Tuesday, May 15, 2018



Image 'Oliver Twist', Wikipedia, Reproduced under Creative Commons Licence

“There is always a pleasure in unravelling a mystery, in catching at the gossamer clue which will guide to certainty.” 
― Elizabeth GaskellMary Barton

In a blog post of February 23, 2018, entitled The Tale of Two Williams, I talked about the importance of finding evidence to support genealogical findings. In that post, Part 1 of The Tale of Two Williams - I left readers hanging with the promise of a twist to the ending of my story. This, as promised, is Part 2 of the tale - and there's a twist at the end!


I had become convinced that I had the incorrect parents on my family tree, for my third great grandfather William Hoyes, a weaver from Newark Nottinghamshire. The parents I had thought to be his, were Thomas Hoyes, born 1768 Girton, Nottinghamshire and Ann Machin, born in Claypole, Lincolnshire. The research was very old and originally undertaken by someone else, in the days before records became available online. With members of my 18th century Hoyes family moving regularly between Nottinghamshire and Lincolnshire, and boundary changes to registration districts, it was easy see why there was some confusion as to who was who. Increasingly, over the years, I had nagging doubts that Thomas and Ann Hoyes were my really fourth great grandparents but I had to find the time to research the problem. You can read the first part of my tale here. 

Discounting the theory that William was in two places at one time (and had two occupations), I concluded that my third great grandfather, William Hoyes, living with his wife Deborah Berry in the above 1841 census in Newark, Nottinghamshire, was NOT the William Hoyes who was born in Claypole, Lincolnshire in 1809, to Thomas and Ann Hoyes.

The result seems so simply obvious when I tell the story now, but the undoing of years of research (especially when the original research was not done by myself) was a mammoth job. Online records have made the task of finding people easier than when this original research was done - especially when you are looking for multiple people of the same name - like my William Hoyes. 

1841 Census, William Hoyes, Newark Upon Trent, Image Ancestry.com [3]

I finally reached the conclusion that the William Hoyes who was my third great grandfather, was born on August 4, 1810 in Newark, Nottinghamshire to John Hoyes and his wife Mary (possible surname KENNERAL). I believe that the original research was confused by the fact that by 1851, BOTH William Hoyes of the same name and approximate age, were living in Nottinghamshire. 

Below is William Hoyes born Claypole, Lincolnshire, who was living in South Collingham, Notinghamshire in 1851. In this census record he is recorded as being aged 41 years, works as an agricultural labourer (ag lab) and lives with his wife Mary and sons Samuel 4 and Thomas 3. 
William Hoyes born Claypole, Lincolnshire 1851 Census, Ancestry.com [4]
Below is my William Hoyes, in the same 1851 census, living also in Nottinghamshire, a weaver, in Scales Row, Newark aged 40 years. With him are wife Deborah and children John 14, Mary 13, George 10, Thomas 8, Samuel 6, Alfred aged 6 months and mother in law Mary Berry. First and second sons James and William were married and so did not appear in this census with their parents.

William Hoyes born Newark Nottinghamshire 1851 Census Ancestry.com [5]
Now, if only my Nottinghamshire ancestors had been thoughtful enough to adhere to the strict naming patterns that many of my Scottish families did - first son after grandfather and the second after the father - my search would have been so much more straightforward. There was one clue in the names of children however - my William Hoyes had a son named John and did not have a son called Thomas. William of Claypole, had a son named Thomas, likely named for his father.


Resigned to the fact that Thomas Hoyes (born 1768 in Girton, Nottinghamshire) and Ann Machin (born ab 1765 in Claypole, Lincolnshire) were not my fourth great grandparents, you might recall that I took the enormous step of removing them and all generations before them, from my family tree. Along with them, disappeared Thomas's parents William and Mary Hoyes and his his brothers and sisters. My daughter recalls me saying, "I don't know if I can do this..."

On a positive note, I had gained new fourth great grandparents named John and Mary Hoyes, with whom I needed to become acquainted.

Image Pixabay reproduced under creative commons licence
“Watch the beauty of your life tree old leaves falling and allowing new ones to sprout !” 
― Joy Lima


If you've read the first installment of this tale you will know that I found who I believed to be William's real father, John Hoyes, in the 1841 census, aged 80, living with a Sarah and Robert Beecham. Robert was a weaver like William himself. Listed with them were their children Elizabeth, Charlotte and Robert and a three year old by named William Stones.

1841 Census, John Hoyes, The Genealogist [6]


I wondered if  the Beecham family or William STONES might turn out to be a vital piece of evidence in proving beyond a doubt that John Hoyes was William's father and my fourth great grandfather?

Interestingly I did find a marriage between a Sarah Hoyes to Robert Beecham at Radford, Nottinghamshire on June 12, 1831. Searching for a marriage between a female Hoyes and a man named Stones I found incredibly that in Radford, Nottinghamshire on the very same day, June 12, 1831 a  Charlotte Hoyes had married a Samuel Stones. It appeared that two sisters had married in a double wedding! A convincing discovery, but I still needed evidence that these two ladies were my William's sisters.

Since William had just lost all of his 'not real' siblings when I deleted his incorrect family from my tree, I knew nothing about his parents or siblings yet. I researched Samuel and Charlotte Stones and discovered that they had four sons including one named WILLIAM, born in the April to June quarter of 1838. This William would have been three years old in the 1841 census, the same age as the William Stones staying in Spittal Row, Newark with John Hoyes and the Beecham family. Would this William might prove to be an important clue in my tale of two Williams. If so, I needed to link Charlotte Hoyes to my William.

Charlotte's husband Samuel had died in October of the previous year and when I looked for  Charlotte in the 1841 census, I discovered her widowed, living in Ellis Row Newark, with sons John 9, Thomas 7, and George 1 year. William was not with her so it was entirely possible that he was the boy named William staying in the Beecham household on the night of the 1841 census.

