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John THOMAS born Tavistock, Cornwall died Eaglehawk, Victoria, Australia

There is an unusual headstone for one of my ancestors John Thomas in Eaglehawk Cemetery, Eaglehawk, Victoria, Australia.

It is unusual because it has ceramic tiles inlaid into the headstone that are quite ornate.

The headstone has three sections

The top section reads
In / loving memory / of / John Thomas / aged 70 years, / born in Devonshire, / Died at Sandhurst / May 22nd 1879 / The faith the conquers all, / And doth the mountains move, / And saves who'er on Jesus call, / And perfects them in love.

The section carved into the granite below the tiled section
Also / Maragaret Thomas / unable to read next four lines that are engraved into the granite under the tiled decorative section of the headstone

Bottom section an atached cement plaque
Greatly beloved / by their children

According to his death certificate, the informant was his son Michael Thomas he was born in Tavistock, Cornwall.(source John Thomas Death Certificate Year 1879 registration #4501)

I would like to know if it was common for people born in this region to have their headstones decorated with ceramic tiles?
I feel there must be some significance with the tiles but am not sure what it could be and would interested in other peoples thoughts or ideas on the subject?
I would also be interested in making contact with anyone connected to John Thomas and his family.


Thomas JACKA and Elizabeth GILBERT orignally from St Buryan, & then relocated to St Sithney, Cornwall

Thomas Jacka and Elizabeth Gilbert are my 5 x great grandparents
Thomas Jacka was christened on 15 Aug 1733 and married in 1760 to Elizabeth Gilbert, both events took St Buryan.

Elizabeth Gilbert was born 9 July 1732 in St Buryan (sources: IGI, collaborated by The Jelbert Society in Thomas Gilbart (Morvah & St Buryan), this assertion is support by the custom of the day that marriages took place in the brides's church.

Thomas and Elizabeth are both buried in St Erth (source: Dees St Erth, Cornwall, UK Genealogy Page)). It is thought that Thomass father, John Jacka, originally came from St Erth so perhaps this is why Thomas returned there, before he died, perhaps there was some family connection there that drew him back.
Establishing the links between different family members
Transcription of the Probate/Death Duty Register entry for Thomas Jacka
(Source Citation: IR 26/339, EXETER: Cornwall Archdeaconry, Repository The National Archives, Kew, Richmond, Surrey, TW9 4DU)
(Note this is not the original will, but instead a copy made by the clerk.(source:CORNISH PROBATE RECORDS))

Date of the Probate or Admin & Sum Sworn
- 1796, May 4th, Under 300
Name and description of Testator or Intestate
-Thomas Jacka of St Erth, Yeoman
Names & places of Abode of the Exeors or Administrators
John, Joseph & James Jacka, Residuary Legatees, sons of John Jacka, The remainder of his goods
Auxiliary Legatees -
- Abraham Jacka, son, One hundred Pounds
- Elizabeth Jacka, Daughter, Fifty Pounds
- Ann Jacka, Daughter, Fifty Pounds

(Note - A 'yeoman' described as such in a nineteenth century census or directory was someone who owned his own land. This could be a big or a small landowner, especially when the term is used in a directory, but the census might more usually describe a big landowner as a 'landed proprietor'. A yeoman might in other contexts be described as a 'gentleman'source:- Index of Old Occupations)

All the children (see list below) except the two eldest sons, Thomas and William, are included in the Will. Both sons had already married so perhaps their father had already given them their inheritance while he was still alive?

