Tuesday, June 4, 2019



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 at the end of my story. This, as promised, is Part 2 of The Tale of Two William's and there is indeed a quite incredible twist at the end of this tale.


In the days prior to the internet and online records, the contextual and wider view of the past and past lives lives we are fortunate to have today, was hidden away in dusty parish records. The internet has provided so much more availability of information that it is sometimes worth checking research conducted in pre internet days.. 

For some years, I had been convinced that I, and other family members, had the incorrect parents on my family tree, for my third great grandfather William Hoyes, a weaver from Newark Nottinghamshire. The parents thought to be his, were Thomas Hoyes, born 1768 Girton, Nottinghamshire and Ann Machin, born in Claypole, Lincolnshire. This research was many years old and was originally undertaken by a researcher who visited England in the days before records became available online. 

 Over some 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. If you have not yet read the first part of my tale before reading the ending, you can do so here. 

Looking at the wider picture is important, especially when you have ancestors with common names. After finding two William Hoyes of the same age in the 1841 census, one a Weaver and the other an Ag Lab, I discounted that William was in two places at one time and that he had two occupations, so 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 same person as the William Hoyes who was born in Claypole, Lincolnshire in 1809, to Thomas and Ann Hoyes. 

The William Hoyes born in Claypole, LIncolnshire was obviously sitting incorrectly on my family tree as my three times great grandfather. It was a bitter pill to swallow since I had spent many years working backwards from Thomas Hoyes and Ann Machin and I had collected family from as far back as the early 1700's. With a sinking feeling, I had come to terms with the fact that they just weren't MY family. 

The result seems so simply obvious when I tell the story now, but the undoing of years of research was a huge undertaking. Online records have made the task of finding people far easier than when this original research was done - especially when there are multiple people of the same name and age and like in the case of my William Hoyes. 

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

In the first part of this story I showed how 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 in the 1851 census, there were two William Hoyes of the same approximate age, and both were living in Nottinghamshire not far from each other. That there were two men of the same name and other clues which might have avoided this error, were missed in the pre internet days of researching.

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. This is the William born to Thomas Hoyes and Ann Machin.

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 as I know him to be, living in Scales Row, Newark and 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. I knew now however, that his parents were named John and Mary.

William Hoyes born Newark Nottinghamshire 1851 Census Ancestry.com [5]

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 that is obvious now in the aftermath of this error. My William Hoyes, born in Nottinghamshire had a son named John and did not have a son called Thomas. William of Claypole, had a son named Thomas and no John. The boys were clearly named for their paternal grandfathers.


Resigned to the fact that Thomas Hoyes (born 1768 in Girton, Nottinghamshire) and Ann Machin (born ab 1765 in Claypole, Lincolnshire) were NOT, never were, and never will be my fourth great grandparents, you might recall from my earlier blog post that I took the heartwrenching decision to remove them along with six generations of 'family' before them, from my family tree. 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..."

As one ancestor after another disappeared form my tree, I realised with some anticipation that I now had 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 the man I discovered to be William's real father, John Hoyes, was in the 1841 census, aged 80, living with a Sarah and Robert Beecham. Robert Beecham was a weaver like my William Hoyes. Listed with them were their children Elizabeth 15, Charlotte 20, Robert 13, and a three year old child by named William Stones. Unfortunately the 1841 census did not give relationships between these people so I set out to research this for myself.

1841 Census, John Hoyes, The Genealogist [6]


I realised that the BEECHAM family or William STONES could be  vital pieces of evidence  in establishing beyond a doubt that John Hoyes was my William's father and that he was my real fourth great grandfather. To prove this, I needed to find a connection between John Hoyes and the Beecham family. I suspected the most likely relationship was that Sarah Beecham was the daughter of John Hoyes and Robert Beecham, weaver, was his son in law. 

 It did not take long to find a marriage between Sarah Hoyes to Robert Beecham at Newark, Nottinghamshire on November 4, 1830 [7] in which the witnesses were a Dorothy Beecham and Mary Murpley.  Sarah Beecham, was almost certainly the daughter of John Hoyes and therefore a sister of my William. To cement this belief, I set out to find out who William Stones was and what relationship he had, if any, to my Hoyes family. 

St Peter, Radford, Nottinghamshire, Wikipedia


Searching for a marriage between a female Hoyes and a man named Stones I found a marriage which took place in Radford, Nottinghamshire on June 12, 1831, between Charlotte Hoyes and Samuel Stones [8]. 

