Newmans of Manningford Abbots

A Genealogical Question


UPDATE TO WHAT FOLLOWS. I have found the record of the birth of James Stratton, son of Thomas Stratton, labourer and Sarah Newman - Pewsey Registration District of Wiltshire, England (which would include Manningford Abbots). It appears that James Newman (as I have come to know him as ancestor, was the illegitimate son of Thomas and Stratton. The rest below fills in some of the background of my research and attending puzzlement, which is now relatively 'solved.'

My mother’s paternal great-great grandfather James Newman was born in Manningford Abbots, Wiltshire in 1813. He married Ann Hayes (1818-1905) (daughter of John and Ann Hibberd) in that village, and was living with his in-laws there, as noted in the 1841 Census of England. (Ann Hayes was known as ‘blind Grandma, in her later years. The Hayes name continued in my mother’s father’s name: Ernest Hayes Almas).

James Newman and Ann Hayes had several children, including Jane Newman who was to marry David Almas. Their son James Almas married Mary Jane Lambshead and their son, Ernest Almas (my mother’s father) married Ellen May King.

James and Ann Newman’s children were: Jane (1843-1874), Annie (1845-1886), Sarah H. (1850 - ? – died bf 1855?), James Henry (1854-1908), Sarah N. (1855 - ?), Eavis Matilda (1860-1935) and Henry (1863- ?). (Interesting that there are two children with the name ‘Henry’ or the name ‘ Sarah.’ Sarah would be after James Newman’s mother, but Henry . . .?

James Newman and his family came to Canada between 1841 and 1851 as they are recorded as farming in Townsend Township, Norfolk County, Ontario, Canada. Jane is present, aged 8. At least one brother of Ann (Hayes) Newman, James Hayes is farming nearby, his family also having come to Canada.

James Newman (baptized 10 January, 1813) is recorded as the son of Thomas Stratton Newman and Sarah his wife. I have seen a later typed transcript of James’ birth (or baptism), during a visit to the library at Devizes, Wiltshire, a local town. For some time any record of the same was not online, but I see that it is now. I have wondered if James' father was really a Thomas Stratton (born ca 1790 as per 1841 census, though this census is notorious for getting date wrong) and if his mother was Sarah Newman. But that doesn’t seem to be so, from the above-mentioned record(s). I don’t know whether there is an original document available which might give further insight (such as the word ‘illegitimate’ or such). I was just trying to ‘rule out’ if possible any illegitimacy here, as few of the Newman records that I have seen in proximate years (particularly in 1841) have anyone with a second name. But surely, I thought, if the transcript was to be more precise it would have said Thomas Stratton (if not Newman) and added the Newman after Sarah’s name; but there is no such affixation.

So, I looked particularly in the 1841 Census records for other Newmans. Was there any record of a Thomas? And did earlier records show the birth of a Thomas whose dates might fit as being the father of my Janes Newman.

There was one in particular that seemed to be a possible ‘match’ for the Thomas I sought, though in the 1841 record there is no indication of a second name (i.e. Stratton) to the one that might fit. There are other Strattons listed, however.

Following this line of thinking, I looked at the other members of this Thomas Newman family in the 1841 Manningford Abbots. Through this, I was able to piece together that another son, John had married Eavis Hayes (1824-1860) in 1844. I believe she was a sister of Ann Hayes (Mrs. James Newman), both being daughters of John Hayes (aka Harris) and Ann Hibberd. Similar names of children are present in both families, and of particular note is the name ‘Eavis’ or Avis, being in both the James Newman family and the John Newman family. No proof, of course, and I can’t find a birth record for John as being the son of Thomas Stratton and Sarah, but I surmise that John and James were indeed their sons, and hence brothers.

The children of John and Eavis were: John Harris Newman (1844-1891), Emily (1855-1918), Daniel (1857-1946) and James (1960 - ?). (As Eavis died in June 1860, it’s possible that her death was related to complications in the birth of their last son, James, born in June 1860.)

John Newman and family lived on in Manningford Abbots (as per 1851, 1861 and 1871 censuses). Following the death of Eavis, 1860, John remarried – to Sophia Hicker (1834-1911). In Canada, as mentioned above, James Newman and family lived in Norfolk County, but subsequently removed (as I think did also the James Hayes family) to East Flamborough Township, Wentworth County, Ontario.

(Note that in the 1851 Census of Norfolk Co., Ontario James and Ann are listed as being of the Episcopalian faith. In the same locale in the 1861 Census, they are said to be English Methodists; whereas, in the West Flamborough subsequent census records, they are listed as being Baptists. They may have attended church in nearby Dundas (now First Baptist) and may have been among its founders. NB the ‘Baptist’ reference, for it factors in a little later.)

So, I have (had) pretty well put together and at least surmised that James Newman was indeed the son of Thomas Stratton Newman and Sarah (2017: but now I know the parents were Thomas Stratton and Sarah Newman), of Manningford Abbots, Co Wiltshire (and I think the reference to a son James is about ‘my James’ . . .) and that John Newman and Eavis (Hayes) Newman were brother and sister respectively of James and Ann (Hayes) Newman.

Now here’s the sticker. I hadn’t noticed before – but in the 1851 Census of Townsend Township, Norfolk Co., Ontario, listed right below the James Newman family record, and probaby indicating that he was visiting) is a Thomas Straden (which other researcers note as being Thomas Stratton, as per other related data.  This Thomas is married, aged 78, and is a Baptist. (Again, I believe he was visiting the Newman home as the record shows his residence tobe 'Bayham, Elgin County.

So, I’m back to – was James the son of Thomas Stratton Newman who may or may not have remained in England? Or, was he indeed the son of this nearby Thomas Stratton, who had also come to live in Canada?

It makes you want to go ‘hmmmm.’  (but note in 2017, that this hmmm has now become an 'ahah!'

More Inspiration: