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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Our London Adventure- St Paul’s Cathedral and the surrounding area.

Our cruise ship the Marco Polo returned to Tilbury on Tuesday 29th July. After we disembarked we took a train to London, where we had arranged accommodation to stay for several days, while we took in some of the sites, and did some family history research at the National Archives.

One of the places I wanted to visit was St Paul’s Cathedral. The present St Paul’s is the fifth cathedral to have stood on the site since 604AD.

My Baxter ancestors had lived close by St Paul’s for several generations. For nearly fifty years, their parish church had been St Faith’s- under-St Paul’s.

To begin our London adventure we had taken a train to St Paul’s Station, which is adjacent to the cathedral.

We entered the cathedral by the main entrance to join a tour. A visit to this magnificent church was a very moving experience for us. However, we were very disappointed not to be able to take photographs inside. We did visit the bookshop to purchase postcards and books to complement our outside photos.

The most important area of St Paul’s Cathedral, as far as our family is concerned, is what is known today as the OBE Chapel, but was formerly known as St Faith’s-under -St Paul’s.

St Faiths was originally in Castle Baynard Ward, and was one of the ancient churches of London..

The original church was at the eastern end of Paternoster Row, a street adjacent to St Paul’s. In 1256, St Faith’s was pulled down for the expansion of St Paul’s. The church was not rebuilt, but the parishioners were given space to worship in the actual crypt under St Paul’s Cathedral, hence the name St Faith’s-Under-St Paul’s. It was destroyed along with St Paul’s in the Great Fire of London.

When the new St Paul’s was built to Christopher Wren’s design between 1675 and 1711, the new chapel of St Faith’-under-St Paul’s was built in the east end of the crypt. This is where the children of James and Elizabeth Baxter (nee Dixon) were baptised between 1767 and 1784.

In 1960 this chapel became the spiritual home of the Order of the British Empire, and award holders of the OBE, and members of their family, may still be baptised and married here.

Another church which stood close by St Paul’s was St Augustine’s Watling Street. It was here that James Baxter had married Elizabeth Dixon by banns on 29 August 1766.

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This church was destroyed in the Great Fire of London in 1666 too, but was rebuilt facing Watling Street in the 1680s.Its distinctive tower was constructed in the 1690s and it is thought to have been designed by Nicholas Hawksmoor.

The church was destroyed in 1940 in a World War II bombing. It was not rebuilt, but the tower was reconstructed as part of a new choir school for St Paul’s Cathedral.

There has been considerable recent development on the northern side of St Paul’s, including what would have been Paternoster Row and Ivy Lane, where the Baxter family lived in the 18th Century. We judged it would have been about where Paternoster Square is now. What really surprized me was the entrance to the square- Temple Bar.

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In a former blog I wrote about a coloured print that hangs on my office wall called ‘The York Mail Leaving Temple Bar’. This ornate arch designed by Christopher Wren had stood on a section of the roadway where Fleet Street (City of London) became the Strand (Westminster).

In Medieval times the authority of the City of London Corporation reached beyond the ancient city walls in several places and these were known as the ‘Liberties of London’. To regulate trade in the city, barriers were erected on the major roads wherever the true boundaries were a substantial distance from the old gate house,. Temple Bar was one such place.

A Wikipedia entry from the Internet gives an interesting history of this London icon, a summary of which I have included below.

The first record of the bar was in 1293, and was probably a simple barrier such as a chain between some posts. More substantial structures with arches soon followed. By the late Middle Ages a wooden archway (with a prison above) stood on the spot.

Although it was spared in the Great Fire of London, it was decided in the rebuilding of the city, a new structure should be erected. Christopher Wren was commissioned to design this arch. This he did, and between 1669 and 1672 the beautiful Portland stone arch was erected.

Some two hundred years later the City of London Corporation, eager to widen the roadway, had it taken down. It was soon purchased by the wealthy brewer, Henry Meux and was re-erected as the gateway into his estate, Theobald Park, in Hertfortshire.