Two females named Sarah and Charlotte Hoyes had married men with the names Beecham and Stones - both of these surnames were connected to John Hoyes - the man I believed to be the correct father for my William Hoyes- in the 1841 census. Could this be a coincidence or were these women William's sisters? Was I on the right path to finding William's family? 

Since I had stripped my Hoyes tree branches bare of leaves from William backwards, I knew nothing about William's parents, John and Mary Hoyes, and of course, nothing about any siblings. 

Researching Samuel and Charlotte Stones, I discovered that they had four sons including one named WILLIAM, who was born in the April to June quarter of 1838 [9]. This son William Stones would have been three years old in the 1841 census, which was the same age as the William Stones staying in Spittal Row, Newark with John Hoyes and the Beecham family. Could this William might prove to be an important clue in my tale of two Williams? If so, I needed to link hus mother Charlotte Hoyes to my William Hoyes.

Charlotte's husband Samuel had died in October of the previous year and when I looked for  Charlotte in the 1841 census 10], I discovered her widowed, living in Ellis Row Newark, with sons John 9, Thomas 7, and George 1 year. her son William, aged three years, was not with her.  There was the possibility that he had died, but it was hihky likely that he was the boy named William Stones staying in the Beecham household on the night of the 1841 census. Although I was grieving the loss of my wrong ancestor Thomas Hoyes and the many ancestors who preceeded him, I was becoming more and more certain that I had found my real Hoyes family. 

Charlotte Stones with son John 9, in Ellis Row, Newark, 1841 Census, The Genealogist [10]


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 to search for his birth. He claimed to have been born in Nottinghamshire in the census, but to be on the safe side, I searched for a birth in neighbouring Lincolnshire as well. And - let's face it, it had been a wrench letting go of my Lincolnshire roots along with Thomas Hoyes. 

I was able to eliminate all men named John Hoyes who were born within twenty years of 1761, in Lincolnshire. Any others by the name of John Hoyes had died before 1841, when I knew my John to be living in Newark, Nottinghamshire, or were living in the wrong place at that time. As a result, I determined that my John Hoyes was not born in Lincolnshire. I narrowed my search to the only remaining birth that fitted that of my fourth great grandfather and this was John Hoyes who was born and baptised in 1766 in Girton, Nottinghamshire, to parents William and Mary Hoyes [11].

Image Wikipedia reproduced under creative commons.


As I absorbed this information, I suddenly felt as though I was hit by a bolt of lightening!  I realised that Girton, Nottinghamshire, was the same place that Thomas Hoyes, (my now deleted ancestor) was born in 1768. And his parents parents had also been named William and Mary

I had researched Thomas's family, when I believed him to be my fourth great grandfather, and so I knew that he had the following siblings all born in Girton - William 1762,  James 1764,  John 1766,  Ann 1775 and Olivia 1777. 


The name John lept off the page but I could hardly believe what I was seeingThomas who I had mistakenly believed to be my ancestor 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 related to me and was my fifth great uncle! 

Baptism of John Hoyes, 1766, Girton, Nottinhamshire, Findmypast [11].

I had found only one marriage for a John Hoyes to a Mary, on February 11, 1794 in Newark [12], Nottinghamshire and this was to Mary DORRENCE. John and Mary Hoyes were my REAL 4th great grandparents and these were parents of my 3rd great grandfather, William Hoyes. 

Marriage John Hoyes, Findmypast [12]

Thomas Hoyes was, incredibly, my William's uncle and the William Hoyes born in Claypole, Lincolnshire previously thought to be my ancestor, was, in fact, William's first cousin. This was certainly a case of confusing cousins! The two Williams, born within a year of each other were both named for their paternal grandfather William. 


This serendipitous discovery meant that my family tree, going 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. Incredibly, the many ancestors and relatives I had removed were still my family! 

Of course, I thad the enormous task ahead of me of placing all of those many family members back on the family tree but even the thought of that huge undertaking couldn't ruin my serendipitous moment. What were the odds of my wrong ancestor being the BROTHER of my correct ancestor? Quite the Twist in my Tale of Two Williams! 


I was still intrigued by the three year old William Stones I had found with John Hoyes in the 1841 census. If I was able to prove he was related to my William and John Hoyes this could verify that I had found another sister for William (in addition to Sarah Beecham nee Hoyes)  named Charlotte. 

