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Newsletter No. 1 -- July 1996 


Our first Newsletter of 1996, was chiefly concerned with the final linking up to the main line of descent of one of the four branches of the Family that we knew of at that time.

Since then further research has concentrated on trying to link up the other branches. Their existence had, in fact, long been known to us, and more information had gradually been added to them with the help of several past and living members. We also found that their earliest representatives had been born in the late 18th century. At the same time we had information relating to some smaller groups whose heads were also of the same period, though they had not been traced beyond two or three generations. Their possible links seemed even more elusive. As research continued it became clear that one of the three remaining branches was not separate but belonged to a larger one. This discovery was quite recent, and indeed fortuitous, through actually unrelated research connected with the 1881 English Census returns.

We now have some surprising news to report. We have, at long last and to great Editorial satisfaction, been able to prove that there was just one common link between the branches and the smaller groups referred to above. This link goes back to one person, and that person was Joseph Boultbee the second son of Thomas, the formidable Rector of Brailsford.

The reason why it had been so difficult to find any links at all was that Joseph's existence was not known until 1993. Even then we could only establish that his marriage in 1747 to Anna Maria Burgin had produced two children, Dorothy Burgin and William. We have now found that Joseph and Anna Maria had ten children, in order of their ages being Rebecca, Joseph, Alpheus, James, John, Thomas, Charles, Anna Maria, Dorothy Burgin and William.

In working out the children's descents, this was often helped by the appearance, in several instances in the next few generations, of the highly unusual given name of Alpheus. The explanation is that Anna Maria Burgin's father and brother were so named.

The outstanding branches, now reduced to two, were descended from the son Charles and his younger brother William. They are both so extensive that we have found it necessary to deal with them by means of two Additional Chapters, Nos. XVIII and XIX. The smaller groups were descended from the other sons, Joseph, John and Thomas.

Click Here to view a 'tree' to illustrate the descent of Joseph of Brailsford and the sequence of his children and their descendants for the next three generations.

The ten children's details are as follows, their names being underlined:

  1. Rebecca, born in 1748.
  2. Joseph, born in 1749, married in 1777 Mary Barker and died in 1790. He is recorded as a butcher. Their children were:-

  3. [The letters a and b represent the two generations after the first generation. A bold type listing indicates a person who at birth or adoption was a Boultbee. Ed.]
    1. Anna Maria, born in 1778.
    2. Mary, born in 1780 and died in 1782.
    3. Mary, born and died in 1782.
    4. Dorothy, born in 1783.
    5. Alpheus, born in 1785, married in 1811 Elizabeth Healey and died in 1849. Their children were:-
      1. Joseph, born in 1812 and died in 1842.
      2. Alpheus, born in 1814, married firstly Eliza ------- in 1837, secondly Mary Ann ------- in 1859 and died in 1863. No record has yet been found of any children by either marriage. In 1846 he was a dealer in china, earthenware, and glassware.
      3. Mary, born in 1817.
      4. Sarah, born in 1820.
      5. Elizabeth, born in 1828.
    6. Mary, born in 1788.
    7. Joseph, born in 1790.
  4. Alpheus, born in 1750, married Elizabeth Garton in 1774 and died in 1790. Judging by the terms of his Will he left no children. In 1763 he was an apprentice slater and plasterer, but by 1773 he had become a Freeman of Leicester which implies, though still young, a solid and respected citizen.
  5. James, born in 1753, died in 1761.
  6. John, born in 1755, married Elizabeth ------- in 1788. Their children were:
    1. William, born in 1789.
    2. Joseph, born in 1793.
    3. John, born in 1795.
  7. Thomas, born in 1756, married Martha -------. Their children were:
    1. Mary, born in 1787.
    2. Alpheus, born in 1789, married Hannah Levatt in 1815.
    3. Their children were:
      1. Ann, born in 1816.
      2. Sarah, born in 1818.
      3. Margaret, born in 1820.
      4. Jane, born in 1822.
      5. John, born in 1825. We have some reason to believe that this John was the head of a line which spelt the surname Boulsbee, and still does. This possibility will be a subject of future research.
    4. Ann, born in 1791.
  8. Charles, born in 1758, married Hannah Wardle in 1785, who was born in 1757 and died in 1812. Charles died in 1809 and is recorded as a grocer. Their children were:
    1. John, born in 1787, married Frances Ward in 1809, who was born in 1787 and died in 1834. John died in 1837. He was a baker and grocer, perhaps carrying on his father's business, in Desford, Leicestershire. For their children and descendants see Additional Chapter XVIII.
    2. Anna Maria, born in 1789, died in 1815.
  9. Anna Maria, born in 1761.
  10. Dorothy Burgin, born in 1763.
  11. William, born in 1765, married Jane Upton in 1785 and died in 1792. They lived at Breedon, Leicestershire where William carried on the trade of butcher. He was buried at Breedon. Their children were:-
    1. James, born in 1785.
    2. Thomas, born in 1787, married Elizabeth Wair in 1815, who was born in 1794 and died in 1882. Thomas died in 1846. At the time of his death he was a pawnbroker in Derby, and before that a framework knitter. However, as a young man he had had a short military career. Towards the end of the Napoleonic Wars he joined the 1st Derbyshire Militia. The regiment was sent down to Plymouth, Devon, to assist in guarding that port. The security of such important strategic places during the absence of the regular army away on the Continent fighting Napoleon was undertaken by various militia regiments who were highly trained and well capable of defence against possible attack. We do not know exactly when Thomas was recruited - the 1st Derbyshire Militia was formed in 1803 - but he must have been with it by January 1815. Between then and January 1816, the regiment made several route marches from Plymouth to Dartmoor and back. On 29th January 1816, it left Plymouth, marched home to Derby where it arrived on 19th February, and was then disbanded, there being no further danger from Napoleon. During his time in Devon Thomas met and married Elizabeth Wair at Stoke Damerel near Plymouth (and now a suburb of that city). Her birthplace was Tavistock, on the edge of Dartmoor. She returned with him to Derby where all their children were born. For their children and descendants see Additional Chapter XIX.
    3. Joseph, born in 1790.
    4. Mary, born in 1792.

