Kimmitt Genealogical Research

20 February 2015

Week #7 of 52 Ancestors: Brick Wall Woman Hannah Woodman (ca. 1775-ca 1821) of Durham, NH

My lovely fan chart stops dead at 4th g-grandparents Hannah Woodman and husband William Jackson. It's quite unsightly. Hannah has been the most distant ancestor in her line on my charts since I inherited my mother's genealogical research.

How Not to Research
Over the years I've gathered a lot of information on Hannah and associates at the Family History Library in Salt Lake City, the University of New Hampshire at Durham, the New England Historic and Genealogical Society, and plumbed the depths of the internet. Yet I still don't have evidence to tie Hannah to any particular Woodman family. Why? Because I didn't stumble upon any direct evidence, and I haven't TAKEN THE TIME to analyze what I have gathered. And there is still more information to gather by now--online data increases at an exponential rate, so there are bound to be more clues awaiting. And I really need to go up to New Hampshire and roll around in the records. I had an appointment at the Durham Historical Society in 2009 but had to cancel and that's the last time I tried!

What's worse, Alcatraz or writing up
research results?
After that I must lock myself in a chamber for weeks and do nothing else but analyze everything I've collected. Actually, I think I require the chamber lock-up first, then a trip to NH, then more analysis. Because as I write this I must acknowledge that my notes are scatter-y, incomplete, and verrrrry annoying. These ancient problems in my own genealogy are the worst kind and I can see why people are doing the "do-over," because it feels easier to start from scratch than to try and make sense of an inexperienced or lazy genealogist's wanderings, that inexperienced person being me 25 years ago. It's so much more fun to keep searching than to write up the results. It just is.

Setting the stage
Hannah is the mother of my ancestor, Maria/h Jackson. According to Maria (Jackson) Ellms' 29 January 1866 death record, she was 57 years, one month old at death, rendering a birth date of 29 December 1808. It gives her parents as William Jackson and Hannah Woodman and states that she and her parents were all born in Durham, New Hampshire. (1) But this is a death certificate, so as evidence of her birth it is wobbly because we do not know who provided the information about her parents. (Wobbly is a highly technical genealogical term.)

Maria may have married three times. I have found two: one to my ancestor, Nathan Colby, in Haverhill on 10 January 1841, though the record provides no parents. (2) She next married (as Mariah (Jackson) Colby) Robert Ellms in Scituate on 1 July 1856; his second marriage, her third. Presumably Mariah was the informant and she names her father as William Jackson, born Durham. No mother's names are listed in the register. She gives her own birthplace as Durham, and she is 49 which calculates to a year of birth of 1806-07. (3) But where did that first marriage take place? Was it the marriage of Mariah H. Jackson to Orin Fiske on 27 September 1830 in (not nearby) Claremont, Sullivan County that I noted from the IGI in 1999? I haven't followed up on it. Back to the chamber!

William Jackson and Hannah Woodman married on Christmas Day, 25 December 1795, both residents of Durham. No parents are listed. They were married by William Hooper, clergyman, resident of Madbury. (4) I'm satisfied that these are Mariah's parents because this marriage puts them in the right time and place, and I now have several sources listing them as a couple, and parents of my ancestor.,_New_Hampshire

What To Do
I need to study everyone with the surnames Jackson and Woodman in the Durham area, a daunting task. Here are just a few of the things I will work on in the chamber:
  • I need to go through my chicken-scratch notes from the Family History Library and duly note every record searched and whether I found anything. I got too busy and never followed up after two research trips. That is just stupid, but it was unavoidable.
  • Of course I have reviewed the town histories and the published literature on the Woodmans, most written a hundred or more years ago, with little in the way of source citation, even if seemingly well researched. I can use those to help me reconstruct nearby families, and thoroughly review and note all of the Hannahs that were not married off, of which I think here are only a couple. Then of course, I'd have to corroborate everything.
  • Oh sure, I've gazed at census, but haven't systematically reviewed the Woodmans in the area. They are many! Even pre-1850 census can provide indirect evidence if we really delve. Can you say Excel?
  • I've examined published vital records as well as town records for both William and Hannah's births and deaths in both Massachusetts/Maine and New Hampshire, to no avail. Of course I've searched online and at NEHGS in any original records I could find. I would hope to locate some church records on my trip north, but have read that there are't many.
  • I've followed possible children of William and Hannah Jackson and turned up an infant son of William Jackson who died in 1797 in Dover, but this provides me with no additional clues, just something for the inevitable timeline. Baby steps! Another potential son is William W. Jackson whose death record gives William and Hannah (Woodman) Jackson as parents.
  • Land records are an obvious place to search yet I've noted nothing in my database. Because I haven't approached this systematically. I will retrace my steps in that regard. Land records are found at the county level in New Hampshire.
  • In Strafford County Probate I found an administration for the estate of William Jackson, blacksmith, with wife Hannah serving as administratrix. And Hannah's estate was probated in 1821, with Moses Woodman as administrator. Is Moses related? How?
  • At the University of New Hampshire I pored over Durham town records and extracted mention of all nearby Woodmans (a nefarious lot), but haven't had a chance to compile and thoroughly analyze. 
  • Make a timeline!
Once I get my ducks in a row I will visit:
  • New Hampshire State Archives
  • New Hampshire State Historical Society
  • New Hampshire State Library
  • Strafford County Register of Land
  • Durham Historical Society
Hopefully someday I will be able to attach Hannah to her parents. I'm pretty sure she had a hard life. It's the least I can do for her.

