Sudds Cousins Emigrate to America

In a former blog I wrote about the family of John Bell(b1822) Mereworth, Kent, England, who had married in Staplehurst in 1851, Harriet Hatcher. They had three children John (b.1851), Elizabeth (b.1853) and Mary Ann (b.1855) before they emigrated to the United States of America in 1856-7.

At the end of the blog I suggested they were probably not the first in the Bell family who had emigrated to America.

After assessing the large collection of documents my cousin Glenda and I had collected on the various branches of the Bell family, I narrowed down my ‘possible’ families.

One person of interest was William Daniel Sudds, the youngest son of Paul and Jane Sudds (nee Bell). His mother, Jane Bell (b.1778) was the eldest daughter of Thomas and Ann Bell (nee Lawrence) of Mereworth, Kent, England. This couple, Thomas and Ann Bell was also Glenda and my 4X great-grandparents, although down through different children.

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St Lawrence, Mereworth,Kent-Copyright Nola Mackey 2004

William Daniel Sudds (b.1811)known as Dan Sudds, is believed to have emigrated to New York about 1845. There he married a Mary Unknown and had a number of children including Emma (b.1846); Addison (b.1849); Josephine,(1852; Rachel (b.1854); Jennie (Jane) b.1856; Daniel (b.1859). This family also migrated to Michigan where two more daughters Maud (b.1860) and Elsie (b.1864) were born. The family resided at Chocolay, Michigan for a number of years. Dan Sudds died in 1868.

Dan Sudds would have been a first cousin to the former mentioned John Bell(b.1822) and also to my ancestor George Bell who emigrated to Australia in 1837.

Dan Sudds elder brother Iden (b.1804) married Jane Huggett in 1825 and had a number of children including Jane (b.1826); Mary Ann (b.1827); William (b.1828); Iden (b.1830); Sarah (b.1831); Isaac (b.1833); Ann (b.1836); Eleanor (b.1837); Catherine (b.1838); Emma (b.1841); Amos (b.1842); Caroline (b.1844); Frederick (b.1846) and Amy(b.1848).

We have been able to establish that the above mentioned Mary Ann Sudds(b.1827) married David Kennedy and Sarah Sudds (b.1831) married Jeremiah Wells. These couples emigrated to Canada c 1860. As yet I have not been able to establish if Mary and David Kennedy had any children, but she died in Ontario in 1895.

Jeremiah and Sarah Wells had a number of children including the following born in Ontario:- Julia (b.1863); Jessie (b.1865); Mary (b.1868);Mark (b.1869); and Minnie (b.1870).

I have been a member of the Kent Family History Society for over forty years. Over the years I have purchased most of their books and CD resources and in more recent years have been involved in the Global Branch of the Society. There members can post questions and problems concerning their family research on the Society’s website. I was most fortunate to have several KFHS members living in USA and Canada answer my queries and I was able to make further headway with my research over there

As well as the above mentioned Sudds families and connections, I found other Sudds families emigrating from Mereworth and Wateringbury, Kent. About 1875 Frederick Charles (b.1851) and Martha Sudds and his brother Timothy Sudds (b.1842)and his wife Sarah emigrated to the USA. They first settled in Michigan, but had moved to Ravenna Portage in Ohio by 1878. They remained there for several years, where Timothy was a saloon keeper. In about 1887 the families moved to Cook, Illinois.

Meanwhile back in Wateringbury, Kent, Frederick and Timothy’s younger brother Nathan (b.1854) had spent some time in the army, as a wheelwright. He was stationed in Malta, where he met and married a local girl, Carmella. They had a daughter, Elizabeth, born in Malta before they were shipped back to Kent about 1880. A son, Nathan, was born the following year. Then two daughters were born, Emily and Ann, in 1883 and 1885 respectively.

Soon afterwards the family decided to emigrate to USA and joined Nathan’s brothers and their families in Illinios. The family later settled in Thornton, where a number of children were born and by 1900 a total of ten children were living at home with the parents.

