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  1. #1

    Default Opinion please! Baptisms, 1600s, Staffs

    My family has lived in Wednesbury, Staffs from approx. 1679 to the present day. I won't go into all the details as they really aren't relevant to my question.

    Recently it was suggested that the earliest documented ancestor born about 1650, was the son of a Thomas Richards theoretically born about 1605, but not baptized until 1675, the baptism record from Wednesbury, St Bartholomew states Thomas Richards son of John the miller, there is also a death record for a Thomas son of John the miller dated 1684.

    It is not usual for the death record of an adult, in this case a person who would have been ~ 80 years old to have the father's name and/or occupation on a death record.

    It is also suggested that the all 6 siblings of this person were also born in the early 1600s but all baptized between 1673 and 1684 at St Bartholomew.
    I have the Wednesbury, St Bartholomew records download from BMSGH and the records do include these baptisms and the death.
    My opinion is that this suggestion is exceptionally unlikely to be correct? And is wishful thinking?

    Related questions, it is also suggested that 'Thomas married about 1645 to Mary Anne Smith', was a baptism certificate/ registration a requirement for a marriage. Was Wolverhampton St Peters where such a marriage would have taken place?
    Is it reasonable to suggest that during the Civil war records either were not kept or no longer exist? That would still mean that there are no records

  2. #2
    Loves to help with queries
    Join Date
    Nov 2009


    What is the case with other baptismal records in this parish? If it is just an isolated case,it does seem unlikely. I know that for a short period in Great Harwood in Lancashire the vicar did put the fathers of 80 year old men who died and very useful it is too.

  3. #3


    Did the person who made these suggestions give their sources? I have to admit that it looks to me as if they might have confused data for two people... however, my main expertise lies among the Scottish records. Survival of 17th records is patchy for all sorts of reasons, but I would be surprised if someone managed to persuade a Minister to marry them in a Church without producing a baptismal registration, and if they did, why bother getting it done again in life? It also seems unlikely that 7 siblings from a family would be baptized together so long after their births in a time of low life expectancy. One way to check might be to look for the deaths of the other siblings - see how many were actually alive in the 1670s.
    One possibility which turns up in Scottish records (I don’t know how common it is in English) is where a Minister was negligent in recording events and his successor tried to play catch-up. In my one place study, I have 1 Minister who lived into his 90s, but who was obviously not active as the surrounding Ministers ran a rota to take Sunday services. He recorded very little, and the records after his death record whole families who had produced their baptismal certificates for the new guy.

    A change in denomination is another possibility, but again that’s more common in Scotland and in the next centuries.

    Sorry, I seem to be throwing more mud into the story rather than helping. It does look like an opportunity to research all the individual family members over the early 17th century...

  4. #4
    Knowledgeable and helpful
    Join Date
    Oct 2007


    It looks rather like wishful thinking to me. English records for the Commonwealth period have great gaps and no Bishops Transcripts to aid - there were no bishops to send them to, so they weren't kept. Have you had a look for wills of the relevant surname and period? It can be possible if there are enough of them to build up quite a tree for a family. If someone is mentioned in a will, you have a date by which you can be sure they were alive, and if they left issue, even if they are dead. Context can indicate approximate ages as well. Send me a PM if you want further explanation of what I mean.pwholt

  5. #5
    Super Moderator - Completely bonkers and will never change.
    Join Date
    Oct 2004


    Quote Originally Posted by grannytimes3 View Post
    I have the Wednesbury, St Bartholomew records download from BMSGH and the records do include these baptisms and the death.
    I would have said that a lot of the so-called findings were wishful except for this sentence.
    However only yesterday I was reading an article in an old (as in 1999!) family history magazine in which the author stressed the absolute importance of reading the introduction to any index. e.g.
    The introduction might say something such as 'There are no baptisms, marriages or burials recorded between 1750 and 1756 which may indicate that the pages have been removed from the register'. I have one index which says that only BTs exist for a range of years in the 1700s because the church caught fire and the PR was lost.

    I would also want to see the original documents. I've seen some alleged PRs where the writing looks too neat and tidy to have been done by the same member of clergy over a period of years and I think they're actually a copy of an earlier document. Usually as the vicar ages his writing deteriorates and becomes harder to read.

    Vulcan XH558 - “Don't cry because it's over, smile because it happened.”

  6. #6


    I don't dispute that Thomas Richards and his siblings existed, the baptism records date from 1673 to 1684
    My concern with the suggestion is that there is nothing to connect Thomas to his alleged son.

    The documented ancestor George married at Walsall, St Matthew in 1678, and there are many Richards records for St Matthew in the appropriate time frame, that is where I hoped to find a record of his birth, but there isn't one. His children were all baptised at St Bartholomew starting in 1679.
    There is a record for a George Richards baptised in Wellington Shropshire in 1649, parents William and Katherine, and as he named two of his children William and Katherine it seems plausible.

    According to FreeReg There are no records for St Bartholomew from 1650-59.

  7. #7


    After a week of trying to track down the connection between 'Thomas' and his 'children' I finally found the source, it is an unsourced entry on a family tree, the only source given is another unsourced family tree,
    Thanks to everyone for your advice

  8. #8


    Me, I’d trust FreeReg. GENUKI might provide backup info on available records.

  9. #9


    Looking at the registers for St Bartholomew spotted the following in the frame to be siblings to Thomas Richards, bap 23 May 1675 -
    8 Nov 1668 - William, son of John and Anne Richards - no mention of occupation
    20 Dec 1670, John, son of John Richards. Note - there's a possibility "miller" appears at end of line (but, of course, I might just be seeing I want to see!!)
    29 Sep 1672, Ann dau of John Richards, miller
    4 Jan 1673, Robert son of John Richards, miller
    Thomas baptised
    21 Jan 1676, Joseph son of John Richards, miller
    1 Jun 1679, Edward son of John Richards, miller
    27 Feb 1680, Samuel son of John Edwards, miller
    27 Oct 1684, Martha dau of John Richards, miller

    A possible marriage for the parents of this bunch is -
    John Richards, miller, age 28 and Anne Forrest, age 30, married 22 Aug 1665 at West Bromwich. But this would put Ann nearly 50 having the last child?. The image should be available on FMP but I'm having trouble in pulling it up.
    "dyfal donc a dyr y garreg"

  10. #10


    I got the FMP marriage image, the transcription seems accurate, Also found on FS, described as miller

    Baptism of John, 26 Dec 1671, Free Reg has father's occupation transcribed as milner, a variation of miller

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