I wanted to find out about the ancestors of "William Bird of Newnham" as he obviously turned into a pivotal character in my BIRD History and enabled his forebears to live in comparative luxury compared to individuals on my birth tree who lived in poverty in the slums of London.
I ascertained at the Northamptonshire Record Office that a William BIRD was born 2 miles down the road in Everdon on 22nd November 1772 and jumped to the conclusion that he was the individual I was looking for. This was despite my always knowing that a weakness to my theory was that I had been unable to find a marriage certificate between William and the wife I knew he had, Sarah Elizabeth. My initial theory was founded on an IGI entry, without source information, of a “Wm Bird born about 1773 Newnham” which had parents of Samuel BIRD & Mary HALL. I believed that these were the parents of William but I knew that I should have visited the Lambeth parish records office to confirm his parentage .... and ascertain his wife's surname before marriage. Because of basic carelessness and a certainty based on nothing other than wishful thinking, I decided the Newnham referred to by my Uncle in his autobiography was the Newnham in Northamptonshire which I then found to be a couple of miles from Everdon where hundreds of Birds were born, married and died.
At the Northampton records office, we went through all the microfiche marriage records for BIRDs in Newnham and we found not a single one but when we searched the next door village of Everdon there were 18 ! BINGO ! The only one which had a 'Samuel & Mary' marriage was between Samuel BIRD & Mary HALL on 11th November 1771. The certificate was witnessed by a William BIRD. It said that Mary was from the nearby parish of Farthingstone and Samuel was from the parish of Everdon. She had made her ‘X’ on the certificate.
Also on the certificate is “Sarah GOODMAN her mark X”. This could be an offspring of Dorothy GOODMAN (see below). The picture of the church scene is a sketch of Everdon Parish Church which had the following inscription: "Mrs ?????? with A. Goodman's affectionate love" January 31st, 1839. Is this GOODMAN a descendant of Sarah GOODMAN ?
Having then been through the parish record births in Everdon it seems Samuel and Mary probably had 8 children :
WILLIAM – 22nd November 1772 (I thought this was my line)
SARAH – 13th November 1774
SAMUEL – 12th January 1777
THOMAS – 20th December 1778
MARY – 24th July 1783
MARTHA – 17th April 1784
ROBERT – twin – 12th January 1789 – died 17th January 1789
ANN – twin – 12th January 1789 – died 17th January 1789
This then takes us back to the Northamptonshire Militia list of 1777 which required you to register your names if you were eligible “to defend the Realm”. Everdon had 44 named men including :
John BIRD junior, yeoman
William BIRD junior, yeoman
John BIRD, beasomaker (made brooms)
George BIRD, servant
Thomas BIRD, servant
Of course these could be ‘BIRDs’ from any one of the other ‘BIRD’ families in Everdon, of which there were many. There were numerous BIRD's of the right sort of age on the lists which I made from the microfiche at the Northampton record office, but where are they all on this list ? Perhaps they were included in one of the exempt categories, “poor men who had 3 or more children born in wedlock”.
I got in touch with a fellow researcher, who at the time I believed to be related to me, JS who is also researching the BIRD’s of Everdon. She provided a typed family tree starting with Samuel BIRD and Mary HALL in 1771, which had been passed on to her. She believes that Samuel BIRD’s father was Richard BIRD who married Elizabeth THORNTON from Flore on 24th October 1751 in Everdon. This seems to be based on an entry on the IGI website (Church of the Latter Day Saints).
JS had traced Richard BIRD’s father back to John BIRD (born 1689 in Everdon) who had married Dorothy GOODMAN from Everdon on 2nd July 1716 in Everdon. I have found a lot of children to this marriage which is a tree on the IGI website.
In order to check this unsubstantiated information, I had a marriage look-up done by a local genealogist who confirmed that Richard BIRD and Elizabeth THORNTON did indeed get married on 24th October 1751 in Everdon AND that, if we were looking at Richard BIRD’s birth in 1730, his parents were indeed John BIRD and Dorothy.
