normans and vikings and knights, oh my!

I have updated all the data on the TNG site [click on Family Tree in the sidebar] and added  PDFs of wills for download. All wills are attached to the relevant people in the database but are also available at a single click from the Documents link on the menu bar. I am currently transcribing the wills and will upload them as I go along. Alternatively, you can try reading them yourselves! I am getting pretty good at deciphering sixteenth, seventeenth and eighteenth century handwriting!

The research has been going great guns. I was contacted in October 2008 by a distant cousin on the Bond side, David, who has since been doing a great deal of fabulous research himself and many of the additions to the database have come from him. So, thank you David!

The main thing that has come out of all the recent research is that one branch of the family, the Bonds, came from very illustrious origins indeed. It is Blanch Mayne who holds the key to the really big news. Blanch is descended on all sides from kings, knights and landed gentry. Try finding Blanch Mayne, born in 1641 in Elmdon, Warwickshire in the tree and then show her ancestor view and work your way back. You will find William the Conqueror, Several Plantagenet kings, Kings of France and Italy and more than one Holy Roman Emperor.

Although the current generation are very ordinary, previous generations have been far from it.

For those who wonder how it is possible to trace this far back and be certain of such illustrious lines, once I found George and Dorothy [ne Willing] Hand, their wills opened up the search enormously. Because Dorothy Willing was of a famous family [the Willings of Philadelphia] much has been written of their ancestry and a great deal of information is freely available. Of course, it would not do to accept all the information given as correct without double checking so, what you will find in this tree is what we [David and myself] believe to have been checked and true.

Although there are a number of myths that have been perpetrated by the Willing family [especially regarding their having two of Charles I regicides in their ancestry] we are pretty certain that we have whittled down everything to the lines that we are pretty sure hold up. It was not much of a step to find key people in the tree – verified from wills and other sources – whose ancestry has been written down through generations. From there the entire family history opened up and took us back a very long way indeed. I have often heard it bemoaned that it is difficult to find anything about ordinary people in your tree. The last month or two have proved that it is conversely rather easy to find great deal  about not so ordinary people!

finally! getting the site sorted

After long consideration, I decided to find some software that would allow me to present all the information I have in an easily accessible way.  I have chosen The Next Generation, as it is easy to set up and has many attributes that help display info clearly and usefully.  It has taken me a month to get everything uploaded and to attach all the images to the appropriate individuals but I am pretty happy with what is there.  It is not very pretty yet as I haven’t had a chance to change the layout [it’s actually pretty ugly at the moment!] but I hope to get that done over the next few weeks.


I am linking to this part of the site from the menu rather than having it as the homepage.  I like having the blog as it allows me to give updates on new information I have added.


There are various new dates and people that have been added since the last update and I shall write about those in another post. But for the moment, please feel free to take a look around the data and tell me what you think or if I have got anything wrong!  I know I am missing a few dates for more recent people and need to do some phone calls to sort that out. At the moment, I have omitted most of the current generation [well, my generation and their children] as I am not sure if people wish for that to be readily available.  I may add them at a later stage and allow people to register to view that info. Generally, though, I don’t feel it is appropriate for my cousins and their children to be on there.  I may choose to have my information available, but I understand how others may not wish it.


You can find the new set-up by clicking Family Tree on the menu to the right. Have fun!


let’s not jump to conclusions

It is easy, when researching your family history, to make assumptions that take the research down utterly incorrect turnings. I imagine that everyone has been guilty of this – in the rush of discovery it is easy to get carried away. It is also easy to be stymied by someone else’s assumptions when they are published on the internet as fact.

I have been searching for the birth and death entries for George Hand Bond, who married Ellen Jannion and was the first of the Bonds that I had found on any records. The name is unusual enough and there are a number of entries by that name amongst the International Genealogical Index entries available on I was thrown by the fact that none of them seemed to fit with the facts I had – facts I had checked via certificates and wills.

I know from the 1841 census that George was living with Ellen and four of their five children in Runcorn, Cheshire [where Ellen was born and where the Jannion family had been for at least two centuries] and working as a attorney’s clerk. Ellen died of consumption in May 1843 and in the 1851 census their daughters were living with Ellen’s parents in Runcorn. George Jannion Bond was living in Tyldesley, Lancashire [more of which shortly] as an apprenticed Boot Maker and John Bailie was in Over, Cheshire apprenticed to a draper. The third son, William, was also in Tyldesley, living in the same street as George and apprenticed to a whitesmith.

