development from Ancestry, ‘Australian Vital Records on Ancestry’. Though in saying that, there are some sites, that I’m more than happy to pay to view additional data.
I come from the old school of family history research. I started my research in the late 1980’s. With this I went to the library and sat in front of a microfiche, looked at microfilm and looked at books that had indexes to check the NSW BDM indexes, sands directories, electoral rolls and immigrant reels. When I found a birth, marriage or death index that I wanted to get the certificate for, I would then have to order this directly from the NSW BDM Registry, by paper form and then send it via snail post. It cost a lot less than (I think about $8.00) but it would take anything up to 4 weeks to get the requested certificate. When I received it, I would then go back to the library to take another look at the microfiche to gain more details about my ancestor and the search continue. For those that began back then, you will understand. For others, who have only just started in the last few years, there are now plenty of databases and information now available online and it’s a lot easier and quicker to gain information. I think this is great but I find the ‘excitement’ about having these ‘Vital Records’ now online a little hard to take, due to the fact, that they already are on line for most of the Australian states, (except for SA and I think WA). Yes, for Victoria, you have to pay to view the indexes but that to me is just a small price to pay. The indexes are also available on CD, (for NSW, SA & Victoria, don’t know about the other states). To me, I’d still rather take the trip to the library to have a look at the CD or look online and then purchase a transcription of the certificate I’m after than pay Ancestry to look at an image.
If Ancestry, really want people to subscribe to their site then I feel that the actual indexes need to show more data, such as the year, place or even parents’ names that helps a person to identify what they are seeing, so that people can say, “hey, I think that one is my ancestor, I want to see more information or I want to see the image and I’m happy to pay for that”. Currently for someone who does not have a subscription, all you see for the Australian Vital Indexes, is the name of the person and that’s it. No location, no year, so for me that it not an incentive to pay to look at an image, especially when I can look at the indexes at http://www.bdm.nsw.gov.au and then make my decision to purchase a transcription of the certificate from an agent.
When it comes to paying for information online, especially for UK information, I’m more than happy to have a subscription, to FindMyPast. (though I only do the ‘pay per view’ as I don’t need a full subscription and I still get all of the information I need)
Yes, you need to register to view the site, but the indexes are free to look at and I just feel that for me FindMyPast is a better experience as there is more information in the index for you to make a choice as to which image you want to view.
Below is a list of just some of the repositories that I have used in my research and yes, some of them you have to subscribe and pay to view images:
Pay to view sites:
www.ihr.com.au – Over 20,000 pages of online records for family history research in New South Wales, Australia. (cost per year $40)
Free Indexes or other sites:
http://www.bdm.nsw.gov.au/ (NSW Birth Death Marriages)
www.records.gov.au (NSW State Records Online Indexes) (I note also that digital copies of the Bounty Immigrants lists, 1838-96, are available for free on the site)
http://www.sydneyarchives.info/ – Newtown Project. Has the full Sands Directories between 1858 & 1932 on line. If you know your ancestor lived in the Newtown area (like mine) than you have free access to a great source of information.
City of Sydney Archives – Assessment Books 1845 – 1950 – compiled by the Council as a record of basic information about each building (later, each property) in the city which was liable to pay rates
And of course, my Favourite:
So in summary:
Ancestry.com.au is not the only place to do your family history. Look at all available records, take the time to do the work, find out what else is available and verify all information that you come across. Get out of your chair and away from your PC and take the time to learn about what other research mechanisms is out there. You never know, you might be pleasantly surprised.
Enjoy your night or day, where ever you are.