The Stephensons of Horncastle and Hogsthorpe

May 22, 2010

After developing a data base of the Woulds in Lincolnshire, we decided to extend our project to the Stephensons.  This turned out to be such a formidable project that it was quickly amended.  It turns out that there are 5,000 Stephensons listed in the IGI in Lincolnshire alone between 1500 and 1850.  This number expands exponentially if one considers all of England.

Since we knew that the line of Stephensons that we are following settled in Horncastle and Hogsthorpe, we decided to limit our study to those two locations.  This yielded 41 family groups, enough to draw some conclusions and suggest new lines of inquiry.  From 1500 to the mid-1600′s, there were nine family groups living in Horncastle.  The first recorded Stephenson appears in Hogsthorpe in 1664 with the birth of Thomas to William Stephenson and Elizebeth.  More about William and Elizebeth Stephenson below.

For the next 100 years, Stephensons in our line, as well as other Stephenson family groups, continue to live in Hogsthorpe.  In the mid- to late-1700′s, however, they migrate back to Horncastle and the Stephenson population of Hogsthorpe declines rapidly.  By the early 1800′s, there were only two recorded family groups in Hogsthorpe.

William and Elizabeth Stephenson

It is widely believed among Stephenson researchers that William Stephenson and Elizabeth Woodcock fathered Thomas, b. 1664, and Henry, b. about 1666.  However, records show that William Stephenson and Elizabeth Woodcock married 23 Sep 1669 in Anderby, Lincolnshire, at least five years after the birth of Thomas.  While it is possible that this William and Elizabeth cohabited before the birth of their children, it is unlikely.  There is another marriage between a William Stephenson and Elizabeth Porter in 1666 in Wrangle, Lincolnshire, but this is still too late for children born in 1664 and 1666.  We will try to obtain wills of the two Williams to prove or disprove the parentage of Henry.


Searching for Stephensons in Lincolnshire using the IGI Index

May 3, 2010

In the last few days, Sandra and I have added a significant number of people, dates, and events to my Stephenson family tree using IGI records.  We have also found some new tools that make these records much more accessible.  These records are compiled by the Latter Day Saints and can be found at www.familysearch.org.  Historically, English parishes were required to keep records on baptisms or christenings, marriages, and deaths.  These records were compiled annually, forwarded to the Bishop and formed the Bishops Index.  The International Genealogical Index (IGI) is compiled from the Bishops Index.  Thus, anything found in the IGI is supported by official records. 

Family Search also houses a huge amount of genealogical data submitted by individuals, but, like trees on www.Ancestry.com, these are not always supported by verifiable sources.  I had used the familysearch site in the past but found it cumbersome and not very user-friendly.  Records for an individual were not linked, so you could find a marriage record in one place, but christening records would be elsewhere and information on parents still somewhere else. 

In the past week we have found two new tools that make the index much easier to use and has helped us make many new discoveries.  The Latter Day Saints are offering a pilot of a new search engine they will offer at www.familysearch.org.  To access it, go to the home page, select Search Records and a drop down menu will appear.  Select the Record Search Pilot option.

The pilot search tool allows ease of data entry, filtering of data, and refining search criteria.  I found it very user friendly.  It will apparently allow views of the actual documents in the future.

A second tool that has been tremendously helpful is the England IGI Batch Numbers File.  The link for England is shown here http://freepages.genealogy.rootsweb.ancestry.com/~hughwallis/IGIBatchNumbers/CountryEngland.htm#PageTitle.  The home page for the full site is http://freepages.genealogy.rootsweb.ancestry.com/~hughwallis/IGIBatchNumbers.htm#PageTitle.

The Bishop’s Records forming the IGI were compiled in batches.  This tool lets you select the English county and then the local area to search.  Lincolnshire records of birth/christenings and marriages have been indexed and are readily available.  This search tool allowed us to see all IGI records for Hogsthorpe, Lincolnshire and search for Stephensons.    This provided lots of information and helped us find parents and siblings for family members living in the same locale. 

