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.


Christenings of Martha and Jane Richardson

May 8, 2010

It has come to light in the last few days that sisters Martha and Jane Richardson married brothers Henry and Joseph Stephenson.  Martha married Henry in 1723, and Jane married Joseph in 1726.  Interestingly, both Martha and Jane were christened as adults.  Martha in 1723 (the year she married) in Hogsthorpe, and Jane in 1725 (the year before she married) in Mumby cum Chapel.  There were two other Richardson sisters, Mary and Susannah, but we have found no record of their being christened either as infants or adults.

Was being formally christening a rite that was important in order to be a Stephenson?  We are left to speculate.

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.

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  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, 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  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  The home page for the full site is

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 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  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  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, please respond in a comment to this post.  I can add you as a guest on 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, 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!

Winegar Hole Wilderness

January 19, 2010

There are a number of geographic locations in the country that are named Winegar most of which  I am not able to connect with our family.  An exception to that is Winegar Hole Wilderness which is within Caribou-Targhee National Forest in Wyoming and borders on Yellowstone National Park.  The area was established to protect prime grizzly bear habitat.  I have not visited the area, but my sister Donna Holmes and her daughter Dawne have been there.  They report that it is a very primitive area and that there is not much to see.  Dawne took pictures there and I hope to get some of her pictures to add to this site.

According to Wikipedia:  The Fremont County (Idaho) history says: “The same Egin Bench was the first settlement when Stephen Winegar and his four sons, George, Willis, Leonard and John, put up the first log shelter during the summer of 1879 when they cut and stacked the wild hay in the river bottoms.  Winegar Hole and “Gideon Winegar June, 1882, carved on the cliff beside the Snake River, are reminders of these early settlers.”

My genealogical records show that Stephen Winegar had sons Gideon and Willis.  He had brothers John and George.  Leonard was a common name in the family at that time, but I don’t show him as a son to Stephen.

Family Tree Maker shows that Stephen Winegar is my second cousin four times removed.  We have common ancestors.  We are both decended from Ulrich who settled in New York in 1710 and his son Garrett. Stephen is decended from Garrett’s son Samuel while my line goes through Garrett’s son Ulrich.  Samuel had a son Samuel Thomas who was Stephen’s father.

All the attached photographs were taken by Ralph Maughan.