"Women as Scribes Throughout History," Exploring Feminisms Blog,

1. "Massachusetts Vital Records, 1841-1910" (online subscription database linked to digital images), Scituate, Deaths, Maria (Jackson) Ellms, 29 January 1866, 193:331; ( : accessed 20 February 2015).

2. "Massachusetts Vital Records, 1841-1910," Haverhill, Marriages, Nathan Colby and Mariah Jackson, 10 January 1841, 2:179; ( : accessed 20 February 2015); image of the published volume from the "Official Series."

3.  "Massachusetts Vital Records, 1841-1910," Scituate, Marriages, Maria Colby and Robert Ellms, 1 July 1856, 100:325; ( : accessed 20 February 2015).

4. "New Hampshire Vital Statistics to 1900," Durham, Strafford, Marriages: Jackson to Jenkins, n. 148, William Jackson and Hannah Woodman, 25 December 1795; New England Historic and Genealogical Society, Boston, Massachusetts, mf #F33 N454, viewed 9 February 2002.

10 February 2015

Week #6 of 52 Ancestors: Samuel Cox of Beaminster, Dorset, England

I'm working in Salt Lake City at the Family History Library for ten days. In recent years, the way we research has changed considerably, and it will continue to change. Today when I search the library catalog I'm just as likely to find the records I seek on the FamilySearch website as in the microfilm. It speeds up my research tremendously to have it online, but also makes me think I shouldn't do what I'm doing because I could do it later at home. However, I must strike while the iron is hot!

Beaminster Church Tower from the Northwest,
Hine, History of Beaminster
Though the Kimmitts take great pride in their Irish blood, they have married into several English lines, and the Cox family is one of them. I wrote about Robert Fitzgerald Meredith in my previous post. Robert was not the eldest son and therefore did not inherit property because of the law of primogeniture.

As a young vicar he got a posting in Dorsetshire and there met his wife, Mary Russell Cox, thus introducing the English Cox line into the family. Mary was baptized in Beaminster on 22 September 1826, the daughter of our subject, Samuel Cox, and his wife Virtue/Vertue Russell. (1)

By bouncing between the Dorset parish record extracts on, and images on, and I'm able to add quite a few names to the old tree, with pretty solid evidence to back it all.

Samuel Cox was born on 9 September 1790 in Beaminster and baptized on 16 December of the same year, the son of Samuel Cox and Ann, image below. (2)

We know Samuel's mother Ann's surname was Symes from their Beaminster marriage record: "1790, Samuel Cox Jun.r and Ann Symes both of this Parish were married in this Church by Banns this 23rd Day of March by Hugh Pugh Curate." I wonder if the local kids mocked poor Hugh Pugh for his name? You may have noticed that Baby Samuel was born only five and a half months after his parents' marriage. They may have been brought up for punishment, or at least a good scolding.

It's a very nice record because it has witness signatures. The last one is young John Cox Russell, aged 6 years, making his mark. Isn't that cute? I've never seen a minor listed like that. I can just see him all dressed up and excited to be playing a part in the wedding. (3) I  do not yet know how, if at all, he is related to the groom, but find in the parish registers that he is the son of John and Mary Cox–which John Cox will have to be determined at a later date. (4)

The History of Beaminster has an entire sketch on the Beaminster Manor House, "home of the old Beaminster family of Cox for many generations... The name is [first] mentioned in a transcript of the parish Register for the year 1585 when Robert, a son of Robert Cox, was baptized." (5) The author, Richard Hine, refers frequently to the work of historian John Banger Russell, a meticulous historian and collector who just happened to be Vertue Russell's father. The book is very carefully researched and assembled and refers frequently to original records--a gold mine for Beaminster researchers! I'm thinking he probably also assembled a good deal of genealogical information as well, tee hee.

