Sunday, 30 January 2011

Barrington Registers and confirmation of Mary Hudson's birthplace

There are so many indexes available online that it's easy to get lazy and not follow up by confirming the information in the original records. However, it's important to get out to Libraries and Record Offices to get the full picture. Mary Hudson is a great example of why....

Early on in my research I identified a 4xGreat grandfather, Lancelot Hudson who had four sons. I've spent a lot of time tracing the descendants of all four sons, and thought I'd identified all their children, spending a lot of time in my local library confirming index entries against the original parish registers. The Library's resources include the magnificent "Corder Manuscripts". Corder was a Sunderland man who spent much of the early part of the twentieth century tracing the ancestry of all the main families in Sunderland. The Library has a photocopy of his handwritten work, bound into twenty five 2 inch thick books. I'd looked at these before, but a year or so ago, I looked again, and specifically looked at Thomas Hudson, the oldest son of Lancelot, who was born in 1765.

I had already identified thirteen children from Thomas's marriage to Mary Todner and, thinking that was more than enough, didn't notice the gap between the first two children, or think I might have missed any. Corder showed a daughter called Mary, born in 1784 who fills the gap perfectly. But she wasn't born in Sunderland - I'd already checked both the IGI and the registers thoroughly enough to be sure of this. I went back to the IGI and found a baptism of Mary Hudson, daughter of Thomas and Mary, in Bedlington, a mining community over twenty miles away. All of Thomas' other children were born in Sunderland so this seemed unlikely.

This is where original records become vital. The marriage licence (admittedly a transcript obtained from Durham Records Online rather than the original) confirms that the Mary Hudson who married William Haddock in 1802 is the daughter of Thomas Hudson, coal fitter. Corder is therefore correct to say that Thomas had a daughter called Mary. The licence also confirms her year of birth (she was 18 when she married).

Using the IGI again, I've identified several children of this couple, born in Sunderland (baptised in Bishopwearmouth Church). Yesterday, at the Library, I looked up these baptisms in the Parish Register. The first few fall into a magical period for parish registers in Co Durham & Northumberland - the period of the Barrington Registers. In 1797 a new Bishop of Durham, Shute Barrington, was ordained. He was a genealogist, and immediately required that all parishes in his diocese should include a lot of additional information when recording baptisms/burials. So baptisms from 1798 to 1812 give information about the parents. The entry for Mary's son William is typical:

William Haddock, born 7 September 1805, baptised 5 February 1806. 5th son of William Haddock mariner native of Painshaw and Mary his wife late Hudson native of Bedlington.

So a single baptism record for one of her children confirms Mary's birthplace, as well as giving me that of her husband. The other "Barrington baptisms" confirm this information. If you have any index entries to look up, do it - you never know what you might find. If these entries are in Barrington Registers, look them up quickly as you'll find lots. I've even found grandfathers named in them.

My next step with this family needs to be a trip to Northumberland Archives to confirm the Bedlington baptism, and maybe find out what Thomas was doing there. I also need to look for the missing children of this family - the baptism I quoted above is the first child I have, but is listed as the 5th. I'm  not convinced that 5th is right (the next son is called the 4th) but there's too big a gap between marriage and the birth for him to be the first child.

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