• 52 Ancestors 2022, week 5: Branching out

For whatever reason, over the years of my genealogical research, there are a couple of lines of my family tree that I haven't really looked in to too much.

It could've been because I just didn't have access to the records, or that I was bored of finding yet more agricultural labourers. Most likely it was because I was focussing on my parents' name lines.

This week, for the #52Ancestors topic of branching out, I've been revisiting these lines to dig a little deeper and discover more ancestors.

First up, I started looking again at my maternal grandmother's line. For some paths I've previously potentially managed to get to my 9x great-grandparents. I say potentially as these were found through resources such as Ancestry's Member Trees, and I've not yet verified the connections myself.

For others, the research only goes back to my 3x great-grandparents so let's take a look at two branches that could be expanded.

Eliza Carter

Eliza Carter was my 3x great-grandmother on my maternal grandmother's maternal line. Born around 1831 in North Warnborough, a small village just to the south of Hook, just north of Odiham, and between Basingstoke and Aldershot in Hampshire. The village doesn't appear to have changed too drastically since Eliza's time; housing has been built around the outskirts of the village, Odiham has expanded with an RAF base located there, and there's now the M3 motorway cutting between it and Hook. 

Before this week, I only knew of Eliza's existence as mother of William, my 2x great-grandfather but I've found out that Eliza had 4 children. William, born 1864, and John, born 1869, both appear to have been born out of wedlock as there are no fathers mentioned on the birth records and they've taken their mother's surname. Another two children are, as yet, unidentified, although I know they exist due to a count of 4 children being mentioned on the 1911 census.

It doesn't look like Eliza ever married as I've found her in every census between 1841-1911, and she's listed in them all as being single and normally living with family.

There are still a few more questions around Eliza to answer, as I've yet to find a matching death record and, of course, I need to find those other two children.

From Eliza I've managed to go up a generation to my 4x great-grandparents, George and Sarah, so I'll save that for a future time.

Charles Cox

Charles Cox was my 4x great-grandfather, born around 1815. As with Eliza above, I only knew of Charles as a name on the tree - I hadn't really dug any deeper.

Charles was born and raised in and around Beech Hill, a small village just a few miles away from where I myself grew up and somewhere I used to visit regularly as a child as my sister and I were taken to feed the ducks on the village duck pond.

In January 1836, Charles married Maria Freen and it appears they went on to have at least nine children over a 20-year period, the eldest being my 3x great-grandfather, Thomas Bates Cox.

Census returns suggest this is a very close-knit family, with large family groups appearing together, and children staying with their grandparents. Trying to unpick the family groups over the course of just the few days whilst I've been writing this post has actually given me headaches! It's even led me to even question whether Charles was my direct ancestor as I've even found a record that disputes that.

Not only am I dealing with the large family groups on the very edge of census data being gathered, but there's also interchanging spellings of the surname with Cox, Cocks, Cook, and Cooks all appearing in records.

Confirming the details and links between the Cox/Cocks/Cook/Cooks family is going to take a lot more effort so take this as a note of my research intentions, and I'll update you at some point in the future.