The banns of marriage were announced for Samuel Cox the younger and Vertue Russell three times in Beaminster before they married on 9 September 1816, Samuel's 26th birthday. (6)

Hine describes renovations Samuel made to the manor house around 1822: "In the drawing room he placed a handsomely carved white marble mantelpiece of Italian workmanship, the sculpture of which vividly depicts scenes connected with the siege of Troy. This apartment was further enriched by a painted canvas ceiling representing the "Feast of the Gods" by Andrew Casali, an Italian artist born at Civita Vecchia, in 1720." (7)

Fireplace at Beaminster Manor House (8)
It's not often we get to see how our ancestors' homes were decorated. I wonder if young Mary frolicked around this fireplace and was motivated to studied her history lessons because of the scenes of the Trojan War carved into it.

Nine also relates that: "When Princess Victoria, in 1833, passed through Beaminster, Samuel Cox, then a Cornet in the Dorset Yeomanry Calvary, had the honor of commanding the escort of Her Royal Highness from this town to Lyme Regis. Samuel Cox, Deputy Lieutenant and a Justice of the Peace for Dorset, was for more than [a] quarter of a century Chairman of the Beaminster Union Board of Guardians. On his death in 1860 the family estates passed into the possession of his eldest son, Samuel Symes Cox." (9)

Samuel and Virtue had (at least) the following children, which I find in census and parish records, but have not yet thoroughly documented (10):
Samuel Symes, b. 4 September 1817
John Russell, b. ca 1820, twin
Charles, b. ca 1820, twin
Ellen, b. ca 1822
Henry, b. ca 1824
Ann M., b. ca 1826
Mary Russell, b. ca 1826 (line carrier)
Georgina, b. ca 1828

Samuel died in Beaminster on 22 October 1860. He is buried at Holy Trinity, Beaminster. (11)

We have a nice will extract here, naming Samuel's widow Vertue, brother Peter, and son Samuel Symes Cox. As stated above, Samuel's son Samuel Symes Cox inherited the property.


1. “Dorset, England, Births and Baptisms” (online database), baptisms, p. 166, Mary Cox, n. 1828, 22 September 1826, Beaminster daughter of Samuel and Virtue Cox; Ancestry ( : accessed 9 February 2015); citing Dorset History Centre; Dorset Parish Registers; Reference: PE/BE.

2. "Dorset, England, Baptisms, Marriages and Burials, 1538-1812, " (online database), baptisms, no p. n., Samuel Cox, baptized 16 December 1790 (born 9 September 1790, Beaminster; Ancestry ( : 9 February 2015); citing Dorset History Centre; Dorset Parish Registers; Reference: PE/BE: RE2/3.

3. “Dorset, England, Baptisms, Marriages and Burials, 1538-1812," marriages, Samuel Cox Junior and Ann Symes, 23 March 1790,  Beaminster; citing Dorset History Centre; Dorset Parish Registers; Reference: PE/BE: RE 4/2

4. "Dorset, England, Baptisms, Marriages and Burials, 1538-1812," baptisms, John Cox, 24 December 1783, Beaminster;; citing Dorset History Centre; Dorset Parish Registers; Reference: PE/BE: RE2/2.

5. Richard Hine, The History of Beaminster (Taunton, England: Barnicott and Pearce, 1914), 350-353.

6. “Dorset, England, Marriages and Banns, 1813-1921” (online database) Banns, n. 45, Samuel Cox and Vertue Russell, 11, 18 and 25 August 1816, Beaminster; citing Dorset History Centre; Dorset Parish Registers; Reference: PE/BE: RE 4/2 - 4/6. And “Dorset, England, Marriages and Banns, 1813-1921,” marriage, Samuel Cox and Vertue Russell, 9 September 1816, Beaminster, p. 20; Ancestry ( : accessed 9 February 2015); citing Dorset History Centre; Dorset Parish Registers; Reference: PE/BE: RE 4/2 - 4/6.

