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William Shearman - Cambridge

Wed Feb 20, 2019 10:43 am

I have a problem with my family history research with regard to the wife of William Shearman. He was born in about 1784 in Cambridge(shire) and had at least 4 children. Now the problem is that some fellow distant relatives and researchers seem to think he married a woman named Ann Free in about 1817 in Cambridge, had at least 3 of the children, then she died in about 1832, he married a Frances Furbank in London in about 1835 and had a final child. Marrying in London, where the pair are listed as being ‘Of This Parish’, seems a bit of a distance away from Cambridge, especially as he spent his entire life there. One of his earlier children, born about 1819, had a Christening in 1841, where her parents were listed as William and Frances, not William and Ann. So, are they right in thinking William married Ann then Frances, or is it just that William married a Frances, maiden name unknown, in Cambridge and that their marriage record has not been found yet? Just to add a bit more to the confusion - If Frances was the 2nd wife, and her surname was Furbank, then she had an illegitimate daughter in about 1832, and she seems to be missing from the 1841 census, as living with her mother and step-father, if that’s who they were.
Is it a case of just because a marriage record is not yet found - Don’t accept something that doesn’t seem to make sense, ie a marriage in London for a couple from Cambridge.
Any ideas, or more usefully, any actual knowledge of this would be hugely appreciated.
Thank you.

Re: William Shearman - Cambridge

Wed Feb 20, 2019 5:03 pm

The marriage of William Shearman and Ann Free was at Cambridge St Michael (groom's parish given as St Andrew the Great, Cambridge) on 20 April 1817.

I wonder if the 'distant relatives and researchers' you refer to have seen the name William Shearman in records and made assumptions, without checking? For instance, there's a tree on ancestry that shows a William Shearman married to Frances Furbank. This William was born 1814 in Southwark, Frances was born in Bethnal Green in 1821, they married in 1835, and had one son, George. So the name might sound 'right' but it's just a coincidence, and this is clearly not your William.

Re: William Shearman - Cambridge

Wed Feb 20, 2019 5:27 pm

Thanks for the heads up.
Since beginning my research I had always thought that the mother of William’s children was Frances (maiden name unknown), given that she was listed on the 1841 and 1851 census as his wife. I have not found any Christening records for the 4 children, who survived to adulthood, other than Jane Frances Shearman, born ~1819, Christened in 1841 in Milton, that lists Frances as her mother. William Henry Shearman, born ~1817, Ann (my ancestor), born ~1831, and James, born ~1836, have no records yet found. Frances was born in Fulbourne, Cambridge, and I have her death record from 1858 aged 63, but that’s all the information I have on her.
There was a William Shearman who lived in St Andrew The Less in Cambridge, who was also a plasterer by profession, who was married to an Ann, but the names of their children do not match any of the 4 I have previously mentioned. Their address does not match up with the 1841 census for my William and Frances, but that was about 15 years later.
The 3rd cousin of mine who has also researched this, was quite adamant in their belief that William and Ann Free are our ancestors, but the record for Jane’s Christening in 1841 seems to back up my original research as Frances being the mother to all 4 children, not just James, the last one.
Thanks again for the help, and anyone else who can help clarify this issue, please do.

Re: William Shearman - Cambridge

Wed Feb 20, 2019 5:32 pm

My advice about on-line trees is to use them for guidance only, especially if they are not sourced. I make full use of everything I find, including data from Trees, but I never add to my own tree unless I’m happy, and sources proved ok. No source, me no copy :D

Re: William Shearman - Cambridge

Thu Feb 21, 2019 10:56 am

Just a thought but have you tried comparing William's signature on the two marriages?
The second is online at ancestry,I can't see the first at St Michael Cambridge except as a transcript but presumably you have seen it.

ps looking for Frnaces born c 1795 at Fulbourn
There are Frances Peachey and Frances Banyard in 1794 and Frances Furbank 1796
Frances Furbank born 3 May 1795 bapt 14 May 1796 d of Edmund and Frances Furbank
So that does seem to fit.

There is also a John Sherman s of William and Ann plasterer 28.2.1822 born 2.2.1821 at Barnwell methodist chapel on FMP.

There's a burial for Ann at Haslingfield age 41 in 1832.(no date transcript)


Re: William Shearman - Cambridge

Thu Feb 21, 2019 1:11 pm

There are a few children born to a William and Ann Shearman in the 1820s, but some are buried just a few weeks or months later. It would fill the gap between Jane Frances in the late 1810s and Ann in the early 1830s. Their address, if I can remember correctly, was in East Road, but the William and Frances Shearman from the 1841 and 1851 census lived in Russell Street. Obviously, 15 years or so can result in a change of address. But, I have been told, that William Shearman was Catholic and those Christenings in the 1820s were CofE, plus the marriage in London in the 1830s was also CofE, so that doesn't add up.
If only the records for the 4 children that are DEFINITELY the children of the William Shearman, a plasterer who lived in St Andrew The Less, that survived to adulthood, namely William Henry, Jane Frances (Mrs Purkiss as of 1867), Ann (Mrs Canham as of 1852), and James, could be found and listed their mother as either Frances or Ann, it would solve everything. I have checked as much as possible on Ancestry, Find My Past and the Cambridge(shire) Family History Society, but no concrete answers have yet been forthcoming. (Only the Christening record for Jane Frances from when she was about 21 or 22 in 1841.)
I know that the William Shearman, married to an Ann, who had children in the 1820s was also a plasterer, but maybe that could have been my William Shearman's cousin or something, as that was a trade passed from father to son. I'm sure that either William Henry or James, maybe both, were also plasterers, as an example.
Thanks again for all the help.
(PS - Sorry if I spelt Fulbourn incorrectly.)

