"Each has his own tree of ancestors, but at the top of all sits Probably Arboreal." - Robert Louis Stevenson

Monday, 23 April 2012

J is for Jepson

Emma Jepson is the mother of Thomas Goulding, my mother’s maternal grandfather. She was born in April–May of 1843, and baptised on 7 May that year at Misterton in Nottinghamshire.  The entire line seems to be deeply rooted in this area, in fact, making it fairly easy to work with. Emma marries in 1867 and remains in Nottinghamshire until her death in 1893.
Emma’s father is William Jepson, born around 1801 in ‘Sutton’. He marries Elizabeth Clark on 26 November 1823. Sadly I can’t find any strong indications of who William’s parents were. In the marriage information given on Ancestry and on Family Search, no information is given on the bride and groom’s parents.
On the 1851 census William is described as ‘Victualler and Farmer of 45 Acres’, which was a smallish farm for the time (I have to admit that I have no concept of how large an acre is!). By this time enclosure of land was basically complete, and farming was entering a sort of ‘golden age’ in Britain, thanks to new technologies and scientific knowledge that allowed agriculture to prosper. So while William and his family were probably not exactly wealthy, they probably weren’t starving either. However, by 1861 William is only farming 22 acres – though he is getting on a bit by now, perhaps he had sold some of his to ease his workload in his old age?
Emma has six known siblings: Sarah Jepson (b. 1829), Elizabeth Jepson (b. 1831), William Jepson (b. 1834), George Jepson (b. 1836), John Jepson (b. 1837) and Ann Jepson (b. 1840).
I suspect there might be more, given the six year gap following William and Elizabeth’s marriage, but they are for the most part unlikely to be married, as a child born in 1823 would still be only eighteen in 1841. It seems more probably that they have left home and gone into domestic service or apprenticeships, in which case it might be possible to track them down in the 1841 census and check against baptism records to confirm that they are the children of William and Elizabeth.
Here is a brief account of what I know about each of the Jepson children:
Sarah Jepson marries in 1848 (Gainsborough, 3rd Q). There are four possible spouses: Thomas Ashton, Samuel Davies, John Fox or John Wheelwright Gagg. It may be possible to work out which through a process of elimination, but I haven’t attempted this yet.
Elizabeth Jepson seems to have married a William Butroid. I only know this because on the 1861 and 1871 censuses there is a granddaughter Elizabeth Mary Butroid living with Elizabeth’s parents. I found her baptism and her parents are given as William Butroid and Elizabeth. I haven’t yet confirmed the marriage.
William Jepson marries Martha Jefferson in 1855. The couple have seven Jepson children: Ann Elizabeth Jepson (b. 1857), Mary Jane Jepson (b. 1858), George Jepson (b. 1863), Emma Jepson (b. 1865), Florence Jepson (b. 1867), Clara Jepson (b. 1869) and John W. Jepson (b. 1877). Funnily enough, by 1861 they have moved to Brightside Bierlow near Sheffield, where Arthur Hancocks was to move from Wales twenty years later (see H is for Hancocks). He is employed
George Jepson also moves north to Brightside Bierlow sometime between 1858 and 1861, with his family – his wife Jane (who he probably married around 1857) and children William Jepson (b. 1858), Adelaide Jepson (b. 1861), Alice Ann Jepson (b. 1863), Maud Mary Jepson (b. 1867), Elizabeth Jepson (b. 1870) and John Jepson (b. 1872).
Both William and George are working as a steel welders in 1871 – Hardly surprising in Sheffield, where the main industry was steelworking.
John Jepson marries a woman named Jane in the late 1850s. They have three daughters: Emily Jepson (b. 1860), Mary J. Jepson (b. 1864) and Anne Jepson (b. 1867). Mysteriously, 'Anne' appears to read 'Amy' on the 1881 census, but I’m pretty sure they have to be the same person – perhaps it is meant to say 'Anny'? In 1871 Jane and the children are living with John’s parents. John appears as a lodger in another household. Jane dies in 1882, and John remarries at some point before 1891 to a woman named Mary, with whom he is living alone on the 1891 and 1901 censuses. John, like some of my Buswell ancestors, is employed as a whitesmith.
Ann Jepson appears in the 1861 census working as a servant to a family of – wait for it – Buswells! Unfortunately these Buswells are probably not related to my Buswells (or not closely anyway), being of Lincolnshire origins, while mine were based in Oxfordshire . It would have been very cool if they were though!  I haven’t managed to trace Ann any further than this.

Once again, they’re not the most exciting bunch, but I think there’s nothing wrong with some good old-fashioned, working-class ancestors!
L x


  1. I to honestly have no idea of how big an acre is, but having looked it up, if a field was roughly 60 metres by 60 metres square, that field would be approximately 1 acre. From the little I've done on the one place study of Horton in Ribblesdale, I spotted a farmer living near the village who was a "Farmer of 750 acres". That's certainly a lot of land to farm!

    As for the Anne/Amy name - as they census pages were collected and recorded by an enumerator, it's likely there will be a few mistakes. I've come across a few myself. That's why you get different spellings of names between censuses - especially if the households were illiterate and the enumerators would have recorded it themselves.

    And I agree with there being nothing wrong with good old-fashioned, working-class ancestors. I have one or two interesting lines who were a bit more well off, but generally all my ancestors are farmers or miners!

  2. It is true census errors are quite common, so I suppose I shouldn't really be surprised, but somehow, occasionally,I am! Ann to Amy seems like a pretty big jump to me... but then again I've seen far bigger errors!

    Thanks for the useful acre info. Forty-five 60-metre square fields still sounds like quite a lot of farming to me. But I suppose that generally more land was being farmed then than it is now anyway.

    Mine too. I imagine that it's the same for most people really. My mum's ancestors were particularly mundane in their occupations - almost exclusively 'ag labs' and industrial workers/miners - but once I moved onto my dad's side, that turned out to be a bit more mixed.

  3. I have one line of Surgeons and Doctors on my mum's paternal side. Those ancestors descend from well known Northumbrian families and one line can be traced back to Royalty. A long, long, way back though. For example, William "The Lion" of Scotland is my 24th great-grandfather. Not much blue blood unfortunately.


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