7. Hine, The History of Beaminster, 351.

9. Hine, The History of Beaminster, 352.

10.1841 England Census, Beaminster, Dorset, piece 280, bk. 1, folio 58, p. 26, household of Samuel Cox; Ancestry ( : accessed 10 February 2015); citing Class: HO107; Piece: 280; Book: 1; Civil Parish: Beaminster; County: Dorset; Enumeration District: 3; Folio: 58; Page: 36; Line: 6; GSU roll: 241337. Also, 1851 England census, Beaminster, ED 1b, piece 1860, folio 389, p. 18, household n. 91, household of Samuel Cox; Ancestry ( : accessed 10 February 2015); citing Class: HO107; Piece: 1860; Folio: 389; Page: 18; GSU roll: 221008. Also Dorset Parish Registers on Ancestry.

11. "England and Wales, FreeBMD Death Index, 1837-1915" (online database), Samuel Cox, Beaminster, Dorset, 22 October 1860, 5a:225; Ancestry ( : 27 Mar 2011). Also, "England and Wales, National Probate Calendar (Index of Wills and Administrations), 1861-1941" (online database) Wills, 1861, p. 38, 7 May, Samuel Cox, died 22 October 1860; Ancestry ( : accessed 9 February 2015); citing Principal Probate Registry, Calendar of the Grants of Probate and Letters of Administration made in the Probate Registries of the High Court of Justice in England. Also, "Dorset, England, Deaths and Burials, 1813-2010" (online database), Samuel Cox, 26 October 1860, Holy Trinity, Beaminster;   Ancestry ( : accessed 9 February 2015); citing Dorst History Centre; Dorset Parish Registers; Reference: PE/BE.

09 February 2015

Week #5 of 52 Ancestors: Rev. Robert Fitzgerald Meredith of Dicksgrove, Co. Kerry

I'm finding it nearly impossible to write about some of my favorite ancestors simply because I have too much information on them for one little blog post. So just be aware, family members reading this, that there is more information! And genealogists, there is more evidence, so hush, now. You'll be the first to know when I write "the book."

"Landed Estates," database, Estate: Meredith (Dysert); NUI Galway (
LandedEstates/jsp/estate-show.jsp?id=1969 : accessed 8 February 2015).
My husband's great-great-grandfather, Rev. Robert Fitzgerald Meredith (ca. 1815-1893), was born in Dicksgrove, near Farranfore, Co. Kerry, Ireland. (1) He was from a long line of Irish landholders, and several of his Meredith ancestors had served as High Sheriff of Kerry. (2) But the family nearly lost everything in the tumultuous nineteenth century, as many landowners did, when the taxes and cost of maintaining the land sent many of them scrambling (to bankruptcy court). I bet Dicksgrove was lovely in its time.

As far as I know there is no link to my own FitzGerald lines, but you can see in this map that Farranfore is only ten kilometers from my grandparents' ancestral homes of Castlemaine and Milltown, at the base of the Dingle Peninsula. I wouldn't be surprised to find that we are related, but I haven't yet been able to jump the 1793 chasm before which time it was illegal for Roman Catholics to keep records due to the Penal Laws.

County Kerry, at the base of the Dingle Peninsula
Robert's father William was a principal lessor in Castleisland and Killeentierna, during the time of Griffith's Valuation. His over 3000-acre  estate, including Dicksgrove House, was offered for sale in the Encumbered Estates Court in June of 1855 but was later withdrawn. Some was sold in the Landed Estates Court, but finally in the 1930s the entire estate was sold to the tenants who had been farming it for years. Dicksgrove House was completely demolished but some of the stable buildings and gate lodges remain. (3)

Robert was the second son and because of the laws of primogeniture he would not have inherited the estate. He instead went off to Oxford University where he obtained a Master of Arts and took a position as rector and vicar of the parish of Halstock in Dorset by 1849. (4)
"Halstock," Dorset OPC, website; :
accessed8 February 2015)
He married Mary Russell Cox, the daughter of Samuel Cox and Vertue Russell, in Beaminster, Dorset, 26 August 1852. (5). They went on to have six sons, the first five in really close succession:
1. Robert Fitzgerald, b. ca 1855
2. William Henry Fitzgerald, b. ca. 1856
3. Richard Fitzgerald, b. 31 January 1857, died 4 June 1931 (line carrier)
4. Charles Fitzgerald, b. ca. 1859
5. John Fitzgerald, b. ca. 1860
6. Maurice Fitzgerald, b. ca. 1867 (6)

Then, of course, in 1868, their mother, Mary Russell (Cox) Meredith, died. (7) She could have died from anything, but my first thought was it was probably from "puerpural fever" (complications of childbirth), but is it also quite likely she perished from exhaustion. I only had half that many boys and it was a challenge. Indeed, without the fine health care we enjoy today, I would have perished in childbirth.