Charlotte Stones with son John 9, in Ellis Row, Newark, 1841 Census, The Genealogist [7


According to the 1841 census, John Hoyes was born in 1761, but considering that ages were rounded up or down in this census, I widened my search parameter for his birth. He claimed to have been born in Nottinghamshire, but to be on the safe side, I searched for a birth in neighbouring Lincolnshire as well.

I was able to eliminate all men named John Hoyes born within twenty years of 1761 in Lincolnshire. The few other men by the name of John Hoyes had either died before 1841, when I knew my John to be living in Newark, Nottinghamshire, or were living in the wrong place at that time. I knew therefore, that my John Hoyes was not born in Lincolnshire but in Nottinghamshire. I narrowed my search to only one birth that could possibly fit that of my fourth great grandfather. He was John Hoyes who was born and baptised in 1766 in Girton, Nottinghamshire, to parents William and Mary.

Image Wikipedia reproduced under creative commons.


                                 THE TWIST ... LIKE A FLASH OF LIGHTNING...

It suddenly occurred to me that Girton, Nottinghamshire, was where Thomas Hoyes, (my now deleted ancestor) was born in 1768, to parents also named William and Mary. Thomas, the man I had wrongly believed to be my fourth great grandfather, had the following siblings all born in Girton - William 1762,  James 1764,  John 1766,  Ann 1775 and Olivia 1777. 

A name jumped out at me - JOHN.  Thomas had a brother named John born in 1766 in Girton, Nottinghamshire. Since this was the only baptism of a John Hoyes in Nottinghamshire between 1755 and 1780, I realised incredibly that THOMAS AND JOHN HOYES WERE BROTHERS! The man I had just deleted from my family tree was, in fact, still my relative!

Baptism of John Hoyes, 1766, Girton, Nottinhamshire, Findmypast [9].
One birth for a John Hoyes and one marriage for a John Hoyes on February 11, 1794 to Mary DORRENCE.

Marriage John Hoyes, Findmypast [10]


This discovery meant that my family tree back from John and Mary Hoyes would remain the same as it had been when Thomas and Ann were incorrectly named as William's parents. Ofcourse I had to put all of those ancestors back on there first. Even the thought of that huge job couldn't ruin my serendipitous moment.


I was still intrigued by the three year old William Stones I had found with John Hoyes in the 1841 census. I could prove he was related to my William and John Hoyes if I could find sisters for William named Sarah and Charlotte who had shared a double wedding in Radford in 1831.

Image Wedding Mid 19th century, Wikipedia, Creative Commons

It didn't take me long to find the evidence I needed. John and Mary Hoyes ( MY REAL FOUR TIMES GREAT GRANDPARENTS) had the following children born in Nottinghamshire - Sarah (1794), John (1797), William (1798), William 1803-1805), John (1803), Charlotte 1807 and William 1810 ( my third great grandfather). I had found William's sisters, Sarah and Charlotte.

Sarah Hoyes was born in Newark in 1794 and Charlotte Hoyes was born in Hawton, Nottinghamshire in 1807. In the 1841 census Charlotte's age had been rounded down to 30 when it was really 34. William's sister Sarah Hoyes had married a weaver named Robert Beecham and was the Sarah Beecham with whom John Hoyes was living in 1841. William Stones was Charlotte's son and therefore the grandson of John Hoyes. Two sisters, aged eleven years apart, and their double wedding confirmed for me that John Hoyes living at Spittal Row, Newark, Nottinghamshire, was indeed my ancestor.

 “Never give up, for that is just the place and time that the tide will turn.” ―Harriet Beecher Stowe

And so, The Tale of Two Williams comes to the end. But this tale has a most happy ending and a wonderful twist. I had not wasted years of research into my Hoyes family and have returned them to their rightful places on my family tree. Most importantly, I now have the correct four times great grandfather, JOHN HOYES and fourth great uncle THOMAS HOYES  on my family tree exactly where they both belong. 


1. Birth, William Hoyes, Claypole, Lincolnshire, 1809, England Births and Baptisms 1538-1975, Findmypast, https://search.findmypast.com.au/record?id=r_942913757 , accessed most recently 1 February 2018.

3. 1841 Census, William Hoyes, Class HO107, Piece 868, Book 7, Civil Parish, Newark Upon Trent, County Nottinghamshire, Enumeration District 14, Folio 29, P. 9, Line 18, GSU roll 47569, Ancestry.com, https://www.ancestry.com/interactive/8978/NTTHO107_867_869-0360?pid=9259284&backurl=https://search.ancestry.com/cgi-bin/sse.dll?indiv%3D1%26dbid%3D8978%26h%3D9259284%26ssrc%3Dpt%26tid%3D15450749%26pid%3D268185434%26usePUB%3Dtrue&ssrc=pt&treeid=15450749&personid=268185434&hintid=&usePUB=true&usePUBJs=true, accessed most recently 1 February 2018.

4. 1851 Census, William Hoyes, South Collingham, Lincolnshire, Ancestry.com, https://www.ancestry.com/interactive/8860/NTTHO107_2135_2137-0161/10342215?backurl=https://www.ancestry.com/family-tree/person/tree/15450749/person/29803933124/facts/citation/1040249298027/edit/record

5. 1851 Census, William Hoyes, Newark, Nottnghamshire, Ancestry.com, search.ancestry.com/cgi-bin/sse.dll?db=uki1851&h=17778349&ti


7. 1841 Census, Charlotte Stones, Newark, Nottinghamshire, Findmypast, https://search.findmypast.com.au/record?id=gbc%2f1841%2f0868%2f0126&parentid=gbc%2f1841%2f0003181922 

8.Baptism, John Hoyes, 1766, Girton, Nottinghamshire, Findmypast,https://search.findmypast.com/record?id=gbprs%2fnottinghamshire%2fbap%2f000609024 , accessed most recently February 2018.

