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.


  1. You did It! Great work Sharn.

  2. Well done for persevering with your hunch. It's hard to imagine giving up six generations after welcoming them into the family. Glad you landed on your feet. Great story!

  3. She's back, great research..
    I have included your blog in INTERESTING BLOGS in FRIDAY FOSSICKING at
    Thank you, Chris

  4. A fascinating account of your diligent research and the challenge in ensuring you are following the right line . In my extended family, there were five interrelated John Brynings living in the same area in late 18th century, and it took some unravelling to identify “mine”.