"Each has his own tree of ancestors, but at the top of all sits Probably Arboreal." - Robert Louis Stevenson

Thursday, 23 February 2012

On James Wade, mason

One of my current ‘projects’ has been trying to tidy  up my family line, which of course inevitably leads to new discoveries and new loose ends.
One of my loose ends was Hannah Wade b. 1812, Horbury, my 4x great-grandmother, straight down the maternal line.  I had very little info on her before her marriage, so I started hunting. It was very little trouble to find her marriage to John Phillipson in 1836, in St John’s, Wakefield, but this didn’t give me much else to go on. The name of (presumably) a relative, John Wade, appeared as a witness, but a less common name might have been more useful.  However, I’m lucky in that the parish registers are pretty much fully available for the area, and I soon found that there was really only one feasible record for her baptism, in 1816. Her parents’ names are given as James and Mary Wade. James’ occupation is recorded as ‘mason’.
This is where it gets interesting.  An Ancestry search of other baptisms initially threw up fifteen potential records ranging from 1805 to 1827. Although not completely unfeasible that this couple had that many children, as I started examining the records it became apparent that the suggestions were for children of a Sarah, a Mary and in one odd instance, an Elizabeth. However, in every case the father was named ‘James Wade, Mason’.
There were, it seemed, two possiblities – that the same man had been married twiece or three times, and fathered several children by each wife, or that there was more than one James Wade, Mason living in Horbury at the time.
I began sorting the records to try and get a better idea of the picture:
Sarah’s children were baptised in 1805, 1806, 1807, Dec 1808, Jun 1810 and 1812.
Elizabeth’s sole child was baptised in Apr 1808
Mary’s children (my line) were baptised in Dec 1810, 1812, 1814, 1816, 1818, 1819, 1823, 1825 and 1827
In every case the parents are described thus:

James Wade, mason, and Name, his wife 
Given the overlaps, I initially concluded that there must have been three separate men. But Horbury was a very small place (population of 2,475 in 1822), and it didn’t seem quite feasible. I decided that I needed more information.
Firstly I looked for the relevant marriage records. I quickly found Mary’s; it appears both in the parish records and in Pallotts Marriage index:

James Wade, Mason & Mary Pickard, Spinster, by Banns 25 Dec 1809. Witnesses: John Wright. John Roberts.
This ties in neatly with the baptism dates for James and Mary’s children. I couldn’t find any birth info for her, but there are plenty of other Pickards in the records, including this:

May 1798 Sarah Pickard , daughter of Simeon, weaver, and Clementia buried.
This caught my eye because one of the younger children of James and Mary is a Simeon Wade. Family names are so useful, so although it’s not conclusive, there’s almost definitely some sort of family connection there – and that usually means it’s there to be found in the records! 

However, I had no luck locating conclusive records for the marriages of Sarah and Elizabeth. They may not have been from the parish, of course – generally the marriage took place in the woman’s parish, so they may have married elsewhere.
There is one possibility in the IGI for Sarah: James Wade married Sarah Dews, Wakefield All Saints, 1790. It sounds a little early for the children I have though, so I may need to investigate potential earlier baptisms.
The other difficulty, of course, is that baptisms don’t always occur immediately after birth – indeed, my Hannah Wade generally gives her birth date as 1812, but her baptism doesn’t take place until 1816.
I then turned to hunting out possible James Wades, it seems there were at least two young James Wades in Horbury around the right period:
James Wade son of John baptised July 1784
James Wade son of James baptised June 1791.
The elder James could potentially have married any of the three women, while the younger would have been perhaps too young for Sarah (assuming, again that he was still an infant at baptism), but could perhaps have married  Elizabeth and would easily have been old enough to marry Mary in 1809. In fact, given that only one child was born to Elizabeth in this period, it might be reasonable to assume that she died and her young widower remarried. This would tie in very neatly with the two known James Wades in Horbury at the time.

Of course, there is a lot of work to be done to verify (or even just back-up) any of these theories. To start with a death would need to be established for Elizabeth, and James Wades in the area would need to be ruled out.

The records for Horbury are teeming with Wades, and in amongst them I found this rather intriguing one:

James Wade, mason, buried 1792.
I suspect we might be dealing with a large family of Wade stonemasons who are rather fond of the name James!

L x

1 comment:

  1. Apologies to anyone who was stuggling to read this before. For some reaso,n when I published it the indented bits started jumping around the text. I think I've fixed it now! L x


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