9. Baptism, John Hoyes, 1766, Girton, Nottinghamshire, Findmypast,https://search.findmypast.com/record?id=gbprs%2fnottinghamshire%2fbap%2f000609024 , accessed most recently February 2018.

10. Marriage, John Hoyes and Mary Dorrence, Findmypast, Marriage, John Hoyes and Mary Dorrence, 1794, Findmypast, https://search.findmypast.com/record?id=prs%2fnottsfhs%2fmar%2f00145270%2f1, accessed 1 February 2018.

Tuesday, May 8, 2018


Annie Kenett,  The Lincolnshire Farmers, http://www.argbrit.org/pioneers/LincolnfarmersB.htm

Baby Images, The Old design Shop, Vintage Image Treasury, Free Images, https://olddesignshop.com/

Bristish Newspaper Archives, https://www.britishnewspaperarchive.co.uk/

Brownwyn Fryer, Storytelling that Moves People, Harvard Business Review, citing Robert Mckee, https://hbr.org/2003/06/storytelling-that-moves-people

Caitlin Gow, Genealogically Speaking, Blog, Tumblr, http://genealogically-speaking.tumblr.com/
Caitlin Gow, Genealogically Speaking, Blog, Blogger, http://genealogically-speaking.blogspot.com.au/2016/

Family Convictions - A Convict Ancestor, A Convict's Narrative - Lawrence Fraynehttps://familyconvictions.blogspot.com.au/2016/07/a-convicts-narrative-lawrence-frayne_59.html

FamilyHistory4u, Telling an Immigrant Ancestor's Story, Sharn White, 2015, https://sharnsgenealogyhints.blogspot.com.au/2015/05/telling-immigrant-ancestors-story.html 

Familysearch, Blog, Using FamilySearch Apps to Record Oral Historyhttps://www.familysearch.org/blog/en/familysearch-apps-oral-histories/

Google Earth Pro, https://www.google.com/earth/download/gep/agree.html

Hamburg Passenger Lists, 1850-1934, Staatsarchiv Hamburg; Volume: 373-7 I, VIII A 1 Band 017; Seite: 257, Ancestry.com, https://www.ancestry.com/family-tree/person/tree/15450749/person/268162713/facts

Irish Newspaper Archives, https://www.irishnewsarchive.com/

Immigration Museum Victoria, https://museumsvictoria.com.au/immigrationmuseum/whats-on/immigrant-stories-and-timeline/

La Rochelle, Image, State Library Queensland, Wikimedia
Commons, https://www.google.com.au/search?safe=active&rlz=1C1GGRV_enAU760AU760&biw=1227&bih=548&tbm=isch&sa=1&ei=jAjoWr-VN4nWjwP7lLBQ&q=la+rochelle+ship++image&oq=la+rochelle+ship++image&gs_l=psy-ab.3...3889.6361.0.6559.

Laurel J Kiser, Journal, Who Are We But for the Stories We Tell - Family Stories and Healing, 2010https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3010736/

Lisa Louise Cooke, How to Use Google Earth Chrome, utube tutorial, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VcorcgEzslc&t=70s

My Heritage, Family Tree Builder, https://www.myheritage.com/ftb

Museums Victoria, https://museumsvictoria.com.au/immigrationmuseum/whats-on/immigrant-stories-andtimeline/

National Archives of Australia, Destinations, https://www.destinationaustralia.gov.au/?page=1310

No Borders, Timeline of Australian Immigration,

Pauleen Cass, Family History Across the Seas, Proud of my Irish Roots, Blog, https://cassmob.wordpress.com/2018/03/18/proud-of-my-irish-roots/

Rachel Coleman, How Family Stories Shape our Identity, Familysearch Blog, July 2017, https://www.familysearch.org/blog/en/family-stories-shape-identities/

Saving memories Forever, https://www.savingmemoriesforever.com/

Seven Fantastic Storytelling Tools and Apps, Rootstech, https://www.rootstech.org/blog/7-fantastic-storytelling-tools-and-apps

Sharn's Genealogy Jottings, When Grandma was a Lassiehttps://sharn-genealogyjottings.blogspot.com.au/2009/11/when-grandma-was-lassie-e-v-harburg.html

Storytelling, Theodore Liebmann and Stefan Krieger, Video, Vimeo, https://vimeo.com/69706855

StoryCorps, https://storycorps.org/

Storyworth, https://www.storyworth.com/books

Wikipedia, Bloghttps://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Blog

Weeva, https://weeva.com/

Friday, March 9, 2018

PHOTOS + STORY - The Lead up to Rootstech18


Since Rootstech this year ran a Photo Plus Story Competition I thought it appropriate to write a blog about Rootstech in a photo essay format. 

Salt Lake Palace Image Sharn White

I was on the go from the moment my fellow Australian Rootstech Ambassador Jill Ball aka GeniAus and I landed in Salt Lake City, Thursday 22 February...

 GeniAus tweeting our departure from Sydney, Australia. Image  used with permission Jill Ball

Sensing the excitement grow as people flew in from all over the world, and meeting up with old and new friends, makes the pre- Rootstech week go far too quickly! 

Image Sharn White

A snowfall the day after I flew into Salt Lake City with fellow Australian Ambassador Jill Ball, was pretty to watch for we who don't experience very cold winters! I was very pleased I had packed my warm boots.

Image Sharn White

After planning to spend Friday February 22nd in the Family History Library, I decided instead, to recover from my long flight from Sydney, Australia. I did take a short walk in the snow!