Although it was fun tracking down other twigs and branches of the far flung ‘Bell Family Tree’, Glenda and I decided it was time we returned to our more immediate family connection in Kent and Australia. There was still plenty of research to do.

More Bell Family Going to America

In a previous blog I wrote about George, Harry and Edward Charles Bell, sons of George and Harriet Bell (nee Collins) of Mereworth, Kent, England, who had immigrated to the United States of America between 1890 and 1909.

I also acknowledged the incredible work my Bell ‘cousin’, Glenda B. of Idaho, had undertaken to help to solve the immigration riddle of George, Harry and Edward Charles Bell and find their families.

We know that Harry and Edward Bell went to Owossa, Michigan because their elder brother George Bell and his family had settled there.

The question then arose to the reason George Bell had immigrated there in 1890. There seemed to be no obvious reason, however, when we studied the pattern of immigration of the Bell families to Australia, we found that family nearly always went to family, already established there.

If a similar pattern was present in the USA, what family did George Bell go out to in Owossa, Michigan in 1890?

Glenda was to team up with me again to try and solve this intriguing question.

While researching George, Harry and Edward Charles Bell, Glenda had collected information on all persons with the Bell surname, particularly in the Owossa area. One person who seemed to stand out and claimed our interest was a ‘John Bell’. From various USA Census Returns we knew he had come from England. His wife Elizabeth, a son John, and daughters Elizabeth and Mary Ann Bell were also listed as having been born in England. However, the youngest daughter, Harriet, was claimed to have been born in Michigan about 1859. This gave us an approximate time span for the family’s emigration to Michigan.

Glenda was able to use indexes and files in the Michigan State, City and University Libraries as well as employ the services of local historians to gather a large collection of cemetery, funeral home, census and newspapers records for this family. From those records she put together a detailed biography and timeline for John Bell and his family.

Glenda shared this material with me and I was able to use it along with other documents I held, to gain further clues for research back in England. I then purchased marriage, birth and death certificates from the Maidstone Registrar of Births, Deaths and Marriages, which confirmed my hypothesis for this family.

We were finally able to establish that John Bell (b.1822), the youngest son of John and Mary Bell (nee Kemp), of Mereworth, Kent, a carpenter by trade was living at Staplehurst, Kent, when he married Harriet Hatcher on 8 September 1851. Their children were John (b.1851); Elizabeth (b.1853) and Mary Ann (b.1855). At that time, life in Kent was difficult, with little employment and no opportunities.

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Staplehurst Parish Church – Copyright, Nola Mackey,2004

John and Harriet Bell decided to immigrate to the United States of America. John Bell travelled to London where he bought a steerage passage on the Palestine which sailed for New York. He arrived there on 12 May 1857. He is believed to have immediately gained employment and sent the money home for Harriet to purchased a passage for herself and the children on the Palestine the following year. This ship left London and sailed to the German port of Bremen where several German immigrants came on board before sailing for New York. The Palestine arrived in New York on 29 May 1858.

Soon afterwards John and Harriet Bell joined many other families on a wagon train west to Michigan and settled in the frontier town of Saginsaw. Harriet Bell died soon after arrival, at the birth of their youngest daughter. She was named Harriet in memory of her mother. John Bell needed someone to care for his young family and married Elizabeth Parkinson at Oakland on 21 March 1860.

The family moved on to Owosso, where John Bell later bought a block of land. After much hard work and perseverance John and Elizabeth Bell built up a large market garden of more than ten acres. John sold the produce in town from a cart and was well known and respected in the community.

Their children married and lived in Michigan.

John Bell (b.1851) married Mary Conklin in 1888, but had no family. He died in a rail accident in 1895.

Elizabeth Bell (b.1853) married Andrew Case in 1871 and had a number of children: Edward George,b.1872; Selina Lillian, b.1873; Bert Lee, b.1876; John Henry, b. 1878; Chester, b.1882; Theodore Leonard, b.1884; Lawrence Andrew, b.1888; William Nelson, b.1895 and Harlan I, b.1899.

Mary Ann Bell (b.1855) married William Clark Munro and had two sons: Francis Eugene, b. 1877 and Chester William, b.1887.

