Monday, 17 October 2011

15 Days - 15 Collections

In an imaginative mood, have been giving free access to 15 different sets of records, for for the first 15 days of October only. "15 days - 15 FREE collections" has ended now, but I tried to use the opportunity to go Kisby-hunting.

Unfortunately Ancestry's records have a repuation for being badly transcribed. I've tried on several occasions to search the US Census records for Kisby's but rarely with success. For example, the 1920 Census (part of the "15 days" release) should contain dozens of Kisby's but according to the index search there are none! In their defence, the US was populated by immigrants from all nationalities, many of them with unusual unexpected surnames to confuse the transcribers.

So I chose to extract as many KISBY, KISBEE and KISBEY births from the 1916-2005 England & Wales Birth index. I managed to complete the task for the 30 years from 1963 to 1993 (which included the birth entries for my sister and me). Noticeably, during this period, there are almost NO Kisby's born in the old stomping grounds of the English Fens!

Saturday, 27 August 2011

Whittlesey Parish Registers

After 20 years of tracing my ancestors in the Whittlesey area of the Cambridgeshire, I've finally invested in some CD's of the local parish registers. Well, actually these CD's were published by Cambs Family History Society in 2009, so they are quite recent. Before then it was a case of searching through fiddly sheets of microfiche, or printed copies at record offices. The new CD's have transcribed the records of Whittlesey St Mary, Whittlesey St Andrew from 1599 to 1950. The church at Coates is also included (built in 1850). Impressive work!! It will certainly keep me busy during the chilly autumn evenings adding names and dates to my family tree!

Sunday, 17 July 2011

Kisby - Green

On the subject of Kisby emigrants, Mary Ann Green (nee Kisby) of Thorney, Cambridgeshire, was another Fenlander who left for America with her husband and 3 young children. She eventually had 5 more children in the USA and Canada.

This week their descendant, Kevin Martin, sent me a fabulous photograph of the Green siblings. Judging by the photo, Mary Ann must've had blue eyes at least!

Sunday, 10 July 2011

Henry Kisby the Mysterious Pioneer

Thanks to the online publication of the history of Mills County, Iowa, one of the first 'notable' Kisby's I came across was the pioneering Henry Kisby (1818-1908). He apparently emigrated from England in 1847, subsequently building up enough resources to buy himself a 50-acre farm in Glenwood Township. Henry's history is well documented in the 1881 "Mills County History", he was born 12 March 1818 in Lincolnshire, England and his first wife was also English, Ellen Needham, born c.1825.

What is puzzling is that I can find no trace whatsoever of a Henry Kisby in Lincolnshire that fits the bill. A Henry Kisby from Upwell, Cambridgeshire also emigrates to America in 1852, but he is a full 10 years younger. There are Henry's living in Huntingdonshire, but they can all be accounted for. Ellen, on the other hand, may have came from anywhere in England.

Maybe Henry changed his name when he arrived on America's shores. Whatever the explanation, it's a mystery I'd be delighted to solve!

Sunday, 10 April 2011

To mark the arrival of the 2011 UK Census forms on our doormats, I've uploaded a page of Kisby's and Kisbee's who appear in the 1851 England Census. So far I've spotted over 230 of them! This compares with 370 in 1881 and over 500 in 1911.

The 1851 Census was the first to ask for exact ages, places of birth and relationships to the head of the household. So it is extremely useful to genealogists! Most Kisby's and Kisbee's seem to have done their absolute best to fill it in correctly, though quite a few people seem to struggle to remember where they were born, or give themselves a more flattering age.

Of course, these problems are minor in comparison to making head-or-tail of the census in 2011. Could the Office of National Statistics make it more complicated or obtrusive if they tried?!

Tuesday, 15 February 2011

Westminster Wedding

What a pleasant experience it was to visit the Westminster Archives last week! They are located on the top floor of a modern red brick building, only a few minutes walk from London's Westminster Abbey.

I'd gone to the archives because I spotted a reference online to a marriage of James Kisbee in the Church of St Margaret. It turns out that St Margaret's is immediately next door to Westminster Abbey and, presumably, must have had some elevated status as a result! The parish register of the 1770's was a lovely document, also including a contemporary hand written index of all surnames.

James Kisbee married Catherine Holme in July 1774. He is most likely to be the same James Kisbee as the one was employed by the Duchess of Montagu. James knew the famous black writer, Ignatio Sancho, who ran a grocery business in Westminster.

James and Catherine produce a daughter later in 1774 but afterwards the trail runs dry. Either they moved to another parish, or maybe something untoward happened to Catherine?