Image Sharn White

Saturday, with the snow no longer falling, I walked to the family History Library where I ran into fellow family historian  and Australian, Jenny Joyce. I was pleased to meet in person, Jan Brandt who I had previously only known online. One of the wonderful things about Rootstech, is that it brings together like minded people from all around the world. It is such a pleasure to catch up with old friends, to put faces to names and to make wonderful new acquaintances.

Image Sharn White

I was thrilled to knock down, a longstanding Lincolnshire, UK brickwall, while scrolling through microfilm in the library! After three visits to Salt Lake City and Rootstech, this was my first time researching on level B2  which houses the British Isles records. Usually you'll find me on the European floor researching my Swiss and German ancestors. This trip I went with a mission and I was more than excited to find what I was looking for in parish records on microfilm. Familysearch are working hard to transcribe and digitise all of their films so if you have some spare time why not consider joining the transcription project.

 Image Sharn White

It goes without saying that researching in the Family History Library is a highlight of each visit to Salt Lake City.

On Saturday night, before Rootsech, a group of eager early attendees dined together at the Red Iguana 2 restaurant, where the Mexican food was quite delicious, - rivaled only by the fabulous company!

Image Sharn White

On Sunday February 25, Jill Ball and myself took a brisk and chilly stroll to Barnes and Noble for book purchases and some delicious hot soup! I couldn't resist a few photographs of the snow.

Image Sharn White

Walking through the old Union Pacific Station, one couldn't help but admire the beautiful heritage building which has been so lovingly preserved.

Image Sharn White

The ticket booths, beautifully conserved, echoed the din of a past busy railway station.

Image Sharn White
Image Sharn White

The interior of the Pacific Union Station is an art gallery of colourful images of past times and well worth a visit.

Image Sharn White

Back in the chilly air  and unused to the over 4000 feet elevation of Salt lake City,  Jill and I hopped on the Trax light rail to return to the Marriott City Creek, where the handy Starbucks in the lobby provided much appreciated warm drinks. The Trax system makes getting around in Salt Lake City so much easier. Our excitement when the next train was announced in TWO minutes was short-lived as we realised that we had mis-heard the announcement and the train was arrriving in TEN minutes! Still we managed to snap a selfie while we huddled behind the ticket machine for warmth!

Image Sharn White

Monday morning I headed to the Family History Library for a two hour 'Mondays with Myrt' session which was live streamed from the third floor of the library.  This part of the library, usually quiet, was abuzz with excitement as Rootstech attendees from around the world gathered to be a part of Pat's broadcast. Above is Laura Wilkinson Hedgecock from the USA, Jill Ball and myself from Australia and Hilary Gadsby from Wales, in the "Green Room".

Image Sharn White

With Roger Moffat acting as an able camera man, the live stream was set up. There was a festive atmospher  as people arrived who had not seen each other since Rootstech 2017. Above Kirsty Gray and Sylvia Valentine from the UK arrive amidst hugs and happy greetings.

Image Sharn White

Above Dave Robison (Old Bones Genealogy, USA) and Liv Birgit Christiansen from Norway, preparing to go live on Mondays with Myrt. All went well with our very organised Dear Myrt at the helm!

Image from Mondays with Myrt.

Live streaming from the Family History Library in Salt Lake City. The Geneabloggers Tribe Admin. team - from left to right - Cheryl Hudson Passey, Laura Wilkinson Hedgecock, Pat aka Dear Myrtle and  Jill Ball. I am not a member of the administration team but Pat kindly invited me to sit in on the discussion.

Image Sharn White

One of the things I most love about the Rootstech conference is that it transcends boundaries of nationality and cultural differences. This conference embraces and celebrates diversity! Rootstech gathers people together with a common purpose and provides a place where you can connect and feel you belong. Something poignant I took away from from this year's Rootstech CONNECT BELONG message was that by connecting with others we are able to better understand and respect the divergences in our world, and so gain a more meaningful understanding of belonging in a global sense.

Friday, February 23, 2018

The Tale of Two Williams and The Importance of Genealogical Evidence.


I have written this blog post as a reminder of the importance of validating information and finding genealogical evidence when researching family history. When I was an inexperienced researcher of family history, I was given information about my 4th great grandparents. Without verifying the details I was given, I added two people to my family tree and researched backwards another six generations. This mistake was a remarkable learning tool for me. I have outlined the story below and  it is my hope that others will learn from my error and from the research which I conducted over some years to reconstruct a branch of my family tree.

William Hoyes, Weaver, Scales Row, Newark, 1841 Census. Image Ancestry.com [1]


William HOYES, a weaver from Newark and Hawton, Nottinghamshire, England, was my maternal third great grandfather. The line from myself to William was as thus - my mother Alwynne Jean Reece-Hoyes, my grandfather, Ian Cuthbert Reece-Hoyes (b.1910 Queensland, Australia), my great grandfather, father Leonard Cuthbert Hoyes (b. 1875 New Zealand), my great-great grandfather ,James Berry Hoyes (b.1832 Newark, Nottinghamshire) to my three times great-grandfather, William Hoyes, of Nottinghamshire, England. This much I had researched myself.

The Tower of All Saints, Hawton, Nottinghamshire, Geograph.org.uk, Image  used under Creative Commons Licence


I began researching my HOYES family history many years ago, when few, if any records were available online. I worked backwards from my maternal grandfather, Ian Cuthbert Reece-Hoyes (how the 'Reece' got there is a WHOLE other fascinating story but one for another blog post). Not far into my genealogical journey, I met someone researching the same Hoyes family who shared the following information with me  about my third great-grandfather, William Hoyes  - he was born in Claypole, Lincolnshire in 1809, to parents Thomas HOYES [1768-1863] and Ann MACHIN [1766-1841]. Being new to family history research, unaware of the importance of genealogical evidence, I accepted this 'fact', and added Claypole, Lincolnshire as William's birthplace and Thomas Hoyes and Ann Machin as his parents.

