Thursday, January 03, 2008

Who witnessed the Wrights and why ?

In the last post, I discussed searching for the baptism of my 4xgreat-grandfather John Wright in 1804. His place of birth as given by the census was 'Dringhouses', which covers 3 different adjoining parishes on the Southwest corner of the City of York. I am quite confident that I have found the correct entry - a John Wright son of Thomas Wright. This is based on it being the only baptism of a John Wright at the right time in the parish that I knew John to live in (Holy Trinity Micklegate). However, as the marriage entry for John Wright to Ann Calvert in 1829 did not give the name of his father, I want to have another record to link John Wright to Thomas Wright to be completely satisfied.

Did Thomas Wright live until 1841?
What I ideally would be able to do is find some record that has John Wright and his wife Ann Calvert, that link directly to Thomas Wright', or at least the other children that Thomas had. I suggested in the last post that perhaps the banns would help here. As I don't have access to that yet I thought about other possible routes. One thing I thought about was whether I could find Thomas Wright in the 1841 census. If he had lived until then, he would be at least 66 (his first child Jane was born in 1793 so his earliest possible birthdate would be 1775). There would therefore be a good chance that he would not be alive, but I thought it would be worth a try. Therefore I searched for "THOMAS WRIGHT" "Born 1765 +/- 10 years". I gave a wide margin for the date of birth due to the unreliability of ages in the 1841 census, and the possibility that Thomas didn't marry and have his first child until his late twenties. Using this criteria there were 15 Thomas Wrights born between these dates living in Yorkshire in 1841, and one living in Holy Trinity Micklegate! As there were no other Thomas Wrights living in any other York parish, I think there is a good chance that this is the Thomas Wright assuming he lived until 1841! A good test of this would be to search the burial records in the parish to see if Thomas did die between 1810 (the last time I have a definitive record for Thomas, at the baptism of his son James) and 1841.

The Thomas Wright I found was aged 77, which is a little older than I anticipated, but also suspicious as people were not meant to write the exact age only put their age down to the nearest '0' or '5'. Thomas is living with a Sarah Wright aged 75. Now, I already know that the Thomas Wright I am
researching was married at least twice (to Ann Shaw on 12/2/1793 in Acomb and to Jane Morris between 1796-1799 at some place unknown). I think he may have also remarried to another Ann between 1810-1813, based on finding a baptism of a Henry Wright in Holy Trinity Micklegate to a Thomas and Ann Wright in 1813. However, there is no way to be sure if this is the same or another Thomas Wright. Thus, if the Thomas Wright in the 1841 census is indeed the right one, then it appears he has remarried again. Working from this hypothesis, I searched for a marriage between a Thomas Wright and Sarah in York between 1813 and 1841. I found in the IGI a record for a marriage in the neighboring parish:

"25/10/1829, Thomas Wright & Sarah Smith, St. Mary Bishophill Junior, York"

Can I get a witness?

Although this research is somewhat speculative at the moment, I think that it is very plausible that this is the Thomas Wright I'm interested in for three reasons. Firstly, Thomas Wright is living correct parish and is a 'farmer' - exactly the occupation that is described in the Dade registers of his children between 1793-1812. Secondly, John Wright and his wife Ann Calvert are living just down the street and are listed on the very next census page. Thirdly, when I re-examined the census image I noticed that living next door to Thomas Wright was a 'Robert Bellerby - aged 30'. I also then saw that living next door to John Wright was another 'Robert Bellerby - aged 63'. This was strange, but the name also rang a bell with me - I then remembered that I had seen the same name on the marriage record of John Wright and Ann Calvert in 1829 at St.Mary Bishophill Junior, as Robert Bellerby was a witness to their marriage. Both Robert Bellerbys are gardeners like John Wright.

While I don't have proof yet that this Thomas Wright is the father of John Wright, there certainly seems to be strong connections. The next steps for me would be to get details of marriages, births and importantly deaths to map the life of Thomas, his wives and family. Unfortunately, this Thomas didn't live until 1851 so I cannot look to see if he was born in Patrington, where I believe he was born according to the Dade Baptismal Registers of his children. Another thing I could try would be to follow the lives of the other children of Thomas Wright to see if I can connect my John Wright to Thomas Wright. Also, doing some research into the Bellerby family of this area may also be helpful - perhaps the link was more than friends, perhaps they were related in some way.

1 comment:

John Goodall said...

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CEO co-founder