Genealogy, Wales

Land Of My Fathers….

By

Marian Bulford

Well, the land of my Grandfathers and Greats that is, all the way back to the 1400s.

My maternal Gramps was an O’Bray born, like all his forebears, in West Wales. Pembroke Dock, to be exact.  Welsh is still spoken widely in West Wales and the Welsh name for this area is Doc Penfro, it was originally named Paterchurch and was a small fishing village. Pembroke Dock Town expanded rapidly following the construction of the Royal Navy Dockyard in 1814.

There is some speculation about the original name of my fourth great grandfather, John Barnett O’Bray born in 1792. About this time, the family name was Aubrey but in that century it changed to O’Bray and/or O’Brey. Our ancestors in the Mormon Church in Salt Lake City, Utah, spell it without the apostrophe – OBray whereas my Grandfather spells it O’Bray.

This September 2019 I went to Pembroke Dock, West Wales and visited Pembroke Castle where the Tudor Dynasty started with the birth of King Henry VII. Next door to the castle entrance was a shop called ‘The Hall of Names’ with a database of most names in the world and, for a price, they will research and print out the name, and it’s origins. [1]

They looked up the name Aubrey for me, and all the variations which are characteristic of Norman. Old and Middle English lack definite spelling rules, and then Norman French was added to the linguistic stew, with finally, medieval scribes who wrote names as they sounded, so no wonder I have such a problem. So, I am still none the wiser as to why the change – this is MY brick wall! [1]

I also went to Queen Street East, where my third great grandfather John Barnett O’Bray (or O’Brey), a shipwright, lived in 1841 with his family. The street is still there but has probably changed a great deal since!

Under the year 1841, our O’Bray/O’Brey family is mentioned in a book called “Pembroke People” by Richard Rose under ‘shipwrights’ but even in this short piece in the book, there are three different spellings of his name!

The heading reads that he was “John Barnett O’Bray or OBrey” A further note in the book mentions a William Aubrey buried at St. Mary’s on 27th September 1817 aged four and the author assumes “He was probably another child of this family” If so, why was he called Aubrey and the rest of the family O’Bray/Obrey? Right at the end yet another mystery as the author states that, when John Barnett O’Bray was buried, also in the register was ‘An Elizabeth Oberry. Buried on 11th April 1841 aged 93.

John Barnett O’Bray was apprenticed on in 1805 at Milford as a shipwright boy. He was earning 2 shillings a day in 1810 and when he was 21 years old in 1812 he became a shipwright and married Eleanor Allen, who’s family also appear as shipwrights in the book.

Their ten children, aged from two years to the eldest aged 25 years include in order of birth, William who  died at age four, Maria, born 1814, George 1815, John 1818, Elizabeth 1820, *Thomas 1821, Robert 1824, *Samuel 1828, Eleanor 1834 and Thomas 1836, who died at age eight.

** Thomas Lorenzo and Samuel William, were baptised into the Church of Latter-Day Saints – the Mormons –  and left West Wales to trek across the plains in 1851 to Salt Lake City, Utah. Two other family members, Maria and George also became Mormon and went to Utah later.

“My Family History” which includes Thomas and Samuels’ stories can be read here:

https://wordpress.com/post/genealogyensemble.com/610

And you can read Samuel’s story here:   https://genealogyensemble.com/2016/08/17/mormon-history/

For some reason, John Barnett O’Bray sued William Allen another Shipwright for 10 Pounds in 1821 and in turn was sued by Allen the next year! If this was one of his wife’s’ relatives I can find no proof yet so more research to do.

In 1823, John Barnett O’Bray took a 60 year lease of one of the Club Houses recently built in the High Street at a rent of One Pound, Ten Shillings a year. His years’ wages in 1828 were 87 pounds, 19 shillings and one penny.

Part 2 will continue with the life of John Barnett O’Bray and his family.

SOURCES

1. https://pembrokecastle.co.uk/eat-shop-discover/hall-of-names

Richard Rose wrote a fascinating book called ‘Pembroke People’ and is described on the flyleaf, as probably the fullest account ever written about life in an early 19th-century community. Flipping through this wonderful book, that seems to be true. Every possible trade in the shipbuilding, mariner,  and associated trades were listed, from accountants to wine and spirit merchants even including the local prostitutes and illegitimate children! And yes, I did look to see if any of my family were listed there, but none were. [2]

 

England, Genealogy

Buried In Woollen

‘Buried in Woollen’ What an odd sentence!

So I thought, whilst indexing very old, late 17th century documents for the church of Jesus Christ of  Latter Day Saints. I was indexing English burials and once started on the list, nearly every name was also accompanied by an affidavit stating that the person was  ‘Buried in Woollen’

It seemed to be very important to state this on the burial affidavits. I wondered about this unusual practice and decided to find out.

The museum in Hungerford, Berkshire England shows an affidavit similar to the one I was indexing.

I have written it out as it states on the affidavit.  Note that the letter ‘F” reads as an ‘S” in Old English.