Always validate information! Image available under Creative Commons Licence.

With so many online family trees being copied from others, I believe this message is even more relevant now when I made this mistake many years ago, and it is my hope that others might avoid the same error.

TIP: Citing sources is vital when you research family history so that others can see where you found your information and how you substantiated your evidence.


Working back from my great great-grandfather, James Berry Hoyes, born in Newark in August 1832, I had found his parents William and Deborah Hoyes easily, since he was living with them in Newark Upon Trent in the 1841 census. William HOYES, a weaver by trade had married Deborah BERRY, at St Mary Magdalene's in Newark Upon Trent, Nottinghamshire, on January 30, 1832. The couple had nine children of whom my great great grandfather James Berry Hoyes who was the eldest. He was followed by William, John, Mary, George, Thomas, Samuel, Alfred and Charlotte.

1861 Census, William and Deborah Hoyes at 13 Scales Row, Newark, Ancestry.com [2]

When I began researching my Hoyes family, I had to obtain copies of documents from England. Validating Thomas Hoyes and Ann Machin as William's parents was difficult, since no parents were named on the marriage record of William and Deborah. It was common however, to have no parents named on marriage records prior to the introduction of Civil Registration in England in July 1837.

St Mary Magdalene, Newark, Nottinghamshire where William Hoyes married. Image Wikipedia under Creative Commons


You can read about the kind of information likely to be included on English marriage records prior to Civil Registration here

Marriage of William Hoyes and Deborah Berry. Image The Genealogist [3]


Parish records, can be found on many Genealogy websites. Here are just a few - FindmypastThe GenealogistAncestry.comMy Heritage . Google searches for 'English Parish Records' can be useful in directing you to parish information on sites such as Familysearch, Forebears,  Parish Registers Online, and Genuki. These websites and others offer excellent historical and geographical information, genealogy resources and parish histories in English counties, such as Newark, Nottinghamshire. If you happen to be researching Nottinghamshire and are looking for marriage records from St Mary Magdalene, in Newark Upon Trent, Nottinghamshire from 1566 to 1760 you can find them here  [4] in an online pdf.


Being new new to family history when I was handed the names of William Hoyes' parents, I made the mistake of assuming the information was correct. As UK records became available online, I traced generations of Hoyes of Nottinghamshire, from Thomas Hoyes and Ann Machin - right back to the 1600's.

Claypole, Lincolnshire, Image Jonathan Thacker. Licensed for reuse under Creative Commons.

  • William Hoyes, born in Claypole, Lincolnshire was the right age to be my three times great grandfather (according to census records).  
  • William's father Thomas Hoyes was born in  Girton, Nottinghamshire. He had moved to Lincolnshire when he married Ann Machin in her home parish of Claypole. William's extended family on his father's side therefore, was from Nottinghamshire, so a birth in Lincolnshire and a move to Nottinghamshire for my William Hoyes appeared feasible.
  • Although Thomas Hoyes lived his married life in Claypole, Lincolnshire, employed as an agricultural labourer until his death in 1863, this did not exclude William from moving to Newark in Nottinghamshire. English parish registers show that many people moved away from their own parishes and counties after marriage, to work, or to live in the place their partner came from. William's own son, James Berry Hoyes moved from Nottinghamshire to Lincolnshire in the 1850's to work as a miller, presumably because industrialisation had made his family's occupation as hand loom weavers less required.
My original Hoyes Tree with Thomas and Ann as William's parents. Findmypast [5]


As time went on and records became accessible online, and I became a more thorough researcher, I began to suspect that Thomas Hoyes and Ann Machin were not my William's parents. The first inconsistency was that William Hoyes' birthplace of Claypole, Lincolnshire did not match the birthplace that was given for him on every census record. Consistently he gave his place of birth as Newark, Nottinghamshire.


A birthplace of Claypole rather than Newark on census records could be regarded as a clue, but far from evidence that I had the wrong birth for William. There were factors which could explain this discrepancy.
  •  In a Census, people sometimes substituted their place of birth for the place in which they lived. There could be a variety of reasons for this, including eligibility to receive parish relief. 
  • I had to consider that census Enumerators made mistakes.
  • Claypole in Lincolnshire is only 5 miles from Newark, Nottinghamshire and from 1837 ( the introduction of Civil Registration), Claypole although in Lincolnshire came under the Registration District of Newark, Nottinghamshire. William may have stated Newark as his birthplace from 1841, simply because Newark was the Registration District for Claypole, Lincolnshire. 

Claypole, Lincolnshire is not far from Newark-on-Trent Image Google Maps 2018. 

The 1841 census below, shows my William Hoyes living at Scales Row, Newark Upon Trent, and states that my three times great-grandfather had been born in the county of Nottingham (Notts).

William Hoyes, Weaver, Hawton, Deanery of Newark, Nottinghamshire, 1851 Census. Image Ancestry.com  [6]

Another indication that William Hoyes born in Lincolnshire was not my third great grandfather, was the slight age difference given for him on census records. Again there was a practical explanation to explain this discrepancy.
  • The difference in age was merely a year or two and people were known to give incorrect ages at census time. Ages were rounded up or down, especially in the 1841 and 1851 census. 
On census records from 1841 through to 1881, my three times great-grandfather's age consistently put his birth at 1810 or 1811, one or two years older than it would have been if he had been born in Claypole, Lincolnshire in 1809. Significantly however, it occurred to me that people usually lowered their age (to remain employed) - here William would have been raising his age. This was a small inconsistency, however, and far from confirmation that I had the wrong birth for William.

By this time, I had expanded my tree, adding the siblings of William Hoyes, born in Claypole, Lincolnshire to Thomas and Ann - Elizabeth, Mary, Jane, Samuel (1802-3), Sarah and Samuel. I found marriages for them and added the births of their children. I spent a great deal of time researching the ancestors of Thomas Hoyes and Ann Machin of Claypole, Lincolnshire.