Cornish Will Abstract for Thomas Jacka, St Erth yeoman
written - 04-Apr 1796
proved - 04-May 1796
pages - 421/422

son - Abraham
daughters - Elizth, Ann Jacka
3 sons - John, Joseph, James
witnesses - Thomas Ellis, James Otey

(Source:- Cornish Will Abstracts 1793 1797, Microfilm #0090202, Barons Morishe Reference found on.Dees St Erth, Cornwall, UK Genealogy Page))
Note yet to be sighted, may contain further information that maybe of interest

Thomas Jacka and Elizabeth Gilberts children:
1. Thos (Thomas) JACKA 1760-1833) who married Anna Moyse in 1790
2. William JACKA (1763- ?) who married Margaret Wood in 1790
3. John JACKA (1764- ?) who married Mary Lambrick in 1800
4. Elizabeth JACKKA 1766-1849) who married William Jelbart in 1800
5. Abraham JACKA 1769- ?)married ?
6. Joseph JACKA (1771- ?) who married Charity Berryman in 1798
7. James JACCKA (1774- ?) who married Eleanor Hammill in 1800
8. Ann JACKA (1777- ?)

Interested in making contact with anyone also researching the Jacka and/or Gilbert names in Cornwall.


10 comment(s), latest 3 years, 9 months ago

Understanding the Probate of Thomas Jacka 1796

Thomas Jacka is my 5 x great grandfather, so I was very excited when I found the listing of his will in the A2A archives. But now I realise locating the will is one thing but understanding is entirely another. If any one can shed any light on the context and meaning of the will that would be great. Below is a summary of my musings so far.

Transcription of the will entry
[Source Citation: IR 26/339, EXETER: Cornwall Archdeaconry, Repository The National Archives, Kew, Richmond, Surrey, TW9 4DU]
Date of the Probate or Admin & Sum Sworn - 1796, May 4th, Under 300
Name and description of Testator or Intestate - Thomas Jacka of St Erth, Yeoman
Names & places of Abode of the Exeors or Administrators John, Joseph & James Jacka, Residuary Legatees, sons of John Jacka, The remainder of his goods
Auxiliary Legatees -
- Abraham Jacka, son, One hundred Pounds
- Elizabeth Jacka, Daughter, Fifty Pounds
- Ann Jacka, Daughter, Fifty Pounds

- Wills beginning in 1715, are not original wills, but are instead the copies made by the clerk.CORNISH PROBATE RECORDS

- that of all the children (see list below) the two eldest children Thomas and William are not included in the Probate. Both sons had already married so perhaps their father had already given them their inheritance while he was still alive.

Thomas Jacka and Elizabeth Gilberts children:
1. Thos (Thomas) JACKA1760-1833) who married Anna Moyse in 1790
2. William JACKA(1763- ?) who married Margaret Wood in 1790
3. John JACKA(1764- ?) who married Mary Lambrickin 1800
4. Elizabeth JACKKA1766-1849) who married William Jelbartin 1800
5. Abraham JACKA 1769- ?)married ?
6. Joseph JACKA(1771- ?) who married Charity Berryman in 1798
7. James JACCKA(1774- ?) who married Eleanor Hammillin 1800
8. Ann JACKA(1777- ?)

My questions
1. Is 300 pounds a lot of money for this era
2. Is it common for the oldest children to be left off the will etc; and if they could have been given their inheritance before the father died. What laws applied at the time etc, etc.
3. There are three "exeors" or administrators are John, Joseph and James Jacka.
a. Why isn't Abraham one of these, when he gets the biggest amount of money??
b. He doesn't seem to be married as yet I have found no such record?
c. Why aren't Thomas and William administrators? If they had already received their inheritance, couldn't they still have been administrators, especially seeing they are the eldest 2 sons??
d. Are Thomas and William living in the same town - perhaps they are living too far away to be involved?

