I started the evening deciding to see how far back I could go on my mtDNA direct line. The idea was to write a post in honour of women’s history month.
I clicked through on my tree, knowing that I haven’t proved a couple of the generations further back yet and looking to see where it went.
I arrived at Margaret Richardson, born about 1801 in Brandon, Suffolk, according to the censuses. On Ancestry a number of trees have her parents as Samuel Richardson and Jane Robinson with a baptism date in 1803 in Woodbridge, Suffolk.
A quick search found no other Margaret Richardsons baptised in Suffolk between 1800 and 1810. However, could I be sure that this was the right person? We all know how Ancestry trees cannot be relied on for accurate information (I won’t go into a rant here).
Margaret Richardson, the daughter of Samuel and Jane was baptised in Woodbridge, Suffolk. Yes, as noted above, on all the censuses, she is listed as being born in Brandon.
Woodbridge is about 50 miles from Brandon. It seems unlikely that her parents would have travelled all that way for a baptism in the early 1800s. Perhaps they moved.
On the 1841 census, they were living in Brandon; on the 1851 census they had moved to Forham and were there on the 1861 census. On the 1871 census they were in Isleham.
Brandon to Fordham is about 17 miles, much closer, but not necessarily definitive. I decided to look a little more at their marriage record.
The marriage certificate of John Grey and Margaret Richardson is found in the Suffolk files, but does not say which parish is “this” parish on the marriage record.
What other information can the marriage certificate tell us? As well as the witnesses, we have the name of the clergy who married them.
They were married by William Bassett. I then decided to research William Basset a clergyman in Suffolk during that time period. He was fairly easy to locate and I found that, by looking at the birth dates and places of his children, I was able to place him in Brandon during the years 1820 to 1823. Therefore, it is most likely that John and Margaret were married in Brandon.
We now have her birth place consistently listed as Brandon approximately 1801, we have her marriage in Brandon in 1821, and we have them living in Brandon in 1841.
I am confident, then, that a baptism in Woodbridge does not fit this pattern. It is unlikely that she is the Margaret Richardson born in Brandon.
Unfortunately for me it means I have hit a brick wall (or perhaps just a solid wood door) on Margaret Richardson.