Ellen’s father, John Jannion, died in 1854 and in his will he states very clearly that both Ellen and George are dead. So George Hand Bond must have died between 1843 and 1854. As he does not appear on the census of 1851 and his children are living either with grandparents or apprenticed out, it seems safe to assume that he died before the March quarter of 1851. This is where it gets interesting. There is no death certificate available for someone called George Hand Bond for this period, but someone of that name was married in 1849. Having found the entry for this person on the 1851 census, it is definitely not our George Hand Bond, so it must be one of the others that come up when searching the LDS genealogy site. I sent off for a couple of death certificates for a George Bond who died in either Cheshire or the Cheshire borders of Lancashire but neither were our George Bond.

Google came next, and this is where I finally decided that there was erroneous information on If you do a strict search for “George Hand Bond” in google you get this link . Scrolling down you find a monumental inscription for George Hand Bond, son of Benjamin Paul and Susannah Bond. Note that our George named one of his daughters Susannah – not always a coincidence when researching family history. The MI reads that George Hand Bond died November ~~th 1845 aged 42 years. This ties in with one of the entries on the IGI, but someone has added to that record that George Hand Bond had a wife called Mary and died in 1855 in Hulme, Manchester.

I now believe that someone has added information from one of the other George Hand Bonds to the baptism entry for our George Hand Bond which has led me a merry dance and confused the issue horribly.

Since I now know where and when the George I now believe to be the one I am looking for died, I should be able to find a death certificate. Here again I meet an obstacle. The only entry that seems to fit is one for George Henry Bond, who died December quarter of 1845 in the registration district of Leigh, Lancashire. Leigh covers Tyldesley and everything else is correct apart from the middle name so I sent off for the certificate which arrived this morning. The date of death is correct, the place of death is correct and his profession is that of a solicitor’s clerk – which matches that of the George Hand in our family. The only problem is the middle name but, as I found William Frederick Besch registered as Frederick William Best with his age 10 years out, I am only too aware that this information is not infallible. I believe that this is my ancestor and that the site has incorrect information on it.

All the George Hand Bonds who show up on the IGI are actually related as from my research I have discovered that Benjamin Paul Bond’s elder brother was called George Hand and his son also called George Hand. So I can see where the confusion came from, especially as both Benjamin and his brother’s son moved from Staffordshire to the Manchester area of Lancashire during the first half of the nineteenth century.

I would love to be able to prove this beyond all doubt but considering all the evidence it seems the likely conclusion. The fact that two of George and Ellen’s sons are living in Tyldesley at the 1851 census which is where their father died and where their paternal grandparents lived seems to be a strong sign that I am correct and that the IGI is wrong.

about time for an update

It has been a long time since my last update as I put the research aside for a bit while I did some for a few friends – great fun!

I have set up Ancestry with the family tree: it is currently private but I am more than happy to open it up to any of the family that want to view it. The site allows the data to be viewed in a friendly way and for attaching pictures and links to census which is easily viewed and straightforward.

I am planning a major overhaul of this site as I am aware that it is not the easiest way to view the information. There are a variety of options I am looking at but hopefully I will soon have photos uploaded along with an update of the name list – I have some more individuals and families to add to the tree now.

the joys of illegible handwriting

I finally sent off for the birth certificate of George and Sarah Jago’s daughter, Sarah, so that I could check Sarah’s maiden name. So, it seems that the handwriting on Mary Ann Jago’s birth certificate was even more problematic than I previously thought! I was never certain that Sarah’s name was Bayldon and it turns out that it was in fact Baseden! There are various mis-spellings that I have seen so it is unsurprising that it was not clear. Having found the correct spelling, I was then able to find the entry in the index for Edward and Sarah’s marriage.

So now I also know that George’s father was called William Jago, a butcher, and Sarah’s father was called Edward Baseden, a coal porter. I also located Sarah’s baptism entry in the parish records of St Andrew’s Holborn in 1827 which gives her mother’s name as Harriet. Further trawling turns up Edwards marriage to Harriet Wyatt on 1st May 1816 at St Botolph’s Bishopsgate.

I have some searching to do through the burial records around Holborn as I know that Edward was dead by 1840 when Harriet herself died. There seems to be no entry in the register of deaths so it is more likely that he died before June 1837.

It looks like I have a nice long day in the Guildhall to look forward to!

yes, the boltons continue to read like a victorian melodrama!

Spent an afternoon visiting two lcoal history archives in London, Southwark and Camden, looking for newspaper reports of coroners inquests. Camden proved fruitless as there is no sign of anything in the local paper for Holborn about George Jannion Bond and why there was an inquest held into his death. This means that i am currently stymied as to what happened with his second marriage and possible bigamy. I shall have to try different avenues.