Rev. Meredith had sons to raise and surely needed help. In 1871 he was in Portland House with a very full household consisting of his six sons with ages that calculate to the above estimated dates, plus
   John R. Meredith, nephew, visitor, 28 years old, b. Ireland
   James G. Clarke, Tutor, unmarried, 22, b. Leicestershire
   James Richards, servant, unmarried, 27 years old, b. Devon
   Mary Gale, servant, unmarried, 45 years old, b. Ireland
   Charlotte Eastment, servant, widow, 31, b. Dorset (7)

Flash forward to 1881 when he has married Charlotte (8) and they have three children of their own, plus two she brought to the marriage! (9) Why, it's like an episode of Downton Abbey! Think of how far he descended the social ranks from the time he was born in 1815 to the time he married, gasp, a servant! So I'm going to call him by the pet name of Branson now.

He died in the parsonage at Yeovil, in Halstock, and was buried in Halstock on 30 May 1893. (9)

These English ancestors left so many records in their wake it's an embarrassment of riches––so unlike my simple farmer ancestors. It becomes more a matter of compilation than sleuthing and analyzing. This little blog prompt of 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks is serving its purpose in getting me to touch on some of those ancestors whom I've neglected. But there are wills, land records, and an incredible amount of riches ahead for me to explore in the Parish Chest.


1. Bernard Burke, Genealogical and Heraldic Dictionary of the Landed Gentry of Great Britain and Ireland, 2 vols, 4th ed. (London, np, 1863), 2:1005. Also, Robert Fitzgerald Meredith, “Petition for Barony of Herbert of Chirbury,” photocopy given to author by Rosemary Kimmitt, in author's files. Also, "England and Wales, FreeBMD Death Index, 1837-1915," Robert Fitzgerald Meredith, Beaminster, Dorset, 5a:229; ( : 27 Mar 2011); at 77 years.

2. Burke's Peerage, 1005.

3. "Landed Estates," database, Estate: Meredith (Dysert); NUI Galway ( : accessed 8 February 2015).

4. "England, Extracted Parish and Court Records," Meredith, Robert Fitzgerald, 1849: Dispens. R. East Chelborough, perp. cur. Halstock, Dorset; 16:438; Ancestry ( : accessed 7 February 2015). From the Collection "England: Canterbury -- Index to the Act Books of the Archbishops of Canterbury, 1663-1859 (L-Z)."

5. "England, Dorset, Parish Registers, 1538-1936," index and images, St. Mary's, Beaminster, Marriages,
 Robt Fitzgerald Meredith and Mary Russell Cox, 26 Aug 1852; FamilySearch ( : accessed 9 February 2015); Marriage, citing Dorset, England, Record Office, Dorchester; FHL microfilm 2,427,436.

6. 1871 UK census, Dorset, Halstock, p. 20, n. 87, Portland House, household of Robert F. Meredith; Findmypast ( : accessed on a day that, alas, I neglected to note, but the file date is 27 March 2011, so let's go with that).

7. "England, Dorset, Parish Registers, 1538-1936," index and images, Beaminster, Burials, Mary Russell Meredith, 13 Jun 1868; FamilySearch ( : accessed 9 February 2015); citing Holy Trinity, Beaminster, Dorset, England, Record Office, Dorchester; FHL microfilm 2,427,468. Also, "England and Wales, FreeBMD Death Index, 1837-1915," Mary Russell Meredith, Beaminster, Dorset, Somerset, 1868, 2nd Q, at 41 years, 5a:248; Ancestry ( : 27 Mar 2011).

8. 1881 UK Census, Halstock, Dorset, England, piece 2119, folio 27, p. 10, household of Robert F Meredith; FindMyPast ( : accessed 8 February 2015).

9. "England and Wales, FreeBMD Death Index, 1837-1915," Robert Fitzgerald Meredith, Beaminster, Dorset, 5a:229; Ancestry ( : 27 Mar 2011). Also, "England, Dorset, Parish Registers, 1538-1936," index and images, Halstock, Burials, Robert Meredith, 30 May 1893; FamilySearch ( : accessed 8 February 2015); citing Halstock, Halstock, Dorset, England, Record Office, Dorchester; FHL microfilm 2,427,496.