To end this Newsletter, we want to comment on a rather strange situation which, it has become apparent, pertained in the Family during the latter half of the 18TH century and to put forward a possible explanation for it.

At this period we have Joseph-of-Coleorton and his family living at Coleorton Old Hall, two miles from Stordon Grange, and at Stordon, live his nephew Thomas with his wife Jane, née Bage, and their eleven children. At the same time Joseph of Brailsford is living near Stordon, and his children all live later not all that far away. Yet there is no record of any contact between them and the families of Coleorton and Stordon Grange. Relations between Coleorton and Stordon must have been friendly since Lucy and Thomas Boultbee, the two eldest children at Stordon, were witnesses to the marriage of Frances Boultbee of Coleorton and the Reverend Francis Harris in 1770, and also that in 1778 Thomas' son Joseph of Stordon, then aged 21, was witness to a codicil of Joseph-of-Coleorton's Will.

Can the explanation of this otherwise puzzling situation possibly be this? The Rector of Brailsford lived on until 1780, dying at Stordon aged 91 in full possession of his faculties. We discussed in pages 42-45 of the History our theory that he became estranged from his son Joseph when the latter was still a young man. We believe that his father must never have forgiven Joseph for his probable refusal to become a clergyman after having been put through University with that parental intention, and that subsequently any contact with him and his children was to be discouraged by other members of the Family. The Rector's powerful personality and authority as father at Stordon, and the elder brother at Coleorton would have ensured this without query or protest.

We have seen in the History that no memory or record of Joseph of Brailsford survived to be discovered by TPB. Moreover, he was apparently unaware that many descendants of Joseph's grandson John were actually living at Breedon, so near Stordon, and were born there.

We think the time has come fully to recognise Joseph's rightful place in the Family as the progenitor of around 300 Boultbees where their direct connection to the main line of descent has been previously unknown.

The possibility still remains that yet more direct descendants of Joseph may eventually be discovered. There are several male grandchildren of his of whom we know no more at present than their birth dates. They may well have married and had children of their own. All we can say here is that research to that end continues steadily but fruitful results may take some time.

The inclusion in this Newsletter of many formerly unrecorded members of the family, whose lives span a long period, has led us to consider some interesting further aspects. The Coleorton families, the Stordon families, and now the descendants of Joseph of Brailsford -who fall into two groups - in the late 18th century and the first half of the 19th century periods in actual fact all lived in a remarkably small part of Leicestershire and Derbyshire covering an area approximately 20 miles from east to west and 50 miles from north to south. Yet there was little or no contact between them, and it is also clear that these four family groups had very different kinds of lives. "Coleortons" were enormously wealthy and had estates with large houses, their own home farms and so on, "Stordons" not being particularly well off, led the quiet country lives of gentlemen farmers. As can be seen in the Additional Chapters, the descendants of John Boultbee & Frances Ward were rural families whose occupations support village life. In contrast those descended from Thomas Boultbee and Elizabeth Wair were urban families, very much a part of the rapidly growing industrial development of, for example, mining, railways, and the iron & steel industry, and their occupations reflected this.

There may be some exceptions to the suggestions in the above, but in general they were in these four social groups. They lived so comparatively near each other, it is surprising that there was not more communication between them at that time. Even now, many descendants live in this area.
Patrick Boultbee 
Willowdale, Ontario 
Elizabeth Boultbee 
Beckenham, Kent 
July 1997

Newsletter No. 3 -- February 2000
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