Monday, September 2, 2019

When your family moves to Jersey (Channel Islands)!!!


My Fursland family suddenly ups and moves from South Devon to Jersey in the Channel Islands? Imagine my surprise when 2 sisters move to Jersey and marry, and a brother follows.  Why?  They were servants, but maybe there was a military connection?

And, this all happens in the mid 1800's......clearly I need to brush up on my history and figure out why they would leave Devon and go to Jersey!

The Fursland/Furzland family of Ugborough, Devon has always been a bit of a conundrum. I knew they must connect somehow to my Mary Fursland who married in Harford, Devon -- turns out they were cousins (her Father's siblings were from Ugborough area). 

At first I assumed Channel Islands information could be found with all the other English records -- Civil Registration, Parish Records, etc.  Hmmmmm.....turns out the Channel Islands are independent, but a Crown Protectorate.  So they keep their own records. Some folks were Church of England, but of course my family had to be difficult non-conformists and were Wesleyan Methodists! 

So a quick crash course in researching in the Channel Islands ensued.  Firstly I found an excellent website "Jersey Heritage", which you can search/browse, but need to be a member to see the actual documents/photos.  I have subscribed, but am awaiting my user info to access anything.  There are amazing records from the WW2 Occupation, with identity cards full of genealogical information and a identity photo. 

The birth, marriage, and death records are excellent, if you're a Church of England member - and available on Ancestry.  If you're Wesleyan Methodist, nothing has been digitized! And there is NO CIVIL REGISTRATION!  Ugh!  And the census is available on Ancestry, but hard to find as it doesn't seem to come up under England/UK and you have to manually search for Channel Islands Census.

Here's a marriage record for one of my ancestors:

Some obscure records have been helpful, including a listing of burial records from Funeral Homes was found on  This is also available on the Jersey Heritage site.  But the index alone on the island wiki site gave me names and dates of burials that I could match up with my ancestors (even maiden names!).

Still a work in progress, but it's fascinating to research in a whole new place, with different records!

More to follow on my Furslands!

Monday, August 19, 2019

Fursland family.....brick wall break through!

I've had a brick wall on my Fursland line forever.  My 4th Gt Grandmother was Mary Fursland.  From what I knew (via census, and Parish marriage/burial records) she was born about 1759. She married William Carew in Harford in 1788.  Her marriage entry indicated she was "of this Parish", but I can find no baptism record for her there.  She marries again in Harford in 1806 to Richard Williams. She dies in 1817 in Ivybridge (Ermington).

There are Furslands in Ugborough which is nearby, but none of those families matched up with her date of birth.

A new lead for a bastard child and an online tree, led me to investigate a new avenue and look further afield.   Harford Parish was known for marrying many brides/grooms from other Parishes.  It was the "Las Vegas" of Devon, if you will.  So possibly she came there to marry, or if she'd had a bastard child, maybe she left her home village and went to work as a servant in Harford?

The bastard child is George Merrifield Fusland, b Oct 1779 to Mary Fursland in West Alvington.  There are many Merrifield families in this village, so likely the middle name is indicating the Father! Now to find a Mary Fursland who would be the right age living in the area --- and voila! There is a Mary Fursland baptized 19 Aug 1759 in West Alvington to Walter Fursland and Mary Bunker.  Well that ties up nicely!  George stays in the area, and marries in 1799 in Thurlestone and has one son, George.

Now to trace the Fursland line back from Walter Fursland and Mary Bunker.  Luckily, it appears the Fursland's came from a bit of money/land and are fairly well recorded in documents going back for generations.  They are from around Widdecombe in the Moor, and with the help of an online tree I was able to trace them back to 1400.  Of course, this all needs further documentation and sourcing - but the logic makes sense with the documents I can find, and the fact that if they had money a son might have struck out south of the Moors to South Milton/West Alvington area of the South Hams. The distance isn't that far.

Going back in time - here's what I've got:

More research to come.....but to be able to potentially break through this brick wall and get all the way back to my 14th Gt Grandparents was a genealogical bonanza!!!!!  William Fursland b 1430 in Bovey Tracey, Devon is my 14th Gt Grandfather!

Wednesday, July 24, 2019

RootsTech London - Research Opportunities

RootsTech is coming to London October 24-26!!!  The learning opportunities are amazing with all the classes on offer.  But what about extending your time in London and visiting some of the amazing archives, repositories and museums?

I've researched in London many times over the years, and in particular at:

  • The Society of Genealogists in Central London
Understanding the historical context of your ancestors lives adds much to your research.  Understanding what was happening at the time, can help explain some unusual surnames, family movements to new cities, etc.