Harriet Bell (b.1859) married Byron Le Clear and had a son John, b. 1887.

Glenda was again able to trace and contact descendants of these families. They had been interested in family history and had done a lot of research in USA, but had not been able to find where the family originated in England.

Imagine their surprise when we contacted them and were not only able to show them where the family came from, but also where they fitted into this huge ‘family tree’, which reached back to the 16th Century.

Although these families were not on our Bell Family line, Glenda and I believed it right we should share our knowledge and research with other family members.

In recent years these families have put considerable material on-line about their families.

John Bell (b.1822) was the younger brother of George Bell’s Grandfather, Thomas Bell (b.1803), and therefore a Great-uncle to George Bell. We believe this is the family George Bell went out to Ossowo, Michigan in 1890. John Bell died in 1895 a few years after George’s arrival.

However,were John and Harriet Bell the first in our Bell family to emigrate from Kent to the United States of America, or had they also gone out to family?

 

Bell Ancestors -Going to America.

Over the forty plus years I have been researching my Bell ancestors I have located and corresponded with ‘cousins’ all over the world.

As well as tracing my direct line back to Medieval times, I have spent many hours researching other branches of the family to show kinship and help others find their roots.

On a trip to England in 2004, we met with Joan W and Ivy P who were descended from John Bell (b.1780), the eldest brother of my Great-Great-Grandfather Thomas Bell (b.1782), whose sons James and George Bell emigrated to Australia in 1837.

One afternoon while sharing photographs Ivy showed us one of her father, Edward Bell, taken with two ‘uncles’, reputed to have emigrated to America. She said her father had been in the Royal Navy and had visited the United States during World War II, and she believed that was when the photograph had been taken. In recent years her family had often wondered what had happened to these ‘uncles’, and if they had married and had family.

The above mentioned John Bell (b.1780) had married Mary Kemp in 1801 and had remained in Mereworth, Kent. They had five children all born at Mereworth. Their grandson, George Bell (b.1833) married Harriet Collins at Mereworth in 1861 and had a family of ten children before Harriet Bell died in 1878. George Bell then married Sarah Ann Woofe and had further children.

When researching this family years before, I had come across parish records that had a notation beside sons,George Bell (b.1868) and Harry Bell (b.1871) that said, “Emigrated”, although there was no date or place recorded. Now with this photograph perhaps we had another clue.

Family of George and Harriet Bell(nee Collins), Mereworth, (England) in the 1871 Census

George Bell Family 1871 Census

[Image accessed from Findmypast,19 March 2017

http://search.findmypast.com.au/record?id=gbc%2f1871%2f0918%2f0085&parentid=gbc%2f1871%2f0013974388&highlights=%22%22 ]

Family of George and Harriet Bell (nee Collins), Mereworth,Kent,England in the 1881 Census.

George Bell Family 1881 Census

[Image accessed from Findmypast,19 March 2017

http://search.findmypast.com.au/record?id=gbc%2f1881%2f4300030%2f00284&parentid=gbc%2f1881%2f0004505075&highlights=%22%22 ]

I had another Bell cousin,Glenda B. in Idaho, USA, whose mother had emigrated from Australia as a War Bride after World War II. Glenda and I had shared family research by ‘snail-mail’,for many years, long before the Internet. I explained the problem about the ‘uncles’ to her and asked if she could help.

Using the Golden Rule with family research,Glenda began with the 1930 USA Census. At that time it was not indexed and was filed in State,County and Ward order only. As we had no idea where to start, she started with the eastern states and worked westward. After much searching over several days,Glenda with the assistance of her husband,Jim, was able to track through many thousands of records to finally find them in Owosso, Michigan.

From there,Glenda searched through earlier Census for further information on these two men and their families. In the 1900 Census she found that George Bell had his brother, Edward Charles Bell living with him.

I had previously purchased from Maidstone,Kent,the birth certificate of Edward Charles Bell, who was the youngest son of George and Harriet Bell(nee Collins). His mother had died soon after his birth.