In 1984, a hundred years on, it was repurchased by the City, from the Meux Trust for £1, and brought back to London and incorporated into the Paternoster Row area and now marks the entrance to the Square.

What a fitting home for Wren’s beautiful arch, beside perhaps his greatest achievement, St Paul’s Cathedral.

The other entrance to Paternoster Square is the Newgate Street entrance. This was originally the other end of Ivy Lane, where my Baxter family lived.

Just along Newgate Street and around the corner was the ‘Old Bailey’ where my ancestor, Thomas George Baxter had first faced the Court in 1832.

We retraced our steps along Newgate Street and crossed the road at the King Edward Street intersection, to the ruins of Christ Church Greyfriars. This was the church in which my ancestor George Baxter married Mary Brayne Kington on 13 Aug 1809.

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Another extract from Wikipedia- The original church was constructed between 1306 and 1348, as the church of a Franciscan monastery. This church ranked as the second largest in Medieval London.

The church was destroyed by the Great Fire of London in 1666. It was rebuilt, although not as large, to the design of Christopher Wren..

Over the next 300 years significant modifications were made. The church was destroyed in a World War II blitz on 29 December 1940.

The Tower survived, and today is used as offices, but the ruined nave and other sections of the church were not rebuilt, and now is a beautiful park in the middle of a busy thoroughfare.

We continued our walk up King Edward Street a short distance to an area known as Little Britain. This where my ancestors, George and Mary Brayne Baxter were living when their eldest children were baptised.

We then crossed King Edward Street in front of the old Post Office, and entered an ancient gate with a plaque announcing it was part of Greyfriars. This led us into a beautiful park, which is now known as Postman Park.

This area was originally the burial grounds of St Botolph’s, St Leonard Foster and Christ Church Greyfrairs. Even today you can see the odd monument tucked away in the corner, or a row of headstones hidden amongst the foliage against a wall.

This is also the site of the George Frederic Watts Memorials to the Heroic Self Sacrifice of the Ordinary people. There are several wall- tile memorials in a covered area and is an interesting place to visit. You can find the history of the place on several websites on the Internet, as well as many photos.

On the other side of the park we found St Botolph’s Church, which was facing Aldersgate Street. This was the church where most of the children of George and Mary Bayne Baxter were baptised between 1810 and 1822.

The Medieval church was a Gothic building and although it escaped the Great Fire of London, by the 18th Century was deemed unsafe and was demolished about 1788. Under the supervision of Nathaniel Wright a new brick church was built on the foundations of the old church, with a low square bell tower at the west end.

After a quick visit to this church, which we could only view from the outside, we made our way back to Cheapside and headed down towards London Bridge.

More Research on our George and Mary Brayne Baxter Family in London

As promised I continue my research preparation for my trip to Britain.

I have mentioned in  former blogs I am preparing to visit Britain in a few weeks to attend a Family History Cruise with Unlockthepast on board the Marco Polo. Full details of this Conference Cruise can be found at www.unlockthepastcruises.com/

After the cruise I plan to spend a few days in London at various archives and libraries researching and getting copies of documents that have not been catalogued or scanned, in the hope of finding more information on some of our families..

I have stated in former blogs my maternal ancestor Thomas George Baxter b 1816 was transported to Sydney on board the Roxburgh Castle as a convict in 1832.

I have spent considerable time researching not only the life of Thomas George as a child, but also his parents, George and Mary Brayne Baxter, and their circumstances. Although Thomas George was termed an ‘errand boy’ on his convict indents, we do know that his father was a ‘bookbinder’, as it is recorded on Thomas George Baxter’s, death certificate, as well as his church baptism entry and those of his siblings.

In the London Directories of the early 19th Century, George Baxter is listed as a ‘bookbinder’.

For many years a coloured print called ‘The York Mail Leaving”,has hung on my wall . It is a picture of a London Street, with a stage coach in the foreground. There in the middle of the picture is ‘Baxter Bookseller’” shop. I always wondered if it was connected to our Baxter family. Was it possible to find out.?