The National Archives at Kew is well worth the visit, and it's a lovely day out of Central London. In particular I have researched Royal Marine records there, and was lucky enough to have found my GG Grandfather's Royal Marine attestation from 1837 - which gave me his birthplace (a village I hadn't researched), and a physical description.  It was amazing to be handed this piece of history to look through!  

So get yourself registered for RootsTech London in October, and let the research begin!

Friday, July 19, 2019

RootsTech London 3 day Pass Givewaway!!!!

I am so happy that RootsTech has given me, as a RootsTech London Ambassador, a free 3 day pass (149 Pound value) to giveaway to my followers!

I am excited that RootsTech is expanding to London, allowing others to experience this great event. Mark your calendars for October 24-26, 2019 at London's ExCel Convention Centre. The event will be hosted by Nick Barratt, author, historian and host of BBS's Who Do You Think You Are.

Why should you attend? The real question is why not? Here's just some of my reasons:
  • 150 Informative Lectures from knowledgeable experts from around the world. Download the RootsTech app to your phone or table, and check out all the presentations!  I'm looking forward to Irish and British research classes
  • Huge Exhibit Hall, discover all the cool genealogy offerings in the exhibit hall. Consult with experts from Family History Societies and Archives. Buy new software and meet your cousins!
  • Outstanding Entertainment, everybody needs a break from the hard work of chasing ancestors, so sit back and enjoy Donny Osmond and other great entertainers!
  • Learning from Others, you never know when you may find yourself seated next to someone with a shared research interest or even a cousin. Attending region specific classes can put you in touch with like minded researchers.
It's an outstanding event, and I encourage you to attend!

To enter the 3 day pass drawing, leave a comment on my blog with why you want to attend, and I'll select a winner by August 5th.  The pass does not include airfare or hotel.

Wednesday, July 17, 2019

A proliferation of JENKINS

Sometimes you have to go back and revisit your direct lines to see if you've missed anything.  I did just that earlier this year, and found a 4x Aunt, Elizabeth White, that I had never fleshed out.  I didn't have a marriage for her, and she disappeared from records.

With the help of DNA and Ancestry's new Thru Lines feature, everything pointed to this Elizabeth White marrying an Emanuel Jenkin in 1805 in Madron.  So I started adding the children and descendants....

Little did I realize this would be a HUGE project!  Emanuel and Elizabeth had 10 children, each who lived to adulthood.  They each went on to proliferate the Madron/Newlyn/Mousehole area with over 700+ descendants.

I was recently in Cornwall and went to the Paul Parish Church (this is the parish church for Mousehole), and found a few Jenkins in the large cemetery there.  The descendants were primarily fisherman, and were lucky to live in such a beautiful area.

Thankfully the name Emanuel carries down through the generations, as does Jenkin as a middle name. It has been an amazing experience to add SO many new ancestors, who are such close cousins.  Elizabeth White's brother Edward White (b 1773 in St Just in Penwith) is my GGG Grandfather.

LONDON calling......

LONDON calling…..

RootsTech is coming to London! After many successful years in Salt Lake City, the conference is expanding to London!  Mark your calendars for October 24-26!

My ancestry is English and Irish, I almost exclusively research in these two countries, so I couldn’t be more thrilled that RootsTech is expanding outside of the USA.  I have researched extensively in England and Ireland over the past 25+ years, and visited many of my ancestors villages and graves.  It is a thrill to walk in their footsteps and adds such context to your research.

RootsTech will offer learning and networking opportunities with genealogy experts, vendors, and colleagues (cousins!).  I’ve always found the classes, key note sessions, and vendor hall to be invaluable. There is always something new to learn, a new product or software to buy, and experts to consult.

I encourage you to expand your horizons, stretch your genealogy brain, and engage in learning new techniques in the quest for your ancestors.  The stories, photos and facts are important to document and share – RootsTech gives you the tools/techniques and ideas for doing so!

I will be running a contest for one lucky winner to receive a full pass to RootsTech.  Stay tuned…..

Sunday, January 13, 2019

John Hurrell - Dueling to his death

In my continuing research of my Hurrell family, I uncovered this sad story of John Hurrell, dying at age 18 from injuries sustained in a duel.

There was quite a bit of news coverage for the day - I found at least 3 articles regarding the duel and inquest.

The following article delves into the motivations and consequences......truly sad.

Update:  His father and the Demelweeks were acquitted in March 1831 at Plymouth