|Birmingham, April 2017|
A guest post today, written by Hugh. This is the story of an investigation sparked off by a previous blog post in which I described some of the history of Lola Towers.
It started innocently enough some years ago, tracing my wife’s family on a genealogy website (Genes Reunited). Then mine. Then the family trees of friends. None of them properly, you understand. No physically visiting out-of the way Registries or parish registers, like you see on “Heir Hunters”.
Then I found Family Search, the Mormon website which generated the standard programme for formatting and processing information. I don’t use Free BMD, or other sources, much. But it’s fascinating how much you can find out with minimal tools, and with time on your hands.
Then Lola I put some information on her blog about the history of her house in Leamington. Out of interest, I looked up the residents starting with Joshua Fardon, stated to be the licensee of the house (it used to be a beerhouse) in 1861. I should say that by now I had a Platinum membership, giving me unlimited online access to original Census returns, not just the transcribed version that gets into Web searches including Family Search.
This turned out to be just as well, because the transcribed 1861 Census entry for the Cricketers Arms pub, Archery Road, says, [with calculated birth year in square brackets]
Samuel Boid Head M 40 Knowle, Warks, Inn Keeper [1820/1]
Ann Fardon Dau M 25 Milverton [1835/6]
Marie Boid Dau Un 19 Leamington, Milliner [1841/2]
Ellen Boid Dau Un 17 Leamington [1843/4]
William Beesley nephew Un 16 Leamington gardener (apprentice) [1844/5]
Elizabeth Boid Dau 7 Leamington [1853/4]
Frederick Fardon Grandson 4 Leamington [1856/7]
William Fardon Grandson 1 Leamington [1859/60]
This is odd, because the licensee I was looking for was Joshua Fardon (from 1854), and I had already failed to find him in Leamington Censuses. I was unable to identify Samuel Boid and his daughters in either the 1851 or 1871 Censuses.
Tracking down Joshua Fardon
There is a Joshua Fardon Pork Butcher b 1811 Gloucester, in Coleshill Street, Birmingham in 1861. He has several children, one a son, Alfred, born in Leamington in 1850/1, so Joshua’s wife was there at that time. Another son, Albert, was born in 1851/2 in Stafford, so it looks as if they moved about a bit, or maybe one or both “sons” were adopted or stepsons. Maybe a family name, might conceivably be the 1854 Leamington licensee?
So I looked at the scan of the original Census form, and it suggests that Samuel and his daughter are actually named Bird, and they are (some of them) in the earlier and later censuses. It is also rather unlikely that Ann Fardon, married, is the daughter of Samuel Bird given their ages, though I guess she could be a step-daughter. So let’s find out who her husband, Mr Fardon, was.
Family Search rapidly comes up with a marriage of Ann Beasley to Emmanuel Fardon.
Ann Beasley, christened 15 May 1835, m Emanuel Fardon 19 June 1855 at All Saints, Leamington Priors. Her father Richard Beasley Dairyman, his father James Fardon Blacksmith. (PS James Fardon, b 1793 Temple Guiting was in Leamington in 1851 as a shoeing smith.)
This may be a light-bulb moment, as one of the residents in 1861 was William Beesley, aged 16, born Leamington. According to the 1851 Census, we have the right Richard Beasley and Ann Beasley, from their occupation and birthplace:
1851 Census Living 8 Brook Street, Leamington
Richard Beasley Head Mar 46 Warwicks Burton Dassett, Milk Mann (sic) [1804/5]
Maria do Wife Mar 39 Warwickshire Borsell [1811/2]
Ann Do Dau 15 Milverton [1835/6]
James Do Son 13 Leamington [1837/8]
Maria Do Dau 10 Do [1840/1]
Ellen Do Dau 8 Do [1842/3]
William Do Son 6 Do [1844/5]
Elizabeth Do Dau 2 Do [1848/9]
Charlotte Do Dau 2 Do [1848/9]
Servant Thomas Spittal 18
Notes: guessing slightly, Borsell is Balsall Common near Knowle, Warwickshire; and Burton Dassett is a vanished village 11 miles South of Leamington.
Elizabeth and Charlotte were both christened on 14 Feb 1849.
So is William, born Leamington 1844/5, the same William as in the 1861 Census? If so, why is Ann Fardon described as “Daughter” and William as “nephew”?
Unravelling the mystery
One hypothesis for the 1861 Census is that Samuel Bird married the widow Beasley, if Richard Beasley had died. She would have been Maria Beasley b 1811/12 Borsell, according to the 1851 Census (by which we established that Ann Beasley 1835/6 Milverton and William Beasley 1844/5 Leamington might be sister and brother). Alternatively, maybe Maria Beasley 1811/2 Borsell was a relative of Samuel Bird, 1820/1 Knowle, near Borsell.
I have tried and tried, and cannot resolve these alternatives by any confirmatory evidence, indeed Richard Beasley had NOT died (see below). The most likely hypothesis is that the Census taker, either at the house or when transcribing his field notes, has confused two separate people, or left a line out in the transcription, so that the Bird children are indeed Samuel Bird’s children, but Ann Fardon is NOT his daughter, but the wife of absentee Emanuel Fardon and relative-in-law of absentee landlord Joshua Fardon, and the Fardon children listed as grandchildren are in fact the grandchildren of Ann or Emanuel’s father. There’s a thought: is the missing person Ann’s father Richard Beasley?
The family listed for Richard Beasley in 1851 are widely scattered by 1861 – son James in the army, Elizabeth in service in London, Maria, Charlotte and Richard not to be found on Genealogy websites. The only William Beesley 1844/5 Leamington is the one we have already as “nephew”. In 1871, the only candidate for William Beasley 1844/5 is in Leamington, married, a painter and glazier. So maybe “nephew” is another error by the Census taker in 1861. Also, in 1871, Richard (widower) and daughters Elizabeth and Maria, and a son Thomas, but not William 1844/5, are living in Leamington at “cottage back” Archery Road, round the corner from the Cricketers Arms.
The next step
We were going to find out more about the Fardons.
On Googling “Fardon”, we find on Geni an immense labour of family love which suggests that the Fardons came originally from Temple Guiting, Gloucestershire, had Joshua and Emanuel as family names, were given to calling themselves by other Christian names than their own, and had a number of publicans in the family. I have to add that the family site on Geni is not wholly consistent with other sources.
It is possible, but not certain, that Joshua (1811) and Emanuel (1822) are cousins, the sons of brothers James and Richard Fardon. Another Fardon, Henry Fardon, lived in Leamington in 1861. He was born 1803 in Temple Guiting and died Milverton 1875. Emmanuel 1822, though, was away from Leamington in 1851, in service in Reigate, not to be found in 1861, and in 1871 in Harrow with his wife Annie and three children, including Frederick and William all identified by their ages and birthplaces.
And this is just one entry in the 1861 Census!