Hay view from Castle

Hay view from Castle
Hay-on-Wye, Powys (formerly Breconshire), Wales. The "Town of Books" (and Vaughans!)

Sunday, September 8, 2013

John Vaughan 1825 & the Other Mother Confusion

John 1825 was quite the interesting character. He comes into this world of confusion creating some in his birth. He also mysteriously disappears at the end of his life, although Judy about has him tracked down.

The problem is, as some may have noted on Family Search or looking at the Hay Bishop's Transcript itself, that John's mother is written down at the christening as Catherine, not Elinor. Some have tried to reconcile this by creating a middle name for Elinor, calling her "Elinor Catherine Vaughan." There has been a lot of confusion in LDS Family History records. There is no record anywhere that provides actual evidence to support the name being any variation of "Elinor Catherine." Judy and I encountered the same problem, then we began to collaborate much to our mutual and the family's benefit. And this was further confirmed by Elinor herself giving her name, birth, and parents for her own endowment in 1856 here in Utah.

There is evidence of another explanation. And we've had this checked out by a professional researcher.

John 1825 Christening, Bishop's Transcript
John 1825, Parish Register
(Background is the tablecloth at
Blaendigeddi Fawr - couldn't trim it off!)

Just as a refresher, the Parish Register is the original document from the local church. The Bishop's Transcript is a copy they sent off to the distant Bishop at the end of the year. You will note that they contain essentially the same information. However, the Parish Register tells us something that isn't clearly evident in the Bishop's Transcript - there were two babies named John christened on the same day!

We never paid enough attention to see that on the Bishop's Transcipt as our John, son of John 1789, appears on the top of the page. But the mother's name is Catherine! This doesn't match with any other information we have - the 1810 marriage or the 1841 and 1851 Censuses (1841 was the first British Census year), not to mention all the other children clearly born of both John and Elinor. On the Parish Register, you can see the two Johns christened one right after the other.

Well, here's an explanation as confirmed by our researcher searching the Parish Register as we only had access to the Bishop's Transcript until we made the request to the researcher and Judy and I went to Powys:
I found the baptism on 25/2/1825 of John son of John and Catherine Vaughan, of Hay. John senior’s occupation was butcher.
I also found another John baptised on the 25/2/1825, and his mother was Elinor Jenkins, single woman of Hay.  I have recorded this as I thought it could be a family connection or the vicar has got the mothers’ names mixed up.
The vicar has got the mother's names mixed up!

Our researcher did not come with this on her own. We admit that we raised the question to her. We also have good documentation that the vicar at the time was rather negligent in his religious duties. He lived in Hereford and there were formal complaints that he was not taking care of the parish in Hay. So, if he appeared from Hereford not knowing the parishioners well, he could very well have made a mistake with two boys of the same name on the same day with mother's names easily confused. Besides, there's the fact that Elinor's sister was named Catherine . . . .

With regard to the 1825 christening, we find no evidence in any record of an Elinor Catherine "Anybody" or an Elinor Jenkins, single woman of Hay. However, there is evidence of a Catherine Jenkins, single woman of Hay. There is a Catherine Jenkins on the 1861 Census for Hay listed as “sister.” Head of household is Ruth Jenkins, both listed as "unm." Catherine's age is 54 (age would be 18 in 1825, and birth 1807) born in Cusop, right next to Hay, and profession for both sisters is “Housekeeper.” Because of her age, this is not likely to be Elinor's sister. Catherine Jenkins, sister to our Elinor born of the same parents, was christened in 1791. With all the similarity of names, the mothers could have been easily transposed in the parish record.

This information is set out in a note for John 1825 on Family Search. Feel free to disagree, especially if you've got some solid evidence.

See 1841 and 1851 Censuses for Llanfoist, Monmouthshire, in 1841, John is listed as 16 years old in the home of John and Elenor Vaughan.  In 1851, John is listed in a separate household married to Maranah with birthplace as Hay, Breconshire.  In 1851, John and Elenor indicate their places of birth respectively as Hay, Breconshire and Stow, Herefordshire.  Consistent christening records have been found in Hay for both generations of John Vaughans and in Whitney Parish, Herefordshire, where Stowe Farm is located, for Elenor Jenkins. 

Information about Rev. Allen, Vicar of St. Mary's Parish, Hay, as a reluctant vicar, is from Geoffrey L. Fairs, A History of the Hay: The Story of Hay-on-Wye (Phillimore, Chichester, 1972) p. 58.

All the other children of John & Elinor christened in Hay (or close by) are William 1812, Hay Bishop’s Transcript; Samuel 1814, Cusop Parish Register, John listed as butcher; Eleanor 1816, Cusop Parish Register, John listed as labourer; Catherine 1822, Hay Bishop’s Transcript, John listed as butcher; Jane 1827, Hay Bishop’s Transcript, John listed as labourer; William 1830, Hay Bishop’s Transcript, John listed as butcher.

Pigot & Co.’s National Commercial Directory (Pigot, London, 1830) p. 839.

Pigot & Co.’s National Commercial Directory (Pigot, London, 1835) p. 761. 

Hay Parish Register, Powys County Records Office.

Hay Bishops Transcripts, LDS FHL Br. Film No. 106,467.

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