Semley is by far the most important S in my tree, though the recent discovery of the Sawkins line may change that, and there is of course the as-yet undeveloped Swift branch. We have come across the Semleys briefly in previous posts D is for Depledge and I is for Irish.
Sarah Ann Semley is my 3 x great grandmother (my father’s father’s mother’s father’s mother). She was born in 1844. In 1867 she married the Irish mason James Thompson.
Sarah Ann was the daughter of Thomas Semley and Mary Depledge. She was the eldest of eleven children: Mary Semley (b. 1846), Elizabeth Semley (b. 1848), Eliza Semley (b. 1850), Fanny Semley (b. 1855), John Semley (b. 1858), Martha Semley (b. 1860), Mary Semley (b. 1862), Thomas Semley (b. 1865), George Semley (b. 1868) and Annie Semley (b. 1870).
Thomas Semley and Mary Depledge were married on 4 September 1842 at St James church, Thornes, Wakefield. On their parish marriage record Thomas described himself as a farmer. His father’s name is given as George Semley, and he is also a farmer.
George was born in 1794 and married Ann Tummons. Besides Thomas they had eight other children: William Semley (b. 1817), John Semley (b. 1820), Joseph Semley (b. 1822), Edward Semley (b. 1824), Mary Semley (b. 1826), Henry Semley (b. 1829), Ann Semley (b. 1833) and Charles Semley (b. 1835).
The most interesting thing I have found relating to my Semley ancestors is a record from the spring court sessions held at Pontefract on 5 April 1858. The page gives the name of the accused, the offence for which they were tried, their sentence or whether they were discharged. Towards the bottom of a page of thirty names appear three Semleys: George, Ann and Sarah Ann. they were accused of larceny (i.e. theft), like the majority of those on the page. However, George and Sarah Ann are the only accused in the list to be found not guilty. Unfortunately Ann Semley was convicted and sentenced to six months in prison.
Without further information it is impossible to say how George and Ann fit into my tree – are these my 5x great grandparents, now in their sixties, or two of their children or grandchildren? However, I have found no evidence for the existence of a second Sarah Ann Semley in the area at this time, so there can be little doubt that Sarah Ann Semley, found not guilty, is my direct ancestor, aged just fourteen at the time.
I intend to explore particular story further, though how much more I will be able to uncover I have no idea...