It was at this stage Glenda contacted the Owosso City Library and the Shiawassee County Library for assistance in tracing cemetery records, funeral homes, death and funeral notices and obituaries in local records and newspapers. She also looked at city trade directories. Glenda shared this material with me and I in turn was able to share with Joan and Ivy,who were delighted we had not only found these men, but had been able to put together so much information about them.

Glenda then mailed personal letters of inquiry to all the people, on the then current voting rolls in the Owosso area, who had the ‘Bell’ surname. To our delight some of her letters were answered. She found grandchildren of the three brothers, who had emigrated to the United States in the 1890’s.

Glenda put an enormous amount of time and effort to trace and help this branch of our Bell family to find their roots, for which we are very grateful. Much of the material she collected is still not on the Internet and is not easily available even today, which makes her dedicated work even more valuable to the family. Glenda passed away in 2014.

The wonderful outcome of all this research was that Ivy’s family were able to contact and then meet and visit with some of their American ‘cousins’. They found the ‘family likenesses’ quite unbelievable.

Ivy and Joan were granddaughters of John Bell (b.1861) the eldest brother of George,Harry and Edward Charles Bell, who emigrated to America, and so these men were indeed ‘Uncles’ to Ivy and Joan’s fathers.

What a wonderful conclusion to a little family mystery.

A Little Family Mystery, Louisa Bell

My Great-Great-Grandfather, George Bell was born at East Farleigh in Kent in 1817. He was the eighth child, of a family of twelve born to Thomas and Mary Ann Bell (nee Battlemore).

Over the years I have used all sorts of records to piece together not only the story of my ancestor, George, but also each of his siblings.

From time to time I review what I know, and try to find more information, particularly if new records for Kent become available. Sometimes I get an interesting surprize.

Louisa Bell, the tenth child and fifth daughter was born to Thomas and Mary Bell at East Farleigh in 1821. She was baptised on 18 March 1821 at St Mary’s Parish Church, East Farleigh. I had not found any other information about her through the parish records including the parish relief or burial records, nor any of the English census records. Not one little clue to what had happened to her.

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St Mary’s Parish Church,East Farleigh,Kent, England

 

I had found a burial record of an ‘Eliza Bell’ aged eight years, who had been buried in St Mary’s Churchyard on 9 December 1831. By this time Mary Bell the mother had died, and Thomas Bell the widower, had married Jane Larkin. Was this child actually ‘Louisa Bell’ and her step-mother thought the name was ‘Eliza’ ,which sounded very similar? Perhaps the father, Thomas wasn’t sure of the name or age anymore? It was possible of course, especially when I could not find a baptism record of an ‘Eliza Bell’ born between 1820 and 1830 baptised at East Farleigh or surrounding parishes. However, I did find an ‘Eliza Bell’ baptised at Chatham, the daughter of John and Euphemia Bell on the 20 October 1822.

My research had stalled at that point, in that I couldn’t move forward.

Then a couple of weeks ago when I was reviewing my notes and the Kent Family History Parish transcriptions published on CD for ‘Bell’ entries, I could hardly believe my eyes. [One of those Eureka moments famous in family history circles].

There in St Mary’s East Farleigh Marriage Banns Transcriptions for 1839 was a ‘Louisa Bell applying to the parish to have marriage banns read for a marriage to Edward Brooks. I searched all marriage records for East Farleigh and several adjoining parishes over several years, but could not find the actual marriage.

What had happened to ‘Louisa Bell’? Was she dumped at the altar? Did she emigrate and marry elsewhere? Did she elope and change her name?

I tried to find her as a single person in the census with negative results. Then I looked at any married ‘Louisa’s’ who gave the native parish of birth as East Farleigh. Again I struck out.

Then I decided to research Edward Brooks. I found what I believe was him in the 1841 and 1851 census living at ‘Barming’, which is next to East Farleigh, as a single man,the right age and born in the correct place. [A big sigh] Looking at Edward Brooks didn’t solve the puzzle either.

