Saturday, February 6, 2016

Curgenven family.....interesting name, but it's not real!

In some interesting Cornish research news, I was tracing a direct 6th Great Grandmother of mine, Elizabeth Nicholls born in 1734.  I hadn't looked at her line in ages, and a cousin in Australia had sent me some new info on her descendents.  Well, I then decided to see what I could find on her ancestors, since I hadn't gone up the tree on her.

I quickly found lots of information on her family, including this interesting name, Jane Curgenven, who was Elizabeth Nicholls mother.Well that certainly looked like a Cornish name, and an easy one to trace, owing to it's unusual-ness.  I googled the name to see what I could discover, and found an interesting webpage done by a dedicated researcher of the surname.

His conclusion -- it was a made up name!  The original name was Lean! Jane's father was John Curgenven, and his father was John Lean. 

Here's his info:

The very Cornish sounding name CURGENVEN appears to have been an invention by the Reverend Thomas LEAN (born 1644 in Lelant, Cornwall - died 1712 at Folke, Dorset), Educated at Exeter College, Oxford, in 1680 Married Dorothy PITT (of the family that produced the two William PITTS ). Headmaster of Sherborne school Dorset (1683 - 1695) and then Rector of the nearby Parish of Folke.
It can only be speculation as to why he changed his name, perhaps he thought LEAN too common a name for his position, but why CURGENVEN? there is no prior record of this name. His brother William had married a Rachel RICHARD whose family had earlier used the alias VENVYN but why would that be a reason to change your own name?
Rev Thomas and Dorothy had no issue, so how did the name created by him propagate? His brother William died in 1689 and William's widow Rachel died in 1692 leaving their children orphaned, William and Rachel's sons John, Thomas and Peter were looked after (no record of adoption found ) by the Rev Thomas ( their names changing to CURGENVEN ) and were found positions with the East India Company ( Rev Thomas's brother-in-law was Thomas 'Diamond' PITT, Governor of Madras. ) William and Rachel's fourth son Richard also took up the alias CURGENVEN as did the family of the Rev Thomas's other brother John.

The Hurrell Family -- is it all becoming clearer?


Oh this family!!  Just a common enough name in the South Hams area to be frustrating. Too many similar names, too many disappearing families.....

Some family names just seem to hold your attention and interest.....and this is one of them.  Every time I go back to work on it, I am frustrated.....yet I come back, always in hope that maybe today I will make some breakthrough, find a new record that will make everything clear.......when will I learn, this family is here to test my patience!!!???

Update from Salt Lake City at RootsTech:
After some solid quiet research time, and discovering some interesting new records produced by the Friends of the Devon Archives -- I think I may be getting a clearer picture of where the various Hurrell families were in the early-mid 1700's.  

I found my 6th Gt Grandfather William Hurrell of Sherford, signing a loyalty pledge to King George I in 1723.  I also found him paying to support the militia around this time also.   There are similar entries for Roger, Richard, John Hurrell in a variety of villages.  At least this helps me place them as living in these villages at this time, and then I can be sure and attach the marriages/baptisms/burials I've found to the right patriarch.

I also had another look at some Land Tax record films for Devon at the Family History Library and those also help place the Hurrells at specific localities over the course of time.

This is truly a case where a good Excel spreadsheet will help me sort out my work and see things more clearly!  I think I will still have to make a few assumptions and leaps of faith as to how some of the families connect (or don't connect) -- but my proof points will be stronger with what I've found here in Salt Lake City.

RootsTech -- final day

My brain has reached genealogy overload, as per usual after the final session of a Conference!   Today was another fantastic day of discoveries:

  • Had an expert look at my Father's Y-DNA results to see why he has so few matches.  Turns out he has 3 "rare" blips on one of his panels.  He said that it's not unusual to have any of these blips, but to have 3 all on the same panel, is pretty unusual.  He suggested a distant cousin should test at Y-67, to see whether the mutation is back in history or more recent.  I've got a 4th cousin who will fit that bill!   Nice to know we carry "unique" DNA!