As a ‘bookbinder’ is an occupation of the ‘book trade’ one could assume that the father, George Baxter might belong to the the guild usually associated with the trade, which is the Stationer’s Guild.

A brief history of this Guild can be found at

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Worshipful_Company_of_Stationers_and_Newspaper_Makers

The Worshipful Company of Stationers and Newspaper Makers (usually known as the Stationers’ Company) is one of the Livery Companiesof the City of London.

In 1403, the Corporation of London approved the formation of a Guild of Stationers. At this time, stationers were either text writers, lymners (illuminators), bookbinders or booksellers who worked at a fixed location (stationarius) beside the walls of St Paul’s Cathedral.” Booksellers sold manuscript books, and later printed copies thereof produced by their respective firms for retail..

Printing gradually displaced manuscript production so that, by the time the Guild received a Royal Charter of Incorporation on 4 May 1557, it had in effect become a Printers’ Guild. In 1559, it became the 47th in City Livery Company precedence…..l. During the Tudor and Stuart periods, the Stationers were legally empowered to seize “offending books” that violated the standards of content set down by the Church and State…”.

The Stationers’ Charter, which codified its monopoly on book production, ensured that once a member had asserted ownership of a text (or “copy”) no other member was entitled to publish it. This is the origin of the term “copyright”. Members asserted such ownership by entering it in the “entry book of copies” or the Stationers’ Company Register..

Stationers’ Hall is at Ave Maria Lane near St Paul’s Cathedral. The building and hall date from circa 1670. “

On the subscription websites of The Genealogist Findmypast  and Ancestry.com there are numerous indexes and documents associated with apprenticeships, Freedom of the City, taxes and rates of the City of London. There are many references to the Baxter surname, and several George and James, some of whom were in the time period of interest for our family. There were even some Baxter’s belonging to the Stationers Guild.

It was time to make a list of all those who could have a possible link, and investigate each one, until I believed that they had no connection. This step takes much time searching all available records.

One of those I investigated was Gilpin Baxter of Hertfordshire, who was apprenticed to William Tricketts a “Citizen and Stationer of London”in 1733. On the completion of his apprenticeship he became a member of the Stationer’s Guild and had the Freedom of the City to trade. He had bookshops in Cornhill, and Leadenhall Street. He also had a number of apprentices including- Richard Sheppard, 1761; Dan Forster, 1766; Benjamin Barons, 1773; John Clarke, 1777 and Samuel Gardener in 1781. Gilpin Baxter married Rachel North. Unfortunately he suffered a change of fortune and was declared bankrupt. He appears to have returned to the family seat in Cheshunt, Hertfordshire where he died in 1795.

By using clues in the my picture on the wall such as the Temple Bar, and businesses, which I traced through directories and tax records, I can confirm that the shop ‘Baxter Bookseller’, is that of ‘Gilpin Baxter’. However is he connected to our family?

In a former blog I wrote about how I was able to establish that George Baxter’s parents were James and Elizabeth Baxter (nee Dixon). This I was able to confirm from parish register’s of St Faiths, near St Paul’s Cathedral in London. Their address was Ivy Lane, off Paternoster Street. In his will written in 1796, James Baxter’s occupation was given as ‘claspmaker’, another connection to the book trade.

I now have a copy of Gilpin Baxter’s will, but there is no information, which would connect our family at St Faith’s. Nor in the apprenticeship records connected to Gilpin Baxter, were there any of his apprentices by the name of Baxter, Dixon or any surname known to be connected to our family.

I continued to research all persons on the my list, but found no connection to the Stationers’ Guild and our family.

It was time to look elsewhere. I went back to the Freedom of the City records on Ancestry.com where there was a ‘George Baxter’ who was granted the Freedom of the City with an approximate date of 1807-1808.

I have noted that in many on-line Baxter trees in Ancestry.com as well as other commercial sites this document appears to be attached to our family line, but no one has explained why they have attached this document. It appeared to me, it is just because it was there, and for no other reason.

I do not dispute that this record is connected to our family, but will now explain the research and how I know and can prove it is so. Note this is for the ‘Haberdashers’ Guild’ not for the ‘Stationers’ Guild.

