Martha Carbiss parents and her family of Origin
This article was originally published in Familytreecircles on 23 Oct 2007 and was updated on 13 Sept 2016.
Martha Carbis is my 3 x great grandmother, on her Australian death certificate it states that her father's name was Richard Carbis and her Mother was Ann unknown. Her father was a Mariner according to the death certificate. Martha married my 3 x great grandfather in 1812 in Paul, Cornwall.
As death certificates are not a reliable source of information, John Carbis (from the U.K) who runs the One Name Society Data for Carbis World Wide, was contacted as another possible source of information. He had in his possession the Marriage Banns entry for John Bassett and Martha Carbis of Paul Parish. On inspection of the Banns entry it was discovered that one of the witnesses on the Banns was a Daniel Drew.
Further research was then conducted to try and find a Carbis family whose mothers maiden name was Drew. When searching the IGI I used the First name of Ann married to a man with the surname Carbis to look for possible children. Eventually, I found a William Carbis who had married an Ann Drew who had amongst their children a Martha Carbis who had the same year of birth as my 3xgreatgrandmother.
William Carbis and Ann Drew had five children, all were baptised in the Paul Parish Church
i. Ann Drew CARBIS (1784- )
ii.William CARBIS (1789- )
iii. Martha CARBENCE (1792- )
iv. Martha CARBIS (Cir 1793-1882) (my 3xgreatgrandmother)
v. Richard CARBIS (1797- )
The idea that my 3xgreatgrandmother Marthas father was William Carbis rather than Richard Carbis is supported by the following 3 points:
1.The change of her father's Christian name was an attempt to hide family Convict connections.
A family story through the generations was that one of the early Bassett brothers (which generation this concerned was not clear) was charged for horse stealing in Cornwall but managed to escape to France/America and was never caught. Following this lead led us to look for some evidence of criminal activity.
The real story turned out to be much more interesting than the family legend after all.
In an article that appeared in The West Briton and Cornwall Advertiser and another article on the 7th April 1815 in the Royal Gazette on the 22nd April 1815 it appears that William Carbis Marthas father was involved in sheep stealing in 1813.
William Carbis, sen. William Carbis jun. and Francis Bassett, a father, son and son-in-law, were indicted for stealing two ewe sheep belonging to Miss Borlase, of Madron, in December 1812
"The bill" was found by the Grand Jury in the Crown Bar during the Lent Assizes in 1813. However, the proceedings were suspended as the all the accused had absconded. According to a report in the "West Briton & Cornwall Advertiser", when the constables went to arrest them they were unable to execute their warrants, as all three men had gone to sea.
Based on the newspaper story we were able to link Martha with her family as demonstrated below through their connections with William Carbis (in the newspaper referred as William Carbis sen.) and his five children with his wife Ann Drew the 3 connections are confirmed.
It is hard to know if this was her father’s first foray into criminal activity. Martha was married 9 months before this event took place and perhaps the shame was so great for Martha that she changed her father’s name, using her youngest brother’s first name to conceal her relationship? The white lie helped to distance hers from her father’s misdeeds (?). Once in Australia people were unaware of the families criminal and convict connections and only a vague tale of horse theft remained attributed to no-one in particular as a small reminder of what had been left behind.
2. Naming Patterns of the times as explained below were common practice between 1700 and 1875. Both the Carbis and Bassett families seem to have used them as evidenced by certain names recurring down through the generations. Using these patterns working back from the children of John Bassett and Martha Carbis it is quite possible that Martha's fathers name is William Bassett.
Naming Patterns 1700-1875
The first Son was named after the fathers father (Marthas oldest son is John)
Second son named after mothers father (Marthas second son is William)
Third son named after the father
Fourth son named after fathers eldest brother
First daughter named after mothers mother
Second daughter named after fathers mother
Third daughter named after mother
Fourth daughter named after mothers eldest sister
Exceptions to the pattern occur when the naming system produced a duplication of names.
In that case ,the name was taken from the next on the list.
Another break in the pattern could be caused by a death.
If a child died in infancy, then the parents would name the subsequent new born the same name
Taken from: Tracing your Origins. By Angus Baxter.
3. The informant for the death certificate was not a family member, and would not have knowledge of the background of Martha Bassett nee Carbis.
Based on the above evidence I have come to the conclusion that Martha's parents were most likely William Carbis and Ann Drew of the Paul Parish, Cornwall.
I'd be interested to hear from anyone who has anything to add to my conclusions or wishes to dispute them. It would be great to add something more. Establishing connections between families and generations is very challenging, its very easy to make jumps in logic before I've realised what I'm doing.