Saturday, June 1, 2013

My Denyer Ancestors

I've blogged about my research on my Denyer ancestry before, but I thought I would create a summary post of what I have found so far.

Third Great Grandparents

Information on which I am fairly certain ends with my third great grandparents, William Denyer and Elizabeth Sliver. My third great grandather, William, was the immigrant, and he married Elizabeth Sliver in America. Most of my information about the two of them comes from the work of Rev. Abraham J. Fretz, in A Brief History of John and Christian Fretz and a Complete Genealogical Family Register, 1890. And the extent of the information provided about William was "He was born in the county of Southampton, Hampshire, England, November 22, 1794."

Fourth Great Grandparents

Most of my research and 'conclusions' on prior generations could be critiqued as "Cinderella Genealogy" - a term I created for a common fallacy among some family historians. If the shoe fits, the fairy tale Prince's reasoning went, it must belong Cinderella. Because, clearly, no one else in the kingdom wore the exact same size shoe. However, keeping my mind open to other alternatives, these look like the best matches.

Here's what I suspect is the marriage allegation for my fourth great grandparents, William and Jane Denyer.  According to Fretz, my second great grandfather, Ebenezer Denyer, had a sister named Jane Goldfinch, so a connection to the Goldfinch surname is likely. Farlington and Portsea are also both located in Hampshire.


Here are a list of baptisms from the Farlington Parish records. The parents for all of them, except Barnard Goldfinch Denyer, are listed as William and Jane. Barnard's parents are listed as William and Ann. I'm unsure if this is a clerical error or not. I suspect the William baptized in 1795 is my 3rd great grandfather, the immigrant. Baptisms several months after a birth aren't uncommon. FindMyPast indicates John Henry was baptized in 1796, which makes more sense, for if William and John Henry were twins, they likely would have been baptized together. All the public family trees on Ancestry.com that include William and Jane (Goldfinch) Denyer, include these children as theirs, so I am not alone in making this connection.

Absent documentation that the William Denyer who married Elizabeth Sliver was born in Farlington, and not elsewhere in Hampshire, this is supposition.

Fifth Great Grandparents

Here's a baptism record (from FindMyPast) for a William Denyer born in 1763, child of Richard and Elizabeth. 1763 is an unlikely birth year for the William Denyer who married Jane Goldfinch in 1791, as he was supposed to be 21 at the time of the marriage allegation. However, the text of the marriage allegation is a transcription. Someone born in 1763 could have been 27 in 1791, and a 27 could be mis-transcribed easily as a 21.

Here's a 1771 baptism transcription for a William Denyer, illegitiamate son of a William Denyer and Elizabeth Fyfield. This is a more likely possibility, if the marriage allegation is correctly transcribed.

The Farlington Parish burial records include three Denyers (Robert, Ann, and William - with William indicated as their son, and born in 1763) in April of 1807. Most of the public family trees at Ancestry indicate this William as Jane Goldfinch's husband. I haven't found a 1763 baptism for a William, son of Robert and Ann. None of the public family trees cite such a source. It's possible someone somewhere has found birth information for this William, perhaps from his death records, however, without any documentary evidence, I am uncertain this is the same William who married Jane Goldfinch.

It is entirely reasonable to believe there may have been two William Denyers of similar age living in Farlington at the same time. It's a fairly common name.

Onto Jane's parents

Here's a transcription of a 1766 baptism for a Jane Goldfinch, daughter of George and Jane. This is unlikely due to the year, since Jane was also supposed to be 21 in 1791, and neither 24 nor 25 are likely to be mis-transcribed as 21. Many online family trees identify Jane's parents as George and Jane, without any documentary evidence that it is the correct match. Goldfinch is another somewhat common surname.

I haven't found a baptism closer to 1770 for a Jane Goldfinch. However, I have found a Barnard Goldfinch of Portsea, who died in 1789, and whose will indicated he had an unmarried daughter named Jane. The marriage allegation above indicated Jane was from Portsea, not Widley.

One avenue of research I have considered is to try to research the history of ownership of the plot of land that is described in the will, and assigned to Jane. If I'm correct, it should have transferred from the Goldfinch to the Denyer family after William and Jane were married in 1791. Of course, it appears that William and Jane Goldfinch Denyer settled in Farlington, and not Portsea. So even if it was this Jane who inherited Barnard Goldfinch's land, it may not have been kept by her after the marriage. I have done a search for all the Denyers living in Portsea in the 1841 Census. There are a handful.

1 comment:

Ken Zimmerman Jr. said...

Your post illustrates that you have to love genealogy to do it well. It is a lot of digging and you still come up empty handed sometimes. Every once in a while though, you hit that seam of gold and it makes it all worth while.

I like your point about multiple names. If you want to have fun, look for William Ellis in the early 1800s in Virginia.