It says:

Name of deceased……….of the Parifh of………….maketh Oath that…………………of the Parifh of lately deceased, was not put in, wrapt or wound up, or buried in any Shirt, Shift Sheet or Shroud made or mingled with Flax, Hemp, Silk, Hair God or Silver, or other than what is made of Sheeps. Wooll only nor in any Coffin lined or face with any Cloth, Stuff, or any other things whatforever made or mingled with Flax, Hemp, Silk, Hair, Godld or Silver or any other Material contrary to the late Act of Parliament for ‘Burying in Woollen, but Sheeps Wooll only.    Dated the…………..Day of….. in the………….Year of the Reign of our Sovereign By the Grace of God, of Great Britain, France and Ireland,               Defender of the Faith, etc. And in the Year of our Lord God 17……..Seated and Subfcribed by us who were prefent and Witnesses to the Swearing of the above faid Affidavit.

I do hereby Certify That the Day and Year abovefaid, the faid Affidavit as is above mention’d according to the faid late act Act of Parliament intituled, An Act for Burying in Woollen. Witnefs my Hand the Day and Year above-written.

(Printed for P. Barret Stationer, over-againsf Chancery-Land in Fleetfreet). [1]

Only those with the plague or who were destitute escaped this law. So much for the rules of burying in woollen. But why?

Between 1665 and the turn of the century, wool became a national symbol of importance in England,  but new materials and foreign imports were coming into the country and the industry was under threat as linen, silk, and satin were readily available and the need for woollen dropped away. Workers who specialised in silks, satins, and linens flocked into the country and the need for wool waned.

Most of the wealthy depended on wool for their lifestyles, and some of these wealthy sat in Parliament, Members whose constituencies depended on the woollen industry, and was an essential part of their fortunes. These Members depended on rents paid by tenants who worked in the woollen trade, and so they changed the laws.

Most people were buried in linen shrouds. It was the custom and older than Christianity itself, but it also benefited England’s greatest rival across the Channel, the French, who provided most of all England’s linen. So, to stymie the French and preserve the woollen trade in England, Parliament developed the law of burying in Woollen only.

The first Act was passed in 1666 and the second, and rather more famous, in 1678 repealing the first  Its aims were “for the lessening the importation of linen from beyond the seas, and the encouragement of the woollen and paper manufacturer of the kingdom.” [2]

Below is an extract from the Act.

For more of the legislation see The Justice of the Peace, and Parish Officer, Volume 5, 1814 on Google Books

The Act was not without its protesters as a more wealthy set wanted to be buried in their finery, not woollen.

“At first nothing could be more shocking,” wrote philosopher Bernard Mandeville, “to Thousands of People than that they were to be Buried in Woollen.”

“Our Savior was buried in Linnen,” protested Edward Waller, the representative for Hastings. “‘Tis a thing against the Customs of Nations and I am against it.”

Henry Coventry, Secretary of State for the Southern Department, was harsher, suggesting that “men of the Romish Religion” (Romish belonging or related to, Rome as Catholics) prefer woollen burials to linen. “I fear this Bill may taste of Popery,” he sneered.

Citizens were fined five pounds if they did not obey the law but many would pay the fine rather than be ‘seen dead in wool’  In 1678 this was an enormous sum of money about $1,000 in today’s money. [3]

The Act was repealed in 1814, although long before then it had been largely ignored.

Sources:

[1] www.hungerfordvirtualmuseum.co.uk/index.php/10-themes/961-buried-in-woollen

[2] http://www.historyhouse.co.uk/articles/buried_in_wool.html

[3] https://www.atlasobscura.com/articles/england-wool-burial-shrouds

[4] Eric W. Nye, Pounds Sterling to Dollars: Historical Conversion of Currency, accessed Monday, March 25, 2019, http://www.uwyo.edu/numimage/currency.htm.

 

 

 

 

Genealogy

RootsTech Happens Next Weekend

FamilySearch.org, the genealogy website hosted by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and the Federation of Genealogical Societies (FGS) are teaming up to host RootsTech, a two-day educational extravaganza next weekend, from Thursday February 11 until Sunday, February 14.

I’m so disappointed not to be going to Salt Lake City, Utah to attend in person, but at least I’ll be able to attend virtually, via a multitude of seminars that will be live-streamed via the website.

According to the RootsTech Facebook page, the sessions that will be live streamed in Eastern Standard Time are:

Thursday

10:30 a.m. Keynote speakers
1:00 p.m. The Future of Genealogy – panel
3:45 p.m. Tell it Again – Kim Weitkamp
5:00 p.m. The Genealogists Gadget Bag – Jill Ball and panel
6:15 p.m. Finding the Obscure and Elusive…- James Tanner

Friday

10:30 a.m. Keynote speakers
11:45 a.m. Researching Ancestors Online – Laura Prescott
1:00 p.m. FamilySearch Family Tree – Ron Tanner
3:45 p.m. Google Search…and Beyond – Dave Barney
5:00 p.m. From Paper Piles to Digital Files – Valerie Elkins

Saturday

10:30 a.m. Keynote speakers
11:45 a.m. Using Technology to Solve Research… – Karen Clifford
1:000 p.m. Digital Storytelling: More than Bullet Points – Denise Olson

Family history fairs around the world will also stream some of the sessions. Check the website to see if there’s one near you.

After watching as many of these as I can, I’ll be trying to figure out how to attend next year’s RootsTech. It will take place February 3–6, 2016, again at the Salt Palace Convention Center in Salt Lake City, Utah.