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Pre census ancestor movements.


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We know the feeling, the best time to track movements of ancestors from county to county is to look at the 1851-1911 census, the 1841 gives whether born in county or not but have any of you managed to trace movements from county to county before census eras? I have been able to with not so common surnames and some of the ways to do it was wills and settlement certs/examinations.

Several of my Suffolk rellies ended up in Foulness, Essex, one moved there in about 1750 and another in about 1795, he died in 1832. To back this up, I have come across wills which have been able to prove this and rare surnames.

Take my ancestor Dennis Helsdon, he wed in Stepney, London in 1784, he died in 1798 in Bethnal Green, no age mentioned at burial, his childrens baptisms 1784-1797 say he was a weaver.

I found the only likely baptism was of a Dennis Helsdon in 1756 in Norwich, Norfolk. I studied his siblings, one was a Rebecca Helsdon born 1763, a Rebecca Helsdon wed in London in 1787 and a Dennis Helsdon was a witness, the signatures matched the signature of my Dennis Helsdon's 1784 marriage. I found Rebecca's death in 1816 and it pointed to a 1763 birth. The 1756 Dennis born in Norwich also had a brother Benjamin born 1761, and a Benj Helsdon wed in 1785 in Stepney. Dennis had a brother Henry who wed in Norwich in 1798, but he said he was of St Luke, London, and he returned to Norwich and died in 1855.

I believe my Elizabeth Scudder who wed in 1763 in Benfleet, Essex is probably the one born in 1743 in Sutton At Hone, Kent. She had a brother John and a brother Edward and a John Scudder was buried in 1806 in Benfleet aged 72. An Edward Scudder died there in 1798.

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