Southwark, however gave me the report of the inquest into Thomas Varney’s suicide in 1883. The transcript of the newspaper article – printed in the Southwark Recorder and Bermondsey and Rotherhithe Advertiser, Saturday March 3 1883 – is as follows:


On Friday afternoon an inquest was held at the Britannia public-house, Marine Street, Bermondsey, before Mr. W. Carter, coroner, on the body of Thomas Varney, of 18m Frederick Street, Abbey Street, who was found in a water tank on his premises on Tuesday last under the following circumstances –
James Fisher, of 32, Riley Street, Bermondsey, deposed that deceased had carried on the business of a mineral water manufacturer at the above address for upwards of thirty years. On Tuesday morning witness, who had been in his employ for six years, went to work at half-past nine o’clock. He found the door open and entered, expecting to find deceased at business. He saw his hat on the counter, but could not find him; he then noticed some chalk writing on the muffin stove in the shop; he knew it to be that of Mr. Varney’s. It was “Oh that good wife. Oh that pretty wife, what did she say?” T. V.” The water supply having been cut off on Monday, witness went up the ladder, leading to the tank, which was outside the building, and saw the body of deceased in the tank, which was full of water. He was fully dressed, excepting his hat. Witness went to his private house No. 1, Marine Street, and told Mrs. Varney what he had seen. She went with him, and he afterwards fetched the police, who pulled him out of the water; he was quite dead. He considered that deceased had caused his own death. The water rate was not paid, the amount due being £12 9s 6d. witness saw deceased on the previous night at 9.40. He had since been put in possession of the premises under a bill of sale on the same.
Mrs. Varney deposed that she had been married to deceased last year. She was not certain as to his age. On Tuesday morning about 7 o’clock, deceased rose, dressed himself and left the house for the purpose he said, of getting up the steam. On the previous night he had appeared greatly distressed in mind, because the water supply had been cut off, and he could not meet the demands of the company. He had applied to his son for the loan of the money but could not obtain it, whilst he had recently pawned some of witness’s jewellery to raise money. She believed his financial difficulties led him to cause his own death. On Monday he said, “If I do not get the money I will make a hole in the water.”
After considering the evidence the jury returned a verdict of Suicide whilst suffering from temporary insanity.

I was interested to note that Thomas Varney had remarried after his first wife’s death in 1880. I also wonder if Henry Charles was the son who could/would not advance money to his father. All in all, though, it’s just horribly sad and poignant.

the plot thickens

I have been searching for a death certificate for Susan Bond [ne Aldridge] for a while as I know that she was alive for the census of 1891 and that her husband, George Jannion Bond Senior, remarried in January 1900, when he was apparently a widower. George died six months later and an inquest was held, which was in itself interesting as I couldn’t see why there would be a need for one unless there was something odd about the death. It occured to me that possibly, as he had only just remarried, there was some cause for concern if he left money to the new wife and cut the children out of his will. This is all conjectiure of course. However, it now seems it may be something else as it turns out that Susan died after George! Her death certificate has her listed as George’s widow so it appears that they were still married at the time of both his second marriage and of his death. I went through the divroce index to see if they were listed, but nothing showed up. My next route is to find a report of the inquest and intend to check the local newspapers for one. It seems possible, however, that George was a bigamist. I shall report back if I find anything that proves it either way!

who knows where the time goes?

Sadly, I did not make it to the Surrey Archives so Thomas Varney’s inquest report remains unseen. I am now thinking that it may be better to have them look it out for me instead. The nominal charge they make is less than it would cost for me to go there myself. Hopefully, when I get back from my holiday I shall sort that out.

I have a few more death certificates to aquire, but I have been very busy recently and have not had the time to get much further. It does seem that this is the point when I am going to have to venture further afield for information, and that will take more planning in order to optimise my time and efforts.


Nothing new to add except that I now have documentary proof that the Mary Ann Bolton who was in Friern Barnet is the correct one. In her case notes, her next of kin is named as George Bolton of 44 Strathnairn Street, St James’ Road, Bermondsey. This is confirmed by Frederick Henry Bolton’s birth certificate, who was born a month before Mary Ann went into Friern Barnet and the address is stated as being 44, Strathnairn Street.

I am hoping to get to the Surrey Country Archives on Thursday, where I want to look up the coroner’s report for Thomas Varney.

mary ann bolton’s case notes

Today I collected the scans made by the LMA of the two main pages of case notes for Mary Ann Bolton while she was in the Colney Hatch Insane Asylum. These include a photograph of her taken at the time of admittance and also give various pieces of information about her, including the fact that she was admitted from Peckham House Asylum in Camberwell. So it seems she went from workhouse to one asylum and then to another.

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Searching for our roots