Research
* Figure out how to request information about possible records from St. Xavier in Cincinnati.
* Continue to work on updating the Denman database with information already collected and/or noted by cousin Claudia in her review. I already discovered a connection I hadn’t been aware of! A good example of fresh eyes being helpful. [I made some progress on this in May, but I had collected a lot of information that never got put into the database, so it is a bigger job than I first thought. Worth doing, but a bigger job.]
* Start work on Boorman database I just started. I have information from three current researchers now, so should be able to make some progress.

Organization
* Continuing the work listed above on the DenmansIMGP4228 is also organizing files on my hard drive (and helping me establish a standard file naming process).
* Start clearing out the files in the small open box on the floor.
* Back up the blog! Plug-ins found so far to automate this task don’t meet my needs However I just saw a review of another one, that looked worth investigating. There is always hope – in the meantime I must remember to do it by hand.

Education
* Watch one online video or webinar about genealogy. [In May I attended a live presentation by Marion Pierre Louis on house history which was fun and, I hope, will inspire me to get to work on that project for my original Salt house. I also managed to catch the Lisa Alzo Legacy Family Tree webinar on Ten Hidden Resources Every Genealogist Should Know over the long holiday weekend while it was still free. I was pleased to see that I was already aware of most of these, but she did remind me that some of them I need to re-visit.]

Research

My gorgeous magnolia and Cornell pink azalea

My gorgeous magnolia and Cornell pink azalea – Happy May!

* Figure out how to request information about possible records from St. Xavier in Cincinnati.
* Continue to work on updating the Denman database with information already collected and/or noted by cousin Claudia in her review. I already discovered a connection I hadn’t been aware of! A good example of fresh eyes being helpful.
* Start work on Boorman database I just started.

Organization
* The inboxes on my desktop are cleared! Three cheers!! Continuing the work listed above on the Denmans is also organizing files on my hard drive (and helping me establish a standard file naming process).
* Back up the blog! Plug-ins found so far to automate this task don’t meet my needs However I just saw a review of another one, that looked worth investigating. There is always hope – in the meantime I must remember to do it by hand.

Education
* Watch one online video or webinar about genealogy. [Watched the Legacy Family Tree webinar by Judy G. Russell on "That First Trip to the Courthouse" which was very useful. Like many of us, I suspect, I feel tentative about researching in a Courthouse. I hope what Judy said will help me figure out what I might get from a Courthouse (and nowhere else) and then plan a trip.]

January was pretty much a bust for me in terms of getting tasks from my to-do list done. We started out the new year by clearing out three rooms so we could have carpeting installed. Two of the three were rooms we use as home offices and mine is my genealogy archives. So there were many, many (did I say that there were many?!) books and boxes and files to move out – not to mention my computer and the home wireless system. And that was just my office. The good news is that all went very smoothly and we started the new year with new carpeting (which I had been wanting to do for a long time).

Two days later we had a new refrigerator delivered and so all the attendant moving of food out, cleaning where the old one had been, and then hurriedly replacing all the food before the frozen food defrosted and the milk went bad.

I am not complaining – I’m only rationalizing my lack of progress on the family history front. I am very pleased with my new, warmer office floor. The bedroom looks much better with the new carpet and so does my husband’s office. The bonus is that we have extra room in the new fridge, which is a little larger than the old. So life is good!

In my genealogy world, the past month has been full of correspondence with several Boorman relatives as we all work on a mystery. There are many Boorman families in the counties of Kent and Sussex in England in the 1700s and we are trying to figure out a John Boorman who migrated to America, specifically to New York state north of New York City along the Hudson River, in the late 1790s along with a number of others. There are at least 2 books of compiled letters from these settlers and a specific letter has raised questions about which John this was and who his wife and children were. I will likely post about all this in the future, I hope when we have sorted it out to our combined satisfaction. In the meantime this is preoccupying me.

My final excuse for lack of accomplishment is that we are on a longer-than-usual vacation stretching across January into February. I am leaving this scheduled to post on Jan 31st but I won’t be here!

As I said to my walking buddy this morning: I wish I had known about this line of nonconformists in my college days. I was a child of the 60s. I would have loved it. And yes, I do make her listen to some of my genealogical trials and tribulations even though she isn’t one of us. I do try not to bore her too much or too often.

In trying to verify the marriage date and place of my 4g-grandparents, William Denman and Ann Boorman, I have discovered (re-discovered in Ann’s case) that they came from Nonconformist, or General Baptist families. They were not Church of England. In fact, Ditchling, where William was reportedly born is said to have been an important center for Baptists in the wider area in the 18th and 19th centuries.1

I say re-discovered in Ann’s case because I had been told that by a correspondent from Staplehurst, Kent, England several years ago. This woman had told me that: “The Boorman family were nonconformist, therefore children were not generally baptised, only (sometimes) appearing in parish registers as “born”. Weddings were often by licence so that they could avoid having banns called for 3 weeks before a wedding and were often not held where you might expect to find records of them.”2

So what information about William and Ann’s marriage do we have? The most prevalent is that they were married 24 Jun 1790 in Headcorn. This appears in a family group sheet in the Family History Library and in any number of family trees online. I have a copy of that family group sheet. It records that the information on this family record was obtained from F.A. Denman of Wakeman, Ohio, great grandson of the Wm. Denman who heads this family. F.A. Denman was my great-grandfather. This information is also now available on the website familysearch.org in several places.

