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William FERRIS 1843-1918

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William FERRIS 1843-1918

Postby JaneyH » Sun Feb 11, 2018 1:05 pm

William Ferris is a link between the more established parts of my tree and a recent DNA match. I've got a reasonable amount of information on him but there are some annoying gaps I'd be grateful for help with. Here's what I know so far:

The GRO index shows William was born in Q1 1843 in Westbury on Severn, Glouecstershire. (Other records show this was in fact the village of Pope's Hill, on 9 February 1843.) The 1851 and 1861 Censuses show him with his parents, John and Sarah Ferris (nee Bellamy). In 1863 William marries Mary Ann Jenkins. In the absence of a parish record I looked at the Gloucestershire BMD website, which shows the ceremony was at Westbury Register Office. In 1865 they have a son, Alvin. A year later William is convicted of leaving his wife chargeable to the township of East Dean and sentenced to one month's hard labour. His son Alvin dies in 1867, aged just two.

In January 1871 William is convicted at Durham for "larceny simple after a previous conviction for felony" and sentenced to nine months in Durham Gaol. I have no idea why he would have been so far from home, but at least it explains why there is no Census record for him for 1871 anywhere in Gloucestershire. In November 1871, fresh out of prison and back home again, William marries Eliza Elizabeth Packer at Westbury Register Office. The marriage certificate (uploaded to familysearch) shows that he was aged 27, a widower and miner. Eliza was 22.

In 1874 William is once again in trouble with the law, being held initially at Littledean (local house of correction) before being sent to Gloucester Gaol for three months' hard labour. It's a long and interesting story but for brevity here he was one of the ring-leaders of a large politically-motivated riot. The records note his earlier conviction in Durham.

At this point I switched to the clues from my DNA match, and William is now in the USA. Between them, the 1880, 1900 and 1910 US Censuses on familysearch show that the Ferris family emigrated to Illinois in 1875. In 1880 William (35, coal miner) and wife Eliza (31) were living in Port Byron, Rock Island, Illinois USA with children Edith H (8), Bertha (4) and Joe (2). Edith is shown as born in England while the other two children were born in Illinois. The 1900 Census shows William (56, restaurant keeper) and wife Eliza (52) living in Hampton, Rapid City, Illinois with children Anna Henderson (29) and her husband John (35); Joseph (21), Thomas (14), and Fanny (10). William died in 1918 and I have photo of his gravestone via findagrave.com.

From all of this are two questions -
(1) What happened to William's first wife, Mary Ann (nee Jenkins)? I've been unable to find an obvious death record or burial.
(2) Where was his eldest daughter, Edith/Anna/Annie born? This was c.1872 and in England, not the USA.

All suggestions gratefully received!
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Re: William FERRIS 1843-1918

Postby ianbee » Sun Feb 11, 2018 4:59 pm

There's an Annie born just before the marriage, but Ada Annie
Sep 1871 Westbury S. 6a 238
Packer, Ada Annie
mother —
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Re: William FERRIS 1843-1918

Postby ianbee » Sun Feb 11, 2018 5:13 pm

The FamilySearch tree says that she was born 4 July 1871
https://www.familysearch.org/tree/perso ... s/K4PT-5VQ

Don't know how accurate this is.
Ah, they have Illinois Deaths and Stillbirths, 1916-1947
https://www.familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:NQCM-9J1

In the 1900 US census she is also born July 1871.
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Re: William FERRIS 1843-1918

Postby JaneyH » Sun Feb 11, 2018 5:40 pm

Thanks Ian.

I note that the familysearch tree has Anna Edith (b. 1871) and Edith H (b. 1872) as two separate people, although I think it likely they are one and the same.