  • Took an Excel for genealogy class --- excellent information!  And lots of tricks and tools I will definitely put to use!  Too bad it was only an hour!

  • Got help fixing some issues with my Family Search Tree -- which I haven't done much with since 2012.  I only have 200 people in it, mainly direct lines on British side.

  • Went to an lunch, great info on where they are headed in the future, some changes to the online trees, future of FTM software, etc.  They will also be launching an index of the Irish Catholic Parish registers,but didn't have a date set.

  • By coincidence, at the lunch I sat next to another Susan from San Francisco, who had Cornish ancestors!!  And she used to live in Dublin, CA, as did someone else at the table!  

  • Met Audrey Collins from the UK National Archives -- she had some great info on the 1939 Register (using it for local studies, and town histories). She also said that since the NHS used the 1939 Register, there is some thought that the number of closed records is due to the fact that General Practitioners weren't always diligent about reporting deaths, as they were paid a capitation fee for each patient.  Thus, there should be more "open" records, and they will slowly recognize those and open them up.  She also said to check out the Medway Towns Archives that have alot of birth certs scanned for Royal Navy/Marines near Chatham, Kent. Some of my Plymouth folks could have ended up over there during their Naval/Marine careers.

  • And during a quick break, pulled up the home page and saw that they had added a new record set, State of Pennsylvania Death Certificates up to 1963!  Holy cow, these are fantastic as they list Mother's and Father's names -- which is a great help in tracing all my immigrant Irish ancestors who settled in Pittsburgh.  I've already pulled down my Grand Aunt and some other cousins certificates!  Great info!

  • Tried some quick DNA triangulation last night on GEDmatch, after attending Kitty Cooper's class. Interesting stuff, and makes me think of who else I need to test and triangulate!  DNA is slowly becoming clearer and clearer to me.

  • Oh, and the day started with a fantastic speech by Doris Kearns Goodwin, Presidential Historian and Author -- she was so inspiring!

Wednesday, February 3, 2016

RootsTech 2016 -- Research Day

So in advance of #RootsTech, I spent Wednesday in the Family History Library.  I went with a couple things to look at, and ended up spending 10 hours researching!!

Spent the morning organizing all my various Hurrell notes.....I had scraps of paper, various Excel files and other notes about the Hurrell's. I finally put them together, organized into families, etc.  I also found 2 great "Friends of the Devon Archives" documents --- they had a listing of all the people who signed a "Loyalty Pledge" to King George I in 1723.  Found my William Hurrell of Sherford and others.  They also have listings of people who were taxed to support the Militia, prior to 1723 -- and again found my William Hurrell of Sherford (6th Gt Grandfater).   I need to explore both these resources further as there are many other family names (Nathanilel Shepherd of Stokenham for example).

After lunch I tackled Mary Rodda marrying Richard Firstbrooke/Furstbrook on Dec 30, 1815 at St Erth.   I had my doubts that this Mary Rodda was really mine from St. Just in Penwith --- but after much tracking, I found an Ancestry tree that had her dying in Madron in 1855, after her husband had died previously.  When I checked the 1851 Census for Madron, lo and behold, there she was living with an Elizabeth Warren (wife of Archaleus Warren).  Mary was listed as her Sister, and both were listed as born in St. Just in Penwith!!!!  YES!  The connection was complete, and proved Mary's marriage in St Erth to be true.

From there I followed down the lines of both Mary and Elizabeth's families.  Lots of movement to Australia and New Zealand!!

I also found my 9th Gt Grandfather!!!  I was searching Elizabeth Nicholls born 1743, and found her parents, which led me to John Lean born 1622 in Uny Lelant, my 9th Gt Grandfather.

My 6th Gt Grandmother was Jane Curgenven!  What a unusual name.  She had a sister Tamson Curgenven -- now that is a genealogists dream, unusual!!!