I downloaded and printed out the scanned document referenced as from the London Metropolitian Archives. This document stated that ‘George Baxter, was son of James Baxter Citizen and Haberdasher of London, the claim was one of Patrimony, and he was presented by Warden Samuel Spence. There followed a list of signatures all of whom were Citizen’s and some Haberdashers. It was also notated with the address ‘Ivy Lane, Newgate Street and ‘Copy 1765- Born 1782.”

I found a similar document for “James Baxter, son of James Baxter “. I believe this James Baxter is the elder brother of our George Baxter. However I need to do more research on this document before I can claim it completely.

Another useful extract from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Worshipful_Company_of_Haberdashers

The Worshipful Company of Haberdashers is one of the senior Livery Companies of the City of London. The organisation, following on from the Mercers’ Company, another Livery Company connected with clothing and haberdashery, received a Royal Charter in 1448 and has records dating back to 1371

A haberdasher is a person who sells small articles for sewing, such as buttons, ribbons, zips and other notions such as pins and needles.

The Company ranks eighth in the order of precedence of Livery Companies; as such it is regarded as one of the “Great Twelve City Livery Companies”.

This Company has its own website at http://www.haberdashers.co.uk/. It has also commissioned two histories of the Company, by Ian Archer. I purchased the first of these called, ‘The History of The Haberdashers’ Company,” which was published in 1991. I found this publication invaluable for my research, particularly Appendix 1, which is a List of Masters and Wardens, 1582-1990. From this list I can confirm that Samuel Spence was a warden of the Haberdashers’ Guild in 1807.

Before we add this document to our family it is well to stop at this stage and ask ourselves have we followed the Golden Rule of Genealogy to confirm our research, that is moving from the known to the unknown.

We can confirm from other records including St Faith’s Baptism registers that James Baxter was born in 1770 and George Baxter 1782, as well that both were sons of James and Elizabeth Baxter (nee Dixon). The family’s address can be confirmed from burial and tax records. We know that the father James Baxter,deceased at this time, was a member of the Company because the claim is by ‘Patrimony. ‘Copy 1765’ refers to the father’s registration in the company registers.

I will explain more about James Baxter’s admission and membership of this Guild in a later blog.

Family members and others, please remember this research and blog are copyright to myself. If you wish to add this to your own family research either on-line or other forms of notes and publication please do the right thing and acknowledge my work.

I have been researching and writing for over forty years and have researched and written about many of my family lines, some back to the Middle Ages. I have always generously shared my research, but now find much of it has been ‘cut and pasted’ straight onto the ‘net’ under other peoples name.

Some of my published family book lineages have been keyed into large data bases and uploaded without one reference to where it came from. In this case it is not only my work that has been disregarded, but there is no acknowledgment of the many other family members and researchers who contributed to the publication, all of whom I named and acknowledged in the printed book.

Now all you ‘instant genealogists’ and new to family history research get into the spirit of the game, and acknowledge all those friends and family, who help you along this journey of discovering your ancestors. Remember Ancestry.com and other big sites can only point you in the right direction if someone has done the work and it has been put on their site, be it scanned documents or family trees. Or they have partnership arrangements with other archives, libraries and repositories to access their records. Do try to find out about the original depositor, author or owner of the records used. It takes many people and many records so that you can press a button and access ‘your family history’.

Please show you are at least a little grateful for this privilege.

The Kennedy Clan in County Tyrone, Northern Ireland

This month I have concentrated on researching some of my ancestors from Northern Ireland. On my maternal line I am descended from the Kennedy’s of County Tyrone.

Gilbert Kennedy was born about 1827, son of Thomas and Mary Kennedy near The Rock, County Tyrone, Ireland. I have not been able to locate surviving baptism records for the parish churches, in this area of Northern Ireland. I am continuing to research the Kennedy families in this part of Ireland and found some were still there in the 1901 Census.

On 3 February 1852, Gilbert married Ann Hunter at the Artrea parish church. Ann was the daughter of Robert and Jane Hunter of Ballyneill More, in County Londonderry.