My Bassett Family from Cornwall to Australia

The Pattern of Arrival
After initial research it appeared that John Bassett first came out to Australia in 1861 as part of a larger family group on the SS Great Britain (Voyage 21) which arrived in Melbourne on the 23rd Dec 1861. He arrived with wife Martha, and daughters Ann Davey and Martha Rowe, their husbands and children and soon to be daughter-in-law Eleanor Symons.
The passenger list shows that on Board were in the following groupings, the comments in the brackets were not on the passenger list but are my own musings
(Group 1)
1. John Bassett, aged 70
2. Mrs M Bassett, aged 65
3. Miss Samions, aged 27 9 (should read Symons, and soon to be wife of James Bassett)
(Group 2)
4. Mrs Ann Davey, aged 35 (formerly Bassett)
5. Elizebeth Davey, aged 16
6. Jane Davey, aged 18
7. John Davey, aged 12
8. Stephen Davey, aged 9
(Group 3)
9. James Rowe, aged 38
10. Mrs Rowe, aged 32 (formerly Martha Bassett)
11. Julia Rowe, aged 8
12. Martha Rowe, aged 5
13. Nanney Rowe, aged 1

After a little more digging it appears that at least John Bassett (Snr) and John Bassett (Jnr) made several trips backwards and forwards between Australia and England before being joined by the rest of the extended family. The idea that several members of the family commuted between Australia and England before the rest of the family arrived is supported by the following evidence:-
- a notation on a mining lease application made in Victoria, Australia for ground in Specimen Hill, Sailors Gully on the 4th Feburary 1861 which included the following special remarks that The applicant had been in possession of the ground for 5 years (Bendigo Lease Register, Department of Energy and . Registery of Applicationg) indicating that John Bassett was already mining in the area on this site in 1855.
- A reference to John Bassett in The Methodist History of Victoria and Tasmania: Originally published in the Spectator, Volume 2, 1998 onwards "Mr John Bassett, known as Grandfather Bassett, was a much-loved and esteemed local preacher and class-leader; also was Mr. T. Featonby and others, whose names cannot be erased by time, as their works follow them. Mr. Bassett was called Home at 80 years of age in 1869". After talking to Professor Ian Breward the archivist at the Uniting Church archives in Victoria Australia, Professor Breward felt that such terms of endearment indicated that John Bassett (Snr) must have arrived earlier than 1861 in Australia to be refered to as "a much-loved and esteemed local preacher".. This lead us to look further afield and we found a John Bassett on the Marco Polo 1853 which may have been our John Bassett accompanied by another John Bassett (Jnr). (The ages match perfectly). Listed on the passenger list were John Bassett, aged 53 & John Bassett, aged 32.
- It is interesting to note that one of the "family stories" is that John Bassett (Snr) was wealthy and bought over a lot Cornish miners; perhaps the story should be that he went backwards and forwards between Australia and Cornwall bringing across different family members until the whole family had migrated to Australia

Over a thirteen year period the entire family moved to Australia, it appears that almost all of John & Marthas family and their descendants came out to Australia.

The first firm record that we have of John Bassett (snr) and John Bassett (jnr) coming out to Australia is on the Marco Polo in May 1853

John Bassett (jnr) appears to re-entered Australia again in January 1854 on the Marco Polo perhaps after returning back to Cornwall with his father or alone.

The next group to arrive were to arrive on the Royal Charter in July 1857(VPRS 7666 Fiche Reference 127 Page 004)
John Bassett, 36 yrs, Miner, Son of John Bassett and Martha Carbis
Catherine Bassett, 33 yrs, Nee Davey sister to Stephen Davey
Francis Basset, 11 yrs, John and Catherine bought all their children with them
John Bassett, 10 yrs
Catherine Bassett, 8 yrs
Martha Bassett, 6 yrs
William Bassett, 40 yrs, Miner, Williams wife, Martha and his children arrived 1866 see below for details almost 11 years later.
Stephen Davey, Stephens wife Ann was left to follow in 4 years later with her parents John & Martha Bassett.