What I need to do, but do not have access to at present, is to look at the original banns, not a transcription. There should be three dates entered showing the days the banns were called in the church. There is only one date for each of the Banns transcriptions, not the three you would expect in a transcription of a document, which is very frustrating. The original banns entry may also tell if permission was granted, or if not, why. They may even tell if the marriage was forbidden!

Oh Louisa Bell-Where art thou?

Researching James Baxter, Apprentice Haberdasher, of 18th Century London`

In an earlier blog I wrote about my ancestor George Baxter, who claimed his Freedom of the City of London by patrimony in 1807, through the Haberdashers’ Livery Company. I mentioned at the time his father, James Baxter was also a member of this Company.

James Baxter had married Elizabeth Dixon, by Banns on 29 July 1766, at St Augustine’s, Watling Street, London. They had a number of children, all of whom were baptised at St Faith’s-under St Paul’s. James Baxter died in 1802 and Elizabeth 1813.

It is important that I prepare before I go off looking for my James Baxter, as there are many James Baxter’s in London, and I do not want to go off on the wrong family, and claim ancestors that are not mine.

I knew from my research that there were three way to have Freedom of the City- by apprenticeship, patrimony and by purchase. I now needed to know more about the process, and what records there might be.

I found the London Metropolitan Archives had  very good information in their leaflet, No 14, ‘London, England, Freedom of the City Admission Papers, 1681-1925’, which gave me not only what I was looking for, but also listed the surviving records. These I could cross-check with those available on on-line subscription websites and published resources.

Another very good book I found was ‘My Ancestor was an Apprentice’, by Stuart A. Raymond, a publication of the Society of Genealogists, London.

Now, as I have worked and documented my family from the ‘known to the unknown’, I knew I would be looking for a ‘James Baxter’, who applied for the Freedom of the City of London, in a probable time period of one to ten years before his marriage, and it could be by patrimony, purchase or apprenticeship.

A search of the online subscription websites I found the following-

The Genealogist had transcriptions from Freeman and Burgess Books from various towns in England, and Findmypast had transcriptions from various occupational records.

Ancestry.com had two sets of records which I believed would be useful.- Freedom of the City Admission Papers 1681-1825 (Original records at London Metropolitan Arches) and Register of Duties Paid for Apprentices Indentures,1710-1811 (Original records at National Archives.)

I found several entries for ‘James Baxter’ on these websites, and listed all for further investigation.

On Ancestry.com , I found an apprenticeship record of a James Baxter, which was in the right time period, and other criteria, such as it was for a ‘haberdasher’ in London, led me to believe it needed further examination.

This scanned image of the original apprenticeship indenture at the London Metropolitan Archives, was for ‘James Baxter, son of James Baxter, late of Maidstone in the County of Kent, Threadman, deceased, dated 5 May 1758.’ He was apprenticed for seven years to Charles Wheatley, Citizen and Haberdasher of London. Calculating his age from his burial entry, James would have been born about 1740-41, and about seventeen years at the beginning of his apprenticeship. By the terms of this indenture he could not marry until completion of his apprenticeship. This would have been completed about 1765, and with his marriage the following year, fitted well.

This Indenture was clear, and a very good example of one at that time. However, it should be noted that it was important, that I not only print out a copy of the front of this document for further study, but also the reverse side.

This additional document scan is not indicated on the website, but can be found by using the → key to move onto the next document page. On the reverse side you will find the date of ‘duty’ paid for the indenture (1758), and the name of the warden of the Habberdashers’ Company, David De Lavan, who presented him on his application for Freedom of the Company (1764). This I was able to confirm from Company records.

It was also important that I researched the life of Charles Wheatley from his own apprenticeship, to his list of apprentices over the years. I could also confirm his place of residence from Tax records, which placed him in the area where James Baxter continued to live and work after his marriage. This helped to put James Baxter in the right time and place, and so confirmed I have the right family.

Note James Baxter’s family were from Maidstone, and through thorough research I found they had resided there for more than three generations.

