Saturday, 18 February 2012

What a tangled web we weave.....

I was looking at a notebook this morning and spotted something, the surname of Burchell.  I knew I had already a reference to that surname, so I pulled the Butcher file off the bookcase and started to plough my way through the pages.

The Butcher family are complicated. They held land in Surrey, in the rural parishes of Wonersh, Shere, Bramley and Hascombe. They inherited their wealth and property through marriages and wills with the Chandlers, Hunts,Simmonds and Hammond families.

Each will and document provides another mystery, which leads to more research, pondering and confusion.

Here is a mind map, written about 1993 of the complexities. There are no full dates, as this is simply a visual for when I am thinking!

The more I look at the file and documents the more confused and frustrated I become. There are several puzzles.
  1. The marriage of Daniel Butcher & Elizabeth Simmonds is simply not in Surrey. The most likely is in Tillington Sussex in 1745 - a mere 15 miles away from Hascombe. 
  2. Daniel & Elizabeth had two children - one in 1761 and another 1775. I descend from the son in 1775. We know from the various wills that Daniel and Elizabeth Simmonds did marry, it is the where and when that proves problematic. We know that the two children, James and Elizabeth both inherited from family members and their place within the family groups is correct. 
  3. Despite this I still feel that there is almost another generation in between Daniel and his wife Elizabeth and their children. - I have checked there are no other marriages for a Daniel Butcher and Elizabeth Simmonds in the right time frame and within the confines of Surrey or Sussex. 
I am currently working now in the reverse direction and reading again all the wills and documentation and drawing out named relationships to see if I have missed anything.  
  1. The bottom line of research is work from what you know, following the ancestral line of descent - done!
  2. Have a paper trail of sources, documents and notes - done!
So, what have I missed?...... 


  1. I think researching family history is fascinating and just wish I had more time to devote to it, have had spurts on and off over the years.
    I hope you are keeping well, still reading your posts in my reader but apologies for not calling by to comment very often, time just seems to get swallowed up by real life!

    1. Great to hear from you. When working things are much slower - simply too busy, so making the most a bad situation whilst off!


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