We know that John Bassett (Snr) - arrived with his wife and their two married daughters and their children on the SS Great Britain as outlined above

The final group to arrive in Australia was on the True Britain which departed in February 1866
1. Martha Bassett, 49 yrs wife William Bassett
2. Mary Bassett, 22
3. John Bassett, 12
4. Elizabeth Bassett, 15
5. Matilda J. Bassett, 17, according to my musings this is probably Martha Jnr
6. Nanny Bassett, 23

In summary the family migrated to Australia in the following order
John Bassett Snr came out multiple times
And Johns wife - Martha Bassett nee Carbis came out in 1861
When their children came out in the :
1. John Bassett (Abt 1814-1815) died in Cornwall before the family migrated
2. William Bassett (Cir 1816-1869) came out in 1857
3. John Bassett (1820-1865) came out multiple times
4. Francis Bassett (Cir 1823-1839) died in Cornwall before the family migrated
5. Anne Bassett (1826-1904) came out in 1861
6. Martha Bassett (Cir 1828-1907) came out in 1861
7. James Bassett (Cir 1832-Cir 1833) died in Cornwall before the family migrated
8. James Bassett (Cir 1833-1879) I have been unable to locate when James my 2x great grandfather came out to Australia
9. Samuel Bassett (1838-1839) died in Cornwall before the family migrated

Of their grandchildren I still have to locate what happened to the following individuals

William Bassett & Martha Moffatt
Nanny Bassett b. Cir 1841, St Erth, Penwith, Cornwall, England
William Norman Bassett b. 1845, Crowan, Cornwall, England

John Bassett & Catherine Davey
John Bassett b. Between Jun 1846 and Sep 1846, Cornwall, England
William Bassett b. Cir 1854
James Bassett b. Cir 1857

Anne Bassett & Stephen Davey
Ann Bassett Davey c. 15 Jan 1854, Crowan, Cornwall, England
Catherine Davey c. 4 Mar 1857, Crowan, Cornwall, England d. 1862?

Martha Bassett & James Rowe
Martha Bassett Rowe c. 1852, Breage, Cornwall, England
Henry B Rowe b. 1860

I would be interesting in contacting anyone been able to locate what happened to the above individuals particulary since it appears that everyone else would have migrated to Australia? I am presuming that they would have died in Cornwall but I am not sure.

I would also be interested in finding out when James Bassett (Cir 1833-1879) came out to Australia, the earliest record i have of him in Australia at present is in Aug 1859 when his name appears on a mining list with his two brothers John Bassett, William Bassett, and Stephen Davey his brother-in-law.

My EBBOTT BAKER connection in Tremaine, CORNWALL

In my quest ot verify the connection between several generations of my ancestoral (Baker/Ebbott) family I have hit a brick wall, although I have a transcript of a will from a book that clearly establishs the connection I have been unable to find the original copy to verify this information.

I have been able to locate my ancestors tombstone in the Tremaine Church yard in Cornwall and thanks to a distant travelling relative I also have a photo.

The tombstone reads :- Sacred / To the Memory of / John Ebbott of Westcott in this Parish / who finished his course May 29 1825 aged 73 years ./ ALSO in memory of WILMET his wife / Who departed this life on the 2? day of January 1845 / Aged 91 years

Further research on the IGI reveals that John Ebbot married Wilmot Baker on 26 Jun 1775 in the same church in which they were eventually burried.. (I have not yet viewed the original church record of the marriage)

According to the book "Our Cornish Heritage Genealogies of Reed, Rowe, Ebbott and related families Immigrants to Jefferson County, Wisconsin" by S.D.Reed, when Wilmets father, John Baker, died she inherited the family farm Westcott. The notion that the John Ebbott owned or at least lived on Westcott is reinforced by its mention on the his gravestone.

The inheritance is further confirmed by the transcription of John Bakers will, which according to S.D.Reed was proved on 23 October 1793 (page XI-22).

The will helps to verify three generations of the Baker-Ebbot lineage, by the use of such phrases as follows:-
Generation One
I, John Baker
my wife Margery Baker
Generation Two
son-in-law, John Ebbott
daughter Wilmot Ebbott (obviusly wife of John Ebbott)
Generation Three
grandson Phillip Ebbott
Elizabeth Ebbott

The picure that I have been able to build of John BAKERs descendants as outlined by his will (with the additional information from his gravestone. and other sources) is as follows.