Assuming the above to be correct, and the further back we go the more chance for error, the IGI site provided an even earlier ancestor. The parents of John BIRD (born 14th September 1689) were John BIRD and Mary LEESON (or LESSON) who married on 21 November 1687 in St Sepulchre’s, Northampton (see photo below). John BIRD was born about 1642 and Mary LEESON (or LESSON) about 1667. Quite an age gap !
Whether this is correct or coincidence remains to be seen and would need a lot more research.
In January 2009, I got in touch with PL & DL in Salt Lake City, Utah. They are carrying out research started by HL. They have the following information on their database :
3848. John BIRD was born about 1665. He married Mary LESSON on 21 Nov 1687 in St. Sepulchre's, Northampton, England. They were sealed 22 May 1975 in the logan temple.
3849. Mary LESSON was born about 1667.
3850. John GOODMAN was born about 1670 in Everdon, Northampton, England. John was baptized 29 Mar 1991 in the slake temple. He was endowed 20 Sep 1991 in the slake temple. He married Dorothy about 1696 in Everdon, Northampton, England. They were sealed 17 Sep 1991 in the slake temple.
3851. Dorothy was born about 1672 in Northampton, England.
1924. John BIRD was born 1691 in Everdon, Northamptonshire, England. John was baptized 29 Oct 1953. He was endowed 14 Dec 1953. He married Dorothy GOODMAN on 2 Jul 1716 in Everdon, Northampton, England. They were sealed 2 Nov 1955 in the slake temple.
1925. Dorothy GOODMAN was born in Everdon, Nrthmptn, Eng and was christened 2 Sep 1696 in Everdon, Northamptonshire, England. She was sealed to her parents on 4 Aug 1978 in the Ogden temple. Dorothy was baptized 29 Oct 1953. She was endowed 23 Feb 1955.
962. Richard BIRD was born 26 Apr 1730 in Everdon, Northampton, England and was christened 26 Apr 1730 in Everdon, Northampton, England. He died in Everdon, Northamptonshire, England. He was sealed to his parents on 2 Nov 1955 in the Salt Lake temple. Richard was baptized 29 Oct 1953. He was endowed 23 Feb 1955. Richard married Elizabeth THORNTON on 24 Oct 1751 in Everdon, Northampton, England. They were sealed 30 Oct 1956 in the slake temple. [Parents]
963. Elizabeth THORNTON was born about 1730 in Of Everdon, Northamptonshire, England. Elizabeth was baptized 29 Oct 1953. She was endowed 23 Feb 1955.
480. James WADHUPS was born 1759 in Aston le Walls, Northamptonshire, England and was christened 20 Apr 1760 in Middleton Cheney, Northampton, England. He died 9 Aug 1825 in Aston le Walls, Northamptonshire, England and was buried 9 Sep 1825. He was sealed to his parents on 5 Sep 1992 in the Jordan River temple. James was baptized 22 Sep 1891. He was endowed 23 Sep 1891. James married Mary BIRD on 15 Jan 1781 in Everdon, Northamptonshire, England. They were sealed 21 May 1951 in the Idaho Falls temple. [Parents]
481. Mary BIRD was born 10 May 1761 in Aston le Walls, Northampton, England and was christened 10 May 1761 in Everdon, Northampton, England. She died 8 May 1833 in Aston le Walls, England and was buried May 1833 in Aston le Walls, Northampton, England. She was sealed to her parents on 30 Oct 1956 in the Salt Lake temple. Mary was baptized 22 Sep 1891. She was endowed 23 Sep 1891. [Parents]
The above included a few minor discrepencies which I emailed them about but the rest was pretty much as we knew.
The BIRDs of Everdon can be traced back to 1665, before the Fire of London ! It is probable that they were generally farmers living off the land. I had hoped that they included my William BIRD the builder who came down to Lambeth about 1798 to make his fortune and materially change the lives for future generations of my BIRDs. However, I now know this was not the case !
Hopefully the research which I did will be of use to someone else.