kerbent on Family Tree Circles
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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.
On John Bassett?s death certificate (died in Eaglehawk, Victoria, Australia) in 1868 his age was 80 and his parents were William Bassett and Mary Unknown. Therefore we deducted that he must have been born in circa 1788.
Research turned up a John Bassett christened 27 March 1788, St Izzey, Cornwall his parents were William Bassett and Mary Symons. At this point we felt very excited that we had found our John. However, after further research a descendant was found in Roma, Queensland, Australia who refuted our claim of kinship ? in the nicest way possible.
The following information was forwarded for us to digest:-
John Bassett [son of William Bassett (1761-1831) & Mary Symons (1767-1832)] Christened 27 Mar 1788 in St Izzy, Cornwall who died 7th Oct 1851 in Fairwater House, Taunton Somerset.John was a lunatic confined to Fairwater House Lunatic Asylum for many years admitted July 1828 having previously been a patient at a similar establishment near Tauton, Fivehead House since 25 Oct 1822.This was a wholesale move and transfer of license from the one to the other asylum by the same surgeon/owner. Private patient. Cause of death peritonitis and effusion in the chest (Somerset RO 1/5/87).
This therefore couldn't be the John Bassett who married Martha Carbis as he died in England in 1851 whereas our John died in Eaglehawk, Victoria, Australia in 1868
So it was back to the drawing board, until a second promising John Bassett was unearthed, who was also born in Madron
John Bassett christened 5 September 1790, Madron, Cornwall Unfortunately only one parent is given, the father, in the Madron Parish records see below
"5 Sep 1790 John s/o William Bassett, pauper at Madron"
On John Bassett's death certificate1 in 1868 his father is listed as William, a farmer, and his mother is listed as Mary unknown, a farmers wife.
Another conundrum perhaps John's parents had in the past been farmer but had become paupers just before John was born?
It would seem highly likely that the descendants in Australia had no clear memory of who John's parents were, or what their occupations were. Australia is a long way away and death certificates are not the most reliable source of information.
So until someone comes along to prove something different I've decided to lay claim to this John, at least for the momment.
Hopefully somebody can help - There has been a fair amount of confusion around who the parents of my John Bassett who was born in England and died in Victoria, Australia. I would value any help that could help me (and other descendants) get over this brick wall. I've tried to lay out the logic of my conclusion so that others might be able to show me where I'm wrong or perhpas an altervative way of approaching the same problem
Sandra from down under in Australia
When was John Bassett Snr Born?
On John Bassett's death certificate (died in Eaglehawk) in 1868 his age was 80 (birthdate would then be 1788)
In the 1841 census he was listed as being aged 50 born possibly in 1787-91
In the 1851 census he was listed as being aged 60 born possibly born in 1791
In the 1861 census he was listed as being aged 70 born possibly born in 1791
On his death certificate is states that was 80 years old when he died in 1868 which would have made his birth date 1788
From the above evidence it would seem that John Basset was probably born between 1788 and 1790.
Possible Candidates for the position of our John Bassett
John Bassett christened 27 March 1788, St Izzey, Cornwall his parents were William Bassett and Mary Symons. This John Bassett however died 7th Oct 1851 in Fairwater House, Taunton Somerset. John was a lunatic confined to Fairwater House Lunaic Asylum for many years admitted July 1828 having previously been a patient at a similar establishment near Tauton, Fivehead House since 25 Oct 1822. This was a wholesale move and transfer of licence from the one to the other asylum by the same surgeon/owner. Private patient. Cause of death peritonitis and effusion in the chest (Somerset RO 1/5/87)
John Bassett christened 5 September 1790, Madron, Cornwall Unfortunately only one parent is given, the father, to a William Bassett according to the Madron Parish records see below http://madronparishrecords.tripod.com/id24.html
"5 Sep 1790 John s/o William Bassett, pauper at Madron"
This could be MY John Bassett however on his death certificate it stated that John Bassett's parents were farmers (which may or may not be accurate), if his parents were farmers it is unlikely they would have been listed as paupers on his christening record.
Any one got any ideas?
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