First Generation
1. John BAKER was born circa 1730, died in Jul 1793 in Tremaine, Cornwall, at age 63, and was buried on 29 Jul 1793 in Tremaine Churchyard, Tremaine, Cornwall. John married Margery. Margery was born in 1731 and she was buried on 16 Aug 1815.
Children from this marriage were:

i. Wilmot BAKER was born in Feb 1752 in Tresmeer, Cornwall, christened on 4 May 1755 in Tremaine, , Cornwall, England, UK, died in 1845 in Cornwall, England, UK at age 93, and was buried on 2 Jan 1845.
ii. Mary BAKER

Second Generation
1. Wilmot BAKER married John EBBOT, son of Gregory EBBOTT and Dorothay UPTON, on 26 Jun 1775 in Tremaine, Cornwall, England.

Children from this marriage were:
i. Philip Upton EBBOTT was christened on 7 Feb 1776 in Tresmeer, Cornwall, England, United Kingdom, died on 20 May 1851 in Trerunmer, Tresmeer, Cornwall, England, United Kingdom at age 75, and was buried on 23 May 1851.
ii. Elizabeth EBBOTT was born on 30 Jan 1778 in Badharlick, Egloskerry, Cornwall, England, UK and was christened on 30 Jan 1778 in Tresmeer, Cornwall, England, United Kingdom.

3. Mary BAKER married John JOLIFFE
Children from this marriage were:
ii. Grace JOLIFFE
iii. Richard JOLIFFE

I am interested in making contact with any other Ebbott/Baker researchers. I am also interested in how to go about finding the original document of John Bakers will, any and all ideas welcome, I have done several searches (online) in the English archives but as yet have had no luck.


John & Martha Bassett In Breage between 1820 to cirica 1861

John Bassett and Martha Carbis, married in the Paul parish in 1812, and lived in St Hilary from 1815 to 1820. The couple moved from St Hillary and then lived in various places in Breage between 1820 and 1851 before leaving the area.

Evidence of where they were lived in Breage can be found in two of the local parish churches and also in the 1841 and 1851 census records

Parish Church Records

A list of John & Marthas children who were christened in Breage are found in the following parish churches are as follows:-

the Germoe church:-
*John 1820 (IGI)
*Francis 1823 (Transcribed from the Parish Records by the On line *Parish Clerk)
*Anne 1826 (IGI)
*Martha 1828 (IGI)
*Samuel 1838 (Transcribed from the Parish Records by the On line Parish Clerk)

the St Breaca church:-

*James 1833 who was also burried in this church in 1833 (Transcribed Parish Records by a fellow researcher)
*James 1834 (Transcribed from the Parish Records by a fellow researcher)

(It appears as though these churches were quite close together, according to the Parish Locator program about 2 miles apart, why the family had various children christened in two different churches is unknown. According to Genuki Germoe has been considered as a separate parish for many years, but the Church has been subordinate to that of Breage. It is located in the far south-west of Cornwall, sandwiched between the parishes of Godolphin and Breage. This was eminently a mining parish, but it also had some good farms. Originally, the houses and shops were built to satisfy the needs of miners digging for tin and china clay)

Census Records

In the Census records the family can be found residing in the following places

Blowing House Stamps, Breage
(HO107/136/3, Folio:64, Page:19)
1. John Bassett, aged 50, Tin Miner, born Cornwall
2. Martha Bassett, aged 45, , born Cornwall
3. William Bassett, aged 25, Tin Miner, born Cornwall
4. John Bassett, aged 20, Tin Miner, born Cornwall
5. Ann Bassett, aged 15, Dressing, born Cornwall
5. Martha Bassett, aged 12, Dressing, born Cornwall
6. James Bassett, aged 8, born Cornwall

