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

Friday, 12 October 2012

On the criminal element

I begin with a caveat, otherwise you might get something of the wrong idea: Thus far in my family history, my ancestors appear to have been generally decent, law abiding citizens (with the exception of Sarah Ann Semley, possibly).
However, I have begun investigating my newly identified Wallinger branch, and it would seem they are a BAD lot!
My 2 x great-grandfather Thomas Wallinger was born to parents William Wallinger, ag lab, and Alice (maiden name unknown) in Hanslope, Buckinghamshire in 1844. Alice was William’s second wife, and he would marry again in later life to Harriet Hensman. Eleanor gave William a son, George, and Alice went on to give him five more sons.
Two of Thomas’s brothers, Benjamin and Thomas (the elder, in memory of whom my Thomas was presumably named) died young, but some of the other Wallinger boys, it seems, were not the best behaved!
I’ve already talked a little about Thomas, who left his wife Charlotte for the much younger Sarah Jane Newby, with whom he had a son, my great grandfather Walter. The year after Walter was born Thomas was summoned to court for debt, and he died shortly afterwards. I still don’t know what happened to Sarah Jane and Walter. Until Walter married in 1929, his life is a mystery.
Thomas’s brother William was married to Rosannah Cook, with whom, presumably, he had his daughter Clara, in Yorkshire. On two censuses William is in jail, in London in 1871 and then in Surrey in 1881. As yet I’m not sure what he was convicted for.  I can only assume that he had abandoned his family. Rose ,as she appears on the 1861 census, completely disappears after this point. His daughter Clara, born 1860, is not present either, and nor does she appear again until 1891 when he elderly father is living with her and husband George Surby.
More shocking and intriguing though, is Peter Wallinger. In March 1845, at the grand old age of ten, he is convicted of arson – on ‘stacks of [illegible]’ – and sentenced to transportation for fifteen years. At this time transportation meant to Australia. This isn’t an area of genealogy I’ve encountered before, but initial searches don’t reveal any trace at all of Peter Wallinger following his conviction, either in Australia or the UK, so what happened to him is, for now, something of a mystery.
With more Wallinger brothers still to investigate, who knows what else they got up to?!
L x


  1. Hi - I grew up near Hanslope and there were always lots of rumours about strange goings on in the past in the village including a gruesome murder! I'll have to ask around the family to see if anyone can remember more :)

  2. Wow, that would be amazing, thanks. I really would not be surprised if my dodgy lot were involved in some way, especially as so many of them moved away - you never know, perhaps they were running away from something sinister

  3. of course in 1845 they really knew how to treat children and as for being a bad lot there isnt much usefull info apart from marrying twice etc etc lots of gaps everywhere a bit more research needed to make it more interesting


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