In 1854 Gilbert and Ann Kennedy had a daughter who was named Elizabeth.

In 1856, Gilbert and Ann decided to emigrate to New South Wales. They travelled to Belfast where they took a boat to Liverpool and boarded the emigrant ship Kate. The Kate left Plymouth in mid September and arrived in Sydney two days before Christmas in 1856.

Advertisements appeared in the Sydney Morning Herald later that week stating that there were a number of Agricultural Labourers who had arrived by the ‘Kate’. It is believed that Gilbert and Ann Kennedy went to the Camden area to help with the summer harvest.

The Kennedy family were at Spring Creek, near Camden two years later when a daughter Mary Jane was born on 9 March 1858. They are believed to have been renting a farm there.

In 1860, a third daughter, named Mary Ann was born. In that same year their eldest daughter, Elizabeth, died from croup.

Another daughter, Isabella was born in 1862 followed by Martha in 1864. However four year old Isabella drowned at Spring Creek in 1866. Soon afterwards the family moved to Abbottsford, Picton. A son William James Kennedy was born at Abbottsford on 7 June 1866.

It was about this time that Gilbert Kennedy’s health started to decline and in February 1870 he was admitted to the Parramatta Asylum, where he remained until his death on 1 September 1903. The admission registers for this time period have not survived, to give us the medical reason for Gilbert’s admission. Gilbert was buried at Rookwood Church of England Cemetery, but there is no headstone. He is memorialised on his wife’s headstone at St Mark’s, Picton.

Parramatta Asylum was opened in 1849 in the old Female Factory. From the outset it consisted of a free, and a criminally insane division. By 1870 there were about eight hundred patients, over seven hundred being free. Although in 1885 a new hospital wing was completed, over crowding was always a problem. Several photographs of Parramatta Asylum at the turn of the 20th Century can be viewed at the State Records website at http://www.records.nsw.gov.au . Because this Asylum was so much a part of my ancestors life, finding these photographs has been very helpful. An article in the Town and Country Journal, 12 August 1871 gave a detailed description of the establishment, which helped me put our Gilbert Kennedy life into context. The reporter mentions an inmate by the name of ‘Kennedy’, but further research showed he was a ‘William Francis Kennedy’ and not our ‘Gilbert Kennedy’. I have copies of surviving Asylum records relating to Gilbert, but they do not give a great insight into his ‘illness’.

In 1875, Mary Ann Kennedy, the second surviving daughter of Gilbert and Ann Kennedy died, of ‘disease of the throat.’ She was buried at St Mark’s, Picton aged 15 years.

Less than two years later Martha Kennedy, the fifth child and second surviving daughter of Gilbert and Ann Kennedy died of cancer. She was only 13 years of age. She is also buried at Picton.

On 23 March 1878 a joyous occasion was celebrated in the family, when ‘Margaret Jane’ the only surviving daughter of Gilbert and Ann Kennedy was married to James Baxter, in St Mark’s, Church of England, Picton. The following year a son was born to James and Margaret Baxter who was named ‘William James’.Nine children were born to James and Margaret Baxter over the next twenty years or more, all of whom survived. The youngest child, a son, was named ‘Ewart Gilbert’ in honour of his Grandfather Kennedy.

In 1894, William James Kennedy the only son of Gilbert and Ann Kennedy, married Florence Emily Evans. They were to have twins, Myra and William in 1896, followed by Stella in 1897 and Dorothy in 1899. This family resided at 73 Lincoln Street, Stanmore for over fifty years.

Ann Kennedy went to live with James and Margaret Baxter’s family in the late 1890’s, until her own death in 1912. She is buried in St Mark’s Picton along side her daughters Isabella, Mary Ann,and Martha. Headstones mark these graves.

James and Margaret Baxter are also buried here and a headstone marks the grave.

Lost in the City of London-the Baxter Family

My mother, Margaret Nola Baxter was born in Murwillumbah in 1924, the fifth child of Arthur and Harriet Baxter (nee Bell). My grandparents had married at Thirroul in 1913 and came to settle at Kunghur, on the South Arm of the Tweed River soon afterwards.