Godolphin Mine, Breage, Cornwall
(HO107/1913(11) Folio 245 Page 14)
The following list of people were recorded as living in the house -
1. John Bassett, Head, aged 60,Tin Dresser, born in Madryn Cornwall,,
2. Martha Bassett,Wife aged 57, born in Paul Cornwall,,
3. James Bassett,Son, aged 16, Tin Miner, born in Breage Cornwall,,
4. Martha Bassett,Dau, aged 22,Tin Dressing, born in Breage Cornwall

In the 1861 the family havd moved out of the area to Fraddam, Gwinear also in Cornwall
In summary it appears that they lived in Breage in the following places

Troon Tanner - between 1820 and 1833)
(which I believe was tenement in Breage according to An Index to the Historical Place Names of Cornwall

During this period the following children were born John (1820), Franics (1823), Anne (1828), Martha (1828), James (1833) who was also buriied the same year, James (1834), although not all were christened in the same church.

Percolly, Germoe 1823

According to Francis Bassetts christening records the family appear to be living in Percolly. Percolly could be the name of a house in Toon Tranner or a small villiage however at this stage I am not sure, more information is needed.

Godolphin Downs - Betweeen 1833 and 1839 the family (according to their sons James christening record and Samuels burial record,)

Godolphin 1839
this could be the same place as Godolphin Downs, which was listed on Samuels christening record

Blowing House Stamps - by 1841

Godolphin Mine - by 1851

The family had moved out of the area by 1861.

I would like to sort out the various places where the family lived and I would like also to determine if these places are one and the same such as blowing House Stamps and the Godolphin mine and how Percolly fits in? The more details I get the more information I need to make sense of it all.


John Bassett and Martha Carbis in St Hilary between 1815 and 1820

After John Bassett and Martha Carbis got married by Banns in the Paul parish church on the 15 Mar 1812. Their first born, John, arrived sometime in 1814, however I have not yet been able to locate where he was christened but I do know that he died in 1815 at the age of one and was buried in St Hillary. It would appear soon after that a second son was born in 1816, William, he was christened in St Hilary at the time the family were living in a tenement called Rosedown. He was their only child to be christened in the St Hilary parish church. William was christened in a private ceremony. The next time I find the family is when they have moved out of the area to Breage (by 1820), perhaps to seek work in the mines there. I am thinking that the family were in St Hilary between 1815 and 1820.
If any one has any information or any theories as to why they moved when they did to various places eg mines closing down, new mines opening up or any information on the family and/or why they were in St Hilary would be great. I would also be interested in information about the tenement called Rosedown
I also seem to remember that if a christening was done in a private ceremony, it had to be paid for and this was somehow significant but I cant remember why, so I am hoping that perhaps someone can let me know


2 comment(s), latest 8 years ago

From Ellis to Lee and then back to Ellis again

In 1851 Alfred Ellis was 12 years old and still living at home with his family at 5 Garden Row, Finsbury, Middlesex, England, UK.

In 1861 I have been unable to find Alfred with his parents in the Census he appears to have left home but his whereabouts are a mystery.

The next time he appears is on 27 Apr 1864 when he marries Martha Bartlett in St James Church, Shoreditch, Middlesex, England. The following year they have their first child Alfred (Jnr) in 1865, Alfred is christened shortly after his birth.

When each of the children are born their births are registered under the name Ellis. For most of the births except daughter Martha Sarah Ellis the mother lists her maiden name as Ellis. However for Martha Sarahs birth she lists her maiden surname as Lee, it was the first time that Martha had acted as an informant for one of her childrens births and although she acted as informant for all the subsequent birth registrations this was the only time that she listed her maiden name as Lee and not Bartlett.

Between 1870 and 1876 all the children of Alfred and Martha were born at 257 St Georges Road.