As I wrote a few weeks ago (this post), I had always accepted this date and place as fact until I started trying to document events for myself. While my correspondent from Staplehurst had the same information, she didn’t have a source for it. When I contacted the Headcorn parish council the information I got back gave a different date but confirmed the place and provided some additional information, including that it was by licence and the names of two witnesses as well as a number (which I assume to be a registration number of some sort).

My online research and that of one of my Boorman researcher/relatives tells me that “From 1754 up to 1837 all marriages (with the exception of Quakers and Jews) had to take place in the parish church. Marriages of nonconformists during this period will normally have no indication of their nonconformity, though a marriage by licence could be an indicator of nonconformity.”3  Further this licence, likely a general one and not a special one issued by the Archbishop of Canterbury, required an allegation4 be filed that the two desiring to marry were of age and had no known impediments to the marriage. A bond was also required that stipulated an amount of money which would be paid if it turned out that the marriage was against Canon Law.

A search on Ancestry shows two sources of extracted parish records which list William Denman of Hythe, bachelor, and Ann Boorman of Headcorn, minor, father William Boorman, 23 Jun 1790 at Headcorn. Since these are extracted records of Canterbury licences I suspect that this is the licence (meaning there should also be an allegation and a bond somewhere in the parish). Also if the licence was issued 23 Jun then the marriage could well have taken place on 24 Jun, the next day. This image of a page obtained from the Family History Library in Salt Lake City shows that marriage recorded in a copy of the Register of the parish of Headcorn from Lady Day 1790 to Lady Day 1791.
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  1. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ditchling
  2. correspondence with Anita Thompson, 25 Sep 2009
  3. www.sog.org.uk/leaflets /nonconformists.pdf
  4. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Allegation

My four greats grandmother was Ann Boorman Denman. She was born in Staplehurst, Kent, England on 9 Aug 17721. She married my 4 great grandfather, William Denman, on 24 Jun2 or 24 Dec 1790, in Headcorn, Kent, England.

The date of their marriage is one of the questions I have about this couple. The date on the previously-cited family group sheet says 24 Jun. As I started to try to find documentation for the “facts” I had collected for the Denman-Boorman family, I contacted the parish council for Headcorn. The family group sheet said that was where and when William Denman and Ann Boorman had married and I wanted verification. What I hoped for was a copy of a register page showing their marriage. This was about 3-4 years ago, and at that time I couldn’t find anything in the usual places online (like the Ancestry or familysearch sites) that showed a source. My contact with the parish netted me the following statement: “Regarding your enquiry, Brian Ledger (our Server in Headcorn Church) has given me the following information from the Marriage Register to pass onto you. No.1099 24th December 1790. Denman, William bachelor of Hythe married Boorman, Ann spinster of Headcorn Witnesses – Benjamin Martin and William Ashdown.” Just recently I asked the question of an English Boorman cousin and he looked on a Kent Family History Society CD of records3 to tell me that he “can confirm that the information you were given by Brian Ledger is all correct apart from the date which is 24 Jun 1790 as we thought. The only other item missing from Brian is that the wedding was by licence rather than banns.” That would seem to settle that.

After they were married the young Denmans lived in Hythe, where their first three (at least) children were born. Hythe is a small coastal market town, and I have no information about what William worked at there although there is a lot of farm land and he may have farmed. As the map above shows, Headcorn (where Ann was living) and Hythe (where William had lived before their marriage) and Staplehurst (where Ann was born) are not very far apart (a maximum of about 33 miles).

In 1795 William and Ann and their three children sailed for the U.S. and arrived in New York City. The family story is that William left Ann and the children in New York and continued up the Hudson River to look at the 200 acres he had bought in Neversink sight unseen. While he was away, their daughter Elizabeth died in August. Ann and the two boys went north to join William. I have written in the past about climbing Denman Mountain and seeing the remains of the homestead that William and Ann built in that wilderness. I saw with my own eyes how difficult it must have been to hack a path and haul possessions to the top (and I was walking through new growth not the Forest Primeval).

The first several years the family lived in a lean-to with a natural rock chimney, as William and Ann cleared and planted and built a cabin. In a letter from Esther Boorman (wife of John Boorman and unknown relation to Ann) to Ann Billinghurst in December 17974 there was a description of the Denman family’s conditions.

At the time this letter was written, the third child was son Edward who was born in August 1797 so only an infant.

The family did persevere and thrive over time. The land was cleared and crops planted and first a cabin and then a house built. Ann and William went on to have a total of 11 children, 10 of whom survived to adulthood. My g-g-g-grandfather, John Denman, was their oldest son. Ann died in January of 1842. I have no picture of her: she died before photography was commonly used for portraits. I do have this picture of the family house taken much later (although I don’t know the date it was taken).
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  1. Taken from an LDS family group sheet – the information from F.A. Denman with Arline Booth Redford being the family representative. I believe that F.A.’s source was a family bible.
  2. Ibid.
  3. Vol 6 – CD 19
  4. transcript of letter in “Township of Neversink 1798-1998″ compiled and written by Loretta Ackerley, Town Clerk, for the bicentennial celebration of Neversink.

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