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

Tuesday, 19 June 2012

W is for Webb

Nearly there with the alphabet now – having come so far I am determined to complete it.
There were quite a few options for W, and I really wanted to write about the Woffendens, because apart from anything else they have such an interesting surname. However, a quick count up shows that in the course of this blogging project I have somewhat neglected my mother’s paternal family – only the H is for Hancocks post has addressed this branch, and of course there is so much more to it than that.
So, I’m going to talk about the Webb family. Miriam Webb was my mother’s paternal grandmother. In 1908 she married Philemon Hancocks, and together they had three children, the eldest of which was my grandfather Horace James Hancock. Miriam lived into her eighties, and according to my mum she was, to put it gently, a bit of a character in her old age!
Miriam was born on 15 June 1886, to parents James Webb and Miriam Jayne.  The couple had six other children: Sarah Ann Webb (b. 1867), Francis J. Webb (b. 1869), John Webb (b. 1872), James Webb (b. 1874), Thomas G Webb (1) (b. 1879) and Thomas G Webb (2) (b. 1881) – I’m reasonably sure that these last two were separate individuals. Miriam was their last child, and perhaps she was a somewhat unexpected one given the large gap between her birth and those of their older children.
The children were all born in Wales, but alas my mum’s dream of Welsh ancestry is once again dashed when we see that James Webb senior was born in ‘Bristol Pill’ in 1844. Luckily for my mum, James Webb’s wife Miriam Jayne was definitely Welsh!
Pill is a village just outside Bristol on the south bank of the Avon, an area that was mostly involved with industrial pottery.  I asked my boyfriend if he’d ever been there and what it was like; he described it as ‘plain’! I take this to mean that it’s not exactly a quaint and picturesque old-English-style village.
James’ father was named Samuel Webb (b. 1819), and his mother was Charlotte Dyer (b. abt 1816). They had five other children: William Webb (b. 1846), Henry Webb (b. 1848), Jane Webb (b. 1855), Martha Webb (b. 1857) and Harriet Webb (b. 1859). Given the seven-year gap between Henry and Jane in particular, I speculated that there might have been other children in the family.
(Since I originally drafted this post, my speculation has been rewarded by the discovery of two more Webb children: Elizabeth D. Webb (b. 1842 – D for Dyer, perhaps?) and Ann Webb (b. 1852), who were living with their mother’s unmarried brother Samuel Dyer and sister Harriet Dyer in Easton in Gordano, just outside Pill, in 1861.)
I’ve still got a bit of work to do on the Webbs. For one thing, nowhere do I seem to have recorded what either Samuel Webb or James Webb did for a living, but I would to hazard a guess that they were in some sort of manual-labour job, and probably in mining once the family moved to Wales!
L x


  1. Hi, just read this blogpost as I was researching my family tree (Webb) and had got stuck at Samuel Webb and Charlotte Dyer on Ancestry so hit Google and it was the first thing that came up.
    I'm new to researching my family tree and am finding it incredibly fascinating at how many stems there are to the family!
    From my research I found that Samuel and Charlotte had 7 children, James, William, Henry, Samuel, Jane, Martha & Harriet. I'm descended from Henry who had 8 children (Elizabeth, Thomas, Samuel, Harriet, William, Henry C, Beatrice & Louisa). Henry C was my great grandfather.
    Thanks to your article I've managed to add in details I wasn't 100% were correct to James Webb and his wife Miriam and can complete that thread of my tree. James is my 2nd great grand uncle lol!
    Thank you for your helpful article.
    gweniepennie at yahoo dot co dot uk

  2. Hi there - glad I could help out! I usually qualify my statement about the number of children with 'known', and obviously I'd missed Samuel, so thansk for the tip and the extra info on your family. I find it's really useful to collect whatever scarps of info you can find even on distant relatives, because you never know when you might need the tiny clues. If you have any more questions or anyhting, you can email me at the address above (top right hand side) and I'll certainly be in touch if I come across anything that might be of use to you! Lauren


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