The batch records search works best for small areas, such as the towns in Lincolnshire, England.  Large cities, Liverpool being an example, require knowing the exact church parish. 

For some unknown (to me) reason, none of the three search methods — familysearch, the pilot search, and the batch search — seem to have all the records.  I find that I sometimes have to use all three methods, but usually end up identifying a new nugget of information.  It is quite exciting when that nugget is uncovered.

I experimented using the batch record search for the U.S. and Ireland.  Sandra’s family has roots in County Down, Northern Ireland and she did not find the these records helpful.  Searching the U.S. was particularly difficult, but more practice may improve my opinion.

Using the IGI files, we have expanded our family tree adding Stephensons, Richardsons, Woulds, and Swins.  I will share these findings in future blogs.  If you have a particular interest in these family lines, send me a comment on this blog and I will send you the information I have.  In the near future I will upload family files to Ancestry.com and, at your request, I can set you up as a guest on those files.


The George Wold Stephenson Bible

April 14, 2010

George Wold Stephenson

George Wold Stephenson was my great-great-grandfather.  He and his wife Agnes Catherine Hamilton immigrated from England to the United States in 1844, living first on Long Island, New York, before settling in St. Johns, Michigan.  One of my prize possessions is his family Bible where the family carefully recorded  marriages, births, and deaths.  This Bible was passed down to my great-grandfather Edward William Stephenson, then to my father, and finally to me.  Pictures of the Bible and the inscribed pages are shown here.

George Wold Stephenson's Bible.

Family names recorded in the Stephenson Bible.

Deaths recorded in the Stephenson Bible.

Agnes Stephenson

Shown below are pictures of two very old bookmarks which were found in the Bible.  The bookmarks are in needlepoint on perforated paper, one worked in silk, the other in wool.  The silk bookmark has the words “Faith Hope Charity.”  The wool bookmark says “Simply to Thy Cross I cling.”  We don’t know who made the bookmarks, but perforated paper embroidery being popular in Victorian times, it is easy to picture Agnes stitching the bookmarks for George’s Bible.

Bookmark: Faith Hope Charity

Bookmark: Simply to Thy Cross I Cling


Stephenson Update

April 9, 2010

George Wold Stephenson

During the past week, I have been in contact with two of my Stephenson 4th cousins.  My 3rd great-grandfather was George Stephenson (1774-1846), who lived in Lincolnshire, England.  He and his wife Elizabeth Wold (W0uld) had 12 children.  My ancestor was George Wold Stephenson (1813-1896), who immigrated to the US and settled in St. Johns, Michigan.  Most of my records follow this line.  Another son of George and Elizabeth was Absolam Wold Stephenson (1798-1854), whose son John Absalom Stephenson (1840-1921) immigrated to Australia.  His descendant Frazer Stephenson has established a family tree The Stephenson Family Tree- Australia on Ancestry.com.  Another son of George and Elizabeth was David (1802-1875), whose family remained in England.  His descendant Patrick Stephenson has set up The Stephenson Family Tree, also on Ancestry.com.  Much of the Stephenson information and pictures  from my blog are now also available on these two trees.  

 To make it easier to collaborate, I have now up-loaded my Stephenson data and have a family tree George Wold Stephenson Descendants on Ancestry.  We are working to combine data on these three trees to form more complete records on the Stephensons.  If you are not a subscriber to Ancestry.com, please respond in a comment to this post.  I can add you as a guest on Ancestry.com and you can view what information is available. 

St. Mary's Church, Horncastle, Lincolnshire, England

This summer Sandra and I will spend time in Europe, including a brief visit to Horncastle and Hogsthorpe.  I will share our findings when we return.  Since we are traveling using airline miles, our itinerary is determined  by available flights, rather than the time we would like to spend.  Three days would be more appropriate.  The good thing is that Horncastle and Hogsthorpe, where our Stephenson ancestors lived, are very small and have few cemeteries and churches.  Hopefully, we can cover a lot in the short period.  I have communicated with Pat Stephenson, my 4th cousin mentioned above, and we will try to make contact during our brief stop in England.