On my recent visit to Maidstone I spent a very successful day at the Kent Archives and Library of Kentish Studies consulting the original Burghmote Minutes and Chamberlain Accounts for the town of Maidstone in the 17th Century. I was able to find the details of two generations applying for the Freedom of the City. However, it should be noted the occupation of the family at this stage was ‘bricklayer’.

Our James Baxter’s uncles were apprenticed to their father, but James’s father was apprenticed to his mother’s side the family. Their claim to the Freedom of the City was by patrimony.

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Having done extensive research on the Baxter families of Maidstone before I left on my trip, I was able to identify the streets they resided in, and the church they attended, so was able to take photographs of many medieval buildings, (above) and All Saints Church, (below) that would have been well known to our Baxter ancestors.

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Searching for the Wife of Josiah Bell of Mereworth, Kent, England

In my preparation for my recent trip to Kent I reviewed all my research, and assessed my ‘gaps’ and missing information for my ‘Bell’ ancestral line.

Last blog I wrote about my ancestor Josias Bell and the difficulty of trying to find his marriage to Mary Kennard about 1637.

When reviewing my research, I also found I have been unable to find the marriage, of the above mentioned Josias Bell’s grandson, Josiah Bell, who married Elizabeth (Unknown) about 1717. They had a large family, all of whom were baptised at St Lawrence, Mereworth.(Below)

P1010161

Over the years I have tried to resolve this problem from many resources including books, microfiche, CD’s, on-line and private databases, but I have not been able to find a marriage of Josiah Bell to an Elizabeth, or to anyone else about 1717.

Was it a case of lost or destroyed records, as I believe may be the case in a former generation?

To test this theory, I made a list of all the surrounding parishes, and carefully searched the parish registers to expose any gaps in their records. There are a few gaps where records appear to have been lost, but they do not occur in the early 18th Century time frame.

Another possible scenario is that the marriage did not take place. The usual reason is that one or both of the parties were already married, and without the privilege of divorce, then people lived as man and wife without the lawful marriage certificate. Some ‘separated’ couples took their chances of not being found out, and contracted ‘bigamous’ marriages in some far away parish. However, they would not be willing to risk it near their home parish, where the parties would be well known.

In the Bell Family Newsletter No 44 (July 2002) I wrote an article concerning the will of Edmund Crowhurst of Meopham in which he mentions’ his niece, Elizabeth, who was the wife of Josiah Bell, of Mereworth‘. This led me to investigate the marriages of ‘Elizabeth Crowhurst’s’ throughout Kent and near by counties, between 1710 and 1720. There were very few, but one that was of particular interest was ‘Elizabeth Crowhurst of Great Peckham (East Peckham) married at East Farleigh on 18 December 1716 to Thomas Sherbrooke of Offham.

On the 3 March 1716/7, Thomas and Elizabeth Sherbrooke had a son baptised at St Michael’s, East Peckham, whom they named Thomas.

There were no further entries for this family in East Peckham or any other likely parish near by.

On the 4 May 1718, Josiah and Elizabeth Bell had a daughter baptised at St Lawrence, Mereworth, whom they named Mary. They had a further eight children, all of whom were baptised at Mereworth, before Josiah Bell died and was buried there in 1757.

Josiah Bell, was the son of Nicholas and Susannah Bell (nee Hubble) and was born at Mereworth in 1692. Nicholas and Susannah Bell were formerly of East Peckham and still had family there.

Josiah Bell and Elizabeth, his wife would have been well known in the area, so they would not have tried to contract a bigamous marriage.

The Sherbrooke name was also known. Thomas is believed to have been the son of John and Margaret Sherbrooke baptised at East Peckham on 27 February 1696/97. He may have been employed at Offham, when he married Elizabeth Crowhurst at East Farleigh in 1716.

The family do not turn up in the parish Overseer’s Accounts, Vestry Minutes or Settlement records in the Medway area. I have not been able to find any further information on Thomas Sherbrooke,including his death, and believe he may have left the area.

If this is indeed what happened, it would explain why I cannot find a marriage for my ancestor, Josiah Bell to Elizabeth ‘Crowhurst’.