When records became available online it became much easier to search for births and baptisms of ancestors. An online search of Findmypast's UK parish records, for 'William Hoyes' in both Nottinghamshire and Lincolnshire found three baptisms between 1800 and 1811.
  • William Hoyes born Newark, Nottinghamshire in 1803 to John and Mary Hoyes.
  • William Hoyes born in Newark, Nottinghamshire in 1810 to John and Mary Hoyes. 
  • William Hoyes born in Claypole, Lincolnshire in 1809 to Thomas and Ann Hoyes.
The first William, born in 1803 died in 1805, eliminating him from my search.


Suddenly I had another possibility for the parents of my thrice great-grandfather. I had two Williams born a year apart and two sets of parents - Thomas and Ann Hoyes of Claypole, Lincolnshire and John and Mary Hoyes of Newark, Nottinghamshire. It looked convincing that John and Mary were more  likely to be William's parents, since he on census records he claimed to have been born in Nottinghamshire. I have found that things genealogical are not always logical so I could not just assume I had found the correct parents for my William - I needed evidence!

 Claypole, Lincolnshire, Baptism of William Hoyes 1809, Image Findmypast.com.uk England Births & Baptisms 1538-1975[7]
Newark, Nottinghamshire Baptism of William Hoyes 1810, Image Findmypast.[8]

By this time, I was dreading that my hunch about Thomas and Ann (Machin) Hoyes was correct - if I had the wrong parents for William on my tree, I would have to DELETE SIX GENERATIONS of ancestors. A sobering thought! But just because I had found another William Hoyes born in the right place at the right time, suggesting he in fact, was my third great grandfather, was not proof that he was.


William Hoyes had married Deborah Berry in 1832, and was living with his wife and children in the 1841 census, so I had no way to place him with parents. I needed to find a way to determine whether he was the son of John and Mary Hoyes, of Newark, Nottinghamshire, and not Thomas and Ann Hoyes of Claypole, Lincolnshire. Others researching this family disagreed with my thoughts, but I continued my search.

Who was right? Image Pixa-Bay under Creative Commons Licence ©©


Given that I had not done the original research which determined that Thomas Hoyes and Ann Machin were William's parents, I decided to take a fresh look at Thomas Hoyes, beginning with a look at all the records that I myself, had gathered about him. I knew he was born in 1768 in Girton, Nottinghamshire, the fourth child of William Hoyes and Mary (maiden surname unconfirmed) and that his siblings were William 1762,  James 1764,  John 1766,  Ann 1775 and Olivia 1777.

When I re-examined the 1841 census for Thomas Hoyes that I discovered a vital clue that I had previously overlooked. Thomas Hoyes an Agricultural Labourer (Ag Lab), was living in Claypole, Lincolnshire in 1841 with his daughter Jane aged 40, grand daughter Ann Knowles aged 19 and son William aged 30.  Looking at this record again - I COULD NOT BELIEVE I HAD OVERLOOKED SUCH A CRITICAL DETAIL!

1841 Census, Thomas Hoyes 70, Claypole, Lincolnshire, Image Ancestry.com [9]


In 1841, my third great grandfather William Hoyes,  aged 30, was married and living in Scales Row, Newark with his wife Deborah Berry and six of their nine children - James, William, John, Mary and George. Yet here William Hoyes was, recorded on the census in Lincolnshire with his father Thomas in Claypole. Was he recorded twice in the same census? Or were there two Williams?

1841 Census, William Hoyes, Newark Upon Trent, Image Ancestry.com [1]


People sometimes were recorded in two places on a census; if they were away from home on census night, or at a place of employment. I still had no evidence that it was not my William, recorded in two locations. I knew that being recorded in two places happened, since my great-grandmother Lillie Herminnie WESTON was recorded at two different addresses a census in the 1930's in Brisbane, Queensland.

To add to the confusion, a search of the 1841 census for William Hoyes in Nottinghamshire and Lincolnshire on The Genealogist website, produced THREE men named William Hoyes all the exact same age of 30 years (*often ages were rounded up or down, particularly in the 1841 and 1851 censuses). I quickly eliminated the South Kyme, Lincolnshire William, finding that his birth had been incorrect on the census and that he was living with his wife Rhoda in South Kyme in 1861. His age was incorrect in the 1841 census, having been rounded down from 35 to 30.

1841 Census, William Hoyes, The Genealogist [10]


Looking more closely at the family of Thomas Hoyes of Claypole, Lincolnshire, in the 1841 census, I noticed that his son William was not recorded as being a weaver. I was careful not to jump to a conclusion though. Since nothing was recorded in the space for occupation, (not even the usual 'Ditto" to signify the same occupation as above), the lack of occupation was not proof that this was a different William.  He could have been visiting his father on census night.

No occupation for William Hoyes, Claypole, Lincolnshire, 1841 Census, Ancestry.com [9]


Finally, unable to find confirmation of which set of parents belonged to my William Hoyes, I decided to delete this entire branch of family, back from William and begin a completely new search. This action was the undoing of years worth of research and removed SIX GENERATIONS of ancestors from my family tree! It was not something I did without hesitation - and just in case my hunch was wrong, I kept log of my research. I was later thankful for my paper trail, since I discovered a most unexpected and exciting twist to this story's ending!

When I started researching the Hoyes family again, there were at least 18 family trees on Ancestry which had Thomas Hoyes and Ann Machin named as William's parents. Although I had contacted a few people with my theory, no one agreed with me, so I was definitely swimming against a genealogical current of thought....