 Arthur Baxter had been born at Picton in 1888, the sixth child of James and Margaret Baxter (nee Kennedy). He had been raised on a farm at High Range in the Picton District. His bride, Harriet May Bell had also been born in Picton, where her father was a blacksmith.

 Arthur’s father, James Baxter, had been born at Spring Creek near Picton in 1851, the eldest son of Thomas and Mary Baxter (nee Mather), who had married at The Oaks, on 30 December 1850.

Thomas Baxter arrived in Sydney onboard the Roslin Castle on 15 September 1834.He was a native of London and had been convicted of ‘pickpocketing’ on 2 September 1833, and sentenced to seven years transportation. In the 1837 Convict Muster he is listed as working for George Brown at Camden. He remained in the Camden area after the completion of his sentence and received his Certificate of Freedom in 1840.

 Thomas and Mary had nine children: James, 1851; Elizabeth, 1853; Mary, 1856-1860; George Thomas, 1858; John, 1860; Charles, 1862-1863; Mary Ellen, 1864; Robert, 1866 and Thomas Henry, 1869. All were born and raised in the Picton area.

 Thomas and Mary Baxter later retired to Sydney where Thomas died on 5 February 1889. He is buried in the churchyard of St Mark’s, Church of England at Picton. His wife Mary who died in 1907 is also buried there.

 On Thomas Baxter’s death certificate it is stated that his father ‘was believed to to George Baxter, a bookbinder of London’.

London has always been a very big city, and Thomas Baxter is not an unusual name, so for a while it seemed an impossible task to find where to start.

 Searching for new clues I followed up on Thomas Baxter’s convict records and found that on 16 February 1832 in the proceedings of the ‘Old Bailey’ he was convicted of larceny and was imprisioned for one month.

 I then used a map of London to identify the parishes around where he was apprehended for his crimes. Having made a list of these parishes I then consulted the International Genealogical Index (1978 and 1988). This is a research aid prepared by the Latter-Day Saints Genealogical Department. I then made a list of ‘Thomas Baxters baptised about 1812 to 1816, which were found in the parishes of interest. I also noted the marriages of all ‘George Baxter’s’ in the area 1800-1815 who might be Thomas’s father.

 I then consulted the catalogue of the Family History Library in Salt Lake City and ordered the microfilms of the parish registers of all the parishes in London which were of interest to my research. These were sent to the Grafton Family History Centre where I could visit and read the films.

 After searching through several sets of films I found the baptism of ‘Thomas George Baxter’ at St Bololoph Without Aldersgate on 17 April 1816, the son of George and Mary Brayne Baxter. The father, George’s occupation was given as ‘bookbinder’. I was able to find the baptisms of all the other children of George and Mary Brayne Baxter. I was also able to locate the marriage of George Baxter and Mary Brayne Kington at Christ Church Greyfriars Newgate, London on 13 August 1809.

 All this was before the internet and the advantages of researching on-line. However as the new technology became available I used it where I could to advance my family history. When the scanned images of the London parish registers were available I downloaded and printed the baptism and marriage entries, which I added to my folder system for quick reference.

 By using the clues suggested by the family naming pattern revealed by the baptisms I was able to ‘guess’ that ‘George Baxter’s father’ was probably a ‘James Baxter that had possible married a Miss/ Mrs Dixson. The on-line search facilities enabled me to find a ‘James Baxter who married Elizabeth Dixon in London in 1766. I was able to find a number of children born to this couple as being baptised in London.

 I was then able to find a reference to a Will of ‘James Baxter, a Claspmaker in London’, on the National Archives website in England, which I was able to purchase and download immediately. This gave not only a great deal of information about his business, but also confirmed the names of his wife and eight children.

 A further search of the National Archives website led me to Court cases in 1810 involving George and Mary Bayne Baxter, as well as Mary’s half-siblings, step brother and mother. My present challenge is to sort this out and continue to research the lives of these ancestors.