A few months ago I wrote a blog, comparing genealogy in my father’s time and in mine.  Thanks to resources such as Ancestry.com, three distant cousins on three continents can now easily collaborate on virtually a real time basis to build an extensive genealogical data base.  How times have changed!


Children of Edwin Ashbel and Myrtie Winegar: Group Pictures

September 17, 2009

In the last several posts I have included individual pictures of the children of  E.A. and Myrtie Winegar.  Today, I finish this section with pictures of two or more of the children and their parents.  I can identify most of the people in the group pictures if anyone wants the information. 

Nina, Esther, and Donald Winegar

Nina, Esther, and Donald Winegar

One of the few pictures of the entire Edd Winegar family: left to right, Edd, Bill, Myrtie, Paul, Nina, Esther, and Donald.

One of the few pictures of the entire Edd Winegar family: left to right, Edd, Bill, Myrtie, Paul, Nina, Esther, and Donald.

From left to right, Uncle Henry, Paul, Edd, Myrtie, Bill, and Esther Winegar.

From left to right, Uncle Henry, Paul, Edd, Myrtie, Bill, and Esther Winegar.

Left to right, Paul, Esther, Myrtie, Bill, Don, and Edd Winegar.

Left to right, Paul, Esther, Myrtie, Bill, Don, and Edd Winegar.

Thanksgiving 1937 at the Winegar's.

Thanksgiving 1937 at the Winegar's.

A Winegar-Stephenson picnic, ca 1915

A Winegar-Stephenson picnic, ca 1915

The Winegar family, 1952

The Winegar family, 1952


It’s Not Your Father’s Genealogy

August 26, 2009

 

The Carolina Cousins visit with Michigan family.

The Carolina Cousins visit with Michigan family.

In one of my first posts I described how I had benefited by the genealogical research of my father Donald Winegar and my aunt Betty Daniells.  Both spent years in their retirement gathering data on our family history.  My father left written acounts of his memories of his parents and grandparents. 

Carolina Cousins Carrie Stephenson with children Lola, Daisy, and Jim on the horse.

Carolina Cousins Carrie Stephenson with children Lola, Daisy, and Jim on the horse.

I recently came across his account of his search for his “Carolina Cousins.”  In his mother’s photos he found pictures taken in 1910 or 1911 in Michigan.  On the back of one was written, “Stephenson cousins from Carolina” and the names of three children Lola, Jim and Daisy.  One of the pictures  included my father as a baby in a stroller.   George S. Stephenson, the children’s father, did not visit Michigan with his family, but his name was known.  The only other thing that my father knew about the family was that the boy, Jim, had been accidentally electrocuted at the age of 21.

Carrie Stephenson and son Jim, some of the Carolina Cousins.

Carrie Stephenson and son Jim, two of the Carolina Cousins.

Sixty years after the pictures were taken and after the death of his parents, Donald began work on the genealogy of the Stephenson family.  He was fortunate to have the family Bible of his great-grandfather, George Wold Stephenson (now in my possession), which contains a great deal of family data, but it offered no help in identifying George S.  On two different trips through the Carolinas he made inquiries but without success.  Marriage records were kept by county, and he didn’t even know whether the family was from North or South Carolina.  The only son of the Carolina cousins had died young, and the sisters had married and had different last names.  Some time later, Donald found in his mother’s old address book an entry that said, “Carrie Stephenson, Rawley N.C.”   On the assumption that George had died in Raleigh, Wake County, N.C., he wrote for a death certificate and received it.  The name of the person who informed the undertaker of the death was J.R. Hayes.  Through directory assistance, he found a listing for Mrs. J. R. Hayes.  The person who answered was a grandchild of Mrs. Hayes who referred him to another number where, to his amazement, the phone was answered by the son of George S. Stephenson.  Donald learned that George S. was the son of a brother of Donald’s grandfather.  He was able to establish contact with his cousins and fill in a great deal of the family history. 

