I have spent some time this weekend with one of my Family tree’s brick wall. An ancestor who is important for me to get further back in my paternal line.
John Thorn turns up in the Devon city of Plymouth and marries Sarah Branton, a local girl, in the year 1794 and whisks her off to Dartmouth. Very soon after their son, also called John, is born and baptised in Dartmouth’s St Saviour Parish. From this I made the assumption that perhaps the elder John was from Dartmouth. In the Parish records for Plymouth, Charles the Martyr, he gives away only that he was a mariner, but not of which parish he was from.
So I start to use the online resources available to me to try and find John Thorn in the parish records for the churches in Dartmouth; but with a common Devon name I can’t absolutely identify the baptisms or deaths that look likely candidates for this forebear of mine.
I then used the Hugh Wallis site to look inside batches of parish records from the IGI on the familyseach site. This really useful tool is back up and working, having been disabled when the LDS revamped their website in 2011. Now I was able to specify which batch to look at for the Parish of St Saviour Dartmouth and so I discovered some of the christenings of the other children born to John and Sarah and even that one of these children went on to have a child in 1816 which takes the mother’s surname with all that that implies!
The other use that I put the Hugh Wallis gateway to the IGI to was to see if I could find the marriages of the Thorn girls in the parish by selecting a batch number, as provided by Hugh Wallis’ site and then entering their surname into the Spouse box. Regretfully I have not found any, which seems to indicate they may well have moved on from the town to live elsewhere. While my 3 x great grandfather stayed and was buried in the town, I am still looking for what happened to his parents and siblings.
Not withstanding this result for me this time, the use of Hugh Wallis’ site, in the way I described, may well help others to break down a brick wall or two. So if you haven’t tried it before, I do commend it to you.