Image in the Public Domain under Creative Commons Licence


I was pursuing the theory that there were two William Hoyes, of the same age - one born in Nottinghamshire and the other in Claypole, Lincolnshire - one born to parents John and Mary Hoyes and the other to parents, Thomas and Ann Hoyes - and that I had the wrong parents and ancestors on my tree. The next move was to trace the lives of both Williams by finding them in later census records. This was the only was way to prove my theory that Thomas and Ann were not my 4th great grandparents.

A check of the 1851 census on Findmypast for the county of Nottinghamshire, found two men by the name of William Hoyes.
  •  William Hoyes, aged 40, lived in Hawton, Newark, with his wife Deborah and children John 14, Mary 12, George 10, Thomas 8, Samuel 6, Alfred 6 months and mother in law Mary Berry. This William was a Hand Loom Weaver, born in Newark, Nottingham. There was no doubt that this was my ancestor.
  • William Hoyes , aged 41, lived in South Collingham, with his wife Mary and children Samuel 4, and Thomas 3. This William was an Ag Lab... And suddenly I saw it- MY EVIDENCE - HE WAS BORN IN CLAYPOLE, LINCOLNSHIRE! This William was the son of Thomas Hoyes and Ann Machin. The same William who had been living with his father Thomas in Claypole in 1841.

1851 Census, William Hoyes, born in Claypole, Lincolnshire, Ancestry.com [12]


You can imagine my excitement when I checked the 1861 and 1871 censuses and discovered William Hoyes from Claypole, Lincolnshire,  living and working as an Ag Lab in South Collingham, Nottinghamshire, while my ancestor William Hoyes was in Hawton, Nottinghamshire employed as a weaver. I finally had EVIDENCE that there were two men named William Hoyes and the William born in Claypole, Lincolnshire was NOT my ancestor.

  • I had evidence of the baptisms of two William Hoyes, one in 1809 in Claypole, Lincolnshire and the other in 1810 in Newark Nottinghamshire
  • I had evidence that there were two Williams in the 1841, 1851, 1861 and 1871 censuses, one born in Claypole, Lincolnshire and one in Newark, Nottinghamshire. 
  • I had evidence from the 1841 census that William Hoyes born in Claypole (still living with his father in 1841) was the son of Thomas Hoyes.  
  • I had negative evidence that there was no other birth or baptism which fitted my William Hoyes than the Newark, Nottinghamshire baptism in 1810, parents John and Mary Hoyes. Significantly, this matched the birthplace my William Hoyes gave on every census.
I had a lot of work ahead of me once I established that Thomas Hoyes and Ann Machin were not my ancestors. I had my real fourth great grandparents to find - John and Mary Hoyes who were named on the 1810 Newark baptism record of my William and I had to research my Hoyes family tree all over again!
The two Williams lived not far from each other in Nottinghamshire. Image Google Maps.


In the hope that one or both of William's parents John and Mary Hoyes were still alive at the time of the 1841 census, I conducted a search which yielded one result. There was a John Hoyes aged 80 years, living in Spittal Row, Newark. John Hoyes was living with with Robert BEECHAM 45, a weaver, his wife Sarah 45, son Robert 13, daughters Charlotte 20, and Elizabeth 15 and a 3 year old boy named William STONES.

1841 Census, John Hoyes, The Genealogist [13]

Looking at neighbours of the Beecham's in Spittal Row, Newark, Nottinghamshire, I noticed that that the area was made up of people who were weavers or worked in the weaving and lace making industry. In 1841, my three time great grandfather, William was living in Scales Row, an area which housed weavers employed at the Scales linen Mill. The weaving connection could be a clue that this John Hoyes could be William's father, but I needed evidence to connect them.

St Mary Magdalene, Newark, Nottinghamshire, Image Chris Morgan, Wikipedia, Creative Commons Licence.

Searching for a marriage between a John Hoyes and a bride named Mary in Nottinghamshire, I found only one result. John Hoyes married Mary DORRENCE on February 11, 1794 at St Mary Magdalene Church, Newark, Nottinghamshire. More research was needed to confirm that this was the correct couple however,  the church was the same one as William Hoyes and Deborah Berry had been married in, and the one William was baptised in. St Mary Magdalene was becoming a common thread weaving throughout Willam's story.
Marriage John Hoyes and Mary Dorrence 1794, St Mary Magdalene, Image Findmypast [14]
Marriage of John Hoyes and Mary Dorrence, 1794, Image Ancestry.com [15]


My research had established that there was no other birth or baptism of a male named William Hoyes in Nottinghamshire that matched my three time great grandfather. I had eliminated the possibility that William Hoyes born in Claypole, Linconshire, was my ancestor and I was now confident to say that William who was baptised at St Mary Magdalene Church, Newark, Nottinghamshire, August 4, 1810, was son of John and Mary Hoyes, and my third great grandfather.

Image Wikipedia under Creative Commons Licence.


I searched for births of children of the above John and Mary Hoyes between 1794, the year of their marriage and 1820. On Findmypast and Familysearch, I discovered that John and Mary Hoyes had the following children baptised at St Mary Magdalene Church - Sarah 1794,  John 1797, William 1803-1805) and my three times great grandfather, William on August 4, 1810. More on whether or not this was the right couple in my next blog post.


While I was feeling elated that I had confirmed that John and Mary Hoyes were the parents of my third great grandfather, William Hoyes, I had the huge task ahead of me of researching the Hoyes family tree all over again. I had yet to confirm if the John Hoyes in the 1841 census was the right John Hoyes, and I had lost six generations of ancestors while following the wrong path in the early days of  my family history. If I had validated information given to me as an inexperienced family history researcher, William's story would have been different - but in the end this mistake was a great learning tool for me.

Image Wikipedia Creative Commons Licence

The tale of my two Williams has an incredible twist in its ending and one which I will tell in my next blog post. The moral of The Tale of Two Williams is that I learned a most valuable lesson and one which stands me in good stead in my research every day - the importance of gathering genealogical evidence and of validating information.