The Packer birth you found is highly likely to be the right person - excellent! I've had a quick look for baptisms and I see that there was an Edith Annie Packer baptised in Westbury on 13 August 1871. It says 'base born' and the mother is shown as Elizabeth Packer, single woman ... so this all ties in well. With a date of birth of 4 July (how apt, given she emigrated to the USA!) it's at least possible that William Ferris was the father, before being sent to prison in Durham. Of course there may be a completely different father, and William simply chose to marry a woman with a young baby.
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Re: William FERRIS 1843-1918

Postby pelyntjane » Thu Feb 15, 2018 10:25 pm

We may be related, my Great grandfather was Thomas , maybe a brother, he married Rebecca Collins. His parents were John and Sarah.
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Re: William FERRIS 1843-1918

Postby JaneyH » Thu Feb 15, 2018 11:27 pm

Hi pelyntjane, I think we are probably related.

Thomas Ferris, married to Rebecca Collins, is in my tree as the brother of William Ferris. Their father was John Ferris married to Sarah Bellamy. Sarah's father was William Bellamy and he was my 4x great-grandfather. I'm descended through Sarah's sister Mary Ann Bellamy.

Please send me a private message as I'm currently researching the Ferris line and I would love to share research. I'm just wondering if I've seen your username come up on Ancestry DNA ... I can't immediately locate it but it seems familiar!


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Re: William FERRIS 1843-1918

Postby Jefff » Fri Feb 16, 2018 4:53 am

Hi again Janey
thank goodness no fishy tails here ;)

First, I agree 100% ref the FoD PR for Edith (H)anna Packer b1871 as being your "Ferris" baptism.
Second, I see an awful lot of Mary Ann Jenkins and even Mary Ann Ferris within the FoD area PRs and BMDs. Do you have any info as to a possible age for yours ? Asking as have been trying to find likely re-marriage or death, but as you say it's very difficult.
atb J
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Re: William FERRIS 1843-1918

Postby JaneyH » Fri Feb 16, 2018 3:17 pm

Hi Jefff,

I'm clutching at straws on this one to be honest. William Ferris married Mary Ann Jenkins in Q2 1863. It's not in the FoD parish records as it was a Register Office wedding, which I found on the Gloucestershire BMD website. So there are no clues in terms of father's name etc. There are a few online trees that include William Ferris but none include his first marriage - only his marriage to Elizabeth Packer, their children and are clearly from descendants in the USA. I came across a copy of the certificate for the second marriage on familysearch; this described him as a widower so if we take this at face value then Mary Ann had died. Or it was a bigamous marriage.

In terms of 'which Mary Ann Jenkins' might it have been, I've searched for the name and living in Westbury on Severn. Of the six results only one was born in the right timeframe (1844) to have been able to marry in 1863 and give birth in 1865. She was daughter of Thomas and Ann Jenkins living at Lightmoor along with other children Kezia, Sarah, Fanny, Harriett and Charles.

This is probably not enough to go on, so the only option would be to order the marriage certificate and see what I get. I've just paid my annual Ancestry subscription so there's no more budget for family history research for a while!

Meanwhile, with two authoritative contributors agreeing on the Edith/Anna Packer record I'll add that one in.

Thanks, Janey
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Re: William FERRIS 1843-1918

Postby ianbee » Fri Feb 16, 2018 6:07 pm

JaneyH wrote:She was daughter of Thomas and Ann Jenkins living at Lightmoor along with other children Kezia, Sarah, Fanny, Harriett and Charles.

And lodger John Ferris in 1861. Was John related to William?
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Re: William FERRIS 1843-1918

Postby JaneyH » Fri Feb 16, 2018 6:57 pm

How did I miss this? Probably because I looked only at the transcription on FMP which covers the family group, and didn't get as far as looking at the image including the lodger. (In my defence, I've been working today so dipping in and out of family history.)

Yes, there is a brother John Ferris. I have him born in 1837 but I'm not sure what the age is on the 1861 Census: it starts with a '2' but I'm stumped as to the second digit - it looks like a heart shape! If nothing else it gives credence to the fact that this could be the 'right' Mary Ann Jenkins.
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