Image Wedding Mid 19th century, Wikipedia, Creative Commons

It didn't take me long to find some crucial evidence. I found the births in Nottinghamshire, of the following children to John and Mary Hoyes ( MY REAL FOUR TIMES GREAT GRANDPARENTS)  - Sarah (1794), John (1797), William (1798), William 1803-1805), John (1803), Charlotte 1807 and William 1810 ( my third great grandfather)[13]. 

I had verified that William had two older sisters named Sarah and Charlotte! The peices of the puzzle were fitting together perfectly. 

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 she was the Sarah Beecham with whom their 80 year old father, John Hoyes was living in 1841. 

William's sister Charlotte had a son named William Stones who was the grandson of John Hoyes and nephew of my William. This William was most certainly the three year old boy in the 1841 census, staying with the Beecham family, his aunt Sarah Beecham and grandfather John Hoyes. Two sisters, aged eleven years apart, their marriages a year apart, and another William (Stones) helped confirm for me that John Hoyes, living with the Beecham family at Spittal Row, Newark, Nottinghamshire aged 80 years,  was indeed my ancestor and 4th great grandfather and the correct father for my William Hoyes. 

William Stones, Lacemaker, 1881 Census, Radford, Nottinghamshire [14]

 “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 an end. This tale has a most happy ending and a wonderful twist. I had not, as I had first thought, wasted years of research into my Hoyes family. Fortunately I had kept a backup copy of my old research so I was able to return my ancestors to their rightful places on my family tree. It took quite a while but I welcomed each family member back with much fondness and a great deal of amazement.

In a most incredulous twist I simply had to switch an uncle and a brother to have the correct four times great grandfather, JOHN HOYES and fifth great uncle THOMAS HOYES  on my family tree exactly where they both belong. 

"Every ending is a beginning. We just don't know it at the time." Mitch Albom [15]


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


6.1841 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.

7. Marriage of Sarah Hoyes and Robert Beecham, Nottinghamshire Marriages Index, Newark, Nottinghamshire, 4 November 1930, 1628-1929, FindmyPast, https://www.findmypast.com.au/transcript?id=GBPRS/NOTTINGHAMSHIRE/MAR/000113778/2

8. Marriage of Charlotte Hoyes and Samuel Stones, 12 June 1931, Radford, Nottinghamshire, 12 June 1831, Nottinghamshire Marriages Index, FindmyPast, https://www.findmypast.com.au/transcript?id=PRS/NOTTSFHS/MAR/00257682/1

9. Baptism of William Stones, 13 August 1837, Radford, Nottinghamshire, Nottinghamshire Baptism Index, 1538-1917, FindmyPast, ps://www.findmypast.com.au/transcript?id=PRS/NOTTSFHS/BAP/00182871 

10. 1841 Census, Charlotte Stones, Newark, Nottinghamshire, Findmypast, https://search.findmypast.com.au/record?id=gbc%2f1841%2f0868%2f0126&parentid=gbc%2f1841%2f0003181922 

11.Baptism, John Hoyes, 1766, Girton, Nottinghamshire, Nottinghamshire Baptism Index, 1538-1917, Findmypast,https://search.findmypast.com/record?id=gbprs%2fnottinghamshire%2fbap%2f000609024 , accessed most recently February 2018.

12. 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.

13. Baptisms, Hoyes childen, Girton, Nottinghamshire, Nottinghamshire Baptism Index 1538-1917, Findmypast.

14. William Stones, 1881 UK Census, Ancestry.com, Class: RG11; Piece: 3345; Folio: 128; Page: 8; GSU roll: 1341798

15. 35 Mitch Albom, Quote, Quotes on Endings that will Make 2016 More Exciting, https://www.inc.com/kevin-daum/35-quotes-on-ending-things-that-will-make-2016-more-exciting.html


  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”.

  5. Well, what a nice twist, and as Dara says you landed on your feet - thanks to that backup! And to doggedly following up on your misgivings about the relationships.

  6. How satisfying to resolve the threads and still retain your forebears who you had got to know :)

  7. Congratulations! Your blog is included in INTERESTING BLOGS in FRIDAY FOSSICKING at
    Thank you, Chris

  8. What a lovely twist and fun find. The research behind this, thanks to online genealogy, is well constructed. I wonder how many more family trees are tangled due to the difficulty of accessing records in the past.

  9. What a story and a tribute to your diligent genealogy research. You are so right about the revelations provided by digitized records on the Internet! Congrats on getting to the bottom of this mystery and restoring a collateral branch to your family tree.