Image R M Media Ltd Reproduced Under Creative Commons Licence.


1. 1841Census, William Hoyes, Class HO107, Piece 868, Book 7, Civil Parish, Newark Upon Trent, County Nottinghamshire, Enumeration District 14, Folio 29, P. 9, Line 18, GSU roll 47569, Ancestry.com, https://www.ancestry.com/interactive/8978/NTTHO107_867_869-0360?pid=9259284&backurl=https://search.ancestry.com/cgi-bin/sse.dll?indiv%3D1%26dbid%3D8978%26h%3D9259284%26ssrc%3Dpt%26tid%3D15450749%26pid%3D268185434%26usePUB%3Dtrue&ssrc=pt&treeid=15450749&personid=268185434&hintid=&usePUB=true&usePUBJs=true, accessed most recently 1 February 2018.

2. 1861 Census, William and Deborah Hoyes, Ancestry.com, https://www.ancestry.com/interactive/8767/NTTRG9_2479_2481-0375/23902947?backurl=https://www.ancestry.com/family-tree/person/tree/15450749/person/268185434/facts/citation/2206880047/edit/record, accessed most recently 11 February 2018.

3. Marriage, Willam Hoyes and Deborah Berry, 1832, The Genealogist, https://www.thegenealogist.co.uk/search/master/?type=person&source=&search_type=person&master_event=&person_event=&fn=william&phonetic_mode_fn=1&sn=hoyes&phonetic_mode_sn=1&kw=newark+nottinghamshire&yr=1832&range=10&search=Search#, accessed most recently 1 February 2018.

4. Nottingham Parish Registers: St Mary's Church, Vol. 1, 1566-1763, www.mesarfhc.org/.../Nottinghamshire%20Registers/942.52-N1%20K29n%20v.1.pdf
accessed 4 February 2018.

5. Hoyes Family Tree, Findmypast, https://tree.findmypast.com/#/trees/b8d9b583-7ed9-4385-


6. 1851 Census, William Hoyes, Ancestry.com, Census Returns of England and Wales, 1851, The National Archives of UK, Kew, England, https://www.ancestry.com/family-tree/15450749/facts, accessed most recently 30 January 2018.

7. Birth, William Hoyes, Claypole, Lincolnshire, 1809, England Births and Baptisms 1538-1975, Findmypast, https://search.findmypast.com.au/record?id=r_942913757 , accessed most recently 1 February 2018.

8. Birth, William Hoyes, Newark, Nottinghamshire, 1810, Nottinghamshire Baptisms Index 1538-1917, Findmypast,https://search.findmypast.com.au/record?id=prs%2fnottsfhs%2fbap%2f00339120 , accessed most recently 9 February 2018.

9. 1841 Census, Thomas Hoyes, Claypole, Lincolnshire, Ancestry.com, https://www.ancestry.com/interactive/8978/LINHO107_615_618-0143/6615473?backurl=https://www.ancestry.com/family-tree/person/tree/15450749/person/29803884345/facts/citation/157598403039/edit/record, accessed most recently 12 February 2018.

10. 1841 Census, William Hoyes, The Genealogist, https://www.thegenealogist.co.uk/search/master/?type=person&source=&search_type=person&master_event=Census&person_event=1841&sub_event=&fn=william+&phonetic_mode_fn=1&sn=hoyes&phone , accessed most recently 1 February 2018.

11. 1851 Census, William Hoyes, Hawton, Nottinghamshire, The Genealogist, https://www.thegenealogist.co.uk/search/master/?type=person&source=&search_type=person&master_event=&person_event=&fn=william&phonetic_mode_fn=1&sn=hoyes&phonetic_mode_sn=1&kw=nottinghamshire&yr=1851&range=0&search=Search, accessed 14 February 2018.

12. 1851 Census, William Hoyes, South Collingham, Lincolnshire, Ancestry.com, https://www.ancestry.com/interactive/8860/NTTHO107_2135_2137-0161/10342215?backurl=https://www.ancestry.com/family-tree/person/tree/15450749/person/29803933124/facts/citation/1040249298027/edit/record

13. 1841 Census, John Hoyes, Newark, Nottinghamshire, The Genealogist, https://www.thegenealogist.co.uk/search/master/?type=person&source=&search_type=person&master_event=Census&person_event=&sub_event=&fn=john&phonetic_mode_fn=1&sn=hoyes&phonetic_mode_sn=1&kw=nottinghamshire&yr=1761&yr_filter_b=1&range=10&search=Search#image_viewer_96bfa5_926983, accessed 10 February 2018.

14. Marriage, John Hoyes and Mary Dorrence, 1794, Findmypast, https://search.findmypast.com/record?id=prs%2fnottsfhs%2fmar%2f00145270%2f1, accessed 1 February 2018.

15. Marriage, Hohn Hoyes and Mary Dorrence, 1794, Ancestry.com, https://search.ancestry.com/cgi-bin/sse.dllindiv=1&dbid=9852&h=14269836&ssrc=pt&tid=15450749&pid=29803869953&usePUB=true

16. Baptism, Sarah Hoyes, 1794, Findmypast, https://search.findmypast.com/record?id=prs%2fnottsfhs%2fbap%2f00304799, accessed 15 February 2018.

17. Marriage, Sarah Hoyes and Robert Beecham, 1830, Findmypast, https://search.findmypast.com/record?id=prs%2fnottsfhs%2fmar%2f00147929%2f2, accessed February 2018.

18. Baptism, John Hoyes, 1766, Girton, Nottinghamshire, Findmypast,https://search.findmypast.com/record?id=gbprs%2fnottinghamshire%2fbap%2f000609024 , accessed most recently February 2018.


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