This long search illustrates the excitement and frustrations of genealogical research.  It also shows how research had to be conducted in the past.  Donald wrote hundreds of letters searching for information.  He traveled to state capitals and searched phone books when he traveled.  Aunt Betty’s research was similar.  She corresponded with researchers all over the country and paid many to study Census data and other documents on site.  She traveled to England and viewed original documents there.

The internet has made a huge impact on the study of genealogy.  Census data up through 1930 is now online.  Social Security death records since 1939 are on line.  I keep my data in Family Tree Maker which is connected to Ancestry.com.  No sooner then I enter a name into the file then a ” leaf” pops up indicating information is available for that person.

Carrie Stephenson and son Jim.  Jim was accidentally electrocuted at age 21.

Carrie Stephenson and son Jim. Jim was accidentally electrocuted at age 21.

Genealogical research is still just as exciting and rewarding as in the past.  It’s just much faster.  Some of the research that took years for my dad and aunt can be done almost instantaneously.  Data that was unknown in the past is now available.  In spite of that, the thrill of the search and excitement of making new connections is still there.  In the last couple of months since I began my blog, Sandra and I have made many exciting discoveries.  Not every question is quickly answered.  We keep raising new questions and beginning new searches.  We just returned from a vacation in Michigan where we visited five  different cemeteries where my ancestors are burried.  We learned that the old methods of collecting information still have great value.  We learned things in this visit that we couldn’t find online yet.  One thing that is for sure is that our greatest source of information is still our parents and older family members.  Donald regretted starting his Carolina Cousins search after his parents were gone.  It might have saved him years of frustration.  Contacts that we have made during our travels still open new avenues for searching and bring us in contact with interesting people with similar interests.


The Agnes Stephenson Window

August 21, 2009
Agnes Stephenson Window in St. John's Episcopal Church

Agnes Stephenson Window in St. John's Episcopal Church

 

Sandra and I just returned from spending two and one half weeks at our cottage in Michigan.  We were able to do quite a bit of genealogical research while there, as well as relaxing.  We visited a number of cemeteries and will report our findings in later blogs.

Today, I want share our findings in St. Johns, Michigan.  My  father, Donald Stephenson Winegar, visited the St. Johns Episcopal Church in 1936 and reported that his great-grandfather, George Wold Stephenson,  had been one of the founders of the church.  He further reported that his great-grandfather had dedicated a stained glass window to his wife and that the window was there at that time in 1936.

Jim reads inscription on the Agnes Stephenson window.

Jim reads inscription on the Agnes Stephenson window.

We had no idea whether the old church was still there or, if so, whether the window was there.  I had tried unsuccessfully to reach anyone in the church from Florida.  After some research in Michigan, the Episcopal Dioscese put me in contact with Wendy Ward, a member of the church, who was extremely helpful.  She went by the church and called to tell me that the window was in fact still there.  On our way back to Florida, we swung by St. Johns and Wendy gave us a tour.  The window is really quite exciting. 

St. Johns Episcopal Church, St. Johns, Michigan.

St. Johns Episcopal Church, St. Johns, Michigan.

It was installed in 1894 and is one of the oldest windows in the church.  My wife Sandra took a number of pictures, several of which are shown here.  Wendy is very interested in the history of St. Johns and the church and she reports that old diaries of members have been preserved and that she will provide me with copies.    Hopefully we will learn more about the Stephensons from these records.  The church was recently featured in the St. Johns Sesquicentennial (150 years).  One thing she remembers from old documents was that the church, located just a few blocks from downtown St. Johns, was originally a school, but it was considered unsafe for students because of the presence of bears.  We didn’t see any bears in St. Johns:-)

Inscription on left window.

Inscription on left window.

Inscription on right window.

Inscription on right window.

 One of George’s and Agnes’s daughters, Angeline, married Russel B. Emmons in 1873.  The Emmons were leaders, both in the community and in the church.  Part of the town is called Emmonsville.  We were able to take a picture of the Emmons mansion, which is impressive, even by today’s standards.

The Emmons House in St. Johns, Michigan.

The Emmons House in St. Johns, Michigan.


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