The Woulds in Kirkby on Bain

May 20, 2010

On my last post, I described the project that Sandra and I have been working on tracking the Woulds in England.  We have learned a lot about English records from 1550-1800 and the lack thereof.  The most common records are christening records, although they are far from complete.  Also, early records only listed the father of the infant.  We can find patterns of movement, but there are big gaps that make this frustrating.   Death records are rare except in the case of infants being christened at around the time of their death.  Families often had several children with the same name until they had one that lived.  We are always conscious of the large number of infant deaths during this period.  Marriage records are quite extensive but still incomplete.  It is obvious that many women died in childbirth.  These deaths are rarely recorded.  The husband often  took a second wife but often these marriages are not found in the records either.

Another problem with our research is that the Woulds tended to use the same names for their children over and over.  Most of the males were named John, William, Thomas, or Nathaniel.  The females were most often Mary, Ann, Elizabeth and Susanna.  There is a large probability that John’s wife will be Mary, making it difficult to follow any given couple. 

With this background, I will try to explore the Woulds of Kirkby on Bain.  The earliest Woulds we find in England were in London or Fingringhoe, Essex.  By the 1550s, families were found in Alford and Sibsey, both fairly near to Kirkby.  Another concentration was in Thornton Curtis, Lincs. The first record of Woulds in the immediate area of Kirkby was the marriage of William Would to Anas Bunyan in 1615 in Haltham Upon Bain, a few miles from Kirkby.  At least two generations grew up in Haltham.  There were concentrations of Woulds in many of the small villages surrounding Haltham and Kirkby, including Tattershall, Coningsby, Toynton St. Peter, Roughton, and Hameringham, but we haven’t connected them with our family.

Anyone who would like a copy of the database of Woulds in Lincolnshire can request one by sending a comment and giving your e-mail address.  The spreadsheet is in PDF format.

Ancestors of Elizabeth Would

In 1693, Edward Would married Ann Gramm in Scrivelsby, a few miles from Haltham.  We cannot determine where either of these people came from.  The following year they had a daughter, Sarah, in Scrivelsby.  In 1695 William Would was born in Kirkby, but no parents are shown on the christening.  In 1697, John Would, the son of Edward, was born in Kirkby.  We are quite sure that this is all one family.  We are seeking a will for Edward which could help confirm this belief.  Both William and John Would married in the 1720s and raised families in Kirkby.

We have a problem following John.  In 1726, John Would married Ann Dawson in Kirkby and had a son Edward in 1727.  From 1729 to 1747, John had 8 children with Jane listed as the mother.  John and Jane’s first child was Ann.  We can find no record of the death of Ann Dawson or of a second marriage for John.   When Edward, the child of John and Ann, dies in 1730, Jane is listed as the mother.  There are some possible answers to this dilemma, but they are speculative.  Ann Dawson’s mother’s name was Jane, and Ann also had a sister Jane.  It is possible that Ann and Jane are the same person.  It is also possible that John married Jane Dawson after her sister’s death.  We are trying to find wills for John and Edward which might help resolve the confusion, but this may be a mystery we can’t resolve.

John and Jane had a son, John, in 1734.  He married Susanna Panton and they are the parents of Elizabeth who married George Stephenson.  Click on the link below for an updated pedigree chart for Elizabeth. 

Eliz Wold Pedigree


The Would Family of Lincolnshire

May 16, 2010
As I have mentioned in previous posts, Sandra and I are planning on visiting Lincolnshire this summer.  We plan to visit Horncastle and Hogsthorpe where the Stephensons lived and see the cemeteries where the family is buried.  We will be visiting there with Pat Stephenson, my fourth cousin, and his wife Eve from Essex, England. 

View of the Lincolnshire Wolds.

We were happy that Pat and Eve spent a few days there last week and scouted out the area, but his report on the cemeteries was not encouraging.  The local graveyards are poorly maintained and the grave markers are mostly illegible.  They reported finding one marker with the Stephenson name but it was otherwise unreadable.  Pat and Eve did find some Would graves in Kirkby-Upon-Bain but were not sure whether these people were relatives.  Elizabeth Would, who married George Stephenson in 1797 was my 3rd great-grandmother.

In order to gather more information on the Woulds before we travel, we have been conducting some research.  Sandra started a project similar to what she had done in the past and it quickly got out of hand.  We ended up tracking all the Would/Wold/Woulds births and marriages on the IGI Index of England from 1568-1785.    This became an all day two-computer project, with me accessing the records and Sandra entering data into a spreadsheet.  We are now the proud owners of a monster Woulds data base.  In Lincolnshire alone, there were at least 75 family groups with children.  This does not count households without children.  The task now is to organize all this data and make sense of it.  This is the opposite of how we usually do genealogical research.  We usually begin with known family members and try to expand our lines.   While organizing these files is daunting, we are already finding things that we wouldn’t have seen in the normal way and are exciting about exploring further.  In the worst case, when we find Woulds buried in Kirby-Upon-Bain, we should be able to identify their families and how we connect to them.  In the next several posts, I will try to share our findings about this branch of the family.

It is interesting to note that about 90% of the Woulds in England settled in Lincolnshire.  The largest concentration was in and around Kirkby-Upon-Bain.  I have to believe that the name Would has something to do with the term Wold, meaning hills.  The Lincolnshire Wolds have been declared an Area Of Natural Beauty (AONB) and Horncastle bills itself as “The Gateway to the Lincolnshire Wolds.”  Some of the earliest Woulds settled in Alford, which is located within the Lincolnshire Wolds. Most of the rest of the family settled nearby to this region.


Pedigrees of George Stephenson and Elizabeth Wold (Would)

May 4, 2010

As promised, here are the the Pedigree Charts for George Stephenson and his wife Elizabeth Would.  I also have the information about many of the siblings in the ancestor trees, but space does not allow me to show them in this format.  If you would like to have the entire chart, send me a comment on this blog giving your e-mail address, and I will send you a complete Register Report that includes facts and notes. 

To make these two charts more legible, right click on the image and save as a file on your own computer.  You can then enlarge the image and print the page.

I want to call your attention to William and Elizabeth Stephenson and Martha Richardson, all on George Stephenson’s chart.  My records have previously stopped with Henry, the husband of Susanna Clark.  After reviewing the IGI records I am fairly confident that Henry’s parents were William and Elizabeth.  They had a son Thomas in 1664 and Henry was born in 1666.  These are the only Stephenson births recorded in Hogsthorpe in this time frame in the IGI records.

Another interesting finding is that Martha Richardson who married Henry Stephenson in Hogsthorpe in 1723 was christened as an adult after her marriage.  Previously, my records had shown that Henry and Martha had had a child Martha christened in 1723, but I now believe that to be incorrect.  Martha’s sister, Jane Richardson was also christened as an adult in 1725.


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