February 21, 2014

52 Ancestors: Were Thomas and Lewis King Illegitimate?

Amy Johnson Crow has a new challenge for geneabloggers called Challenge: 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks. Amy challenges genealogists to write about one ancestor once a week. I'm having fun with this and I hope you are too!

My 3rd great grandfather was Thomas King born 1796 in Wenhaston, Suffolk County England to James King and Hannah Blanden (Blandon aka Blanding). In 1831 Thomas and his brother Lewis joined a small group of Englishmen and set sail for Canada. They were the first settlers in what is now Arkell Ontario. 

in my research on this family I found that Thomas' parents had undergone a Bastardy Examination in 1791 over the birth of their illegitimate daughter. 

Because parishes did not want to be responsible for the care of an illegitimate child, a pregnant woman or one who had just given birth, would be questioned by a midwife or other authority and the name of the child's father recorded. The father would then be ordered to provide financial support, either as a lump sum payment to the parish for the child until he/she reached the age of majority, or as a monthly sum (also payable to the parish for the child's welfare). In many cases the mother too would be ordered to make payments. This ensured that the child did not become a burden on the parish. 

Bastardy Examination of Hannah Blandon 6 July 1791. Under Oath Hannah states that on Thursday 14 October 1790 she gave birth to female bastard child at Ephraim Lockwood’s house in Holton Parish, Blything Hundred, Suffolk Co. James King was the father.

52 Ancestors: Were Thomas and Lewis King Illegitimate?


Bastardy Order James King & Hannah Blandon 6 July 1791. Justices of Peace Eloazar Davy and Charles Purvis in Parish of Holton, Hundred of Blything, County of Sufoolk hear the case brought by Robert Smith, Guardian of the Poor in Blything. James to pay 1 shilling per week to John Robinson of Southwald or to Treasurer of the Poor, for maintenance of child as long as living in the parish. Hannah to pay 6 pence weekly. 

At some point after the birth of their daughter James and Hannah may have married because they had at least two sons - Lewis in 1793 and Thomas in 1796. I have not found a marriage record for them so it is possible they never formalized their union. The sister born earlier has been elusive and I've not yet found her name or what happened to her.

Lewis and Thomas made a new life for themselves in Ontario Canada and helped carve out a settlement in what was then the wilderness. If you descend from either of these brothers you may be interested in the book I wrote "From England to Arkell: The story of two pioneer settlers, Lewis & Thomas King who left Suffolk England for the Wilds of Upper Canada in 1831 A Genealogy to 4 Generations following their descendants in Ontario, Alberta, Australia & Michigan." 

It's always fun and extremely interesting to research an ancestor who was a pioneer in some field, and then write their story.  

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