Re: William Shearman - Cambridge

Thu Feb 21, 2019 5:57 pm

Find My Past has a baptism record for James Shearman, May 1825, St Andrew the Less, Cambridge.
Father, William Shearman, plasterer, Mother, Ann. (Abode East Road.)

Re: William Shearman - Cambridge

Wed Feb 27, 2019 4:03 pm

Just to clarify what I know:
In the 1841 and 1851 census, William Shearman, plasterer, was living in Russell Street and his wife's name was Frances. (These also include a daughter, Ann/Anne.)
Frances died in 1858, then William married a Sarah Gilby in 1860, then he died in 1866.

The 4 known children:
William Henry Shearman, 1817-1879 (approx), no birth or Christenings records yet found.
Jane Frances Shearman, 1919-1907 (died Mrs Purkiss), no birth record yet found, Christening record in 1841 Milton, aged 21 or 22, lists Frances as mother.
Ann Shearman, 1831-1887 (died Mrs Canham), no birth or Christening records yet found.
James Shearman, 1936-1920 (approx), no birth or Christening records yet found.

Children of a William and Ann Shearman of East Road:
James Shearman, born 28 May 1825, baptism 4 December 1825, death/burial 7 December 1825 aged 6 months.
James Shearman, died/burial 13 July 1828 aged 4 months.
Agnes Shearman, died/burial 22 November 1830 aged 11 weeks.

The 3 dead children, there may be more, fill the gap between Jane Frances and Ann. However, Agnes's birth in early September 1830 does not leave a great deal of time for the pregnancy of Ann, if she was born in 1831, probably Q3, but maybe early Q4. (Ann died 1 November 1887 aged 56, strangely her daughter Sarah Ellen Canham's 18th birthday.)

The William and Ann Shearman, of East Road, may be a completely different couple to the William and Frances, of Russell Street, who had William, Jane, Ann and James, or are they?
I know an Ann Canham was buried in Haslingfield in about 1832, so does that leave time for William to then marry a Frances with whom he had his son James?
Bascially, I just want to know the name of Ann Canham, nee Shearman's, mother.
I tend to believe it is Frances, and that the William and Ann are a different couple, maybe a relative, hence both Williams having the same profession.

I know this is a tricky one, but any clarification would be greatly appreciated.

(Your user comments greatly helped solve another ancestor's mother's name, specifically Catherine McDonnell of Liverpool.)

Thank you again.

PS - Do Catholic marriage records for Cambridge include the names of the mothers of the bride and groom, or just the fathers. The official legal marriage record for Ann Shearman and William Canham just lists their fathers. The Catholic marriage record for a James Murphy and Mary Grimley from 1864 Liverpool, lists all 4 parents, though not the mothers’ maiden names, but at least their first names, as an example. The Cambridge(shire) Family History Society does not show the original handwritten Catholic records in their downloadable PDF compilations.

Re: William Shearman - Cambridge

Wed Feb 27, 2019 6:35 pm

Catholic baptism registers can vary in the amount of information they give. In theory, they have the name of the child, name of father, name of mother (often with maiden surname) and names of godparents. If there's less (or more) information, it's usually down to the whim of the individual parish priest. And as you know, when RC registers are in Latin, that includes all the names, so for example, James will be entered as Jacobus, William as Guilliumus, and Mary as Maria.

Re: William Shearman - Cambridge

Wed Feb 27, 2019 7:40 pm

There is one thing I can't find, and that is a William Shearman living in East Road, the latest date I have for that is 1835 according to electoral registers, at the same time another William Shearman is living in Russell Street, as in the 1841 census. If they existed at the same time then they couldn't be the same person, but a 6 year gap could mean they are the same.

Could it be that only burial records exist for some of the children as they were not Christened CofE, but rather as Catholic, but had to be buried CofE, because that was the only option. Would it have happened that way? The Liverpool record I mentioned before was really good, as it even listed where people were born, such as Armagh in Ireland. It's a shame English and Welsh records were not as good as the Scottish ones from that time, as even a death record would show the deceased's parents' names, including the mother's maiden surname.

Quick addition:
William Shearman/Sharman a plasterer of East Road was a member of the Freemasons from 1837 to 1842. The address was not changed, so whether he moved in that time and it wasn’t changed in his details, or whether he did not move thereby indicating this was a different William Shearman to the one in Russell Street in 1841. Did the Freemasons bother to change addresses for their members, or just keep the one they had when they originally joined?
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