However in the 1871 census we find the family using a different surname at their family home address 257 St Georges Road, St. George, Camberwell, Surrey
1. Alec Lee, 3?, Bootmaker, London
2. Martha ", age 31, Chiddingstone
3. Alfred ". age 5, London
4. Edward ", age 3, "
5. Martha S " age 3 mo, "

Alfred even changes his christen name from Alfred to Alec.

The family must have moved house after 1876 and before Sep 1880. as Martha who died on the 2 Sep 1880 is registerd as having died at 245 St Georges Rd, Camberwell, Surrey. The death is registered under the name Martha Lee, the informant is Alexander Lee, widower who was present at the death.

In 1881 The widowed Alfred is found to be still living at 245 St Georges Rd, Camberwell, with his family
1. Alfred LEE, Head, Widow, Male, age 41, Boot Maker
2. Martha LEE, Daur, Female, age 10, Scholar
3. Kate LEE, Daur, Female, age 9, Scholar
4. Charles LEE, Son, Male, age 7, Scholar
5. Walter LEE, Son, Male, age 5,
6. Frederick LEE, Son, Male, age 4, Scholar

Alfred only went back to his real surname once he remarried Mary Elizabeth Southgate.

And the 1891 census we find him living with his new and young family at
5 June Grove, City Of London, London, England, UK
1. Alfred Ellis, 5, Bootmaker
2. Mary Ellis, eife, aged 39
3. Millie Eliis , Daughter, 5
4. Hugh A Ellis, Son, aged 3

Some interesting observations
The first child Alfred was christened soon after he was born, at present we have not been able to locate the second sons christening and the younger children were only christened after their mother Martha Sarah died.
1. Martha ELLIS, bapt 27 May, 1881,
2. Walter and Kate Ellen ELLIS bapt 9 Sept, 1881;
3. Charles and Frederick ELLIS bapt 30 Sept, 1881
All at St. Lukes Church, their abode address was always given as 245 St Georges Road.

The children of Alfreds second marriage Millie and Hugh were also bapt at St Luke's Church with the home address listed at 245 St Georges Road.

Something must have happened after the eldest child was born. For Alfred to change both his first and last names in the census returns, but what we dont have any ideas as yet.

Whose signature?
In 1864 Alfred was able to sign his own marriage certificate
1865 Alfred Ellis signed his sons birth certificate with an X The mark of Alfred Ellis, Father
1867 it is not clear if Alfred signed his second sons birth certificate or not.

Continued use of the surname Lee
None of the descendants appear to have retained the surname Lee, all appear to have reverted back to their birth name other than in the Census returns which appears to be the only place, as yet, that we have been able to find reference to the surname being used in connection to our family.

The question is now where do I go next to try and find out why the family changed thier surname even if it was only temporarily?
I would love to hear from other researching this family, or any one else who could perhaps give any clues as to what's going on here.

John Bassett and Martha Carbis married in Paul, Cornwall 1812

The first firm record that I have of John Bassett and Martha Carbis living in Cornwall is their marriage Banns. The marrage that took place in the Paul parish church on the 15 Mar 1812. Both appear to be of the Paul parish "John Bassett Sojouner of this Parish and Martha Carbis of this Parish"

It is most likely that at least Martha was christened in the Paul parish church as it was the custom of the day that marriages took place in the brides's church. This assumption is reinforced by the 1851 & 1861 census returns where Paul is listed as Martha's birthplace.

In the same census returns John was listed as being born in Madron,a neighbouring parish of Paul.

I also know from their eldest son William's christening record that the new family moved and was living in the St Hilary parish in a tenement called Roseudgeon. The next time we find the family they have moved out of the area to Breage (by 1820), perhaps to seek work
in the mines there.

Questions arising:
Has anyone been able to find the record of the baptism of Martha Carbis born Cir 1793-1794 possibly in the villiage of Mousehole? (I think my original conclusions were drawn from a gedcom that someone had sent me and/or through the IGI which I'm only just trying now to verify.)


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.

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